The All-Clad 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pasta Pot and Insert is our top choice for its quick and even heat distribution, convenient strainer insert, and its multiuse versatile functionality. If you're looking for a budget-friendly pick, try the Tramontina 6-Quart Lock and Drain Pasta Pot which sports ergonomic handles and easy cleanup.
Tired of trying to force your spaghetti into a too-small pot (or worse, breaking the noodles in half to fit)? What about having to awkwardly hold a colander while pouring a heavy pot of pasta through it with the other hand or losing slippery strands of pasta down the drain? Well, it might be time to consider purchasing 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 the best pasta pots.
All-Clad 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pasta Pot and Insert
Quick and even heat distribution
Insert sits higher than some other models
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.
One caveat is that the pot's strainer might feel a bit short, as it seems to sit higher than some similar models. This makes the strainer great for steaming, but you might find yourself having to find the "sweet spot" when it comes to finding the maximum fill line for boiling water for noodles.
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 (up to 600 degrees) and is dishwasher-safe. Plus, it comes with a lifetime limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: Stainless steel | Overall Capacity: 6 quarts | Strainer Capacity: 4 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Max: 600 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Tramontina 6-Quart Lock and Drain Pasta Pot
Nonstick surface prone to scratching
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 nonslip grip and stay cool even during cooking. As a bonus, it’s dishwasher-safe for hassle-free cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $33
Material: Aluminum with nonstick coating | Overall Capacity: 6 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: Not listed | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best With Strainer Lid
Gotham Steel 5-Quart Multipurpose Pasta Pot
Durable, triple-coated nonstick finish
Cannot be used on induction
Lid handle gets hot
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.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Aluminum, stainless steel, and glass | Overall Capacity: 5 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
“In general, a big criteria for purchasing a pasta pot is to make sure it is big enough for the pasta you are trying to serve. In order for pasta to be cooked efficiently, it needs space to cook. Pasta does not cook to perfection when in a small pot, so might as well get a big pot and only fill it up as much as you need.” — Chris Schembra, professional chef, founder of 7:47 pasta sauce, and author of "Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection"
Viking 8-Quart 3-Ply Stainless Steel Pasta Pot with Steamer
There’s a lot to like about this pasta pot—other than the hefty price tag. It’s made of stainless steel and aluminum, so it’s suitable for a variety of cooking methods, including induction.
"The high-quality 3-ply construction provides even heat distribution while the pasta cooks, which will help you to achieve the perfect al dente pasta every time," says Nadia Caterina Munno, author of "The Pasta Queen" cookbook.
What really sets it apart from others, however, is the large insert and its genius design, according to Chris Schembra, professional chef, founder of 7:47 pasta sauce, and author of "Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection." With this design, you can use the water reserved at the bottom for additional rounds of cooking.
“When dealing with multiple pasta dishes, one usually has to strain the entire pot of water, and then reheat the pot to cook separate pasta dishes,” he explains. “With this insert, you can cook a batch of pasta and pull it out of the water to make room for the next batch of pasta, just like in the restaurants, without losing water.”
Price at time of publish: $295
Material: Stainless steel with aluminum core | Overall Capacity: 8 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Max: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 8-Quart Multipot
Can be used with metal utensils
Not induction ready
Vittoria Veltri, an Italian cooking instructor and the founder of Pasta N’ Play, considers the Calphalon "the best pasta pot on the market." She likes that it’s easy to use, but her favorite feature is how it reduces messes in the kitchen.
"If you are draining the pasta with a normal pasta pot, a bit of water will usually spill outside because normal pasta pot drainers are just slightly smaller than the pot itself," she explains. "With Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 8-Quart, this will never happen because of its peculiar shape—larger at the top and thinner at the bottom. When draining the pasta, all the water will just flow into the bigger pot."
Other than its thoughtful design, the Calphalon offers a scratch-resistant nonstick interior that can be used to cook not only pasta but also soups, stews, and sauces. It includes both a pasta insert and steamer basket, which can be used for fish and vegetables.
Price at time of publish: $236
Material: Aluminum | Overall Capacity: 8 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Cooks Standard Classic 4-Piece 12-Quart Pasta Pot
Easy to clean
Wide steamer insert
Might be prone to rust
For home chefs, pasta pots usually have a capacity of up to 8 quarts. But if you have a large family or cook in volumes, you might need something a little bigger. In that case, this Cooks Standard pasta pot has a extra-large capacity of up to 12 quarts.
“When looking for a pasta pot, I like to use something that can hold at least 8 quarts, but 12 quarts is even better,” Veltri says. This gives you the ability to cook more pasta at once and also contributes to a better consistency.
It checks a lot of the boxes for a great pasta pot: even distribution of heat, compatible with induction, dishwasher safe, and include 10.3-inch-tall pasta and 9.45-inch-wide steamer inserts. The fitted lid keeps heat and condensation in the pot, while the handles are meant to stay cool no matter how hot the kitchen gets. It is dishwasher safe, however, some reviewers note that the pot has rusted or tarnished in a short period of time.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Stainless steel with aluminum bottom | Overall Capacity: 12 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Max: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
“When purchasing a pasta pot, I would look at the size of the drainer and at the size of the holes in the drainer. If the holes in the drainer are too small, the water won't drain very quickly. On the other hand, if the holes are too big they will not hold smaller pasta shapes. Be aware, when looking for a pasta pot of the depth of the drainer. If it is not deep enough you will not be able to cook enough pasta in it.” — Vittoria Veltri, Italian cooking instructor and the founder of Pasta N’ Play
Le Creuset 7-Quart Stainless-Steel Stock Pot
Very attractive design
Le Creuset designs are not only maximized for functionality, they’re also beautiful to look at. You’ll want to leave this stainless steel stock pot on your stove all the time. It has a shiny luster and is made of materials that resist corrosion and discoloration over time, so it’s a piece worth investing in.
You’ll get a lot of use out of this stock pot—not only for making pasta but also for soups, sauces, stews, vegetables, and more. It’s clear to see why this pot gets so many good reviews. The interior is marked with measurements for easy use, and it’s safe to use with metal utensils. The knob is easy to grasp, and the lid fits tightly to prevent steam from escaping. To control the flow of steam, the lid features strategically placed vents.
If you’re looking for something a little larger, this model also comes in a 9-quart capacity.
Price at time of publish: $270
Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Overall Capacity: 7 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Max: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
The All-Clad Stainless Steel Pasta Pot nabbed the top spot on our list for its quick and even heat distribution, as well as its convenient 4-quart strainer insert. If you're looking for a timeless-looking pot that can also be passed down to the next generation, the Le Creuset 7-Quart Stainless-Steel Stock Pot is the perfect fit.
What to Look for in a Pasta Pot
Pasta pots are typically available in stainless steel or aluminum, some with additional nonstick coating. While these materials are sure to give your pan longevity and durability, you'll want to be sure that it isn't too heavy to lift when it's full of water. Multi-ply pots tend to be the heaviest, so keep that in mind when choosing the material for your pasta pot.
Take into consideration how much pasta you tend to cook at once. For a pound of pasta, you'll want at least a 5-quart size; for larger families, 7 to 12 quarts will work well. When going with a large-capacity pot, make sure you have adequate space to store it when it's not in use.
How much water should you put in a pasta pot?
"[You'll want to] use 4 quarts of water for every pound of pasta", says Giuseppe Manco, the executive chef at Eataly Los Angeles. If you use too little water, it might cause the pasta to stick together, so fill your pot generously.
How do you use a pasta pot with a strainer insert?
Pots with strainer inserts are easy to use. Simply leave the insert in the pot and fill it with the necessary amount of water. Bring the water to a boil, then add your pasta. When your pasta cook time is up, lift the strainer insert out of the water, allowing as much water as possible to drain out, and finish your pasta in sauce.
How much salt should one add to pasta water before cooking?
"Calculate one percent of salt for the total weight of the pasta," says Manco. "You should salt the pasta after it has started to boil and just before you are ready to add the pasta. If you salt too early, water will evaporate and make the water more salt-concentrated."
Manco recommends using sea salt for perfectly seasoned pasta.
How do you cook dry pasta?
Typically, dry pasta is cooked in boiling water for eight to 10 minutes (see your pasta's package directions). Manco notes that you should use the last minute and a half of cooking time to finish cooking in the pasta sauce.
How do you cook fresh pasta?
"Fresh pasta will cook in boiling water for less than half the amount of time than dry pasta," says Manco. Depending on the shape of the pasta, it can take anywhere from one to four minutes for fresh pasta to cook, so be sure to keep a watchful eye on it.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ease of use, material, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
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.
This piece was edited by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an L.A.-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a two-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools and interviews field experts for their insight.
Lacey Muinos, who updated this article, is a food and wellness writer with a soft spot for pasta. Her weekly meal rotation almost always includes pasta in some form. Her favorite pasta shape is cavatappi.