How Salty Should Pasta Water Be?

chef ankit

It’s really a great question to answer, because i have never measured salt in the recipe. It was accordingly as per your taste.

Salt is always consider”to taste”. I have never measured the salt in my pasta water. I just add 2–3 pinch to make the water taste well-seasoned, but not too salty. But yes sometime it goes overdoing it and ruining my pasta with too much salt, so maybe measuring is a good idea after all.


Few times I may over-salted my pasta water, but I’ve observed that most chefs make the opposite mistake, adding far too little. And thus the taste of pasta becomes flat no matter what kind of sauce and cheese is served with it. Just sharing a secret that in my professional chef’s life I have been screwed several times by my seniors chefs about not putting sufficient amount of salt in boiling water and same I am doing to my juniors…..hahhahaha

But that still raises the question: how much is the right amount? The answer won’t be an exact quantity of salt, but rather a ratio of salt to water.

I also discussed this question to my seniors and juniors, but the answer was same – just a pinch to make the water salty. But the quantity of salt still need to identified. The answer becomes more difficult when it depends on every individuals taste. Salt preferences are highly individual , and what I have experienced that an individual taste buds differs to others. Some people may want more salt, some less.

To fine out the answer of this question, I cook pasta in different pots of water, each with a different amount of salt, then taste them to see which I liked best. The only question was which salt percentages to try.


After measuring out teaspoons of salt and weighing them I found that 08 grams per liter is an adequate amount of salt for boiling pasta. But again while doing this exercise, I come across a rule of thumb for salting pasta water that says to make the water as salty as the sea. How salty is the sea? I came across that on average, about 3.5% salt by weight is available in sea water. That’s 35 grams of salt in a liter of water. For those who are more sensitive to salt, may works for them but I later tried a few batches below the above percentage level and found them all under-seasoned.

Knowing all of this, I decided to stop doing this exercised. I am totally confused and coming on the conclusion that it depends on your salt preferences anywhere from 0.5% to 2% salt by weight per litre. It is also depending on how salty your sauce and cheese using with pasta and also whether you use the pasta-cooking water to finish the dish.

Keeping it in one’s mind that boiling water should salty, but not less and not more….