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 pasta. But it isn’t that the latter 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.
Now, as much as I’d love to give you a scientific, grey 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-dry consistent. It’s one of those three-different-cooks-three-different-answers kind of conundrums.
That being said, research suggests that many fresh pasta doughs call for about 100 grams (a little less than a cup) of flour per egg used. Whereas a recipe for egg noodles, known for the richer flavor and color their namesake contributes, might call for anywhere between three eggs per two cups of flour to two eggs and four yolks per two 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, as always, apply).
De Cecco Pasta Egg Pappardelle, $3.84 on Amazon
These are technically egg noodles too.
Types of Flour
Some would also argue that the type of flour used can be another distinguishing factor between the two. Pasta dough, as a signature, almost always calls for some proportion of semolina 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.
Antimo Caputo Italian Double Zero Flour, 2 bags for$11 on Amazon
In case you want to try making pasta from scratch.
Get into the world of gluten-free pasta, however, and all bets are off.
Types of Pasta & Types of Noodles
Pasta has greater liberties when it comes to shape and size—with way too many options to list here—and so 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.
365 Everyday Value Organic Extra Wide Egg Noodles, $2.29 on Amazon
Made with cage-free eggs and organic durum wheat semolina flour.
Related Reading: The Best Whole Foods Items You Can Buy on Amazon
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.
Rose Brand Gourmet Chinese Egg Noodles, 4 packs for $17.49 on Amazon
Great for hot stir fries and cold noodle dishes.
How to Use 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 that doesn’t mean we don’t love them.
Now, that’s enough noodling around. Basta with all the pasta talk, let’s get to the recipes already.
Wait, stop. Don’t go running for the hills just yet. Just because Mom and Dad still have nightmares of the grey, gloppy, tasteless school cafeteria version doesn’t mean all hope for tuna noodle casserole is lost. As this revamped interpretation proves, the key to deliciousness is 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.
As much as we might all love a good osso buco, the iconic Italian braised veal shank dish, let’s be honest: making it requires a lot of work. Like, almost deterringly so. Which is 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.
Related Reading: Instant Pot Cookbooks for Easy Weeknight Dinners
Of course, if you are up for an involved, marathon cooking kind of challenge, there’s always the Julia Child-favorite, Boeuf Bourguignon. We’re talking tender chuck roast cooked for hours in a red wine-spiked beef broth that is 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.
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 Crock-Pot Beef Goulash recipe.
The classic Russian dish gets a vegetarian makeover here, replacing the traditional ground beef with a meaty mushroom medley and hearty kale. (But don’t worry, my fellow healthy food avoiders, the slick, rich sauce stays true to its delectable sour cream and butter formula.) Get our Kale and Mushroom Stroganoff recipe.
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. Get the Miso Chicken Noodle Soup recipe.
Celebrate the other egg noodles—not those familiar short, loose spirals—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 sauteed carrots, bell pepper, aromatics, and Sriracha, with 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, and garnish with scallions and peanuts. Get our Spicy Chicken Takeout Noodles recipe.
Header image by Chowhound, using photos from PxHere and Shutterstock.