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The Best Ladles

For soups, stews, sauces, and more, we want a ladle that can really dish it out.


Published Feb. 1, 2022. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 23: Parathas and Pakoras

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

Our longtime favorite ladle is the Rösle Hook Ladle with Pouring Rim. It holds just the right amount of liquid, pours neatly and precisely, and is comfortable to hold in different positions. For a less expensive option, we also like the Cuisinart Stainless Steel Ladle. It has a smaller capacity than our favorite and pours a bit less precisely, but it is still a pleasure to use. The Cuisinart Curve Handle Line Curve Nylon Ladle is our favorite nonstick-safe option. It has a big capacity, pours relatively neatly, and is especially easy to grip. 

What You Need to Know

A good ladle is essential for scooping, portioning, and serving soups, stews, sauces, and sometimes drinks, desserts, and other liquids. Occasionally, we use ladles to press soups and purees through fine-mesh strainers to make them extra-smooth and silky.

Many of us prefer metal ladles, as they are sturdy and nearly indestructible. If you’re careful, you can use them with any type of pot or pan. But if you’re concerned about scratching your enameled or nonstick cookware, we recommend getting a ladle with a silicone or plastic bowl. These materials will be gentler on any surfaces they touch, though they can melt if exposed to high heat. We tested both stainless-steel and nonstick-safe versions, all with capacities of 4 to 7 ounces, the most commonly available sizes.

What to Look For

  • A 5-Ounce Capacity: We found that bowls this size were ideal for dishing out soups and stews. Smaller models that held only 4 ounces required a few extra passes to empty a pot of soup or stock, and larger versions of 6 ounces or more sometimes felt a tad unwieldy. 
  • A Pouring Rim: Most of the ladles did an acceptable job of serving soups and stews, but we slightly preferred those with pouring rims—bowl edges that were gently curved all the way around. These curved rims helped direct the flow of liquids, pouring more neatly and precisely than models with straight, vertical bowl edges or dedicated pour spouts. They also let us pour from anywhere on the ladle bowl, unlike the models with dedicated pour spouts, which required us to pour from one particular side. 
  • A Rigid Bowl: We preferred models with bowls that were hard and rigid. They held heavy stews securely, without flexing, and were tough enough to force purees through a strainer effectively.
  • A Medium-Length Handle Set at a 45-Degree Angle: Handles measuring 9.5 to 10 inches were long enough to reach into the depths of a stockpot but not so long that they felt unwieldy. We liked those that were set at a moderate 45-degree angle in relation to the rim of the bowl. These kept our hands away from hot steam as we dipped into po...

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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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.