The 8 Best Ladles of 2023

The OXO Good Grips stainless steel ladle is our favorite.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Ladles

Williams Sonoma

A ladle might not be the most exciting tool in your kitchen, but it’s a must-have for soups and stews. These utensils are also handy for distributing sauce or gravy, or even spooning large-batch cocktails into glassware. In fact, since ladles are so versatile and take up minimal space, it’s easy to justify having more than one — and we’ve got you covered on how to choose.

While a ladle is essentially just a small bowl attached to a stick, the best ladles do have a few characteristics that make them stand out from the rest. We like a nice, deep scoop, an ergonomic handle, and if the ladle has a pouring spout, we want it to be able to pour without dripping liquid all over the place. Bonus points if the ladle looks nice — but it needs to perform first and foremost. 

Our efforts to find the best ladles on the market have led us to these 8, with the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle topping our list as the best overall for its dual-handed versatility and the brand’s reputation for durability and comfortable use. Get the scoop on which ladles made our list below.

Best Overall

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle

OXO ladle against a white background

Amazon

Pros: Heat-safe and dual-pouring spouts offer high versatility.

Cons: Fairly utilitarian in design.

There’s lots to love about this ladle from OXO Good Grips. The stainless steel construction means that it's heat safe — very important when plunging a ladle into boiling pasta water or simmering stock — and the signature non-slip Good Grips handle means you’ll have a firm hold on this ladle even when things are getting steamy. 

We like the dual pouring spouts for either right- or left-handed use, and the spouts are actually pronounced enough to stop annoying drips. This is an ideal ladle for stocks and soups and will stand up to regular use. You can even toss it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

Price at time of publish: $13

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Length: 11.9 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Value

KitchenAid Classic Soup Ladle

KitchenAid Classic Soup Ladle

Amazon

Pros: A no-frills ladle at a very reasonable price.

Cons: Not as durable as stainless steel.

It’s not often that a product from KitchenAid lands in the “best value” category, but this soup ladle proves it’s possible. This is a no-frills ladle in that there’s no pour spout, and it’s made of plastic, but it’ll get the job done.

Despite its plastic construction, this ladle is heat-resistant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s perfectly fine for bubbly scenarios like scooping pasta water. Use this one for weeknight soups and sauces, or keep it as a back-up ladle and save it for use with your nonstick cookware.

Price at time of publish: $7

  • Material: Plastic
  • Length: 12.2 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best for Gravy

Keawell Hammered Stainless Steel Ladle with Pouring Spout

Keawell Hammered Stainless Steel Ladle with Pouring Spout

Amazon

Pros: Large pour spout is ideal for gravy distribution.

Cons: Best for use with thick sauces and gravies.

This elegant ladle is perfect for use at the table. The wide pouring spout is ideal for distributing gravy, salad dressing, or other thick sauces, and it’s not awkward to pour with, thanks to the shorter handle. 

With its hammered stainless steel detail (which is still dishwasher safe!), this ladle looks nice enough to use during special occasions, and it’ll certainly stand up to repeated use. However, this is more of a one-trick pony type of ladle. The gaping pour spout and short handle won’t do you any favors during the act of actual cooking.

Price at time of publish: $16

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Length: 8.11 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best for Stock

Williams Sonoma Signature Stainless Steel Fat Skimming Ladle

4.5
williams-sonoma-fat-skimming-ladle

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Pros: Purpose-built and does its job well.

Cons: A little pricey.

If ever there were a purpose-built ladle, it’s this one. Specially designed for skimming off the fat from liquids — like chicken or beef stocks — Williams Sonoma’s stainless steel ladle features a special pour spout that stops those chunky bits from pouring out along with your desired liquids. 

Is it slightly expensive? Sure, but this is a high-quality ladle that will last for years to come and is elegant enough to use at the table when you’re finished cooking. It’s even dishwasher safe and will retain its high shine. 

Price at time of publish: $48

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Length: 13 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Silicone

KitchenAid Silicone Ladle

KitchenAid Silicone Ladle

Amazon

Pros: Doubling as our "best large" pick, this is a deep, heat-resistant ladle at a fair price.

Cons: No major advantages over the brand’s plastic version.

KitchenAid gets another nod here for its affordable silicone ladle. This generously sized ladle is heat-resistant to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and is dishwasher safe, so it’s ultra-versatile and safe for use with nonstick cookware

This one is also our pick for "best large" ladle, thanks to its deep cup — perfect for serving soups, reserving pasta water, or portioning stocks and broths. This ladle leans more utilitarian than aesthetically pleasing, but that just means it’ll be a long-lasting workhorse in your kitchen.

Price at time of publish: $16

  • Material: Silicone 
  • Length: 13 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Wooden

HYQO Large Wooden Ladle

HYQO Large Wooden Ladle

Amazon

Pros: A nice-looking ladle with functional features.

Cons: Relatively shallow cup and not dishwasher-safe.

Wooden ladles are tricky. They tend to be too similar to regular wooden spoons to serve as actual ladles, or they’re more artisanal and aren’t designed with functionality in mind. Fortunately, this one ticks both boxes for usability and value.

There’s a convenient hooked handle, which offers flexibility for storage or for hooking to the rim of a deep pot. We also appreciate that the cup is actually deep enough to hold liquid — as you’d hope a ladle should. While this probably won’t be your most functional utensil, it looks nice and is an inexpensive alternative to other materials.

Price at time of publish: $7

  • Material: Wood
  • Length: 10.83 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: No

Best Whimsical

OTOTO Nessie Ladle

4.5
OTOTO Nessie Ladle

Amazon

Pros: Fun, cute, and colorful addition to a kitchen with features that allow it to stand upright when not in use.

Cons: This one won’t be to everyone’s taste.

We’re including this Nessie ladle on our list because it’s functional and fun. Aside from subtly resembling a creature from the watery depths, this ladle features a deep cup — and Nessie’s “legs” even provide the ability to stand the utensil upright. 

This ladle comes in an assortment of fun colors, and it’s dishwasher safe. It won’t be everyone’s first choice, but it’s a fun option for those with a whimsical side.

Price at time of publish: $17

  • Material: Plastic
  • Length: 9.65 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Set

IMEEA Stainless Steel Ladle Set

IMEEA Stainless Steel Ladle Set

Amazon

Pros: Features useful notches for catching pot rims.

Cons: Some home cooks may find those notches pesky.

For most of us, one ladle is probably fine. While there are sets available offering different sizes of ladles, we’d rather have the versatility (and lower storage requirements) of this two-piece set that includes a slotted ladle. 

Perfect for skimming soups or scooping out a piece of pasta to check its cooking progress, a slotted ladle offers real functionality. These ladles also feature notches in their handles that help them hang onto the rims of pots, which is convenient for stopping them from slithering into liquids.

Price at time of publish: $16

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Length: 12 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Our Favorite

The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle is our pick for best overall ladle, thanks to its combination of functionality, price, and durability. For a little something special, the Williams Sonoma Stock Ladle is a great choice.

Factors to Consider

Material

“I like stainless steel ladles best,” says Michael Rigot, Executive Chef of the Brim House restaurant in Toledo. “They feel sturdy and smooth, won’t stain, and food releases easier.”

Stainless steel ladles are also the most heat-resistant and tend to be safe for use in the dishwasher. They’re tough to beat when it comes to durability. That said, stainless steel can mark up your cookware’s surfaces, so silicone or wood are also great choices. 

Design 

Consider whether you’d like your ladle to have features such as a pour spout (or two), or a hook at the end of the handle, which some people find helpful, though others think the hook gets in the way. If you tend to cook in a tall stock pot, consider a ladle with an extra-long handle for easy stirring, scooping, and serving. A good ladle should also be heat-resistant, not prone to rust, and — ideally — dishwasher safe for easy and thorough cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are ladles for?

    Ladles are commonly used for serving or portioning liquids, such as soups, stews, and sauces. Some ladles have additional features for serving gravy without mess or skimming fat from broths and stocks. 

  • What is the best material for a ladle?

    Stainless steel is most commonly used in professional kitchens, but depending on your preference, you can find other comparable ladles in silicone, plastic, and wood.

  • What can ladles be used for, other than soup?

    “Ladles can be used for sauces and other liquids, but we often use them to form elegant candy domes — molding spun sugar to really elevate dessert presentation,” says Rigot.

Our Expertise

This article was written by Summer Rylander, a food and travel journalist who has written about food, beverage, and cooking products for Food & Wine, Allrecipes, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. She made her selections based on in-depth research, personal experience, and conversation with experts.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles