What Is the Difference Between Pasta and Egg Noodles?

If you’re thinking the answer to the question “What is the difference between pasta and egg noodles?” is an easy, obvious one, you’re right.

Well, sort of. Eggs are the big differentiating factor between egg noodles and other pastas. But it isn’t that regular pasta is made without them entirely (although technically it can be). Rather, it’s that the dough generally calls for a smaller proportion of eggs.

So, in a way, pretty much all pasta is a type of egg noodle. (Deep thoughts, we know.)

Here’s a closer look at what sets egg noodles apart from the rest of the pasta pack.

Egg noodles and other pasta

Egg ratios in egg noodles vs. pasta

As much as we’d love to give you a scientific, gray area-free answer like “egg noodle dough always calls for double the amount of eggs that pasta dough does,” these simple, fundamental recipes are never that cut-and-dried or consistent.

It’s one of those three-different-cooks-three-different-answers kind of conundrums.

That said, many fresh pasta doughs call for about 100 grams (a little less than a cup) of flour per egg used.

On the other hand, a recipe for egg noodles, known for the richer flavor and color their namesake contributes, might call for anywhere between 3 eggs per 2 cups of flour to 2 eggs and 4 yolks per 2 cups of flour. (Of course, you can also find yolk-free egg noodles.)

Dry pasta, by the way — that is, dried Italian pasta like spaghetti, penne, and the like — usually does not contain any eggs, just semolina flour and water (but exceptions apply, as always).

Types of flour in egg noodles vs. pasta

Some would also argue that the type of flour is another distinguishing factor between egg noodles and regular pasta.

Pasta dough, as a signature, almost always calls for some proportion of semolina flour in addition to all-purpose (or pricy, super-fine, “00” flour, if you’re fancy), whereas egg noodles can be made with a wide variety of different flours.

It’s a matter of some debate, but — if you ask us — not one that necessarily defines egg versus regular noodles. (And get into the world of gluten-free pasta and all bets are definitely off.)

Types of pasta and types of noodles

Regular pasta has greater liberties when it comes to shape and size — with way too many options to list here. By extension, the variety of dishes that can be made from it is more expansive too.

Egg noodles are basically confined to the broad, flat, thicker-textured classic noodle shape, though they come in fine, broad, wide, and extra wide versions.

A big exception to this egg noodle shape rule, of course, are the range of Chinese noodles like chow mein and lo mein which are also technically egg noodles. Plot twist: Ramen noodles, though yellow in color, do not normally contain eggs.

Recipes with egg noodles

Perhaps the limitation of the shape is why we see really only ever see egg noodles play the same recurring roles: either baked into a casserole or as the sauce-soaking base to some kind of hearty stew. But their shorter list of uses doesn’t make them any less lovable.

Now, that’s enough noodling around. Basta with all the pasta talk, let’s get to the recipes already!

1. Tuna noodle casserole

Don’t go running for the hills just yet. Just because Mom and Dad still have nightmares of the gray, gloppy, tasteless school cafeteria version doesn’t mean all hope for tuna noodle casserole is lost.

As this revamped interpretation proves, the keys to deliciousness are fresh, quality ingredients (aka the good tuna packed in oil), a good crisp topping, and taking care not to overcook the egg noodles.

Get our tuna noodle casserole recipe.

2. Pressure cooker osso buco Milanese

As much as we might all love a good osso buco — the iconic Italian braised veal shank dish — making it requires a lot of work. That’s what makes this pressure-cooker interpretation so incredibly appealing.

After a mere half hour, you’ve got fall-off-the-bone tender meat coated in a flavor-packed complex sauce, just waiting to be served over buttery egg noodles.

Get our pressure cooker osso buco Milanese recipe.

3. Beef Bourguignon

Of course, if you’re up for an involved, marathon cooking kind of challenge, there’s always the Julia Child favorite, boeuf Bourguignon (beef Bourguignon to us non-French-speakers).

We’re talking tender chuck roast cooked for hours in a red wine-spiked beef broth packed with herbal aromatics and flavor enhancers like mushrooms and pearl onions.

You could serve it over roasted or mashed potatoes, but really, rich egg noodles are the best for soaking up all that good sauce.

Get our beef Bourguignon recipe.

4. Slow cooker beef goulash

For something beefy, complex, and tender that’s also an easy one-pot meal, try our slow cooker beef goulash.

With chunks of sweet carrots, smoky paprika, and fragrant caraway seeds mingling with the rich beef short ribs, you need nothing more than egg noodles and a dollop of cold, tangy sour cream to complete this perfectly filling fall meal.

Get our slow cooker beef goulash recipe.

5. Kale and mushroom stroganoff

The classic Russian dish gets a vegetarian makeover here, replacing the traditional beef with a meaty mushroom medley and hearty kale. (But don’t worry, the slick, rich sauce stays true to its delectable sour cream and butter formula.)

Get our kale and mushroom stroganoff recipe.

6. Miso chicken noodle soup

Not that classic chicken noodle soup really needs upgrading, but subbing savory, umami-rich miso for the usual chicken stock really takes this soul-warming dish to the next level. Meanwhile, wide, curvy egg noodles add carb-y oomph.

Get the miso chicken noodle soup recipe.

7. Spicy chicken takeout noodles

Celebrate Chinese-style egg noodles with this savory soy sauce-enriched dish with sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Here, thin, dense Hong Kong-style egg noodles (think chow mein), are tossed with sautéed carrots, bell pepper, aromatics, and Sriracha, and cooked chicken for protein.

Use leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a super quick dinner, or swap in shrimp, steak, or pan-fried tofu. Finish things off with a garnish of scallions and peanuts.

Get our spicy chicken takeout noodles recipe.

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