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There’s More To Boiling Water Than You Think

by Liam Williams
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It’s humbling when you think you’ve leveled up in the culinary then realize you don’t even know how boiling water works, and how to cook with it correctly.  Like most cooking methods there are 100,000 different people offering 100,000 opinions on what the ‘right’ way is to boil food, but I promise you that ‘pasta pro’ who tells you pasta cooks better from cold water, wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between pasta that was dropping into scolding water vs pasta bought up to the boil from room temperature. Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point.

Altitude & Boiling Temperature

Altitude affects the temperature at which water boils in a spectrum between 212ºf and 193ºf. This is because the higher you go, the less atmospheric pressure is pressing down on said water, making it easier for molecules to vibrate. You may have to compensate for this fact should you ever take trips high up or down low. If the water boils at lower temperatures at different altitudes, you may have to boil things like rice, pasta, and other foods a little longer.

Altitude ft. (meters) Boiling Point – Fahrenheit Boiling Point – Celsius
0 ft. (0 m.) 212 ºF 100 ºC
500 ft. (152 m.) 211 ºF 99.5 ºC
1000 ft (305 m.) 210 ºF 99 ºC
1500 ft. (457 m.) 209 ºF 98.5 ºC
2000 ft. (610 m.) 208 ºF 98 ºC
2500 ft. (762 m.) 207 ºF 97.5 ºC
3000 ft (914 m.) 206 ºF 97 ºC
3500 ft. (1067 m.) 205.5 ºF 96 ºC
4000 ft. (1219 m.) 204 ºF 95.5 ºC
4500 ft. (1372 m.) 203.5 ºF 95 ºC
5000 ft. (1524 m.) 202 ºF 94.5 ºC
5500 ft. (1676 m.) 201.5 ºF 94 ºC
6000 ft. (1829 m.) 200.5 ºF 93.5 ºC
6500 ft. (1981 m.) 199.5 ºF 93 ºC
7000 ft. (2134 m.) 198.5 ºF 92.5 ºC
7500 ft. (2286 m.) 198 ºF 92 ºC
8000 ft. (2438 m.) 197 ºF 91.5 ºC
8500 ft. (2591 m.) 196 ºF 91 ºC
9000 ft. (2743 m.) 195 ºF 90.5 ºC
9500 ft. (2895 m.) 194 ºF 90 ºC
10000 ft. (3048 m.) 193 ºF 89.5 ºC

You can easily find your altitude online if that’s what you’re interested in although it doesn’t make a huge difference in anything you cook. Although a few recipes may be affected more than others, recipes like bread and other baked goods, caramel and other candy, and stews.


I’ve heard myth after myth about adding salt to boiling water. Some swear by adding the salt while the water is cold, some tell you that’s totally wrong and you have to add the salt to boiling water to make it a few degrees hotter. Although the latter is proven, it doesn’t make a difference, at least it would never be enough for any man or woman’s mouth and pallet to detect.

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