We tested seven salad dressing shakers to see if we could find one worth buying.
Published Mar. 1, 2016. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Bistro Classics at Home
At home, many of us use a lidded jar to mix and emulsify vinaigrette—often with messy results because the seal isn’t good. But the kitchenware market abounds with funny-looking salad dressing shakers and mixers that promise to emulsify, dispense, and store vinaigrette more easily than that repurposed jar. To find out whether these gadgets were worth buying, we pitted seven BPA-free plastic dressing shakers and mixers, priced from about $10.00 to $16.00, against a 2-cup Ball jar with its lid. We wanted to see how well they emulsified, contained, and poured two dressings with different ingredients and volumes (our Make-Ahead and Foolproof Vinaigrettes); whether or not they stained or retained odors; how easy they were to fill and clean; and how durable they were.
Most of the gadgets were a waste of money: too large or too small and marred by design flaws that impaired performance. And although it’s unlikely that you’ll ever use the shakers’ volume lines alone to make your dressing, it’s worth noting that more than half of the containers’ measurements were inaccurate. While some of the shakers and mixers made emulsions just as quickly and as stably as the Ball jar and were just as durable and as easy to fill and clean, almost none of them were better—except one.
Our favorite shaker has a short, wide, 1 1/2-cup canister that makes it a breeze to fill, clean, and whisk sticky ingredients by hand if necessary. It made large- and small-scale emulsions that were comparable in quality to those made by the Ball jar, and in about the same amount of time. The shaker has one significant advantage over the jar: It’s much tidier, featuring a pour spout that dispensed dressing without a drip and sealing tightly so that no dressing flew out while shaking. If you make salad dressing regularly, the OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker is a good investment.
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.