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If you’re tired of trying to force your spaghetti into a too-small pot (or worse, breaking it in half so it fits), awkwardly holding a colander while pouring a heavy pot of pasta through it with the other hand, or losing slippery strands of pasta down the drain, it might be time to consider a dedicated pasta pot. Not only are they sized to fit long strands of pasta and plenty of cooking water, but many are also designed to make straining easier.
Pasta pots come in several different types: Some have a perforated insert that can be lifted out to strain your pasta, others have holes in the lid for straining, and a third kind features mesh baskets with handles that function as lift-out sieves. Each type has its advantages and which you should choose depends on your needs, preferences, and intended uses.
Here are our picks for the best pasta pot in each category.
Best Overall: All-Clad 6-Quart Stainless-Steel Pasta Pot and Insert E414S6
This three-piece set from a respected cookware manufacturer is made from heavyweight stainless steel that, unlike some metals, won’t react with acidic ingredients like tomato sauce, which can give your food a metallic flavor. The core of the pot’s base is made of aluminum, for quick and even heat distribution, and it has a 4-quart strainer insert so that you can simply lift your cooked pasta out of the pot when it’s done, without having to lift and pour a heavy pot full of pasta and boiling water.
It’s not just for pasta, though—it can also be used for making stocks (just lift out the ingredients when it’s ready, leaving the broth behind in the pot) or steaming vegetables in the insert. It works on induction stovetops and in the oven and is dishwasher safe. Plus, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Best Budget: Tramontina 6-Quart Lock and Drain Pasta Pot
This lightweight aluminum pasta pot offers a surprising amount of features for a low price point. It has an enamel exterior and nonstick interior coating and it comes with both a clear glass lid and a metal straining insert that locks onto the top of the pot so that you can pour off the cooking water without the need for a colander. The wide, ergonomic handles offer a non-slip grip and stay cool even during cooking. As a bonus, it’s dishwasher-safe, for hassle-free cleanup.
Best High-End: All-Clad Copper Core Pasta Pentola with Insert, 7-Quart
This higher-end option from the same manufacturer as our top overall pick is an elegant and high-performance cookware set featuring a 7-quart pot that has a copper and aluminum core for excellent and even heat conduction, with a non-reactive stainless steel exterior for easy and durable maintenance.
The deep pot has a strainer insert for lifting cooked pasta out of the water, and both pot and strainer have sturdy, riveted steel handles that won’t easily wobble or come loose. The handles are ergonomically contoured for a comfortable grip.
Not only is the set compatible with induction cooktops and dishwasher-safe, but it also comes with a lifetime warranty.
Best With Strainer Lid: Gotham Steel 5-Quart Multipurpose Pasta Pot
This nifty, 5-quart pot is not as large as some of our other picks, but it has one of the best designs. With a built-in strainer lid that features two different sizes of straining holes (one on each side) and handles that twist to lock the lid securely in place, the design ensures that it won’t slip while you’re straining out the cooking water, letting your pasta slide into the sink. The locking lid feature also makes this a great pot for popping popcorn.
The transparent tempered glass lid lets you monitor cooking without removing it, and the interior of the pot features a durable nonstick titanium-ceramic coating that’s resistant to scratching, even with metal utensils.
The pot is both oven- and dishwasher-safe, so it can also be used for baking casseroles, with effortless cleanup.
Best With Strainer Insert: Cuisinart 6-Quart Pasta Pot With Pasta Insert & Cover
This stylish stainless-steel pot is 11 inches deep, with gently curved sides and a large capacity to hold multiple servings of pasta. The colander insert stacks neatly on top of the pot and both the pot and strainer feature sturdy, angled steel handles.
The base of the pot has an aluminum core, for fast and even heat distribution to avoid hot spots while cooking, and the tempered glass lid lets you check on the cooking process without removing it. The pot is safe to use in both ovens and dishwashers and is covered by a lifetime manufacturer warranty.
Best for Spaghetti: Rachael Ray 8-Quart Nonstick Pasta Stock Pot with Lid and Spout
This unique 8-quart pasta pot goes wide instead of tall. It has an unusual oval shape, which means that long spaghetti or lasagna noodles will fit into it without bending or breaking and you can use the pot on your stovetop without blocking nearby burners.
The pot has a pour spout on one side for draining off cooking water, a nonstick interior coating for no-sweat cleanup, and sturdy curved handles with a rubberized grip for non-slip lifting.
Besides being practical, it’s attractive and available in several stylish colors like red or turquoise.
Best for Feeding a Crowd: Winware 20-Quart Aluminum Pasta Cooker APS-20
This massive, 20-quart pot is perfect for large families or pasta parties. Made of heavyweight aluminum, it has four separate stainless-steel straining baskets that can be used to cook four different types of pasta at once. Or it can be used without the baskets to cook many batches of a single type of pasta.
Each draining basket holds up to three servings of pasta, fits neatly into one quarter of the pot (like slices of a pie), and has a clip to hang it on the side of the pot. You could also use the baskets to cook pasta and vegetable toppings simultaneously, making this sturdy cooker a real kitchen multi-tasker.
Potential drawbacks are that it’s so large that it can be heavy to carry, especially when filled with water, and a pot of this capacity might require a commercial-grade stove to bring it to a boil when filled with water.
Best Set: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 4-Piece 12-Quart Pasta/Steamer Set 77-412
This extra-large and deep stainless-steel pot comes with both a colander insert and a steamer basket, making it especially versatile. The larger insert can strain large batches of pasta while the steamer basket is great for vegetables, seafood, dumplings, and more.
Like our pick for the best pasta pot with a strainer insert, the base of this pot has an inner layer of aluminum to ensure fast and even heating. All four pieces of this set (pot, strainer, steamer basket, and lid) are oven- and dishwasher-safe, and the set can be used on an induction stovetop. To top it all off, it’s all covered by a lifetime warranty.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
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). She’s cooked countless batches of pasta while testing recipes and knows what to look for in a pasta pot. An avid kitchen-appliance aficionado, she spends hours combing the Internet, comparing options, reading reviews, and testing devices to find the best tool for every job.