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Cookie Presses

Published November 2013
Update: October 2015
Over the past few years, as we've used our winning OXO cookie press, we've found that the press is not as reliable as we'd initially believed. If the parts are not screwed together with precise alignment, the ratcheting mechanism can jam up, making the handle very difficult to press. If too much force is used by the cook attempting to press out a cookie, the handle can snap off. We are no longer recommending this press and are promoting the Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II as our new winner.

How we tested

A cookie press works like a dough “gun”: You put a perforated disk for the desired cookie shape at the bottom of the barrel, fill the tube with cookie dough, and screw on a handle at the top. You place the press on the cookie sheet and squeeze the trigger to release a spritz of dough. It sounds simple, but some cookie presses are complicated and messy to fill and slow and uncomfortable to press; they spritz out too much or too little dough and make you struggle to produce identical, attractively shaped cookies.

When they work well, cookie presses can produce dozens of uniform spritz cookies in a flash, without the need for (or experience using) a pastry bag. We tested five models priced from nearly $13 to nearly $30, including our previous favorite and an updated version. After forming and baking multiple batches of buttery cookies, we rated each press on how easy it was to fill, use, and clean it and form appealing cookies with it.

Two presses were immediate failures, either producing irregular cookies or refusing to release cookies at all. Of the rest, we developed a clear preference for certain features, including a nonslip base for the press, which holds it steady while you squeeze dough—a big help in keeping cookies uniform. We also liked presses that let you attach the disk with either side up, and ones that had an indicator showing when the plunger was engaged and ready to press after you loaded the dough. When it came to cleaning, we favored presses with a tight seal that forced all dough through the disk, not behind the plunger or along the sides of the tube.

As a final test, we used every disk that came with each press to ensure that all the different shapes would come out properly. Here is where we crowned our winner. While the top three presses all rapidly and comfortably pumped out good cookies most of the time, only one made crisp, consistent shapes with every one of its dozen disks. Easy to load, with a nonslip base, its only downside was that occasionally dough squeezed in behind the plunger, but this was a small price to pay for simple, perfect cookies.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*