Pasta bowls are one of the many different kinds of bowls you’d find in the kitchen, especially if you’re used to eating a lot of pasta. Many people use flat plates or cereal bowls for their pasta, but any true pasta enthusiast knows that it tastes best in a pasta bowl.
These bowls are different from your regular-sized bowls, and growing up, my mom had a couple in the kitchen that she didn’t call pasta bowls at all – just the smallest plates in the kitchen, and she often used them to serve me curry with roti bread. I didn’t eat a lot of pasta growing up.
As with most of my review articles, I want to tell you how to choose the best pasta bowls for yourself before I give you my own suggestions, which is why we’re going to talk about what makes a good pasta bowl, what materials they’re usually made of, and much more before we move on to the recommendations part.
You can keep reading for the details or skip right to the juicy bits—your choice.
What is a Pasta Bowl, and Why Do I Need One?
Pasta bowls are shallow and wide-rimmed bowls that are sometimes even confused with small plates. As the name suggests, they’re usually used for serving pasta and are ideal for them in a lot of ways.
When I first learned about pasta bowls, I was inclined to argue against the purchase. I’m just a poor college student with an unhealthy obsession with food, guys; I didn’t want to buy anything I didn’t absolutely need.
You can eat your pasta out of anything, right? I could even eat pasta from the pan I cooked it in, but this was when I decided my argument was probably not as smart as it sounded, and I should give pasta bowls a try to see why they even existed.
Well, here’s what I noticed:
- Pasta bowls are great for presentation. They give pasta enough room to sit comfortably and still make space for some extra garnishing, either on the side or around the pasta. It makes pasta look way better than it would in any other dish.
- No one talks about how if you pile pasta too high, it cools off in a very uneven way that pretty much ruins it for me sometimes. One spoonful, I’m eating pasta that’s lukewarm, and the other, it’s a steaming pile that has me breathing fire! Not with pasta bowls, though – I can have a whole helping of pasta laying safely in there at optimal temperature. It’s even better when I can heat the pasta in the same bowl.
- We all know how pasta is just loaded with carbs, and using cereal bowls or any other bowls not made for pasta isn’t the healthiest when it comes to portion control. If any of you guys need something to make sure you don’t end up eating too much pasta, get a pasta bowl. It’ll help, I promise.
- With some pasta dishes, it becomes hard to get the pasta to sauce ratio right in most bowls and dishes. You won’t face this issue if you start serving your pasta in pasta bowls.
- With pasta bowls, it becomes extremely easy to eat almost every variant of pasta. You have enough room to maneuver the different parts of the dish around, and some for the sauce too. The relatively shallow design of these plates also helps because you don’t have to dig too deep for anything.
Now that you know why I think you need pasta bowls let’s talk about what makes a good pasta bowl.
What Makes a Good Pasta Bowl?
Pasta bowls are different from regular bowls that come in all sorts of materials and prices. The reason is that the people who want special bowls for their pasta are usually looking for one for presentation purposes, and even from a practical point of view, it doesn’t make sense for pasta bowls not to be safe to use in the microwave, and even in the oven.
This is why most pasta bowls are made of “fancier” materials like porcelain, ceramic, china, and stoneware. The color and design of these bowls are pretty important, and these bowls are definitely durable unless you drop them.
The Right Size
Like I said before, one of the reasons pasta bowls are great is because they don’t let you end up eating more than you think you did. The average pasta bowl needs to be wide but shallow – if it’s too deep or too high, maybe look for a different style?
Even eating the right portion size is larger bowls won’t be very easy, and a standard pasta bowl holds anywhere between 20-32 ounces. This is certainly bigger than your standard bowls, but that’s because pasta bowls aren’t meant to be filled to the brim!
The Right Colors
Even though white pasta bowls are a must-have for any kitchen, there’s something to be said about less traditional options like grey and white pasta bowls. These can help make the pasta (especially white pasta) stand out even more than it would on standard white plates.
On the other hand, you need to consider whether you want other colors or if your purchase would go well with the rest of your kitchen utensils.
If you ask me, I prefer grey pasta bowls – they make the pasta stand out in ways white didn’t, but aren’t as dark as black pasta bowls that would just take over every other color. Green herbs are not easy to spot on black surfaces; I can tell you that!
The Right Features
The features I’m talking about here are the bowls being dishwasher and microwave safe. Most pasta bowls are, but it still pays to make sure before you make your purchase.
This is because even though they aren’t common, there are some melamine and high-quality plastic pasta bowl options out there that are not, in fact, microwave safe. I doubt melamine will do well in the oven either!
Most fancy pasta bowls take up some space in the kitchen – they’re bulky and fragile – but there are certain options that stack great as well. Still, when you buy pasta bowls, don’t just assume that they’re stackable or easy to store.
I would suggest not buying them at all if you have limited storage in the kitchen or if you have open shelves made only to house the bare minimum.
How Many Do You Need?
For most families, a set of four to six bowls is enough, but you might need more if you entertain guests often or if you want to serve them pasta.
Criteria For my Pasta Bowl Picks
I picked these pasta bowls based on their aesthetic value, the potential uses I think people would need them for, buyer reviews, and recommendations by other review sites. I also took the popularity and reputation of their manufacturers into consideration to arrive at these picks, and I hope you end up finding what you’re looking for here.
Best Pasta Bowl Picks
- Best Overall: Denby Studio 4 Piece Pasta Bowl Set
- Best Porcelain: Crate and Barrel Porcelain Pasta Bowls
- Best Budget: Star Moon Stoneware Pasta Bowls
- Best Square: Sweese Porcelain Square Pasta Bowls
- Best Durable: Pottery Barn Cabana Melamine Individual Bowl
- Best Matte: Teocera Wide Pasta Bowls
- Best Decorative: Farielyn-X Large Pasta Bowls
- Best Unique: Sweese Woodgrain Pasta Salad Bowls
You might have noticed that, unlike in my article about cereal bowls, this list doesn’t contain pasta bowls made of different materials. That’s because pasta bowls, as I said before, are rarely made of plastics or other similar materials.
Best Overall: Denby Studio 4 Piece Pasta Bowl Set
This pasta bowl set is an overall favorite of mine for a number of reasons. First, it’s high-quality ceramic that’s not going anywhere over the years that you have used it, and it’s not that expensive (by pasta bowl standards) at a little less than $60 for the whole set.
The bowls are oven, microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, which makes them perfect for all your pasta-related needs. Most of the people who bought these bowls have a lot of good things to say about them, but of course, there have been some complaints about chipping – which I believe is bound to happen if you treat these bowls roughly.
If you’re looking for some good pasta bowls without any particular design in mind, I suggest you get these. They come in 11 different designs and colors for you to choose from, so you can match them to all the kitchen utensils you already have.
Best Porcelain: Crate and Barrel Porcelain Pasta Bowls
If you want a high-quality porcelain bowl, these ones are just the thing. They’re simple but great, plus you can get them in a variety of colors. I like their gray-colored bowls a lot, but I feel like there is potential to buy these in a beautiful, multicolored set.
Porcelain is easy to break, though, so I suggest not to use them around kids. It’s typically safe to use in the microwave and dishwasher, though, and even in the oven, so you’re covered on that front.
If you’re looking for something that doesn’t break as easily, you can check out the durable melamine bowls on this list – they definitely won’t break after a single drop!
Best Budget: Star Moon Stoneware Pasta Bowls
Pasta bowls are typically more expensive than other types of bowls, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ones that aren’t as heavy on the pockets. These plain stoneware bowls are a great option.
They look pretty rustic and old school, but you might want to go easy on them because they scratch easily. As with other bowls made out of the same material, you can expect them to be microwave, dishwasher, oven, and freezer safe.
I like to use bowls like this to sprinkle some extra cheese over my pasta and then pop it in the oven until the cheese melts – what else are you supposed to do when you have oven-safe pasta bowls at hand?
Best Square: Sweese Porcelain Square Pasta Bowls
Sometimes you get bored of all the usual kitchenware designs and want something unique. It’s for these occasions that Sweese came up with these square pasta bowls.
Even though they’re shaped differently, they still hold a good 30 ounces of whatever you need them to. But remember, you’re not supposed to fill pasta bowls to the brim. Their whole point is to hold a serving with enough room left for you to easily eat out of it.
These bowls come in a variety of colors. In fact, the whole set comes in a range of colors, from white to dark blue. It makes a striking set, that’s for sure.
Best Durable: Pottery Barn Cabana Melamine Individual Bowl
My south Asian roots would be disappointed, and my grandma would be horrified if I tried to eat pasta out of ceramic bowls every week – those are the nice bowls meant for the guests! If you’re anything like me, say hello to your new pasta bowls.
They’re made of melamine, so not only are they hard to break, but your grandma will also probably approve of you using them and not expect you to lock them away in the fancy cabinet.
They’re perfect for outdoor dining too, but at a cost. Sadly, these bowls are not microwave safe – but at least you can still wash them in the dishwasher and safely use them around your kids.
They come in four colors; light blue, stone, charcoal, and navy, which leaves you with a lot of style options. And the advantage of using melamine for these bowls is that even though they’re durable, they still have a high-quality look you’d expect a pasta bowl to have.
Best Matte: Teocera Wide Pasta Bowls
Shiny new bowls are great, but there’s something to be said about the statement a matte finish makes. If you’re looking for bowls that will stand out, or if you’re a food blogger or an Instagrammer who just wants something trendy for their content, try these matte bowls but teocera.
They’re among the bestsellers in their category at Amazon for a reason – they’re the right size, dishwasher, microwave, freezer, and oven safe, and they look great too with hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon. The only drawback is that matte dishes and bowls are more likely to scratch and stain than regular dishes, which means that you’re better off keeping them reserved just for special occasions.
They’re made from porcelain and come in four different colors, though they made it to this list because of the matte black and matte white variants. There’s also a Navy option and a Turquoise option, but they’re not matte.
Best Decorative: Farielyn-X Large Pasta Bowls
If you want something that’s flamboyant, bright, and beautiful, there’s nothing better suited to you than these Farielyn pasta bowls. Give your plating a completely unique and beautiful look with these bowls, but beware. I personally feel like the patterns on the bowl will take the focus away from the food itself – but hey, to each their own.
They are, like a lot of items on this list, made of porcelain which means they’re okay to use in the microwave, oven, freezer, and the dishwasher. Their unique and beautiful designs, plus the packaging that they come in, make them a great present too.
Best Unique: Sweese Woodgrain Pasta Salad Bowls
This is something that I believe is pretty unique and interesting – porcelain bowls made to look like wood. Not only do they come with the great quality you’d come to expect from Sweese products, but they also give any food you serve in them a great, natural look.
I believe the unique design is rustic, interesting, and pretty cool. These bowls are microwave and dishwasher safe, and none of the users had reported any problems when they used them. This means you’ll be able to pair these bowls with the rest of your wooden or wood-like utensils – like chopsticks for your noodles!
Answer: You might need pasta bowls if you eat a lot of pasta and salads and want something that’s easier to eat out of than regular cereal bowls or soup bowls.
They’re the perfect compromise between those bowls and usual serving plates and a great option not only for pasta but for salads and other dishes that you just want more room in your bowl for.
Answer: Even though pasta bowls are sometimes used regularly, the main reason people buy them is for presentation and plating purposes. There isn’t a big market for cheap pasta bowls or ones that aren’t as fancy looking – so most pasta bowls are made of materials like ceramic and porcelain which are more expensive than your usual plastic kitchen utensils.
Answer: The answer to this question mainly depends on your needs. Ask yourself a few questions – do you eat pasta often and find yourself wishing for something that wasn’t a flat plate but not quite a straight-out cereal bowl either?
Or do you want to make more pasta and up your presentation and plating game? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” you might benefit from owning a pasta bowl or two.
Answer: Pasta bowls are commonly used for other things around the house like serving salads, rice, and even Asian dishes that might include some rice and a curry on the side. To be honest, once the bowls are in your home, you can use them to eat pretty much anything from.
Answer: Pasta is supposed to look effortless and natural in whatever dish you serve it in, and pasta bowls give you the opportunity to show off all the ingredients in the pasta. The style of the plates also allows for a uniform distribution of sauces, and you can make any herbs in the topping stand out with the right colored pasta bowl.
Pasta bowls are a pretty great style of bowls that any pasta enthusiast needs, but they’re great for salads and rice too. Once you have a pasta bowl, you’ll notice how easy they are to eat out of – definitely easier to use than your usual bowls!
It’s usually a matter of whether you need them enough to justify the purchase, both financially and when it comes to kitchen storage.