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How many types of ladles are there?

How many types of ladles are there? - Maria's Condo

The humble ladle, a vital part of every kitchen, often goes unnoticed amidst the medley of kitchen tools. This unsung hero of culinary utensils has a rich history and a vast variety of types adapted for specific uses. In this article, we will embark on an enlightening journey, exploring the diverse world of ladles, their history, and their uses.


The History of Ladles

While the precise origins of the ladle remain shrouded in mystery, some speculate that the ladle's genesis can be traced back to the 1800s. The first patented tool bearing resemblance to a ladle was referred to as a "cup holder," patented in 1876 by Joseph Sherer. Today, ladles have evolved into indispensable kitchen tools, available in a plethora of designs for various culinary tasks.

The Crucial Role of Ladles

Ladles play a crucial role in the kitchen, from stirring simmering soups to serving sauces, gravies, and even beverages. This versatile tool ensures safe handling of hot liquids and precise serving of food and drinks, contributing significantly to the cooking and dining experience.

Types of Ladles and Their Uses

Crepe Ladle

The crepe ladle is a unique tool designed for dispensing batter onto a crepe maker. This ladle ensures even distribution of the batter across the cooking surface. Crepe ladles are typically made from stainless steel, but hybrid versions featuring silicone are also available, which combine the functions of a ladle and a crepe spreader.

Features of Crepe Ladle:

Description Purpose Size Material Feature
Crepe Ladle Dispensing batter on crepe maker Varies based on crepe maker diameter and batter thickness Stainless Steel, Silicone (Hybrid) Used in combination with crepe spreader

Frying Ladle (Deep Fryer Ladle)

The frying ladle, also known as a deep fryer ladle, is used for handling foods prepared in hot oil or water. These ladles typically feature a long handle to protect from splattering grease and a mesh strainer spoon at the end to safely remove the food.

Features of Frying Ladle:

Description Use Material Feature
Frying Ladle (Deep Fryer Ladle) Handling foods prepared in hot oil or water Stainless Steel Long handle with mesh strainer spoon at the end

Gravy Ladle

Gravy ladles are designed for serving gravy from gravy boats. They usually have smaller bowls and handles compared to the cooking ladles. Some gravy ladles also feature a spout for evenly drizzling gravy over food.

Features of Gravy Ladle:

Description Use Size Feature
Gravy Ladle Serving gravy from gravy boats Smaller than cooking ladles Some have spouts for drizzling gravy

Pancake Ladle

The pancake ladle, although not a specific type of ladle, is an example of a ladle's versatility. It is used for measuring and dispensing pancake batter. Silicone ladles are often preferred for this task due to their flexibility, which aids in scraping the inside of the mixing bowl for accurate measurement.

Features of Pancake Ladle:

Description Use Material Feature
Pancake Ladle Measuring and dispensing pancake batter Silicone Flexible and can scrape mixing bowl for accurate measurement

Punch Ladle

Punch ladles have longer handles and deeper bowls to accommodate larger serving sizes. They are commonly made of plastic, stainless steel, or glass. Some punch ladles also feature a molded pouring spout for easier pouring of liquids.

Features of Punch Ladle:

Description Use Size Material
Punch Ladle Serving punch 12 inches, 5 ounces or more bowl Plastic, Stainless Steel, Glass

Salad Dressing Ladle

Salad Dressing Ladles are typically used in restaurants that offer a salad bar. These ladles are mostly made of stainless steel and have very small bowls to accommodate salad dressing servings, which are usually smaller than sauces or gravy.

Features of Salad Dressing Ladle:

Description Use Size Material
Salad Dressing Ladle Serving salad dressing in restaurants 12 inches, 1 ounce bowl Stainless Steel

Sauce Ladle (Drizzle Spoon)

Sauce ladles, also known as drizzle spoons, are used for dispensing sauces. They often feature a pouring spout for even spreading of sauces. Sauce ladles are available in a range of materials, including stainless steel, plastic, and glass.

Features of Sauce Ladle:

Description Use Feature Material
Sauce Ladle (Drizzle Spoon) Dispensing sauces Pouring spout for even spreading, varying handle lengths, bowl sizes and depths Stainless Steel, Plastic, Glass

Skimmer Ladle (Fat Skimmer Ladle)

Skimmer ladles are designed to separate fat from liquid. They feature either a mesh design or a hole, exploiting the density difference between fat and water to separate the two.

Features of Skimmer Ladle:

Description Use Design Feature
Skimmer Ladle (Fat Skimmer Ladle) Separating fat from liquid Mesh or hole Traps fat molecules in the ladle or separates fat from liquid using density difference

Slotted Ladle

Slotted ladles are used to handle foods prepared in hot liquids. They feature slots for draining liquid and often have longer handles for safety. Slotted ladles are mostly made of stainless steel, but silicone versions are also popular.

Features of Slotted Ladle:

Description Use Feature Material
Slotted Ladle Handling foods prepared in hot liquids Slots for draining liquid, long handle, shallower, wider bowls Stainless Steel, Silicone

Soup Ladle

Soup ladles are among the most commonly used types of ladles due to their versatile design and large, deep bowls. Some soup ladle designs also feature a pouring spout to prevent hot soup from splattering inside the serving bowl.

Features of Soup Ladle:

Description Use Feature Material Size
Soup Ladle Serving soup Large, deep bowls, some with pouring spout Stainless Steel, Silicone 12 inches handle, 4-6 ounces bowl

Straining Ladle (Pasta or Spaghetti Ladle)

Straining ladles, also known as pasta or spaghetti ladles, are multifunctional tools allowing you to scoop, strain, and pour with the same utensil. They usually feature a deep bowl with perforated holes on one side.

Features of Straining Ladle:

Description Use Feature Size
Straining Ladle (Pasta or Spaghetti Ladle) Scooping, straining and pouring pasta or spaghetti Perforated holes, multi-functional 6 ounces or more holding capacity

Wok Ladle (Chinese Ladle)

Wok ladles, also known as Chinese ladles, have an oversized spoon design to fit the curvature of a wok. They are essential tools for dishes like stir-fry, chop suey, or chow mein.

Features of Wok Ladle:

Description Use Feature
Wok Ladle (Chinese Ladle) Stir-fry, chop suey or chow mein dishes Oversized spoon design that fits the curvature of a wok

Navigating the Ladle Market: Tips and Suggestions

Navigating the market for ladles can be a daunting task due to the vast array of options available. While choosing a ladle, consider factors such as:


Ladles can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, silicone, aluminum, wood, and plastic. Each material has its pros and cons. For example, while wood offers a natural aesthetic, it requires extra maintenance and may deteriorate over time. Stainless steel ladles, on the other hand, are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to rust.

Handle Length and Design

The handle length and design are crucial for ensuring a comfortable and safe grip. A longer handle is beneficial for serving hot liquids, protecting your hands from the heat. Some ladles also feature hooked handles that can be conveniently hung on the pot's edge, preventing them from sliding into the pot.

Ladle Bowl Size and Shape

The size and shape of the ladle bowl determine the serving size. For serving soups or stews, a ladle with a large, deep bowl is ideal. On the other hand, for serving sauces or dressings, a ladle with a smaller bowl and a pouring spout is more suitable.

Special Features

Some ladles come with special features such as heat resistance, stain resistance, dishwasher safety, and rust resistance. Ladles with etched volume measurements can be particularly useful for recipes that require precise quantities.

Price and Warranty

Price is another important factor to consider. While price often reflects quality, it is possible to find good-quality ladles at affordable prices. Also, check if the ladle comes with a warranty, as this provides an assurance of the product's durability and the manufacturer's confidence in their product.


Ladles, the unsung heroes of the kitchen, play a crucial role in every culinary journey. From the humble soup ladle to the specialized crepe ladle, each type has its unique uses and features. Understanding these various types and their specific uses can help you choose the right ladle for your kitchen, enhancing your cooking and dining experiences. Remember, the right ladle can make all the difference in your culinary endeavors. Happy ladling!


  1. Types of Ladles

  2. Ladles: A Comprehensive Guide

  3. Exploring the World of Ladles

  4. The Essential Kitchen Ladle

Marias Condo
Marias Condo

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