Why Does a Wooden Spoon Stop Pasta from Boiling Over? Explained

You must have seen someone trick with a wooden spoon by stopping boiling, right? The science behind this is pretty simple. Actually, not super simple if I explain from organic chemistry’s point of view. I will explain why a wooden spoon stops the pasta from boiling over most simply.

Why Does a Wooden Spoon Stop Pasta from Boiling Over

At the boiling point, bubbles create. These bubbles hold and aggregate steams, influence the rapid increase of temperature. When a wooden spoon is inserted into the boiling water, it hinders bubble production, thus lower the temperature.

Later I will explain in details.  

Why does a Wooden Spoon Stop Pasta from Boiling Over?

A wooden spoon can magically stop pasta from boiling over. Not only pasta, but it can also prevent excessive boiling for any type of foodstuff.

Obviously, you have seen bubble formation in boiling water. Surface bubbling starts when the liquid reaches boiling point. At boiling point, the temperature rises proportionally regardless of not increasing the heating temperature. 

If you insert wood stuff, like a wooden spoon, it will hinder bubble generating. As wood is not a carrier of heat and water repellent in nature, it stops bubble generation by increasing water’s specific gravity.

When bubble generation stops, the temperature lowers down, and pasta prevents from boiling over.

Does Placing a Wooden Spoon Stop Boiling Over

Yes, the surface tension breaks the bubble if you place a wooden spoon in boiling water. Bubbles hold an excessive amount of swirling steam and generates extreme heat. When a wooden spoon is placed in boiling water, the surface tension of bubbles is broken by the wood surface. Thus, the production of bubbles decreased by Multifoods. When the temperature is controlled, boiling slows down immediately.

Can You Use a Wooden Spoon to Stir Pasta

No and Yes. The answer depends on the scenario. On the pasta packet label, you will get to know the pasta cooking time. The standard practice is that drop the pasta in boiling water. If you start stirring the pasta with a wooden spoon, it will take much time to cook. Even it will not cook properly. So, if you plan to use a wooden spoon from the beginning, your question’s answer is a big NO.

But, if you see pasta boiling over with foamy bubbles, you can immediately use a wooden spatula or spoon to stop over boiling.

What Keeps Water from Boiling Over

Why does a spoon keep water from boiling over
Why does a spoon keep water from boiling over

From the cooking point of view, there are few elements you can use to stop water from boiling over. When the water reaches the boiling point, layers of foam generate and aggregate to exponentially increase water surface temperature. To unstable foam layers, we need to break the surface tension between stable foams and water surface.

Oil can be an excellent candidate to break the surface tension. Another weapon can be wooden substances, like a wooden spoon.

Now, you know how to stop pasta from over boiling!

What Happened to the Pieces of Wood as You Place Them in Boiling Water

Nothing happens to the wooden substance if you place it into boiling water. What will happen to it, right? If you are using normal wood, then it might soak some of the water. But if you use the best wood for kitchen utensils, it would stop water from excessive boiling.

The wood used for making different kitchen utensils are water-resistant and have a smooth, non-porous surface. This interferes with spontaneous bubble generation without any potential damage to the wood itself.

What Will Happen if you Put a Metal Spoon in Boiling Water

If you put a metal spoon in boiling water, it will consume heat partially. The metal spoon with heat up gradually. If the spoon doesn’t have a heat-resistant handle, the heat will be distributed along with the spoon.

Total opposite of wooden spoon. Why will this happen, right?

Metal substances are the superior conductor of heat. When water is boiling hot, and if you put a metal spoon in it, the spoon will conduct heat. Now you may ask if the boiling will slow down as the wooden spoon did.

The answer is No. It will not influence the water boiling either positively or negatively. As heat conductors, metals are not significant to shear the boiling bubble and water surface tension. That’s why the boiling resumes at its own pace. 

How Do You Boil Wooden Spoons?

Why on earth do you need to boil wooden spoons? If you think to sanitize the spoon by boiling the wooden spoon, it’s a complete misbelief. Gentle washing is enough to get rid of all oily substances from the wooden spoon’s surface.


Now you must have the answer why does a wooden spoon stop pasta from boiling over, right? This is not magic; it’s a scientific fact being used by millions of cooking aspirants worldwide. Please Share our Blog.