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What is the Difference Between Spaghetti and Linguine?

Updated on November 27, 2017
Thish profile image

Thish has been a foodie, traveler, frugal wife, writer;believes that happiness lies in our hearts and how we see it in our lives.

Italy and Pasta

Pasta, a staple dish in Italian cuisine has many different varieties.

Most of those pasta varieties are originated from Italy. One would wonder, what could be the difference of each of those varieties with different names.

I didn't know the difference of spaghetti and linguine until I was told by the friendly chef at the Italian restaurant called Echo at hotel Cinnamon Grand. Being a foodie, I thought to share the knowledge I gained for other foodies like me who would be interested to aware about food facts.

Variety could be based on the shape, taste, ingredients or even the origin.

Linguine and spaghetti are two such pasta types, both long, thin ropes of pasta, however could be easily identified the difference from the appearance. The name linguine means "little tongues" having flat strips while spaghetti means “little strings” having round strings.

What is Linguine?

Linguine is originated in the Liguria region of northern Italy, linguine (lin-GWEE-nay), Italian for “little tongues,” is a narrow, flat version of round spaghetti (Americans sometimes referred to as flat spaghetti).

Linguine  - Before cooking
Linguine - Before cooking
Linguine serving with a thin sauce
Linguine serving with a thin sauce

What is Spaghetti?

Spaghetti is a long, thin, cylindrical pasta of Italian origin.

Spaghetti is the most famous cut of pasta. It is said to be the oldest shape known, and despite fashion for more elegant or unusual shapes, it is still the number one pasta shape in America. The thickness of spaghetti varies from region to region (ex: spaghettini and spaghettoni).
It is available in plain semolina, coloured and flavored with spinach, beets, and bell peppers, and in numerous specialty flavors.

Spaghetti is mostly served with tomato sauce, with various herbs (specially oregano and basil), olive oil, meat or vegetables. Other spaghetti preparations include using Bolognese sauce and Carbonara.

Grated hard cheese such as Parmesan is often added for authentic Italian flavor. It is also sometimes served with chili. Some ubiquitous fusion dishes are not authentic to Italy. For example, spaghetti is never served with meatballs or Bolognese sauce in Italy while it is significantly available from 5 star hotels to the corner pizza shop throughout in America.

Cooked Sphagetti
Cooked Sphagetti

Comparing Spaghetti and Linguine

The ingredients for both Linquine and Spaghetti are so basic- flour, Semolina, eggs, salt, oil, and water. Five ingredients, that’s it.

While spaghetti traditionally accompanies meat and tomato dishes, linguine is often served with seafood or pesto.

The shape makes a difference on the presentation and also the accompanied sauce based on the shape. Linguine is wider and flatter than spaghetti, about 6-9 mm wide. The shape of linguini has more surface than spaghetti and therefore is good with thinner sauces while Spaghetti is better with thicker sauces.

Spaghetti & Linguine are most commonly available in stores with 20-30 cm (10-12 inches) lengths.

Pasta is cooked in a large pot of salted, boiling water then drained in a colander (Italian: scolapasta).

In Italy, pasta is generally cooked al dente (Italian for to the tooth), just fully cooked and still firm. Outside Italy, pasta is sometimes cooked to a much softer consistency.

Average cooking time for packeted linquine is about 8-10 minutes while its 2-5 minutes extra for spaghetti.


  • Linguine and Spaghetti are 2 pasta types and the difference comes from the shape.
  • Linguine is flat strips while Spaghetti is round strings.
  • Spaghetti traditionally accompanies meat and tomato dishes, linguine is often served with seafood or pesto.
  • Spaghetti goes well with thick sauces while Linguine is good with thin sauces.

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    • Thish profile image

      Ohla 3 years ago

      Hi Robie. Looks like i have similar taste buds or at least same preferences. I love linguine way better than Spaghetti too. I also thought it has a difference in taste but most people say its the same taste just the other accompany make the difference. Anyway nice to see your comment and thanks!!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      Excellent distinction Thish! To me not only spaghetti and linguine are different, they taste different, and I prefer 1,000 times better linguine. Don't ask me why, I'm not sure, but I don't like spaghetti, which considering that I am Italian, leaves most people very surprised (including my mom) lol

    • Thish profile image

      Ohla 3 years ago

      Hi Noodles Bar, Thanks for your compliment. Will do some research on Noodles and do a write up soon. Stay tuned. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • profile image

      Noodles bar 3 years ago

      Nice! why do not you write an article on different noodle types?