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Do you love noodles? Me too. Is it possible to enjoy noodles when you’re following a low carb diet? Absolutely! They may not be the type of noodles you’re used to eating, but there are plenty of delicious options.

I’ve been living and cooking with type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years. When I crave noodles, I generally eat spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini. Or I have a small portion of whole grain linguine or brown rice noodles, depending on whether I’m in the mood for Italian or Asian cuisine.

These are good options, but as more companies have started to embrace noodles made from alternative ingredients, even more low carb options have hit the shelves. This article reviews a few of my favorites.

While some of these noodles are also gluten-free, it’s important to keep in mind that “gluten-free” does not necessarily imply low carb. You’ll still have to read the nutrition labels to make sure a particular type of noodle will work for you.

For the sake of comparison, know that 1 cup of cooked spaghetti noodles made from refined wheat flour typically contains more than 40 grams of carbs and fewer than 3 grams of fiber (at least 37 grams of net carbs) per serving.

While there’s no standardized definition of “low carb,” here are the criteria I used in judging the noodles I tried:

  • Net carbs, or carbs minus fiber, had to be 40 grams or less per serving.
  • The noodles had to be available in one of my local grocery stores.
  • I had to enjoy eating them and be willing to eat them again.
  • The price had to be less than $2 per serving.

To round out the list, Healthline editors added a few more noodle options using the same criteria (minus my hands-on testing feedback).

A note on price

Prices in this article are based on one box of pasta (most boxes contain about 8 ounces [oz.]). Some of the prices may seem high on a website, but that’s because the price shown includes multiple boxes.

  • $ = under $3
  • $$ = $3–$5
  • $$$ = over $5

Best spaghetti

Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: organic black soybean flower

I was surprised to learn that this black bean spaghetti is made from black soybeans, not black turtle beans — what people usually mean when they say “black beans.”

Since soybeans have a relatively mild flavor, these noodles can be used in a variety of dishes without overpowering your sauce. The texture is great too. The price shown is for six 8-oz. boxes.

This was by far my favorite low carb pasta that I tested, but that could be because I included it in a delicious Southwestern dish featuring fire-roasted tomatoes, red bell peppers, jalapeños, and sweet corn. There was also avocado sauce drizzled on top. What’s not to like?

Each 2-oz. (56-gram) serving contains:

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Protein: 25 grams

Pros

  • high in protein
  • mild taste that lets sauce shine
  • lower in sodium

Cons

  • easily mistaken for black bean pasta instead of soy
  • chewier than regular pasta

Best low calorie

Better Than Noodles Shirataki Noodles

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: organic konnyaku flour, organic oat fiber

These noodles are made from konnyaku flour, also called konjac flour, and oat fiber. Konnyaku is a root vegetable full of soluble fiber that’s in the taro family and is pretty close to being a zero-calorie, zero-carb, zero-flavor food. Noodles made from konnyaku are called shirataki.

Fresh out of the package, the noodles have a fishy odor. Rinsing and draining them should get rid of most of the smell. Then, you can either boil them or dry-fry them in a nonstick skillet. They’re softer when boiled and have a more gelatinous texture when dry-fried.

These noodles are delicate and most similar to angel hair pasta. Serve them tossed with a simple sesame-ginger sauce or in other Asian-style dishes.

I tried the Better Than Noodles version. The same company also sells a Better Than Pasta version that’s similar.

Half the package (100 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 10
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

Pros

  • low in sodium
  • certified organic
  • kosher, gluten-free, and vegan

Cons

  • fishy smell that may be off-putting at first
  • no protein

Best linguine

Palmini Hearts of Palm Linguine

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: hearts of palm

These noodles are made from hearts of palm and are very crisp right out of the bag, similar to the texture of daikon radish or jicama. They’re great raw and give salads extra crunch. For a milder flavor, you can soak them in milk before using them. You can also serve them cooked.

If you’re a fan of vegetable-based noodles like spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles, you’ll love Palmini. And you won’t have to pull out or clean your spiralizer. Just boil them to soften them, and serve them with Italian or Mediterranean sauces and seasonings (a red sauce works well).

A third of the package (75 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 20
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 60 mg
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

Pros

  • some fiber
  • gluten-free, sugar-free, and kosher
  • sustainably harvested

Cons

  • pricier than other options
  • tasty but not super similar in texture to wheat pasta

Best fettuccine

Explore Cuisine Edamame and Mung Bean Fettucine

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: organic edamame bean flower, organic mung bean flower

I had never heard of edamame noodles — except the ones you make yourself from soy flour — until a friend mentioned them. I looked for the brand she recommended, Seapoint Farms, but couldn’t find it locally. I did, however, find Explore Cuisine’s Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine.

These noodles cook up just like high carb pasta — all you have to do is boil and drain. They do look a bit funny because they’re rippled, but the ripples become less pronounced after cooking.

These soy-based noodles have a hearty, earthy taste and aren’t mushy at all. They need a flavorful sauce and are great served with chimichurri or pesto.

Each 2-oz. (56-gram) serving contains:

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 14 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Protein: 24 grams

Pros

  • good amount of protein
  • similar texture to wheat pasta
  • neutral flavor

Cons

  • need a flavorful sauce
  • high in soy, which some may wish to avoid

Miracle Noodle Fettuccine

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: konjac flour

Miracle Noodles are also in the konnyaku family. Like Better Than Noodles, they need to be rinsed and drained before eating — doing so will get rid of the fishy smell, which some people find unappetizing.

After rinsing, this fettuccine should be both boiled and dry-fried for the best taste and texture.

These noodles are wide, as fettuccine tends to be, so their gelatinous texture is more obvious than with a thinner noodle.

Some people think the texture is perfectly fine in the right dish, while others don’t like it at all. I suspect that many folks who dislike Miracle Noodles don’t follow the preparation instructions correctly.

Serve these noodles in seafood-based, Asian-style dishes like shrimp stir-fry.

Each 3-oz. (85-gram) serving contains:

  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

Pros

  • good choice for those looking to reduce calorie intake
  • pair well with sauces and stir-fries

Cons

  • rinsing and draining makes prep more time consuming
  • not nutrient-dense
  • need to be cooked and pan-fried for best taste

Best rotini

Banza Chickpea Rotini

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: chickpeas, pea starch

Banza pasta is a tasty alternative to wheat pasta. It has approximately 25% fewer carbs than its wheat counterpart. It’s not as low in carbs as some other options on this list, but it’s a great option for someone who follows a gluten-free diet that isn’t keto or super strict about carbs.

It cooks in the same way as traditional pasta, and the chickpeas give it a familiar starchiness (you can even use the pasta water to thicken sauce).

Banza chickpea pasta comes in a variety of shapes (penne, shells, and wagon wheels, to name a few). There are even lasagna noodles, which make Banza one of the most versatile options on this list.

Each 2-oz. (56-gram) serving contains:

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 3.5 grams
  • Sodium: 45 mg
  • Carbs: 32 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams

Pros

  • similar texture to wheat pasta
  • easy to cook
  • high in fiber and protein

Cons

  • not as low in carbs as other options
  • higher in sodium than others
  • not identical in flavor to traditional pasta

Best wheat-based

Al Dente Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: durum wheat semolina, wheat gluten, digestive resistant cornstarch, eggs

A favorite among the Weight Watchers community, this pasta from the Al Dente is made using wheat products and eggs. It’s high in protein and has just 17 grams of net carbs (25 grams total).

This is a good option for people who are not sensitive to gluten. It pairs well with white and red sauces and cooks just like traditional pasta.

A 2-oz. (56-gram) serving contains:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Sodium: 10 mg
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Protein: 15 grams

Pros

  • filling because of fiber content
  • take only 3 minutes to cook
  • similar texture to wheat pasta

Cons

  • not gluten-free
  • slight aftertaste

Best keto

Thin Slim Foods Impastable Keto Pasta Fettuccine

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: oat fiber, wheat fiber, wheat protein isolate, egg whites, durum flour

Impastable fettuccine noodles are low in calories. While they are not gluten-free and do contain wheat, they are soy-free.

The fettuccine style pairs well with white or red sauces, and the noodles cook like regular pasta, though they may need to boil for as long as 15 minutes.

Each 2-oz. (57-gram) serving contains:

  • Calories: 55
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Sodium: 222 mg
  • Carbs: 44 grams
  • Fiber: 36 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams

Pros

  • high in fiber
  • taste and texture similar to wheat pasta
  • low calorie

Cons

  • high in sodium
  • pricier than other options

When shopping, look at carb counts and fiber content first. Then check out the amount of protein per serving. Noodles higher in protein may be easier to manage, blood sugar-wise.

If you must have wheat-based noodles, consider whole grain options such as Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti. It clocks in at 32 grams of net carbs per serving, but you could reduce your portion size and have the pasta as a side dish rather than the main event.

You may also want to try legume-based noodles made from red lentils or chickpeas. These typically have about 30 grams of net carbs, similar to wheat-based noodles, but they contain more protein.

What makes pasta “unhealthy”?

There is nothing about traditional wheat pasta that is inherently unhealthy. In fact, whole wheat pasta can be a good source of fiber and grains.

However, pasta can be high in carbs and calories, which some people wish to avoid.

A large serving of pasta that is not paired with a protein could cause a spike in blood sugar.

How do I cook Banza?

To cook Banza pasta, add the chickpea pasta to about 2 quarts of boiling water seasoned with a bit of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7–9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain, rinse with water, and then add sauce and serve.

Why does gluten-free pasta taste different?

The difference in taste is due to the difference in ingredients. While traditional pasta is made from wheat, gluten-free pasta may be made from rice, soy, vegetables, or beans.

Gluten is very elastic. It gives wheat pasta a pleasant chewiness that may be hard to re-create with other ingredients. You may also notice that gluten-free pasta tastes a bit more starchy, depending on its ingredients.

There are lots of low carb noodles out there, from bean-based to vegetable-based. Look for those that are low in net carbs and experiment to see which ones taste best to you.

Instead of sticking with just one type of sauce for all, try different recipes and flavor profiles. You may find that you like different types of noodles in different types of dishes.


Shelby Kinnaird, author of “The Diabetes Cookbook for Electric Pressure Cookers” and “The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes,” publishes recipes and tips for people who want to eat healthy at Diabetic Foodie, a website often stamped with a “top diabetes blog” label. Shelby is a passionate diabetes advocate who likes to make her voice heard in Washington, D.C., and she leads two DiabetesSisters support groups in Richmond, Virginia. She has successfully managed her type 2 diabetes since 1999.