Which ladle is best?
Trying to cook without the proper utensils is a maddening experience, as is trying to serve the finished product. When it comes to sauces, soups and anything else liquidy, the simplest serving solution is to use a ladle. Ladles are surprisingly complex instruments, having multiple materials, shapes and other aspects to consider.
The best ladle is the Rosle Stainless Steel Sauce Ladle. It’s made of a single piece of high-quality stainless steel that can last for many years if you treat it right.
What to know before you buy a ladle
There are two sizes to consider:
- Bowl sizes are given in either cups or ounces, where one ounce is approximately one-eighth of a cup. Bowl sizes are typically 1.5-8 ounces with most bowls holding 6 ounces. Smaller bowls are best for powerful sauces while large bowls are best for soups and stews.
- Handle sizes, or rather lengths, are typically given in inches. Most handles are 9-14 inches long. Your handle should be long enough to let the bowl comfortably reach the bottom of the pot without your hand dipping inside the pot.
Ladles made of anything nonmetal have varying heat resistance. Ladles with too little resistance can warp or melt, both when set near the heat source and when left inside a boiling pot. Not all nonmetal ladles will list their heat resistances — if you’re unsure of its quality, keep shopping.
What to look for in a quality ladle
Most ladles are made of stainless steel, but wooden and plastic options are also common.
- Stainless steel ladles are the most expensive and highest quality option. It doesn’t absorb smells or stains, it won’t melt or warp under heat and it can last for years if treated right. However, they may scratch some types of pots.
- Wood ladles are the middle ground. They’re a little less expensive and less durable but are far more attractive than plastic. They won’t scratch your pots either.
- Plastic ladles are cheap, but don’t let that scare you — most are safe and effective. You do need to take care that they have a high enough heat resistance. They also tend to absorb smells and stains.
Some ladles, especially models with small bowls, have a spout or curved rim on one or both sides of the bowl. These are meant to help with precision pouring for plating or to pour your foods into small containers.
Some specialty ladles have drainage holes printed into one or both sides of the bowl. These are meant for serving stews so you can add more, less or equal amounts of solid foods and broth to your bowls.
How much you can expect to spend on a ladle
Ladles typically cost $5-$60. Cheap but no less effective ladles can be found for less than $10 while midrange ladles cost $10-$30. The best and largest ladles start around $30.
Is a ladle really necessary to have?
A. That depends on your kitchen habits. If you cook semi-regularly, say once or twice a week, having a ladle on hand is a good idea. Inevitably you’re going to cook something with some kind of sauce that needs to be poured over as a finisher or make a soup or stew. You can get away using an average spoon for most sauces if you have the patience, but trying to dish up a bowl of chunky stew without a ladle is torturously slow or even dangerous if you attempt to tip your pot over to pour it in the bowl directly.
Should I have ladles of different sizes?
A. Again, that depends on your kitchen habits. In the same semiregular, once or twice a week situation, you shouldn’t need more than one ladle — you’ll want a medium-to-large ladle to best handle most situations. If you cook daily and especially if you like to practice high-end culinary techniques, a set of different-sized ladles would be a good investment.
What’s the best ladle to buy?
Rosle Stainless Steel Sauce Ladle
What you need to know: Its premium craftsmanship sets it apart.
What you’ll love: It’s available in a huge variety of sizes — from 1.4 ounces to 8 ounces — and in pouring or serving shapes. It’s made of a single piece of stainless steel with a finger groove for comfort and a matte finish to prevent fingerprints from standing out.
What you should consider: Some consumers pointed out that it can scratch nonstick pots. It’s a little on the heavy side. It’s expensive for a ladle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Sur La Table
Top ladle for the money
What you need to know: It’s cheap, sturdy and sizeable.
What you’ll love: It’s made of nylon for durability, resistance to high heat, prevention of scratching your cookware and to be dishwasher-safe. The handle is 13 inches long to easily reach even the deepest pots and has a hole at the tip for hanging storage.
What you should consider: The handle has a soft coating for comfort that can peel with time or melt if exposed directly to your stovetop’s heating elements.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Sur La Table
Worth checking out
Totally Bamboo Soup and Sauce Ladle
What you need to know: It’s beautiful and environmentally friendly.
What you’ll love: It’s made of bamboo, a sustainable and renewable material that requires fewer resources to farm. It has a 14-inch handle with a hole at the tip for hanging. It has a smooth finish to prevent scratching your cookware and splinters.
What you should consider: Like all wood kitchenware, it isn’t dishwasher-safe and must be carefully washed and dried to prevent damage. It has no curve.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.