How Much Pasta Per Person

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How Much Pasta Per Person is the Right Serving Size?

how much pasta per person

To this day, I have never met anyone who doesn’t like pasta.

In fact, I can’t even imagine what someone who hates pasta would even look like. To be honest, I think pasta haters are just a legend, like sewer crocodiles or bigfoot.

When you can’t figure out what to cook, pasta saves the day.

When all you have in the fridge is some tomatoes and lemon, pasta saves the day.

When it feels like the whole world is against you, a big ol’ bowl of carbonara will make you wonder what you were even worried about.

It’s also quick and easy to cook which is a big selling point for most people.

But don’t you hate how you always misjudge how much pasta to cook? It’s either too much or less and never in between right?!

Given that there are approximately 350 types of pasta, its actually quite difficult to nail down exactly how much you need given that different types of pasta need different measurements.

We got sick of making too much pasta and felt the need to look into this whole topic a lot closer. In doing so, we’ve created a little guide to help you prepare the right amount of pasta and serving size. Get ready, here’s all the information you need.

dried pasta in a jar

How Much Pasta Per Person Should I Serve?

Seems like a decent place to start right?

Several factors determine the right amount of pasta per person. Some of these factors include:

Type of Pasta

If you are using dried pasta, it will dehydrate and absorb water/sauce when it’s cooked.

On the other hand, fresh pasta contains moisture. It doesn’t swell when it’s cooked. Check these measurements depending on the type of pasta being used:

  • Dry pasta portion size: 75 to 115 grams
  • Fresh pasta portion size: 115 to 150 grams

Shape of Pasta

Just like us, pasta is available in all shapes and sizes.

The serving size for one will not work for the serving size for another. Also, the same pasta shapes vary in sizes from one brand to another.

The general rule for a single pasta serving if it’s dried pasta is 2 ounces. This is about one heaping cup of pasta.

8 ounces of uncooked Small to medium shaped pasta like penne, rotini, bowtie pasta, ziti, elbow macaroni equals four cups when it’s cooked.

8 ounces of Long shape pasta like fettuccine, capellini, spaghetti, angel hair, linguine amounts to four cups of cooked pasta.

On the contrary, eight ounces of uncooked fresh egg noodles equals two and a half cups of cooked pasta.

spaghetti serving


Pretty simple this one.

The right serving also depends on how hungry your guests are.

For instance, if you are cooking for a team of teen football players, they will have a bigger appetite than the bridge club up the road.

If it’s kids, they will finish only half of the normal adult serving size. In restaurants, one plate of pasta per person usually contains 2 cups of pasta

Type of Dish

The next thing that determines the serving size is what dish you are cooking and whether it’s a side dish or a main course.

If it’s a lunch meal or soup, a small portion of half cup of dried pasta per serving could be enough. On the other hand, if it’s the main course, one cup of dry pasta per person would do the work.

cooked pasta

Measuring the Serving of Pasta

If you want to make sure you get the serving right, the best way of measuring pasta is by using your kitchen scale.

Don’t have one? No worries, try these tricks:

Measure with Your Palm

Use your palm as a guide to measuring one cup of dry pasta. This trick works well with smaller shapes like rigatoni or macaroni. After filling your hand full of the pasta, keep your fist closed.

Use the Opening of a Bottle

If it’s spaghetti, you can use the opening of a standard plastic bottle for measuring the right amount. 

The opening of plastic bottles is almost always the same therefore, it’s a perfect tool for measuring your pasta portion. Rinse your bottle first and make sure it’s dry.

Make a Hole with Your Finger

Measuring pasta by making it fit in your finger is a less reliable method but it’s a handy trick.

Here is what you must do. Make a circle by joining your index finger and thumb. Fill the centre with long noodles. This is your pasta for one person

Use a Muffin Tin

If you have muffin tin at home, fill your cooked spaghetti with them. Each spot equals one portion. You can then stick these portions into the fridge or even freezer them for quick dinners later on.

Check the Nutrition Label

When all fails, check the nutrition label on the pasta box to see the recommended serving.

For instance, if it says 8 serving, divide it into 8 portions and store the extra portions in separate Ziploc bags. Next time you want to cook pasta for two people, take out two Ziploc bags and you are ready to cook delicious food.

dried pasta in a jar

The Nutritional Value of Pasta

Now that you know how many grams of pasta per person you need to be serving, why not have a look at the nutritional value of pasta, as well.

100 grams of dried pasta contains:

  • 1400KJ energy
  • 12 grams of protein
  • 70 grams of carbohydrate
  • 4 grams of fibre

Standard pasta has a decent amount of fibre, whereas wholemeal pasta contains much higher fibre content.

Adding salt to the water when the pasta is being boiled is an absolute must-do.

This brings out the flavour and will ensure your pasta dish is actually worth eating. 

Quick Overview of How Much Serving of Popular Pasta Per Person

Type of Pasta  1 Serving of Uncooked Pasta 1 Serving of Cooked Pasta
Spaghetti 8 ounces 1 cup
Linguine 8 ounces 1 cup
Fettuccine 8 ounces 1 cup
Medium shell 2 ounces 1 cup
Bow tie 4 cups 4 cups
Elbow macaroni 2 ounces 4 cups
Rigatoni 3 cups 4 and a half cups
Ziti 3 cups 4 and a half cups
Egg noodles 4 cups 4 cups
Rotini 3 cups 4 and a half cups

Summing Up

Pasta can be a real pain to measure if you don’t have a scale. Fortunately, some effective ways can help you estimate the right serving per person.

Wondering if pasta fits into a weight loss diet? The answer is yes. You just have to eat less of it than you normally eat.

Hopefully, now you can serve your guests the right portion of pasta per person and save any cooked pasta from going to waste.

Cooking the right portion per person would also help you get your pasta calories right. If you want to be super accurate in your measurement, invest in a good scale.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!