How Much Sodium Does Salted Water Add To Pasta

By : | Comments Off on How Much Sodium Does Salted Water Add To Pasta | On : October 1, 2014 | Category : Cook's Tips, General Information, Health Benefits, Sodium

Green Peas in Pasta

Cooking Pasta

When you cook pasta, you have two options:

  • Use unsalted water
  • Add salt to cooking water

I was raised in the second camp. My parents always added salt to the cooking water.

Most pastas have little or no sodium. That’s good if you are on a sodium restricted diet. With so much salt added to prepared pasta sauces and canned tomato sauce, it usually isn’t necessary adding salt to the cooking water. But how much sodium does salted water add to dry pasta?

My internet search didn’t answer the question. But having cooked and weighed a lot of pasta over the pasta two years, it seemed like the answer was straight forward. You first need to know how much water and salt you are using.

The Calculations

Salt dissolves easily in hot water. My assumptions:

  1. The water has uniform salt content per volume
  2. Dry pasta doubles in weight when cooked al dente
  3. Water evaporation is negligible

One pound (450 g) of dry pasta requires at least 1-gallon (4 liters) of water.

1 gallon of water weights 8.33 lbs

1 pound equals 0.454 kg.

8.33 punds equals 3.778 kg (3778 g)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) of table salt has about 7,200 mg of sodium

One pound of dry pasta weights 2 pounds cooked. Absorbing 1 pound (450 g) of water.

450 g divided by 3,778 g equals 0.119 or 12 percent of the water is absorbed by the pasta during cooking.

12 percent of 7,200 mg is 864 mg of sodium per pound of pasta

A 4-ounce serving (113 g) has about 216 mg of added sodium


Cooking 1 pound of pasta in 1 gallon of water containing 1 tablespoon of table salt adds about 55 mg of sodium per ounce of pasta. Increasing the amount of water decreases sodium. Adding more salt increases sodium.

Cooking Rice

Unlike pasta, rice manufacturers recommend the absorption cooking method. You add a specific amount of water for the rice to absorb. Using this method, all salt added to the water will be absorbed into the rice.

1 cup of raw rice produces about 3 cups cooked absorbing 2 cups of water.

If you cook rice in 4 cups of salted water it will absurd half the sodium. In 6 cups, one-third of the sodium.

Adding salt when cooking rice is optional. For plain rice, I omit salt.