15 Dry Pastas At Trader Joe's, Ranked

Go to your average grocery store, and you'll have a few different pasta varieties at your disposal. The main brands will carry a variety of shapes, and you'll likely encounter some gluten-free options as well. But if you love pasta more than the average carb-eater, you should head to Trader Joe's. The popular grocery chain has a wide range of dry pastas for you to choose from, and the options go far beyond what you expect. They certainly have the standards (don't worry, you can get your plain spaghetti here), but they also carry some unexpected surprises that can help you take your pasta game to a whole new level.

We've decided to try Trader Joe's pastas to see how they stack up against each other. Honestly, you can't really go wrong with any of these options — there weren't any we tried that we absolutely hated. However, some of the pastas on this list were standouts, and you need to try them if you get the chance. Let's take a look at these Trader Joe's dry pastas, ranked from worst to best.

15. Whole Wheat Spaghetti

We're going to assume that very few people choose whole wheat spaghetti because they actually think it tastes better than its refined counterpart. Rather, an embrace of whole wheat pasta seems to be more about making a healthy decision than it is about making a more delicious meal. From our point of view, though, that health benefit just isn't worth it. After all, according to Healthline, the benefits of whole wheat pasta compared to the refined variety are minimal anyway.

This spaghetti doesn't taste horrible, but it has a denser texture than refined pasta. The whole wheat may work better with a different pasta shape, but the dense texture is strange with spaghetti because it doesn't seem to soften properly. It also has a more pronounced flavor — it's earthier and less neutral than you might expect. If you're working with a super-flavorful sauce, you might not notice too much of a difference, but otherwise, you may not get the kind of flavor profile you're looking for.

14. Yellow Lentil Brown Rice Spaghetti

We love that Trader Joe's gives us pasta options you usually can't find elsewhere. After all, how many times have you come across yellow lentil brown rice spaghetti at other supermarkets? We also appreciate that they're giving us pastas that have some added protein in the mix — you can make a really simple sauce and know you're still getting some nutrition in. But when it comes to flavor and texture, the yellow lentil brown rice spaghetti just isn't our favorite.

The texture here is somewhat better than what you get with whole wheat spaghetti, but not much. It's slightly softer, but it still has a density to it that makes it significantly less appetizing than your average refined pasta. Just like the whole wheat spaghetti, we think the yellow lentil brown rice pasta would be better in another shape. The flavor is quite nice, though. The brown rice component seems to be pretty neutral, but the yellow lentils give the pasta a certain complexity — almost a slight spice — that makes us want to take another bite.

13. Brown Rice Quinoa Spaghetti

If you're going to go for a blend of different dough ingredients, we think you're best off opting for a brown rice and quinoa blend. This gluten-free option has a better texture than some of the other non-traditional pasta types because it actually gets nice and soft when it's cooked. It's not the exact same texture as what you'd get with refined pasta, but it's close enough to count.

We actually don't mind the flavor of this spaghetti, but you should know that it tastes a lot earthier than refined pasta, so you'll want to keep that in mind when you're picking out the other ingredients in your pasta dish. You can really highlight that earthiness by adding in some root veggies, or you can try to cover it up by going for a creamy or super-seasoned sauce. Either way, you're probably not going to be disappointed on the flavor front.

All that being said, we still think that these unconventional blends are generally more delicious when they're in a shorter pasta shape. We probably wouldn't buy this stuff very often, but if you have a recipe that calls for spaghetti and you're trying to keep it gluten-free, it might just be the way to go.

12. Penne Rigate

You may be wondering why the plain penne rigate from Trader Joe's doesn't rank higher on our list, but it really shouldn't indicate anything negative about this particular pasta itself. If you're looking for a standard penne, then this stuff is exactly what you need. The only reason it's not higher on this list is the fact that it's about as standard as it gets. While some of the other pasta varieties on this list offer something new, different, and exciting, that's not what you're going to get with this penne. It's basically everything that you'd expect from a standard container of pasta. Moral of the story: If you like penne, then the penne rigate from Trader Joe's isn't going to disappoint.

We think that penne is one of the more versatile pasta shapes. We love an olive oil-based sauce for a simple lunch, but you can also opt for a heartier ragu. These tubular noodles will catch some of that savory meat sauce, making each bite even more flavorful than the effect of, say, spaghetti.

11. Brown Rice Penne

If you haven't had your fill of penne yet, it's time to try out the brown rice penne from Trader Joe's. The flavor of this pasta is a bit simpler than what you get from the brown rice and quinoa blend. If you've had refined rice noodles, you may be assuming that's what you're getting yourself into, but we think that brown rice pasta tends to taste heartier than its refined sibling. Just think about the difference between white and brown rice: You can taste some of those differences here as well.

Because the flavor profile is simpler with this pasta, we think it's better to prepare this stuff like you would any refined wheat pasta. Since the flavor isn't as complex or as interesting as the brown rice and quinoa version, you're probably not going to care about highlighting it as much. Just choose a flavorful sauce, add plenty of veggies, and consider throwing a protein into the mix, and you'll have a simple, satisfying meal that's surprisingly filling.

10. Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli

The alternative flour pasta blends from Trader Joe's aren't necessarily our favorites, but one of our favorites is the brown rice and quinoa fusilli. Like we mentioned above, the brown rice and quinoa blend has an earthiness to it that makes this variety of pasta a bit more interesting than your standard refined variety. If you like refined flour pasta, the flavor and texture might seem a little bit off to you, but as long as you keep an open mind, you'll likely realize that it doesn't taste bad — it just tastes different.

This brown rice and quinoa blend ranks higher than the spaghetti, though, because we think this texture works so much better with a shorter pasta shape. The fusilli, with its ridges, seems to soften more than the spaghetti, which makes eating this stuff way more enjoyable. Again, we generally just prefer plain refined wheat pasta when we're craving a pasta dish, but gluten-free pasta lovers are sure to enjoy this stuff.

9. Farfalle

Another Trader Joe's standard? The farfalle. Even if you've never heard of farfalle before, you've probably tried it at some point: It's also known as bowtie pasta. Like the penne rigate, there's nothing really groundbreaking going on here. It's a basic refined pasta farfalle that will meet any and all farfalle needs you may have.

So, you may be wondering why the farfalle ranks so much higher than the penne rigate. It all comes down to our pasta shape preference. Penne is super-versatile, but it just can't beat the signature texture of farfalle. We love that it's always denser and chewier in the middle than it is on the outsides of the pasta, which gives it an al dente element we love. You can use farfalle in just about any pasta recipe, but we think it works particularly well in pasta salads. It may not be as exciting as some of the other pasta options in this lineup, but the farfalle from Trader Joe's is definitely an essential pantry staple.

8. Pappardelle

If you're working with a recipe that calls for fettucini but you want to make things a bit more interesting, we think you should try the pappardelle from Trader Joe's. This long pasta is similar to fettucini in that it's flatter than spaghetti, but it doesn't have the thickness you get with fettuccine. Rather, you get a wide, flat noodle that's super fun to twirl onto your fork and even more enjoyable to eat. It doesn't hold onto sauce incredibly well, but that's not the point — this shape is all about that slippery, flexible texture, and we're absolutely here for it.

You won't get quite as much pasta in a container of pappardelle as you'll get with most other pasta varieties from Trader Joe's, so you may want to buy two packages if you're cooking for a lot of other people. Regardless how much you're cooking, though, this pappardelle is a pasta treat you won't find everywhere.

7. Lemon Torchietti

You're not going to run into flavored pasta at most grocery stores, which is why we were so pleasantly surprised to come across Trader Joe's lemon torchietti. First of all, there's the shape. If you've never tried torchietti before, you need to head to TJ's immediately to try this stuff. It has a ridged, curly appearance that makes it perfect for holding onto sauces and seasonings. This pasta shape has a chewiness to it that you don't get in most pasta shapes, which is why it's one of our all-time favorites.

You can get torchietti at a variety of pasta suppliers, though. What makes this pasta so special is the fact that it's already imbued with lemon flavoring. Don't worry — that lemon flavor is pretty slight, so you're not going to be overwhelmed by citrus. However, that extra bit of added flavor makes it so easy to transform this pasta into an incredible dish with very few ingredients. Add some olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, and a bit of Parmesan cheese, and you'll have an elegant, understated dish to enjoy (with very little effort on your part).

6. Gnocchi

The gnocchi at Trader Joe's is pretty standard — you're not going to have a revelatory experience when you try this stuff for the first time. However, that's because this is a solid, basic gnocchi, and because gnocchi is one of the best types of pasta ever invented, it still ranks relatively high on our list. Gnocchi is made from not just flour but also potato, which gives it a heavier, weightier consistency than most other pastas. It can kind of feel like a belly bomb if you've had a large-enough serving of it, but that ultra-full feeling is worth it when you're biting into the dense, potato-y pieces of pasta.

If you ask us, the best part of packaged Trader Joe's gnocchi is the fact that you don't technically have to boil it. Sure, if you like your gnocchi on the softer side, you can go ahead and boil it for a few minutes, but you won't have to keep it in water as long as you would any other type of pasta. However, if you're looking for a crispier gnocchi experience, you can just throw it in a pan to brown before adding in your sauce and other ingredients. Give this method a try with the gnocchi you snag from Trader Joe's.

5. Radiatore of Many Colors

If you're looking for a colorful pasta-eating experience, you have to grab Trader Joe's Radiatore of Many Colors. Some of the pasta is just your typical refined stuff, but the additional colors come from vegetables like spinach and beets. The result is a colorful (and slightly more flavorful) iteration of an already exciting pasta shape. Radiatore is one of the bounciest pasta shapes due to its unique rippled texture, so if you like your pasta with a bit of bite, then this shape is probably for you. We love it with lighter, oil-based sauces, though you can pair it with just about any sauce you have in mind.

The only thing you'll want to keep in mind is the flavor of the vegetable-infused pasta. They don't taste too strongly of veggies, but the flavor difference is just pronounced enough to notice when you eat them plain. We think this is a perfect pasta for a primavera.

4. Red Lentil Sedanini

You can probably tell we're not huge fans of the alternative pasta doughs, but there's one we absolutely love. Trader Joe's red lentil pastas are one of our absolute favorites, and the red lentil sedanini comes out on top. The sedanini has a similar shape to penne, and it has ridges that hold on to the sauce. We love that sedanini is slightly narrower than penne, so it offers a familiar texture while still somewhat novel.

This pasta really shines in its flavor, though. The red lentil pasta has a distinctly spicy flavor to it. It doesn't taste at all like refined flour pasta, but that's a good thing — you're not going to need a ton of other ingredients to make your pasta dish ultra-flavorful. It essentially tastes like freshly cooked red lentils, but because you're getting such an al dente texture, it doesn't just taste like you're noshing on a bowl full of lentils.

If you're looking for a non-wheat alternative for your favorite pasta dishes, the red lentil sedanini is our top pick.

3. Bucatini

If you were one of those people who became a prolific home cook over the course of the pandemic, you probably remember the great bucatini shortage of 2020. An ultra-popular Alison Roman recipe was largely to blame for the noodle's absence from store shelves. It was a dark time for all of us bucatini lovers out there, but luckily, we've made it through, and bucatini is easy to find again. In fact, it's easier than ever to get your hands on now that you can buy it from Trader Joe's. If you've never tried it before, bucatini is similar to spaghetti, but it's thicker, and it's hollow in the middle. The result is a thick, fat noodle that's perfect for holding onto a ton of sauce. Its silly, floppy texture has made it a favorite for countless pasta lovers across the globe.

Not only is the bucatini at Trader Joe's delicious and reliable, but it's also a lot less expensive than the bucatini you can find online or at your local specialty shop. This is now one of our go-to Trader Joe's purchases every week.

2. Cascatelli

Never heard of cascatelli before? That's probably because it was just invented — Time actually declared it one of the 100 best inventions in 2021. The shape was designed with three different factors in mind: sauceability, forkability, and toothsinkability. If you ask us, it's a hit on all three counts. Originally, the high-end pasta brand Sfoglini debuted the product, but now, Trader Joe's is selling it too (and we couldn't be more grateful).

Our favorite thing about this pasta is the texture: It's just so, so satisfying to bite into a noodle, let alone a whole forkful of them. It's also great at holding onto sauce, so we love pairing it with a meaty red number. The only problem with this pasta is the fact that the bag isn't neverending — you're going to have to stock up on it frequently. If you've never experienced the pure, unadulterated joy that is cascatelli, head to Trader Joe's so you can get your fix tonight.

1. Trofie

As much as we adore the cascatelli you can get at Trader Joe's, it comes just short of first place. That's because we picked up Trader Joe's trofie, and we were blown away. These small, wrapped noodles look unassuming at first, but get them in a flavorful sauce, and they may just become your new favorite pasta shape too. They're springy, and they have a lovely bite to them. Even if you overcook them, they're not likely to get all sad and limp. For those who bow at the altar of al dente pasta, trofie is the pasta shape you've been searching for your entire life.

Because trofie is such a delicate pasta shape, we think it pairs best with smooth sauces — we wouldn't love it with anything too chunky. A freshly made, oily pesto would be a particularly enjoyable pairing. Don't forget to add lots of cheese on top, and prepare yourself for one of the best pasta dishes you've ever experienced.