Let’s be honest: colanders are far from the most exciting kitchen accessory. Few people find themselves longing to buy a status colander, their mouse hovering over the “buy” button for months at a time. And I get it. For the first 20 or so years of my life, I never bought a single strainer or colander — they just kind of appeared with new roommates or were scavenged from an aunt’s To-Donate bin.
But a fancy colander can be well worth the less-than-$50 price tag. This is the rare kind of cooking accessory where you can splurge for a luxury pick while spending less than an average night of takeout, and the right colander will give you years regular pasta draining and produce rinsing. Plus, there have been plenty of recent updates to the ubiquitous “bowl with holes” design — from easy-pour corners to nesting versions that help save space in smaller kitchens.
Getting excited about a colander is just another sign of growing up, like appreciating good socks or learning how to do your taxes. So here’s to finding a colander that you’re passionate about (or at least one that drains your food properly).
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My All-Time Favorite
I never thought I’d be the type of person to love a colander, but here we are. This colander combines the best aspects of silicone and metal models, with a soft, collapsible vessel for rinsing veggies, a sturdy rim, and rigid handles for carrying hot ingredients. You can even cook pasta with this colander already in the pot (so draining noodles is even easier), and, when it’s time to clean up, you can just pop this into the dishwasher.
For A Bright Pop of Color
Colanders are inherently practical items, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a bit of fun with your rinsing and draining tasks. This option comes in two neutral (read: boring) shades, but I’m a fan of the sunny yellow color. The 100% ceramic material is a bit more delicate than metal or plastic versions, but it’ll give your space a more homey look.
A Much More Durable Berry Carton
The little paper baskets that berries or cherry tomatoes come in are great for throwing into your compost bin, but less so for actually storing produce in your fridge. This ceramic berry carton, on the other hand, is the perfect tool for rinsing berries, and it looks absolutely adorable in your fridge (or alongside your aesthetically pleasing breakfast spread).
A Hands-Free Approach
This over-the-sink colander expands to keep the mesh basket above your sink — which is great if you want to wash or drain ingredients, but don’t want to clear out all your dishes. The soft-edged handles won’t scratch your countertops, and the durable metal mesh resists rust and corrosion for easy everyday use.
A Simply Designed Nesting Set
It doesn’t really make sense to use the same colander to drain a full pot of pasta and rinse a handful of berries, and that’s why we like this set which comes with small and large options that easily nest to save space. The rounded triangular shapes also make it easier to pour ingredients out of the colanders, so you won’t end up with a dozen errant rigatoni landing on your stovetop.
The Most Fun Colander You’ll Ever Use
Dreamfarm’s colander has a handle for easy rinsing, but that handle also doubles as an agitator to make the drainage bowl spin. Hands down, it’s the most fun salad spinning experience I’ve encountered to date, and I love how the excess moisture gets spun directly into the sink, rather than sitting in an exterior plastic container.
A Stunning Enamel Piece
If you’re looking for a more traditionally shaped colander, this one is equal parts beautiful and durable. It’s made from carbon steel and covered in porcelain enamel, so you’ll be able to use it for everything from draining pasta to steaming veggies on the stove.
A Compact Kitchen Solution
A traditional colander can take up loads of valuable kitchen space, but this adjustable over-the-sink version will easily slide into any drawer or cabinet (even in NYC-sized apartments).
Best For Straining Rice
If you don’t already, you really should be washing your rice. Most colanders’ holes are too big for straining rice, so you end up having to drain a bowl of rice and water with a cupped hand and pure determination. However, this colander set can tackle draining tasks big and small. The interior bowl has larger holes for straining produce or draining pasta, while the bigger bowl is perfect for rinsing rice.