Have you ever made too much pasta that you had leftovers for days? Or maybe you cooked too little pasta, leaving your guests hungry? Figuring out how much pasta per person you need to cook may be confusing for new cooks, especially because raw, dry pasta looks a lot different from cooked pasta. Here is our guide on the perfect portion sizes for each type of pasta.
Portions per Meal
The easiest way to get even portion sizes is to measure your pasta serving size in grams. Just take your reliable kitchen weighing scale, weigh the pasta per portion, or multiply a single size portion with the number of guests you will have over.
The amount of pasta in grams that you need to serve will vary depending on the type of meal you will be having. If you are serving pasta as a snack, then the amount will be far less than if pasta is the meal’s main dish. Similarly, pasta that will be served as an entrée along with several other courses has a smaller portion than if it is the main course.
Keep in mind that the dry weight of pasta when uncooked is different from the cooked weight. The cooked weight includes the water absorbed by the pasta and the sauce that you make. It is best to measure the portion sizes before cooking the pasta to avoid preparing too much food.
To know “how much pasta per person for dinner you should serve”, the general rule is that one portion should have 85 to 115g or 3 to 4 oz. of dry or uncooked pasta. This applies when you serve pasta as the main course.
As an entrée to be eaten with other courses, dry or uncooked pasta should weigh around 56 to 85g or 2 to 3 oz per person.
If you find that 3 to 4 oz. of pasta is too large of a portion for you, some experts recommend 2 oz. of dry pasta as the perfect serving size per person. With this amount of pasta, you will feel full and satiated while avoiding overeating.
Portioning Pasta without a Weighing Scale
Measuring how much pasta per person you will serve is so simple when using a weighing scale. However, not everyone has a weighing scale in their kitchen. But worry not because there are other ways to measure a single serving size without using a calibrated kitchen weighing scale.
Method 1: Use an Empty Water Bottle
A popular method to portion out your spaghetti noodles is to use an empty plastic water bottle. To do this, follow these steps.
- Take a clean, dry, and empty 16-oz. or 20-oz. plastic water bottle.
- Carefully place the dry spaghetti noodles through the mouth of the bottle.
- Once you can no longer place any dry noodles, you have your portion size.
The portion size from this method will weigh approximately 2-oz. Unfortunately, you cannot use this method with other types of pasta. Only long noodles will work with this method, but some thicker noodles like linguine may also yield a smaller portion.
Method 2: Use a Pasta Spoon
If you don’t have any empty water bottles lying around the house, you may use another simple kitchen tool – the pasta spoon. If you may have noticed by now, pasta spoons have several slots and a hole in the middle. You can use this hole to portion your pasta.
Simply place the dry spaghetti noodles through the hole, and once it is full, you have your portion size. Again, this method does not apply to short, shell-shape, or soup-shape pasta.
Method 3: Use Measuring Cups
If you don’t have a weighing scale in your kitchen, you can use measuring cups instead. This method is best used for small-shaped pasta, as spaghetti, fettuccine, or any long pasta won’t exactly fit in a cup. Place the noodles in the measuring cup, without packing them in, to form your serving size.
Continue reading the section below to find out how much of each type of pasta is needed to make one portion.
Serving Size per Type of Pasta
When measuring out 2 or 3 ounces of pasta, you will discover that different types of pasta will look like different amounts even though they weigh the same. This is why a lot of people make mistakes in portioning their pasta because they just base it on how everything looks like the same amount.
You may be wondering, for example, how much penne pasta per person will look like versus how much linguine will look like. To be sure of your portion sizes, follow this guide below.
Short Shape Pasta
Short-shaped pasta is popular for snacks such as mac and cheese, but it is also used for more sophisticated pasta dinners and pasta salads using penne or farfalle pasta. Due to the different shapes of these pastas, 2-oz. measurements of dry, short pasta are done using different cup measurements as well.
For the standard 2-oz. portion size, you need to measure ¾ cup of dry pasta for the following types.
- Mezzi Rigatoni
- Mini farfalle
- Mini wheels
You need to measure ½ cup of dry pasta to form the 2-oz. portion size for these next types.
- Mezze penne
Lastly, these types of pasta need 2/3 cup of dry pasta to make a 2-oz. portion.
Long Shape Pasta
Long shape pasta may be the most well-known shape, but there are also different kinds. This is the easiest type of pasta to portion because all of them will yield about the same amount when cooked.
When measuring long shape pasta, measure 2-oz. of dry pasta to yield 1 cup of cooked pasta. This applies to the following types of pasta.
- Angel hair
- Fettuccine rigate
- Spaghetti Rigati
The only exception is linguine fini, which is a thinner version of linguine. Due to its thinner shape, cooking 2-oz. of dry linguine fini will yield only ¾ cup of cooked pasta.
With this guide, you never have to figure out how much pasta per person you need to cook. Simply use any of these reliable methods, and you will have the perfect portion sizes for each meal. Gone are the days when you need to wonder what to do with leftover pasta, even when you cook for large parties. Find out more about pasta here.