Difference Between Macaroni and Pasta

Main Difference – Macaroni vs Pasta

Macaroni and pasta are Italian cuisines that are famous all over the world. However, many people wonder over the difference between macaroni and pasta as these two terms refer to similar types of food. Pasta is a general term for food basically made from unleavened dough of buckwheat or wheat, flour and water whereas macaroni is a type of dry pasta. This is the main difference between macaroni and pasta.

What is Macaroni

Macaroni is a type of dry pasta in the shape of narrow tubes. Though it originates from Italy, it is famous all over the world.  Macaroni is made from durum wheat and eggs are usually not used in this preparation.

Macaroni is usually cut into short lengths. Elbow macaroni is cut in length and has a curve. This curved shape is a result of the different speeds on opposite sides of the pasta tube as it is taken out of the machine. While some machines can make different macaroni shapes, it is usually produced in large scale. Macaroni and cheese, often made with elbow macaroni, is a popular dish in many western countries.Difference Between Macaroni and Pasta

What is Pasta

Pasta is one of the main food items in traditional Italian cuisine. The term pasta is also commonly used to refer to a range of pasta dishes. Pasta is typically a noodle made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour, mixed with water or eggs. Then it is formed into sheets or various shapes, and cooked by boiling or baking. Pasta can also be made with flour from other grains as well. Pasta is usually a simple dish but comes in many varieties owing to its versatility.

Pasta can be basically divided into two broad categories: dried pasta and fresh pasta. Dried pasta is generally produced in factories via an extrusion process. They have a long shelf life and are transported to farther location. Fresh pasta was traditionally made at home, using local, fresh ingredients. But today many types of fresh pasta are produced by large-scale machines and are widely available in shops. Both dried pasta and fresh pasta come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Both dried and fresh pasta can be classically used three prepared dishes. It can be cooked and served with a complementary sauce or condiment. Pasta can also be prepared as a part of a soup-type dish. It is also incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked.Main Difference - Macaroni vs Pasta

Difference Between Macaroni and Pasta


Macaroni is a type of dry pasta in the shape of narrow tubes.

Pasta is a dish originating from Italy consisting of dough made from durum wheat and water, extruded or stamped into various shapes.

Dry vs fresh

Macaroni is a type of dry pasta.

Pasta can be basically categorized as dry pasta and fresh pasta

Shelf life

Macaroni has a long shelf life.

Fresh pasta has a shorter shelf life compared to dry pasta.


Eggs are not generally used to make Macaroni.

Eggs are used to make some varieties of Pasta.


Macaroni usually comes in the shape of narrow tubes.

Pasta comes in different sizes and varieties.Difference Between Macaroni and Pasta - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Macaroni closeup”.  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons

“Tagliatelle de Pasta Fresca al Huevo” Javier Lastras (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: admin