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Leave a pan of milk or cream on the stove long enough, and it’s sure to foam up and boil over. Boilover devices purportedly prevent messes in a few different ways.
Published Nov. 1, 2012. Appears in Cook's Illustrated November/December 2012
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What You Need To Know
Leave a pan of milk or cream on the stove long enough, and it’s sure to foam up and boil over. A lid won’t stop overflows, but boilover devices purportedly prevent messes in a few different ways. Large silicone lids physically stop or slow boiling milk from escaping the pot. Small disks made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel placed in the pot change the heat distribution of the contents or simply rattle to alert the cook. The disks were ineffective; glass and ceramic disks did audibly clatter as the milk began to boil, while a stainless steel disk barely made a sound, but none prevented a boilover. The only tool that prevented the milk from escaping the pot was our winner. Its bowl-shaped silicone lid (which doubles as a microwave splatter guard) has six central flaps that open just enough to let milk foam flow over its surface, where it is contained by curved edges. The tool works, but unless you also need a splatter guard, we recommend using our equally effective method: Simply heat the milk in a pot much larger than necessary.
Everything We Tested
- Performance: 3 stars out of 3.
This flexible silicone lid, designed to perch atop any pot between 6 and 10 inches wide, kept 1 pint of foaming, boiling milk from spilling over a 2-quart saucepan on full boil. It works by allowing overflow to pass up and through six small central flaps that open as the foam pushes upward, where it’s then trapped in the bowl-like lid. It served equally well as a splatter guard, keeping tomato sauce neatly contained as it heated in the microwave. Dishwasher-safe, the device cleans up almost as easily by hand.
Recommended with reservations
- Performance: 2 stars out of 3.
This ceramic disk—the least expensive product in our lineup—rattled just loudly enough for testers to hear it in a busy kitchen. Its manufacturer’s claim that it prevents boilovers didn’t hold true, but set in 1 pint of milk in a 2-quart saucepan, the product did give us 40 extra seconds before the milk overflowed.
- Performance: 1.5 stars out of 3.
This thick glass disk rattled loudly as 1 pint of milk in a 2-quart saucepan began to boil, alerting the cook. But on its own it did nothing to slow or prevent milk from foaming up and boiling over. It withstood some knocking around without breaking or chipping.
- Performance: 1 stars out of 3.
This thin disk of stainless steel looked as though it would rattle like mad on the bottom of a saucepan, but it barely made any sound in repeated tests, nor did it slow or prevent milk from boiling over.
Reviews you can trust
Reviews you can trust
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