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The Best Large Portion Scoops

This restaurant-kitchen tool can make you a faster, more efficient home cook.


Published Jan. 1, 2017. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Bake Sale Favorites

More on the Best Portion Scoops
We also tested and recommend the small and medium versions of our favorite portion scoop.
See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

Portion scoops, or dishers, come in a wide range of sizes and are handy for quickly dispensing uniform servings of cookie dough, muffin batter, potato salad, ice cream, and other soft, difficult-to-manage foods. The trouble is, it can be surprisingly hard to figure out what size the scoops actually are.

Manufacturers identify scoops in very different ways: by volume (listed in fluid ounces, tablespoons, or milliliters), by diameter, or, most commonly—and most confusingly—according to a numbered system unique to portion scoops. In this system, scoops are given numerical “sizes” based on the number of level scoops it would take to empty a quart. It would take twenty level scoops with a #20 scoop, for example.

But in practice, manufacturers play fast and loose with this numbering system. We found that scoops of the same “size” could have capacities that varied by as much as a tablespoon. To get a portion scoop with the capacity we actually wanted, it was much more useful to look for information on the scoops’ volume, which each manufacturer lists alongside the inconsistent and unreliable “size.”

With this in mind, we set out to find the best portion scoop that held about 3 tablespoons—a serving size we often use with cookies in the test kitchen. We bought five models priced between $13 and $17, using them to dole out Chewy Oatmeal Cookies and Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. For a benchmark, we tested them against a tablespoon measure—the tool we’d use to measure out cookies if we were caught without our scoops.

Predictably, the scoops were all neater, faster, and more consistent than a 1-tablespoon measure at portioning the cookies, taking an average of 2 1/2 minutes to serve up uniform hemispheres of chocolate chip cookie dough compared with the 6 minutes it took the tablespoon to make messy, more variable mounds. Exact capacity wasn’t an issue: Scoops slightly under 3 tablespoons made one or two more cookies than those that were exactly 3 tablespoons, but this did not significantly change the yields or baking times of the recipes.

Our preferences came down to comfort and control. Rubbery handles provided more cushioning and were easy to grip even when our hands got greasy from the buttery cookie dough; smooth metal and plastic handles tended to get slippery. We also liked scoops that weren’t too hard to squeeze. Scoops with stiff springs or with levers that extended too far out from the handle tired our hands and fingers quickly. Finally, we preferred scoops that dispensed the dough with a smooth, controlled motion—several of the scoops flung the dough out in a somewhat haphazard way, gouging the dough balls in the process.


Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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Reviews you can trust

Reviews you can trust

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.

Miye Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.