The 9 Best Substitutes for Gemelli Pasta

We’ve all been there – you have a recipe in mind and it calls for Gemelli pasta…but you don’t know where to get it.

Don’t despair!

I have the perfect solution – try one of these trustworthy substitutes for gemelli pasta in any recipe, regardless of its origin.

Gemelli is like a tube-shaped spiral, which gives dishes an interesting texture that can be hard to replicate with conventional varieties of pasta.

Fortunately, some alternate shapes come close enough to achieve similar results.

I’ve rounded up 9 of the best replacements for gemelli pasta so your meal will look and taste just as good as when made with the original ingredient.

You won’t miss out on any flavor or texture with these top finds!

What is Gemelli Pasta?

Gemelli Pasta

Gemelli pasta is a type of spiral-shaped Italian noodle.

It is made with two strands of wheat flour and water that are twisted together, giving it its unique shape.

Gemelli translates to “twins” in Italian, referring to the two strands of pasta that make up each piece.

The gemelli’s ridges help hold onto sauces while its hollow center makes it ideal for stuffing with cheese or vegetables.

They’re also great when used in soups and salads since they don’t require long cooking times.

Gemelli is a versatile pasta shape that can be used in a variety of dishes, from quick weeknight meals to special occasion feasts!

The 9 Best Substitutes for Gemelli Pasta

Gemelli pasta is a unique type of pasta that can be difficult to find in stores.

Fortunately, there are several great substitutes for it that you can use in your favorite recipes.

Here are nine alternatives to Gemelli pasta that will give you the same flavors and textures:

1. Rotini


Rotini is a type of short, spiral-shaped pasta.

It is similar to fusilli, but with a tighter curl.

Rotini has ridges that help it hold sauces and seasonings well, making it an excellent choice for dishes like macaroni and cheese or casseroles.

The hollow shape also helps the pasta absorb liquid more quickly than other types of noodles.

Rotini can be used as a substitute for gemelli in almost any recipe requiring cooked pasta—it will add an extra twisty texture to salads and soups and can be tossed with vegetables and proteins to make filling entrées.

Its shape makes it particularly fitting for chunky sauces like marinara or meat sauce because they cling easily to its crevices.

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Whether you’re looking for something interesting to bring your weeknight dinners up a notch or searching for the perfect noodle to use in your next potluck dish, rotini should definitely be added into your regular rotation!

2. Farfalle


Farfalle is an Italian pasta shaped like butterflies or bow ties.

It’s a versatile pasta that can be used in many different recipes.

Farfalle works well with light sauces, such as pesto, cream sauce, and tomato sauce.

It also pairs nicely with vegetables, meats and cheeses for heartier dishes.

For vegetarian-friendly meals, farfalle makes a great base for stir-fries or salads.

It also adds texture to soups and casseroles when cooked al dente.

When it comes to substituting gemelli pasta in recipes, farfalle is the perfect choice because of its shape and size.

The unique shape of farfalle will add visual interest to any dish while still providing enough surface area to hold onto sauces easily.

Additionally, the smaller size means it cooks more quickly than other pastas such as rigatoni or penne – making it ideal for quick weeknight dinners!

3. Fusilli


Fusilli is a type of pasta shaped like a corkscrew or spring.

This unique shape makes it perfect for trapping sauces, which is why fusilli is often used in dishes like casseroles and baked pasta dishes.

Fusilli also works well in cold salads, as the shape helps to hold onto dressings more effectively than other types of pastas.

The tight spirals are also great for dishes that require short cooking times, such as soups and stir-fries.

It’s important to note that fusilli has a slightly different texture from gemelli pasta—it tends to be chewier and denser due to its twisty shape.

However, this difference can be an advantage depending on what kind of dish you’re making!

For instance, if you’re looking for a heartier texture in your sauce-based dishes (like lasagna), then substituting fusilli for gemelli may be just the thing you’re looking for.

4. Cavatappi


Cavatappi is a type of pasta that looks like a corkscrew.

It can be made from durum wheat semolina or whole grain flours, and it has ridges along its length that make it ideal for holding sauces.

Cavatappi is best used in recipes where the sauce needs to really cling to the noodles, such as baked dishes, creamy soups, and casseroles.

Since cavatappi holds onto more sauce than other types of pasta, you don’t need to use as much liquid in your dish.

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This makes it an especially good choice for recipes where you want a thicker sauce without having to add extra ingredients or reduce down the liquids.

In addition to being great for saucy dishes, cavatappi also works well with chunkier vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower due to their size and shape.

It can also be used instead of gemelli pasta in salads or cold noodle dishes as it does not become soggy when chilled.

5. Rigatoni


Rigatoni is a type of pasta that is shaped like large tubes, often with ridges on the outside.

It has a firm texture and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Rigatoni pairs well with heartier sauces such as ragouts or bolognese, and works particularly well when baked into casseroles.

This shape also makes it an ideal choice for chunky vegetable-based recipes and soups.

When substituting rigatoni for gemelli pasta, keep in mind that its larger size will require more sauce to cover all the ridges and crevices.

Additionally, because of its tube shape, rigatoni does not hold onto creamy sauces as well as gemelli does so you may want to consider adding some starch such as flour or cornstarch to help thicken the sauce before adding your pasta.

6. Penne


Penne is a type of pasta that is shaped like cylinders with ridges on each side.

It has its origins in Italy, where it is traditionally used as the main ingredient in dishes such as penne alla vodka and pasta al forno.

Penne works well with heavier sauces such as tomato-based sauces or cream-based sauces, since the ridges help to hold the sauce onto the pasta.

The shape also makes it ideal for salads, since the pieces stay separate from one another.

It can be served hot or cold depending on your preference.

When substituting penne for gemelli pasta, recipes that work best are those that rely heavily on rich flavors and a thick sauce; think macaroni and cheese or pesto pasta dishes.

The ridges of penne will help to hold onto more of these flavors than gemelli would be able to do alone.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a bit more texture in your dish then opting for penne over gemelli might make sense.

7. Rotelle

Rotelle pasta

Rotelle, also known as wagon wheels, are a type of pasta shaped like small wheels.

These shapes hold sauces and other ingredients well and have a unique texture that makes them ideal for hearty dishes.

Rotelle is great for pasta salads because the shape helps to keep the dish interesting.

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The ridges on rotelle make it perfect for trapping chunky sauces like pesto or meat sauce.

It can also be used in soups and casseroles to add extra flavor and texture.

When using rotelle instead of gemelli pasta, you should bear in mind that they take slightly longer to cook due to their larger size.

If you’re looking for an eye-catching alternative to traditional pasta shapes, give rotelle a try!

8. Macaroni

Macaroni Pasta

Macaroni is a type of short, curved pasta that has been around since the 15th century.

It is most commonly associated with mac and cheese dishes but can also be used in other recipes.

Macaroni’s small size makes it an ideal choice for soups, salads, casseroles, and stir-fries. It can also be baked or boiled as part of a main dish.

Compared to gemelli pasta, macaroni holds its shape better when cooked and has slightly more texture due to its smaller size.

This makes it better suited for dishes where the pasta needs to keep its shape without becoming mushy.

For example, macaroni would work well in salads like tuna or chicken salad as it won’t break down too much when mixed with other ingredients.

Macaroni is also great for casseroles and baked dishes such as lasagna because it will maintain its shape during cooking without becoming overly soft or soggy.

9. Orecchiette


Orecchiette is a type of pasta that originates from the Puglia region of Italy.

Its unique shape, which is similar to a small ear, gives it its name which literally translates to “little ears” in Italian.

Orecchiette is best paired with sauces and vegetables as the curved shape helps capture bits of ingredients in each bite.

This makes it an excellent choice for hearty soups or casseroles that use creamy sauces or broths.

The pasta also pairs well with pestos and chunky vegetable mixtures like ratatouille.

For dishes such as these, orecchiette can be used instead of gemelli pasta for a more interesting texture and flavor profile.

Gemelli Pasta

The 9 Best Substitutes for Gemelli Pasta

When you're out of gemelli pasta and in need of a replacement, look no further! This article is here to help with the 9 best substitutes for gemelli pasta. From rigatoni to farfalle, I'll take you through different types of pasta and the best ways to use them. You'll have your favorite dish back on the table in no time. With these great options, you won't miss gemelli one bit!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 365 kcal


  • Rotini
  • Farfalle
  • Fusilli
  • Cavatappi
  • Rigatoni
  • Penne
  • Rotelle
  • Macaroni
  • Orecchiette


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