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Measuring pasta serving sizes

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How much do you need?

Serving eight for dinner and need to know how many cups of pasta a pound will make? Here are some general guidelines for measuring dry versus cooked pasta.

dry pasta

The general rule

Shapes may vary in size according to the manufacturer, so use these measurements as generalizations. One serving size of pasta is just 1/2 cup of cooked pasta.

8 ounces of uncooked small to medium pasta shapes = 4 cups cooked


  • Elbow macaroni
  • Medium shells
  • Rotini
  • Wagon wheels
  • Bow-tie pasta (Farfalle)
  • Mostaccioli
  • Penne
  • Ziti
  • Radiatore
  • Rigatoni

8 ounces of uncooked long pasta shapes = 1 1/2-inch diameter bunch = 4 cups cooked


  • Spaghetti,
  • Angel hair
  • Linguine
  • Vermicelli
  • Fettuccine

8 ounces of uncooked egg noodles = 2 1/2 cups cooked

The Food Guide Pyramid defines 1/2 cup cooked pasta as one serving. If you compare your hand to a plate of cooked pasta with sauce, you'll find that you're probably eating two cups of pasta, which means you're getting three to four servings of low-fat, high carbohydrate pasta in a single meal, at least half the recommended daily amount of grain foods.

A quarter = two ounces dry spaghetti

Two ounces of dry long pasta bunched up in your hand, such as spaghetti, thin spaghetti, linguine or vermicelli, is about the same size as the diameter of a quarter. Two ounces of dry pasta yields about 1 cup of cooked pasta (two servings).

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