The Cooking Spray Hack That Helps Prevent Water From Boiling Over

Self-deprecating home cooks will often say they struggle with cooking so much that they can barely boil water. While boiling water may seem like the simplest of skills in the kitchen, the reality is that sometimes bubbling water seems to take on a life of its own in a pot on the stovetop.

Who hasn't had the unfortunate instance of boiling bubbles cascading over the side of a pot and seeping into the stove's burners? Not only is that happenstance a huge inconvenience, but it also can create a huge mess. Whether boiling water for pasta, rice, or even for blanching vegetables, it's easy to stumble into some sudsy-style water all over the stove if you're not standing guard.

As it turns out, there's an easy way to prevent your boiling water from making a huge mess, and it only takes a few sprays to spruce up your water-boiling game.

Cooking spray can prevent water from boiling over

The easy answer to your water-boiling woes lies in an ingredient you likely already have in your kitchen: cooking spray.

To prevent the water in your pot from boiling over, Dining Alliance recommends spraying the inside of the pot with nonstick cooking spray before filling it with water. This can help quell your hot water issues whether you have water boiling on its own, or if you have already added the ingredients for your meal. 

There is a science to the sudsiness that we can apparently spray away. Phillip Broadwith, business editor of Chemistry World magazine, noted in an interview with The Naked Scientists that the reason water has a tendency to boil over once ingredients like pasta or rice are added is due to the starchiness that rises to the top of the water. The starch or gluten prevents the bubbles from bursting to release heat, creating a surface that other bubbles struggle to penetrate. When they do, however, the water then boils over.

Science may be behind the surface tension created by starch, but the bottom line is that a quick spray inside your pot will prevent water — and your own tension — from boiling over.