Easy Weeknight Buttered Noodles

Easy Weeknight Buttered Noodles

Having a day? There’s nothing buttered noodles can’t fix.

If you look up “comfort” in the dictionary, you just might find this Buttered Noodles recipe and a tantalizing visual: a big heaping bowl of glistening hot egg noodles, or Italian pasta, sprinkled generously with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. No matter how many amazing pasta recipes we feature, we could not forget this everyday comfort food. Whether you enjoy it as an easy side dish, an accompaniment to Swedish meatballs or simply on its own, buttered noodles are a staple in most households.

Not only is it easy to love, but it’s easy to prepare too. From boiling the pasta to garnishing the cooked noodles with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese, this Buttered Noodles recipe is done in no time.

Buttered noodles in cast iron skillet with grated parmesan and parsley

What Are Buttered Noodles?

Buttered noodles are a comfort-sized serving of cooked pasta or egg noodles that are coated in melted butter and seasoned simply with one or more of the following ingredients: salt, pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and red pepper flakes. Buttered noodles can be served as a simple side dish, an accompaniment to Swedish Meatballs and stews or all on their own as an easy entrée.

Buttered noodles in cast iron skillet with grated parmesan and parsley

Where Did Buttered Noodles Originate? Who Invented?

The origin of buttered noodles is disputed. Everywhere from China to Rome to Germany claims to have invented the simple dish. What we do know for certain is that buttered noodles embody the simple everyday comforts so many seem to enjoy—no matter their cuisine or culture.

Why You’ll Love This Buttered Noodles Recipe

Buttered noodles are simple and satisfying. What’s not to love? Pasta is an iconic comfort food, and so it makes sense that this easy-to-prepare recipe of few ingredients is a go-to for so many all around the world. Buttered noodles can be served up as a side dish, a quick lunch, an easy entrée and the ideal accompaniment to saucy meats and Stroganoff recipes.

The Ingredients You Will Need To Make Buttered Noodles

Noodles: There is no right or wrong egg noodle or pasta for a bowl of buttered noodles. We love how the slick buttery sauce pairs up with long cuts—especially the long, curly hollows of Fusilli col Buco. Some people prefer heartier egg noodles for the buttered noodles recipe, or even short cuts like Farfalle and Penne Rigate. Children love tiny pastina like Ditalini. Whatever you have on-hand will do!

Butter: Butter gives your noodles an irresistible flavor and texture. Just be sure you do not burn or brown the butter in the saucepan.

Parmesan Cheese: We love freshly grated Parmesan cheese, but the shaker kind will do! Parmesan adds a savory, nutty flavor to your bowl of buttered noodles.

Fresh Parsley: Herbs like parsley are their most fragrant when they are fresh. Their best flavors are unlocked with just a bit of heat, so do not cook your parsley for this dish. Add a sprinkling of chopped parsley to your hot buttered noodles just before serving.

Ingredients for Buttered Noodles

How To Make Buttered Noodles

1. Cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Pasta going into boiling water

2. Create the Butter Sauce.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Once the pasta gets to that perfect al dente texture, drain the noodles but reserve a cup of pasta water to help coat the pasta.

Butter melting in pan on stovetop
Melted butter on stovetop

3. Combine Pasta with Sauce.

Add the hot pasta to the melted butter with a splash or two of pasta water. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.

Pasta and water added to melted butter
Stirring Pasta and water added to melted butter
Cheese added to pasta and butter sauce

4. Finish and Serve.

Serve it sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Buttered noodles topped with parsley
Finished buttered noodles

What To Serve With Buttered Noodles

While many of us love buttered noodles all on their own, they also make an excellent side dish recipe for a number of entrées. The most well-known is probably Stroganoff or Swedish Meatballs.

Swedish Meatballs

Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Meatballs

Shrimp Scampi

Hot & Spicy Pesto Shrimp Skewers

Braised Beef in Barolo Wine Sauce

Don’t Have Fusilli Col Buco? Here Are The Best Pasta Alternatives

Simple butter sauces are best paired up with long cuts of pasta like Spaghetti, Capellini and Fettucine. These noodles have a larger surface area for oil-based and butter-based sauces to cling to. Any cut of pasta or egg noodle will work, though.

Top Storage Tips

Store leftover buttered noodles in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Buttered noodles are so quick and easy to make, so we do not recommend freezing them. Butter and dairy risks breaking down upon freezing, so the texture of your buttered noodles may not be the same once reheated from a frozen state.

More Tips To Make Buttered Noodles

Salt pasta water. Always. This is the only time in the cooking process that you will truly get to flavor your pasta noodles.

Do not rinse. Rinsing cooked pasta prevents sticking and quickly cools down the pasta. This is great when you are making a cold pasta salad, but not when introducing pasta to a sauce—whether it be based in tomato, butter or cream. The starchiness of cooked pasta allows sauces to adhere to each noodle, resulting in a great-tasting final dish where every bite is as good as the next.

Reserve pasta water. When draining your cooked pasta, be sure to save a cup of pasta water to help finish your sauce. The hot starchy pasta water helps to loosen the sauce and coat each noodle. Stir in a little at a time to reach the desired consistency.

Buttered Noodles: FAQ

Why Is It Best To Use Pasta Water In This Recipe? Can I Use Regular Water Instead?

You cannot use regular water as a substitute to pasta water in a buttered noodles recipe. Pasta cooking water contains starches that help sauces to coat noodles. Regular water is just that—water. And does nothing but possibly separate the butter from the noodles.

Can I Make Buttered Noodles Without Parmesan?

You can make buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese. Really, all you need is pasta and butter to make this dish. All other ingredients and seasonings are optional.

If I Don’t Have Parmesan, Can I Use Another Cheese?

You can use any grated hard cheese, such as Pecorino Romano or Grana Cheese, to flavor your buttered noodles.

Can I Make Vegan Buttered Noodles?

Buttered noodles can be made with vegan butter to make the dish vegan-friendly.

If I Don’t Have Parsley, Can I Use Other Fresh Herbs?

You can use any fresh herbs to season your buttered noodles.

Do I Need To Season Buttered Noodles?

Buttered noodles is a super simple dish that requires only two ingredients: pasta (or egg noodles) and butter. All other seasonings are up to you.

Buttered Noodles

Easy Weeknight Buttered Noodles



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt to the water. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Once it achieves an al dente texture, drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Be careful not to brown the butter.
  3. Once the butter is melted, transfer the cooked hot pasta to the saucepan. Add a splash or two of the hot starchy pasta water to the pan to help coat the noodles. Stir and continue to cook for a minute or two to marry the flavors.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add more pasta water if necessary to get the desired texture.
  5. Serve topped with fresh, chopped parsley.
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