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Anyone who delves into making fresh pasta at home—whether you’re using a machine or rolling and cutting it by hand—quickly learns that the strands need to be separated as soon as they’re cut and hung to dry for about 15 minutes before cooking. This is to avoid pasta that clumps and sticks together or dissolves into a gloppy mess as soon as it’s dropped into boiling water. If you don’t plan to cook it right away or have extra pasta that you’d like to keep for future use, fresh pasta can be dried more thoroughly over several hours and then stored at room temperature. This also requires hanging so that it can dry completely and evenly, with air passing around all its surfaces to prevent the formation of mold.
While you can certainly improvise and utilize clothes hangers, a laundry drying rack, the back of a chair, or even a broom handle, if you plan on making homemade pasta regularly, a dedicated pasta drying rack is a more efficient, less messy, and more sanitary solution. Here are our picks for the best pasta drying racks.
This versatile wooden rack can clip to just about any horizontal or vertical surface that’s up to 1-inch thick: the top of a cupboard door, the side or back of a chair, or the edge of a table, shelf, or counter. That means that it doesn’t take up any counter space—a valuable attribute when you’re making pasta, particularly in a small kitchen. It also means that it can handle even the longest noodles because you can clamp it at any height you wish.
The stainless-steel clamp is sturdy and rust-resistant, and it can be mounted to the rack in several different orientations. While it’s not the most compact pasta drying rack available, the clamp is removable, so the rack is easy to store flat.
The 12 10-inch wood rods give ample space for hanging and drying even large batches of multi-serving pasta, but the rack is lightweight when empty, making it practical to transport and store.
This affordable option, available in several different colors of food-grade plastic, features 10 rounded arms that open up or fold down for storage, a bit like an umbrella. The four legs have slip-resistant feet for added stability. It’s a plus that the arms are all at an equal height, so you won’t have the issue of some arms that can hold long strands and others that only fit short ones, like with spiral-arm pasta racks. However, this rack is the shortest we reviewed, standing only about 11 inches tall, so it’s not the best option for drying super-long strands or multiple portions of pasta.
But if you’re looking for a pasta drying rack for small batches that won’t bust the bank, is easy to clean, and collapses down to store in small, tight spaces, this could be the one for you.
The arms and legs of this collapsible pasta drying rack quickly and easily store away inside the central stainless-steel column and can be pulled out just as painlessly for a speedy setup. While this type of design isn’t as sturdy as a model with a heavy wood base, the folding tripod-style legs feature anti-skid feet for added stability.
The eight BPA-free plastic rods can rotate, making it a snap to access every arm, and a convenient plastic wand is included to aid in hanging or removing noodles from the arms. The wand handily slides into the central column for storage when it's not in use. Unlike spiral-arm pasta dryers, the drying arms are all at the same height, and at more than 16 inches high, they can hold up to 6 pounds of even the longest strands.
The clever design also includes an anti-rolling feature, so that even when all parts are stored inside the central column, it won’t roll away on countertops or inside drawers. An added bonus: The detachable arms are dishwasher safe, for fast and effortless cleanup.
This pasta rack may be a bit of a splurge for a single-use kitchen item, but it’s made by Marcato, the well-established Italian producer of our top pick for pasta machines, so it’s a sturdy and high-quality option that comes with a five-year guarantee. Simply turn the knob at the top to fan out the 16 polycarbonate rods into a spiral shape for hanging fresh pasta noodles. It comes with a handy tool that stores in the central column and can be used for easily transferring pasta strands to the arms of the rack or from the arms to the cooking pot. At nearly 20 inches high, it can hold up to 4.5 pounds of pasta and even the longest strands.
The sleek, modern design is available in several different bright colors and it folds up relatively flat for storage. Another plus is that the BPA-free plastic rods and stainless-steel base are easy to clean, even with dried-on pasta dough. One downside with spiral-arm models such as this is that the bottom arms can only hold much shorter noodles than the top level.
If you’re regularly making multiple batches of pasta at a time, some of the more compact drying racks, which might only hold one or two servings of pasta, just won’t cut it. This solid beechwood rack from a family-owned kitchen tool company is large and sturdy and features four 18-inch wooden rods that can hold up to eight servings of pasta for drying. The tapered arms are cleverly angled so that hanging pasta strands won’t touch each other, and the solid wood base is stable, to prevent the rack from tipping over even when the dowels are fully loaded.
The rack is 16.5 inches tall, so it can accommodate even lengthy noodles, and it’s easy to clean by hand washing. On the downside, while the wooden arms slide out for storage and the center column can be disassembled from the base, it’s not as compact or easy to store as some of our other picks.
A strikingly different option, this made-in-Italy mesh rack in a solid wood frame is our most multi-purpose pick. While it’s not the best option for extra-long strands, it can also be used—unlike our other picks—for drying short, shaped, or filled pasta like gnocchi, orecchiette, or ravioli. It can even be used for drying herbs, vegetables, or fruit, and it’s stackable, so if you have large volumes of food to dry you can easily expand the capacity by purchasing multiple trays.
The wooden legs are removable, for flat storage, and the food-safe plastic mesh has large holes for better air circulation and easier cleaning.
This handsome dark-wood set includes a pasta drying rack with 10 arms that offer plenty of hanging space, so you can dry multiple servings of pasta at once. The rack is 17.5 inches tall, so you can hang even super-long noodles from the top level. The arms swivel out into a spiral shape to support noodles while drying, then back into a flat plane for storage.
The solid wood base is stable, to support up to 4.5 pounds of pasta, and the matching, 18-inch French rolling pin is smooth and weighty, with gently tapered edges. It’s perfect for hand-rolling pasta, of course, but can also be used for rolling out cookie or pastry doughs.
This set is a great deal if you prefer to roll out your pasta dough by hand, the old-fashioned way, rather than using a machine. But like the Marcato, a drawback to this spiral-arm rack is that only shorter noodles will fit on the lower arms.
This elegant acacia-wood rack is simple and efficient. Its eight smooth, rounded rods fold up for drying strands of fresh pasta or noodles and down for easy, flat storage. It’s a sturdy and affordable option, despite its classy looks, and unlike some other wood pasta racks, it features an oil finish that prevents dough from sticking and makes it easier to clean and more resistant to stains and warping.
One potential downside is that, at 11.5 inches high, it’s not as tall or large-capacity as some other racks. But if you don’t plan to dry large batches of pasta or don’t mind using multiple racks to do so, it’s not a deal-breaker.
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This article was written by Danette St. Onge, formerly the Italian Food Expert for The Spruce Eats and a features editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine (part of America’s Test Kitchen). An avid kitchen appliance junkie, she spends hours combing the Internet, comparing options, reading reviews, and testing devices to find the best tool for every job.