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They may not have seemed like an obvious need at first. But once you add pasta bowls—with their wide mouth and shallow shape—to your dinner service, you’ll probably wonder how you ever managed without them. Their width and large diameter mean more space for a liquidy sauce to spread out or more room for solid food in a one-bowl meal.
Pasta bowls are workhorses in the kitchen because they can do double or even triple duty. They can also be used for many other types of food, including salad, soup, fresh fruit, grain bowls, and fish fillets, according to Chef Antimo DiMeo, executive chef and partner at Bardea Food & Drink in Wilmington, Delaware. (It also happens to be one of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden’s favorite restaurants.)
“These bowls are also useful for portioning your mise en place, and they’re very easy to stack,” Chef DiMeo says. Plus, they can be used as smaller serving bowls and help with portion control—just fill your bowl once and you’ll be good to go.
Here, we sifted through dozens of pasta bowls and consulted our expert to come up with this list of the best pasta bowls—whether it’s to hold your sauce-laden tagliatelle, ravioli, or everything in between.
Best Overall: Marin Low Bowl
What We Love: Rustic and elegant, easy to clean, chip-resistant, versatile
What We Don’t Love: Some reviewers report scuff marks from silverware
The more rustic look of these freeform rimmed bowls works well with the rustic presentation that pasta often lends itself to. And at a 32-ounce capacity, there’s plenty of room for sauce and any vegetables or meat, plus ample space for twirling it all onto your fork—but it doesn’t look too oversized on the table. Many reviewers say they use these instead of plates because it’s so easy to contain everything, and there’s enough room to cut with a knife. Plus, the gently sloped edges make it easy to get any food on your fork or spoon without spilling.
Made from durable glazed stoneware, these pasta bowls are generally chip-resistant. And they’re safe to put in the dishwasher, microwave, and even the oven (up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit). Ideal for everyday use, they also add character to any table thanks to their handmade look.
“For long cuts of pasta (linguine, spaghetti), a pasta bowl gives you the ability to twirl your pasta against the side of the bowl. For smaller cuts of pasta, it allows you the flexibility for a wetter sauce so it contains all the flavor inside.” — Chef Antimo DiMeo, Executive Chef and Partner, Bardea Food & Drink
Material: Glazed stoneware | Dimensions (WxH): 9.25 x 2 inches | Capacity: 32 ounces | Number of Pieces: 1 or 4 | Dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Yes
Best Budget: Sweese 22-Ounce Porcelain Round Pasta Bowls
What We Love: Attractive colors, sturdy, easy to clean
What We Don’t Love: Some reviewers report these bowls feeling heavier than porcelain typically is
With scores of glowing online reviews, these Sweese ceramic low bowls clearly have something going for them—beyond a low price. These professional-grade low bowls are sturdy and long-lasting, with a classic look. Reviewers report the bowls being packed well with little to no damage, and customer service is responsive if there is an issue.
They come in either an all-white set of six or a variety of either “hot” or “cool” colors, including shades of blue and turquoise that reviewers especially seem to love. And for this price, you can buy two sets for a total of 12 bowls without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.
Material: Lead-free ceramic | Dimensions (WxH): 7.7 x 1.75 inches | Capacity: 22 ounces | Number of Pieces: 6 | Dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Yes
Best Oversized: Le Tauci Pasta Bowls
What We Love: Large size for larger portions, easy to clean, sturdy
What We Don’t Love: Can feel heavy according to some users
If 20 or 30 ounces just isn’t enough—especially if you’re hoping to have these double as larger serving pieces as well—these 45-ounce bowls have higher sides than most, preventing any sauce spillage. Durable, with thick edges that prevent chipping, these pasta bowls are also long-lasting.
Many online reviewers report that the bowls felt sturdy in their hands. One remarked that they're wide enough to easily toss a salad within, demonstrating that the larger size allows them to be even more versatile.
Material: Stoneware | Dimensions (WxH): 8.5 x 2.4 inches | Capacity: 45 ounces | Number of Pieces: 4 | Dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Yes
Related: The Best Mixing Bowls
Best Porcelain: Villeroy & Boch Artesano Original Pasta Bowl
What We Love: Sleek design, high-quality porcelain, thick edges offer sturdiness
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
Chef DiMeo is a fan of the sleek Villeroy & Boch Artesano pasta bowl. “This bowl gives you more of that refined fine-dining feel with the white base,” he says. The clean, wide-edged glossy bowls offer a modern aesthetic, but they’d also be at home in a more traditional setting because of their elegant simplicity.
The high-quality premium porcelain is expertly crafted, yet it’s still dishwasher- and microwave-safe. And Chef DiMeo adds that the smaller size of this bowl makes it ideal for portion control.
"Shape and material affect the durability of a plate. Ideally, plates with thin edges [are ones] we try to avoid due to the high risk of chipping. High-quality porcelain is always a safe bet: It’s resistant to high-temperature dishwashers and won’t lose its ‘newness’ easily.” — Chef Antimo DiMeo, Executive Chef and Partner, Bardea Food & Drink
Material: Porcelain | Dimensions (WxH): 9.5 x 2 inches | Capacity: 37 ounces | Number of Pieces: 1 | Dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Yes
Best Sustainable: Ekobo Gusto Pasta Plate Bowl
What We Love: Eco-friendly, good for outdoors, fun shape and colors
What We Don’t Love: Not microwave- or oven-safe
With an oblong shape and variety of color options, these pasta bowls stand out from the crowd. Ekobo bowls are made from sustainably sourced bamboo, making them durable and eco-friendly. And, they’re a great alternative to plastic or single-use dishes when eating outside: They won’t shatter if you drop them (although they can crack if dropped at just the right angle) and are lightweight and reusable.
Ekobo sources its bamboo from China, which produces a huge amount of bamboo sawdust that Ekobo then combines with a small amount of food-grade melamine binder—a trademarked material they call Biobu.
Material: Bamboo fiber | Dimensions (WxH): 8.25 x 1.75 inches | Capacity: 40 ounces | Number of Pieces: 4 or 8 | Dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Dishwasher: Yes, Microwave: No
Related: The Best Kitchen Compost Bins
Best Design: Puebla Stoneware Pasta Bowl
What We Love: Attractive design, hand-glazed and hand-painted, easy to clean
What We Don’t Love: Deeper than most pasta bowls (closer to a regular-style bowl)
While many people prefer solid colors for their dishes (and often white, at that), for those looking for an attractive patterned pasta bowl, this piece from Pottery Barn features a blue-painted flower and vine design on a white background. Hand-glazed and painted in Mexico City, these bowls will add a fun flair to any table setting.
These pasta bowls also offer slightly taller sides and a smaller surface area than the more shallow bowls on this list. And even though they're hand-painted, they're still microwave-, oven-, and dishwasher-safe.
Material: Stoneware | Dimensions (WxH): 6.25 x 3.25 inches | Capacity: 30 ounces | Number of Pieces: 1 or 4 | Dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Yes
The best overall pasta bowl is the Marin Low Bowl for its rustic yet elegant look (view at Zola). It offers the ideal surface area for serving and eating saucy dishes. For an attractive budget option, you can’t go wrong with the Sweese Porcelain Round Pasta Bowls (view at Amazon). For outdoor use, go with the lightweight and break-resistant Ekobo Gusto Pasta Plate Bowl, made from sustainably sourced bamboo (view at 2Modern).
What to Look for When Buying Pasta Bowls
Pasta bowls come in a variety of materials, from stoneware and ceramic to porcelain and china. There’s also melamine, bamboo, and glass. To choose which material to go for, consider durability, quality, weight, and how often you plan to use your bowls. You'll also want bowls that are chip- and scratch-resistant. Be aware that some materials scratch more easily than others from silverware.
Consider how important dishwasher, microwave, and oven safety are to you. The ability to put your bowls in the dishwasher might be very important for ease of cleaning, and microwave safety may also be a strong factor. Oven-safe pasta bowls are not as common, but many stoneware and ceramic bowls can be put in the oven at lower temperatures.
Size and Shape
Ideally, pasta bowls should be a different shape from the cereal or soup bowls your dish set might have come with. In general, pasta bowls have wide mouths and are shallow, with a larger bottom surface area and shorter sides than a traditional bowl, making it more of a combination of a plate and bowl. They come in various sizes and capacities, so think about your preferred portion size and whether you’ll want them to do double duty as serving pieces. While most bowl shapes are round, there are also square, oval, and oblong shapes available.
And of course, looks are important too; pasta bowls can easily elevate a tablescape. “We always eat with our eyes first, so a beautiful pasta bowl sets the tone for the food plated inside of it,” says Chef DiMeo.
Do I need pasta bowls?
If you eat a lot of pasta, salad, or other one-bowl meals with lots of sauce or dressing, low pasta bowls with flat bottoms can offer the perfect combination of a plate and bowl that’s ideal for preventing sauce or other liquid from escaping a dish. They also provide plenty of room to grab the perfect bite by twirling or using the low sides of the bowl to pile food against as you put it on a fork. If you entertain a lot, they also offer an attractive and unexpected element to a tablescape.
What’s the difference between a soup bowl and a pasta bowl?
Typically, a pasta bowl is larger and more shallow than a traditional soup bowl, which has high sides and a small diameter. Pasta bowls often have a larger capacity, thanks to their flat bottoms, large diameters, and low sides.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Devorah Lev-Tov is a freelance journalist who specializes in food and beverage trends, recipes, and products. For this piece, she consulted third-party customer reviews, spoke to experts, and conferred with her inner deep love of pasta. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and dog—who also all love pasta.