How To Cook Pasta

Pasta is one of the most popular food ingredients throughout the world. No matter where you live, no matter what diet you follow (almost), you probably love pasta and it constitutes a stable part of your menu. But do you know how to cook pasta?

Following these 7 easy steps below, your pasta will turn out delicious and perfect every time. I’ll also share with you some pro tips so that you never fail again making a yummy pasta dish.

What You Need

  • Large pot
  • Tongue or wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander
  • Pasta
  • Water
  • Salt

7 Steps To Cook Perfect Pasta

  1. Boil water in a large pot. Use a very large pot for cooking pasta and bring the water up to a complete boil over high heat.
  2. Add a large amount of salt. Italians say that you should cook pasta in water as salty as the sea. In practice, you should add 1-2% salt to your water. That means about 1/2-1 tbsp (10-20 g) of salt for each quart (liter) of water.
  3. Add pasta and set your timer. Add pasta to the salty water and set your timer to the cooking time indicated in the packaging. You can set your heat to medium-low at this point.
  4. Stir during the first minute. Stir your pasta occasionally in the first minute of cooking. You don’t need to stir it after that.
  5. Cook for the indicated time. Pasta cooking time is indicated in the packaging. See below for more tips.
  6. Drain the pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander.
  7. Add sauce. If you want to avoid your pasta sticking together, transfer it into the sauce right after draining it and mix them.

How Long To Cook Pasta

Cooking time depends on the type and shape of the pasta. Dry noodles always take longer to cook than fresh. Dry pasta is what you regularly get from a grocery store, so this is what you should follow in general. Fresh pasta you either make on your own or you get it from the fridge in a grocery store – these are rare cases for many home cooks.

Fortunately the cooking time is always indicated in the packaging of your pasta. Simply follow the instructions and you’ll never fail.

One pro tip is to taste your noodles 1-2 minutes before the indicated cooking time, and then every minute. This way you can adjust chewiness to your personal preferences.

Italian Tricks For Cooking Pasta

The very first tip for cooking perfect pasta is to mix it with the sauce right after draining it. This is the best way to stop it from sticking together, and this way your freshly cooked pasta will absorb the juices and liquids from the sauce. “The” tip to make finger-licking pasta dishes all the time.

Cook your pasta in very salty water. Italians say the water should be as salty as the sea. This is about 3.8% in the Mediterranean, which I find pretty salty for cooking noodles. But you should still add 1-2% of salt to your water. This means about 1/2-1 tbsp (10-20 g) of salt for each quart (liter) of water.

Use a large quantity of water. A general rule of thumb is 1 liter per 100 g of pasta. This means 4 1/2 quarts of water for a 16 oz pack of pasta. But if you use a gallon of water (4 quarts or 4 liters) per pack of 16 ounces (500 g) pasta, you can’t go wrong.

Can You Reheat Pasta?

You can easily reheat pasta if it has not yet been mixed with the sauce. In fact this is the way Italian restaurants are able to serve fresh pasta in no time.

The process is simple. You pre-cook your pasta and store it in a dry place. Right before serving it, you put your noodles back in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. You’ll get perfect fresh cooked pasta this way.

Fusilli pasta in colander
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How To Cook Pasta

Make perfect pasta every time
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Yield: 4 servings


  • Large pot
  • Tongue or wooden spoon or sptula
  • Colander


  • 1 pack dry pasta 16 oz or 500 g
  • 4 quarts water 4 liters
  • 3 tbsp salt 60 g


  • Bring water up to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add salt to the water.
  • Add pasta and set your timer.
  • Stir your pasta in the first minute.
  • Cook for the indicated time.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Mix with sauce.

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