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9 Main Differences Between Egg Noodles Vs Rice Noodles

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I remember when my friend Janet asked me about the difference between egg noodles and rice noodles. I have to say that I was a bit surprised that she asked that because she has been eating them her whole life. 

So, I answered: Oh dear, you don’t need to be a pro to figure out the main difference between these two noodles. Egg noodles are made from eggs, wheat flour, water, and salt, while rice noodles are made from rice flour and water.

She replied: Wow. These noodles are so minimalistic.

What my friend Janet wanted to say is that egg noodles and rice noodles are made of only two to four ingredients. Well, things aren’t that simple. 

There are more differences between these two popular Thai noodles people usually don’t pay attention to. Today, we’ll go through all of them! 

Let’s start with a brief summary of the differences between egg noodles and rice noodles:

difference between egg noodles and rice noodles

If you’re interested in an in-depth explanation of all the differences between egg noodles vs rice noodles, here you go:

1. Ingredients

Egg noodles are made of eggs, water, wheat flour, and salt. Eggs are the main reason why these noodles have a golden yellow color. 

On the other hand, rice noodles are made of water and rice flour. It’s important to mention that some noodle makers also add cornstarch or tapioca starch to it for a chewier texture. 

2. Appearance

Assorted gluten free buckwheat, egg and rice noodles.

Egg noodles are known for their golden yellow color, and they come in different shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most common shapes of egg noodles: thin, stringy, and bow-shaped. 

Dried rice noodles have a transparent color that turns white and opaque when cooked, and it looks like thin, round strips. The dried version is the most common variety of rice noodles that can be found in stores. 

3. Texture

Egg noodles have a chewy and springy texture that is similar to ramen or Italian pasta. Different shapes and sizes of egg noodles have different thicknesses and springiness. 

Rice noodles have a tender and slightly chewy texture. The addition of cornstarch or tapioca starch creates makes the texture even smoother and chewier. This is one of the reasons why people use cornstarch.

4. Flavor

Tasty cooked rice noodles on white table

Egg noodles have a savory and slightly salty taste. Eggs are responsible for the rich flavor of these Thai noodles. Of course, the slightly salty taste comes from salt.

Let’s say that rice noodles are more basic with a neutral flavor because they don’t contain eggs but are made of only two ingredients: rice flour and water. Because of their neutral flavor, they can be paired with various dishes (more on that below). 

5. Cooking time and methods

Egg noodles need to be boiled for 4 to 5 minutes, whereas rice noodles need to be soaked in hot water for 1 to 2 minutes. 

However, the cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the noodles and different brands. As always, it’s best to read the cooking instructions provided on the package. 

6. Popular dishes

Egg noodles are popularly used in dishes like chow mein, lo mein, and beef and broccoli noodles. You can also use them to make Tan Tan noodles.

Rice noodles are used for dishes like pho, Pad See Ew or Pad Thai, noodle salad, Massaman curry or Panang curry, soups, or as a Thai basil stir fry noodle. Here’s a delicious Chow Mei Fun recipe with rice noodles:

7. Nutritional value (per cup)

As expected, egg noodles have more calories and protein than rice noodles. These two noodles have a similar amount of carbs and fiber. 

difference in nutritional value between egg noodles and rice noodles

8. Gluten-Free And Vegan?

Most egg noodles are made of wheat flour meaning they are not gluten-free. Still, some egg noodle makers make gluten-free versions by adding all-purpose gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour. Also, egg noodles are not vegan because they are made of eggs.

Rice flour, cornstarch, and tapioca starch are gluten-free starches. Hence, most rice noodles are gluten-free (except for the ones where manufacturers add wheat flour or other starches that are not gluten-free).

Rice noodles are one of the most popular Chinese gluten-free foods. Rice noodles are also vegan because they are made of plant-based ingredients. 

9. Origin

It is believed that egg noodles originated in China during the Han Dynasty (25-200 A.D.). However, there’s another theory that suggests egg noodles originated in Italy. I guess we’ll never know for sure but that’s okay. The most important thing is that egg noodles are simply delicious.

Rice noodles have their origins in China during the Qin Dynasty (259-210 B.C.). 

FUN FACT: Upon invading the south, people from northern China preferred noodles made from wheat flour because they weren’t accustomed to rice. 

Egg Noodles Vs Rice Noodles: Which One Should You Choose?

Homemade egg noodles with eggs, wheat flour and wooden rolling pin on the black wooden background

I always say that choosing egg noodles or rice noodles is a matter of personal preference. However, if you’re looking beyond that, rice noodles are a better choice for people who have gluten intolerance or for vegans (or both).

If you’re looking for a richer taste of noodles and a chewier texture (assuming you aren’t vegan or gluten intolerant), then egg noodles are a better choice for you. 

I prefer both types of noodles. Actually, I have this habit of eating only egg noodles for a month or so, and then I switch to rice noodles. I sincerely hope that this sounds familiar to some of you or it’s just a trend of mine called “gotta switch noodles”. 

Can you substitute egg noodles for rice noodles?

Sure! You can substitute egg noodles for rice noodles in most recipes, and vice versa. These two noodles can also be cooked together. 

Keep in mind that rice noodles aren’t a good substitute for egg noodles if you’re vegan or gluten intolerant. 

Noodlicious Is The New Delicious! 

Orange is the new black (a reference to the TV show). Noodles are the new delicious. Wrong. Noodles have always been delicious. 

Now that you know the main differences between egg noodles vs rice noodles, I wonder which one will you cook today? 🤔

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