Domino's Pasta: What You Need To Know Before Ordering

Mmm, pasta. Whether your shape of choice is spaghetti, penne, bow-tie, or bucatini, pasta is one of those delicious foods we associate with comfort. There's nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of homemade, al dente fettuccine smothered in mom's hearty bolognese or creamy alfredo sauce. When you think about ordering pasta from a restaurant, however, Domino's probably isn't the first destination that comes to mind. For pizza, yes. But for takeaway pasta? It might not be on your radar.

Perhaps it's time to give Domino's to-go pasta a chance, though, mostly because of these three words: Pasta. Bread. Bowls. That's right. The chain's pasta offerings are served in bread bowls made from pizza dough at certain locations. Who doesn't like the idea of carbs on carbs in the form of a warm, pillowy dough bowl hugging their pasta primavera, ready for all the bread ripping and sauce dipping? Now, let's delve into all the Domino's pasta deets so you can make an informed decision the next time you get a hankering for delicious noods.

How many pasta dishes does Domino's have and what are they?

In order to compete with other fast food pizza chains that started offering pasta, like Pizza Hut, Domino's launched four single-serving pasta bowl options back in 2009, according to Pizza Marketplace. These included chicken alfredo, Italian sausage marinara, chicken carbonara, and pasta primavera. Domino's still serves these dishes today, and its menu also includes a build-your-own option where you can pair your pasta with your choice of marinara or alfredo sauce and add up to three meat or vegetable ingredients.

All four bowls start with penne pasta. The chicken alfredo keeps things simple with just grilled and sliced chicken breast, alfredo sauce, and pasta that's "baked to creamy perfection." The Italian sausage marinara pasta is topped with a blend of Italian seasonings and provolone cheese. The chicken carbonara, which is decidedly not traditional, has grilled chicken breast, smoked bacon, onions, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce rather than eggs. Finally, pasta primavera is the only meatless option, unless you build your own bowl, and it has fresh baby spinach, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and, again, alfredo sauce.

Originally, Domino's offered its pasta bread bowls nationwide, but now the chain leaves it up to each franchisee to decide whether or not to sell them, sparking a hilarious petition to bring them back to all locations. Alternatively, these pastas come in an aluminum tin, which doesn't make for a handy microwave heating vessel.

What do Domino's pastas taste like?

Reviews for Domino's pastas are mixed. Mashed rates the restaurant's chicken carbonara as the worst menu item out of 15 Domino's selections. On the other end of the spectrum, some Redditors say the dish is "dank" and "amazing" with extra garlic.

Chef J. Kenji López-Alt wondered what "spinach, diced tomatoes, sliced onions, and sliced mushrooms have to do with primavera" when he sampled the pasta primavera for Serious Eats. Still, he applauded Domino's for achieving properly cooked penne with a "very edible" alfredo sauce that was "slightly goopy, with a flavor that tasted predominantly of garlic powder and green-can cheese." Meanwhile, Delish described the Italian sausage marinara as "sweet, meaty, tangy," and packing in "a huge helping of sausage for $6.99."

Out of any Domino's pasta dish, the chicken alfredo bread bowl seems to get the most positive reviews. One happy customer said, "I love the chicken alfredo bowl! It makes two or three large meals for me" (per She Speaks), while Old Nerd Reviews on YouTube took his first bite of the dish and said, "Mmm, let's do another one." The pasta is creamy and buttery, he said, the chicken breast is tender and well seasoned, and the bread bowl tastes fresh and homemade.

Despite its popularity, López-Alt recommends skipping the bread bowl if your Domino's offers it, calling it a "mess" conceptually. Apparently, throwing pasta and sauce into raw dough, baking it, and delivering it causes some serious quality issues.

How much do Domino's pastas cost?

Pricing on Domino's pastas does vary by location, and, as mentioned, the bread bowl option may not be available at your local store. According to the Domino's website, one pasta bowl will set you back $6.49 in St. Louis, Missouri; $7.99 in Summit, New Jersey; and $6.99 in Chesapeake, Virginia. Real Menu Prices has slightly different pricing data, reporting the chicken alfredo and Italian sausage marinara bowls as $5.99 and the pasta primavera, carbonara, and build-your-own bowls as $6.99.

If you are ordering from a location that does serve the carb-on carb-action, you can choose a bread bowl for just $1 more. Also, if you're curious about whether there's more pasta in the bread bowl versus the aluminum tin, J. Kenji López-Alt weighed the two for Serious Eats and concluded that the foil tray holds about 30% more pasta and sauce. So, that's evidently the way to get the most pasta bang for your buck.

Nutritional value of Domino's pasta

Obviously, Domino's pasta dishes won't suit those on low-carb or gluten-free diets. However, depending on your preferences, you may be able to fit one of these menu items into your lifestyle. Nutritionally, your best bet is the more veggie-centric pasta primavera (or a build-your-own bowl with vegetables and marinara sauce).

It is tough to avoid saturated fat and sodium when consuming Domino's pasta. The chain's nutrition page reveals that the chicken carbonara has the highest saturated fat content of its pasta dishes, with 35 total grams of fat, half of which is saturated. The Italian sausage marinara contains 1,770 grams of sodium, about 75% of the maximum recommended daily value, according to the FDA. It is worth noting that though the calorie counts for each pasta dish range from 530 to 740, the serving sizes are around 300 grams, which is about three times larger than a standard serving of pasta (via Frugalinsa).

Can I make Domino's pasta at home?

You can definitely achieve Domino's pasta combos at home, most likely in less time and for less dough (pun intended). Copycat recipes are also a useful way to make sure that whenever a Domino's pasta craving hits, you can always satisfy it — even if any of the menu items get discontinued. Try Mashed's copycat Domino's chicken carbonara recipe, which gets you a warm, creamy bowl of pasta in about 35 minutes. If you can't live without pasta bread bowls in your life, Savory Reviews has a dupe for the Italian sausage marinara bowl using pre-made pizza dough.

For a Domino's-inspired pasta primavera, Eat With Emily has a recipe that starts with a traditional béchamel sauce of milk, flour, and butter for the alfredo sauce, plus a tip to toss your cooked penne with butter before throwing it into your baking pan so the pasta won't stick together. An obvious plus to copying Domino's pasta dishes at home is the freedom to go the gluten-free route with rice noodles, or maybe even some zoodles for a low-carb option.