How to Tell if Pasta is Done? 


A mushy pasta or raw pasta is the ultimate crime you wouldn’t want to commit! Yet, there are instances where many of us overcook or undercook pasta without even realizing that. If you want your pasta to look perfect and taste delicious, then you need to cook it properly.

So, how to tell if pasta is done or not? The best way is done is by checking for a white thin inner ring inside it. This is known as ‘molto al dente’ and you should try to achieve that.

In today’s article, you will learn how to cook the perfect pasta every single time. Therefore, if you want to learn more about pasta, keep on reading.

How Do You Know if Pasta is Done? 

boiling pasta

When cooking pasta, you need to know what texture is the best. You shouldn’t undercook your pasta such that it’s too firm nor should you cook it fully while boiling.

When you cook it fully while boiling, your pasta will become overcooked and soggy when you cook it in sauces. Instead, you should remove your pasta three minutes before it has completely boiled. So, when you cook it, the pasta gets cooked just in the right amount!

Now, there are some clear indicators to know if your pasta is cooked perfectly or not. There are mainly two things that you need to check.

Method 1: Look for the white ring

The first and the most important indicator of cooked pasta is a white ring. When you take the boiled pasta out of the pan, take a bite into it.

Once you do, you will be able to notice a specific thin white ring. Your pasta needs to have this ring as it indicates that your pasta is done.

After that ring appears, you need to quickly add your pasta to the sauces. This will give you a lovely, glossy, and perfectly cooked pasta to satisfy your taste buds!

Method 2: Take note of the timing always

Timing is another parameter to judge whether pasta is done or not.

More often than not, even a minute difference can turn a perfectly cooked pasta into a soggy mess! Different types of pasta have varying timings for cooking.

Given below is a table that would help you get a better idea.

Type of Pasta Time Required
Long and very thin (spaghettini, bavette) 6 minutes
Long and thin (spaghetti, linguine, bucatini) 8 minutes
Short and thick (maccheroni, rigatoni, fusilli) 12 minutes 
Small and thick (farfalle) 8 minutes

After cooking, you can also look for a change in the texture of the pasta.

Ideally, boiled pasta should have a gritty and chalky texture. So, when you cook it further, it develops the perfect firmness outside and softness inside.

How Do You Know if Pasta is Undercooked?

Now you know how pasta looks and feels when it is cooked properly. However, how do you know if pasta is undercooked? For this, consider the following methods.

Method 1: Tasting the pasta

You can just taste the pasta to check. If you feel like the texture is too hard and you can still feel the crunchiness, then it’s definitely undercooked. 

Checking the pasta

Another way to know if pasta is undercooked is by checking how it behaves. Make sure that it sticks slightly to your pan. If your pasta doesn’t stick to the pan at all, then it’s probably undercooked and requires more time. 

Biting the pasta

Biting into the pasta can also help you determine if it needs more time. If it is undercooked, then it will have a thicker white ring. Hence, the thicker it is, the more uncooked pasta is. So, you have to achieve a thin or medium-thin white ring in the middle. 

How Do You Know if Pasta is Overcooked?

pasta salad

Overcooked pasta isn’t as bad as undercooked pasta but it will definitely become soggy and soak up the sauces. The following signs indicate that the pasta is overcooked.


The texture is a clear giveaway of overcooked pasta. The perfectly cooked pasta has a slightly firm texture on the outside with a proper soft texture on the inside.

On the other hand, overcooked pasta consists of a mushy, soft texture. When you touch it, there’s no proper firmness there. Instead, the pasta feels soggy and unable to retain its shape. 


Overcooked pasta has a slight gummy and unpleasant taste. Thus, if you feel like the pasta tastes way too sticky, then it’s overcooked. 


Lastly, you should always check for the inner white line when you bite your pasta. In the case of overcooked pasta, there’s no prominent white inner ring at the cross-section. So, there should be at least a thin inner ring.

Keep all of these things in mind when you’re checking if pasta is done. First, there should be a thin white ring present at the cross-section. Second, the texture should be a bit firm with a soft interior.

If your pasta fulfills both requirements, then it is done for sure!

How Long Do I Cook Pasta?

The cooking time for pasta depends on the variety and its thickness. Given below is a quick table to help you out: 

Pasta Dried/Fresh Timing
Fettuccine Fresh 1-2 minutes
Farfalle Fresh 2-3 minutes
Lasagna Fresh 2-3 minutes
Ravioli Fresh 6-8 minutes
Tortellini Fresh 8-10 minutes
Tagliatelle Dried 6-7 minutes
Spaghetti Dried 6-7 minutes
Fettuccine Dried 8-9 minutes
Fusilli Dried 8-9 minutes
Penne Dried 9-10 minutes
Lasagna Dried 10-11 minutes

However, keep in mind that you should always cook pasta for two to three minutes less than the suggested time in most cases. This will help you achieve the perfect texture and taste. 

Related Questions

How can you tell if pasta is already cooked?

The following two ways can help you determine if pasta is already cooked.

  1. There is a presence of a thin white inner ring. 
  2. The texture of the pasta is firm but not crunchy. Instead, when you bite into the pasta, it feels soft.
Is chewy pasta overcooked or undercooked?

The right kind of chewiness is required for pasta.

However, if your pasta gets too chewy, then there’s a reason for it. In the case of fresh pasta, if you haven’t kneaded the dough properly, then it may result in an extremely chewy pasta.

This kind of pasta is hard to digest and unsuitable for cooking. 

How soft should pasta be?

The perfectly cooked pasta should have firm exteriors. However, on the inside, it should be slightly soft but not soggy. 

How to know when pasta is Al Dente?

The best way to know when pasta is al dente is by checking for the white ring. In al dente, the white ring should be thin and not very visible.

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