Cooking pasta is an art form. Professional chefs and home cooks alike revere the ability to get it perfectly Al dente. Accomplishing this feat means cooking it just long enough and then removing it from the boiling water at the perfect point of doneness. For that, you need a pasta strainer. The question we will answer today is what is the best pasta strainer.
If you have asked yourself this question, keep reading.
This guide will look at the different types of pasta strainers, what you should look for in a strainer, and list our top picks.
Here’s a quick summary of our top picks and why we selected them:
|Why We Picked It
|OXO Good Grips 5-Quart Stainless-Steel Colander
|LiveFresh Stainless Steel Micro-Perforated 5-Quart Colander
|YEVIOR Clip-on Strainer
|Longzon Collapsible Silicone Colander
|U.S. Kitchen Supply – Premium Quality Over The Sink Stainless Steel Oval Colander
Types of Pasta Strainers
There are many different kitchen tools you can use to drain pasta. In a pinch, you can even use a plate or fork to hold it back as you pour off the water, but this can be dangerous and often leads to waste. It is always best to use a specialized tool. Here are several different types of strainers you can use when draining pasta.
Stainless Steel Colander Strainer
A stainless steel colander is our first choice for draining pasta. Most have heavy-duty construction that can stand up to rinsing fruit and washing vegetables. They will sit in your kitchen sink, minimizing clean up, and come with different sizes of holes to fit your particular needs.
Plastic colanders are much the same as metal ones but aren’t as sturdy. Generally, plastic colanders are cheaper than stainless models, but you get what you pay for. If you buy a plastic colander, be sure it is BPA-free.
Fine Mesh Strainers
Fine mesh strainers come in many different sizes, from teacup-sized models to bowls that work much like a colander. While not as sturdy as colanders, they can be a kitchen workhorse doing double-duty rinsing rice as well as draining angel hair pasta. The best of these strainers will have stainless steel mesh.
One drawback to a mesh colander is their tiny holes can be difficult to clean.
Clip-on Strainers are made to attach to the rim of a pot or pan and let you simply pour the boiling water or other liquids away. Beyond being great for cooking pasta, they are excellent for making broths because they allow straining the fluids into a bowl or other pot while retaining the solids.
Over-the-sink colander/strainers can come in many different styles, from slotted models to perforated bowl designs and even sturdy mesh baskets. These strainers are excellent for rinsing fruits, and most drain quickly without allowing the pasta to escape. The best have expandable arms to fit many different-sized sinks.
Their defining characteristic is their ability to be bridged over the sink. All allow hand-free use.
Things to Consider When Buying a Pasta Strainer
No matter what you are buying, you always want to make sure you get usability for your money, but the higher your budget, the more options you will have to choose from. That being said, with careful shopping, there is no reason you can’t find a high-quality, durable colander that is within your budget.
Stainless steel remains the choice of most food professionals and home cooks alike. It is dishwasher safe, rust-resistant, and doesn’t absorb odors. If you can have just one colander, make it stainless.
Budget-minded shoppers can find excellent deals on a plastic colander that is very functional, but not as durable as metal models. For health reasons, if you buy a plastic colander, be sure it is BPA-free.
The new kid on the block for straining pasta or liquids from other foods is silicone. While the jury is still out, this flexible, durable, heat-resistant material has won many fans and is gaining market share quickly.
Most of the silicone strainers you will see are clip-on models, and they dominate this market sector.
For many people, storage space in their kitchen is an issue. Large stainless steel colanders can take up a lot of space, and a small colander may have limited utility. In a small kitchen, a fine mesh strainer or silicon clip-on model that can be stored in a kitchen drawer might be the best colander option.
If space is not an issue, then a stainless steel colander set that nests together is ideal and easy to store.
Strainers are used for more than cleaning greens and fruits or to drain water off of spaghetti. They can be used to make stock, rinse food, wash potatoes, sift flour, or rinse grains.
One major factor that affects the usability of colanders is the size of their holes. Small holes may clog easily with soft foods, and larger holes can let fine noodles and small foods escape. You also want to be sure there are enough holes that the design doesn’t allow water to pool.
Two other features to take into account, especially if you choose a colander or bowl type mesh strainer, is that they have a sturdy base that allows them to sit firmly in place and handles that provide a comfortable grip.
How they are built is what commonly separates the best colanders from other models. Heavy-duty construction is a must-have if you want a colander that will stand the test of time. Look for well-laid out holes, welded or riveted seams, handles, and legs, and sturdy steel mesh if you choose a colander strainer.
There is no such thing as a one size fits all colander. Small colanders are handy for rinsing a few berries or cleaning greens for a single salad or smoothie. A Large colander is great for feeding a crowd or bulky items like fruits and vegetables.
Only you can know what your needs are and what size colander will best fit your lifestyle.
OXO Good Grips 5-Quart Stainless-Steel Colander
OXO is quickly making a name for itself with its ‘Good Grips’ line, and this colander carries on that trend. A composite design combining comfortable non-slip handles and feet with a perforated stainless steel bowl makes this colander easy to use but also provides rugged durability. The handles and feet make it easy to maneuver and keep it from sliding in your kitchen sink. It definitely tops our lour best colander list.
Non-slip handles for a comfortable grip
Available in 3 and 5-quart models
Five feet for stability
Large holes may let some small foods like rice escape
Some users feel the legs are shorter than they should be
LiveFresh Stainless Steel Micro-Perforated 5-Quart Colander
Designed to deliver professional performance at consumer prices, the LiveFesh Micro-Perforated Colander has a dense hole pattern that allows water to flow freely into the sink with little to no chance of pooling. A true kitchen workhorse, it features riveted handles for strength and a rings base to keep it stable in your sink.
Micro holes suitable for rinsing rice and other grains
Stable ring base to keep it steady in your sink
Tiny holes can be difficult to clean
Some users have complained of holes clogging and causing pooling
The design may be shallow for some uses
Ovente Stainless Steel Deep Colander 3 Piece Kitchen Strainer Set
A top choice as a pasta strainer, this colander set comes with three pans ( 1.5, 3, and 5 quarts), so you can drain pasta for yourself or the entire family. Large holes won’t clog, and the handles held in place with heavy-duty rivets won’t work loose even when straining the large batches of food. These stainless steel colanders are built to last.
Contoured handles are comfortable to hold
Nesting design makes them easy to store
rugged construction for durability
Easy cleaning with soap and water or in dishwasher
Holes may be too big for washing some types of rice or fine grains
Some buyers complained of manufacturers’ stickers being hard to remove.
Users have complained of water pooling in the bottom of the colanders
Best Mesh Strainers for Pasta
U.S. Kitchen Supply 3 Quart Stainless Steel Mesh Net Straining Basket
This is a professional grade colander/strainer basket that will outperform most colanders as a pasta strainer or rice washing basket. Made of framed fine wire mesh with a supporting ring and legs on the bottom, it performs as a mesh strainer but in colander bowl form
Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Allows water and other fluids to drain easily
It can double as a large sifter or steamer basket
Excellent for draining stock or rinsing potatoes and vegetables
It can trap food particles in the lip, making it difficult to clean
Some users have reported issues with welds breaking on the bottom ring (legs)
Kafoor 9″ Large Fine Mesh Strainer With Thermoplastic Handle
One of the finest large mesh strainers on the market, the kafoor comes with a limited lifetime warranty and burr-free guarantee. Its large size makes it ideal for straining single servings of pasta, and the thermoplastic hand and large hook make it easy to handle even when fully loaded.
Easy handling design
Other than straining and sifting has limited cooking applications
Surprisingly, we have noted no other deficiencies, and no issues have been reported by Amazon buyers
Best Clip-On Strainers
AUOON Clip On Strainer Silicone for All Pots and Pans
The clip-on design allows you to drain fluids into a pot, bowl, or sink without losing food. As easy to use as emptying a pan and made of flexible, heat-resistant silicone, the AUOON Clip-On Strainer holds firmly in place and will not slip been when you drain heavy food items.
Easy to store due to its small size and flexibility
It can be used on a range of pot and pan sizes
Holds a small amount of water on some sizes of pans
If pots are full, food can climb over the strainer
YEVIOR Clip-on Strainer
The YEVIOR clip-on strainer is designed with a combination of slots and holes to drain quickly and efficiently reducing the strain on hands and shoulders.
Hands-free operation allows you to manipulate a large pot with greater ease and less risk of accidents. You can just clip the YEVIOR onto your pot and pour fluids into the sink or a pan for later use.
Unlike a colander, it is made of soft food-grade silicone and won’t bruise delicate vegetables or cause the mashing of pasta. Being heat resistant it won’t transfer high temps to your hands.
Fits almost any common size pot
Can be used to strain noodles, spaghetti, or vegetables
Can be stored in half the space of a regular colander
When pots are full food products can climb over the top
Tends to hold a small amount of water at the lip
Some buyers have reported it gets a little flimsy when placed on large pans
Can’t match colanders for large batches of food
Best Over-The-Sink Colander
Longzon Collapsible Silicone Colander
A relatively new product on the market the Longzon Collapsible Silicone Colander has quickly made a name for itself. Capable of handling up to over seventeen pounds of food at a time it is strong than most other models and home kitchen users seem to love the way it collapses for easy storage.
Stores easily in small spaces
Made of food-grade silicone
Comes with a companion hand strainer
Can be used as an over-the-sink or free-standing colander
Drains slower than many other kitchen tools
Some buyers have reported issues with the handles when fully extended
Small perforations can clog and are difficult to clean
U.S. Kitchen Supply – Premium Quality Over The Sink Stainless Steel Oval Colander
One of the highest-rated strainers on the market, this stainless steel colander is made of fine mesh with a reinforcing frame. Fast draining and fine enough to rinse quinoa it excels as a pasta strainer and can do double duty as a large sifter.
Rubber handles are comfortable to use and hold the strainer firmly in place
Fits sinks from 14 to 20 inches wide
Can be used for rinsing rice and other grains
Small openings can be difficult to clean
Some buyers have reported issues with welds cracking
Food particles can get trapped under metal rim
You have many options available when shopping for the best colanders to strain pasta or rinse food. A colander is probably still best if you cook for large crowds simply because they come in such a variety of sizes. For overall versatility, mesh strainers might have a slight edge on a colander. For the easiest hands-free operation, a clip-on or over-the-sink colander wins depending on personal preferences.
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!