How to Cook Pasta Al Dente

Al Dente is Italian for 'to the teeth' and it refers to pasta that is cooked just long enough that it is neither crunchy nor too soft, and its texture appeals to the teeth. Al Dente pasta is simply delicious!


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    Know the basics. You will be cooking pasta as normal; only the time will vary. You can follow directions on boxed pasta, or you can visit the wikiHow article.
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    Prepare the pasta as normal. Add salt to the water if desired.
    • Some boxes of pasta have directions for al dente. Because the directions aren't always perfect, you will have to taste the pasta as it is being cooked to know when it is al dente.
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    Begin tasting the pasta after about six or seven minutes. At this point, it should still be somewhat crunchy. Remember to blow on the pasta to cool it before tasting.
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    Continue tasting the pasta every 30 seconds to a minute. Al dente pasta will feel firm, not crunchy, when you bite down with your front teeth. You can also break a piece of pasta in half and look at the cross section—al dente pasta is mostly cooked with a small core of uncooked pasta running through the middle.
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    Drain the pasta as soon as it is done. Getting the timing right will take some practice, but eventually you'll be preparing al dente pasta like a pro!


  • If you pinch al dente pasta in between your thumb and finger it won't break very easily. Pasta cooked past al dente will break more easily.


  • Remember to be careful around boiling water and a heat source. Use pot holders when you drain the pasta.

Things You'll Need

  • Box directions if cooking boxed pasta
  • Timer
  • Pot holders and the utensils needed to cook the pasta

Article Info

Categories: Pasta and Noodles