Pasta is often used as a delivery vehicle for sauce, considered too bland to stand alone.
However, with a pasta maker at home, you can create delicious flavored pastas including spinach fettuccine and sweet potato gnocchi that require only a light butter sauce or drizzle of olive oil.
In this guide you will learn how to choose the best pasta maker for your needs and compare models in our pasta maker reviews.
Top 5: Best Pasta Maker Machines
Brand & Model
5 Shaping discs
6 Shaping discs
Pasta Maker Reviews
Atlas Electric Pasta Machine
The machine itself is beautiful and well made. Other than the motor, it's almost identical to the crank-driven Marcato we recommend, even featuring the same prominent Marcato branding.
This motor driven machine is slightly narrower, but the addition of the motor means it'll make pasta quite a bit faster. The resulting noodles and sheets wouldn't be out of place at any restaurant.
Like other traditional pasta makers, this is a fairly bare-bones machine. You're left to your own devices when it comes to making dough.
If you're interested in a machine that helps with mixing and kneading your dough, you'll want to check out the Phillips or Lello we recommend.
The addition of a motor instead of a crank adds a decent amount of cost and complexity. In our experience, making pasta with a crank driven machine requires slightly more than two hands: in other words, you'll do okay with a crank, but you'll have to do some preparation and thinking beforehand.
The addition of a motor lets you feed dough with one hand while leaving the other free to direct noodles as they come out, sprinkle flour, and adjust dishes on your counter to better catch the pasta you're making.
Is the Atlas Pasta Machine worth it? If you make a lot of pasta, we think so. The increase in speed alone makes the motor a nice upgrade to a crank driven model.
Imperia Pasta Maker Machine
This machine is available in two varieties. The Model 190 has an integrated cutter and makes noodles only (no lasagna sheets). The Model 150 makes lasagna sheets by default and has an attachment available that cuts the sheets into noodles.
SEE ALSO: Best Lasagna Pan
Imperia's pasta machines work best when you keep dough towards the middle of the rollers. While you can make use of most of the provided roller space, the edges have a habit of fouling your dough with grease.
It's easy enough to trim the edges off or discard a few noodles, but it's a slight downside over the Marcato.
Cleaning traditional pasta machines is a bit odd. You're not supposed to clean them at all. As long as you use an appropriate dough recipe, your machine should be almost completely clean after each use.
In fact, Imperia suggests that you run a load of dough through the machine when you first get it to clean out any bits of metal, grease or oil that might be left over from the manufacturing process.
If you're comfortable making dough, this works out great. If not, you might want to consider a more modern machine that's easier to clean if you screw up.
If you're after a crank-driven traditional pasta maker, the Imperia pasta maker is one of your best choices. You'll get an authentic machine with a lot of character.
Be sure to check out the Marcato as well. There aren't a lot of functional differences between the two units, so you're free to choose whichever one is cheaper.
Phillips Pasta Maker
Traditional pasta machines are great for extruding thin sheets of pre-made dough, but that's all they do.
The Phillip pasta maker helps mix and kneads dough as well, making the whole process much simpler.
Newer models even have built-in scales that weigh your flour and tell you how much water to add, giving you perfect dough every time.
Phillips understands that you'll want to measure, mix and knead your own dough sometimes, so the machine includes an extrude-only mode that simply shapes whatever dough you put in.
Like all of the pasta makers we recommend, you're free to use this for cake toppings, cookie dough, or anything else you want to force into vaguely pasta-like shapes. Unlike the traditional machines, however, this will mix your cookie dough for you.
The convenience offered by this machine cannot be overstated. Traditional pasta makers require you to feed in pre-made dough and (often) crank your device by hand. With this machine, you throw in flour, water, and eggs, press a button, and you're done. You'll have a bowl of noodles ready to go before your water is done boiling.
It's worth noting that traditional pasta machines can't do circular noodles with holes in them. The Phillip pasta maker comes with a penne attachment in the box, and it works great.
If you want more options than just different thicknesses of noodles, you'll want to choose either this or the Lello below.
This isn't the cheapest machine, but we think it's great for many kitchens. It's incredibly simple to use, and the fact it mixes and kneads your dough for you makes it great for pasta novices.
If you've got water, flour, and eggs in your kitchen, you'll be able to make fresh pasta within a few minutes of unpacking this device with very little effort.
Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine
The Marcato pasta machine is the Atlas above without a motor. While you'll have to turn the crank by hand, we think most people should be able to operate this machine fine without any outside assistance.
That said, it's a bit slower than the motor-driven model and having a free hand is certainly nice.
The Marcato is slightly wider than the motor-driven Atlas. It's made with the same authentic Italian parts. It can produce flat sheets or two cuts of noodles out of the box. A variety of accessories can be purchased separately to increase its functionality.
As far as functionality goes, this Marcato is perfect. Once you've made your dough and flattened it out, you're able to smoothly feed it into the machine and get whatever thickness noodles you want.
Like other traditional machines, cleaning is simple as long as your dough isn't too sticky or runny. You can simply dust the machine with a paper towel and it's ready for the next batch.
There aren't a lot of differences between this and the Imperia pasta maker. The Imperia has a habit of fouling the edges of extra-wide pasta sheets.
We faintly prefer the Marcato pasta machine, but it's not a big issue in practice. Be sure to check out both models and compare prices before deciding which pasta machine is best for you.
Lello Pastamaster 2200
The Lello Pastamaster also mixes dough for you and extrudes pasta in a variety of shapes. It's not quite as hands-off as the Phillips, however.
You'll find yourself checking in on each 20-minute pasta cycle a few times to make small adjustments and move the machine from one stage of pasta making to the next.
Overall, it's still an excellent tool that makes producing homemade pasta a simple and easy process.
Once you've started a batch of pasta, Lello recommends that you monitor the dough as it mixes and adjust the texture by adding more water or flour.
In practice, you can skip this stage if you've got some experience making pasta and you've been careful with your measurements. Expect to spend a few minutes playing with your dough consistency on your first attempts, however.
Extrusion happens as soon as you open up a shutter on the bottom. This means it's up to you to determine when your dough is done mixing.
This can be a nice upside to some recipes, but it also means you can't just pour some ingredients into the machine and come back to a bowl of pasta.
The machine comes with 6 extrusion disks in a variety of shapes. Like the Phillips, you're able to make penne and other hollow noodles with this unit.
We think the Pastamaster 2200 is a close second to the Phillips in terms of convenience.
Why Buy A Pasta Maker?
Basic pasta can be as simple as flour and eggs. There are varieties of flour specific to pasta-making, but nearly any flour can be used to create pasta if mixed with care and used in shapes that conform to the flour's capabilities.
For example, whole wheat flour will produce a dense, hearty noodle in wide shapes but may not tolerate being cut into thin narrow strips (What is chow mein?).
Without a pasta maker, you can mix your dough with a heavy duty hand mixer and a dough hook, but you'll need to roll out and cut the noodles.
There are tools to help with this process, but fans of light, thin noodles, such as ramen, will struggle to come up with a pasta format that they can enjoy. However, there are hand crank pasta cutters that can help you customize your homemade pasta cutters.
With an electric pasta maker, you can make your dough and extrude your noodles from one machine. Many pasta makers offer multiple extrusion discs for a variety of shapes, including thin angel hair, thick fettuccine noodles, and round penne.
How Well Do They Work?
Fans of fresh pasta know that there's a fair bit of work in mixing the dough, rolling it out and cutting it. These same fans also know that the outcome is well worth the labor!
Check out the following video by Todd from Todd's Kitchen on how to make pasta with a manual pasta maker.
However, if hand-cut pasta is not possible with your schedule, you can still enjoy fresh pasta thanks to one of the many automatic pasta makers or pasta cutters on the market.
Homemade pasta machines offer cooks the chance to load the dough components into the tool and let it do the mixing. Once the dough is mixed, the machine extrudes it through a feed chute where you can capture it for cooking.
If you prefer to mix your own dough, you can purchase a pasta roller for a precision cut. This tool is generally manual, features a hand crank and also offers a feed chute where you can capture your freshly cut pasta.
How To Choose The Best Pasta Machine
The best pasta maker is the one that suits your schedule and storage needs. While you may need a compact unit, be aware that there are small pasta makers available that offer plenty of power.
There are a few tricks to making it easier to remove dough from extrusion discs, such as freezing them or simply allowing the pasta to dry in the tool. Other pasta makers offer a cleaning disc with the extrusion discs.
Check out the following to help you better understand the differences between types of pasta makers.
Types Of Pasta Makers
Electric & Automatic Pasta Makers
Most electric models combine mixer with extruder. If you like to mix your pasta dough by hand, or if you enjoy adding fresh herbs or vegetables to your pasta...
... you'll need to experiment with your current recipes to get them to work in the electric mixer so you get the great texture you're used to.
SEE ALSO: Best Vegetable Spiralizers to make "pasta" from vegetables only!
These pasta makers tend to be a fairly heavy unit, so take care in your storage decisions that you don't wind up placing heavy items over your head. For the power you need, heavier is better.
The mixing motors on pasta makers need to provide plenty of power for mixing stiff pasta dough, and the extrusion process takes a fair bit of force.
Your extruder knives or discs will be under a lot of pressure once the dough starts to press through. While cleanup is always critical, the fact that many pasta recipes contain raw eggs make cleanup even more important.
Tip: If you notice your extruder discs becoming clogged, consider placing them in the freezer for a bit, then knocking off the bits of frozen dough before placing the discs in the dishwasher.
Capture configuration is extremely important. As pasta is extruded from the machine, over-handling may cause clumping or breakage, so consider selecting a machine designed to make capture easy.
If the extruder disc mechanism is set too close to the countertop, it may be difficult to catch your fresh pasta.
Manual Pasta Makers
Manual pasta makers generally only offer a cutting tool, so you'll still need to mix your pasta dough as previous.
The cranking tools work well for flat noodles cut in long strips, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, but may not offer much to fans of round noodles such as penne or ziti.
Many manufacturers offer extra cutting tools for multiple applications, so check out their websites for additional attachments. You can also roll out sheets of pasta and create your own pasta tubes, such as manicotti.
A manual pasta cutter may need lubrication to keep it running smoothly. Some units recommend not washing them with soap and water because they may rust.
If a rust-prevention lubricant was added to the pasta cutter prior to shipment, the first couple of batches of pasta should not be eaten.
Also, be aware that the process of hand-cranking dough through these machines takes some force. Follow all instructions regarding setting up the tool so the base is stable and clamped if a clamp is included in the design.
You may also be surprised to find that some machines offer an "extrusion only" setting, so your homemade dough recipe can be mixed by hand and extruded through your electric pasta maker.
Pasta dough is extremely heavy and may require some hand mixing. If you've got a homemade pasta recipe you love and have mixed it many times, it can be hard to turn over that mixing process to the machine
Like bread dough, pasta dough has a texture and weight that cooks get accustomed to. Be prepared to experiment when producing your first few batches of pasta.
No matter who or what does the mixing, homemade, freshly cut pasta is an amazing treat. Each cook has their own preference for dough stiffness, thickness of the rollout, and width of cut.
If pasta is popular in your household, consider investing in a pasta maker or pasta cutter so you and your family can experiment and create unique dishes to your tastes!
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your thoughts and experiences with your favorite pasta maker.