Nalgene Noodles: How To Cook Pasta In Your Nalgene Bottle

When I hike or explore, I like my pack to be as light as possible. Extra weight slows me down, and carrying a bulky pack is frustrating.

That’s why I love my Nalgene bottle. It’s very versatile and can be used for many purposes, from the obvious purpose of keeping me hydrated to being used as a hot water bottle to slip under my sleeping bag to keep me warm at night.

I also love easy to make meals on the trail or when camping. I've heard about people being able to cook noodles in a Nalgene bottle and my kids absolutely love instant noodles. I wanted to give it a go myself, see if it worked and whether or not it’s safe to do so.

To cook noodles in a Nalgene bottle place fast cooking or instant noodles in your Nalgene. Then fill your Nalgene with boiling water, add a pinch of salt, shake the bottle and then leave it to sit for 5-15 minutes until pasta is cooked. Drain water and add pasta to a bowl or add sauce and eat directly out of the bottle.

For best results wrap your Nalgene bottle in a towel, sweater or jacket – otherwise the water will cool down quickly and your pasta may not cook properly.

Believe it or not, cooking pasta in a Nalgene is that easy.

However, there are a few things to note before you get started so you can get perfectly boiled pasta from your Nalgene bottle every time.

You can only really cook instant noodles or fast cooking noodles in a plastic Nalgene bottle because you can't actively heat the water – you can only pour boiling water in and let it do it's thing.

However, stainless steel Nalgene bottles can handle much higher temperatures and can be placed on stoves or directly into fires (with the lid off) for the purpose of boiling water or even cooking pasta.

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03/07/2024 08:47 am GMT

Is It Safe to Use Nalgene Bottles to Cook Noodles?

I was concerned about safety when I first considered using boiling water in my Nalgene bottle to cook some instant noodles. I've long known about the dangers of styrofoam cups that many instant noodles are sold in (spoiler: they can potentially leach carcinogenic compounds when filled with boiling water).

Would the boiling water damage the bottle? Or would dangerous chemicals leach into the hot water, which some brands of bottles are known for?

Nalgene bottles are designed to handle boiling water without shattering, cracking, or breaking from high temperatures.

I've personally filled up my Nalgene bottles with boiling water on multiple occasions. Mainly for use as hot water bottles.

But my biggest concern was toxic chemicals. However, Nalgene bottles are made of Tritan, a BPA-free and EDC-free (endocrine disrupting chemicals) plastic. Nalgene bottles are safe to drink from and made from one of the safest plastics.

However, polycarbonate plastics containing BPA were considered safe to drink out of until 2008 when studies showed they did actually leach harmful chemicals into bottles.

Who knows if something new will come to light about Tritan plastic in the future.

At the moment I comfortably drink water out of my plastic Nalgene bottles without any concern. However, I limit that to cold water and I discard water after a few hours in the bottle and then refill it.

For me I personally I recommend against eating or drinking hot food or beverages in plastic as this potentially increases the chemical leaching substantially.

For that reason I always advise AGAINST putting boiling water in plastic bottles – including Nalgene bottles.

If I do put hot or boiling water in my Nalgene (eg. for a hot water bottle) I then discard that water and don’t drink it. I then wash and refill my bottle with fresh water.

While I have tried cooking noodles in my plastic Nalgene and I would do it if I was in a pinch, it's not something I would regularly do.

A great option to consider if you want to cook noodles (or something else) is the stainless steel Nalgene bottle or a vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle like Hydro Flask. Stainless steel is shown to be very safe to eat or drink from – even when exposed to high temperatures.

With the stainless steel Nalgene, you can place the bottle directly on a stove or fire to cook the noodles. 

Ensuring Your Nalgene Noodles are Al Dente

There’s are a few simple tips you should follow to ensure the noodle-cooking process is right.

Noodles do not cook faster in your Nalgene bottle than on the stove – they will require more time, since you are not actively boiling the water. You're just pouring boiling water into the bottle and letting it sit.

Instant noodles seem to cook the best as they are designed to be cooked with just boiled water and don't require a stove. Alternatively fast cooking pasta (sometimes called angel hair pasta because it's so thin) can cook ok in a Nalgene bottle.

When I tried to cook noodles when it was really cold outside, I would have to pour the water in the bottle out about halfway through because it got cold and add fresh boiling water.

However, this was unnecessary when it was warm outside since the boiling water didn't get cold as quickly.

You can also wrap your bottle in a sweatshirt or blanket to maintain the water’s temperature. This will prevent the water from cooling down as quickly and your noodles will cook faster.

An even better option that a Nalgene for cooking noodles is any vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle. I personally like the 32 oz Hydro Flask bottle and use it all the time, but any brand will do.

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The vacuum-insulation will keep the water near boiling for an extended period of time which will cook your noodles better. Just make sure you don't burn your mouth.

After learning how to cook noodles in a Nalgene bottle, my mind started wandering, and I am sure there are other foods you can prep with your water bottle, and I’m on the hunt to find out what they are.