Domino's Pastas, Ranked From Worst To Best

The delivery chain repurposes its pizza toppings for pasta. Does it work?

It's hard to overstate how enormous Domino's is. It's the largest pizza chain on the planet with about 20,000 stores worldwide. In 2022, its global retail sales reached $17.5 billion. Love it or hate it, Domino's provides a consistent product that's easy to order and track. And the restaurant has wisely expanded its menu to include wings, sandwiches, dips, desserts, salads, and even pasta.

The best local pizza joints tend to have a wide menu like this, too; many serve a delicious but underrated hoagie, pasta fagioli, or deli salad alongside their pies. Pasta just needs to be cooked well, offer comfort, and be affordable. No $23 pasta dishes here—each pasta at Domino's costs $7.99, which, here in Los Angeles, is an absolute steal.

If you're going to Domino's, though, you should know that pasta is a hard takeout item to get right. This version comes delivered in miniature pizza boxes holding round, aluminum takeout containers, and they're served pretty darn hot. But beyond the temperature, how do they actually taste? I gave them a try and ranked all five offerings, from worst to best.

5. Chicken Alfredo

Yeah, yeah, true Alfredo sauce in Italy uses butter and cheese only. We know! Don't listen to the pasta purists, though—American Alfredo can be quite good. This chicken Alfredo, though, fails by even the lowest of Americanized standards for Alfredo sauce.


This white sauce is all thickener and very little cheese, a coagulated mess without much flavor. It doesn't taste like Parmesan, Romano cheese, black pepper, or even garlic, four things a good Alfredo sauce should have. Instead, the flavor is only thickened milk. It's just a mass-produced béchamel sauce with squeaky, cheap chicken. You can do better in the freezer aisle of a grocery store. Check out the bottom portion of the photo. The sauce is so thick it just slides off the penne! Pasta should be coated, man.

All of Domino's pastas feature penne, the official pasta of bland church dinners, and this is similarly overcooked to nursing home levels. This is the entree in an Evangelical church basement where it's believed that spices and herbs come from Hell. When people talk about bad pasta, this is what they mean. The pasta is overcooked, the sauce lacks, and the protein is of cheap quality. The worst pasta at Domino's is the easiest one to get right. Alfredo sauce is high on a list of foods that aren't great for takeout, and Domino's proves why.


4. Make Your Own

The make-your-own pasta fails for one very simple reason: Domino's allows you to choose only three ingredients to to build your pasta. Those ingredients include pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef, Philly steak, ham, bacon, premium chicken, cheese, cheddar cheese blend, feta cheese, shredded parmesan, shredded provolone cheese, green peppers, jalapeño peppers, mushrooms, pineapple, onions, black olives, spinach, diced tomatoes, and banana peppers. Phew. These are all just pizza toppings repurposed, FYI.


That doesn't include your choice of sauce (Alfredo or marinara) but three of these ingredients isn't enough to build a well-composed dish of pasta. Moreover, these ingredients, no matter which ones you order, are just kind of slopped on top. They're not cooked together. Garlic isn't sautéed until fragrant, onions aren't caramelized, and bacon fat isn't rendered in a pan. It's all just thrown about. I get it, but that's a recipe for mediocrity. I tried olives, sausage, and banana peppers, and it was a sloppy, acrid mess.

I've thought long and hard about what you could make out of these build-your-own options, and I'm confident you could build a better Alfredo sauce than what Domino's offers. If I could have my decision back, I'd pick Alfredo sauce, provolone, shredded parmesan, and feta cheese. Just a cheesy, creamy penne Alfredo mac & cheese.


3. Baked Carbonara

Like the Alfredo, this is an American carbonara. That is, the sauce doesn't consist of egg yolks, but rather cream. Like Domino's chicken Alfredo, the sauce is thick and gloppy, and like the Alfredo doesn't coat the pasta very well. It kind of slides around the noodles instead of clinging to them. Truly fascinating. Still, it's a step in the right direction, flavor-wise, simply because there's the addition of bacon.


The sauce is very salty, and there's a real tang to it. Domino's advertises its carbonara sauce as "garlicky," but it severely lacks in that department as well. The flavor I'm getting here is actually Parmesan. It's pungent, which is the most "aggressive" flavor you're likely to taste at Domino's. If nothing else, it conjures a feeling of the frozen pasta dinners you likely ate as a kid. That can still be quite comforting, and with the amount of protein included here, $7.99 is a damn good deal.

The bacon, though tasty, is chewy, fatty, and full of "bacon bits" vibes. Pasta is an ingenious way to repurpose the many pizza toppings that Domino's already has on hand: It just borrows from the coterie of pizza proteins and vegetables Domino's has armed and ready at its disposal. But because of that approach (and the methods of mass-scale food production in general), this bacon wasn't rendered in a pan. It was simply added to some pasta and sauce like a baked casserole. That technique can work well with some baked pastas like ziti, but with a carbonara it feels cheap.


2. Sausage and Marinara

The baked sausage marinara at Domino's succeeds at being comforting and nostalgic.

Let's start with the sauce, because while Domino's describes this pasta sauce as being a "zesty tomato basil marinara," I'll tell you what it actually is: straight up sweet. This is the sweetest marinara that'll ever hit your taste buds. That's actually good news, because I'm sure the chain is using pretty low-quality canned tomatoes and tomato paste to make its marinara. Those highly acidic tomatoes definitely need a lot of sugar to balance things out, though it's likely to be too sweet for some folks.


Domino's also uses shredded provolone cheese. Low-moisture cheese is great, but this pasta could stand to use more of it. There should be an amazing cheese pull with any baked pasta, but this barely has any. These are baked pasta dishes, for crying out loud. All of them should be exceptionally cheesy, as that might be precisely why some customers buy them.

The sausage here is the same sausage Domino's uses for its pizzas, which is cheap and squeaky. Still, there's something comforting about this pasta that reminds me of school lunch, or a baked pasta dinner at home. It's engineered to be addictive: sweet, meaty, cheesy, and filling, all for $7.99. There are just some small measures Domino's could take to improve each of these pastas, even with its limited ingredients.


1. Primavera

Walking into this taste test, I thought for sure the pasta primavera was going to be the worst pasta of the bunch, but for my money, it's the best Domino's has in terms of flavor. Just picking up the foil to-go container, this pasta definitely weighs more, too. Whether that's intentional or accidental, I don't know. Just thought it'd be worth noting. It's hefty.


This creamy primavera is loaded with vegetables, including spinach, onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms. The whole thing is fragrant and actually creamy, unlike the Alfredo sauce, which is thick, coagulated, and bland. Since this pasta was put in an oven, perhaps some of the water from the raw mushrooms and bell peppers actually helped thin out the Alfredo a little bit. Of all the pastas on the Domino's menu, this one has the most acceptable texture.

There's a lot of great flavor here, too. Sweetness from the peppers, earthiness from the mushrooms, refreshing leafiness from the spinach, and getting a slice of onion is delightful. I'm surprisingly into this pasta. That spinach, by the way, isn't cooked to high heaven; it's tossed into the hot pasta so it's slightly wilted. That's a pro move likely done by accident, but one that I appreciate.


Oh, and this is actually a pasta primavera. Primavera is another Italian-American invention, and vegetables and cream is how it's traditionally prepared. All in all, this is acceptable. If you happen to be in a food desert but need a vegetarian meal, this wouldn't be that bad.

Moreover, the primavera proves a larger point: The vegetables at Domino's work with pasta way better than the meats do. You can't just shove broke-ass pizza sausage and pepperoni into an aluminum to-go container with some penne and call it a day. Pasta needs to build flavors. Vegetables have the power to do that.