Unravel the mystery: Why Does My Pasta Dough Have Holes in It?

As a pasta enthusiast, there’s nothing more frustrating than rolling out your dough and discovering unsightly holes scattered throughout. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this culinary conundrum! Many home cooks and even professional chefs have encountered the perplexing problem of hole-filled pasta dough. But fear not! In this article, we will delve into the possible causes of these frustrating gaps and provide you with some practical tips for achieving flawless pasta dough every time.

Insufficient kneading

One of the most common culprits behind hole-ridden pasta dough is improper kneading. Proper kneading is critical to the development of gluten, which gives the dough its elasticity and structure. If gluten is not sufficiently developed, it can lead to weak spots in the dough, resulting in holes during the cooking process. Be sure to knead your pasta dough for a sufficient amount of time, usually about 8-10 minutes, until it is smooth, elastic and springs back when pressed.

Insufficient resting time

Resting the dough allows the gluten to fully relax and hydrate, making it easier to work with and reducing the likelihood of holes. If you skip or shorten the resting time, the dough may be too elastic and resistant, making it susceptible to tearing and holes. Aim to let your pasta dough rest for at least 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, before rolling it out.

Dry or crumbly dough

Dry or crumbly pasta dough can be a challenge when trying to achieve a smooth, hole-free texture. The dough should be moist enough to come together without being sticky. If your dough feels dry or crumbly, it may not be hydrated enough. Consider adding small amounts of water or eggs, tablespoon by tablespoon, while kneading, until the dough reaches the desired consistency. Be careful not to overdo it, as overly moist dough can also cause holes.

Overworking the dough

Believe it or not, overworking your pasta dough can contribute to the formation of holes. Excessive rolling, folding, or running the dough through the pasta machine too many times can cause the gluten to overdevelop and lose its elasticity. If this happens, the dough may tear or develop holes during cooking. Be gentle when rolling and handling the dough and avoid excessive manipulation to maintain its integrity.

Incorrect rolling technique

The way you roll your pasta dough can also affect its texture and the presence of holes. If you roll the dough unevenly or apply too much pressure in certain areas, you can create thin spots or holes. Make sure you roll the dough evenly, with a light touch, and turn it frequently to maintain a consistent thickness throughout.

Tips for rolling pasta dough evenly

Here are some tips to help you roll out your pasta dough evenly:

  1. Divide the dough: Before rolling out, divide the dough into smaller portions. This makes it more manageable and easier to work with, and ensures that each portion is rolled out evenly. It also prevents the rest of the dough from drying out while you work on a portion.
  2. Flatten the dough: Start by flattening the portion of dough with your hands or a rolling pin. This initial flattening will help distribute the thickness of the dough more evenly before using a pasta machine or rolling pin to achieve the desired thickness.
  3. Roll from the center outward: If using a rolling pin, start rolling from the center of the dough and work outward. This technique helps maintain an even thickness throughout the dough. Apply gentle and even pressure to avoid creating thin spots or holes.
  4. Turn and rotate: Regularly rotate and turn the dough while rolling to ensure even stretching and prevent uneven thickness. This helps prevent sticking and allows you to check the consistency of the dough from different angles.
  5. Use guides or spacers: When using a pasta machine, most models come with adjustable thickness settings. Start with the widest setting and gradually reduce the thickness as you pass the dough through the machine several times. This step-by-step process ensures even rolling and prevents the dough from tearing.
  6. Measure the thickness: Use a ruler or pasta thickness guide to measure the thickness of the dough as you roll it out. This will help you maintain consistency and achieve the desired thickness for your pasta recipe.
  7. Pay attention to pressure: Apply even pressure when rolling, whether using a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Excessive pressure can lead to uneven thickness and possibly holes in the dough. Be gentle and allow the dough to stretch naturally.
  8. Adjust and repeat: If you notice uneven areas or thick spots, focus on those areas by applying more pressure while rolling, while leaving the surrounding areas less affected. Adjusting and repeating the rolling process will help even out the thickness.
  9. Take your time: Rolling pasta dough evenly takes patience and practice. Take your time, especially if you’re new to making pasta. Rushing the process can lead to uneven results. Enjoy the process and allow yourself to get more comfortable with each attempt.

Remember, practice makes perfect. With time and experience, you will develop a feel for rolling out pasta dough evenly. Don’t be discouraged by initial imperfections; they are part of the learning process. Embrace the joy of homemade pasta and enjoy the delicious results!


Don’t let hole-filled dough discourage your culinary aspirations! By understanding the potential causes of this problem and making a few simple adjustments, you can achieve pasta perfection every time. Remember to knead the dough thoroughly, allow it to rest sufficiently, keep it properly hydrated, avoid overworking it, and roll it out carefully. With practice and attention to detail, you’ll soon be treating yourself and your guests to flawless pasta dishes that are as visually appealing as they are delicious. Happy cooking!


Why does my pasta dough have holes?

If your pasta dough has holes, there are a few possible causes. One common cause is air that gets trapped in the dough during the mixing or kneading process. When you roll out the dough, these air pockets can expand and create holes. To prevent this, be sure to knead the dough thoroughly to eliminate any air bubbles before rolling it out.

Another reason for holes in pasta dough can be overworking the dough or applying too much pressure when rolling it out. This can cause the gluten in the dough to become too elastic, resulting in holes. To avoid this, be gentle when rolling out the dough and apply even pressure. Also, be careful not to roll the dough too thin, as it can become brittle and prone to tearing or pitting. With practice and attention to these factors, you can achieve a smooth, hole-free pasta dough.

How do you fix broken pasta dough?

Unlike pie or pastry dough, pasta dough is very forgiving, so it is ridiculously easy to make. If the dough is too dry, add more water. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. If the dough gets messed up, scrunch it together and reroll it.

Why is my pasta dough tearing when kneading?

When dough tears, it’s most commonly caused by a lack of gluten development or dry dough. Make sure that you’re kneading your dough enough to pass the windowpane test and you’re using enough water to keep the flour well hydrated. Avoiding adding too much more flour to your dough when you’re kneading.

Can you overwork pasta dough?

It’s almost impossible to over-knead a dough, though, since it’ll eventually build up so much elasticity that it won’t allow you to continue. That said, you don’t want to keep the dough out for too long, lest it begin to dry out.

Why is my pasta dough not smooth?

If pasta dough is too dry, adding a small amount of water at a time to the dough will solve the problem of having dried dough. If the pasta has not formed a perfectly moist ball after adding a little water, then you can add a small amount of flour to the dough to help obtain your desired texture.

Should you add oil to pasta dough?

Olive oil adds fat and flavor, and makes the dough more supple and easier to roll out. A little bit of added water can help correct the texture of the dough, making a dry dough softer, though if you add too much, you risk mushy noodles that are prone to sticking to one another.

Why does my homemade pasta break?

If you are drying pasta for storage, the best way to do it is by having some humidity and over the course of several days. If the air is too dry (winter air) it will dry too quickly and the result is too much empty space between the flour.

What does Overworked dough look like?

The overworked dough will often feel tight and tough. This means that liquid molecules have been damaged and won’t stretch properly, causing the bread to break and tear more easily. Conversely, a dough that is underworked will be harder to form into a ball shape.

What does over kneaded dough look like?

Loaves made with over-kneaded dough often end up with a rock-hard crust and a dense, dry interior. Slices will be very crumbly, especially toward the middle.