While dried pasta remains a quick and convenient pantry staple available in countless varieties, it simply can’t rival the allure of fresh pasta.
Crafting homemade noodles demands time and effort, yet the resulting delicate texture and exquisite flavor make the endeavor truly rewarding. Fortunately, a multitude of pasta makers exists to assist in mixing, shaping, and cutting, catering to various preferences and dietary needs. These machines span the spectrum from classic hand-cranked tabletop models to fully automated electric options. They empower you to tailor ingredients precisely to your liking, transforming the dream of fresh pasta on demand into a reality. To guide you in discovering the best pasta makers among the array of choices, Food and Meal rigorously tested 18 models and Find the 7 Best pasta makers of 2023.
Our Pasta Maker Testing Process
We embarked on a comprehensive testing process for pasta makers, guided by thorough research and insights from previous testing rounds. We meticulously selected a total of 21 pasta makers for purchase and rigorous evaluation. This diverse array comprised 10 tabletop roller/cutter models, primarily manually powered with one exception, four attachments designed for KitchenAid stand mixers, and seven electric extruder-style machines.
|Pasta-Making Performance||We rigorously tested each pasta maker’s ability to create different pasta types, including fettuccine, spaghetti, and penne. We also assessed their performance with additional pasta shapes like ravioli and angel hair using any provided cutters. Our observations focused on dough texture, consistency, and the effectiveness of noodle cutting and separation.|
|Taste Testing||Our extensive taste tests involved cooking each batch of fresh noodles in salted water for precisely three minutes before assessing their quality. We rated the noodles based on factors such as doneness, texture, and flavor to gauge their taste appeal.|
|Cleaning and Maintenance||Following the pasta-making tests, we diligently disassembled and cleaned each machine in accordance with the user manual’s instructions. We assessed the complexity of the cleaning process and took note of how messy each machine became during operation.|
|Design and Ease of Use||Throughout our testing, we assessed the machines for ease of setup and breakdown, examining design elements that facilitated dough management. We paid particular attention to the smoothness and ease of operation of manual model cranks and evaluated the simplicity of dough preparation and kneading in extruder machines.|
|Accessories||We evaluated the accessories provided with each pasta maker, noting that some included additional tools for creating various pasta shapes, while others offered these accessories separately. We also considered the presence of custom cleaning tools and whether the machine included its own cleaning brush or required an external one.|
|Value||We tested the pasta makers without knowing their prices and only considered the costs afterward to ensure a fair comparison. We also factored in the category’s average prices and the range of brands tested, particularly since electric extruders and mixer attachments typically have higher price points compared to manual machines.|
Our Best pasta makers of 2023
This sought-after manual pasta maker hails from a revered Italian company with a rich heritage in crafting pasta machines over generations. Crafted from lustrous chrome-plated steel, it boasts impeccable construction, firmly anchoring to the table with a secure clamp during our comprehensive testing, displaying no signs of wobbling.
Notably, the removable crank handle offers convenient storage without any unexpected dislodging while in use—a frequent gripe with many other hand-cranked machines.
The Atlas excels in versatility, capable of rolling dough to ten distinct thickness levels. Its dual-sided cutter attachment offers two width options. Remarkably, a single crank skillfully controls both the roller and cutter, requiring a simple rotation in the opposite direction to transition from flattening dough to slicing noodles.
What truly enamored us was the pasta’s delightful texture produced by this machine. Its designed rollers create a rough surface that effectively clings to sauce. Adjusting thickness is as effortless as turning a dial, consistently yielding flat, uniform sheets, even at the thinnest setting. While the cutters are user-friendly, we did find that wide fettuccine performed better than narrow tagliolini, as the wheels occasionally fell short of cutting through the entire sheet, necessitating careful separation.
Manual pasta machines often pose cleaning challenges due to intricate crevices where flour and dough residue accumulate. The Atlas, though unable to be submerged in water or placed in a dishwasher, facilitates ease of cleaning by allowing the removal of combs beneath the cutters. This grants access to all parts and the machine’s interior, simplifying the removal of remnants with a cloth, brush, or even a toothpick. While no pasta machine is effortlessly cleanable, this model stood out as one of the most user-friendly in our trials.
While the Atlas does come with a slightly higher price tag for a hand-cranked machine, it remains a relatively affordable option compared to stand mixer attachments and motorized models in our evaluation. We also tested the electric motor-equipped version of the Atlas, which performed equally well, though we found the motor’s added cost of $200 to be unwarranted. Another minor drawback is the limited selection of pasta shapes that can be created with the included attachments. However, supplementary attachments for diverse shapes, including spaghetti, raviolini, and more, can be purchased separately.
Our exploration of tabletop pasta makers yielded a pleasant surprise: all ten units subjected to our testing received commendable scores. Among this selection, the OxGord machine stands out as the most budget-friendly option, bearing only minor drawbacks in comparison to considerably pricier counterparts. Consequently, it emerges as an excellent choice for those new to the world of homemade pasta, offering an affordable entry point into this culinary endeavor.
The most notable limitation of the OxGord pertains to its clamp mechanism. The component responsible for securing the machine to the countertop or table is constructed from crimped metal, preventing it from achieving a perfect flush fit, regardless of how tightly it’s fastened. This resulted in noticeable wobbling as we operated the crank, particularly during the transition from rolling to cutting. It demands a measure of concentration and practice to maintain a consistent dough movement without encountering issues like crank sticking or dislodging.
Despite these challenges, the roller portion of the machine performed admirably, delivering uniform sheets with a choice of seven thickness settings. We successfully produced decent fettuccine, although the narrower spaghetti cutter encountered difficulties. Nearly every other cutting wheel struggled to slice the dough, leading to a backlog within the machine. While we adhered to the recommended thickness guidelines, we speculate that rolling the dough out even thinner might yield better outcomes with the cutters.
One advantageous feature of the OxGord is its partial dishwasher compatibility. The rollers and blades can be conveniently placed in the dishwasher, sparing users the need for meticulous brushing and scraping to remove every trace of flour and dough residue. Given the propensity for dough to adhere to various components, this attribute significantly streamlines the cleaning process. Nevertheless, some detailed cleaning with a toothpick may still be necessary to achieve a thorough cleanse.
While the OxGord may not align with the preferences of a dedicated pasta enthusiast, its remarkable performance for its affordable price tag of thirty dollars cannot be overlooked. It serves as an effective tool for transitioning from a novice to an intermediate pasta maker before considering an upgrade.
Another exceptional Italian-crafted pasta machine, the Imperia, left a lasting impression with its robust construction, all the more remarkable considering its slightly below-average price point. The clamp feature firmly secured it to the table, and the crank operated smoothly and effortlessly across all ten settings. Rolling dough proved effortless, and even the cutter posed minimal challenges. While some manual noodle separation was necessary, the majority sliced cleanly and accurately, without any instances of jamming or backing up. Impressively, it excelled equally in crafting fettuccine and spaghetti.
Thanks to its seamless operation, the Imperia also boasts ease of cleaning. Although it isn’t dishwasher-safe and shouldn’t be submerged in the sink, minimal residue of flour and dough remains. A simple wipe with a paper towel suffices for maintenance. The primary drawback we encountered with the Imperia lies in its limited instructional guidance. The English manual comprises just two pages, which provide insufficient clarity on assembly, disassembly, and usage of all components. For many users, referencing an instructional video of the machine in operation proved helpful during the initial uses.
The Imperia strikes a pleasing balance between value and quality. While it may cost twice as much as the most budget-friendly manual machines, it offers a substantial leap in construction and user-friendliness. Moreover, it outperforms many higher-priced pasta makers. This versatile machine suits both beginners and experienced pasta enthusiasts, making it a valuable addition to any kitchen.
If you own a KitchenAid stand mixer, you’ve probably noticed the small cap on the front secured with a screw. This clever access point enables you to connect a wide range of attachments to the motor, capable of various tasks such as grinding meat or milling grains into flour. Among these attachments, the KitchenAid pasta maker stands out as our top choice, owing to its exceptional ease of use and impressive performance compared to manual models.
The kit includes a 6-inch roller for creating flat pasta sheets with seven different thickness settings, along with cutters for both spaghetti and fettuccine. In our rigorous testing, every component performed flawlessly: the dough rolled smoothly without tearing or shredding, and the cutters consistently delivered separate, perfectly-formed strands of noodles without any issues like jamming, sticking, or flattening. Notably, it excelled as the only narrow-noodle cutter we tested that successfully separated every single strand of spaghetti. What’s more, the advantage of not needing to manually turn a crank allows you to use both hands for better control over the dough. After a brief period of drying on a rack, we prepared a delightful fettuccine Alfredo, featuring noodles with a delightful springy and toothsome texture.
Attaching KitchenAid’s pasta accessories to the machine is a quick and straightforward process, but it’s important to note that only one attachment can be used at a time. This means you’ll need to roll out the dough, set the sheet aside, remove the roller, and attach the cutter to make noodles. While not a major inconvenience, it’s slightly less convenient compared to manual machines that incorporate both rolling and cutting functions in a single unit. Additionally, if you wish to venture beyond straight noodles, you may need to purchase extra tools. KitchenAid offers supplementary attachments, such as a pasta press for shorter noodles and a ravioli maker, but these come at an additional cost. Of course, you can always use the roller to create a sheet of dough and then manually cut and shape it as needed.
Similar to most machines on this list, the KitchenAid pasta attachments are not dishwasher-safe and should not be washed under running water. However, the set includes a cleaning brush that simplifies the process. Since the dough doesn’t adhere to the cutter components, you can effortlessly brush away any leftover flour.
While the KitchenAid pasta set may be relatively expensive, particularly when considering the cost of the standalone mixer (which itself can be several hundred dollars), it proves to be an exceptional choice for those who already own a KitchenAid and seek to consistently craft high-quality pasta with ease.
The presence of the KitchenAid logo is typically synonymous with quality, albeit often accompanied by a higher price tag for the appliances and accessories bearing it. However, there exists a multitude of alternative brands that offer tools compatible with KitchenAid mixers, devoid of the associated premium cost. One such example is the Rethone attachment, which costs less than half of the official KitchenAid equivalent while delivering performance that falls only slightly short in our evaluations. (Please note that it exclusively functions with KitchenAid stand mixers, necessitating ownership of one to begin with.)
One notable advantage of the Rethone attachment lies in its consolidated design, housing both the roller and two cutters within the same unit. This eliminates the need for switching components when transitioning between functions. Moreover, its roller impressed with smooth sheet production that encountered no issues with jamming or tearing. The dough effortlessly passed through the machine at various thickness settings, rendering it ideal for crafting fresh lasagna.
However, the Rethone attachment faced challenges in the cutting department. When dealing with both fettuccine and spaghetti, the cutting wheels frequently fell short of achieving a complete slice through the dough, leaving more of a perforation than a clean cut. This necessitated a considerable amount of manual noodle separation by hand. While this may be acceptable, especially for occasional pasta makers, and could even serve as an engaging hands-on task (perhaps even for kids), it’s worth considering if the savings compared to a pricier unit align with your preferences.
Regarding the cleaning process, this unit adheres to the standard practice observed among its competitors. None of its components are suitable for dishwasher or sink use, but the inclusion of cleaning brushes simplifies the task, rendering it reasonably straightforward.
While they do come at a considerably higher price point than manual pasta makers, extruders bring full automation to the pasta-making process. With an extruder, you simply add ingredients and choose a die to shape your pasta, and the machine handles the rest. The compact Philips Viva, in particular, has the capacity to produce nearly a pound of pasta at a time, and the texture of the pasta it produces in our testing approaches perfection.
Especially noteworthy is its performance with spaghetti, yielding uniformly shaped noodles that are easily cut using the included tool and exhibit no tendency to stick together. The penne and fettuccine it produces are also impressively textured, and all varieties cook to an ideal al dente in a mere three minutes. The inclusion of an “extra extrude” setting further enhances its utility, ensuring no dough goes to waste at the end of a batch.
The Philips Viva excels even when crafting smaller quantities of pasta, as its minimum batch size is approximately 7 ounces, equivalent to two or three servings of fresh pasta. This flexibility allows for the creation of a single serving of, say, penne all’ amatriciana from scratch. While it initially provides dies for only three shapes, there are numerous compatible options available, enabling you to experiment with various forms, from spiral fusilli to charming kid-friendly dinosaur shapes.
When it’s time for cleanup, disassembling several parts and rinsing them with soap and water is required, but the provided scraper and brush facilitate this process with relative ease. Some interior components, including the dies, are even dishwasher-safe, although manual hand-washing immediately after use is recommended to prevent dough from drying in place.
While the Philips Viva may be on the pricier side for a pasta maker in general, its cost aligns with the average for extruders. If you’re considering a transition from a manual pasta maker to a more automated solution or seeking to craft a wider range of pasta shapes than what a roller/cutter setup allows, the Philips Viva serves as an excellent starting point.
The Starfrit extruder, while being the most budget-friendly among the models we tested, impressively produced our preferred fettuccine. It achieved a smooth and toothsome texture, reminiscent of the pasta served at upscale restaurants renowned for crafting their own. Furthermore, it includes an array of eight different dies in the package, allowing you to create not only fettuccine and spaghetti but also penne, lasagna, tagliatelle, angel hair, spaghettini, and round ravioli (which can also serve for wrapped dumplings like pot stickers).
This versatile machine undeniably delivered some of the most delectable pasta in our testing, yet it encountered a minor drawback: consistency. The Starfrit employs continuous kneading of the dough while extruding it through the die, resulting in the end portion becoming somewhat over-kneaded. The initial part of the batch exhibited a flawless texture, but as the process continued, the dough became too springy to effectively pass through the holes. Unlike the Philips Plus, which excelled with larger batches, this machine performed better with smaller quantities.
Another downside associated with this extruder is its comparative difficulty in the cleaning department. While it can be disassembled for rinsing and scrubbing, much like most other models, it contains numerous grooves and intricate nooks and crannies that require thorough cleaning with the provided brush. While not a deal-breaker for the Starfrit, it does add a slightly more cumbersome aspect to maintenance compared to the other extruders on our list.