Definition of al dente in English:

al dente

Pronunciation /ˌal ˈdentā/ /ˌæl ˈdɛnteɪ/ /äl ˈdentā/ /ɑl ˈdɛnteɪ/


  • (of food, typically pasta) cooked so as to be still firm when bitten.

    ‘the eggs created a rich coating for the al dente spaghetti’
    • ‘In cooking, the adjective al dente describes pasta and (less commonly) rice that has been cooked so as to be firm but not hard.’
    • ‘Al dente is a fancy term for pasta that's fully cooked, but not overly soft.’
    • ‘Al dente: The only way to serve pasta! This is an Italian phrase meaning 'to the tooth'.’
    • ‘The key to perfect pasta is cooking it al dente or 'to the tooth': not mushy, not crunchy, but deliciously chewy.’
    • ‘When it is ready - taste it to see if it is "al dente" - that is, firm but not hard, chewy but not mushy - strain it into a colander taking care not to burn yourself.’


  • So as to be still firm when bitten.

    • ‘I had the linguine and calamari served al dente in a nice red sauce’


Italian, literally ‘to the tooth’.