Leftover Pasta Fritters

20 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 102

Prepare for a remarkable transformation of your leftovers with just four ingredients! If only I could deliver these freshly made Pasta Fritters to you, so you could witness their deliciousness firsthand. These fritters work wonders with any type of leftover pasta.

 Pasta Fritters Leftover Pasta Fritters

Am I the only one who constantly finds themselves with leftover pasta? It’s as if I possess some sort of mystical ability to consistently cook more than needed. I seem to get it right with most other dishes, but pasta always ends up in surplus!

I once stumbled upon an article claiming that everything tastes better when enjoyed the next day. There was a heap of scientific explanations, but honestly, I don’t need science to tell me that some things simply don’t hold up as well after some time.

Take fish, for instance, or stir-fries, and noodle soups—they’re best savored fresh off the stove. Pasta unquestionably belongs to that “fresh-off-the-stove” category. There’s a very valid reason why Italian mothers insist their families sit down at the dining table, ready to dive into their pasta the moment it’s cooked. After 15 minutes, it’s just not the same.

This wisdom has been passed down by the world’s great chefs for ages. Lidia Bastianich, for instance, has been preaching this for decades, and finally, the world is catching on.

The explanation is straightforward—pasta keeps absorbing liquid even after cooking, becoming soft and mushy instead of maintaining that desirable al dente texture. Additionally, the sauce’s liquid gets drawn into the pasta, leaving behind a once-luscious, now-dry coating.

So, what’s the solution for all that leftover pasta? Transform it into these utterly delightful fritters. Just look at them! That crispy, golden-brown crust—oh, it’s irresistible! I confess, I couldn’t resist indulging in quite a few of these. What’s fantastic is that you can craft these fritters using any pasta variety you have on hand—whether it’s bolognese, alfredo, carbonara, creamy tomato, macaroni, penne, shells, fettuccine, or more. For the photos, I used leftover Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Spaghetti.

All the delightful flavors of your pasta are compacted into these fritters and elevated with some cheese (if you prefer), then fried until they achieve that exquisite brown crispiness. The crunchy crust is the real star here!

These fritters also freeze beautifully. I usually reheat them in the oven to recapture that delightful crunch.

If you have a substantial amount of leftover pasta, you can even create one large fritter, which is what I do sometimes. Fry it up as one giant fritter, then slice it into portions. However, today I didn’t quite have enough for a giant fritter, so I opted for smaller ones.

So, have I managed to kindle your enthusiasm for embracing leftovers for dinner tonight?

Leftover Pasta Fritters

Leftover Pasta Fritters

Prepare for a remarkable transformation of your leftovers with just four ingredients! If only I could deliver these freshly made Pasta Fritters to you, so you could witness their deliciousness firsthand. These fritters work wonders with any type of leftover pasta.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
total time
30 mins



  • 3 cups (packed) cold leftover pasta (sauce and pasta mixed together), packed (Note 1)

  • 2 eggs

  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs (I used panko breadcrumbs)

  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (optional) (Note 2)

  • Salt and pepper , to taste

  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Coarsely chop the pasta by placing it in a bowl and using scissors to cut it into smaller pieces.
Combine the chopped pasta with the eggs, breadcrumbs (begin with 3/4 cup), and cheese. Mix everything together, and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
To test if the mixture holds together well, take a scoop and slightly flatten it. If necessary, add more panko breadcrumbs (see Note 3).
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
Take a level 1/3 cup of the mixture (pack it firmly) and transfer it to the frying pan. Tap the bottom of the measuring cup to release the mixture into the pan. Use the bottom of the cup to gently pat the mixture into a thickness of about 1 cm (2/5 inches). Repeat this step to make as many fritters as will comfortably fit in the pan.
Cook the first side for approximately 2 minutes or until it becomes dark brown and crispy. Then, flip the fritter and cook the other side until it's crispy as well, which should take around 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Once done, remove the fritters from the pan and place them on a paper towel to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Serve the fritters immediately. If desired, garnish them with finely chopped parsley leaves and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


It's best to use leftover pasta that has been refrigerated for at least one night. Leftover pasta tends to dry out and clump together, which aids in keeping these fritters well-formed. If you decide to make this with fresh pasta, increase the number of eggs to one egg per cup of pasta and add at least 50% more panko breadcrumbs (for extra binding). Feel free to choose from a variety of melting cheeses like cheddar, tasty, gruyere, or your preferred option. If you opt for Parmesan cheese, reduce the quantity to 1/3 cup, as its flavor and saltiness are more intense compared to other cheeses. Utilize the panko breadcrumbs to control the mixture's consistency. Different pasta types have varying levels of moisture. The goal is to have a mixture that is sticky enough to hold together. For instance, if your ragu is particularly saucy, you may require 1 1/4 cups of panko breadcrumbs. These fritters freeze exceptionally well. Allow them to cool, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer. When reheating, it's recommended to use the oven (even from frozen) as it will help recapture their crispiness. Calculating the exact nutrition for this recipe is challenging since it depends on the specific type of leftover pasta you use. Below is an estimated nutrition breakdown based on the assumption of using leftover spaghetti bolognese: Nutrition Estimate for Leftover Pasta Spaghetti Fritters
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