Popular Noodles And Company Menu Items, Ranked Worst To Best

We all love a meal that we can grab quickly and easily. But just because you want something that's convenient doesn't necessarily mean you want to find yourself in a fast food drive thru. If you're looking for something that's slightly healthier and reminds you more of food you'd actually eat at home, you may want to check out a fast casual joint instead. To that end, have you tried Noodles and Company yet? Because if you haven't, then you're in for a real treat.

If you've always wondered why you couldn't find an affordable pasta chain, Noodles and Company is the place you've been looking for. It's a fast casual spot where you can grab a variety of noodle dishes that take inspiration from different parts of the world. And you may just be surprised at how big the menu is — there's a lot to choose from!

Of course, that sort of variety can make picking your meal there difficult, so we've gone ahead and done the hard work for you by ranking some of the most popular Noodles and Company menu items. We've started with the worst dishes at the top of our list, and we make our way down to the best of the best that this restaurant has to offer at the very end. Take a look for yourself so you have a better idea of what to order the next time you go to Noodles and Company.

22. Zucchini Pesto with Grilled Chicken

Listen, we know that not everyone can have gluten, and there are some who just don't want to add a ton of carbs into their diet, even if they're not managing a health condition. We totally get it. But if that's the kind of diet you're on, it doesn't mean you have to punish yourself at every mealtime. And that's exactly what the zucchini pesto with grilled chicken at Noodles and Company tastes like: punishment. Sadly, it's a joyless meal. Where there's supposed to be delicious pasta, you get zucchini noodles instead, which are simply not the same thing.

There's an opportunity here to make the rest of the dish really flavorful since you don't have the comfort of real pasta in this menu item, but they seem to fall flat on that count as well. The grilled chicken is pretty flavorless, and it'll just leave you wanting more. The pesto doesn't even have any heat to it, so you can forget about the sauce doing the heavy lifting in the taste department.

Under the right circumstances, healthy eating can be genuinely fun and filling, but that's not what you're going to get with this menu item. We won't be ordering this one any time soon.

21. Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca with Shrimp

Is cauliflower rigatoni better than zucchini noodles? Yes, but only marginally. That's why the cauliflower rigatoni fresca with shrimp finds itself in second-to-last place. The cauliflower-infused rigatoni has an unusual taste to it, to the point where it doesn't really taste like normal pasta. It's not bad, per se, but it's just not what you're probably expecting from this dish. The texture is also a bit odd, at least when you're looking for a pasta-like experience, a surprise that results in a mouthfeel that a lot of people aren't going to be too excited about.

Then comes the sauce. This sauce is really, really simple. Like, so simple that you could (and probably should) just make it at home. It contains olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and not much else. The best part about this meal is the shrimp, but you're not going to get enough of it to really sate your hunger. Of course, the sprinkling of Parmesan on top is a nice touch, but it doesn't save this meal from being pretty lackluster overall.

20. Buttered Noodles

Do we even have to tell you why the buttered noodles landed at this spot on the list? You literally can't get simpler than this dish. It's just noodles, some butter, seasonings, and a sprinkling of cheese. Does it taste good? Of course. It's hard to make a serving of buttered noodles that doesn't taste delicious. But is there any reason at all to buy it from a restaurant when it's one of the absolutely easiest dishes to make at home in your own kitchen? Definitely not.

We get why the buttered noodles are on the menu. Some people are really picky and want something that's going to be supremely comforting and inoffensive when they go out to eat. And if you're just grabbing this meal out of convenience or because you're on the go, fine. But other than exceptions provided by a few extenuating circumstances, it's probably just easier to boil a pot of water, throw some noodles in, and top them with butter. Why spend your money ordering the same thing from Noodles and Company?

Basically, this particular ranking comes down to the money factor. There's no reason to shell out your hard-earned money at a premium for a dish that's so incredibly easy to make for yourself. Do your wallet a favor and put a pot of water on the stove instead.

19. Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes, you just need a warm bowl of soup to help you get through the day. That's especially true when it's raining or cold out or when you're feeling under the weather. And there's nothing better for those times than a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup. It's hearty, it's filling, it's warming ... what's not to love? That's why you may pick out the chicken noodle soup at Noodles and Company. However, you should know that it's probably not going to be your favorite item on the menu.

Overall, the chicken noodle soup here is solid. The broth is nice and salty, and you're going to get a decent serving of chicken and noodles. But this stuff doesn't really taste that much different than the kind of chicken noodle soup that you might find in a can. Because of that, we probably wouldn't order it from Noodles and Company unless we were really craving it and just happened to be there. All told, this isn't a top-notch soup. Instead, it feels more like an afterthought on the menu.

18. Rice Crispy

After a good bowl of pasta, you might be so full that you can't think of eating another bite. On the other hand, you may be the kind of person who likes to end every meal with a little something sweet. We can't blame you if you fall into this camp — there's nothing like a sweet treat to round out a meal. And when you take a look at the Noodles and Company menu, you'll notice that there are a few different options to choose from. One of them is the rice crispy.

There's a good chance you've had this dessert before as a kid. It's basically Rice Krispies or the cereal's generic equivalent held together by a sweet marshmallow glaze. It's sticky and sweet, but there's not much else to the flavor in the Noodle and Company version. It's something that kids are sure to gravitate towards, but adults aren't as likely to eat up. If you just want something vaguely sweet to snack on, then go ahead and order it. But if you want some flavor out of your dessert, you're better off opting for a different dish entirely.

17. Pad Thai

Here at Mashed, we absolutely love Thai food. But one Thai dish that's been way, way too overdone in quite a few places is pad Thai. And here's the thing: If you want really good pad Thai, you're better off going to a restaurant that specifically serves Thai food, not one whose main claim to fame is more Italian-inspired pasta. And if you're at a Thai restaurant, there are actually a lot of other dishes you can and probably should try before you order yet another plate of pad Thai.

The pad Thai at Noodles and Company is okay, but it's definitely not going to blow you away. It features rice noodles served with scrambled eggs, two types of cabbage, and peanuts. Green onions, lime, and cilantro add a bit of freshness to the dish, but they don't do enough heavy lifting to save this bowl of noodles from its mediocre nature.

Though you can add protein to this dish, it just doesn't feel very substantial even after such a boost. There's even a good chance that you're going to feel hungry again quickly. And considering there's just not much to it, we'd urge you to look at your other options before you decide you want to get the pad Thai here.

16. Grilled Chicken Caesar

You already know that Noodles and Company is a great place to go for pasta dishes galore, but you might not know that they serve some other less-carby meals as well. And if you take a trip to this restaurant and are in the mood for something a bit more green, then you're in luck. Just one of the salads you can snag there is the grilled chicken Caesar. We'll admit that this salad is nice and refreshing and offers a fresh option to the menu. But is it the best Caesar salad we've ever tried? Definitely not.

Like we've mentioned above, the grilled chicken at Noodles and Company is less than impressive, so it doesn't do much for this salad, either. Inexplicably, in addition to "Tuscan greens," there is also kale in the mix. While we do love kale, it seems like it was thrown in as an afterthought in this dish. And truthfully, Caesar salad tastes better without it.

In the dish's favor, the focaccia croutons add a nice texture and some carbs to this salad, and you can't go wrong with the sprinkling of Parmesan on top. However, these elements probably wouldn't keep us coming back for more.

15. Cauliflower Rigatoni in Roasted Garlic Cream

You already know that we're not a huge fan of the cauliflower rigatoni you'll find at Noodles and Company. However, when you combine those less-than-delicious noodles with a super tasty sauce, it makes the pasta more bearable, if nothing else. That's why the cauliflower rigatoni in roasted garlic cream has made it this far in our ranking. The sauce on this pasta dish is exceptionally light, but it's certainly not light on taste. The garlic and onion cream sauce is incredibly flavorful, and if you're the kind of person who can't get enough garlic in their diet, you're going to absolutely love this stuff.

The roasted zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach don't add much in the way of flavor, but they do add some more texture to the dish. And the cheese and parsley on top are a nice addition to keep this dish both filling and fresh. Overall, it's a tasty pasta dish, though we wish that the cauliflower rigatoni were replaced by the real thing. However, if you are looking for a slightly healthier option but still want to pick up a bowl of pasta that's going to be filling and delicious, then this particular meal may be right up your alley.

14. Tomato Basil Bisque

Sometimes, an entree is enough to fill you up and make you feel your best. Other times, though, like when you're super hungry, you may want to indulge in an extra dish on the side. That's where the tomato basil bisque at Noodles and Company comes in. Now, let's get one thing straight: This soup is not a meal on its own. It's quite light and not very hearty, so it's not going to fill you up unless you're not feeling very hungry at all. Instead, it tends to work better as a side to your pasta or salad.

While this soup may be light and unassuming, it packs in a lot of flavors. Cream, garlic, sherry, and basil all come together to create a lovely, rich taste that you're going to love. In fact, you may just be surprised at how much you can taste the basil in this soup, which adds a nice freshness to the whole experience that makes it even more appealing. Now, is it the most exciting soup in the world? No. But if you want to add some extra nutrients to your meal, this is a great way to do it.

13. Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Have a sweet tooth you just can't control? If so, you're probably always scanning menus to see what kinds of desserts restaurants are selling. Sometimes, you just have to stick with a classic, and that's something you can easily do when you decide to eat at Noodles and Company. The chocolate chunk cookie is an unassuming but obvious option if you love chocolate and baked goods. True to its name, this huge cookie features large pieces of rich chocolate that are sure to satisfy your craving.

Of course, given its prepackaged nature, this cookie isn't going to be anything like what you would find in a top-notch bakery. But if you're just looking for a simple dessert, it'll get the job done. It tastes pretty good, and kids and adults both are going to want to take a bite. Why not treat yourself after your big bowl of pasta and get something like this cookie to round out your meal?

12. Cheesy Garlic Bread

If you order a ton of pasta, you probably realize that you don't need any more carbs to help fill you up. But sometimes, it's not about nutrition — it's about taste. And that's exactly why you don't want to turn down the cheesy garlic bread without at least considering it first. This side dish is seriously really tasty. How could bread, garlic, and cheese not be, after all? It's a glorious combination that just about everyone likes. While this particular menu item does feel like it's on the heavier side, its delicious taste makes it more than worth your time, whether you're ordering a salad or pasta.

We also love that this garlic bread is served with a side of marinara dipping sauce, which adds even more flavor to the equation. And since you can choose from a serving of three or six slices, you can personalize your order according to how hungry you are. Why deprive yourself when you know that this cheesy garlic bread is out there waiting for you?

11. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese

If you know one thing about Wisconsin, it's probably that the state is known for producing some of the best kinds of cheese in the country, if not the world (though we're sure everyone wants to argue about that particular point). So, why wouldn't you want to try some of that cheese out for yourself? That's just what you'll get to do when you order the Wisconsin mac and cheese from Noodles and Company. It's a simple dish but a delicious one that you'll come back to time and time again. at least if you're a real mac and cheese fan.

It features the classic elbow macaroni shape along with cheddar and jack cheeses. There's also cream added into the mix to make this pasta even richer and ensure the sauce stays at the right consistency. While there are definitely better mac and cheese options on the menu at Noodles and Company, this is a solid choice if you want something that just about everyone is going to like. This mac and cheese is also typically great for kids or just picky eaters who don't want a bunch of extra add-ins in their mac. After all, how can you go wrong with a simple mixture of pasta and cheese?

10. 3-Cheese Tortelloni Rosa

We all love pasta, right? That's why we're here at Noodles and Company, after all. But if you're looking for something even better than normal pasta, you might want to try the spectacle that is filled pasta. While you're not going to find any ravioli on the Noodles and Company menu, you are going to find the three-cheese tortelloni rosa. This is definitely one of the more exciting items available, so you're going to want to check it out if you love cheese. The pasta is filled with ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella, so you know it's super-rich. It's also topped with more Parmesan, so there's no need to worry about not getting enough cheese in this dish.

The sauce is where this dish really shines, though. The spicy tomato cream sauce works really well with the cheese by adding a spicy, acidic flavor profile to the dish. The addition of mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, spinach, onions, and garlic only adds to the taste. When you put it all together, it's clear why this dish is a winner.

However, if you think this tortelloni dish is good, just wait until you see what else Noodles and Company has in store when it comes to filled pasta.

9. Chicken Veracruz Salad

We have already mentioned that we're not exactly in love with the grilled chicken Caesar salad at Noodles and Company, so if you're looking for an alternative, you may want to consider the chicken Veracruz salad. While this meal also contains that grilled chicken that we're not huge fans of, it has so many other ingredients that you probably won't even notice the lack of flavor from the meat. On top of the bed of greens, you'll also find bacon, corn, red onion, tomato, avocado, cilantro, and more. And when all of those delicious ingredients come together, how could you not enjoy this salad?

While we don't usually love ranch dressing, the jalapeno ranch in this salad really knocks it out of the park with the extra bit of heat in the mix. It adds just enough richness to the salad to complement all those fresh veggies, but it also packs some spiciness that will take your meal to the next level. And since this is such a massive salad, you won't even need to pick up anything else on the side (unless you want to).

If you're looking for a healthier alternative to pasta at Noodles and Company, the chicken Veracruz salad is an excellent option.

8. Japanese Pan Noodles

While Noodles and Company may be best known for their Italian-inspired dishes, we actually love the chain's Asian-inspired meals even more. And just one of those meals is the Japanese pan noodles. It all starts with caramelized udon noodles. We love udon noodles because they're thick and have a chewiness to them that makes slurping the noodles up downright irresistible. And the fact that they're cooked to perfection in a sweet soy sauce mixture in this dish makes them even more appealing.

You don't want to forget about all the veggies here, though. You'll find broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and cilantro in this bowl of noodles, which ups the health factor and adds even more flavor. The black sesame seeds on top add just a bit of crunch — but they also make the dish look even better.

If you find yourself at Noodles and Company but don't want to order anything that seems even remotely Italian, the Japanese pan noodles have got you covered.

7. Korean BBQ Meatballs

When you go out to eat, you may want to share a few dishes with your friends and family — or whoever else is at the table with you. Even if you don't, maybe you just want some extra food on the side of your main dish. Whatever the case may be, you can't go wrong with an order of the Korean BBQ meatballs you'll find at Noodles and Company. This is the kind of fusion cuisine we love, which takes two different ideas and combining them into something that's its own thing. And it tastes amazing, to boot.

These meatballs are glazed in a gochujang BBQ sauce that's sweet, spicy, and savory all at once. This may not seem like a coherent combination to some, but please believe us when we say we think that all these flavors go really well together. And whether you decide to eat these meatballs on the side or want to combine them with your bowl of noodles for an extra hit of protein and flavor, we think that they're going to make an excellent addition to your meal.

6. BBQ Pork Mac

Sure, the Wisconsin mac and cheese is delicious, but what if you want an even more exciting experience from your mac and cheese? Enter the BBQ pork mac. We're going to assume that you've never had a dish like this before. It's delicious, it's indulgent, and it's just what you want when you're in the mood to treat yourself. The mac and cheese, meanwhile, manages to be rich, creamy, and cheesy, just how you would want it to be. However, the star of the show is undoubtedly the BBQ pork.

The pork in question has been braised and slow-cooked to result in what could be the most tender, flavorful meat you can imagine. It's then topped with a BBQ sauce that adds some extra tang and flavor to the dish as a whole. Add in the crispy jalapenos on top for some added heat and crunch, and it's clear that this mac and cheese is a real winner. And hey, once you taste it at Noodles and Company, you may just figure out a way to make something similar at home.

5. Shrimp Scampi

You may think of pasta as a heavy food that's often paired with super-rich ingredients, resulting in a meal that will leave you too full to truly enjoy it by the end. But that's not always what happens. Sometimes, you can find a nice, light, refreshing pasta that you can eat at any time of the day. That's certainly the case with Noodles and Company's shrimp scampi. We love the ultra-light scampi sauce you'll find in this dish, which pairs exceptionally well with the lemon. The plump, succulent shrimp are also quite light but provide enough protein to fill you up so you can still feel energetic when it comes to tackling your remaining tasks for the day.

You'll also find a variety of veggies, like zucchini and Roma tomatoes, in this dish, which helps to add to the freshness of the whole meal. And, for what it's worth, those veggies also provide you with the fiber you need. And when they add in the sprinkling of Parmesan over the top of the pasta, you'll see why this menu item has earned its place in our ranking. Give it a try if you're on the lookout for a lighter option.

4. Roasted Garlic Cream Tortelloni

The tortelloni at Noodles and Company is fantastic, and so is the roasted garlic cream sauce. So, it should come as no surprise that when you add them together, the result is going to be out of this world. We seriously love the roasted garlic cream tortelloni from Noodles and Company, and we think you will too. The cheese-filled tortelloni itself is rich, creamy, and indulgent, which is everything you want out of a filled pasta. But the garlic and onion cream sauce seriously takes the tortelloni to the next level.

Don't think that this meal is too heavy, though: The addition of zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach keeps things just light enough that you'll want to keep going back for more. The top of the pasta is also sprinkled with MontAmoré cheese and parsley, which we think is a nice touch.

This is a super approachable dish, and it's one that just about everyone is going to like. The flavors may be simple together, but they're simple in the very best way.

3. Buffalo Chicken Mac

Wondering what the best mac and cheese at Noodles and Company of them all entail? Well, it's the Buffalo chicken mac, and we can bet you're going to love it just as much as we do. It all starts with the Wisconsin mac and cheese, but then it's topped with Parmesan chicken that's seriously out of this world. It's moist, it's crispy, and it's everything you want on top of a big bowl of mac and cheese. Then, even more flavor is added to the mix with the addition of Frank's RedHot Buffalo sauce, Parmesan cheese, and green onions. Those green onions work overtime by adding an element of freshness to the dish.

We do have a slight warning, however. While this mac and cheese dish isn't super spicy, it's still definitely on the hotter side for those of you with more tender tastebuds. However, that fire is mellowed out by all the different types of cheese you'll find in this pasta. You're not going to find mac and cheese like this everywhere, so you should definitely give it a try when you're at Noodles and Company.

2. Pesto Cavatappi

We're not going to lie: cavatappi might just be the best pasta shape out there. This swirly, fun, hollow pasta has a great texture that tastes pretty darn good with a wide variety of sauces. Perhaps one of the best of those sauces, though, is pesto. If you don't believe us, you can try the combo for yourself when you order the pesto cavatappi at Noodles and Company. In this meal, a generous portion of noodles is covered in a light pesto sauce. Said sauce is incredibly flavorful, but it's still on the lighter side, making this dish perfect for a lunch where you don't want to be weighed down for hours afterward.

Furthermore, all the veggies add flavor and a decent hit of healthy fiber to the pasta. You'll find garlic, mushrooms, and some cooked-down tomatoes that add a bit of sweetness to help elevate the meal. The Parmesan sprinkled on top also contributes to the richness of the dish with its salty, umami flavor profile.

While this might be one of the simpler options on the menu, it's that very simplicity that's earned the pesto cavatappi such a high spot on this list.

1. Spicy Korean Beef Noodles

Our favorite dish of them all has got to be Noodles and Company's spicy Korean beef noodles. If you're looking for a meal that packs a serious kick, then this is just what you're going to want to try. Remember the Korean BBQ meatballs we discussed earlier? Well, that same gojuchang BBQ sauce we love from that side dish also serves as the sauce for this Asian-inspired main meal. The marinated steak used here is hearty and adds that meaty, umami quality we love in a good noodle dish. Then the mix of red and napa cabbage adds some much-needed crunch and freshness for a bit of flavor and texture contrast. Aren't you drooling already?

Cucumber, green onions, and cilantro grace the top of your noodle bowl for a bit of brightness and color that seriously takes this dish to a whole new level. With so much going on in this bowl of noodles, how could you not give it a try? We hope you love this one just as much as we do.