Learn how to cook gluten free pasta, so it is al dente every time! Avoid mushy pasta by following these simple tricks. You won't believe how easy perfect al dente gluten free pasta is to make at home!!
Do you hate mushy gluten free pasta? This hack will help you learn how to cook gluten free pasta to tender perfection. Try it with this simple ground pork pasta sauce.
Over the years my kids have been brainwashed to accept "mushy" gluten free pasta. After a while, they forgot what real firm pasta was even like."Clare V.
Being gluten free for medical reasons, I rely heavily on the restaurant staff to ensure our family doesn't get sick when dining out. From the waitperson who helped us muddle through the menu trying to find out what items were safe to eat to the chef who took a few minutes to leave his busy kitchen to answer my questions about cross-contamination.
My husband and I wanted to try a new Italian restaurant, Sorrelle Italian Bistro in Campbell, CA, that opened just a few minutes from our house. When I called to ask if they had gluten-free options, the owner told me they didn't have gluten free pasta dishes.
The owner then offered something wonderful. She told us that if we brought a bag of our own gluten free pasta, they would create something special for us. (Note they do not have gluten free pasta, so if you want it, you need to bring your own uncooked pasta.) They do cook it in separate water.
When our pasta dishes came out, I couldn't believe how delicious the pasta was. It was firm. It is the first gluten free pasta I could say was really al dente! When I cooked gluten free spaghetti and pasta, I usually ended up with something a little mushy.
The restaurant used the same brand of pasta that I use (obviously, since I brought the bag!), and I couldn't figure out what they could have done differently. I was so curious to know how they cooked the pasta.
When I complimented the owner, I begged for her secret. She told me exactly how to cook gluten free pasta al dente.
How to Cook Gluten Free Pasta:
I am so excited to share this simple pasta hack with you!! It has put gluten free pasta back on the menu in our home. Even better, this works for every type of gluten free pasta!!
Try it with this Gluten Free Fettuccine Alfredo recipe!
The secret to firm pasta starts with an ice-water bath. This halts the cooking process immediately, so the pasta doesn't continue to cook in the colander. Trust me; this works on all brands of gluten free pasta.
Chef Tips For Al Dente Gluten Free Pasta:
- Add ice and water to a medium-sized bowl to make an ice-water bath.
- Add your pasta.
- This will halt the cooking process, so your pasta doesn't get mushy.
Now that you know how to cook gluten free pasta, you can use the method when you make your favorite gluten free pasta and spaghetti dishes!
Easy Gluten Free Pasta Sauces For Pasta:
- My whole family loves this three meat pasta sauce. It is hearty and delicious.
- Why not try this homemade gluten free Alfredo sauce on that pasta?
- Looking for more? Here are some delicious gluten free green sauce recipes to try!
- If you love pesto, but do not eat nuts, try this nut-free pesto sauce. There is also a great vegan option!
Tips & Recipe FAQ:
The secret to firm pasta starts with an ice-water bath. This halts the cooking process immediately so the pasta doesn't continue to cook in the colander.
If you drain your pasta in a colander or drain it and leave it in the pot, the heat from the pasta continues cooking the pasta, and you can end up with mush.
All kinds of gluten free pasta have different cook times because they are made with different ingredients. Some are made with rice, corn, legumes, and often a combination of ingredients. These all require different cook times.
There are several new kinds of pasta on the market that are made with legumes like garbanzo beans and lentils. These are naturally gluten free, but just to be sure, always read the labels. Try this fun Mexican Pasta Salad recipe that features lentil penne pasta.
If you love pasta, try my homemade Gluten Free Ravioli recipe!
This post was updated from an old January 2017 post with more information and photos.
- A good metal colander. Don't use a plastic colander for hot pasta. Most plastic is not safe when heated and it can release chemicals into your food.
- This large mixing bowl to do an ice bath.
How to Cook Gluten Free Pasta and My Favorite Sauce Recipe
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 14 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups cooked gluten free pasta
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute until golden.
- Add fresh basil and saute another 2 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, capers, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat and simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes.
- Toss with cooked gluten free pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Serve hot.
- To halt the cooking process and avoid mushy pasta, give that pasta an ice bath! To make an ice water bath, add ice and water to a medium-sized bowl.
- I prefer to use Jovial or Tinkyada gluten free pasta brands, but Barilla is also delicious.
Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn't test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
If you love the recipes you find on my blog, I would love for you to sign up for my newsletter (and get my free gluten free lemon dessert e-cookbook!)
I finally made a decent goulash gluten free, however my leftovers turn mushy, will this help so I can eat nonmushy leftovers?
Hi Jane, I know what you mean. It is more the gluten-free pasta because it is mostly rice-based. It absorbs the liquid in the food while in the fridge. I don't have a good fix for this.
Healthy World Cuisine
Great tips! Cooking al dente gluten free pasta can be a challenge but thanks to your quick hacks much easier now.
Thank you so much! I am so glad the chef's tips have helped you.
Thank you so very very much for that tip on the pasta. My daughter is gluten free and I always feel so bad when her pasta looks like a big lump of dough. I’m going to surprise her the next time we have spaghetti. ❤️❤️❤️
I am so glad to help!
I can hardly wait to try this! How long do you keep the pasta in the cold water? Doesn't this method give you cold pasta? Do you warm it up in the microwave? Thanks Sandy.
Hi Mary, you only leave it in the cold water for a minute. Just to halt the cooking process. The restaurant tosses the pasta in hot sauce to warm it back up :-).
Do you just pour hot pasta in a colander and then plunge the colander into a bowl with ice water? Thanks! We haven’t found a gf pasta we like yet. Maybe this will help.
Yes, I dump the pasta from the colander into the ice water. You can either dump the pasta right in or keep it in the colander and dip the whole colander into the cold water so the cold water comes in all of the holes and gets to the pasta that way.