Pasta and noodles are core foods in many cultures. You can find noodles almost anywhere as a side or main dish going back hundreds of years.
Pasta and egg noodles have a few varieties, but the foundational recipe has stayed the same despite the cultures and generations that separate them.
What Are Egg Noodles?
Egg noodles are a type of noodle made from eggs and flour. Other types of noodles, like store bought pasta commonly used in spaghetti, use water and flour.
Making dough for egg noodles involves mixing eggs and flour until they're like clay. Then, you knead them.
Kneading a water-based dough activates the gluten protein network of glutenin and gliadin. Pushing and pulling incorporate the gluten network and give the dough its elasticity.
Eggs introduce new proteins into the dough, so thorough kneading is vital. Kneading encourages the proteins in the egg to join the proteins in the gluten network.
Once you've kneaded the dough, roll it out and cut it into your preferred noodle shape. You can also use a pasta maker to make larger amounts of noodles.
It is best to use, dry, or refrigerate egg noodles once made to prevent bacterial growth. You can refrigerate noodles for up to 3 days.
How to Dry Homemade Egg Noodles
If you make homemade egg noodles, you can preserve them by air-drying the noodles. Hang the noodles on a drying rack or place them on a floured baking sheet for 1 to 2 hours.
You can also use a dehydrator set to 135 degrees for 2 to 4 hours to safely dry the noodles.
Once they are dried, you can freeze the noodles in an airtight container or sealable bag. Frozen egg noodles will stay safe for up to 6 months.
How to Cook Egg Noodles
Cooking egg noodles is like cooking any other fresh pasta. Bring four quarts of water to a boil for each pound of fresh noodles. Cook the egg noodles for 2 to 4 minutes.
Follow the package instructions if you're using store bought egg noodles.
Whole Versus Refined Grains
In the United States, foods that contain grains are typically whole or refined.
Whole grains still have the entire grain kernel, which contains essential nutrients and fiber. Refined grains have parts of the grain kernel removed for texture and preservation, but manufacturers fortify the grains with nutrients later.
The type of flour used provides some of the health benefits of egg noodles. Manufacturers will fortify or enrich with different nutrients, so always read the nutrition labels on the flour you use.
Egg Noodles Nutrition Facts
Why should you choose egg noodles over pasta noodles? Some people prefer the taste that the eggs add to the noodles. Others prefer the texture that the egg proteins add to the dough.
Given the nutritional drawbacks of certain, conventional pastas, you may be curious about the nutritional benefits of switching to egg noodles. The best way to understand the benefits of egg noodles is to compare them to their alternative: pasta.
Calories. Egg noodles beat pasta when it comes to calories. A hundred grams of egg noodles has around 20 fewer calories than an equal amount of spaghetti.
Protein. Despite having eggs in them, egg noodles have less protein than pasta. Egg noodles have about 1.3 fewer grams of protein than pasta (per 100 grams).
Cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is a fatty substance that you find in animal products like meat fat, dairy, and eggs. Cholesterol supports your cells’ membrane structures, digestion, and hormone production.
Eggs are high in cholesterol, which can cause problems for people with diabetes or at risk for heart disease. If you’re watching your cholesterol intake, eggs can easily make up your daily value of cholesterol.
Egg noodles have a much higher amount of cholesterol than pasta noodles. Egg noodles have around 46 milligrams of cholesterol, while pasta has almost none.
Calcium. Egg noodles have almost twice as much calcium as pasta. Egg noodles have 12 milligrams of calcium, whereas pasta only has 7 milligrams.
Other nutrients. Egg noodles outrank pasta with respect to several other nutrients, including:
- Folic acid
Store Bought Versus Homemade Egg Noodles
Making egg noodles gives you more control over the ingredients. You choose the flour and eggs you use, giving you control of the noodles' nutritional content. Of course, some flours may respond differently when making dough, so you may have to use slightly more eggs to prevent the dough from being too dry.
Depending on your dietary restrictions or whatever flour you have in the pantry, you may need to experiment with your egg noodle dough. For example, some people may assume egg noodles are gluten-free. Since most egg noodles are made with wheat flour, though, they contain gluten. Making your egg noodles at home with another type of flour will let you fit your needs.
Store bought egg noodles. Most retailers will have a variety of noodles available, including whole-grain egg noodles. Since whole-grain noodles offer different nutrients than enriched noodles, you should adjust your meals to fit your dietary needs.
Condiments Make the Difference
In many categories, egg noodles perform better than typical pasta noodles, but the most significant difference in the egg noodles' health benefits depends on your toppings and condiments.
For example, the store bought tomato sauce you use for spaghetti will often have extra sodium and sugar added for taste and preservation. Opting to make a homemade sauce instead of only switching to egg noodles will make the meal even healthier.
Another pasta favorite is alfredo sauce, but it’s not necessarily healthy. It’s loaded with cheese, butter, and heavy cream—which means it’s heavy in fats and salt.
You can opt for a plant-based approach to many of the ingredients to cut out some of the fat. It may not be the same creamy alfredo you’re used to, but your heart will thank you.
Are Egg Noodles Healthy?
Egg noodles can give you extra nutrients that regular pasta won't, though they also lack in some areas compared to pasta.
Still, you don't have to choose only one.
Add both to your pantry for a well-rounded diet and supplement each with vegetables, proteins, and other sources of nutrients.