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Fresh, tasty, and with much better texture: these are but a few of the advantages of making your own pasta, to say nothing of what you save by not spending a cent in diners or cafes. Are allergies a problem? Need to avoid gluten? With a pasta maker, you get to be in control, every step of the way! Join us as we review the best pasta makers below.
The Best Pasta Makers: A Few Pointers For The Initiate
1. Your Pasta Dough, Just One Click Away
Getting a maker is all fine and dandy but, what do you put through it? Nowadays, it is pretty easy to get the right kind of dough to make top notch pasta, without too much trouble. Here’s an example, right out of Italy. Bonus: it works for pizzas too!
Should you need your dough to meet specific requirements —such as no gluten—, you can always choose one of the great many recipes available online. The best pasta maker is nothing without some good dough to be pressed!
2. Eating Now, Or Later?
Either you’ll cook with it right away, or store it for later use. If you’re not using it as soon as it is finished, it is usually advised to toss it with some flour, so the noodles will not stick to one another. If you’re stocking up and won’t be using it for up to six months, you can freeze it. This might depend on the dough you use too: certain kinds are made to taste better when fresh, whereas others are optimized to consume when dry.
Maker Types: Manual vs Automatic
They stand apart by price, and by effort. The manual model features a handle, which you turn constantly as your dough rolls through; and a cutting mechanism to slice it when it is the right length. By design, they require a substantial amount of physical work: aside from turning the handle, you have to mix, knead and guide the dough through the machine. They are, however, remarkably long-lasting, since none of their parts are particularly fragile. They are also better suited for longer noodles, like spaghetti.
An automatic model, on the other hand, saves you a lot of work, from the mixing to the rolling. Due to how convenient they are, they tend to be priced higher; and their components are more delicate, which means they might not last as long as a purely mechanical model.
Special Mention: The Extruder
Hollow macaroni. Intricately shaped rotelle. If you really want to get fancy with your pasta types, what you need is an extruder. You put your dough in the chamber, and with the help of a crank or a liver you force it through a die, which gives it a specific form. As you may have guessed, your choice of die makes all the difference; and the more you have, the better.
Further down we present you with an extruder option, in case you fancy impressing your family and friends with more uncommon pasta shapes.
The Details That Make The Difference
While they may seem the same at a glance, there are certain factors that may make one machine a better fit than another. Here’s what you should pay attention to, as you look around. While you’re looking for the best pasta maker, consider these factors when making a decision.
Size & Speed
Some manual models might take up a substantial amount of space on your counter; automatic makers tend to be overall smaller. Remember: choosing between manual and automatic directly influences how much time and effort your noodles take.
Automatic models are easier to clean on average, especially since many of them have parts that can go into the dishwasher once separated from the main unit. Cleaning a manual model, on the other hand, is more labor-intensive, but it still shouldn’t be made harder than it has to be: once you’re done making your pasta, wait until the dough residue has dried out completely; then you can just scrub it off with a little brush. Some units will include this accessory, others will not.
Most models, be it automatic or manual, will come with a feature that enables you to choose how thick you want your noodles. Where they vary, is in how many settings they allow. Depending on your preference, you might want to get a unit with more levels to choose from.
As mentioned before, a manual machine is better for making longer noodles; however, automatic models tend to provide a wider variety of options, such as penne, fettuccine, lasagna and more. How many they can handle is also subject to change between one option and another.
Best Automatic Pasta Maker:
It takes only 10 minutes for it to yield half a pound of pasta, from start to finish. All you do is pour in the ingredients, and this trusty machine does the rest: mix, knead and push through the disc to give it the shape of your choice. Four shaping discs are included: spaghetti, penne, lasagna and fettuccine. All four can be easily put away in the compartment at the bottom of the unit.
Package comes with cleaning tool, which often has to be used to clear out dough residue within the machine. A cookbook is also included, with 15 pasta recipes as well as ingredient lists for various types of flour.
- Well suited for the beginner thanks to its cookbook and ability to make dough from scratch.
- Low disc variety.
- Cleaning is extra difficult, since part of it still has to be done manually.
Best Extruded Pasta Maker:
Its stainless steel body gives it the strength needed to push the dough through your die of choice without any leaks. It is also fairly easy to clean, with the one exception being the rocker: as it is made of cast iron, it requires cleaning and oiling after every use. 5 dies are included: noodle, 3 thickness options; and fettuccine, 2 thickness options. You can also use it as a juicer: simply load it with cut fruit and squeeze away. A word of caution: quite a bit of force may be necessary to push the dough out through the die.
As it does not come with any recipes and all it does is give the dough the desired shape, it might be a better purchase for those with some experience.
- Solid construction.
- Certain parts require special care, due to risk of rusting.
- Not suitable for the first-timer.
- It can be hard to operate.
The Best Pasta Maker:
Widely regarded as the very best out of Italy, this machine is truly something else: built entirely in steel, it offers a total of 10 thickness settings, which should cover just about any preference. You can make your dough sheets as wide as 15 centimeters, and they will fit in just fine. You can clamp it down to your table for added stability, and a motor is available for purchase so it will do the work for you.
It should be noted that no pasta-shaping attachments are included: 12 in total, they are sold separately; each one can cost about half of the asking price for the machine itself, or more.
- High quality; performance generally reported as top of its category.
- A lot of effort can be saved thanks to the motor.
- Purchasing attachments can quickly drive up the total investment.
Best Manual Maker For Rolled Pasta:
(Note to Editor: Manual and Rolled Pasta were folded into one because searching for “pasta roller” on Amazon turned up manual pasta makers)
This is a particularly good option should you be planning to make ravioli, as an appropriate attachment is included. You get a total of 9 options for noodle thickness, and you can also clamp it to the table so it won’t wobble while you work. Aside from the ravioli cutter, you get 2 more for noodles of different width. The entire machine is steel, including the brackets, and several parts are detachable, which helps at cleaning time.
Worth noting that the knob for selecting thickness can’t just be turned; it has to be pulled outwards first.
- Good variety of thickness settings.
- Ravioli maker included.
- By design it is made to be easy to clean.
- Not great at cutting the dough.
Best Affordable Pasta Machine:
In terms of functionality, you don’t lose too much: between 9 thickness settings and 3 blade attachments, you get a decent array of possibilities for your noodles, and most reported impressions indicate adequate performance. The entire machine is metal, and the rollers and blades are dishwasher safe, per the manufacturer. Handle is removable, so it doesn’t get in the way when storing the machine. Be it intentionally or by chance, the design closely resembles that of certain higher-end machines, although it falls short in certain aspects, such as pasta texture and sharpness of cut.
- A good starter machine: decent performance and pasta setting variety.
- Easier to store away.
- It has been reported that the coating can scratch off easily.
We’ve done it. All that’s missing is a proper sauce recipe!