Linguine vs. Spaghetti

What's the Difference?

Linguine and spaghetti are both popular types of pasta that originated in Italy. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are a few key differences between the two. Linguine is a long, flat pasta that is slightly wider than spaghetti, resembling a flattened spaghetti noodle. It has a more delicate texture and is often paired with lighter sauces, such as seafood or pesto. On the other hand, spaghetti is a long, thin cylindrical pasta that is more commonly associated with classic Italian dishes like spaghetti Bolognese or carbonara. It has a firmer texture and is versatile enough to be paired with a wide range of sauces, both light and hearty. Ultimately, the choice between linguine and spaghetti depends on personal preference and the desired flavor and texture for a particular dish.


Photo by Karen Sewell on Unsplash
ShapeFlat and narrowLong and cylindrical
UsageCommonly used in seafood dishesCommonly used in tomato-based sauces
PairingsClams, mussels, and other shellfishMeatballs, Bolognese sauce, and other meat-based sauces
Popular RecipesLinguine alle Vongole, Linguine with PestoSpaghetti Carbonara, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Photo by Krista Stucchio on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to pasta, there are countless varieties to choose from, each with its own unique attributes and characteristics. Two popular types of pasta that often find themselves on dinner plates around the world are linguine and spaghetti. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are distinct differences between these two pasta shapes that can greatly impact the overall dining experience. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of linguine and spaghetti, exploring their origins, shapes, textures, and best pairing options.


Linguine, which translates to "little tongues" in Italian, hails from the Liguria region of Italy. This flat and narrow pasta shape was traditionally made by hand, using a rolling pin to flatten the dough. On the other hand, spaghetti, which means "thin strings" in Italian, originates from the southern regions of Italy. It is believed to have been introduced by Arab traders during the Middle Ages. Spaghetti is made by extruding dough through small holes, resulting in its characteristic cylindrical shape.


One of the most noticeable differences between linguine and spaghetti lies in their shapes. Linguine is a long, flat pasta with a width of approximately 4-6mm. Its flat surface provides a larger area for sauces to cling to, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor. On the other hand, spaghetti is a long, round pasta with a diameter of around 1.8-2.5mm. Its cylindrical shape allows it to twirl around a fork, making it a classic choice for those who enjoy the art of pasta twirling.


Texture plays a crucial role in the overall enjoyment of pasta dishes. Linguine, with its flat shape, offers a slightly chewier texture compared to spaghetti. The increased surface area allows for a more substantial bite, making it an excellent choice for heartier sauces and ingredients. On the other hand, spaghetti's round shape provides a smoother and more delicate texture. It tends to be more tender and slippery, allowing for a seamless integration with lighter sauces and delicate toppings.

Cooking Time

Another aspect to consider when comparing linguine and spaghetti is their cooking time. Due to its thicker and wider shape, linguine typically requires a slightly longer cooking time than spaghetti. The additional time allows the pasta to cook evenly, ensuring a consistent texture throughout. On the other hand, spaghetti's thinner shape allows it to cook more quickly, making it a convenient option for those seeking a fast and easy meal.

Pairing Options

Both linguine and spaghetti pair well with a variety of sauces and ingredients, but their attributes lend themselves to different culinary combinations. Linguine's wider shape and chewier texture make it an ideal match for robust and chunky sauces. It can handle hearty meat sauces, such as Bolognese, or seafood-based sauces, like linguine alle vongole (with clams). On the other hand, spaghetti's slender shape and delicate texture work harmoniously with lighter sauces. It shines when paired with simple yet flavorful combinations, such as aglio e olio (garlic and oil) or carbonara.


While linguine and spaghetti may seem similar at first glance, their differences in shape, texture, cooking time, and pairing options set them apart. Linguine's flat and wider shape, along with its chewier texture, make it a great choice for heartier sauces and ingredients. On the other hand, spaghetti's round and slender shape, coupled with its delicate texture, lends itself well to lighter sauces and simpler combinations. Ultimately, the choice between linguine and spaghetti depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile of the dish. So, whether you're twirling spaghetti or savoring linguine, both pasta shapes offer a delightful culinary experience that can be enjoyed in various ways.

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