How to Cook Pasta

This video demonstrates how to cook pasta at home. Cooking dry pasta is a basic kitchen technique that every home cook should know. It just takes a few simple steps: boil, salt, stir, cook, and drain.

How long does pasta take to cook?

This will vary slightly depending on the type of flour and shape of the noodle, but in general, the most common pasta shapes take about 8-12 minutes to cook. Finer pastas like angel hair take 4-5 minutes to cook. It’s important to not overcook pasta. You want the texture to be al dente (translated literally “to the tooth”); the pasta should be slightly firm and not mushy.

Helpful tips for cooking perfect pasta:

  • Use a large pot and lots of water to prevent a gummy texture
  • Add salt once the water is boiling
  • Don’t put oil in the water; oil prevents sauce from sticking to the noodles!
  • Leave the lid off while cooking
  • Stir occasionally, but don’t overstir! Too much stirring creates a gummy texture.
  • Check for an al dente texture by taking a bite
  • Save some cooking water if making a sauce (starchy cooking water helps thicken the sauce)
  • Don’t rinse unless making a cold pasta salad

Once you’ve mastered this technique, learn more stovetop cooking skills such as how to cook dried beans, make boiled eggs, or cook quinoa.

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