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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 our picks for the best pasta pot in each category.
Best Overall: All-Clad 6-Quart Stainless-Steel Pasta Pot and Insert E414S6
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.
Material: Stainless steel | Overall Capacity: 6 quarts | Strainer Capacity: 4 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Max: 600 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best Budget: 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 non-slip grip and stay cool even during cooking. As a bonus, it’s dishwasher-safe for hassle-free cleanup.
Material: Aluminum with nonstick coating | Overall Capacity: 6 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: Not listed | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best High-End: All-Clad Copper Core Pasta Pentola with Insert, 7-Quart
This higher-end option from the same manufacturer as our best overall pick is an elegant and high-performance cookware set. It features a 7-quart pot with a copper and aluminum core for excellent and even heat conduction, as well as 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.
Material: Stainless steel, aluminum, and copper core | Overall Capacity: 7 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Max: 600 degrees | 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.
Material: Aluminum, stainless steel, and glass | Overall Capacity: 5 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: 500 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for Spaghetti: Rachael Ray 8-Quart Nonstick Pasta Stock Pot with Lid and Spout
Generous width but still compact
Oven safe to 350 degrees
Not for use on induction
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 cranberry red, mushroom brown, or agave blue.
Material: Aluminum with nonstick interior | Overall Capacity: 8 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: 350 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: No
Best for Feeding a Crowd: Winco 20-Quart Precision Aluminum Pasta Cooker
Excellent capacity for large scale cooking
Might require commercial burner
Incredibly heavy when full
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 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.
Material: Heavyweight aluminum | Overall Capacity: 20 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: Not listed | Dishwasher-Safe: No
Best Set: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 4-Piece 12-Quart Pasta/Steamer Set 77-412
Excellent multipurpose set
Oven-safe to 550 degrees
Not induction friendly
This extra-large and deep stainless-steel set 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. To top it off, this set is covered by a lifetime warranty.
Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Overall Capacity: 12 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Max: 550 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
What to Look for When Buying 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 your 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 8 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 1 to 4 minutes for fresh pasta to cook, so be sure to keep a watchful eye on it.
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 LA-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.