difference between vermicelli and angel hair

This guide will compare the difference between vermicelli and angel hair and enlighten you on what makes them taste so good.

They have so many similarities, so how do you tell them apart?

The main difference between angel hair and vermicelli is that one kind is thicker than the other, and one is primarily made from rice, not wheat.

What else should you know about them?

This guide will tell you more about:

  • Types of dishes that contain these noodles
  • Nutritional value of each type
  • The history of pasta
  • Whether they are interchangeable
The primary difference between vermicelli and angel hair is twofold: the thickness of the noodles is slightly different, and vermicelli is usually made from rice, not wheat-like angel hair.

The Difference Between Vermicelli and Angel Hair

angel hair vs vermicelli

Although they are similar, there are differences between vermicelli and angel hair pasta.

One feature they share is how they get their shape. They squeeze through a die to form thick or thin strands before drying.

Both kinds of pasta also cook quickly, within two to three minutes, compared to other noodles, such as spaghetti. Both types are versatile and can complement any dish.

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One difference between angel hair and vermicelli is the types of meals that use them.

Vermicelli is a primary noodle in cold Asian dishes, while angel hair works best in warm Italian cuisines.


vermicelli pasta

Vermicelli is very thin rice noodles consisting of wheat or rice. You may know it as rice noodles and rice sticks. The pieces are short as if broken.

These noodles originated in Southern Italy as short and curly handmade pasta resembling tiny worms.

Only fresh noodles are made with eggs.


Vermicelli is similar to spaghetti but thinner. In the US, vermicelli measures around 0.06 inches or 1.52 mm thick, while in Italy, vermicelli is thicker.

It would make an appropriate substitution for spaghetti noodles.


Thick noodles need heavier sauces. Vermicelli should accompany hearty ones such as tomato or hollandaise. It also goes well with lighter options, such as fish and cranberries.

Tip: If you want a splash of wine in your pasta sauce but are out, try using a dash of vinegar instead.

Nutritional Value

As a refined product, vermicelli does not hold much nutritional value. Therefore, it is not a good choice for weight loss as it has many calories from starch.

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You also must combine with other foods for protein.

However, rice vermicelli is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low-sodium. It can be sweet or savory depending on the Asian recipe and is a healthier alternative to instant noodles.

The highest nutritional value is the carbohydrate content.

Every two-ounce serving contains 47 grams of carbs and 214 calories. Carbohydrates provide energy, which would make vermicelli a powerful food.

If you are watching your sodium intake, vermicelli contains only 10 mg per every two ounces.

Types of Vermicelli

different types of vermicelli

You’ll find a range of vermicelli variations, of which the following are most common:


These noodles may consist of durum semolina or wheat, which contains gluten. The most common form you will find in this pasta is dry.


This pasta contains rice, but it also sometimes contains tapioca. You will most likely find these noodles in an Asian grocery store.


This consists of rice flour and water. It is perfect by itself or makes a great addition to stir-fries, soups, and salads.

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If you like Asian cuisine, rice noodles are what you will get. It is better to soak them before cooking if you’re making a stir fry.


This requires adding cooking oil to help hold its shape.

Its carbohydrate content makes it a great energy source, and wheat compliments sweet and savory dishes.

However, wheat is not an option for someone with celiac disease as it contains gluten.


This pasta complements desserts of South Asia and the Middle East.

To cook this pasta, place the noodles in boiling water for three minutes, then rinse under cold water to remove excess starch.

Types of Cuisines

You can serve vermicelli hot or cold. It makes up most Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, such as pho, light but delicious soup.

Be careful that you don’t overcook these noodles as they become soft very quickly.

Tip: Try frying them dry for a unique snack!

Angel Hair

angel hair pasta

Angel hair pasta has a distinct look that makes it stand out.

You may also know it as capellini, which means “little hairs” or fine hair pasta. It contains durum semolina flour, eggs, and a little salt.

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It can easily replace wheat vermicelli, but because the noodles are thinner, it won’t stand up to as hearty a sauce.

If you put the two next to each other, you can differentiate them by their sizes. If you put the two next to each other, you will be able to distinguish them by their sizes.


It is thinner than vermicelli, measuring roughly 0.035 inches (0.88 mm) and is the thinnest of all Italian pasta shapes.

You can use these noodles in place of spaghetti if you do not mind a more delicate version of your dish.


A significant difference between vermicelli and angel hair is that angel hair pasta tastes best with lighter sauces, such as garlic or lemon sauce, olive oil, pesto, herbs, and parmesan.

Even a light tomato sauce, like capellini Pomodoro, will work just fine.

Nutritional Value of Angel Hair

nutritional value

Are you out of spaghetti? Angel hair pasta makes a great substitute.

It provides a good energy source and is low on the glycemic index, making you feel fuller without blood sugar spikes.

The addition of iron and B vitamins increases the nutritional value.

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Angel hair pasta contains no lactose from milk and is a low-fat, high fiber option. Unfortunately, it’s low in protein.

Different brands of pasta may vary in their contents, so be sure you check each label.

For a one-cup serving of angel hair pasta, you will get 6.7 mg of sodium, 43 grams of carbs, and 211 calories.

Tip: to have a complete meal, be sure you pair some form of protein with your pasta! Seafood is especially good with angel hair.

Types of Cuisines

Angel hair pasta is a hot meal-type perfect for primavera dishes and seafood, soup, and dessert dishes. To cook angel hair, add it to boiling water until it softens.

You may find it in nest-shaped rolls in the store due to its delicate state.

Angel hair pasta blends well with chicken, vegetables, shrimp, capers, and cheese.

When you want delightful pasta that is not heavy, angel hair is a perfect choice. By itself, its taste is delectable with even a drizzle of olive oil.

Shrimp scampi is an example of a seafood dish consisting of angel hair. Once it cools, angel hair noodles tend to stick together.

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To reheat them properly, add some olive oil to a pan and cook until they become hot throughout.

Tip: Avoid rinsing your pasta after cooking to help the sauce stick to your noodles.

The History of Pasta

history of pasta

The history of pasta is unclear based on different theories. Some experts believe pasta originated as early as the fourth century BCE in Etruria, Italy.

Others conclude that the Japanese made noodle-like food in 3000 BCE.

Vermicelli is one of the oldest forms of pasta in Campania, Italy, originating as far back as the 13th century.

Different types of vermicelli have separate historical stories behind them, some originating from China and India.

Angel hair pasta dates back hundreds of years in Italy.

Can You Interchange the Two?

change between the two

Can they substitute for each other? The short answer is yes.

That possibility may be surprising since they are different thicknesses, but certain dishes will be delicious no matter which one you use.

Thin vermicelli can replace angel hair in some recipes if you can’t find any capellini at the store.

One thing to keep in mind is that rice vermicelli is gluten-free, so if you decide to alternate it with angel hair, the taste and consistency of your dish could vary.

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When one pasta cannot substitute the other, you may have to replace the pasta.

For example, rice stick noodles can replace vermicelli in Asian dishes and angel hair substitutes in Italian meals.

An acceptable substitute for angel hair pasta, besides vermicelli, is thin spaghetti.

Final Thoughts

Vermicelli and angel hair are common types of pasta that blend well in various recipes. The key difference between vermicelli and angel hair is their sizes.

Angel hair pasta is thinner and lighter than vermicelli and blends well with almost everything. Vermicelli is closer to the size of spaghetti and uses a thicker sauce.

Vermicelli is an energy food because of its carbohydrate content. It is also a perfect choice for someone with high blood pressure. What about angel hair? It offers 6.7 mg of sodium and slightly fewer carbs than vermicelli.

The differences between vermicelli and angel hair pasta may not be enough to change a dish. Whatever you use, make sure it can handle the sauce.