The Controversial Pasta Water Hack That Gives You Cooked Spinach In A Flash

Most people are in favor of saving a few minutes in the kitchen. After a long day at work or before a busy evening, the last thing many home cooks want to do is spend any more time than necessary chopping ingredients, cooking components sequentially rather than simultaneously, or washing more dishes than needed.

Therefore, it's no surprise that the internet is filled with cooking hacks. This is especially true on TikTok, which contains a wealth of videos demonstrating new and unique ways to save time or effort when cooking at home. There are plenty of hacks for prepping spinach, however, a new method has emerged for quickly cooking this ingredient.

A TikTok creator posted a video pouring a boiling pot of pasta directly into a strainer containing spinach, instantly cooking it. The claim made in the video is that the pasta and water perfectly wilts the spinach without dirtying any extra dishes. A number of people commented in support of the hack, either calling it genius or stating that they've personally had success with it. However, this seemingly clever trick received some surprising backlash.

TikTok is divided

Despite the ease and expediency demonstrated in the video, commenters were skeptical of the hack for a number of reasons. One user questioned the original claim about eliminating extra dishes, noting one could easily use the same pot for sautéing the spinach as they did for cooking the pasta. This pot would need to be cleaned either way.


Got a pasta recipe calling for spinach? #ChefTip #KitchenHack #wiltingspinach #spinachhack

♬ Coi Leray Players DJ Saige Mashup – Saige

Another TikToker pointed out that much of the spinach around the sides of the colander appeared uncooked despite the pasta being dumped on top. Upon closer inspection, most of the spinach seems to be toward the edges of the colander, while the water is poured through a gap in the center. It is unclear from the video alone whether this could be solved by better positioning the spinach or if the force of the water is pushing the spinach away.

Some of the divisions in opinion may be due to personal preference. One user commented "it makes the spinach taste squeaky," implying she tried the hack and did not achieve a favorable result. It's probable that this cooking method creates a different mouthfeel than using oil on a stovetop, though it may be less bothersome to others.

Is this spinach hack genius?

There are plenty of arguments for and against this trick. On one hand, it's a quick way to cook your spinach with fewer dishes. Cooking the leafy green in the used pasta pan adds extra time as you wait for it to wilt. In addition, this process still doesn't eliminate a dish: You would either need to put the cleaned spinach into a bowl before using the colander for the pasta, or you would need a second colander to wash and store the vegetable until the pasta is complete and the pot is ready.

On the other hand, it may be difficult to get the spinach to cook evenly, especially leaves around the edges. In addition, sautéing spinach creates an opportunity to make the spinach more flavorful by cooking it alongside seasonings and other ingredients. Finally, if the negative TikTok comments regarding the texture are accurate, it's entirely possible that this method is actually a spinach mistake to avoid.

Should you use this hack the next time you make pasta with spinach? The jury is out. Ultimately, it will come down to your individual perspective on how you'd like to season the spinach and what texture you'd like it to be. If you're curious, give it a try and see if you like the result.