Why it’s actually OK not to salt your pasta water

Unless you’re eating your noodles cooked plain, whether or not they’re salty doesn’t make much difference to the overall flavor of the dish. Even the great James Beard himself did not advocate using salt water in his “beard on pasta,” while the South China Morning Post notes that neither noodles nor rice in Asian dishes are usually cooked with salt.

On a recent Reddit thread, a person commented“I’m a sous-chef in an Italian restaurant, and we don’t salt the water in our pasta”, explaining “it’s much more consistent, and easier, to season the dish in a pan”. Another one said: “I worked for a high end Sicilian restaurant for a while. Awesome pasta, no salt”, while a home cook, having tested their pasta cooked with and without salt, concluded: “As I season my dish afterwards, I don’t think it matters much.” Another Redditor, a zero waste hero, explained, “I don’t salt the water so that when the water gets cold I can use it to water the plants.” (Garden experts agree(unsalted pasta water can fertilize as well as hydrate.)

If you’re used to salting your pasta water and you’re determined and determined to keep doing it, then go for it. Don’t make the mistake of Editor who admits to “ruining Christmas” by stealthily dirtying pasta water in someone else’s house where a family member was on a low-sodium diet.