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How to Boil Pasta

Easy, and Fast!  This recipe will teach you how to boil pasta in just 10 minutes!  Imagine the convenience of adding boiled pasta to any meal!

draining pasta into colander

How Long to Boil Pasta

That’s what you want to know, right? Just tell me How Long Does It Take to Boil Pasta?

That’s a pretty easy answer.

No matter what kind of pasta you are cooking (EXCEPT tiny pastas like ABC’s, orzo, Angel Hair or Pastini), it takes about 10 minutes, plus or minus a few minutes.

Check the box that came with your noodles to be sure.

You can sometimes use no boil pasta like in our Best Classico Lasagna Recipe, it’s so easy!

shapes of pasta

Pasta Cooking Times

  • Spaghetti……………….. 8-12 minutes
  • Penne ……………………. 10-12 minutes
  • Shells …………………….. 10-12 minutes
  • Bow Tie …………………. 10-12 minutes

Are you seeing a trend here? Yep. 10 ish minutes is the answer.

“You will have amazing boiled pasta in three easy steps!”.

How To Cook Pasta Step By Step

It’s Easier than you think!

  1. Heat your water – You’ll want to use several quarts of water to make more than 1 serving. I recommend a 5-6 quart stock pot for 2-4 servings of pasta. This allows the pasta room to cook without sticking together.
  2. Place pasta into the water – do this once the water is at a good strong boil. Add Salt to the water so that the pasta is flavorful when you remove it.
  3. Boil for about 10 minutes – Start checking the pasta at 9 minutes (I remove a piece and taste it). It may take up to 15 minutes to fully cook. Don’t over cook it. Once you remove it from the water, it will become a little more soft.
  4. Drain into a colander – and then use with your sauce.

“You’ll LOVE how EASY this is and it is super FAST to make!

spaghetti pasta

Frequently Asked Questons (FAQ’s)

How long should I boil pasta?

Pasta should boil between 7-10 minutes depending on how much pasta you have in your pot.  You can test the doneness of the pasta by eating a piece to see if it still has a crunch or if it is to your preferred softness.  Most people prefer pasta with a slight toughness still.  This is called “al dente” and is the standard for cooking pasta.

Should I put oil in the pasta water?

NO!  Do not put oil in your pasta water.  People claim that putting oil in the pasta water helps keep the pasta from sticking together.  It doesn’t help with that.  If you are concerned about your pasta sticking together make sure that you stir the pasta regularly and that you aren’t adding too much pasta to your water. 

Do I have to salt the water?

YES!  Pasta is very bland on its own.  The pasta absorbs the water that it is being cooked in.  Salting the water will help the pasta have a better flavor on its own.

What do you add when boiling pasta?

The only thing that you should add to your pasta water when boiling the pasta is Salt. I prefer to use kosher salt but any kind of table salt will work fine.

Should I add butter to boiling pasta?

No! Butter could keep your sauce from sticking to the pasta just like oil.

plate of thick spaghetti sauce

How To Cook Pasta With Sauce

Many folks want to know how to cook pasta with sauce, the answer is, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”.

Technically, you CAN cook your pasta in the good stuff, but this will mean that it may not turn out right and your pasta might not either.

You’ll find crockpot recipes for pasta and sauce all day long, but that doesn’t mean that the result will be something that you will want to eat.

When doing this, the sauce can end up much thicker than it should because the starch from the pasta leaks out into the sauce.

Conversely, the pasta may not cook evenly and it may leave you with over soft noodles, broken noodles and crunchy pieces of pasta too.

It just isn’t a good idea.

So, cook your pasta in water separately from the sauce and you’ll be much happier.

How Much Water to Boil Pasta In?

For a single serving of pasta, use 2 quarts of water. For 2-4 servings, use 5-6 quarts of water.

How To Boil Pasta With Oil

You’ll often find other advising you to add oil to pasta water so that the pasta doesn’t stick together.

This really doesn’t work. What does work to keep pasta from sticking together is to

  • Stir it well and often.
  • Use enough water to boil the pasta.

Using oil can cause the noodle to be slippery and keep the good stuff from sticking to the noodle.

adding pasta to sauce

Do I Add the Pasta to the Sauce?

The correct way to sauce a pasta is to add the noodles once they are drained to the sauce and heat gently for a few minutes. This allows the sauce to absorb into the noodle slightly and ensures that sauce coats all of the noodles.

Often, in the United States, we simply pile the noodles on the plate and then top with sauce.

Tips and Tricks

  • Add a generous amount of salt to your pasta water (1 Tbs).  
  • Do Not add oil to the pasta water. 
  • Taste the pasta for doneness.
  • Add the saucei and allow it to heat gently for a few minutes.

PRO TIP: Use the right size pot for the amount of pasta you are cooking. If you use a pot that is too small your pasta is likely to stick together and not cook evenly.

Watch How To Boil Pasta Here

Can You Help Me Out?

Please leave a 5 STAR COMMENT in the comment section below. This helps others to find the recipes at Loaves and Dishes!

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adding pasta to sauce

How to Boil Pasta

Easy, and Fast!  This recipe will teach you how to boil pasta in just 10 minutes!  Imagine the convenience of adding boiled pasta to any meal!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to boil pasta
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 14kcal


  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 8 oz pasta dried, uncooked


  • Fill a large stock pot with 6 quarts of water. Add 1 tbs salt. Apply the lid. Heat over high heat on the stove top until it comes to a rolling boil.
  • Add the pasta all at once to the water, stir. Reapply the lid to the pot and return to a boil. Stir frequently. Keep at a rolling boil for 10 minutes and stir frequently to keep pasta from stick together.
  • Taste the pasta for doneness. Refer to the box for the correct cooking time, but it will be about 10 minutes.
  • When pasta is done to the desired firmness, drain in a colander and then add the pasta to the sauce. Serve hot.


  • Add a generous amount of salt to your pasta water (1 Tbs).  
  • Do Not add oil to the pasta water. 
  • Taste the pasta for doneness.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce and allow it to heat gently for a few minutes.
PRO TIP: Use a large pot with plenty of water for your pasta, this allows the pasta enough room to cook sufficiently so that it doesn’t stick together. 


Nutrition Facts
How to Boil Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 14 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 2112mg88%
Potassium 188mg5%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 246IU5%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A Verse to Share

Guess who loves you? Me.

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

Recipe Rating

Ann Busenitz

Monday 14th of June 2021

Wendy, I want the book you are writing with others about the thoughts of your heart. I read a biography of E. Shackleton recently and in his journal he spoke of the chasms of the heart. When you are ready I want to buy your cookbook. The recipes on your site have already passed the first test for me which is that you endorse it. Your thoughts for the day and your candidness are what drew me to signing up for the newsletter years ago. I also like to cook! Blessings, Ann

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 15th of June 2021

Hi Ann, thank you for your sweet comments! Have a very blessed day!

Wendi J Spraker

Tuesday 11th of May 2021

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