Best Spaghetti: Stock Your Pantry with These 9 Pastas

The best spaghetti is the perfect vehicle for sauce. It should be rugged and coarse—ideally because it was cut with a bronze die or on a chitarra—so that everything from a thick marinara to a chunky puttanesca can really cling to it. In terms of texture, it should be delightfully chewy and toothsome. Finally, it should have plenty of flavor and it shouldn’t cost too much coin. This list is extensive and well-rounded, so please enjoy the eight best spaghetti brands you can buy.

There are those who will shun spaghetti. Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful podcast (no relation) and creator of the new pasta shape cascatelli, famously said that he hates it. And hearing that made me want to flip over a car. Read these next words slowly and through my gritted teeth: Spaghetti is beautiful.

It absorbs whatever sauce you decide to cook it in like a deliciously edible sponge. Spaghetti hugs sauce like an old friend, saying, “Get in here, pal.” Spaghetti is used in three of the four classic Roman pasta dishes. Is that not good enough, Dan? Do you need more? Fine: Spaghetti is also the quintessential pasta to serve with meatballs. The twirl of a forkful (or sporkful, if that’s easier for you to relate to) of spaghetti is so iconic that it’s literally art. It’s the pasta of the everyman. Plus, children love it. Watching a child messily eat handfuls of spaghetti and sauce is a classic and heartwarming sight. Do you hate children, Dan Pashman? Do you want to tell my nephew that spaghetti sucks? No, spaghetti doesn’t suck. Spaghetti is like good pop music. Lots of people love it for good reason. 

I really needed to get that off my chest. Thank you.

Alright, we did a spaghetti taste test. Here’s what we were looking for in the ideal spaghetti: Thick noodles. If the noodle is thin, the package better say “thin spaghetti.” But if it says “spaghetti,” we want a thick, tubular noodle. It shouldn’t be too slick, either. Slick noodles don’t grab sauce. Spaghetti should have heft, texture, and a slight hint of flavor. It shouldn’t break in the pot, and it should be affordable. Good spaghetti should be available to all. I’m Danny Palumbo, and this is the platform I’m running on for head of the pasta council. Oh, and here are the best spaghetti brands we tasted.

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Best of the Best

La Molisana Bronze Die Spaghetti Quadrato Chitarra No. 1

This spaghetti knocked me on my ass. La Molisan, an Italian company, makes incredible pasta that looks and tastes like it was dried at home by nonna. The texture is coarse and rough, so sauce clings to it with ease. This spaghetti was cut with a bronze die, producing a rough spaghetti with character—not a smooth, slippery, wet American spaghetti. Quadrato also means square in Italian, and this spaghetti does have a square, almost linguini-like edge to it. And the chew, my god, the chew of La Molisana is incredible. That’s probably because it’s made with finely-milled semolina flour, which has a higher protein content and produces a more pleasant texture. Honestly, with pasta this good at the store, you can skip trying to make the fresh stuff at home. This spaghetti is ideal for elite pasta dishes like carbonara, cacio e pepe, and aglio e olio, but will also do great with some red sauce and meatballs, too. It takes between 11 and 13 minutes to cook, which is substantially longer than most other pastas. If you have the time, this is the best spaghetti by a considerable margin. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Best American Made

Rao’s Bronze Die Cut Spaghetti

Rao’s makes good pasta sauce and (surprise!) they also make good pasta. But what does “bronze die cut” mean? Well, basically, a die is the mold shape through which the pasta dough is extruded at the factory. Those molds, or dies, are typically made of Teflon or bronze. Teflon produces a slicker, less desirable texture (Teflon is also cheaper), whereas bronze produces a rougher, more desirable texture, which helps noodles hold onto sauce

Rao’s bronze die cut spaghetti is the perfect thickness for spaghetti, and the long strands of pasta are delightfully chewy. There’s a subtle semolina flavor here, too, with some nutty and sweet undertones to each strand of spaghetti. The big selling point, though, is the texture produced from the bronze die. There’s a noticeable, ridged quality to this Rao’s noodle. That means that the spaghetti will cling to the sauce better. It’s all about that cling, baby. Rao’s just doesn’t miss.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Best Bargain

La Molisana Spaghetti Alla Chitarra

I like that when you open a package of La Molisana pasta a little puff of flour appears, giving the impression that this spaghetti is homemade and cared for. This pasta, like other La Molisana products, has incredible chew, a more traditional shape than the brand’s quadrato spaghetti, and is also very, very cheap! $2.34 on Amazon, and friends tell me they’ve seen it at the dollar store. That’s wild, because I would spring for this before other name brand products. It’s just so well made.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Best Italian-American

De Cecco Spaghetti No. 12

For as long as I cooked in Italian American restaurants, De Cecco was the brand of pasta used. It’s reliable, restaurant-quality pasta. De Cecco combines high quality durum wheat semolina, which they grind themselves, with mountain spring water to make most of their pasta. They use the aforementioned bronze die, and they also slow dry their pasta. That means their spaghetti has tenacity, texture, and a delightful chew. There’s no strong semolina flavor, but that’s just fine with us. Salt the water well, and this pasta will never, ever steer you wrong. De Cecco is the perfect spaghetti for spaghetti and meatballs, and it’ll work well for the fancier Roman dishes (like cacio e pepe), too. De Cecco is my brand of choice.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Best with Meatballs

Garofalo Spaghetti

Garofolo makes really good spaghetti. It has a rough surface, but it also has a springy texture and a toothsome bite. That makes me think of spaghetti and meatballs. With spaghetti and meatballs, you want a rougher texture to cling to the sauce, but you also want something chewy to compliment the bulky meatballs. Garofalo absorbs sauce well, which is absolutely necessary because there’s nothing worse than red sauce that just slips and slides off of a noodle. It’s on par with De Cecco, just not as readily available at stores.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Best Import

Montebello Organic Spaghetti

I like Montebello’s instructions for cooking spaghetti because they don’t give you an exact cook time, they just tell you to “check for doneness.” Truly, that’s the best way to cook spaghetti. Take a pair of tongs, grab a little sliver of spaghetti noodle, then eat it to test the chew. That attitude makes me trust Montebello, a brand that’s imported via Stonewall Kitchen. Montebello was established in 1388 (that feels like too long ago—was pasta even invented then?) and its products have an enjoyable flavor and texture. This isn’t the best spaghetti, and it’s a little pricey, but if you see it out you should know it won’t let you down.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Albertsons

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Best with Butter

Good & Gather Bronze Cut Spaghetti

Good & Gather makes a chewy, springy spaghetti that is delightful to eat plain. That makes it a good choice to pair with a butter sauce. Me? I like butter and extra virgin olive oil mixed together when I make buttered noodles. I’m thinking this spaghetti would be really good with butter, olive oil, some leftover vegetables from the fridge, and a ton of cheap parmesan cheese. There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. When nobody’s looking, I tend to bastardize the hell out of my personal pasta dishes. The fancy stuff I save for Instagram.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Target

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Best for Primavera

De Cecco Spinach Spaghetti

This green spaghetti packs extra nutrients by virtue of being made with spinach, but doesn’t have a strong spinach taste. There is a slight vegetal earthiness to the pasta, but it’s very faint. The biggest selling point is the green color. Spinach spaghetti just looks great with an alfredo, or you could make a nice pasta primavera with fresh vegetables, oil, and garlic for a healthy and hearty pasta dish.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Best Extreme Budget

Reggano Spaghetti

The best thing Reggano has going for it is value. It’s very, very cheap. I mean, for two pounds of pasta it cost us $1.69. That’s insane. If you need to feed a lot of people on the cheap (maybe you are the cook at a firehouse or have a dozen children or one growing teenage boy), or you need to feed yourself several times over the course of a week (and don’t mind eating lots and lots of spaghetti), then I’d go with Reggano. It won’t be best for anything too fancy, but it will get the job done just fine.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Instacart

Rating:

5/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • Y’all need to include brands that the rest of us have at least heard of. Where is Barilla for comparison purposes? It outsells the next most popular brand (Ronzoni) 5 to 1. Heck, it outsells the next 15 most popular brands combined. OK I’ve heard of Rao’s restaurant but they don’t sell their products around here.

    Reply
    • I’m not really a fan of Barilla; but De Cecco is just about everywhere.

      Reply
  • I love Barilla Rigati No.304 spaghetti so much that I bought a whole case from Amazon during the pandemic as I couldn’t find it anywhere. It has a ridge down the center of each strand and I think it is the best spaghetti I have tasted so far.

    Reply
  • I agree with Danny. Love his writing style and extensive knowledge as well. You go dude!

    Reply
  • The article states that they tried tons of other brands, they just didn’t make the list of the best. Perhaps they’ll do a worst pasta list. I’m thinking barilla will be there. It’s terrible. Besides, they’re not exactly an inclusive company. Given the choice between barilla and no pasta, I’d make something else. Loving Sporked!

    Reply