What’s the Best Flour to Use for Homemade Pasta?

Adjust the structure and chew to suit your taste. 

Published Mar. 6, 2023.

Homemade pasta is a labor of love. And if you’re going to put all that work into it, you want the best results possible. With so few ingredients and steps, everything matters, from how long you cook it to the flour you’re using in the dough. 

So, which is the best one to use? 

Choosing the right flour to make fresh pasta with can be a bit daunting, especially if you only have half a bag of sad, bleached all-purpose flour kicking around in the back of the pantry. (Don’t use that to make pasta.) 

But fret not. This handy guide will explain each type of flour popular for making fresh pasta. Whether you’re looking to craft your next batch of a Tortellini in Broth masterpiece, or have a hankering for the more craggy Fresh Semolina Malloreddus, here are the best flours to use for homemade pasta.

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What Is the Best Flour for Fresh Pasta?

That depends on what kind of pasta you want to make. Egg pasta doughs are best made with white flour as it cooks up softer and is a bit easier to work with due to its lower protein content.

Semolina pasta doughs are typically eggless. The higher protein lessens the need for a binder, but these sturdier doughs can require more effort, especially if you don’t have a manual pasta machine or an electric pasta machine.

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White Flour Is Best for Egg Pasta Dough

Italians make fresh pasta using a particular type of lower-protein white flour called doppio zero, or 00 flour, with a talcum powder–like grind. Its protein content is similar to that of all-purpose flour, but the proprietary blend of wheat makes a difference. Its dough is highly workable and forgiving, yielding more uniform results.

However, we created our Fresh Egg Pasta dough recipe with readily available all-purpose flour. Our go-to in the test kitchen is Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, which has a moderate protein content. You can also successfully use a high-protein all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.

Note: Don’t use bleached all-purpose flour in our pasta dough recipes, as the bleach will weaken the proteins in the dough and will make the starches prone to bursting when they are boiled, resulting in pasta with pitted, pebbly surfaces.

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Semolina Flour Is Best for Eggless Pasta Dough

Semolina flour is a golden flour made from whole-grain durum wheat with a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. When you purchase commercial dried Italian pasta, this is it. You can also use it to make fresh pastait just takes more elbow grease to roll out. 

Semolina flour makes for an egg-free fresh pasta with a sturdier texture and a bit more chew. Fresh Semolina Orecchiette, for example, will hold onto any sauce you toss it in. We developed our semolina pasta dough recipe using fine semolina (sometimes labeled semola rimacinata, extra-fancy, or #1), which is available in Italian markets, large supermarkets, and online. 

Note: Though its easier to find, don’t use conventional semolina. It’s too coarse.

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