al dente


al den·​te äl-ˈden-(ˌ)tā How to pronounce al dente (audio)
: cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture
al dente pasta
al dente adverb
pasta cooked al dente

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente, then drain. Sandra A. Gutierrez, Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2023 Add the fusilli to the pan and cook according to the packet (package) instructions, until cooked but still firm (al dente). Hayley Maitland, Vogue, 21 Oct. 2022 Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package for al dente. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 7 Mar. 2022 Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 22 Mar. 2023 Orzo should be al dente, not mushy. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Apr. 2022 Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. G. Daniela Galarza, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2023 The thick, fluted tubes of pasta were al dente, and the verdant sauce hiding in its ridges balanced a bright herbaceous burst of mint with a chewy crumble of pistachio. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 30 Jan. 2023 Bring everything to a simmer, cover pot and cook until potatoes and celery root are al dente, about 10 minutes. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'al dente.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian; literally, to the tooth

First Known Use

1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of al dente was in 1920

Dictionary Entries Near al dente

Cite this Entry

“Al dente.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

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