Why It Pays To Boil Water With A Lid On

If you're one of the 36% of Americans that cook daily at home, you're no stranger to boiling a pot of water. Let's face it — one of the easiest dinners to make at home, especially if you're a novice cook, is boiling pasta in a pot of water and smothering it with jarred sauce (although it may pay off to cook your pasta directly in the sauce). But boiling water can also be used to make green vegetables, eggs, and much more.

The first step in preparing many of these foods, of course, is boiling the water. This can often be the slowest and most tedious step in a recipe, and there are a multitude of misconceptions out there about how to speed it up. Some people think cold water boils faster than hot, water that has been frozen will boil faster, and that water that's been previously boiled will boil faster — all of which are false (via Serious Eats). 

What is true, however, is that many people are sick of twiddling their thumbs while waiting for a watched pot to boil. Luckily, there may be a better way.

A watched pot boils faster with a lid

The good news is that you don't need a fancy tool to make your water boil faster. If your pot comes with a lid — or if you can find a substitute that creates a seal over your pot — you'll be able to shave time off your dinner routine (via AllRecipes). According to Cook's Illustrated, water boils when more energy is going into the water than is being released through the vapor, allowing the temperature of the water to increase until bubbles form. Adding a lid ensures that less vapor is released, leading the water to boil faster.

For skeptics, this trick has been put to the test. Serious Eats reports that in an at-home test, putting a lid on a pot increased the temperature of the water inside by almost 25 degrees. That may only be a percentage of the 212 degrees Fahrenheit that it takes to get water to a rolling boil, but whether you have a hectic evening routine or just want to relax after work, you know that every minute counts.

There are a few other ways to achieve boiled water in record time. What's Cooking America recommends adding a little salt to the water, using a wide, shallow pot, and even cooking on sunnier days to decrease wait time, although the difference is usually minimal. Still, if that means spending less time staring at a stovetop, it's probably worth a shot.