Best Cookbook Stands

Updated September 2021
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Buying guide for best cookbook stands

If you cook, you’ve likely experienced this familiar scenario: You’re trying your hand at a pasta sauce, the cookbook flat on the counter. You try to turn the page and realize your hands are greasy. While washing your hands, your sauce splatters all over the pristine pages of your expensive Italian cookbook. You can avoid mishaps like this with a cookbook stand.

Along with a cutting board, sharp knife, and decent sauté pan, a cookbook stand is an indispensable kitchen tool. It has one job — to hold your cookbook, loose recipes, tablet, or other devices — and in doing so keep your recipe out of the splash zone. It also raises the recipe to help prevent neck and back strain.

This buying guide can help you find the cookbook stand that best meets your needs. We examine capacity, overall appearance, tilt capabilities, and price. 

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A cookbook stand is both functional and decorative. You can display a cookbook on it for inspiration too.

Key considerations

Capacity

The best cookbook stands can hold all sizes of recipes and cookbooks, from scribbled index cards to coffee table-size tomes. The page holders should be able to firmly hold single recipes and thick, all-in-one recipe books. As more and more cooks turn to the Internet for their culinary inspiration, a cookbook stand should also be designed to hold a tablet or smartphone securely.

Size and weight

Size: The footprint of a cookbook stand — how much counter space it takes up — is an issue if you have limited kitchen space. Cookbook stands vary considerably in size, with some sellers or manufacturers offering stands in a variety of sizes. Break out a tape measure and spend some time with it in your space to determine how large a stand you can comfortably fit in your kitchen.

Weight: Generally, larger cookbook stands weigh more than smaller ones, and this could be an issue if you plan to take it with you. Factors such as material (metal tends to be heavier than plastic or wood) and design (a wire stand with negative space is usually lighter than a solid stand) can determine the overall weight of a cookbook stand.

Tilt

Cookbook stands typically offer several different tilt options, so you can choose the angle of your cookbook or tablet. The more tilt positions, the better you’ll be able to adjust the angle of the recipes to better follow them and avoid back or neck strain. These stands usually have four to five different tilt angles to choose from.

Storage

Does the cookbook stand fold flat? Some do, and this not only frees up counter space when the stand isn’t in use but also leaves you with a much more compact stand to take with you. Some cookbook stands fold up to the size of a book, so you can tuck it away on a shelf with your cookbooks when you don’t need it.

Design

In addition to being functional, some cookbook stands are also decorative. Many metal or wooden stands feature elegant scrolling, cutouts, or other design elements that make an attractive addition to your kitchen. Cookbook stands can range from vintage or antique to contemporary, and you have a range of colors to choose from if matching your kitchen’s color palette is a primary consideration.

If you like wooden cookbook stands but are worried about the weight, choose a lightweight, durable bamboo stand.

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Features

Material

Cookbook stands are crafted from a variety of materials. Three of the more common are metal, wood, and plastic.

Metal: Due to its durability, metal is a popular material used to make cookbook stands. Metal stands can be made of aluminum, steel, or even wrought iron, and some have a powder coating for added durability. There are a variety of design options too, from simple to decorative. Metal cookbook stands tend to be heavier than stands made of other materials, which might be a benefit or a hindrance, depending on how you plan to use your stand.

Wood: Also common are wooden cookbook stands. From cherry to bamboo, wooden stands offer an attractive option for the kitchen, particularly if you already own and display wooden cutting boards. Unique shapes and attractive cutout patterns are fairly standard with wooden stands. These stands are less durable than metal ones, particularly if they are exposed to water.

Plastic: Plastic or acrylic stands are inexpensive, lightweight, and often transparent or translucent. They are less durable than metal or wooden stands, and they can be quite a bit less decorative or attractive in your kitchen.

Page holders

A cookbook stand will be of little benefit to you if the cookbook keeps closing. That’s why page clips or holders are a necessity. These can range from simple, such as metal clips, to more elaborate, such as weight-and-chain holders. Any holders or clips should be sturdy enough to hold your largest cookbook and preferably be fastened to the stand in such a way that they can easily fold or swivel out of the way when not in use.

Splatter shield

Some cookbook stands have a clear plastic screen to protect your cookbook from the errant spill or splatter. Some of these shields are also hinged to make it easier to turn the pages. If you opt for a cookbook stand with a splatter shield, be sure that the shield is big enough to protect the pages of your largest cookbooks.

Base

Nobody wants their cookbook stand to topple over halfway through a recipe, sending the cookbook splashing into the stew. While the base of most cookbook stands rests on the counter, some are raised on feet to make the recipe easier to read. Some also have rubber caps on the feet to protect against slipping. Whichever you choose, the cookbook stand should be stable and not slip or tip.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If you enjoy traveling and cooking, opt for a cookbook stand that folds up flat to easily fit in a suitcase.
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Cookbook stand prices

Cookbook stands range from less than $20 to $60 or more.

Inexpensive: Stands that cost under $20 tend to be simpler and less durable than more expensive stands. They’re made primarily from plastic or acrylic and tend to be smaller. They’re designed for those more interested in function than décor.

Mid-range: In the $20 to $30 range, you can find cookbook stands made of a variety of materials. These are more decorative than less expensive stands and should appeal to cooks seeking a solid stand that will also complement their kitchen décor.

Expensive: Cookbook stands that cost over $30 are both decorative and extremely durable. Wrought or cast iron is common here, as are more advanced features such as splatter shields. If your kitchen is a culinary oasis where design and function are of equal importance, look in this price range.

If you do all your cooking from online recipes on your smartphone, you might be better off choosing a cell phone stand.

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Tips

  • Note how high the stand elevates the recipe off the counter. Those that raise the cookbook higher may be better for your back and overall posture, especially if you’re tall.
  • Look for a stand with adjustable tilt. One benefit of a cookbook stand with adjustable tilt is it’s easier to adjust the stand so the cookbook or tablet is out of the glare of kitchen lighting.
  • Add a light. Most cookbook stands don’t ship with a built-in light, but you can easily fix that by adding an inexpensive clip-on lamp.
  • Look for a simple stand. While cookbook stands with elaborate details can be a decorative addition to your kitchen, they can also be difficult to clean. It’s easy to keep things tidy if you choose a stand without crevices or other decorative elements that food particles can collect in.
  • Choose a space-saving stand. If you lack kitchen or counter space, one way to comfortably use a cookbook stand is to find one that mounts under the cabinet.
cookbook stand3
A cookbook stand makes a great gift for either the occasional or serious cook in your life.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a cookbook stand for other tasks?

A. One of the great things about a cookbook stand is that it can be used to hold any book, freeing up your hands for other tasks. It can hold kids’ books as they do homework, support your latest artwork, or hold sheet music as you practice an instrument. You can use it to hold a mirror, photograph, or decorative plate. It can also be used with a smartphone or tablet to watch movies while you do the dishes or follow along with a yoga or other workout video.

Q. Is a spatter shield necessary?

A. Cooking can be messy, and a splatter screen can help to keep splashes, drips, and greasy fingers away from the pages of your expensive cookbooks. It can also help to protect tablets and smartphones from cooking liquids. While not every cookbook stand has a splatter screen, if your choice is between one with a screen and one without, we’d recommend going with the one with the screen.

Q. Do these stands need to be assembled?

A. Generally, no. There are so few moving parts on a cookbook stand that they usually ship fully assembled. This is particularly true for those that fold up for easy storage. Cookbook stands that do require some assembly should generally take you no more than a couple minutes to put together. If the stand’s online listing doesn’t mention anything about assembly, check the customer questions or comments section for other buyers’ experiences with the product.

 

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