While your dinnerware set probably came with soup and salad bowls, it more than likely didn't include larger-format bowls for enjoying pasta. Sure, you can appreciate some quick spaghetti in just about any dish, but even butter noodles can benefit from a proper pasta bowl.
The best pasta bowls are larger than standard bowls, typically accommodating from 20 to 32 ounces or more. Instead of being contoured like deep mixing bowls, pasta bowls are low and wide, making it easier to get to your pasta regardless of its shape. Most pasta bowls are made of china, ceramic, tempered glass, or melamine.
It may feel like there are as many pasta bowls as there are types of pasta. To help you narrow it down, we researched and tested some of the top-rated pasta bowls on the market. We plated saucy pasta dishes, large green salads, breakfast yogurt bowls, and more, rating each bowl's ability to hold a heaping serving, withstand the maneuvers of various utensils, match the rest of a table setting, and more. Whether you're spooning up a family-favorite carbonara or serving a bowl of homemade ravioli, we're revealing the best pasta bowls for the job.
Fiesta 32-Ounce Pasta Bowl
Gorgeous color options
The size and shape make it versatile
Retains heat well when microwaved
Thicker and heavier than other options
If you like to keep things colorful or are trying to match another serving set you already own, these pasta bowls will deliver. Fiesta dinnerware has been around for a while, so you very well may have other pieces. The stackable bowls (great for small spaces) come in one of the largest arrays of colors we’ve seen—16 different shades, including neutrals, such as white and gray, to bright, bold colors, such as purple and red. These porcelain china pasta bowls are loved by reviewers because of their large size—they hold up to 32 ounces each. They are also microwave-, oven-, and dishwasher-safe.
During testing, we found that the gorgeous "Mediterranean-ish" turquoise color and the subtle striping around the interior and exterior of the bowl added extra visual appeal. Thanks to its sturdy design, versatility, and good looks, we reached for this bowl again and again.
While we mainly used the Fiesta pasta bowl for cheese-filled tortellini with spinach in olive oil, a small fruit salad for two, cereal, and yogurt bowls, it would also work well for green salads, grain bowls, and chili. We also used it to serve up a street corn salad for Cinco de Mayo and to microwave leftover Chinese food, noting that the ceramic seemed to retain the heat pretty well.
Price at time of publish: $14
Material: Porcelain | Volume: 32 ounces | Number of Pieces: One
"I would definitely recommend these bowls. I think they're extremely versatile, a great everyday size, durable, easy to clean, and available in a ton of colors to match kitchen decor or existing dinnerware."
Best Budget Set
Corelle Winter Frost White 20-Ounce Bowl 6-Piece Set
Safe for the microwave, dishwasher, and oven
Great for everyday use
Doesn't coordinate with formal dining sets
When it comes to pasta bowl sets, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality product. If you’re satisfied with plain white options without fancy design elements or glazing, there are plenty of affordable options out there. This pasta bowl set is about as good as you can get in terms of price, with each bowl netting out at under $5 if you can find the set on sale.
With a 20-ounce capacity, these pasta bowls are a standard size that can comfortably fit a full serving of pasta and sauce, if not more. We found these bowls to be ultra-practical for everyday use and loved how they were the ideal shape and size for pasta entrees or sides, as well as salads, snack plates, and burrito bowls.
They’re made with triple-layer strong glass, which not only looks great but is also incredibly functional and durable. They’re lightweight, stackable, and highly resistant to chips and breaks. Additionally, these plates are microwave-, oven-, and dishwasher-safe. Reviewers highly recommend the set, calling them the perfect size and shape; plus, many vouch for the fact that they last for many years, despite the low sticker price. We have to agree—there were no marks on the finish after using or washing. One tester noted that the bowls seemed just as durable and resistant to breakage as other Corelle pieces they own.
Price at time of publish: $23 for 6-piece pasta bowl set
If you’re looking to match your current place settings, white pasta bowls tend to coordinate with everything and complement the food you are serving. Other brands also offer a few basic color options for a similar, neutral look.
Material: Tempered glass | Volume: 20 ounces | Number of Pieces: Six
"Although this set is budget-priced, the durability and versatility of these bowls is unmatched. Pasta, salads, leftovers, snack plates—I piled it all into these bowls and continue to reach for them daily."
Le Tauci Pasta Bowls
Made of thick, quality stoneware
Chip- and crack-resistant stoneware
Large surface area makes them versatile
Retains heat well
May be too heavy for some people's taste
If you prefer larger-scale dinnerware with more surface area, these oversized pasta bowls are a great choice. At 45 ounces, the shiny white ceramic bowls are big enough to use as a small pasta serving bowl, but aren’t comically large—so you can definitely use them for larger individual portions of noodles, too.
They’re an especially good option for anyone who wants to use the bowls for multiple types of food, such as soups (especially ramen) or large dinner-sized main course salads. During testing, we even used them to serve a fruit salad and pretzels at a toddler’s birthday party.
Despite the generous capacity, the shallow silhouette keeps them looking refined—not clunky. The large pasta bowls are made of thick, quality stoneware that’s both chip- and crack-resistant to hold up to everyday use, including spins through the dishwasher and microwave.
Price at time of publish: $36 for 4-piece set
Material: Ceramic | Volume: 45 ounces | Number of Pieces: Four
"These generously sized bowls were the perfect choice for containing a saucy fettuccine dish with room to spare for meatballs or even a slice of garlic bread or two on the side."
Best for Outdoor Dining
Pottery Barn Cabana Melamine Individual Bowl
Durable for al fresco dining
Attractive color options
Perfect for pasta salad or snacks
Very easy to clean
On the small side
When it comes to dining outdoors, durability is arguably the most important feature of any dinnerware. When you’re carrying meals from the kitchen to your outdoor dining table or eating in the wind, the chance of breakage is just that much higher. But disposable options aren’t ideal for a variety of reasons—they’re not eco-friendly and are much less sophisticated.
Your best choice is melamine. These pasta bowls have all the same qualities of much more refined ceramic options. Although we noticed that these bowls were a bit smaller than others on the list during testing, they easily fit standard servings of pasta, oatmeal, and yogurt mixed with granola. We found that they don't retain heat as much as ceramic, so they also work for items other than warm pasta dishes (such as pasta salad).
Choose from two rich colors—stone or turquoise—that complement a wide range of styles. Plus, you can complete your set with all of the companion pieces available, from serving bowls and platters to salad and dinner plates. They’re top-rack dishwasher-safe, but like all melamine, not recommended for microwave use.
Price at time of publish: $10
Material: Melamine | Volume: 26 ounces | Number of Pieces: One or four
"These bowls almost had me fooled into thinking they were ceramic. I found a lot of versatility in them for serving everything from salads to macaroni and cheese and breakfast cereal."
Villeroy & Boch Vapiano Pasta Bowls
Beautiful design and shape elevate any table setting
Color coordinates with almost anything
Nesting design for easier storage
Can’t buy singles
Take up width in storage cabinets
This lovely pasta bowl set of two is of European manufacture but readily available in the U.S. The duo is perfect for pastas and salads, and their gently curved oval design makes them more eye-catching than plain, round bowls.
Villeroy & Boch, the esteemed, centuries-old German manufacturer, makes these out of porcelain, which is lightweight yet sturdy and can be popped right into the dishwasher. Because of their depth and curved oval shape, however, we found that these bowls take up a lot of rack space—so it may be tricky to fit more than a few on a single rack.
We love the shape and design of these pieces in person, especially the contoured sides, which will elevate any table setting. Keep in mind that they may not be the best choice for families with young children, who might find the bowls tough to carry and eat out from.
Price at time of publish: $36 for 2-piece set
Material: Porcelain | Volume: 31 ounces | Number of Pieces: Two
"They easily hold more than a standard 2-ounce serving of pasta, and the two low-curved sides helped me move noodles onto my fork. I could see these bowls also coming in handy for serving beef stew piled over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes."
Williams Sonoma Terre Pasta Bowls
Matte finish feels sturdy
Adds a nice rustic touch to kitchen decor
Matte finish may pick up silverware marks
These sturdy, demi-matte stoneware pasta bowls come in an off-white shade that suits a range of decor styles. They mix and match well, too, making them a welcome addition to just about any set of dishes you may already have. The sleek design will lend sophistication to both everyday and formal meals.
Still, these Williams Sonoma pasta bowls are very functional. At just over 36 ounces, the bowls are bigger than many other standard options. We compared the overall size to a 10-inch dinner plate in terms of storage and noted the wide, flat bottom of these bowls offers plenty of real estate for pasta or a standard protein plus starch and veggie meal. Plus, they don’t break easily, and they are dishwasher- and microwave-safe—all qualities that make the set of four great for families.
Price at time of publish: $60 for 4-piece set
Material: Ceramic | Volume: 36.5 ounces | Number of Pieces: Four
"The matte finish on these bowls added a homey, rustic feel to my dining room table. The finish also feels so good, I wanted to eat all of my meals off of these."
Denby White Square Pasta Bowl
Feels sturdy without being too heavy
Neutral white matches anything
Great for salads and dips
Sometimes it’s nice to have dishes on the table that aren’t all the same shape, and having square pasta bowls can help highlight the visual beauty of any pasta dish. These are smaller in volume, but nicely shaped.
We loved the neutral color of this bowl, which makes it easier to match almost any other dishware. However, the sloped sides somewhat take away its versatility—it’s a bit too shallow to use for soup, cereal, or very saucy pasta since overfilling the bowl can easily slosh food over the rim. It can hold approximately 18 ounces, which might be a better size for salads or dips and bread.
The Denby pasta bowl can be purchased as a single piece or part of a set in which all the dishes have that similar square shape with just slightly rounded corners. They’re safe in the oven and microwave and can go right in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $32
Material: Porcelain | Volume: 18.7 ounces | Number of Pieces: One
"The rounded corners and shallow design of this bowl make it a good choice for serving salads or dips as well as pasta."
YomYomCeramic Rustic Ceramic Pasta Bowl
Handcrafted and distinctive
Strikes a balance in size and shape
Coordinates with other handcrafted pieces
Can be placed in the oven
Won’t blend well with all décor
Good pasta deserves special dinnerware, and you can’t get any more special than these one-of-a-kind handcrafted ceramic pasta bowls from YomYomCeramics. The interiors are glazed, but the exteriors are matte and metallic, with raw, organic design schemes—each handmade and unique. A delightful way to present pasta, ramen, or veggies, they’re entirely safe in the dishwasher, microwave, and even the oven.
We enjoyed a serving of cheese-filled ravioli out of this bowl and found the material offers a lot of grip so food doesn’t slide around. Our one caveat? The "gritty" texture of the interior, while it helped hold food in place, didn't feel great against stainless steel utensils. We also found the best way to run this bowl through the dishwasher was to place it on the top rack because of the curved edges.
They won’t exactly match most dishware, but does that matter? These offer elegant presentation and an interesting aesthetic—no two are exactly alike—and adding them to your table supports the work of a gifted ceramics artist.
Price at time of publish: $65
Material: Ceramic | Volume: 20 ounces | Number: One, two, four, six, eight, 10, 14, 18, 24
"This one-of-a-kind bowl is so unique looking that pottery fans will want to display it even when it's not in use."
If you’re looking for a generously sized pasta bowl whose range of color options will match almost any table setting (and has stellar heat retention to boot), the Fiesta 32-Ounce Pasta Bowl will fit the bill. For something that also complements your existing dinnerware but has a wallet-friendly appeal, we recommend the six-piece Corelle Winter Frost set.
How We Tested
We purchased 10 of the best pasta bowls and sent them to our freelancer, Sharon Lehman, to test. She first inspected the bowls right out of the box, evaluating their design, thickness, and durability, as well as how well they matched the rest of her table setting. She then used the bowls for a variety of saucy pasta dishes, including ravioli with tomato sauce, tortellini with olive oil, classic spaghetti, and linguine with clams. Sharon also used the bowls for other dishes like salads, yogurt bowls with fruit and granola toppings, reheated leftovers, and microwavable frozen meals.
She assessed whether each bowl was able to accommodate an ample serving of those foods and whether she was able to maneuver the food in the vessel easily; how well the material was able to retain heat (including after microwaving if applicable) before food cooled down; whether the bowl sustained scratches from forks and knives; and other observations. Lastly, she evaluated how easy each bowl was to clean, either by hand-washing or running it in the dishwasher if it is dishwasher-safe.
Finally, Sharon rated each bowl on the following attributes: material, design, functionality, quality of finish, and overall value.
What to Look for in Pasta Bowls
The classic design of a pasta bowl balances two things that are typical of most pasta dishes: noodles and sauce. Whatever the noodle shape—and there are many—you’ll want all of them to have contact with the sauce and mix evenly. The low, spread-out shape of a pasta bowl is ideal for that sort of sauce distribution. Conversely, because the pasta bowl isn’t flat, it also helps contain the sauce, all nice and cozy with the noodles—no sloshing over the sides. Many people also especially appreciate pasta bowls with a wide, flat lip because that lip creates a visual frame for the food.
Pasta bowls range in size from under 20 ounces to much larger. Depending on how you’re dining and whom you’re feeding, the sizes in the middle can often do double duty as either pasta serving bowls or large, elegant, single-serving dishes. The generally accepted serving size for pasta is 2 ounces dry, which ends up being about a cup of noodles once cooked. With sauce added, that’s not as skimpy as it might seem. Even with a standard portion, though, there is something visually appealing about having the pasta and sauce gracefully resting at the center of the dish, framed by the edge of a beautiful pasta bowl.
Like most dishware, pasta bowls offer many materials to choose from. Stoneware, pottery, china, glass, melamine, plastics, and even wood and bamboo. The type of material doesn’t necessarily indicate quality or lack thereof, but you do want to select pasta bowls that work with your lifestyle, cooking habits, maintenance level, and personal taste.
Many matched sets of dishes often include a bowl or plate that might be labeled “pasta” or “salad,” but the shape and utility are roughly the same. If your dishware doesn’t already include a dish suitable for pasta, and if having matching dishes is important to you, look around until you find a pasta bowl that coordinates. There are many available styles, and you’re sure to find one that you like.
If you’re a dishwasher person, be sure to select a pasta bowl of material that’s dishwasher safe. Also, a thicker and heavier dish will tend to retain a food’s heat better, and a pasta dish of a heavier material will keep the food warmer, albeit marginally. But really, isn’t the pasta usually all eagerly twirled, forked, or slurped up and long gone before it has any chance to cool off?
Are all pasta bowls heavy?
Pasta is primarily associated with Italian cuisine. There is a particular design aesthetic surrounding Italian pasta bowls and stoneware, so many of the bowls you see will be of that design or emulating it. That said, pasta bowls aren’t heavy simply because they’re pasta bowls. The weight of any dish has more to do with its overall size, the type of material it’s made from, and its design.
Can I use a soup bowl for pasta?
You can use any sort of dish you wish for pasta, but pasta bowls typically have a low, wide design, with or without a rim. The reason for this is that the shape contains the sauce and allows a perfect sauce distribution, where the sauce clings to but doesn’t overwhelm the pasta. A soup bowl, on the other hand, is better for foods like, well...soup, in which you want everything to be swimming freely around in the broth together.
Can you eat pasta on a regular plate?
Many a grandmother, Italian or otherwise, has served up spaghetti and meatballs on a big, wide plate. It’s not that it doesn’t work; it does, but the classic Mediterranean design of the pasta bowl has a raised side that Nonna would likely pick if she had the choice.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, a culinary school graduate who has written and edited hundreds of stories about small home goods and food for a wide range of women's lifestyle publications.
Jenny Kellerhals updated this roundup. Jenny is a food and beverage writer based in Queens, New York. With over a decade of experience in professional kitchens, she keeps her standards high, and at home, only the most reliable dinnerware and best equipment make the cut.
Catherine Russell also updated this roundup. Growing up, her grandmother's kitchen was one of her favorite places to be. Warmed by the oven and redolent of spices, she learned to bake, roast, broil, and cook most anything from scratch, and often with only the recipes as grandma remembered them.