Soup Ladles

From Cook's Illustrated | May/June 2014

We put five soup ladles to the test.

Overview:

Serving soup seems straightforward—until you try to do it with a poorly designed ladle. Our favorite won our top spot a few years ago for its long, offset handle, a 5.4-ounce bowl with a pouring rim, and a hook for resting on the rim of a tall pot. But $34 is a lot to spend for easy drip-free serving, so we rounded up four new, cheaper models to see if any could match it. The critical factor turned out to be the angle of each ladle’s offset handle. Some, like our favorite, were deeply bent, offering a better grip and maximum control. In the end, our old winner kept its first-place status, but we did find a worthy Best Buy. While its handle nearly matches our winner's 45-degree-angled handle, it is 1/2 inch shorter, making scooping broth out of a tall stockpot more difficult. Still, it’s a solid bargain alternative.

Serving soup seems straightforward—until you try to do it with a poorly designed ladle. Our favorite won our top spot a few years ago for its long, offset handle, a 5.4-ounce bowl with a pouring rim, and a hook for resting on the rim of a tall pot. But $34 is a lot to spend for easy drip-free serving, so we rounded up four new, cheaper models to see if any could match it. The critical factor turned out to be the angle of each ladle’s offset handle. Some, like our favorite, were deeply bent, offering a better grip and maximum control. In the end, our old winner kept its first-place status, but we did find a worthy Best Buy. While its handle nearly matches our winner's 45-degree-angled handle, it is 1/2 inch shorter, making scooping broth out of a tall stockpot more difficult. Still, it’s a solid bargain alternative.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Rösle Hook Ladle with Pouring Rim

    Everything we did with this ladle felt easy and controlled, from scooping chunky stew out of a small saucepan to reaching into a tall stockpot to collect broth. The 45-degree angle of the offset handle put our arms and wrists at a natural angle, giving us full control. The slightly shallow bowl worked well for scraping the bottom of a pot, though it was less convenient for collecting and retaining springy noodles than a deeper bowl would be.

    • Ease of Use ★★★
    • Performance ★★★

    $34.00

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended - Best Buy

    OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Ladle

    The handle on this ladle has a 50-degree angle, which provided testers with a natural, easy-to-control grip. But its length is 1/2 inch shorter than that of our winner, making it slightly less convenient for scooping broth out of a tall stockpot.

    • Ease of Use ★★
    • Performance ★★★

    $9.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Calphalon Stainless Utensils Ladle

    This heavy, 65-degree-angled ladle fatigued our wrists despite raised silicone pads on both sides of the handle intended to make it more comfortable. At 10 inches in length, it was just long enough for tall stockpots, and its deep bowl held noodles better than wider, shallower bowls could.

    • Ease of Use
    • Performance ★★★

    $12.99

  • Not Recommended

    Vollrath Stainless Steel Solid Kool-Touch Color-Coded Ladle

    This ladle had the largest capacity in our lineup, but its nearly straight handle (at a 75-degree angle to the bowl) forced testers to hold it upright to prevent spilling its contents—awkward and hard to do since it holds so much. Testers kept choking up on the metal neck of the handle for better leverage and control.

    • Ease of Use
    • Performance ★★

    $14.05

  • Not Recommended

    All-Clad Large Soup Ladle

    This heavy, 70-degree-angled ladle was difficult to maneuver; its very slightly offset stainless-steel handle had to be held straight up in order to carry soup, broth, or waffle batter without spilling. It was also uncomfortable to grasp since the handle’s sharp edges dug into testers’ hands.

    • Ease of Use
    • Performance ★★

    $24.00

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