How To Boil Gluten-Free Pasta—the right way!

How To Boil Gluten-Free Pasta—the right way!

You know how a recipe for a pasta dish will always say, “cook the pasta according to package directions”? Yeah. Forget that. I bet the package itself says “cook the pasta according to package directions.” I don’t know, though. I haven’t looked in, like, forever. I have made so much gluten-free pasta over the years that I have become quite the insufferable braggart about the whole business. I want to show you how to make the most gorgeous, lighter and healthier feel-better-serving-it-to-your-family-every-Tuesday-even-in-New-Year’s-Resolution-season sort of gluten-free macaroni and cheese. But first? First, you’re gonna need your very own bragging rights. You need to know how-to boil gluten-free pasta so it’s perfectly al dente, not at all gummy, and holds up as good as or better than any gluteny dried pasta you’ve ever had.

How To Boil Gluten Free Pasta the right way

It’s all about the rolling boil, the foaming pasta water, the changing color of the pasta, and then the rinsing. Do this tonight, and you’ll feel like a rock star. Trust me. I’m a professional (told you about the bragging).

There are some really great pasta dishes in my New Cookbook. But you won’t be satisfied if your GF pasta is gummy & weepy. So let’s get to work:

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 pound cooked pasta


4 quarts water

1 pound (16 ounces) dried gluten-free pasta, any style (I used Tinkyada spirals)

2 tablespoons coarse salt


  • Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat. Set a couple pieces of the dried pasta aside to help you recall the color of it dried. Add the salt to the pot, followed by the remaining dried pasta. Stir to combine and to make sure none of the pasta is sticking to the bottom of the pot (or to itself). Continue to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water returns to a rolling boil (about 2 minutes), and then begins to bubble vigorously and to foam (another 5 to 7 minutes, depending upon the size & shape of the pasta). Turn down the flame a bit if necessary to keep the pot from boiling over.


  • Once the pasta water has foamed considerably, begin stirring the pasta more frequently and checking the color of the pasta. Once it has lightened in color (usually another 2 minutes), test a piece to ensure it has no dry center but is still a bit firm. At that moment, remove the pot from the heat and drain off all the pasta water. Rinse the pasta thoroughly with warm tap water (or cold tap water if you are serving the pasta cold), then toss with oil or butter to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick to itself.

  • If not serving immediately, place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Can be reheated in the microwave.



P.S. Don’t forget to get your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

Comments are closed.

  • Bernadette
    January 17, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    I’ve been cooking Tinkyada pasta using the ‘energy saving’ instructions, with results that can best be described as ‘meh’.  Tonight I switched over to your method and waited to see if my two youngest (who are GF along with me) would notice.  After a couple of bites, my six year old announced, “This pasta is different…”.  Uh-oh.  Good different, or bad different…?  “GOOD different!”  Nine year old agreed (although it was a bit too salty for his – and my – taste) – thanks for making a dinner staple around here much tastier!

  • guest
    January 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Hello-I am qutie a newbie to the gf world…I have several casserole recipes that you do not need to cook your regular pasta before hand…you mix it and bake it….will this method work with the gf pastas?  Advice before I attempt this on my own is appreciated!

    • January 16, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      Hi, there, guest,
      I have a recipe on page 91 of my second cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy, for Baked Egg Dinner in which I use uncooked GF pasta. It works well, but not in every recipe, I’m afraid. It does work in that one, though, of course! It requires a high ratio of liquid:dried pasta, and it has to be covered for a while in the oven so it can cook the pasta through.

  • MelMo
    January 14, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    I just made Mac & cheese (& ham) the other night and had only one serving left! My family is only four, but two (non- gf) friends joined for dinner that night and raved about it. Thank you for all of your hard work and delicious recipes.

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