When it comes to pasta, there are many options available, but two of the most popular ones are angel hair and spaghetti. Although both are long and thin, these two kinds of pasta differ in texture, size and cooking time. In this article, we'll explore the differences between angel hair vs. spaghetti and provide some tips on how to cook them perfectly. Read on to learn all about angel hair vs. spaghetti and how to choose the best pasta for your next dish.

Angel hair pasta noodles with roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes
Angel hair pasta noodles with roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes makes a quick tasty weekday meal.

©iStock.com/Candice Bell

Angel Hair vs. Spaghetti: What Is the Difference?

In the pasta world, angel hair and spaghetti are long, thin shapes with a variety of sizes. Angel hair, also known as capellini, is the most delicate pasta with a diameter of 0.85 mm. Spaghetti, on the other hand, has a slightly thicker diameter of 1.8 mm. Both types of pasta are made with durum wheat semolina and water, but the difference in size and texture can affect how they are cooked and served. Durum wheat helps control your sugar levels and is also suitable for diabetics. It lowers your cholesterol and the risk of colorectal cancer. It makes you feel fuller for longer and helps your bowel movements.

Origins of Angel Hair and Spaghetti

Angel hair originated in Italy, where it is known as capelli d'angelo, which translates to angel hair. It is a delicate pasta that is often used in light dishes, such as seafood or tomato-based sauces. Spaghetti, on the other hand, is one of the most well-known pasta shapes worldwide and is a staple in Italian cuisine. It is commonly used with heartier sauces, such as bolognese or carbonara.

Texture and Size

Angel hair is delicate, fragile, thin, and almost translucent. Due to its thinness, it cooks quickly and can easily become overcooked if not carefully watched. On the other hand, spaghetti is thicker and more substantial. It holds sauce better than angel hair thanks to its slightly rough surface. When cooked al dente, the texture is robust, making it ideal for meals that call for a heavier or meaty sauce.

How Texture and Size Affect Dishes

The texture and size of pasta can have a significant impact on the outcome of your dish. Angel hair works well with light, delicate sauces as it complements their flavors without overpowering them. Spaghetti, on the other hand, is more substantial and pairs well with heartier, more flavourful sauces. Choosing the right pasta can help elevate the flavors in your dish and create a balance between the pasta and sauce.

Cooking Angel Hair and Spaghetti

Be careful not to overcook angel hair, it quickly turns mushy if left in the pot for too long. To cook your angel hair perfectly, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then add the pasta. Cook it for no more than 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Once cooked, immediately drain the pasta and toss it with your favorite sauce. Brown butter garlic is a delicious light sauce that pairs perfectly with angel hair. Jazz it up with different herbs and some parmesan cheese for a quick meal. Angel hair pasta primavera is a classic Italian American favorite consisting of fresh veggies such as broccoli, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and artichokes. To give vegetables a distinctive flavor roast first before being added to your sauce. Angel hair also works well with seafood sauces, such as clam or shrimp sauce.

Spaghetti with marinara sauce, meat and parmesan on wooden table against gradient orange background
Spaghetti with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and ground beef is a tasty midweek meal.


Spaghetti requires a little more time to cook than angel hair, typically around 8-12 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add your pasta, stirring occasionally. Test the spaghetti regularly during the cooking process to ensure it's cooked well. Once it is cooked, drain and add your favorite sauce. Marinara sauce is a family favorite tomato-based sauce with herbs. Add some ground beef or meatballs and turn it into a hearty Italian bolognese. Spaghetti also pairs well with creamy sauces like carbonara or alfredo. 

Ingredients and Nutritional Value of Angel Hair Pasta


Semolina (wheat), durum wheat flour.

Vitamins/minerals: vitamin B3, iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, folic acid. 

Note this product is manufactured on equipment that processes products containing eggs. 

Nutrition ValuesUnits (per 2 oz)
Fat Cal9
Total Fat1g
Saturated Fat0g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates42g
Dietary Fiber3g
Soluble Fiber2g
Insoluble Fiber1g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
Vitamin D0%

Nutritional Value of Spaghetti

In the chart below, we will look at the nutritional values of spaghetti based on a 100g serving without sauce.

Nutritional ValuesSpaghetti
Total Fat0.9g
Saturated Fat0.2g
Trans Fat Regulation0g
Total Carbohydrates31g
Dietary Fiber1.8g

One of the key factors when comparing angel hair vs. spaghetti is their calorie contents and nutritional values. Spaghetti is a thicker and heavier pasta than angel hair. Both varieties have comparable nutritional values, with spaghetti having a higher fiber and protein content.

Health Benefits of Both Types of Pasta

Angel hair and spaghetti are both low in fat, making them a healthier option compared to other types of pasta. Additionally, carbohydrates can provide energy for your daily activities. However, it's important to consume pasta in moderation and eat it with a balanced diet which should include vegetables, fruits, and lean protein.

Affordability: Angel Hair vs. Spaghetti

Another factor to consider when comparing angel hair and spaghetti is their cost and availability. Depending on where you live and shop, you may have different options and prices. Today the cost of living has increased, and shopping smartly can be beneficial to your pocket.

Both angel hair and spaghetti are widely available in most grocery stores and supermarkets. However, some countries may have more access to one type over the other. For instance, in Italy, spaghetti is more commonly used and found in traditional dishes.

International Variations

Outside of Italy, both types of pasta are used in a variety of international dishes. For instance, angel hair is popular in Thai cuisine, where it's used in dishes like pad Thai. Spaghetti is also often used in Asian cuisine and featured in dishes like Korean and Japanese spaghetti.

Factors to Consider

Consider the type of sauce or ingredients you're using, as well as the texture and thickness of the pasta. Additionally, consider any dietary restrictions or preferences, such as organic, egg-free, or gluten-free options. Pea pasta is a great alternative for those who are gluten intolerant. It is usually prepared with yellow peas which include the skin. Yellow peas come from the green pea family, although they are harvested earlier and have a nuttier taste. They are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Recommended Dishes

If you're making a light and fresh seafood dish or pesto-based sauce, angel hair may be the better option to complement the flavors. On the other hand, if you're making a hearty tomato-based sauce or meatballs, spaghetti may be a better choice to hold up the weight of the ingredients.


What Is the Difference Between Angel Hair and Spaghetti?

Angel Hair is thinner and more delicate than spaghetti, with a smoother texture and a shorter cooking time. Spaghetti is thicker and more robust, with a rougher surface that holds sauces well.

Can I Freeze Angel Hair and Spaghetti?

Yes, you can freeze angel hair and spaghetti. To freeze angel hair and spaghetti, you must cook them first. Once cooked, you can cool them quickly by running cold water over them. Store it in a freezer-safe container. Write the date on the container and use it within a few months.

Can Angel Hair and Spaghetti Be Used Interchangeably?

While both pasta types can be used in many similar dishes, they have different textures and sizes that can affect the final result. Angel Hair is ideal for light and delicate sauces, while spaghetti works best with hearty and thick sauces.

Which Is Healthier, Angel Hair or Spaghetti?

Both pasta types are made from durum wheat semolina, which is a good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Angel Hair has fewer calories and less fat than spaghetti, but the difference is minimal.

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