I was curious as to why they're marketed as pasta bowls in the UK, and it's because they're frequently used for pasta (obviously). Buy why are bowls used for pasta traditionally wide and relatively shallow? As opposed to other types of bowl?

The reasons I can think of are potentially to do with serving size (i.e. can fit more in the bowl) or thermodynamics (larger surface area to allow faster cooling). But I don't know why either of these would specifically apply to pasta dishes.

For context, this is what is generally considered a pasta bowl here in the UK as far as I'm aware: enter image description here As compared to a cereal/all-purpose bowl: enter image description here Or a soup bowl/lipped bowl: enter image description here I understand that a 'pasta bowl' is not exclusively for pasta dishes and I know that other types of bowl are also used when it comes to serving pasta. But I'm interested in why, in the UK at least, a 'pasta bowl' is sold as such.

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    @Tetsujin I've added some context, I'm in the UK.
    – Lyall
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 14:16
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    I'm a little confused. In your question you say that pasta bowls traditionally have a wide rim. But the picture you posted of a pasta bowl doesn't have a rim. Then in comments you say that pasta bowls are generally rimless and wide. Can you please edit your question to clarify?
    – Cindy
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 18:59
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    Could this just be marketing? A lot of pasta is eaten from all of those bowls, and, in fact, it might be just as common to serve it on a plate, depending on the recipe of course.
    – moscafj
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 20:09
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    The question is still contradictory, can you please edit it so that it's not? The reason I ask is that here in the US the "soup bowl" you have on the bottom is often sold as a "pasta bowl".
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 16:10
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    Yeah, that works.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


My hypothesis is that there is no functional reason for having a wide rim on a pasta bowl. I contend that this is simply marketing, and the choice of the person presenting the meal. It is just a name for a bowl. Pasta is served in all sorts of vessels; plates, deep bowls, shallow bowls. Saucing, in part, determines the vessel. For example, you can't serve tortellini in brodo on a plate. Plates, bowls, and dishes are often designed and chosen for the way they compliment a final dish's visual appeal. The Chinese (and other noodle eating cultures) don't necessarily eat noodles from wide-rimmed bowls, and I would confidently guess that you wouldn't have to look that far back to find a time that there was really was no such thing presented as a wide-rimmed, pasta bowl. So, I would say that this is not a tradition at all. This is a product of restaurants, ceramic makers, and the media (magazines and food TV).

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    It's just like all the different wine glasses, with a different glass for each varietal. Lots of folks don't realize that "tradition" was created by Reidel.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 18:31
  • Id wager that the wider rim is for laying hunks / slices of bread on without them falling vertically into the dish ;-) At least that's how we used them at some of restaurants I've worked at. So yes, presentation.
    – renesis
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 2:13

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