The 9 Best Substitutes for Fusilli Pasta

There’s nothing more disappointing than finding out that you don’t have enough ingredients to prepare a dish.

But don’t worry—you can still make your favorite fusilli pasta dishes even when you’re short on the recipe’s key ingredient!

I know all too well how tough it is to find a suitable substitute for fusilli pasta, so I put together this list of the 9 best substitutes for fusilli pasta that will help give your recipes just the right texture and flavor.

Whether you prefer penne, cellentani, or something else entirely, these easy swaps are sure to make dinner night a success.

So if the grocery store happens to be out of fusilli (or you simply want something new!), read on and start cooking with one of these creative alternative pastas today!

What is Fusilli Pasta?


Fusilli pasta is a type of Italian noodle made from durum wheat flour and water.

It has a corkscrew shape that can be short or long, and it holds sauces well due to its ridges.

Fusilli pasta is traditionally served with heavier sauces like ragù or pesto, as the ridges hold onto them easily and they add flavor to the dish.

The unique shape also makes this type of pasta great for salads, soups, casseroles, and baked dishes.

Its texture is perfect for soaking up other flavors like cheese and herbs, making it an excellent choice for all kinds of recipes.

The 9 Best Substitutes for Fusilli Pasta

Fusilli pasta is a delicious and versatile dish.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have any on hand, it can be difficult to find an adequate substitute.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives that will work just as well in your recipes.

Here are the nine best substitutes for fusilli pasta:

1. Rotini


Rotini is a type of corkscrew-shaped pasta that comes in a variety of sizes and colors.

It has ridges on the outside which makes it great for holding sauces, like tomato sauce or pesto.

Rotini can also be used to make salads, soups, casseroles, and baked dishes.

When substituting rotini for fusilli pasta in recipes, you will find that it holds its shape better when cooked due to its unique spiral shape.

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The ridges on the outside also help the sauce adhere to the pasta more easily than with other shapes such as penne or spaghetti.

Rotini works especially well with cream-based sauces like Alfredo or carbonara because they get trapped inside the spirals of the noodles.

2. Penne


Penne is a type of pasta that is ridged and shaped like a cylinder.

It has two ends cut at an angle, which gives it its unique shape.

Penne pairs well with creamy sauces, chunky vegetable sauces, and tomato-based sauces.

Because of its cylindrical shape, penne can hold more sauce than fusilli pasta.

This makes it perfect for recipes such as Baked Penne with Ricotta Cheese or Creamy Tomato Penne Bake.

Penne also works great in dishes where the sauce needs to be spooned over the top rather than tossed around the pasta – think Chicken Alfredo or Lasagna Roll Ups.

The ridges on the outside of penne help it to cling onto the sauce better than fusilli pasta would.

Overall, if you’re looking for a versatile pasta that holds plenty of flavor, then penne should be your go-to choice!

3. Farfalle


Farfalle is a type of Italian pasta that resembles bow ties.

The name comes from the Italian word for “butterfly,” which aptly describes its shape.

Farfalle is often used in salads, soups, and other dishes that require smaller or shaped pieces of pasta.

Farfalle has a slightly nutty flavor and an al dente texture when cooked properly.

It holds up well to sauces and can also be served cold in salads or as part of an antipasto tray.

Because farfalle cooks quickly and has a unique shape, it makes sense to use it instead of fusilli Pasta in certain recipes such as seafood dishes or light vegetable-based soups.

Its unique shape also makes it ideal for tossing with vegetables or making creative pasta salads filled with colorful ingredients like roasted peppers, olives, tomatoes, artichokes and feta cheese.

4. Macaroni

Macaroni Pasta

Macaroni is a type of short, tubular pasta with ridges on the outside.

It can be made from wheat, rice, barley and other grains.

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Macaroni is often used in baked dishes and casseroles like mac ‘n’ cheese.

It’s also a popular ingredient for soups and salads.

Macaroni works well in many different recipes due to its shape, texture and flavor.

The small tubes are perfect for holding onto sauces or other ingredients as it cooks.

Its ridges provide additional surface area for absorbing flavors from the sauce or dish it’s cooked in.

Using macaroni instead of fusilli pasta can add an interesting texture to your dish without sacrificing flavor or quality ingredients.

For example, using macaroni instead of fusilli makes sense when making baked ziti dishes because you want the sauce to cling onto every inch of the noodles while they bake together into one delicious meal!

5. Cavatappi


Cavatappi, also known as cellentani or spirali, is a corkscrew-shaped pasta made from durum wheat.

It has a firm texture and holds its shape well when cooked.

Cavatappi pairs particularly well with creamy sauces like Alfredo or cheese sauce because it does not get soggy quickly.

The ridges of the cavatappi capture the sauce for an extra delicious flavor in every bite.

It is also excellent when used in dishes such as macaroni and cheese, baked pastas, and casseroles.

Cavatappi can also be tossed with vegetables or added to soups to give them more substance.

The unique spiral shape of cavatappi makes it an ideal substitute for fusilli in many recipes.

This type of pasta adds visual interest to any dish while still delivering great taste and texture!

6. Rigatoni


Rigatoni is a type of pasta shaped like long tubes with ridges along the edges.

It has a chewy texture and is perfect for absorbing sauces.

Rigatoni can be used in many traditional Italian dishes, such as baked ziti or lasagna.

The ridges on rigatoni make it especially good for holding onto creamy cheeses or chunky vegetable sauces.

It can also be used in soups and salads, adding an interesting texture to the dish.

7. Orecchiette


Orecchiette is a type of pasta originating from the Apulia region in Southern Italy.

It is shaped like small ears and has ridges on one side.

It’s traditionally served with a simple sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, anchovy, olives, capers and fresh herbs like basil or parsley.

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The ridged side of the orecchiette holds onto the sauce better than most other pastas so it can really bring out the flavors in the dish.

Because of its shape, orecchiette is best suited for dishes that have large pieces or chunks such as vegetables or chunks of meat.

It also goes well with creamy sauces because it can hold onto them nicely too.

In addition to traditional Italian recipes, orecchiette also works well in Asian-inspired dishes such as stir-fries and noodle soups because its shape allows it to hold up against strong flavorings like soy sauce and chili paste.

8. Gemelli

Gemelli Pasta

Gemelli is a type of short, twisted pasta that looks like two strands of spaghetti intertwined.

It has a slightly chewy texture and nutty flavor, making it perfect for hearty dishes such as casseroles, soups, and stews.

Because of its shape, gemelli also works well in salads or tossed with vegetables or sauces.

Gemelli can be used instead of fusilli pasta when you’re looking for the same texture but want to add some variety to your dish.

The twisty shape holds sauce better than traditional long pastas such as spaghetti and works great when combined with chunky sauces or broths.

It also pairs nicely with seafood dishes due to its subtle flavor profile.

9. Radiatore Pasta

Radiatore Pasta

Radiatore is a shape of pasta that looks like small, ridged cylinders.

The unique shape of radiatore makes it perfect for holding sauces and other ingredients in its crevices.

It’s also great for baking or casseroles because the ridges help keep the pasta from sticking together.

Radiatore pairs well with chunky sauces such as pesto, tomato-based sauces, and cream-based dishes.

It’s also ideal for cold salads since the ridges make it easier to pick up all the ingredients.

If you’re looking to replace fusilli pasta in your dish, try using radiatore instead!


The 9 Best Substitutes for Fusilli Pasta

What if you don't have fusilli pasta in your pantry? Don't worry, I'm here to help! In this article, I'm sharing my top nine substitutes for fusilli pasta that will still give you all the flavor and texture you're looking for.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 365 kcal


  • Rotini
  • Penne
  • Farfalle
  • Macaroni
  • Cavatappi
  • Rigatoni
  • Orecchiette
  • Gemelli
  • Radiatore


  • Choose your favorite substitute from this list.
  • Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
  • Enjoy in no time!