Which Is Better: Parchment Paper or Silicone Mats?

Both materials stop cookies from sticking to baking sheets, amongst other uses, but each has its own unique strengths and drawbacks.

baked choux pastry puffs on a sheet
Serious Eats / Debbie Wee

You’ve probably used to seeing cookie recipes that call for lining your half-sheet trays with parchment paper, so what gives with the rise in popularity of silicone baking mats over the last few years? Are these two nonstick surfaces interchangeable in recipes? And, are they equally good at baking cookies, or cooling thick caramel, or releasing delicate macaron shells? Or a litany of other common baking and cooking tasks?

Let’s get into it. 

What Is Parchment Paper?

Also known as baking paper, parchment paper is simply paper that has been treated with either silicone or Quilon (a chemical made up largely of isopropanol) to render it nonstick and heat-resistant. Silicone-treated parchment is slightly more expensive to produce, but also more common in grocery stores. Unlike Quilon-treated parchment, you can reuse silicone-treated parchment a few times, and there seems to be some disagreement about Quilon’s health safety for baking applications. 

choux pastry puffs pre-bake being sprinkled with powdered sugar
Serious Eats / Debbie Wee

Parchment paper is most commonly sold in stores by the roll or in boxes of pre-cut sheets that would fit on most cookie trays. I prefer the rolls of parchment to the pre-cut sheets because I find that most of the sheets are too small for the pan, and I’d rather trim off or fold up any excess paper to get more coverage. However, pre-cut parchment paper has its fans (including senior commerce editor Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, who swears by King Arthur Flour’s). Many specialty stores also sell pre-cut parchment liners for cake tins of all sizes, but you can also cut out your own. (As an aside, parchment paper can even be turned into piping bags.) 

Bleached and unbleached parchment paper (which are white and light brown, respectively) are available in most stores, and I’ve found no difference in performance. So if you don’t have any reservations about the added step of chlorine treatment, just buy whichever is cheapest. 

What Are Silicone Baking Mats?

Silicone baking mats are non-stick sheets, much thicker than parchment paper, that are manufactured to fit into standard sheet trays (half, quarter, etc.). They are made from food-grade silicone, and some are reinforced with a fiberglass mesh to make them more durable. They are oven-safe up to 450°F for some brands, or as high as 550°F for others—although you should always check the manufacturer's specs. Like pre-cut parchment paper, silicone mats are sold in all shapes and sizes. 

What Is Parchment Paper Best For? 

Overhead shot of thin and crispy Tate's-style chocolate chip cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

In my kitchen, the most regular task for parchment paper is lining half-sheet trays for a batch of cookies. (I also like to cut off a small rectangle to line quarter-sheet trays and dole out balls of dough for easy chilling.) Not only does parchment provide a surface that even the sugariest cookie dough won’t stick to, but it also adds a layer of slight insulation, helping to prevent scorching (especially if using darker pans). It won’t stick to your cookies, but it also isn’t so slippery that your cookies flatten out faster than they can bake up. 

excess spread and rippling of cookies baked on silicone
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Silicone mats can’t compete in this arena. As Stella Parks notes in her piece on the troubles of baking cookies on silicone, it doesn’t absorb moisture or fat like parchment does, leaving cookies a tad greasy—and also sweaty, if cooled on their trays. Also, they are a bit too nonstick, causing cookies to spread too much in the oven, which leads to the wrong texture, overcooked edges, and/or not enough rise. The thickness of these mats can help conduct heat more gently, but they insulate the cookies too much from the direct heat from the tray below, which could also be why they don’t set fast enough and spread too much. 

Another great use for parchment that can’t be replicated by silicone? Lining cake tins. Greasing the tin, and then placing a sheet cut to the pan’s shape on the bottom means the cake will release with ease and little to no breakage. Of course, they sell cake tin-size silicone mats, but then you have to have two to three of them for every size cake pan you have. 

For delicate piping work like buttercream flowers, royal icing transfers, or tempered chocolate designs, I like to use parchment because it’s easy to peel off while being very careful not to damage your creation. Silicone mats can be a bit too thick to gently peel them off. Plus you can cut the parchment into whatever size you need and easily move them around, like to the fridge or a showstopper cake. 

Lastly, I love rolling out dough for cut-out cookies on parchment instead of a silicone mat. I just lay another piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll the dough between the two pieces, which also helps my rolling pin from becoming a sticky mess. This way, it’s super easy to determine the correct thickness for rolling, transfer the slabs to and from the fridge, and pry the delicate cutouts out of their dough prisons. 

What Are Silicone Mats Best For?

Overhead shot of unfrosted Lofthouse-style cookies, with excessive browning around the edges, baked on a silicone-lined baking sheet
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Although parchment is also great for baking another cookie, macaron shells, some bakers swear by using silicone mats. Many of them even come with macaron templates of different sizes conveniently printed on them. This might boil down to personal preference. And while silicone mats make some cookies, for example, the classic chocolate chip, spread too much, other types of cookies such as florentines and tuiles benefit from a lot of spread. 

Bread bakers love using silicone mats that are exactly the size of a bread oven. With them, they can turn out their shaped loaf onto an oval of silicone, spray it, coat it in flour, score it with a lame, and easily transfer it with their two little tab handles to the pre-heated bread oven. In my experience with baking sourdough, parchment tends to scorch at the high temperatures required for a tall rise and open crumb. 

a loaf on a bread mat on a wood surface
Serious Eats / Andrew Janjigian

Another genre of baked goods I will whip out my silicone mats for is anything super sticky. I have found that with hot, molten caramel, silicone is much more forgiving. When I’m dipping caramel apples, I like to place them on silicone to set. Or when I’ve made a hard-crack caramel like for peanut brittle, I like to pour it out onto a silicone mat on a sheet tray. Parchment can get caught on the caramel a little easier and, because it’s paper, it's prone to tearing. (A good silicone mat will almost never tear.) The same goes for a batch of syrupy granola. It’s annoying to have to try to peel off parchment stuck to something sticky, trust me. Of course, you could always lightly grease any parchment you’re using, but then you’ll get a sheen on the finished product, and why go through the extra step?

They also make silicone mats for worktops that are a great non-stick surface for rolling out pie crust, brioche dough for cinnamon rolls, or other sticky pastries. They often come with ruler markings on the sides, handy baking conversion charts, and concentric circles showing you the correct diameters for pie crust, too. 

Pros and Cons of Parchment Paper, at a Glance

frosted sugar cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Pros

  • Disposable for easy clean-up
  • Very thin for even cooking and optimal heat transference
  • Nonstick, but not slippery, leading to optimal spread for cookies
  • Much more versatile—good for lining any size pan, or even making pastry bags
  • Some brands (Reynolds, If You Care) are compostable 

Cons

  • Single-use paper, even if you can get a few uses out of it, isn’t as sustainable

Pros and Cons of Silicone Mats, at a Glance

formed pretzels on baking sheet
Serious Eats / Andrew Janjigian

Pros

  • Cost-effective in the long term—buy it once and you’ll have it for years 
  • Reusable—less waste and environmental impact
  • More heat-resistant than parchment paper
  • Easy to throw in the dishwasher
  • Less fragile than parchment paper
  • Evenly distributes heat

Cons

  • Too slippery, leading to too much spread on cookies
  • Tricky to clean and dry by hand
  • Tend to hold onto powerful smells and stains 

So, Which Should You Buy?

All this to say, it’s a boon to have both a roll of parchment paper as well as one or two silicone mats in your kitchen, for all the times when you don’t *need* to use a single-use paper product. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • Eric King is a recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, and content creator.
  • He has a B.S. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University.
  • He runs a baking blog called easygayoven and has developed, styled, and photographed recipes for Netflix Family.
  • He has reviewed many items for serious eats, including bench scrapers, a smart stand mixer, wine tumblers, and more.

I Love Portion Scoops So Much, I Have 6 of Them

Portion scoops make baking infinitely easier—here’s how. Plus, which portion scoop sizes to get (and why each one is worthwhile).

Six portion scoops on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Eric King

You probably have an ice cream scoop at home, but if it’s just a simple, standard dipper made out of uninterrupted metal, then it’s perfect for mainly one task. That task is digging vanilla ice cream out of a tub, curling it into a sphere, and then hoping it pops out into a bowl or cone without a fight. And they’re great—there’s a reason that ice cream shops all over use them! But what if I told you that you might also need a *portion scoop* (or several) in your kitchen? 

Sort of like the whole “rectangle-square” principle, all portion scoops *could* be ice cream scoops, but not all ice cream scoops are portion scoops. These tools have also come to be known as cookie scoops, and in more professional settings, they’re referred to as dishers. They’re popular in restaurants and cafeterias because each scoop scrapes up an exact amount of food (important for anyone keeping inventory of ingredients and servings in a given batch). In fact, they have a range of numbers and a rainbow of corresponding colors that help the user identify how much each scoop scoops (and can also help servers keep track of what food goes with each to avoid cross-contamination.) These numbers range from four all the way up to 100 and indicate how many scoops are in one quart. This colored numbering system is supposed to be universal, but I have seen different brands have different values for each scoop, so be sure to double-check. 

Six portion scoops beside one another
Serious Eats / Eric King

Perhaps most importantly, these scoops make portioning and serving faster and neater with a rim that’s perfect for scraping off excess and a spring-loaded trigger that runs a thin metal blade alongside the bowl, releasing the food inside. And there’s something to be said about the presentation of a perfectly smooth dome of mashed potatoes

How Do I Use Portion Scoops At Home? And Why Do I Own Six? 


As a baker and recipe developer, the number one task I use this tool for is doling out cookie dough. The thought of a past me caking my hands in the gloppy dough to form balls…makes me shiver. Now, I use a press disher to either scoop cookie dough right after mixing straight onto a sheet tray lined with parchment, then chill it or bake it—or I chill the dough in the bowl for an hour, and then scoop it (if it isn’t rock hard). Since you can be sure that your cookies are all the same size, you can know exactly how much to dole out for a recipe, that they’re less likely to run into one another, and that they will all take about the same time to cook. Plus, when you start with a dome of cookie dough, you’ll (hopefully) end up with an aesthetically pleasing, circular cookie. 

Portion Scoop Sizes I Recommend

Two portion scoops on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King
  • Winco #40 Purple (7/8 ounce, or about 1.5 tablespoons): If I’m preparing little balls of ganache to plop inside chocolate cake batter for lava cakes, I’ll use this one. It’s also great for scooping out consistent, spherical cake pops, truffles, or rum balls with as little mess as possible.  
  • OXO Medium Cookie Scoop: They say this is a #40 size scoop that doles out a 1.5-tablespoon size scoop, but it’s certainly bigger than the purple Winco and I’ve found that the true portion size is more like one ounce. I don’t use it very often since its gears tend to jam when faced with anything super thick (like cookie dough,) but I would use it to dole out small meatballs or falafel
  • Winco #24 Red (1.5 ounces, or about 3 tablespoons): This is my go-to for scooping out perfectly medium-size cookies. I also love the size for topping or filling cakes with frosting (this can help you spread out the frosting evenly and prevent it from picking up any crumbs.)
  • Vintage Brass Disher (1.5 ounces, or about 3 tablespoons): I found this on Etsy and despite being old, it is much sturdier than the other squeeze-handled OXO. It serves all the same purposes as the red Winco. 
  • Winco #20 Yellow (2 ounces, or about 3.5 tablespoons): This is what I reach for when I want cookies to be on the larger side. 
  • Winco #16 Blue (2.75 ounces, about 1/3 cup): This makes filling muffin and cupcake tins super easy and drip-free. Depending on the recipe, sometimes I can get away with one scoop or one and a half. I also love using it to evenly distribute batter between two or three round cake pans

What Can a Portion Scoop Be Used For? 

A portion scoop beside a sheet pan of cookie dough balls
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A quick list:

  • Scooping out dough for perfectly shaped cookies
  • Doling out meatballs or falafel 
  • Evenly and cleanly filling muffin or cupcake tins
  • Evenly and cleanly filling cake tins 
  • Portioning out frosting onto cakes and cupcakes 
  • Scooping out even servings of a sticky side like mashed potatoes 
  • Serving ice cream, duh!

Portion Scoop Types, In Brief

A collage of a portion scoop being used to scoop cookie dough
Serious Eats / Vick Wasik

Some portion scoops are known as press dishers. These have a handle with a bowl at the end, and a spring mechanism in the middle which, when the trigger is pressed, forces a thin piece of metal to scrape along the inside of the bowl, releasing whatever food is inside. Instead of pressing a trigger, squeeze-handle dishers work by….well, squeezing the handle. The gear mechanism that makes the blade rotate is a bit different on these, but they essentially work the same way.

I prefer press dishers (the ones with a trigger on the side) over squeeze handle dishers. In my experience, they are easier to use against hard foods like ice cream and chilled cookie dough. With squeeze-handle dishers, the teeth of the trigger tend to “skip” over the teeth of the gear that turns the blade, which takes it out of alignment and makes it useless. After that, it’s very difficult to get the blade back in alignment. That being said, for softer foods, these have no problem—and it could be argued that squeezing your hand is more ergonomic and faster than reaching your thumb up and pressing the trigger down.   

FAQs

What’s the best portion scoop? 

My favorite type of portion scoop is the press disher, the one with a trigger on the side. These have been the most sturdy and reliable in my kitchen over the years. I bought four different sizes at a restaurant supply store in New York, all of them from Winco, and they have never failed me.  

What’s the difference between a portion scoop, cookie scoop, press disher, and ice cream scoop?

A portion scoop and a cookie scoop are the same thing, some companies just market them for doling out cookie dough—but you can use them for so many other tasks. A press disher is a type of portion scoop that, unlike a squeeze-handle disher, has a trigger on the side that you press with your thumb. Any of these could be considered an ice cream scoop if they’re…scooping ice cream. But a plain scoop with a handle and a bowl, that’s also called a dipper, and often these have antifreeze fluid trapped inside to make it easier to scoop and release ice cream.

Why We're the Experts

  • Eric King is a recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, and content creator.
  • He has a B.S. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University.
  • He runs a baking blog called easygayoven and has developed, styled, and photographed recipes for Netflix Family.
  • He has reviewed many items for serious eats, including bench scrapersa smart stand mixerwine tumblers, and more.

We Opened 70 Cans to Find the Best Electric Can Openers

We tested 10 electric can openers to find out which were the best, evaluating their versatility, speed, and safety. Ultimately, we found two favorites.

A group of electric can openers on a kitchen countertop
Serious Eats / Eric King

For many home cooks, a manual can opener probably works fine. But if you’re someone who finds it difficult to use a manual can opener, or simply opens *a lot* of cans and would like to speed things along and give your hands a break, then an electric can opener can be a boon in the kitchen. Plus, most electric can openers have magnets that lift off the lid—no fiddling to pry it out of the can. 

To find the best electric can openers, we tested 10 popular options (including corded, stand-up, and handheld options. We opened 70 cans to evaluate their performance, how noisy they were, how smooth their cuts were, and more.

The Winners, at a Glance

Nearly every other stand-up model had trouble with at least one can, whether it couldn’t open the olives, dropped the unusually-shaped sweetened condensed milk can, or fell over when opening the largest can (whole peeled tomatoes). But not this one. It’s fast, powerful, and leaves a very smooth-cut lid that can actually be placed back on top of the can for storage.

The Kitchen Mama model sits right on top of the can and with the press of a button, latches on and whirs around. It had no problem with any of the cans, even the small tomato paste.

The Tests

A close-up of the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener opening a can
Serious Eats / Eric King

We timed how long it took each can opener to open a can of:

  • Tomato paste (6 ounces, 2 1/8-inch diameter )
  • Pitted olives (6 ounces, 3-inch diameter)
  • Tuna (5 ounces, 2 3/8-inch diameter)
  • Green peas (15 ounces, 2 15/16 inch diameter)
  • Sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces, 2 7/8-inch diameter)
  • Whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces, 4-inch diameter)

We recorded how easily each opener latched onto the can, the time it took to open each can, how smooth the cut was, if there was any leakage, or if the opener ever dropped the can or tipped over. We also noted when an opener struggled to open a can or totally failed to open it.

What We Learned

Stand-Up vs. Handheld (Cordless) Electric Can Openers

an Electric can opener having just opened a can of tuna
Serious Eats / Eric King

Overall, stand-up electric can openers were just…finicky: Fiddling with the correct placement of the can on the locator post, ensuring the blade dropped at just the right angle on the can’s lip, praying that the machine latched onto the can correctly so it wouldn’t drop the can onto the counter and splash tuna all over you. 

The handheld models, however, were way more intuitive to use. They were as simple as placing the opener on top of the can, aligning the lip in between the blade and the gear, and pressing a button. Even if the button had to be pressed again to go *all the way* around bigger cans, using them was easy and usually less messy. The one stand-up model that we found to be as intuitive as the handheld models was our winner from Hamilton Beach, which was as simple as sticking the can lip in between the gear and the blade (this machine’s cutting mechanism functioned like that of the handheld models) and pressing down on the top bar until the cut was complete. Another exception to this rule was the handheld yet tricky to use Hamilton Beach Walk n’ Cut, which functioned more similarly to a stand-up model, hanging onto the side of the can while a blade pierces through the top.

an electric can opener opening a can of tomato paste
Serious Eats / Eric King

For big, bulky 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes that sent many stand-up models tumbling over, the handheld models (Kitchen Mama, Bangrui, Handy, and Hamilton Beach Walk n’ Cut) simply sat on top of the can and whirred their way around automatically. Only a couple of stand-up models (AmazonBasics and Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch), were powerful and sturdy enough to open large cans without tipping over, thanks to their wide, heavier bases. 

On the whole, handheld/cordless models were louder and slower than stand-up models. But for how much smaller they are, and the fact that they take up no precious counterspace, it’s an easy tradeoff to make. 

Speed Wasn't an Issue 

The Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener on a small can on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Eric King

Most of the can openers opened the largest can, a 28-ounce can of tomatoes, in under 45 seconds. So unless you’re opening *a lot* of cans and really need to shave down your time, this variable isn’t going to separate the winners from the losers. 

That being said, we timed them anyway. On the whole, stand-up models were faster, powering through tomato paste cans in four to six seconds, tuna cans in about 10 seconds, cans of peas in six to eight seconds, cans of sweetened condensed milk in about nine seconds, diced tomatoes in seven to nine seconds, and large cans of whole peeled tomatoes in about 11 to 13 seconds. Meanwhile, the handheld models took longer, sometimes three times as long. It’s difficult to quantify exactly because some of the handheld models required re-pressing their start button halfway through, and most of them kept turning around the can even after they were done cutting. For example, the Kitchen Mama took 21 seconds to open the tomato paste and 41 seconds to open the whole peeled tomatoes. But another handheld model, the Handy Can Opener, took about seven seconds for the tomato paste (but kept running for another 10 seconds), but for the whole peeled tomatoes, it had to be restarted twice, taking about a minute to cut through the whole lid. 

Blade and Cutting Mechanisms Made a Difference

A Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener next to another can opener on a marble table
Serious Eats / Eric King

Two factors made a really big difference in choosing the best electric can opener: Does this opener work on a wide variety of cans? And is it easy to use? 

an electric can opener opening up a can of whole peeled tomatoes
Serious Eats / Eric King

Each of the openers we tested functioned in one of two ways. Either they opened cans by puncturing the lid with a blade and rotating the can (almost all of the stand-up openers, besides our winner the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch, worked like this.) Or they worked by placing the opener on top of the can, aligning the lip of the lid in between two gears that then clamped together, rotating and cutting the *side* of the lid all the way around. The latter type of opener was able to tackle more types of cans than the former, even unusually designed ones like the 14-ounce sweetened condensed milk or cans with pop tabs that got in the way of traditional models. Not only that; this opener style also produced smoother edges on the cut lid and can that are less likely to hurt the user. And since the lids are cut from the side, they fit back on top of the can for easier storage. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in an Electric Can Opener

A handled electric can opener on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

Our favorite electric can openers ditched the original design (a triangle-shaped blade attached to a lever that presses down to puncture the top of a can). Instead, they opted for designs with two gears that clamp together and cut along the *side* of the can—sort of like scissors. The models with a traditional blade design were often finicky. It was difficult to align the blade with the right location on the can (just inside the lip) and, for some more unusual can shapes, these openers took several tries to latch on and get started. Overall, there was no good way to tell if the can had latched in, which made us concerned it would drop. And we were right to be concerned…because some did drop a few cans. 

On the other hand, models with the two-gear cutting mechanism (like our winners from Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch and Kitchen Mama) were able to avoid trouble because they cut around *the outside* of the lid. This type of opener also produced a smoother, less jagged lid that could actually be placed back on top of the can and was able to handle cans that were oddly shaped or even had pop tabs.

The Best Electric Can Openers

What we liked: Hamilton Beach makes a lot of can openers, and we tested three—more than any other brand. This one stands out from the other stand-up, corded models because of its unusual, bladeless design. Unlike the others, which have sharp, triangle-shaped blades that you have to line up to puncture the lid, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch uses a cutting mechanism where two gears clamp down on the lip of the lid. One, on the inside of the lip, rotates the can, while the other cuts through the side, not the top. All the user has to do is place the lip in between the two gears, press down the bar on top to lock it in place (a note on the lever will say it’s “Locked”), and then press down and hold to make it go. 

Every other stand-up can opener either failed to open one can, fell over when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes, or, worse, dropped cans. This model managed to avoid doing any of that. It was much, much more intuitive to use than the other stand-up models. Thanks to its locking mechanism and a guidance bar that aligns the can for you, at no time did we struggle to place the can or feel unsure if the can was latched on correctly. 

What we didn’t like:  This model was only slightly tripped up by one can: the sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces). The lid was a bit unusual, which is why several openers either had trouble latching onto the can and starting or simply couldn’t open it at all. We had to adjust the sweetened condensed milk in the opener twice after the opener had started, which was admittedly annoying. Still, the model eventually worked. The cut was smooth, but we also found a few metal shavings on top of the can post-opening. 

The other stand-up models run automatically when the lever is pressed down, but this one only runs when you press down on the top lever. Luckily, thanks to its speed (none of the cans took more than 11 seconds to open) it wasn't really a bother. 

Price at time of publish: $36.

Key Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic, metal, stainless steel blade
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 10.5 inches
  • Cord length: 24-inch cord
  • Features: Cord storage in the back
The Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener on a marble counter
Serious Eats / Eric King

What we liked: This handheld, battery-operated model absolutely breezed through opening each can: large, small, with a pop-tab, or otherwise unusually shaped. Its cutting mechanism, two gears that clamp together on the lip and cut through the side of the lid, left very smooth edges on almost every can. It was very easy to align on top of the can’s lip, and once you got used to its one-button function, all you had to do was press it to start, allow it to whir around the can, and press again to release. A magnet on the bottom attaches to the cut lid so you can lift it off easily.  

We love its size. It’s no bigger than a TV remote, meaning it doesn’t take up precious counter space and can easily fit in a utensil drawer. 

What we didn’t like: On the tomato paste can, it left a spike that poked out a bit from the lid, which we will chalk up to the unusually small diameter of those cans (2 1/8 inches).  Like the other handheld models, it was noisier than a stand-up opener. And it is the priciest option we tested at $40. 

Price at time of publish: $40.

Key Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic, stainless steel blade
  • Dimensions: 2.76"W x 7.08"H
  • Cord length: Cordless, uses 4 AA batteries
  • Features: Magnet lid lift
A close-up of a Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener on a can
Serious Eats / Eric King

The Competition 

A can of sweetened condensed milk positioned in front of an electric can opener
Serious Eats / Eric King
  • Hamilton Beach Electric Automatic Can Opener: This model failed to open the sweetened condensed milk can, struggled with the diced tomatoes, and tipped over when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes. It’s also the largest model, which isn’t great for crowded countertops. 
  • Cuisinart Deluxe Stainless Steel Can Opener: While it stayed upright when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes, it did stop about a quarter of the way around, and was difficult to pry up the blade lever and restart. Otherwise, despite some slight trouble latching onto the small can of tomato paste, it quickly opened the other cans, but the blade did seem to create some fine metal shavings.
  • Handy Can Opener Electric Can Opener: This handheld model struggled with a few cans. It began shaking and stopped halfway around the olive can, struggled to latch onto the tuna can, and needed to be restarted twice while opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes (and still couldn’t get the lid clean off). And while it produced a clean, smooth cut, it was pretty noisy. 
  • Bella Electric Can Opener: Overall, this stand-up model was pretty easy to use, but it failed to open the can of olives (with a pop tab), had trouble latching onto the sweetened condensed milk can (and dropped it), and tipped over while opening the large can of tomatoes. With normal cans, though, it was fast, powerful, and quiet.
  • Hamilton Beach Walk n’ Cut Electric Can Opener: The only rechargeable model we tested, this unusual, handheld opener works like many of our stand-up models: It’s activated by bringing a lever with a blade attached down onto the interior rim of the lid. But instead of rotating the can, the opener “walks” around the edge, slicing open the top. For cans like the tomato paste, which the opener was bigger than, it was easier to let the opener lean back on its hind legs and rotate the can. This was fine with the tomato paste, but when it tilted back with the tuna can, the tuna juices spilled out. It also wouldn’t open the pop tab olive can. 
  • Bangrui Automatic Safety Can Opener: With almost the exact same design as the Kitchen Mama handheld model, this model had a poorer performance that surprised us. This likely has to do with their one difference: a slightly different outer gear, which gave the model trouble when opening the 15-ounce can of peas (no other model in the test had trouble with this very standard can) and prevented it from opening the sweetened condensed milk at all. We also had a problem with the batteries fitting too loosely in their compartment, so sometimes the opener wouldn’t power on.
  • AmazonBasics Electric Can Opener: This stand-up opener made a good attempt at opening the olive can, but ended up dropping it. It also was the only opener to drop the tuna can. Despite feeling cheap and flimsy, it did open the large can of tomatoes without tipping over. 
  • Proctor Silex Power Electric Automatic Can Opener: Other than tipping over when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes (which, you can just support the top of it to keep it upright) it had no trouble opening any of the other cans. And it was fairly quiet! It does take a while to get used to; the lever rests in the down position and obscures the blade, making it hard to see if you’re placing the can right. And we will say, it produced some jagged edges on the cut lids. 

FAQs

Should I buy a handheld or electric can opener?

An electric can opener makes this common kitchen task way easier on the hands, and they’re ostensibly safer thanks to their overall smoother cuts (some still produce jagged edges, though) and magnetic lid-lifters. If you’re someone who has arthritis or other hand mobility problems, or even if you happen to be opening a lot of cans, it’s worth spending the money on an electric model and any counter or drawer space it may take up.

That being said, manual openers (which you can find our review on here) take up less space (some are as small as business cards). Another thing to consider: While some electric openers are battery-operated, a manual one will always work, even in a power outage, emergency, or on a camping trip

How do you use an electric can opener?

For most stand-up models, lift the lever with the blade and place the can so its rim is under the locating post. Tip the can forward so that the lip of the can goes behind the blade, then press the lever down so the blade punctures the corner where the lid flares up. Most models will automatically begin to run, turning the can all the way around. When the cut is complete, the opener will stop automatically, hold the can in place, and lift the lid with the magnetic arm. Grasp the can and lift the lever to release it. 

For most handheld models, place the opener on top of the can so that the lip is between the blade and the metal gear. Push the button and let it rotate around the can on its own.

After one rotation around the can, it may stop on its own. If it doesn’t press the button again to stop. The gear and blade will separate and release the edge of the can. Lift the can opener off (if it has a magnet on the bottom, the lid should pop off with it.)

Which electric can openers have smooth edges?

In general, models that rely on two gears that clamp together produced the smoothest edges. Our winners, the stand-up Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch and the handheld Kitchen Mama, functioned like this—as well as the Handy Can Opener, and Bangrui Automatic Safety Can Opener. Overall, models that use a sharp triangle-shaped blade to carve through the metal tended to produce lids that were bendy and/or jagged—and sometimes created metal shavings.

Why We're the Experts

  • Eric King is a recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, and content creator.
  • He has a B.S. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University.
  • He runs a baking blog called easygayoven and has developed, styled, and photographed recipes for Netflix Family.
  • He has reviewed many items for serious eats, including bench scrapersa smart stand mixerwine tumblers, and more.
  • For this review, Eric tested 10 electric can openers, opening 70 cans of various sizes to land on the best ones.

The Piping Bags and Tips You Actually Need (According to Someone Who Bakes for a Living)

What are piping bags and tips, and which ones should you get? We asked a professional baker.

A collection of piping tips of various sizes and shapes.
Serious Eats / Eric King

The best knife set is the one you make yourself, the best cooking utensil set is no set at all, and the best piping tip set is one that has been carefully curated to not waste space or money. As a lifelong baker and professional recipe developer, I have amassed many tools that, despite my best hopes when I bought them, I never use. And out of all the piping tips I have (probably hovering around 100) I employ a dozen regularly.

I wish I could highly recommend a large set that has every tip you could need, but the truth is, the tips that I love and use most often come from three different sets. The sets I have bought are either way too big, carrying hyper-specific tips for basket-weave or grass patterns (which have their place!), or have tips that are so obscure I don’t even know what they do.

Piping tips above frosting they've piped onto a piece of brown parchment paper
Serious Eats / Eric King

That being said, I’ve narrowed down a few sets below that would bring you pretty close to a great, trim collection. And I’ve ranked all my favorite piping tips that I’m always reaching for. (I have primarily Wilton or Ateco tips. Sometimes their size/shape numbering system is the same and sometimes it’s not, so I’ve given names for both.) I also included my go-to small and large piping bags, which should cover all of your needs.

Must-Haves

Two piping tips side-by-side
Serious Eats / Eric King
  • Large star (Wilton or Ateco 1M): This is one of the most popular piping tips for anyone, doing any level of baking. And for a reason! You can do a lot with it: make simple stars, pipe in a spiral to create a rose shape, swirl it into a pile on top of a cupcake, or run it around a cake to create a fun shell or helix border. These tips can also neatly pipe out butter cookies or churros.
  • Large star (Wilton 4B-8B or Ateco 864): Nearly as versatile as the 1M, this tip, or range of tips, is also great for a swirl on top of a cupcake, creating a beaded border along the bottom edges of a layer cake, or just dropping dollops to create big stars.
  • Large drop flower/closed star (Ateco 852 or Wilton 2D): This one is like the 1M, but because its tines curve inward, the “ruffles” that are created are thinner and more delicate so they fall more like fabric or petals. 
  • Large round (Ateco 809 or Wilton 1A): I use this tip to pipe frosting onto layer cakes, which gets you really even coverage—or for piping a ring or a “dam” of frosting to hold in fillings. They’re also great for piping a thick swirl (or just a big ole dollop) of buttercream on top of a cupcake—or piping out meringue kisses
  • Detail round (Wilton or Ateco 2 or 3): For writing in buttercream, or doing detail work like the centers of flowers, I love to use this size. This is also the perfect tip for piping the borders of thick royal icing on cookies, before flooding them with a thinner icing. 

Nice-to-Have’s

Five piping tips beside five rows of piped frosting on a piece of brown parchment paper
Serious Eats / Eric King
  • Medium round (Ateco 804 or Wilton 2A) and small round (Wilton or Ateco 12): These are great for creating borders that look like strings of pearls, or for just plopping on some dots. You can also use it to create big, spherical domes of buttercream on top of cupcakes by holding it just above the center, squeezing, and slowly lifting it up. They’re also great for filling the interior of cupcakes, thumb-print cookies, sandwich cookies, or vol-au-vents. The small round tips are especially good for piping out macaron shells. 
  • Small star (Wilton or Ateco 32): For shell borders, smaller stars, or dainty rosettes, reach for this tip. 
  • Small petal (Wilton or Ateco 104) and large petal (Wilton or Ateco 127): Use these to pipe thin petals around a mound of buttercream, slowly building a flower from the inside out. Or, pipe in a line, moving left to right slightly (or up and down if you’re piping along the side of a cake) to create ruffles. 
  • Small leaf (Wilton or Ateco 352): Probably the least versatile tip, but held one way, it makes piping professional-looking leaves super easy. Held the other way, it pipes thin ribbons. 

Sets

  • For large tips: This set has four of my “must-haves"—sans the detail round—and also comes with eight disposable bags. 
  • For medium tips: With two small stars (21 and 32) and small round tips (10 and 12), this set has two of my “nice-to-haves.”
  • For leaves and petals: This set carries two small petal tips (102 and my recommended 104), a small drop flower tip (224), and a small leaf option (my recommended 352). 
  • A little bit of everything (but not everything!): This one is missing a finer-sized detail round tip (it only has a size 5, when I prefer 2 or 3). There’s no large star tip with more tines than 1M (such as 4B-8B), and there’s no large round tip like Ateco 809 or Wilton 1A. It does come with all of the others (or a close-enough version) and 10 disposable bags. 

Piping Bags

A person holding a piping bag filled with chocolate frosting.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

I like to have smaller bags for piping royal icing onto holiday cookies or detailed buttercream work, and also some large pastry bags for quickly covering large layer cakes. There are also reusable nylon and silicone pastry bags available for purchase that are more sustainable, but they are slightly less convenient if you’re using multiple colors or tips at once—and you have to wash them. I also find that plastic bags give more control over the flow of icings, filings, etc. than nylon or silicone. 

Small Bags

These are called tipless bags because you don’t need a piping tip to use them. Many cookie decorators will simply snip off the very end and that gives enough precision to outline even the most complicated cookie shapes. Of course, you can also use them with smaller tips—but I wouldn’t recommend using large tips in them.

Large Bags 

Any of the large tips listed above fit much better into these bags, which are thicker and more substantial feeling, giving you more control with thicker buttercreams and fillings.

FAQs

What are piping tip couplers?

When you want to pipe from one bag of frosting, but use multiple tips, couplers make that possible—and easy. They have two parts: one that looks like the bottom of a piping tip and another round piece that simply screws onto the bottom piece. You place the bottom piece into the piping bag (cutting it to size so it just sticks out on the smooth part), add any small piping tip onto it, and secure that in place with the fastening piece. Then, you can change out tips whenever you want without having to change bags. Large couplers for larger piping tips are also sold. 

How do you fill a piping bag or pastry bag?

Place the tip or coupler into the bag, pointed side down, and mark where you need to snip the bag's end off. Move the tip away, snip the bag, and move the tip down into the opening. (The plastic should end right in the middle of the tip, not too close to the top or bottom.) 

To fill the bag, twist the tip several times to prevent any icings or fillings from seeping out while filling. Then, place the bag (tip side down) in a large drinking glass, and pull the sides of the bag down so they hang over the glass’s rim. Scoop or pour the filling into the bag, trying to get as much down to the bottom as possible, and compressing it so there are as few air bubbles as possible. Lift the bag out of the glass, twist the top of the bag, and secure it with your thumb, a clip, or a rubber band.

Why We're the Experts

The Best Le Creuset Gear, According to Our Exhaustive Testing

We rounded up our favorite Le Creuset kitchen gear (including Dutch ovens, braisers, and dinnerware) from our equipment reviews.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, 3.5-quart
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

Of course, you know Le Creuset for their range of brightly-colored Dutch ovens (and don’t worry, one is on this list), but they also make plenty of other great cookware, serveware, utensils, and other kitchen necessities. Whether they performed exceptionally well in extensive equipment reviews or staff just love using them in the test kitchen and at home, the below Le Creuset products are the tops of the top. And before you say, "This is an ad!" No, it's not. We've gathered up our favorites for other brands before, including Staub and OXO.

(One blanket note that applies to almost all of these, Le Creuset products can be pretty pricey, and while we genuinely think these are all worth the cash, head to our full reviews for our budget-friendly picks.)

A highly versatile workhorse in many kitchens, not only do these perform extremely well, but if taken care of and used according to manufacturer directions, they can last decades. In our test of 20 cast iron Dutch ovens, the Le Creuset tied for first with Staub. However, Le Creuset has wider looped handles and a beige interior (as opposed to black), which makes it easier to gauge fond development. At 5.5 quarts, this size is typically the best for most home cooks—perfect for about four to six servings and dishes like one-pot meals, chili, short ribs, or a 5-pound chicken.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 10.25 by 6.25 inches
  • Weight: 11.4 pounds
  • Capacity: 5.5 quarts
  • Cooking surface: 7.8 inches
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though we recommend hand-washing
  • Price at time of publish: $420
two hands with oven mitts on removing a Dutch oven from an oven
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

Braisers are like Dutch ovens but with shorter, sloped sides that are perfect for shallow-frying, searing and simmering meatballs, cooking a skillet chili, and/or other low-and-slow meat and vegetable recipes. With a large cooking surface that resists chips, scratches, and stains; wide looped handles, and a large lid knob that was easy to grip, Le Creuset’s model placed first in our review when up against seven other braisers. 

Key Specs

  • Weight: 12 lbs, 11.5 oz
  • Dimensions: 16 in x 12 in x 5 in
  • Cooking surface diameter: 9.5 in
  • Capacity: 3.5 quarts
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care Instructions: Dishwasher-safe, but we recommend hand-washing
  • Price at time of publish: $368
an empty white braiser with its lid off sitting on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

More excellent cast-iron cookware from this brand. This model came in second to Staub’s offering in our enameled skillet review simply because it didn’t heat up quite as fast. But when it does so, it’s able to reach very high temperatures, heat evenly, and sear steaks beautifully. We loved the long handle with its rounded edges that made it easy to grip, and its flared sides allow for steam to get out and utensils to easily get in. 

Key Specs

  • Weight: 5 lbs, 6 oz
  • Diameter: 10.25 inches
  • Cooking surface diameter: 8.5 inches
  • Max heat: 500°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, but we recommend hand-washing
  • Price at time of publish: $200
Le creuset enameled cast iron skillet
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

As we say in our review, if you have a Le Creuset Dutch oven of the right size, then there’s really no reason you need this bread oven. After baking a dozen loaves in the bread oven, the good news was they were all great with crispy crusts and an open crumb. The bad news was they were identical to the ones made in a Dutch oven. So, is it worth the $300 price tag when it has only one use and a Dutch oven has several? Maybe not, but it is pretty.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Enameled cast iron, stainless steel knob
  • Dimensions: 12 3/4 inches wide with handles, 7 inches tall with lid, 9.5-inch diameter
  • Weight: 9.7 Pounds
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though we recommend hand-washing
  • Price at time of publish: $300
a loaf of bread made in a Le Creuset Bread Oven with a parchment paper sling beneath it
Serious Eats / Andrew Janjigian

This set aced the accuracy test in our review, coming very, very close to the standard weight measurements of a tablespoon, teaspoon, half-teaspoon, and quarter-teaspoon—down to the decigram. Their rounded shape made them easy to clean and scrape out sticky ingredients like honey. However, the tablespoon and teaspoon both failed to fit into a standard one-inch spice jar opening, though the teaspoon squeezes into a 1.25-inch jar opening.  We also like how the handle is on the same level as the lip of the bowl, making it easy to sweep off excess ingredients in one clean swipe. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Bowl shape: Circle
  • Set includes: 5 pieces (1/8 tsp, 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp)
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe
  • Features: Easily removable ring, US and metric measurements stamped into the metal, nesting bowls
  • Price at time of publish: $24
a number of measuring spoons on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

Although Made In won our test of stainless steel skillets thanks to its affordability, Le Creuset’s model performed just as well. The price for the Le Creuset model is sometimes low enough, though, to be comparable to Made In. We love that Le Creuset stainless steel pans are induction capable, and, anecdotally, they have resisted warping for years in the kitchens of Serious Eats’ staffers. 

Key Specs

  • Compatible with induction cooktops: Yes
  • Oven-safe temperature: Up to 500°F
  • Material: Tri-ply stainless steel with a full aluminum core
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $190
Searing chicken breasts in a skillet, showing even golden color on the skin
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This unique spoon combines the functionality of both a silicone spatula and a wooden spoon. Kenji appreciates its deep bowl (great for scooping) and flexible head (excellent for scraping the bottoms of pots or scraping out mixing bowls). 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Silicone, nylon
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe
  • Price at time of publish: $30
three spatulas on a wooden surface
Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

In our review of 10 stovetop kettles, this model boiled both 1.5 quarts and .75 quarts the fastest, the latter a full 30 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Its high, plastic handle meant it didn’t get too hot to grasp after boiling, and its wide opening made it easy to fill and clean. Its spout produces a steady, precise stream of water that doesn't come out too fast or splash into the cup. One thing we didn’t like: The handle design requires you to angle your arm and wrist slightly uncomfortably to pour. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Lightweight carbon steel, porcelain enamel
  • Stated capacity: 1.7 quarts
  • Weight (when empty): 3 lbs
  • Weight (when at capacity): 6 lbs 10.1 ounces
  • Compatible cooktops: Gas, electric, induction
  • Price at time of publish: $115
The Le Creuset kettle on a marble backdrop
Serious Eats / Eric King

Thanks to its flared sides and wide handles, you can carry this serving platter from counter to table securely while avoiding spills of juices, sauces, or the like. It’s nice and big and comes in a variety of gorgeous signature colors. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Enameled stoneware
  • Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 4 lbs, 12 ounces
  • Cleaning and care: Broiler-, oven-, and microwave-safe; dishwasher-safe
  • Price at time of publish: $75
Le creuset platter on marble backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

This ladle was our favorite non-metal model in our testing. While the 9.5-inch handle was slightly short, we loved how the silicone was flexible but also sturdy enough to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. It scooped sturdily and was comfortable and secure to grip. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Silicone, nylon
  • Bowl capacity: 100 milliliters (a little less than 1/2 cup)
  • Handle length: 9.5 inches
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe
  • Price at time of publish: $30
the le creuset ladle on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The pieces in this dinnerware set are very sturdy but lightweight, beautiful but also casual-feeling. Our tester remarked that her set of mugs from the collection have stayed looking new even after years of use. 

Key Specs

  • What’s included: 4x dinner plates, salad plates, mugs, and pasta bowls or cereal bowls
  • Material: Stoneware
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher- and microwave-safe; oven- and broiler-safe up to 500°F
  • Price at time of publish: $296
a blue bowl, plate, and mug on a grey background
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

FAQs

How is Le Creuset pronounced? 

A French word for 'crucible' or 'cauldron’, Le Creuset is pronounced “luh-CROO-zay,” with the emphasis on “croo”.

Where is Le Creuset made?

Le Creuset’s enameled cast iron products are manufactured at their foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France. Many of their ceramics and utensils products are made in Thailand or China. Their stainless steel products seem to primarily come from Portugal.

Can Le Creuset go in the dishwasher? 

It depends on the material! According to their site, all pans with integral cast iron, phenolic handles or stainless steel knobs can be washed in the dishwasher. However, they warn that constant dishwashing may dull the enamel finish, which they say does not impair performance. Their metallic-toned knobs have a coating that is not dishwasher-safe. 

Pans with black satin interior are dishwasher-safe, but the company warns that this reduces the development of a patina on the pan, which means grills and skillets will require oiling for a longer period. 

You can find a full list of the care and cleaning directions for all Le Creuset materials here.

Can Le Creuset go in the oven?

Yes, but their cookware and bakeware have different maximum temperatures. Products with integral cast iron handles or stainless steel knobs are safe for any oven temperature. The black phenolic lid knobs on their Signature range of enameled cast iron are heat-resistant to 500°F / 250°C, while the ones on the Classic range of enameled cast iron are heat-resistant to 390°F / 190°C.

Why We're the Experts

How Smart Is the GE Profile Smart Mixer, Really?

We tested the GE Profile Smart Mixer and while it was great in analog mode, it’s smart features let us down.

GE Profile Stand Mixer on marble countertop
Serious Eats/Eric King

They’re big, they’re bulky, and they take up a lot of counter space, but for some crucial tasks, they are an irreplaceable tool in the kitchen. We are, of course. talking about stand mixers. And with the GE Profile Smart Mixer, we are promised a stand mixer that streamlines the process with a few “smart” features. The first is an internal scale that senses weight in two places: on the circular base of the mixer as well as with the arms that hold the bowl. But the one feature that truly makes it “smart” is the app on your phone that sends directions, mixing speeds, and times to the mixer. The app also provides guided recipes that send directions step-by-step to the mixer, as well as “auto-sense” recipes in which the mixer monitors changes in viscosity and adjusts mixing speeds and times accordingly. 

We put this mixer through a variety of tests to see how well its scale and smart features worked, and if they actually made baking any simpler. We also examined how it functioned compared to analog-style mixers.

The Tests

GE Profile stand mixer making mixing flour mixture
Serious Eats/Eric King
  • Whipping Cream Test: We used the built-in scale to weigh out heavy whipping cream into the bowl, set a timer, and whipped the cream at medium-high speed, stopping the timer when the cream was fluffy and thick. We then noted how easy the bowl was to remove from the machine and to handle while emptying the whipped cream into a container. 
  • Pound Cake Test: We used the “auto-sense” recipe for “Lemon Bliss Cake” in the app, which comes from King Arthur Baking, as all the other recipes do. We followed the directions for the guided recipe, measuring out ingredients using the built-in scale, mixing in ingredients when and how it told us to, and noting if it ever made “auto-sense” adjustments to timing and speed. Of course, we ate the cake to see if it was well-aerated. 
  • Pizza Dough Test: We followed our recipe for Neapolitan pizza, using the app to set a timer, and the built-in scale to weigh ingredients. We noted whether or not the machine struggled to knead the tough dough, and if the dough rode up on the dough hook. We also recorded how difficult it was to remove dough from the bowl.
  •  Usability and Cleaning: Throughout the course of testing, we noted how easy or difficult it was to use each of the mixer’s features or parts, and also how easy the bowl and attachments were to clean. 

What We Learned

The Smart Features were Glitchy

showing the GE stand mixer app on a phone
Serious Eats/Eric King

This stand mixer can function just like a normal stand mixer, but the real value proposition is in its accompanying phone app and “auto-sense” technology. Through the app, you connect your phone to the mixer via WiFi, and then send directions to it, such as setting a timer, turning it on to a certain speed, or setting it to run at a certain speed for a certain time. The app is also equipped with two kinds of recipes: “auto-sense” recipes and guided recipes. With guided recipes, the app takes you step-by-step through the recipe, sending all the timing and speed instructions to the mixer. “Auto-sense” recipes are just like guided recipes, but in this case, sensors in the mixer’s motor monitor the mixture’s viscosity and make changes to timing and speed for optimized emulsion and incorporation. At the time of writing, there are only 13 “auto-sense” recipes (one of which is simply creaming sugar and butter, which allegedly takes 68 minutes) and about 32 guided recipes. This seems like too few recipes overall considering the main selling point of the smart mixer is this feature. 

Built-in features like a timer and digital scales in the bowl arms and the base of the mixer, in addition to a timer function, add to its purported intelligence over other mixers. Other than that, the GE Profile Smart mixer works like a normal planetary-style stand mixer (meaning the beater spins while moving around the fixed bowl in a circle). Unlike a tilt-head mixer, where the whole top flips up or down, this is a bowl-lift mixer, where two holes on either side of the bowl hook into the mixer’s arms that are then lifted up and locked into place with adjoining levers. 

The app also works with Alexa or Google Home devices, so you can speak directions to the device if your hands are dirty or occupied doing some other task. This worked with my Google Home, but it only responded to three commands “Hey Google, set the stand mixer speed to [0-11]”, “Hey Google, set stand mixer direction to forward/reverse.” and “Hey Google, set the stand mixer to off.” To turn the stand mixer to any speed from off, you can use voice control, but it will only start if you press the button in the center of the stand mixer’s control panel. You can turn the speed down or completely off, or into reverse with just a voice command, no need to press anything. But for some reason, we weren’t able to turn the speed up via voice command at all. Overall, this was a clunky feature that required specific commands, so we don’t think it’s helpful. 

The Built-In Scales and Timers Were Convenient-ish

adding flour to spinning mixer
Serious Eats/Eric King

Two scales are built into this mixer: one in the arms that hold the bowl up, and one on the circular base of the mixer. The one on the base works with any bowl or vessel, not just the mixing bowl, but they are both programmed into the guided and “auto-sense” recipes. In all the recipes on the app, the directions tell you to add however much of an ingredient, and the mixer’s screen will show you how much you’ve added before beeping when you’ve hit the mark.

You can also use the scale independent of the app, but we found that this was slightly more finicky, and, surprisingly, there was about a 5-gram difference between the two scales when weighing the exact same object. The scale function only goes by intervals of five grams (it also shows pounds, ounces, and kilograms) which isn’t nearly as precise as any digital kitchen scale—and baking is all about precision. We had to reset the scale a few times as it kept flashing “overload.” Occasionally, when the arms were in the lowered position, the scale had trouble resetting to zero and just reverted back to the tared weight of the bowl.

While you’re mixing, it’s nice to not have to remove the bowl, dirty another measuring cup, or break out your own digital scale, but since you should really measure your ingredients out beforehand in any baking or cooking endeavor, we’re a little iffy on how useful this feature is. 

As for the timer, the app’s recipes send timing info straight to the mixer, but you still have to manually press the center button on the mixer to make it go, so it’s not truly remote. You can’t set a timer through the app unless the mixer is also stirring, which is annoying, but you can set a timer if the mixer is in analog mode. Also, when changing the timer remotely, you have to cancel mixing altogether and start over with new directions. 

It Mixed Well

GE Profile mixer kneading dough
Serious Eats/Eric King

Overall, this model handled its basic job well. The lowest (“stir”) and highest speed (11) are both slower and faster, respectively, than those of my KitchenAid Artisan. Having a very slow speed is great when adding powdery, dry ingredients or liquids that fast beaters could puff up in a cloud or splash out of the bowl. That being said, its fastest speed is very fast. When kneading thick pizza dough on speed two for 10 minutes, the mixer fitted with a dough hook never struggled or got warm from overheating. However, during kneading, the bowl kept popping up and down slightly, going in and out of its lock on the base of the mixer. Otherwise, though, the bowl stayed put.

The attachments are pretty standard: a paddle, a whisk, and a dough hook. The paddle reached the bottom and the sides of the bowl well, ensuring almost everything was incorporated. The whisk has a whopping 11 tines (as in, full loops) whereas my KitchenAid only has six. This made it extremely powerful (maybe too powerful) for tasks like whipping one cup of cream, as it had a tendency to overwhip. However, we liked that the whisk has an opening large enough for a hand to get in there to clean, unlike other whisk attachments. For tasks like beating egg whites and sugar into a meringue, it would be perfect. The dough hook was perfectly curved to wrangle pizza dough, and it avoided the common pitfall of the dough climbing up the hook and getting stuck at the top. It also released the dough well, with almost no sticking. Plus, the bowl height is adjustable, so if there is space at the bottom of the bowl where ingredients aren’t getting incorporated by an attachment, you can raise the bowl slightly by turning a screw on the base of the mixer. 

The attachments are all stainless steel, unlike some other brands that have enamel-coated paddles and dough hooks (whisks are almost always steel). Enamel-coated attachments often chip (mine began chipping after a few years of use), but stainless steel doesn’t have that problem. Another unique feature was the locking mechanism that affixes the attachments to the mixer. Unlike KitchenAid mixers, which have a push and twist spring-lock, these attachments just require one push to lock in. To eject them, you have to pull down on the cylinder above and they fall down into the bowl. The falling part was slightly annoying since they occasionally got more batter on them which then had to be scraped off, but it was nice not to have to lower the bowl arms to retrieve the attachments.

Who Is This Mixer For?

This is the question that loomed over most of our tests. If you’re a beginner baker, features like step-by-step directions in the guided recipes and the promise of “auto-sense” recipes where some mixing guesswork is eliminated, could be helpful. I could see how breaking it down into steps for the user, instead of just being bombarded by a wall of recipes, does make the learning curve of baking more manageable. Plus, if you’re always forgetting ingredients or steps, the app helps prevent that (that being said, the app’s recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake did neglect to tell the user to include the lemon zest in the directions). This feature may make baking easier if you’re just starting out, but most beginner bakers don’t need a high-powered, heavy-duty mixer with lift arms and a 7-quart bowl (most stand mixers have a 5-quart bowl, which is usually plenty for home-baking applications). And at $800, I can’t imagine anyone thinking this is a good “starter” mixer. 

Much of the marketing is devoted to the idea that you can set it and forget it, walking away to do something else while the mixer adjusts its time and speed and stops when it’s done. However, you should always be keeping an eye on what’s happening in your mixing bowl lest your whipped cream curdles, your batter becomes overworked, etc. Second, if you’re not a pro, you’re probably baking for leisure, in which case you don’t really want the enjoyable experience of mixing to be fully automated. 

If you’re an experienced or even intermediate baker, you know that baking is about more than numerical values for times and speeds; it’s about knowing what cues to look for with your senses. That’s why good recipes say “Mix until the last streaks of flour disappear” not just “Mix for three minutes on low speed.” Different mixers have varying power settings and, depending on a number of factors, three minutes might be too much or too little time. So an experienced baker would probably find these bells and whistles superfluous, or worse, annoying and in the way. As an experienced baker, I can say that the “auto-sense” recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake produced a great cake, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had intervened when it beat the eggs for much longer than it took to combine them with the butter and sugar; or when it stirred too fast for alternating adding wet and dry ingredients; or when it mixed the final batter too fast and way past the point that it was fully combined.

The Verdict

The Pros 

This mixer was very powerful (540 watts) and didn’t struggle when kneading a thick, tough pizza dough on low speed. The GE Profile goes up to speed 11, while most mixers don’t go past 10, and its “stir” speed was significantly slower than my Kitchen-Aid Artisan, which gave me much more control when adding flour or liquids that can easily end up on your shirt and not in the bowl. At lower speeds like “stir,” even up to four or five, it was very quiet. 

Unlike some other brands’ enamel-coated attachments, GE uses a stainless steel paddle, whisk, and dough hook, which are easier to spot dirt on and clean—and also aren’t prone to wear and tear like chipping and flaking. They were also very easy to pop on and off with a simple push-and-pull lock mechanism. We also liked that you can adjust the height of the bowl (important to make sure everything is incorporated by the beater) with a screw that is located on the base of the mixer. As it mixed, the beater reached almost all the way to the bottom and the sides of the bowl, leaving just a thin layer of unincorporated ingredients, which is impressive for not having a bowl scraper attachment. 

The guided recipes made using the mixer much easier since everything is pre-programmed with the weight of ingredients, mixing speeds, and timers. This seemed to be the only time the scales and timers worked seamlessly, and it also meant that it was hard to forget any ingredients or steps. The “auto-sense” guided recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake resulted in a well-emulsified batter and a cake that was fluffy and tender — not tough from being overworked. 

When it worked, the digital scale function was convenient, and we liked how the gap between the mixer and the lip of the bowl was large enough to pour lots of ingredients in. We also liked how the high sides of the bowl prevented dry ingredients from puffing up and wet ingredients from splashing out. 

The app was easy to set up and pair over WiFi with the mixer and Google Home (for voice control). 

The Cons 

The smart features on this mixer were great in theory, but not in practice, and the learning curve on all the digital bells and whistles was steep. The scale and timer functions were both finicky and only worked under certain conditions. Also, the scale only recorded grams in intervals of five, and, depending on where the bowl was (on the base or in the bowl arms), the scale was off by about five grams when measuring the exact same amount. Sending directions from our phone to the mixer while the beaters weren’t moving required us to press a button on the mixer, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a remote control (unless you’re making a guided recipe). 

And speaking of the guided recipes, as I mentioned before, there are only about 45 on the app at this time, 13 of which are “auto-sense”. The auto-sense recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake turned out great, but we’re not prepared to say that was because of any adjustments made by the viscosity sensors in the mixer (we noticed no changes in timing or speed during mixing). We also noticed that the app’s recipe did neglect to tell the user to add the lemon zest. Surprisingly, there wasn’t an option to turn on a timer for baking in the oven while doing a guided recipe.

Another section of the app that made us scratch our heads was the “Active Stir Beta” mode that makes you switch from remote to manual to use it, but then it won't function and tells you to switch back to remote. Obviously, it’s in the beta stage, but sometimes it seemed like all the digital parts of this mixer were. 

As for the voice control, it worked, but only with very specific commands that we had trouble remembering. Plus, it only worked for certain tasks, like turning the mixer on (though you still have to press a button on the mixer), reversing the beaters, turning it down, or turning it off. We were not able to turn the speed up at all or set a timer via voice command. 

Also, this mixer is heavy—like really heavy. I’m 5’11” and 200 pounds and struggled to lift it, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wants to store a mixer somewhere other than your countertop. Though it was pleasantly quiet at low speeds, at higher than six or seven, it was louder than my 12-year-old KitchenAid (which desperately needs a service). Its maximum decibel level is 75, which is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. 

Lastly, there’s no getting around it: with an $800 price tag, we aren't sure it's worth the $270 more than our favorite non-smart stand mixer that performed just as well.

Key Specs 

  • Weight: Actual: 38.4 lbs; with bowl: 41 lbs; with bowl and all attachments: 43.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 11.33 x 14 x 17.07 inches
  • Stated bowl capacity: 7 quarts
  • Wattage: 540 watts
  • Attachments: Paddle, dough hook, whisk, splash/pouring shield 
  • Care instructions: Paddle, whisk, dough hook, shield, and bowl are dishwasher-safe
  • Materials: Stainless steel bowl and attachments, plastic splash shield
  • Price at time of publish: $800
GE Profile stand mixer
Serious Eats/Eric King

FAQs

Do you need a smartphone to use the GE Profile? 

No, the mixer works just like a traditional mixer when not in remote mode. To use all of its features like setting timers and speed control remotely, using “auto-sense” and guided recipes, and voice control, you have to download the Smart HQ app, connect the mixer to your WiFi, and pair the app with your mixer. 

What does the GE Profile come with?

The GE Profile Stand Mixer comes with a paddle, dough hook, and whisk attachment, as well as a plastic shield that guards against splashes and features an opening for pouring in ingredients. 

What are stand mixers good for? 

Sometimes stand mixers are a requirement for recipes, and sometimes they just make things much, much easier. For example, a stand mixer is perfect for making a cake batter in which you must stream in liquid or dry ingredients while the mixer is running. One can also come in handy if you’re tasked with kneading a thick bread dough for a long time. Stand mixers are also great for Swiss meringue buttercream, where hot sugar and egg whites have to mix on high speed for 10 minutes (sometimes more) until they cool off and you can add the butter. Really, we’re talking about any recipe that requires one mixture to be mixed into another while the mixture is running, or any recipe that calls for mixing or kneading for extended periods of time. 

Why We're the Experts

  • Eric King is a recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, and content creator. He runs a baking blog called easygayoven and has developed, styled, and photographed recipes for Netflix Family. He's been writing for Serious Eats for about a year.
  • For this review, we used the GE Profile to make whipped cream, pound cake, and pizza dough. Throughout testing we also examined how easy the app and smart features were to use and if they added any value to the stand mixer's usability.
  • We've reviewed stand mixers and even more KitchenAid stand mixers, so we know a thing or two about the appliance.

The Best All-Clad Kitchen Gear, According to Our Exhaustive Testing

After years and years of testing All-Clad gear across many categories, we certainly have our tried-and-tried, favorite products.

a person pouring mushroom into a stainless steel skillet
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

When it comes to stainless steel cookware, All-Clad is often tough to beat in terms of performance and durability. For years, Serious Eats staffers have used their products in the test kitchen and at home and recommended them in many reviews, which we’ve rounded up below. With their gleaming, polished stainless steel exteriors and price tags that skew higher, they are on the more luxe end of the spectrum. But many of their products are an investment that, with the right TLC, should last practically forever—and their cookware and bakeware come with a lifetime warranty.

Here are our favorite All-Clad products (and no, this isn't sponsored—you can check out similar roundups on Breville and OXO).

For an All-Clad pan, this nonstick skillet is relatively affordable at $60. We loved the large cooking surface thanks to its less-sloped sides (compared to other models) and it handled over-easy eggs, omelets, and crepes with ease. Plus, it was durable—standing up well to scratch tests from steel wool and a metal spatula. 

Key Specs

  • Maximum oven temperature: 500°F
  • Cooking surface diameter: 8 3/4 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds, 10 ounces
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash
  • Price at time of publish: $57
the all-clad nonstick skillet sitting on a white countertop with a white subway tile background behind it
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

In our tests, this saucepan cooked evenly, was responsive to heat, and was easy to clean thanks to its wider bowl. While we liked the handle’s indented profile, making it more secure to hold, it was less comfortable to hold than others, and the lid became too hot to handle at times. 

Key Specs

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Maximum oven temperature: 600°F
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care instructions: Hand-washing recommended
  • Price at time of publish: $120
A person pouring browned butter from a saucepan into a jar
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

When we tested small saucepans, we found, unsurprisingly, that the half-size version of All-Clad’s D3 3-quart saucepan performed just as well. The flared lip made pouring a (mostly) drip-free experience, the indented handle provided leverage and control, and the three layers of cladding helped it to heat evenly—about as well as some 5-ply models. 

Key Specs

  • Capacity: 1.5 quarts
  • Oven-safe temperature: Up to 600°F
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash recommended
  • Price at time of publish: $155
All-Clad D3 Stainless Everyday 1.5-Quart Saucepan with Lid
Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger

With the widest cooking surface of all the pans we tested (a feature that means less crowding and more browning), this was one of our favorite sauté pans to cook with thanks to its quick heat-up time and even heat distribution. It was one of only a handful of pans that were able to preserve their hot temperature when food was added. We also loved its long, balanced handle, making it easy to wield and leverage. 

Key Specs

  • Weight (with lid on): 4.5 pounds 
  • Induction compatible: Yes 
  • Oven-safe temperature: Up to 600°F 
  • Care instructions: recommend hand-wash
  • Price at time of publish: $180
the All Clad saute pan on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

This stockpot has sturdy, comfortable handles and the tightest-fitting lid of the bunch we tested, not to mention its flared lip made pouring a breeze. Being fully clad all over, unlike some others that are only clad on the bottom, it excelled in our handling and browning mirepoix tests but did lag behind significantly when boiling water compared to the other models. And at $400, it was about double the price as our top pick.

Key Specs

  • Capacity: 12 quarts
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
  • Price at time of publish: $400
Closeup overhead of duck stock simmering in a stockpot.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This model not only mashed pounds of boiled potatoes the fastest in our test, but it also produced the smoothest, fluffiest spuds. The ergonomic, rounded handle made it comfortable to hold, even after a lot of mashing motion. But, of course, it was the priciest model at $48. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Handle length: 5.25 inches
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
  • Price at time of publish: $48
A saucepan with mashed potatoes and a potato masher in it.
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

We loved this model for its slim profile and its deep fryer basket that cooked food evenly to a golden brown. Though the temperature on the “oil ready” gauge was often different from the actual temperature (this happened with every model) it was a pro at coming back up to temperature after food was added. Its real boon, though, is the automatic draining function. With the turn of a knob, it drains and filters the oil into a hard plastic container so it’s ready to use again when you need it. It’s safe, keeping hot oil away from your hands, and its straightforward control panel makes it simple to use. 

Key Specs

  • Temperature settings: 300°F to 385°F
  • Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Price at time of publish: $210
fried chicken tenders in a deep-fryer basket
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

If you are a die-hard waffle fan and have a penchant for Belgian-style waffles, this is the model for you. In our tests, it created evenly browned waffles that were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and had extra-deep divots for maximum butter and syrup capacity. It can make two waffles at a time in under four minutes (with no need to flip) and requires just two minutes to reheat. Plus, we loved its sturdy, compact frame and attachable drip tray that helped avoid mess. There is also a four-waffle option available.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds
  • Price at time of publish: $200
All-Clad Belgian-waffle iron, in closed and open positions
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

In our tests for the best stainless steel skillet, the All-Clad D3 model performed just as well as the winner from Made In. The All-Clad was simply more expensive—however, it can often be found at a discount online. This pan conducts heat evenly and responds quickly to changes in stovetop temperature.

Key Specs

  • Base diameter: 12 inches 
  • Oven-safe temperature: Up to 600°F
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care instructions: Hand-washing recommended
  • Price at time of publish: $130
Food tossed in skillet
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

From our review of cookware sets: “If you’re going to ditch all your old, mismatched, dinged-up pans, you may as well invest in a set you’ll never have to replace.”

The 3-quart saucepan and the sauté pan from this set have both been individually recommended by Serious Eats (and appear in this post), but in our test of the whole set, every piece performed beautifully. It is about $700, but as we’ve belabored in this post, these pieces heat and cook evenly, respond quickly to temperature changes, and are sturdily built, durable, and long-lasting. Here’s an example of their longevity: One of our testers is still using a 15-year-old skillet that looks almost identical to one that’s straight out of the box.

Key Specs

  • Number of pieces: 10
  • What’s included: 8- and 10-inch fry pans, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Care instructions: Hand-washing recommended
  • Price at time of publish: $698
a closeup look at browned butter in a saucepan
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

In our tests, this immersion blender was powerful and efficient, pulverizing celery into a creamy soup, whipping up a perfectly smooth bean puree in just 14 seconds, and crushing a glass full of ice to a fine, uniform consistency in 20 seconds. It produced results almost like a countertop blender, which is what we want! Two negatives: The head isn’t dishwasher safe (though we don't recommend dishwashing anything sharp) and it doesn’t come with any attachments.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Speeds: Variable speed dial
  • Accessories: None
  • Price at time of publish: $120
The All-Clad Stainless Steel Immersion Blender
Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

To be fair, this was the only cordless model we tested. But for a cordless model, it was surprisingly powerful (though it isn’t as powerful as All-Clad’s corded immersion blender). It performed very well in our tests, keeping up and even outperforming many corded options. We loved the safety lock, too.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Speeds: 5
  • Accessories: None
  • Price at time of publish: $214
The All-Clad cordless immersion blender, shown with the motor unit on the charging base and the blending shaft next to it.
Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

This (admittedly pricey) set of bowls from All-Clad stood out in our tests for three things: their handles, slightly curved rims, and sturdy construction. The handles and rims made it easy to pour out vinaigrettes and scrape out whipped cream with no drips or dribbles. And forget dings and dents—these bowls suffered no damage when we dropped them on the floor multiple times. While they are $99 for a set of three, we think these will last a lifetime.

Key Specs

  • Bowls in a set: 3
  • Bowl capacities: 1.5, 3, and 5 quarts
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Care: Dishwasher-safe; hand washing is recommended
  • Price at time of publish: $99
all clad bowls on a black marble surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

FAQs

How do you clean All-Clad pans? 

All-Clad recommends allowing their cookware to cool before washing with a sponge and dish soap and avoiding oven cleaners, steel wool, steel scouring pads, or cleaners containing bleach or peroxide, which can damage the pan.

For discoloration, like blue or rainbow coloring, the brand recommends wiping the cookware with white vinegar. For stuck-on food, burnt oil spots, and other stubborn stains, a non-abrasive, non-chlorine cleanser, like Bar Keeper’s Friend, is recommended. 

Can All-Clad go in the oven? 

All-Clad’s stainless steel cookware is oven- and broiler-safe up to 600°F, but the company does warn that exposure to temperatures over 500°F for extended periods can cause stainless steel to change color.

For All-Clad’s stainless steel cookware with nonstick coating on the inside, as well as their hard anodized nonstick cookware, pots and pans are oven-safe up to 500°F and lids are oven-safe up to 350°F. They recommend avoiding using this type of cookware under the broiler.

You can find more information on cast iron and copper cookware on their site

Is All-Clad dishwasher-safe? 

So, the answer is a tricky one. Yes, stainless steel is generally okay to go into the dishwasher, but over time, humidity and dishwasher detergents can corrode the surface. Some of their stainless steel products claim to be dishwasher-safe, while others direct users to hand-wash only. Though some of their nonstick products are *safe* to go into the dishwasher, even then, the company still recommends hand washing to preserve the nonstick quality over time. It’s always best to check the individual product’s page for cleaning and care instructions. 

In 2022, All-Clad settled a class action lawsuit with customers who alleged that certain “dishwasher-safe” products developed sharp edges when cleaned in a dishwasher, which might be why most of their stainless steel products have a hand-wash-only recommendation. 

Is All-Clad worth it? 

All-Clad makes its pitch on price like so: We may be more expensive than other brands, but you’re investing in cookware that, with proper care and use, should last a lifetime. And without a doubt, most of All-Clad’s lineup is durable and practical. As you can see above, we've recommended their pots, pans, and other products in several tests. 

That being said, there are other cookware brands that perform comparatively, which was evidenced in this side-by-side comparison of All-Clad and Tramontina. In this test, J. Kenji López-Alt found that, for a stainless steel skillet, All-Clad just barely edged out Tramontina in terms of performance, but doubted whether it was worth paying three times the price ($130 vs. $47 at the time of that story).

Where is All-Clad made? 

Some of their products say they are “bonded, engineered and assembled in Canonsburg, PA,” some say they are “bonded, engineered, assembled in USA”—and still others are made in China. 

In general, it seems that most of their stainless steel offerings like pots, pans, and bakeware are made in the United States, while other products like tools, electrics, or cookware of other materials are made in China. 

Is All-Clad compatible with induction? 

All-Clad cookware is compatible with induction stovetops.

We Tested 13 Wine Tumblers to Find the Best Ones for Keeping Summery Sips Cold

We tested 13 wine tumblers to find out which were the best—evaluating their cold-retention, ease of use, leak-prevention, and durability.

several wine tumblers on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

For when you want to bring along some vino (or Diet Coke!) to your next outdoor concert, beach bonfire, grill session, or camping trip, but you don't want to risk handling actual, breakable glassware, there are wine tumblers. A little sporty and outdoorsy, but also a touch refined, these adult sippy cups promise to keep beverages cold or hot, prevent splashes or spills, and stand up to drops (and the elements) with their hearty stainless steel construction.

To find out which insulated wine tumblers lived up to these claims, we tested 13 of them. We evaluated how each tumbler on our list kept wine cold (yes, we added ice, please don’t yell at us), recorded how they stood up to falls and other wear and tear, and, of course, noted which ones were pleasant to hold and drink from. 

The Winners, at a Glance

This no-frills model from Stanley came in first place at keeping wine coldest the longest. It’s easy to hold and use, durable, and falls pretty squarely in the average price range for this lineup.

If you are trying to prevent splashes—or bugs from getting into your beverages—you might consider this lidded model from CamelBak. It kept wine very cold for four hours, was easy to hold, and resisted dents and scratches. 

Despite its super simple construction, this tumbler (with no slider on the lid) kept wine almost as cold as the Stanley model, was easy to use, and stood up to falls with no denting or other damage. It’s not dishwasher-safe, but it is just $11.

The Tests

several wine tumblers in a dish rack
Serious Eats / Eric King
  • Insulation Test: We placed three of the same bottles of white wine (a Sauvignon Blanc) in the refrigerator overnight. Then, the next day, we poured six ounces of wine and one cube of ice (24 grams each) into each tumbler. We let the tumblers sit with their lids on (if any) and any sliders (if any) covering the openings. Using an instant-read thermometer, we recorded the temperature of the wine every hour for four hours.
  • Drinking Test: We then filled each tumbler with two more ice cubes, allowed them to sit for a few minutes, then drank from each. We noted how comfortable the tumbler was to hold, whether it became cold on the outside, and how pleasant it was to drink from.
  • Durability Test: For each tumbler, we removed and replaced the lid 15 times, noting the difficulty of the task. Then, we dropped each from hip height onto a hardwood floor to see if they would dent or scratch. To see if and how much the tumblers with lids leaked, we filled each with six ounces of water, capped them, closed any slides or tabs over the hole, and tilted each on its side over the sink. 
  • Cleanup Test: We hand-washed each tumbler and lid, noting how easy they were to clean.

What We Learned

Slider Lids vs. Non-Sliding Lids vs. No Lids

a wine tumbler's slider lid grasped between someone's fingers
Serious Eats / Eric King

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tumblers without lids mostly performed poorly at cold retention, *but* the one that came in last (Vinglacé) was fitted with a slider lid, and the one that came third to last (Corkcicle) had a slider lid as well. The top four slots went like this:

  1. Stanley (lid, no slider)
  2. Simple Modern (lid, no slider)
  3. YETI (lid, slider)
  4. Brümate (lid, a flip tab with a locking mechanism)

It should also be noted that Brümate was the only model with a screw-on lid. Because of these results, we have to think that while lids helped keep drinks cold, whether or not they have sliders or close tabs wasn’t the only determining factor when it came to cold retention.

What Else Made a Difference in Cold-Retention?

wine in several wine tumblers on a kitchen countertop
Serious Eats / Eric King

Whether they boasted about being “triple” or “double-walled” in their product descriptions also didn’t seem to impact cold retention. In the description for the Simple Modern model, it talks about one feature the others didn’t mention: a copper-coated insulation layer. “The exterior of the inner wall, in the vacuum sealed area,” it reads, “is coated in a thin layer of copper for added insulation.” This could be the secret behind its stellar performance—only losing 7.8°F in four hours and finishing just .3 °F behind our favorite from Stanley. It appears as though YETI, which also performed well at cold-retention, shares this feature

Another common feature of low-performing models was an interior made of something other than stainless steel, like ceramic or glass. The ceramic-interior tumblers, Hydro Flask and CeramiSteel, came in 9th and 10th, respectively. And Vinglacé, with its removable glass-interior, came in last for cold retention.

pouring wine into a wine tumbler that's set on a kitchen scale
Serious Eats / Eric King

As far as tumbler shape and cold retention, we found that, in general, models that seemed to have a larger gap between the inner chamber and outer insulation layer performed better. On the other end, Hydro Flask, Ceramisteel, and S’well, all low performers in insulation, seem to have very slim gaps in between the inner and outer layers.

Which Lids Prevented Leaks, Spills, and Splashes?

two rows of wine tumblers
Serious Eats / Eric King

There were only two models that fully avoided any leakage: Brūmate and Vinglacé. Brūmate had a screw-on lid that also had a rubber gasket for a tighter seal. That model also had a (fairly complicated) tab mechanism that flipped down and then locked its slider into place. This made opening it somewhat like solving a puzzle box, but gave us confidence that one could pack it up in a picnic basket and not worry about soaking their brie. 

Vinglacé had a simple slider with rubber gaskets that covered its lid's opening, and spouted no leaks whatsoever. (We have less confidence that this one would remain leak-free over long periods, as it’s not screw-on.) Swig Life shared a similar style lid closure and, for the most, part resisted leakage, but did dribble just a bit when tilted over the sink. 

As for the rest of the wine tumblers, the other lids that had sliders leaked. And lidded models with no slider, well, those are really only meant to prevent splashes from getting out, and bugs and heat from getting in. 

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Wine Tumbler

a white wine tumbler on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

Our favorite wine tumblers have a few things in common. We preferred models with lids, as opposed to ones without, for their leak-, spill-, and splash prevention—as well as cold-retention and a barrier against bugs. As far as which lid style is better, it depends on what you’re doing. If you’re enjoying a your iced coffee in the backyard, there might not be a need for a lid with a slider. However, if you’re on-the-go, a slider can help prevent splashes and huge spills (although you can read above which ones were actually, totally leak-proof). Importantly, the lids and their respective closures (if any) had to be easy to open and close smoothly. 

We preferred models that were stainless steel inside and out—no ceramic or glass interiors. No difference in taste was detected, but the ceramic or glass models had poor cold retention. We also liked models that had silicone bases to help with stability and prevent scratches and dents.

The Best Wine Tumblers

What we liked: Right off the bat, this tumbler plunged our wine to the coldest temperature after one hour (32.9°F) and kept it the coldest over four hours landing at 41.1°F. At no time other than hour two did any model best Stanley at cold-retention: YETI by only .9°F.  

The Stanley's slimmer profile made it the most comfortable to hold and we liked its angled (versus rounded) bowl, which was easier to grip. Unlike other models, the lid sits completely in the tumbler with a little tab sticking up and over the rim, which makes it very easy to remove. 

We were impressed by this tumbler's resistance to dents and scratches, too. After dropping it from hip height we noted no visible damage. Its silicone base also helps with durability—as well as helping it stay put on the countertop. 

a closeup look at the lid of a wine tumbler
Serious Eats / Eric King

What we didn’t like: While the lid is by far the simplest out of the lineup (it’s just one solid piece of Tritan plastic with some rubber gaskets) it is slightly finicky to press back into the tumbler once it’s out. And, also, the lid leaks when tilted 90 degrees—not just out of the mouth opening, but also out of the sides. To us, this isn’t a huge deal because lids like this are meant to just prevent splashes or to stop a small spill from becoming a big spill. 

Price at time of publish: $20.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel; plastic
  • Capacity: 10 ounces
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe 
a thermometer sticking out a wine tumbler
Serious Eats / Eric King

What we liked: While this model didn’t beat the other slider-lid model in the cold retention test (YETI) they were neck and neck at 40.2°F in hour three. CamelBak’s other features, though, helped it grab the top spot in this category. 

The lid is easy to remove and replace, and the slider is different from any other wine tumbler we tested. It has three positions: open, half-open, and closed. This meant the drinker could control the flow of wine.

A slimmer body and angled bowl make it more comfortable and stable to hold, as you can support and lift from the bottom side without your hand sliding up and down. As with Stanley, this model stood up to drops from hip height—receiving only barely visible dents. We also appreciated the silicone base for added stability and protection. 

What we didn’t like: While we love the functionality of the “tri-mode” slider lid, it isn’t the most elegant to look at or the smoothest to use. And like almost every other slider lid, this one leaked when we tilted it over the sink. Bottom line: most slider lids aren’t meant to prevent splashes and big spills—and you should keep your wine tumblers upright to avoid major leakage. 

Price at time of publish: $16.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Silicone; stainless steel
  • Capacity: 12 ounces
  • Weight: 6.5 ounces
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
  • Features: “Tri-Mode” slider lid for flow control 
a blue wine tumbler on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

What we liked: We were impressed by this very good, very affordable tumbler. With almost no bells and whistles, a slim construction, and a slider-less lid, it managed to come in second place overall in our cold-retention test (just .3°F warmer than the Stanley model).

This was the tallest model we tested at five inches tall, but it’s also one of the slimmest, which made holding it comfortable. The slider-less lids pops on and off with little effort, and the medium-sized mouthpiece makes for a pleasant drinking experience, ensuring a steady, nice flow of wine.

What we didn’t like: Well, it’s not dishwasher-safe and the opening is more narrow than other tumblers, which made cleanup tougher. We also wish that, like our other favorite models, this one had a silicone base to help with stability.

Price at time of publish: $11.

Key Specs:

  • Materials: Stainless steel; plastic
  • Capacity: 12 ounces
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Care instructions: Body is hand-wash only; lid is dishwasher-safe
  • Features: The exterior of the inner wall is coated in a thin layer of copper for added insulation
a grey and white wine tumbler
Serious Eats / Eric King

The Competition 

  • Swig Life 12-oz Insulated Wine Tumbler with Lid: This is a good tumbler. Its silicone bottom is designed to be popped off and replaced and while we liked some of the features of the CamelBak more, we think this is still a great slider-lid tumbler.
  • YETI Rambler 10-oz Wine Tumbler: This was the model that kept liquid ice-cold the longest, rising from 33.6 to just 33.9°F from hour one to hour two in our cold retention test. But we found that, even for big hands, its wide, rounded exterior made it the hardest tumbler to hold. The slider, which is uniquely powered by magnets, puts up a good fight at preventing leaks, just barely dribbling, but the tumbler dented easily and didn’t have the silicone base we like on other models
  • BrüMate Uncork’d XL Wine Tumbler: At 14 ounces, this tumbler had the largest capacity in our lineup. It was also one of the two models that prevented any leakage whatsoever, thanks to its (admittedly clunky) screw-on lid and (admittedly complicated) flip tab that locked in place. However, it was difficult to hold, and its lid made it more trouble than it was worth to clean and use.
  • Ello Clink Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler: A very standard tumbler that performed average in the cold-retention test, but with one feature that separates it from the rest: a silicone base that comes one-third of the way up its sides. This made it easy to hold and durable when dropped. However, we worry that the silicone could attract hard-to-remove stains.
  • Hydro Flask 10-oz Insulated Wine Tumbler: This was one of the two models with a ceramic interior, but we couldn’t tell a difference in taste. While we loved its small size, it didn’t perform well in our cold retention test and we didn’t like that the opaque black lid didn’t allow you to see how much liquid was left. It also dented easily when dropped from hip height. 
  • Corkcicle Insulated Wine Tumbler with Lid: While we liked this model’s flat sides, it performed third to last in cold retention. Plus, its lid sports a flimsy slider and spurts out wine way too fast. 
  • SUNWILL Insulated Wine Tumbler: Performing middling in our cold retention test, this model’s lid produced an uneven flow.
  • CeramiSteel Ceramic Wine Tumbler: This tumbler was both lidless and had a ceramic interior, making it unique. The ceramic coating didn’t affect taste, and despite having no lid, it beat out two models *with* lids in the cold retention test, coming in 10th place. 
  • S’well Stainless Steel Wine Tumbler: The smallest tumbler in our lineup, and one of two without a lid, this was nice to drink from and the easiest to hold—but performed second to last in our cold-retention test. 
  • Vinglacé Stainless Steel Stemless Wine Glass: Coming dead last in our cold retention test (by 3°F!) this big, bulky model has a removable glass chamber (that only holds 10 ounces).

FAQs

Can a wine tumbler be used for coffee?

While wine tumblers can hold more than just wine, we don't recommend it. "I tested wine tumblers when I worked for America's Test Kitchen and found that the heat retention of wine tumblers wasn't as good as, say, a thermos (most kept coffee above 130°F for about an hour)," says associate commerce editor Grace Kelly. "I also found that the coffee flavor tended to permeate the cup, making sips of wine taste slightly like stale coffee (ick!). Plus, if the tumblers sported slider lids, the steam buildup from the hot coffee often caused them to spurt when you opened it. Overall, I'd recommend using wine tumblers for cold drinks, and saving the hot stuff for a thermos."

How many ounces is a wine tumbler?

Most wine tumblers range from around 9 to 12 ounces—with some models holding up to 14 ounces. 

Does the Yeti wine tumbler come with a lid?

The Yeti wine tumbler does come with their proprietary Mag-Slider lid. According to reviews on their site from over two years ago, it appears they were initially not sold with lids.

Our 12 Favorite Kitchen-Related Housewarming Gifts

We scoured our equipment reviews to find some tested-and-recommended products that’d make excellent, thoughtful housewarming gifts.

Hand using a Swedish dishcloth to wipe down the front of a stove.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Whenever Serious Eats staffers move, the room that gets immediate attention is (surprise!) the kitchen. How else are you gonna find the wine glasses for a celebratory toast? Or locate plates for takeout because who can handle cooking immediately after moving, anyway?

You also won't be shocked to know then that we think the best housewarming gifts are kitchen-related. Below, we gathered a list of housewarming ideas that would delight anyone who loves being in the proverbial heart of the home: casual cooks, beginner bakers, and long-time gourmands. You'll find a range of price points, too: from cheap (for the not-super-close friend who invited you to a housewarming party) to splurge-worthy (a family member, perhaps? Or maybe yourself?).

Eco-Friendly Dishcloths (that Virtually Replace Paper Towels)

This gift has it all. It’s practical (it can do everything a normal dishcloth can). It’s unique (too many people still haven’t been evangelized by the Swedish dishcloth craze). It’s environmentally friendly (just one dishcloth can replace hundreds of paper towel rolls). And it’s the cheapest option on this list. So if you’re looking for a frugal gift, or you just don’t know the host *that well*, it’s very low-risk. 

We tested eight sets, and the Swedish Wholesale Swedish Dishcloths were our favorites thanks to their absorbency, affordability, and quick air-drying time. But if you want colorful, patterned cloths that are more apropos of a gift, we also loved the models from Wettex and Now Designs.

several swedish dish cloths on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

The Spatula that Can Get Under Anything

Almost everything a normal spatula can do, a fish spatula can do better. They’re lighter, more flexible, and thin enough to slide under delicate slabs of tofu or gooey, freshly-baked cookies with gentle ease. And even if someone has one, they could use another. The Winco is one of our favorite fish spatulas, and it’s only $8.

flipping fish with the winco spatula
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

An Oven Thermometer 

New home, new oven. And it’s going to take them months to figure out whether it’s running 25 degrees hot or 50 degrees cold. But not when you walk in with this gift! Especially when it comes to baking, even a 10- to 15-degree discrepancy can alter cookies, cakes, and bread dramatically. Most models are very affordable and work the same, but we recommend this one from Taylor.

Salt Cellar 

Having salt easily accessible on the counter will speed up anyone’s cooking. Whether you’re seasoning meat in the pan on the fly or precisely doling out three-fourths of a teaspoon for a baking recipe, a salt cellar will keep all of the salt you need within arm's reach. They also keep excess moisture and debris out of your precious salt. This model from Zero Japan is a favorite amongst Serious Eats staffers (and you can also others we recommend here.)

a hand taking a pinch of salt from the zerojapan salt cellar
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Stemless Wine Glasses 

Let’s say these recently moved friends have wine glasses. Okay! But do they have stemless wine glasses that are perfect for outdoor or more casual drinking occasions (or those with clumsy guests and mischievous pets)? Our favorite stemless glasses, the Schott Zwiesel tumblers, are sturdy, elegant and won’t totally break the bank at $10 a glass. But we also love the Rocco Bodega Mini tumblers because they’re super casual and could easily double as very chic dessert glasses.

the lineup of wine glasses tested on a black countertop with white background
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

A Santoku Knife

Most kitchens have a regular chef’s knife, but an excellent complementary knife is its cousin the Santoku. While similar to the chef’s knife, these have shorter blades (around six or seven inches), are flatter, and are more nimble. It’s the type of knife Serious Eats culinary consultant J. Kenji López-Alt says he uses most, calling it a “workhorse” in his kitchen. 

In our review of 16 Santoku knives, the MAC Knife MSK-65 Professional Hollow Edge Santoku Knife won out, but for a more budget friendly version, you can confidently go with the Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Santoku Knife.

Santoku knife slicing a tomato
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Smaller Sheet Pans for Smaller Tasks

Most people have half-sheet pans, but we're willing to bet many lack the smaller, less common size that pro chefs (and us!) love. Here are some tasks that are perfect for quarter-sheet pans: toasting nuts and seeds, heating up cold pizza slices, broiling a cheesy sandwich, baking just two chocolate chip cookies, rapidly cooling cooked grains for a salad. The point is, they’re smaller, faster, and less cumbersome to wash, and can easily fit in a toaster oven.

Nordic Ware makes Serious Eats’ favorite sheet pans. The lightweight aluminized steel makes them sturdy and their light color prevents overheating (thus, overcooking). The rolled rim is comfortable to hold and easy to grab, even with bulky oven mitts, and the pans are very resistant to warping.

A Digital Scale

They’re ubiquitous almost everywhere else, but the United States is just catching onto cooking (and especially baking) with a digital scale. You will save your hosts so much strife when tackling a finicky recipe—and time washing measuring cups!—with a tool that helps you measure ingredients accurately by weight, not volume. Our favorite scale comes from OXO. It’s slim, sturdy, and has a pull-out display so you can see the weight under even the widest of mixing bowls.

Measuring salt on a digital kitchen scale.
Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

A Home for All Their Ingredients

We love OXO's pop top pantry storage containers. They come in a variety of sizes: ideal for flour, sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda and powder. However, anyone who has even one would gladly accept 10 more. Pasta, salt, dried beans, rice, cornmeal, cornstarch, they all need places to live, too, right?

A Dutch Oven to Last a Lifetime

A Le Creuset Dutch oven is one of the best housewarming gifts...ever. Of course this is contingent upon making sure that 1) they don't have the same-sized Dutch oven and 2) it's painted a color that's either totally inoffensive or you know for certain they love. Because it should last practically forever!

In Serious Eats’ test of Dutch ovens, Le Creuset came out on top with Staub coming in a close second. We recommend the 5.5-quart model, which is a versatile size (though the 7 1/4-quart is nice, too!).

two hands with oven mitts on removing a Dutch oven from an oven
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

*The* Workhorse Appliance for Baking 

Do you want to be a hero? Get someone a stand mixer. For mixing lots of cake batter, kneading enriched bread doughs, or beating meringue with butter (sometimes for upwards of 10 minutes) to make Swiss meringue buttercream, no tool works as well. We tested 10 stand mixers and found that the most common brand, KitchenAid, was also the best. For casual bakers, we recommend the Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer.

And if you’re not sure that they need a big hulking stand mixer, maybe you can ease them into things with a smaller, less expensive hand mixer.

A front-on view of a tilt-head, red KitchenAid stand ixer
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

Nice Chocolate or Nice Vanilla 

Even someone whose baking repertoire starts and ends with chocolate chip cookies is going to appreciate nice vanilla—and taste the difference! In the past, we have recommended Heilala, which makes a “double-fold” (aka twice as powerful) extract and a concentrated vanilla bean paste

And a foolproof gift, no matter what: chocolate. Get them a fancier chocolate that pros use for baking, such as Valrhona or Callebaut. Even if they don’t whisk it into a chocolate ganache tart, they’ll definitely serve it on a charcuterie board—or eat it on the couch while watching Love Island.

a bottle of vanilla extract
Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

FAQs

What's a nice housewarming gift?

A thoughtful housewarming gift doesn’t need to be expensive or hard to find. Your recipient will appreciate a gift chosen with a few considerations:

  • Where are they in life? Are they recently-married or first-time homeowners who are trying to outfit a larger kitchen? Or did they recently retire and downsize (aka they probably don’t need more picture frames or flatware)? 
  • Is this gift super practical; one that you know they’ll use? Or is it unique and aesthetic, so you know they don’t already have one, and they might not splurge on it for themself?
  • Avoid gifts that have to be taken care of, like a plant or (AH!) an animal. 

Is wine a good housewarming gift?

This depends on the recipient. If you’re attending a housewarming party where you aren’t very close to the host, a *nice* bottle of wine is a safe gift. Unlike other gifts, you don’t have to worry about getting something that is a double of something they already have, will take up space, or that they just won’t use. Ensure this person isn’t sober or abstaining from drinking. 

On the other hand, If you do know the recipient well, and they’re not a wine connoisseur, maybe consider thinking outside the bottle. Most people will get plenty of wine as housewarming gifts, and an offering that takes their interests, personality, and season of life into account could be more thoughtful.

We Tested 8 Swedish Dishcloths—These Are Our Favorites

We tested eight Swedish dishcloths to find out which were the best, evaluating their absorbency, drying time, and maneuverability.

several swedish dish cloths on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

Swedish dishcloths: if you haven’t already used them, then you’ve probably at least heard someone sing their praises. They’re the thin squares that—thanks to their ability to wash or dry dishes, absorb spills, and clean countertops—threaten to replace or at least take market share away from Big Sponge and Big Paper Towel. 

Swedish dishcloths are made from a combination of cotton and wood pulp, a.k.a cellulose, a fibrous material that is derived from trees. (Most of the brands we tested were 70% wood pulp and 30% cotton.) This combo allows them to be rigid when dry and pliable when wet. And because most Swedish dishcloths can go in the dishwasher or washing machine, or be boiled to clean and disinfect them, you can use the same ones for months. Plus, they’re way more durable and absorbent than regular paper towels. And even if the thought of being kind to the environment and using fewer natural resources doesn’t move you, they’re also more cost-effective than buying roll upon roll of the single-use stuff.

To find the best Swedish dishcloths, we evaluated how much liquid each cloth could absorb, how well they washed and dried dishes, how fast they air-dried, and how they stood up to disinfecting. 

The Winners, at a Glance

These dishcloths’ ability to sop up big spills, dry dishes with just a few swipes, and air-dry faster than the competitors helped them edge out a win. It also doesn’t hurt that they are fairly affordable at $2.16 a cloth. 

At $1.70 a cloth, a set of 10 will only set you back $16.95. These performed well in our tests, but not as well as the winner. 

If you’re looking for bright, colorful patterns on your dishcloths, we recommend these. Although printed-on patterns seemed to slightly hurt the efficacy of each cloth, these seemed to be affected the least. And for $1.26 a cloth, the cheapest we tested, the pros still outweigh the cons. 

The Tests

multiple wet swedish dishcloths on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King
  • Absorbency Test: We looked at how well each cloth soaked up 1/4 cup of water (59 grams) on a quarter sheet tray by weighing the cloth before and after mopping up the water to see what percentage of water each picked up.
  • Drying Time Test: We timed how long each cloth took to air-dry, wringing out as much water as possible and laying them on the counter until they were dry to the touch. We also did this after washing them in the washing machine and dishwasher. 
  • Dish Washing and Dish Drying Tests: We washed and dried two drinking glasses with a wet, soapy cloth and a dry one from the same set, noting how well they performed. 
  • Disinfecting Test: We washed two cloths from each set on the top rack of a dishwasher on normal cycle and a “warm” wash cycle in a washing machine. After they were sanitized, we noted any wear and tear. 

What We Learned

Diamond vs. Ribbed Textures

a person placing a swedish dishcloth into a quarter sheet pan filled with water
Serious Eats / Eric King

How did the textures woven or stamped into the cloths help or hurt them in our tests? We noticed that dishcloths with a diamond texture on one side (including Now Designs, Swedish Wholesale, and FEBU) tended to be better at sopping up water off a just-washed drinking glass. Our favorite cloth, from Swedish Wholesale, has a ribbed texture on one side and diamonds on the other side. The model from Now Designs is also double-textured with diamonds and ribbing, and was by far the fastest air-drying, coming in first where Swedish Wholesale came in second. Nordhus, also with a double-sided texture, was the other cloth that had 100% absorption besides our other (ribbed and diamond-stamped) winner from Swedish Wholesale. 

That being said, two of our high-performers, Wettex and Superscandi, only have one ribbed side—no diamonds. 

Patterned vs. Plain Dishcloths

We found that, on dishcloths with printed-on patterns, the patterned side wasn’t as good at drying wet dishes and seemingly pushed water around instead of soaking it up. Also, three out of the top four fastest-drying dishcloths had no pattern, which led us to believe patterns might hinder the cloth's ability to air-dry. 

What’s the Best Color for Swedish Dishcloths?

Several swedish dishcloths on a marble counter
Serious Eats / Eric King

Though we didn’t test the cloths on how they stain from potential messes, I can say from personal experience that while colorful patterns on white backgrounds look cute, they will show stains eventually, even after washing in the dishwasher or laundry. Just like regular dishcloths, darker shades and intense colors will be more forgiving of stains. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Swedish Dishcloth

A swedish dishcloth being soaked in water
Serious Eats / Eric King

The Swedish dishcloths that performed best in our tests shared a few key attributes. We liked that our winner from Swedish Wholesale had both ribbed and diamond-patterned sides. Dishcloths with textures on both sides not only tended to absorb the most water, but they also air-dried the fastest. Plus, diamonds were the best at mopping up water droplets from wet dishes. We preferred models without any designs as those performed poorly drying dishes, pushing water around instead of soaking it up. They also air-dried slower (the one exception being Now Designs, which dried the fastest). All the Swedish dishcloths we tested were made from a combination of cellulose (wood pulp) and cotton—the five brands that mentioned a ratio all said about 30% cotton and 70% wood pulp. They are all basically the same size at seven-by-seven or seven-by-eight inches. And since eventually, after many, many uses and washes, you might need to buy news ones, you'll want Swedish dishcloths that are affordable.

What we liked: We loved how fast this cloth dried—and how fast it dries; it made drying just-washed drinking glasses a breeze, mopping them up in just a few seconds with no fogginess or droplets (we attributed this to the diamond pattern it features on one side). It also air-dried quickly: it was the fastest to dry after being run through the dishwasher and rung out, the second-fastest to dry straight out of the washing machine, and the second-fastest to dry after simply being saturated and then wrung out. It also showed no visible wear and tear even after all this washing.

What we didn’t like: It’s hard to find something we really didn’t like about these, but it would have been nice to get to 100% water absorbency (they came in at 98%). Some of the dishcloths had bits of white material that seemed to be unincorporated cellulose or cotton. This didn’t really affect their performance, but it looks a little odd. 

Price at time of publish: $22 or $2.16/dishcloth.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Cotton and cellulose (wood pulp)
  • Size: 8 x 7 inches
  • Set includes: 10 cloths
  • Cleaning: ​​Machine wash, per manufacturer
  • Features: Ribbed and diamond texture sides; multiple colors available
a stack of blue swedish dishcloths on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

What we liked: SuperScandi was one of two models to score 100% absorption. They sopped up water droplets instead of pushing them around. After being saturated and then wrung out, they air-dried fairly quickly, too. 

What we didn’t like: We wish these cloths had a diamond texture on one side, since diamonds proved to be the best at drying dishes. We also noticed that, after running through the laundry machine, the cloths picked up some very small bits of debris from the rest of the load. 

Price at time of publish: $16.95 or $1.70 /dishcloth.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Cotton and cellulose (wood pulp)
  • Size: 6.75 x 8 inches
  • Set includes: 10 cloths
  • Cleaning: Washing machine or dishwasher; brand claims they can be washed up to 200 times
  • Features: Ribbed texture, multiple colors available
a stack of grey swedish dishcloths on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

What we liked: These cloths were on par with most of the contestants in the absorbency round, soaking up 98% of the water. They were also the best-performing patterned cloths—besides those from Now Designs, which are just too expensive to justify. Wettex, on the other hand, are just $12.60 for a set of 10 cloths ($1.26 per cloth).

What we didn’t like: When drying a just-washed glass, it was too rigid to get all the way down to the bottom. It didn't soak up all of the water droplets either.

Price at time of publish: $12.60 or $1.26 /dishcloth.

Key Specs

  • Materials: 70% cellulose and 30% cotton
  • Size: 7 x 8 inches
  • Set includes: 10 cloths
  • Cleaning: Wash them in the washing machine at 140° F (60°C), per manufacturer
  • Features: Ribbed texture, multiple colors and patterns available
a closeup look at a pink, patterned Swedish dishcloth
Serious Eats / Eric King

The Competition 

  • Now Designs Compostable Swedish Dishcloths: We were impressed by how well these dried wet dishes, as well as how they air-dried faster than any other model. But even their cute designs couldn’t get us over the hefty price tag of $5.99 a cloth.  
  • Nordhus Design Swedish Dish Cloths: The other model besides Superscandi to achieve 100% water absorption, these cloths were let down by their poor performance elsewhere. They pushed water droplets around on wet glasses, leaving behind a foggy finish, and were some of the slowest when it came to air-drying. 
  • The EcoGurus Swedish Dishcloth: These were the lowest-scoring set of towels in the absorbency round, soaking up 96.6% of the water and leaving behind a noticeable amount of droplets. We also weren’t impressed with their dish-drying abilities. 
  • FEBU Swedish Dishcloths: We liked this colorful, floral-printed set, but were disappointed by their slower air-drying times. And at $3 a cloth…not worth it.
  • Remagr Swedish Kitchen Dish Towels: While very, very similar to the FEBU cloths, these had no diamond pattern, and their printed patterns hindered their ability to dry dishes. They were also some of the slowest when it came to air-drying. 

FAQs

How do you clean a Swedish dishcloth? 

Ultimately, follow the manufacturer’s directions, but in general, Swedish dishcloths can be cleaned by running them through the washing machine (Wettex recommends a temperature of 140°F) or on the top rack of the dishwasher. They can also be sanitized by dunking them, briefly, in boiling water. Don’t run your Swedish dishcloths through the dryer; simply wring them out and let them hang dry. 

How long do Swedish dishcloths last? 

Most brands claim their dishcloths replace up to 15 rolls of paper towels and can last for many months or even more than a year, withstanding hundreds of washes. (Superscandi says their cloths last for 200 washes.) But these numbers also depend on how often you’re using and washing them. 

Are Swedish dishcloths compostable? 

Yes, Swedish dishcloths at the end of their life can be composted commercially or in your home compost system, as they are made with biodegradable cotton and cellulose (wood pulp).