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Cooking Tips

When to Substitute Fresh Pasta for Dried Pasta

Many cooks assume that a good-quality fresh pasta is always the best choice and may substitute it in recipes calling for dried. Here’s why that may not be a good idea.

Published Dec. 5, 2018.

Because fresh pasta is made from eggs and white wheat flour, it has a tender, delicate texture, which makes it less versatile than dried pasta. The latter is made from water and semolina flour, which gives it a stronger gluten structure and a sturdier texture. Always use fresh pasta in recipes that call for it, as the success of the dish likely depends on it.

Use these guidelines when deciding whether to substitute fresh pasta for dried.


Do feel free to substitute fresh pasta for dried when serving it with sauces that have a fine, uniform texture, such as pesto or ground meat ragus. Because cooked fresh pasta doesn’t absorb water like dried does, be conservative when adding pasta cooking water to the accompanying pasta sauce, or the sauce might end up being too loose.

Don’t substitute fresh pasta for dried in recipes that require vigorous stirring of pasta with sauce to release starch and create a creamy consistency (such as cacio e pepe); such stirring can break fresh strands.

Do use 24 ounces of fresh pasta for every 16 ounces of dried.

Don’t substitute fresh pasta in dishes with large components such as broccoli or sausage. Because of its softer texture, fresh pasta tends to clump, so the components won’t combine evenly.

Recipes to Make with Fresh Pasta


Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Peas

An ingredient from Switzerland—not Italy—takes this classic to a new level.
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Weeknight Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce

Half a dozen meats and hours of pot watching make a lush, deeply savory version of this tagliatelle bolognese. We wanted those results with fewer ingredients in half the time.
Get the Recipe

Basil Pesto

To balance the flavors, bruise the basil and toast the garlic.
Get the Recipe

Recipes to Make with Dried Pasta


Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper (Cacio e Pepe)

With just three main ingredients (cheese, pepper, and pasta), this Roman dish would be the best quick meal we ever tasted. As long as we could keep the sauce from clumping.
Get the Recipe

Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

An overload of fat makes a smooth, stable sauce for this classic Roman pasta. But could we dial back the fat and still have a velvety consistency?
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Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This restaurant-chain classic can be as off-putting as a bad horror movie: drab colors, tough meat, and a main character—the pasta—with no bite.
Get the Recipe


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