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Pasta Perfection: 5 BEST Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta

Finding the perfect pasta substitute can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. You see, not every pasta shape is created equal.

Some bring the perfect texture for soups, while others shine in salads or casseroles. Guess what? We’ve been on that hunt too.

And we’re about to make your pasta-picking quest a whole lot easier.

Today’s focus? Ditalini pasta. It’s a staple in many kitchens for a good reason.

Sure, it’s got that ideal bite-size shape for hearty dishes. But what if your pantry’s fresh out of it?

Don’t sweat it; we’ve got you covered with five stellar substitutes.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta

If you’re looking for an alternative to ditalini pasta, you’ll be pleased with the variety of substitutes available.

Here are five of the best options:

1 – Tubettini

Tubettini is a cylindrical pasta shape, similar to short macaroni tubes, with ridges and a hollow center.

This smaller pasta size has a pleasing texture – more substantial than vermicelli yet still delicate in the mouth.

The flavor of Tubettini is mild, so it can easily absorb other flavors.

Tubettini is particularly good for holding sauces and soups, which makes it a great replacement for ditalini pasta in minestrone or pasta e fagiole.

You can also try this tiny tubular pasta baked in hearty casseroles or used as an interesting twist to cold salads.

2 – Orzo

Orzo, or risoni as it is commonly called in Italy, is a type of pasta shaped like grains of rice.

It has a mild flavor and a soft yet slightly chewy texture.

It absorbs sauces nicely and can be used to make delicious salads and soups.

Instead of using ditalini pasta, try substituting it with orzo for a more interesting dish.

The size contrast between ditalini and orzo will not only add visual appeal but will also add some pleasant textural contrast.

Orzo tastes great when cooked in broth with vegetables and can even replace traditional risotto if cooked like one.

3 – Acini Di Pepe

Acini Di Pepe, which translates to ‘peppercorns’ in Italian, is a form of tiny pasta shaped like spheres.

Dropping these small balls of dough into boiling water produces an al dente texture with a mild nutty flavor.

Acini Di Pepe can be used as an excellent substitute for ditalini pasta, enhancing dishes with its unique texture and flavor.

While it goes extremely well with creamy and elemental sauces, it can also deliciously intensify soups and salads as a result of its versatility.

4 – Elbow Macaroni

Elbow macaroni is a durable and delicious pasta option.

Characterized by its short and curved shape, it has an unmistakable taste and texture.

Its firmness makes it an ideal noodle for casseroles and baked dishes when paired with sauces like alfredo and marinara.

If you want to substitute it for ditalini in your recipes, cook it for 6-7 minutes longer than the recommended cooking time of 8-10 minutes.

Once done, observe the noodle’s firmness and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Elbow macaroni can add some more flavor to your classic dishes.

5 – Fregula

Fregula is a Sardinian specialty pasta that is gaining more and more popularity throughout the world.

It has a unique taste and a slightly chewy texture.

Fregula looks somewhat like large grains of couscous, but it is actually made with hard durum wheat semolina, which has been toasted in the oven.

Accompanied by vegetables, seafood, or meat, it makes for an excellent pasta dish.

If you’re looking for an alternative to ditalini that will add greater depth and flavor to your plate, fregula could be the perfect ingredient.

You can serve it as a side dish or use it as the main carbohydrate in many Mediterranean-style recipes.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta

If you're out of ditalini pasta, here are five other pasta shapes that can substitute perfectly, maintaining the integrity of your dish's texture and flavor profile.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Tubettini
  • Orzo
  • Acini Di Pepe
  • Elbow Macaroni
  • Fregula


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta
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