Milk Street Noodles

Secrets to the World’s Best Noodles, from Fettuccine Alfredo to Pad Thai to Miso Ramen


By Christopher Kimball

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$44.00 CAD



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It's time to twirl and slurp bowls of pasta, ramen, spaetzle, lo mein, and more with 125 recipes for noodles from around the world, from the James Beard Award-winning team at Milk Street

Nearly every culture serves some sort of noodle, from fettuccine, ramen and spaetzle, to lo mein, gnocchi and udon. So we traveled the world to learn the secrets to the best pad Thai, Italian ragu, spicy North African couscous and buttery Turkish noodles flecked with feta. 
  • In Italy, we were taught the real fettuccine Alfredo—so much lighter, simpler and more satisfying than what we knew.
  • In Sapporo, Japan, we learned how to develop the deep umami flavors of miso ramen with minimal time and effort.
  • And from Ho Chi Minh City to Lima, we learned the art of the quick noodle stir-fry, from Vietnamese shrimp noodles to Peruvian chicken and pasta
The world of noodles also includes cool salads, steaming soups, plump dumplings and bowls of well-sauced shapes of all kind. Noodles are a perfect canvas for spring and summer vegetables, as well as hearty wintertime baked casseroles. And if speed is your need, try hoisin-ginger noodles or our cheesy one-pan cacio e pepe, both ready in 20 minutes. 

We include guides to using the noodles you have on hand, and show how to make classic noodles from scratch—from homemade udon and hand-cut wheat noodles to fresh egg pasta, orecchiette and potato gnocchi.

What's for dinner? Use your noodle.


Where to
Use Your Noodles

Asian Egg Noodles

Chicken Noodle Soup with Turmeric and Coconut Milk

Vietnamese Pan-Fried Noodles with Shrimp and Bok Choy

Asian Wheat Noodles

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Asian Yellow Wheat Noodles

Savory-Sweet Stir-Fried Noodles and Vegetables


Pasta with Cauliflower, Lemon and Pistachios

Pasta with Cauliflower, Garlic and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Broccolini, Anchovies and Garlic

Creamy Four-Cheese Pasta


Spicy Peruvian-Style Beef and Noodle Soup

Mexican Chicken and Fideos Soup

Pasta and Seafood “Paella”


Pearl Couscous and Zucchini Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Pearl Couscous Pilaf with Artichokes, Green Olives and Dill

Harissa-Garlic Pearl Couscous and Shrimp

North African Chicken Couscous

Dang Myun (Sweet Potato Noodles)

Korean Stir-Fried Noodles with Mushrooms and Spinach

Korean Chicken and Noodle Stew with Potatoes and Mushrooms


Soupe au Pistou

Egg Noodles

Noodle Kugel with Leeks, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese


Farfalle with Zucchini, Pecorino and Basil

Farfalle with Creamy Carrots and Pancetta


Chicken and Mushroom Noodle Soup with Sauerkraut

Fettuccine with Corn, Tomatoes and Bacon

Chinese Hot Oil Noodles with Bok Choy

Turkish-Style Noodles with Butter, Walnuts and Feta

Fettuccine Alfredo

Pasta and Lentils with Pomegranate Molasses

Crispy Pasta with Chickpeas, Lemon and Parsley


Fregola with Chicken, Chard and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Glass Noodles

Thai Pork, Glass Noodle and Herb Salad

Spicy Glass Noodles with Ground Pork


Gnocchi with Pancetta and Garlic

Gnocchi with Pesto alla Genovese


Lasagna Bolognese


Peruvian Spinach Pesto Pasta

Linguine with Artichokes, Lemon and Pancetta


Japanese Macaroni Salad

Catalan Noodles with Pork and Chorizo


Orecchiette with Sardinian Sausage Ragù

Orecchiette with Coriander and Cherry Tomatoes


Toasted Orzo Salad with Roasted Pepper, Feta and Herbs

Harissa-Spiced Beef and Pasta Soup

Greek Orzo and Tomato Soup

Shrimp with Orzo, Tomatoes and Feta

Orzo with Chicken, Tomatoes and Feta

“Orzotto” with Asparagus, Lemon and Parmesan


Pasta with Spiced Beef, Caramelized Onions and Herbed Yogurt


Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Pancetta Sauce

Pasta with Fennel, Green Olive and Pistachio Pesto

Penne with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Ricotta Salata

One-Pot Pasta all’Arrabbiata

Baked Pasta with Eggplant, Sausage and Fontina


Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Scallions

Cold Ramen Salad with Soy and Sesame Dressing

Miso Ramen

Garlic and Black Pepper Noodles with Shrimp and Chives

Japanese Fried Noodles with Bacon and Cabbage

Rice Stick Noodles

Chicken Pho

Thai Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken and Basil

Pad Thai with Shrimp

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Beef and Broccolini

Lao Fried Noodles with Pork and Scallions

Rice Vermicelli

Cambodian-Style Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp, Cucumber and Herbs

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowls with Broiled Marinated Pork

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Yunnanese-Style Pork and Rice Noodle Soup

Filipino Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli with Shrimp and Snow Peas


Rigatoni with Pistachio, Ricotta and Herb Pesto

Rigatoni Carbonara with Peas

Rigatoni with Roman Broccoli Sauce

Rigatoni with Tomato, Kale and Fontina

Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

Shell Pasta

Tuna and Pasta Gratin

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Browned Butter and Almonds


Chilled Soba with Ginger and Edamame

Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Watercress

Soba Noodles with Asparagus, Miso Butter and Egg

Miso-Walnut Soba with Bok Choy


Chilled Sesame-Soy Korean Noodles with Gochujang


Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto

Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan

Spaghetti with Anchovies, Pine Nuts and Raisins

Skillet Cacio e Pepe

Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil and Chilies

Spaghetti with Lemon Pesto

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Tomatoes and White Wine

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Pasta all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti with Clams

Spaghetti with Tuna and Mushrooms

Peruvian Stir-Fried Chicken and Noodles

Spaghetti with Goat Cheese, Mint and Peas

Pasta with Tomato, Onion and Butter

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pasta with Sausage, Olive and Fennel Seed Ragù


Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Tagliatelle with Mushroom Ragù


Udon Noodles in Soy Broth

Spicy Korean-Style Noodle and Seafood Soup

Hoisin-Ginger Noodles

Chinese Chili and Scallion Noodles

Shanghai-Style Fried Noodles

Stir-Fried Noodles with Kimchi and Pork

Udon Noodles with Spicy Meat and Mushroom Sauce


Indian Vermicelli with Peas and Cilantro

Maltese-Style Vermicelli Omelet

Whole-Wheat Linguine

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Chard, Potatoes and Fontina


Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Capers and Herbs

Ziti with Tomatoes, Olives and Fried Capers

Pasta with Oven-Braised Pork and Rosemary Ragù

Asian Noodles

China is home to the world’s oldest known noodles, a bowl of slender, yellow strands about 4,000 years old that were unearthed at an excavation site near the Yellow River. Modern-day Asian noodles typically are made from wheat or rice, though there also are varieties made from yam and mung beans. They may be chewy, soft, springy, dried or fresh. Wheat-based Asian noodles aren’t made of the hard durum wheat typical of Italian pasta and, therefore, cook more quickly. Some require rinsing after cooking to remove excess starch, and all are cooked in unsalted water. They should be cooked until tender—not al dente. Tasting for doneness is the best way to know when your noodles are ready.


Asian Wheat Noodles

Wheat noodles comprise a broad category, but when we refer to fresh Asian wheat noodles we generally mean varieties that are about the size of spaghetti. They’re great in stir-fries or simply sauced. Fresh Asian noodles are often sold in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, near the tofu. Dried Asian wheat noodles, in particular lo mein, are also a good and often more widely available option.

Glass Noodles

Glass noodles are thin and wiry and are sometimes called cellophane noodles, bean threads or sai fun. Made of vegetable starch, usually mung bean, they turn translucent when cooked. Typical prep is a 15-minute soak in boiling water.


Chewy and stretchy, ramen are made of wheat flour and an alkaline solution that gives the noodles their yellow hue and springy texture. They usually are eaten in brothy soups or stir-fried with vegetables and are most commonly sold in the U.S. in instant form, but also available fresh, frozen and dried. We lean toward dried, non-instant ramen, because it’s easier to source than fresh. The noodles, which might be straight like spaghetti or squiggly and formed into a slab, cook in about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water, or drain and immediately add to soup. Don’t have any ramen on hand? We show you how to “ramenize” Italian pasta using just water and baking soda, see here.

Rice Sticks

Different from thin rice sticks, these are ribbon-like noodles, sold in widths ranging from ⅛ to ½ inch, used for dishes such as pad Thai and pho. They’re made of rice flour and are most commonly sold dried. To prepare them for stir-frying, the noodles are usually first softened by a soak in hot water or, in the case of soups, they are quickly cooked in boiling water.

Rice Vermicelli

Also known as thin rice sticks or maifun, these are thin, wiry noodles used in soups, salads and stir-fries. Don’t confuse them with wide, flat rice sticks used in pad Thai or pho.


Gray-brown and nutty, soba is made from buckwheat flour or a blend of buckwheat and wheat flour. It sometimes is flavored with matcha (green tea powder) to make cha soba. Usually served chilled with a dashi-soy dipping sauce, or hot, in a dashi-based broth, though we also like them in noodle salads. They are sold dried and fresh (frozen). We prefer the clean, nutty flavor of dried 100 percent buckwheat soba, but this type can be difficult to find. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Hand-Cut Wheat Noodles here


Delicate, pale and thin, somen are made from wheat flour dough that is oiled, then stretched several times. The noodles, sold dried, packaged in bundles, usually are served chilled in summer months with a soy-based sauce or dressing or dipping sauce. Add to boiling water and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring gently to prevent sticking, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Sweet Potato Noodles (Dang Myun)

Some recipes refer to these as glass noodles, but these Korean noodles are quite different, and are made, as the name implies, from sweet potato starch. They are grayish brown in color, uniquely springy, and translucent when cooked. They have the ability to really soak up flavors and are often used in soups and stir-fries.


Chewy and well-kneaded udon are a Japanese noodle made from wheat flour, water and salt and prepared in a variety of thicknesses. They are served hot in soup, stir-fried or chilled with dipping sauce, and are sold dried, frozen and fresh (refrigerated and shelf-stable). We prefer the firm, springy texture of frozen udon, which is already cooked, but dried udon is easier to source. Boil until tender, then drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Homemade Udon Noodles

Start to finish: 4 hours (1½ hours active)

Makes about 1¾ pounds uncooked noodles (about 3 pounds cooked noodles)

Udon is a type of Japanese wheat noodle. The thick, chewy strands can be served in hot soup, eaten cold with dipping sauce, stir-fried or simply sauced. When adapting Sonoko Sakai’s udon formula from her book, “Japanese Home Cooking,” we found that the brand of flour used and relative humidity can impact how much water is needed to make the noodle dough. For best results, the dough should be on the dry side and should contain just enough moisture so it holds together shaggily; if needed, work in more water 1 tablespoon at a time, but err on the side of dry rather than wet. With resting and kneading, the dough will hydrate and become smooth, silky and elastic. The classic way to knead dough for udon is to stomp on it by foot, a good—and fun!—way to develop strong gluten structure; we put the dough in a doubled heavy-duty plastic bag before stepping on it (without shoes, of course) to ensure everything stays clean. If you find the dough is difficult to roll because of its elasticity, allow it intermittent rests. You can alternate between the two pieces, rolling one while the other relaxes. Aim for a ⅛-inch thickness so the noodles aren’t too thick; they expand when boiled. Unlike most fresh noodles, this udon requires lengthy cooking—about 15 minutes of boiling—to attain the correct texture.

1½ tablespoons table salt

1 cup warm water (about 100°F)

4 cups all-purpose flour

Cornstarch, for dusting

In a small bowl or a measuring cup, mix together the salt and warm water until the salt dissolves. Put the flour in a large bowl, add half of the salt water and mix with a wooden spoon until the water is absorbed. Add the remaining saltwater and mix, using your hands once the water has been absorbed, until a very shaggy dough forms. If the mixture is very dry and won’t come together, mix in additional water 1 tablespoon at a time, but it’s better to err on the side of too little water than too much. Transfer to a 1-gallon heavy-duty zip-close bag, press out the air and partially seal the bag; let rest for 30 minutes.

Place the bag with the dough inside another 1-gallon zip-close bag, press out the air and partially seal. Lay the bag on the floor and repeatedly step on the dough with your feet, being careful not to tear or puncture the plastic, until the dough is flattened and fills the bag to the edges. Remove the dough from the bag and set it on the counter. Fold it into thirds like a business letter, return it to the inner bag and partially seal both bags. Repeat the process 4 more times, until the dough is very smooth and elastic; after the fifth pressing, leave the dough flat (do not fold it into thirds). Seal the bags and let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 1 day (if refrigerated, let the dough stand at room temperature for about 1 hour before proceeding).

Lightly dust a rimmed baking sheet and the counter with cornstarch. Remove the dough from the bags and set it on the counter. Using a chef’s knife, cut the dough in half. Return one piece to the inner bag and seal it. Using a rolling pin, roll out the second piece until it is ⅛ inch thick. The shape of the rolled dough doesn’t matter; it’s more important that the dough be of an even thickness. Dust the surface of the dough with cornstarch, then accordion-fold the dough into thirds; set it on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife and a decisive cutting motion (do not use a sawing action), cut the dough crosswise into ⅛-inch-wide noodles. Unfold the noodles and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, gently separating them; toss to lightly coat with cornstarch and cover with a kitchen towel. Roll and cut the remaining dough in the same way.

In a large (at least 8-quart) pot, bring 5 quarts water to a boil. Using your hands, add the noodles to the pot, first shaking them over the baking sheet to remove excess starch. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a noodle rinsed under cold water is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse the noodles under cold running water and drain again.

Hand-Cut Wheat Noodles

Start to finish: 1 hour (35 minutes active)

Makes about 1 pound uncooked noodles

These Asian-style wheat noodles can be simply sauced or used in a wide variety of soups and stir-fries. The dough comes together easily and, once rolled, can be cut with a knife into noodles of the desired width, from slender linguine-like strands to ribbons about ½ inch wide. If the noodles end up slightly uneven, not to worry—it adds to their charm. We use bread flour to make a strong, gluten-rich dough that handles beautifully and cooks up into noodles with a satisfyingly springy texture, no matter their thickness or width. With each step of rolling and cutting, be sure to dust the dough with flour to prevent the noodles from sticking together. But at the stovetop, be sure to shake off excess flour as you add the noodles to the boiling water. After draining the noodles, rinse them under running water to remove excess starch.

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

½ teaspoon table salt

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine ½ cup water and the oil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, then add the liquid. Using a fork, stir in a circular motion, starting in the center and gradually moving outward to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients, until a shaggy dough forms. Using the heel of your palm, begin kneading the dough, swiping along the edges of the bowl to incorporate any dry bits. If the dough resists coming together, add more water, a few drops at a time, until all the flour is just moistened. Knead in the bowl until the dough is smooth and cohesive, about 10 minutes.

Lightly dust the counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it; knead until soft and springy, about 10 minutes. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a kitchen towel and lightly dust with flour. Lightly flour the counter and set the dough on the floured surface. Using a rolling pin and dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking, roll the dough to an even ⅛- to -inch thickness. (If the dough sheet winds up longer than 16 to 18 inches, cut in half crosswise for slightly shorter lengths.) Dust the surface of the dough with flour, then accordion-fold it into thirds, sprinkling flour between each fold; set it on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife and a decisive cutting motion (do not use a sawing action), cut the dough crosswise into strips of the desired width. Unfold the noodles and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, gently separating the strands. Dust with flour and toss to lightly coat. If making ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

To cook the noodles, follow the directions in the recipe that you are making, or in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add the noodles, first shaking them over the baking sheet to remove excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes for thin noodles or up to about 8 minutes for wider ones. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.

Italian Pasta


  • "In-depth and well-photographed"—Florence Fabricant, New York Times
  • "[The recipes are] easily within any home cook's reach and equipped with just enough cultural context to make you feel rewarded in the mind as well as the belly... Each demonstrates how the possibilities for innovation are endless, once you know where to start."—Atlanta Journal Constitution

On Sale
Apr 25, 2023
Page Count
304 pages

Christopher Kimball

About the Author

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street is located at 177 Milk Street in downtown Boston and is dedicated to changing the way America cooks with new flavor combinations and techniques learned around the world. Milk Street is home to Milk Street TV, a three-time Emmy Award winning public television show, a James Beard Award-winning bimonthly magazine, an award-winning radio show/podcast, a cooking school, and an online retail store with over 1,500 kitchen tools and ingredients. Milk Street is the author of 10 cookbooks, including "Cookish," "Vegetables," and the James Beard winning "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights." Milk Street also invests in non-profit outreach, partnering with FoodCorp, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and the Boys & Girls club of Dorchester. 

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