How Much is Inside Spaghetti?

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Cooking spaghetti should be easy, but it can be difficult to know just when to remove the spaghetti from the water.

To test if the spaghetti was done, we tried throwing it against the wall, to see if it would stick. I was a little worried that it would leave al dentes on the wall, but it was fine.



The first few strands were inconclusive, so we continued to throw spaghetti until a significant proportion was stuck there.

We had unknowingly summoned a flying spaghetti monster into our home.

Satisfied that the spaghetti was finished cooking, and that it had absorbed a delicious portion of water, I prepared to drain the noodles.

I arranged a colander above a larger bowl (which had previously battled it out in bowl vs. colander melt off) so I could measure and calculate how much water was missing from the original 5 quarts.

The finished spaghetti was ready for weighing.


I selected 10 noodles for the scale, and prepared for the answer. The spaghetti weighed 24.7 grams. Ten noodles had gained 14.7 grams, or about 1.5 grams of water each, they now weighed more than twice what they weighed before cooking!

The 1 lb. package of noodles had gained 1.5 lbs, the equivalent to 24 fluid ounces of water. This was roughly enough liquid to fill a wine bottle!

No one was confident that measuring the drained spaghetti water would give an accurate result. We had all seen great clouds of steam rising out of the pot. In the interest of being thorough, we measured the drained spaghetti water. We were missing 6 and a half cups, or 52 ounces.

Wow! It looked like we lost one bottle of wine to steam, and one bottle of wine to the spaghetti.

So there you have it!

Spaghetti absorbs one and a half times its own weight in water while it cooks.

When you eat a pound of cooked spaghetti, you aren't just gaining 1,680 calories, you are also eating 3 cups of water. That's why spaghetti is so mouth-watering!

Luckily, that water doesn't add any calories, and the 24 ounces of water can be easily obtained for free by a cost-conscious cook: Just use the waste water from your pickle jars and tuna cans!

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July 17,  2006.

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