Lasagna noodles are wide sheets that are chewy and great! They’re not the easiest to handle due to their size, and it’s kind of tough to boil and cook them. The pasta gods, or at least food brands, have heard our cries of despair and come out with no-boil oven-ready lasagna noodles.
Some of the benefits of oven-ready lasagna noodles are pretty obvious, with one being that they are time-savers. It’s a pretty big pro if you ask us, as time is not something we can get back. So, thank you for that Catelli, Barilla, Unico, and the list goes on. But the question isn’t whether or not we have to boil oven-ready lasagna noodles, it’s can we?
Can you boil oven-ready lasagna noodles? Yes, you can boil oven-ready lasagna noodles. There really isn’t a rule for how any cooking should be done, it’s really about what the individual likes and prefers. While you don’t need to boil oven-ready lasagna noodles, doing so can give it a bit more moisture while baking, and get some of the starch off.
If you’re making yummy lasagna roll-ups, then yes, you would need to boil even oven-ready lasagna noodles to soften them up.
No-boil oven-ready lasagna is exemplary of the height of convenience we have reached in cooking, but it’s really not the best choice all the time. Why? Read on to find out!
Boiling Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles – Should You or Shouldn’t You?
We already spoiled everything by telling you that you certainly can boil oven-ready lasagna sheets, even though they are advertised as no-boil. We also kept you on the hook by saying it’s not always the best to do it, so when should you? We won’t keep you in suspense any longer.
Simply put, you shouldn’t boil oven-ready lasagna sheets if you’re not planning to roll them up (because boiling will make them more pliable) and if you do not like soggier noodles. One caveat about oven-ready lasagna noodles is you have to make sure your noodles get some moisture if you don’t pre-boil them or they will burn easier, or worse, become crunchy!
A watery sauce that covers the dish while baking is one way to give them extra moisture, or just soaking the noodles in warm water for a few minutes prior to cooking.
You should boil your lasagna noodles for a bit if you need more pliability (say if you wanted to make lasagna roll-ups).
What Happens If You Boil Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles?
Let’s say you want to boil the oven-ready lasagna noodles because you don’t want the extra starch. Other than accidentally overcooking them and being left with soggy noodles, what else can happen? A lot, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Overcooked, Soggy and Broken
Very sad words to describe any dish. If you boil oven-ready lasagna noodles for too long, they will end up overcooked, be easy to break, and be soggy.
There is a very fine line between giving the noodles enough moisture and overcooking them, so unless you have the time to experiment, don’t do it (unless it’s what you want).
Not that pasta or lasagna noodles are packed with nutrients anyway, but overcooking them can alter or decrease any nutritious elements, and this goes for most foods.
It’s All Ruined
Let’s say you managed to salvage overcooked and soggy noodles and none of them broke, and our dish also came out of the oven looking pretty good overall. Then the image of your perfect lasagna shatters to pieces when you take the first bite because the texture is completely off.
There is no chew, and the noodles are so overcooked you can literally scrape it off with a fork. Why does this happen?
Because your noodles were already overcooked, and many people fail to realize that they continue to cook while in the oven, soaking in all the sauces and juices and steam to become even softer.
Don’t panic, this disaster can be avoided – just don’t boil the pasta noodles if you don’t have to.
How Do You Make the Perfect Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles?
Do it, don’t do it, we presented arguments for both sides. We know it may be confusing, so what should you do? What can ensure that your lasagna noodles come out perfectly each time? We’ve organized a quick easily-scannable checklist to help you out.
- Soak the lasagna noodles before cooking if you have a chunky sauce. Do it with lukewarm to hot water for about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the amount or until they are soft to the touch.
- If you plan on boiling oven-ready lasagna noodles, make sure the water is boiling first before you place them in. If you don’t, they will continue to soak up water while you’re waiting for the water to boil and overcook.
- Use a watery sauce and skip the pre-soak and go to cooking right away.
- For soaking, make sure every part of the lasagna noodles is fully submerged in water.
- After soaking the oven-ready lasagna noodles, do not leave them in the colander or in a messy pile. Grease a baking sheet and lay the noodles out flat piece by piece. Make sure they are separate and not touching.
- Give your pre-soaked lasagna noodles some time to dry off a bit before assembling. This will help to avoid overcooking in the oven.
Boil and No-Boil Lasagna Noodles – What’s the Difference?
Should you use regular boil lasagna noodles or oven-ready no-boil ones? It’s really up to you. But before you decide, you should know the differences.
Regular boil lasagna noodles are slightly thicker, and they can retain the chewiness and firmness a little better. There is also less moisture in oven-ready lasagna noodles, so you would need to monitor the hydration for the perfect texture.
Of course, no-boil noodles take less work than regular lasagna noodles, which is great if you’re pressed on time. But when it comes down to it, making a dish as close to the authentic way as possible will be more rewarding in terms of the results.