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Jul 1, 2010 05:35 PM

Which colander do you prefer?

I’m looking to buy both a colander and a strainer (or several) and not sure which will suit my needs.

Do you prefer a colander that has three individual feet or the ring pedestal?
Handles verses no handles (just the rim to hold onto)?
Clusters of medium sized holes or a colander riddled with hundreds of small holes?
What size do you find works for you?
Do you find a colander and a strainer interchangeable in your kitchen?

I’m wondering if I should buy a colander with larger holes and buy a strainer to drain finer pastas.

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  1. Ringed bottom is less likely to tip or scratch a work surface or cover if you decide to use it as a weight upside down in a pot.

    Handles to prevent burns especially when someone decided to stick things in the sink right before you have to drain something.

    Holes large enough to provide a quick and thorough drain. I'd rather lose a couple pieces of pasta than to have it sitting in water.

    Ideally a medium and large size, medium for smaller jobs and for use inside a pot as a weight and large for bigger quantities while allowing for a toss without losing food over the rim. Make sure the size you get will fit in your sink if you intend to drain your pasta in that manner.

    Strainers are okay for smaller amounts of pasta, etc. but I primarily use strainers when I want to keep the liquid rather than discarding it.

    I think you are on the right track with the colander with larger holes and a strainer. Sometimes you can get strainers in a set of small, medium and large that will accommodate various pan sizes and tasks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SanityRemoved

      i like the oxo with vertical slits rather than holes. water seems to drain more quickly

    2. A colander with base and handles works best for me. I personally love the RSVP Endurance Precision pierced baskets. I think Cook's Illustrated recommended them highly a few years back.

      I bought the set of three, and at first I didn't care for the smaller colanders in the set, but now I actually use them quite a lot. I found that each of the three sizes fits perfectly in the Williams-Sonoma mixing bowls (link below) and the handles rest nicely on the bowl rim. I often use them together when I want to reserve juices or water, salt cabbage for kimichi, or any other number of kitchen tasks. I also use the RSVP baskets for a water bath when making mozzarella cheese.

      Here are the bowls I matched them up with, but I bought a 3-bowl set instead.

      2 Replies
      1. re: smkit

        I second the Endurance line . . .best colanders I've ever had! Every time I use them I wonder how I ever did without.

        1. re: smkit

          FYI, Cook's Illustrated did recommend the Endurance, but not the one you linked to. (Precision Pierced Basket)

          Similar, but not exactly the same (Precision Pierced Colander):

        2. The Endurance design is great. FWIW, I found essentially the same thing for around $6 in my local asian supermarket. Not Endurance, but just as nice.

          1. I have this one:


            and I love it. I have the smaller one as well. (Ididn't pay $40 for it though. It was on sale on Amazon for $20.)

            7 Replies
            1. re: flourgirl

              That's the one I have my eyes one.
              Do you find the fact that it sits up on three little feet that it tips over or is unstable?
              And do the handles stay cool to the touch if you have emptied a big pot of hot pasta into it?

              1. re: snax

                I've had this for at least two years now & I've never had a problem with it tipping over or being unstable. And yes, the handles stay cool even after pouring hot pasta into it (which is what I use the larger one for the most.)

                1. re: flourgirl

                  How is it cleaning the pronged feet? I saw that one reviewer on Amazon said that starchy buildup collects around the feet. And will risotto go through the holes. They look a bit large?

                  1. re: smkit

                    why are you putting risotto in a colander?

                    1. re: thew

                      I make a lot of rice pudding and that calls for rinsing arborio rice before cooking and I use my RSVP pierced basket for this task. But with that said, I actually meant to say orzo and not risotto. I guess I just had rice pudding on my mind.

                      1. re: smkit

                        The colander has somewhat largish holes on the sides but the holes on the bottom are much smaller. I've never had a problem with orzo going through the holes.

                        And just to add, the reason I like the feet better than the ring on the bottom is that, IMO, liquid drains from it faster and easier instead of getting trapped in that ring.

                    2. re: smkit

                      No, no problem with cleaning the pronged feet. I can't imagine why anyone would have a problem with "starchy build-up" unless they weren't washing the colander thoroughly after each use. But no, it's not difficult to clean around them.

                      And I have the same question as thew. Why do you need to put risotto in a colander? I make risotto all the time, and never need to use a colander.

              2. I use a wire mesh colander with the ring, and I like it fine. I also use a smaller metal colander with punched holes and it is on 3 feet. I do prefer the ring design, but I use both colanders. I also have expensive stainless colanders on feet that I almost never use.