Common Ingredients in pasta Recipes

We researched the most common ingredients in over fifty popular pasta recipes and found the top 15 ingredients.

The most common ingredients in pasta dishes are garlic and olive oil.

Onion, angel hair pasta, parmesan cheese, parsley and tomatoes are also common ingredients in pasta recipes. For herbs and spices, basil is popular. Variations include:

  • flour in place of angel hair pasta
Salt is in 70% of pasta recipes and pepper, 75%.

The average pasta recipe has about 11.5 ingredients, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 24.

In terms of directions, pasta recipes have about 5.1 steps on average, ranging from 1 to 20 instructions.

Ratios of Common Ingredients in Pasta

For 2 tablespoon olive oil (27 g), the median and average amounts of other significant ingredients are below. Some ingredients are potential substitutes for others, meaning they almost never exist together in a single pasta recipe, and are marked below.

Ingredient Median Average % of recipes with olive oil Potential subsitutions
garlic 1.5 clove
(5 g)
2.3 clove
(7 g)
81%
  • garlic powder
parmesan cheese 0.12 cup
(11 g)
a third of a cup
(29 g)
58%
onion 0.73
(110 g)
0.77
(115 g)
44%
  • green onions
angel hair pasta half a pound
(227 g)
0.61 pound
(279 g)
44%
  • flour
parsley 0.13 cup
(8 g)
0.36 cup
(22 g)
44%
basil 1 tablespoon
(3 g)
1.7 tablespoon
(4 g)
42%
tomatoes 2.5 large
(447 g)
2.6 large
(480 g)
39%
oregano 1.8 teaspoon
(2 g)
2 teaspoon
(2 g)
17%
  • garlic powder

Ingredients by Average Weight in Pasta

We also found the average content of the significant ingredients by weight in pasta recipes. This would be: 37% angel hair pasta, 33% tomatoes, 9% onion, 7% olive oil, 6% parmesan cheese, 2% butter, 2% green onions, 2% parsley and 1% garlic.

Here are the top ingredients, listed in order of popularity.

pepper

Image of pepper

Pepper is the most popular ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 75% of pasta recipes contain pepper.

Variations of pepper include:
For pasta recipes, pepper is frequently used with garlic, salt, olive oil, onion and tomatoes.

Potential substitutions for pepper in pasta:
  • garlic powder
  • bell pepper
Also, pepper is not often used with flour, chicken breast and lemon.

black pepper

Image of black pepper

Black pepper is another common ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 55% of pasta recipes contain black pepper.

Pasta dishes often call for black pepper to be ground and cracked.

Black pepper is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of an eighth of a teaspoon, 1 teaspoon or a quarter teaspoon.

In pasta recipes that contain black pepper, it is on average, 0.1% by weight.

In recipes for pasta, black pepper is often used with salt, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and angel hair pasta.

salt

Image of salt

Another popular ingredient in pasta is salt. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 70% have salt.

Salt is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of a quarter teaspoon, half a teaspoon or 1 teaspoon.

In pasta recipes that contain salt, it is on average, 0.2% by weight.

In recipes for pasta, salt is often used with black pepper, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and angel hair pasta. On the other hand, salt is almost never used with marinara sauce.

garlic

Image of garlic

Garlic is another common ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 60% of pasta recipes contain garlic.

Minced, chopped, peeled, sliced and grated are frequent preparations for garlic in pasta dishes.

Common quantities for garlic in pasta dishes include 2 cloves, 4 cloves or 1 clove.

In pasta recipes that contain garlic, it is on average, 0.8% by weight.

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese and onion are commonly used together with garlic in pasta dishes.

Potential substitutions for garlic in pasta:
  • garlic powder
Also, garlic is not often used with chicken breast.

olive oil

Image of olive oil

Another popular ingredient in pasta is olive oil. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 60% have olive oil.

Olive oil is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of 2 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon or a quarter cup.

In pasta recipes that contain olive oil, it is on average, 4% by weight.

For pasta recipes, olive oil is frequently used with garlic, salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese and angel hair pasta. However, heavy cream, garlic powder and chicken breast are almost never used together with olive oil in pasta dishes.

onion

Image of onion

Another popular ingredient in pasta is onion. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 55% have onion.

Variations of onion include:
  • green onions: 19% of recipes
Garlic, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and pepper are commonly used together with onion in pasta dishes.

Potential substitutions for onion in pasta:
  • green onions
Also, onion is not often used with shrimp, garlic powder and chicken breast.

angel hair pasta

Image of angel hair pasta

Angel hair pasta is another common ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 50% of pasta recipes contain angel hair pasta.

Cooked and drained are frequent preparations for angel hair pasta in pasta dishes.

Angel hair pasta is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of 1 pound, 8 ounces or 12 ounces.

In pasta recipes that contain angel hair pasta, it is on average, 25% by weight.

For pasta recipes, angel hair pasta is frequently used with parmesan cheese, black pepper, salt, olive oil and garlic.

Potential substitutions for angel hair pasta in pasta:
  • flour

parmesan cheese

Image of parmesan cheese

Another popular ingredient in pasta is parmesan cheese. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 50% have parmesan cheese.

Pasta dishes often call for parmesan cheese to be grated and shaved.

Parmesan cheese is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of a quarter cup, half a cup or 1 cup.

In pasta recipes that contain parmesan cheese, it is on average, 4% by weight.

In recipes for pasta, parmesan cheese is often used with salt, garlic, olive oil, angel hair pasta and black pepper.

parsley

Image of parsley

Parsley is another common ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 40% of pasta recipes contain parsley.

Chopped and dried are frequent preparations for parsley in pasta dishes.

Common quantities for parsley in pasta dishes include a quarter cup, 1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons.

In pasta recipes that contain parsley, it is on average, 1.4% by weight.

Garlic, salt, olive oil, parmesan cheese and black pepper are commonly used together with parsley in pasta dishes. Conversely, parsley is not often used with chicken breast.

tomatoes

Image of tomatoes

Another popular ingredient in pasta is tomatoes. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 35% have tomatoes.

Diced, chopped and drained are frequent preparations for tomatoes in pasta dishes.

Tomatoes is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of 1 large, 14.5 ounces or 56 ounces.

In pasta recipes that contain tomatoes, it is on average, 32% by weight.

For pasta recipes, tomatoes is frequently used with salt, onion, olive oil, garlic and pepper. However, wine vinegar and chicken breast are almost never used together with tomatoes in pasta dishes.

basil

Image of basil

Basil is another common ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 35% of pasta recipes contain basil.

Pasta dishes often call for basil to be dried and chopped.

Basil is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of 1 tablespoon, a quarter teaspoon or a quarter cup.

In pasta recipes that contain basil, it is on average, 0.3% by weight.

In recipes for pasta, basil is often used with garlic, black pepper, salt, parmesan cheese and olive oil. On the other hand, basil is almost never used with black olives.

butter

Another popular ingredient in pasta is butter. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 20% have butter.

Common quantities for butter in pasta dishes include 2 tablespoons or a quarter cup.

In pasta recipes that contain butter, it is on average, 4% by weight.

Salt, black pepper, garlic, basil and parmesan cheese are commonly used together with butter in pasta dishes. Conversely, butter is not often used with black olives, wine vinegar and marinara sauce.

white sugar

Image of white sugar

Another popular ingredient in pasta is white sugar. From the recipes we've sampled for pasta, over 15% have white sugar.

White sugar is often included in pasta dishes in amounts of 2 teaspoons.

In pasta recipes that contain white sugar, it is on average, 1.4% by weight.

In recipes for pasta, white sugar is often used with salt, tomatoes, black pepper, olive oil and garlic. On the other hand, white sugar is almost never used with shrimp, mushrooms, green bell pepper, garlic powder, flour, white wine, chicken breast, bell pepper, balsamic vinegar, marinara sauce and lemon.

oregano

Image of oregano

Oregano is another common ingredient in pasta dishes. In fact, over 10% of pasta recipes contain oregano.

Dried is a frequent preparation for oregano in pasta dishes.

Common quantities for oregano in pasta dishes include 2 teaspoons.

In pasta recipes that contain oregano, it is on average, 0.2% by weight.

Onion, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and garlic are commonly used together with oregano in pasta dishes.

Potential substitutions for oregano in pasta:
  • garlic powder
Also, oregano is not often used with green onions, chicken broth, shrimp, mushrooms, flour, white wine and chicken breast.

Other pasta Ingredients

Other significant ingredients used in pasta recipes include:

  • chicken broth - 10%
  • shrimp - 10%
  • heavy cream - 10%
  • mushrooms - 5%
  • green bell pepper - 5%
  • black olives - 5%
  • wine vinegar - 5%
  • garlic powder - 5%
  • flour - 5%
  • white wine - 5%
  • chicken breast - 5%
  • bell pepper - 5%
  • balsamic vinegar - 5%
  • marinara sauce - 5%
  • lemon - 5%


Select Recipes for pasta (Ingredients Only)

allrecipes.com
(4.5)
1 hour 30 min
  • - 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • - ¼ cup butter
  • - 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • - ½ cup white wine
  • - 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup
  • - 4 ounces cream cheese with chives
  • - 1 pound angel hair pasta
foodnetwork.com
(5)
20 min
  • - Kosher salt
  • - 12 ounces spaghetti
  • - 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • - 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • - 1 tablespoon very coarse freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • - 1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
foodnetwork.com
(4)
30 min
  • - 1/2 (16-ounce box) rotini pasta
  • - 1/2 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
  • - 1 lemon, zested and juice
  • - 3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • - 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • - Freshly ground black pepper
  • - 1 cup garlic croutons
  • - 12 ounces pasta shells or 12 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
  • - 12 ounces canned chunk albacore tuna, drained
  • - 1 cup chopped celery
  • - 1 cup frozen green pea, thawed
  • - 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (this amount is an estimate, you'll need enough to make the salad creamy) or 1 1/2 cups Miracle Whip (this amount is an estimate, you'll need enough to make the salad creamy)
  • - salt and pepper
food.com
(5)
2 hours 15 min
  • - 1 lb rotini pasta
  • - 2 lbs plum tomatoes or 2 lbs roma tomatoes, diced
  • - 3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
  • - 1 teaspoon salt
  • - black pepper, to taste
  • - 1/2 cup olive oil
  • - fresh basil leaf, chopped,to taste (I use about 1/3 cup)
  • - 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
  • - 1 (16 ounce) package capellini (angel hair pasta)
  • - 1/4 cup olive oil
  • - 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • - 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • - fresh ground pepper
  • - 3 tablespoons minced garlic (I use the garlic in the jar)
  • - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • - 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • - 4 teaspoons chicken flavor instant bouillon
  • - 1/2 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground is best)
  • - 1 lb spaghetti or 1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions
  • - 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • - 1/4 cup parsley
  • - 2 cups semolina flour
  • - 2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer bread flour for higher gluten)
  • - 2 large eggs, well beaten
  • - 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • - 1/2 teaspoon salt