What are the Best Substitutes for Fusilli Pasta?

Fusilli is just a shape of pasta and can easily be substituted with a number of other types of pasta. 

Fusilli is a corkscrew-shaped pasta formed by the pasta dough being pressed and rolled over a small rod.

Similarly shaped pasta, and subsequently, the best substitutes for fusilli include rotini, gemelli, and cavatappi. 

While almost any type of pasta is a good substitute for fusilli pasta in flavor, the best substitutes are shorter pasta with lots of nooks and crannies. This ensures that whatever sauce is being used sticks well to the pasta in question.


Rotini is another short type of pasta that is wound into a corkscrew but with a slightly wider helix. It’s often confused for fusilli, but where fusilli is shaped by being wound around a rod, rotini is shaped by extrusion with a pasta machine.

The length and shape of rotini are so similar to fusilli that it makes the best substitute for fusilli pasta. It’s often used in pasta salad dishes.


Gemelli is a type of pasta that looks like two strands twisted together into a corkscrew shape. The word “gemelli” is the Italian word for ‘twins,’ aptly named due to its structure.

In fact, gemelli is not formed by twisting two strands around one another, but rather one strand of pasta in an S-shape that is twisted around itself. 

It’s a great substitute for fusilli given its similar texture and shape.


Another excellent stand-in for fusilli, cavatappi (also known as cellentani) is a hollow, twisted, short-length pasta. Cavatappi is usually scored on the surface, giving it a ridged texture.

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Cavatappi is made without eggs, making it a great fusilli substitute for anyone who may have an allergy to eggs.

A member of the macaroni family, cavatappi is often used in pasta dishes with red sauce, or in macaroni and cheese.

Other Suitable Substitutes for Fusilli Pasta

Even a long pasta such as linguine or fettuccine makes for a good substitute for fusilli. If you want to stick to shorter pasta shapes, try any of the following:

  • Penne
  • Macaroni
  • Farfalle
  • Rigatoni

You can’t go wrong with any pasta choice you make. Remember – the more textured a pasta, the better a sauce will stick. Keep that in mind as you choose your substitute for fusilli pasta!