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Should You Weigh Pasta Before or After Cooking?

Whether you’re looking to weigh pasta to work out nutrient macros and calories, or you need to know for a certain recipe you want to make, it’s important to know if you should be using before or after cooking weights.

If you need to work out the weight of pasta for the purpose of counting calories, then you should use the pre-cooked weight because as pasta is cooked, it increases in water weight. Most recipes will also use the pre-cooked weight unless stated otherwise.

Read on to find out more about weighing dried pasta, why you shouldn’t use cooked pasta weights to work out calories and how much it really changes in weight after it’s cooked (using my visual guide).

Decorative image of pasta

If you need to calculate dry to cooked pasta weights, use the calculator in the link below to get the information you need:

Dry To Cooked Pasta Calculator (Quick & Easy)

Weighing Pasta For Calories and Macros

So why is it so important to weigh pasta before cooking when you’re working out how many calories you’re consuming?

Weighing pasta before cooking is crucial for consistent caloric tracking since pasta pack calories are based on uncooked weight. Cooking doesn’t change the calorie count but increases weight due to water absorption, which has no caloric value.

Because pasta weights vary after cooking depending on the style and shape, it’s very difficult to calculate calories using the cooked weights.

If you change between cooked and dried weights for calories, this could mean you’re calculating more or fewer calories than the portion actually contains.

So, to be consistent, calculate your calories by using your dried pasta weight or measurement and ignore the cooked weight because at least half of that weight will be water content.

How Does Pasta Weight Change When it’s Cooked?

I’ve done some research and weighed different types of pasta before and after cooking and what I found is that how much pasta changes in weight after cooking depends on the shape.

When dried pasta is cooked, it absorbs water and increases in weight by at least 100%, and some shapes increase up to 150% (2 to 2.5 times the original weight). This means that if you cook 50g (1.8oz) of dried pasta, it will weigh around 100g to 150g (3.5-5.3oz) after cooking.

I tested various popular pasta types, including tagliatelle, penne (white and brown/wholemeal), and spiral pasta.

This test was carried out using 50g (or as close to 50g) portions of pasta which were cooked for identical times using the pack recommended cooking times.

Interestingly the pasta type which absorbed the most amount of water and increased in weight by 150% (2.5 times the original weight) was the tagliatelle.

The image below shows the weight difference of tagliatelle before and after cooking:

Tagliatelle Pasta before and after cooking in weights

The spiral pasta weight increased from 50g to 117g when it was cooked, which is 2.3 times its original weight.

Spiral Pasta before and after cooking in weights

Brown Pasta V’s White Pasta Before and After Cooking Weights

As part of this test, I also wanted to find out if brown or wholemeal pasta absorbs more water than white pasta of the same original weight.

I did this by measuring out 50g each of the white and brown pasta, both of which were Penne of the same brand and size. They were then cooked for exactly the same amount of time.

The brown and white pasta portions weighed more or less the same after cooking with only a few grams between them, which confirms that brown and white pasta of the same shape absorbs the same amount of water when cooking.

White Penne Pasta before and after cooking in weights
Brown Penne Pasta before and after cooking in weight

Pasta Weight Before and After Cooking Conversion Chart

If you need to work out cooked pasta weight, then you can use the chart below as a quick reference guide to find the information you need. I’ve also included the calorie values based on the dried weight.

I’ve based this on an average absorption of 2.2 times the original dried pasta weight, but this amount can vary slightly depending on the pasta shape and how long it’s cooked for.

For example, just cooked (al dente) pasta will have less time to absorb water than well-cooked pasta and will therefore weigh less.

Dried Pasta Weight
(in grams and ounces)
Weight After Cooking
(in grams and ounces)
Calories in (kcal)
(uncooked value)

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