Best Chinois Strainers

Updated September 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
24 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
181 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best chinois strainers

If you only have room for one strainer in your kitchen, a chinois strainer is a great choice. A chinois strainer is a cone-shaped strainer that can be put to a wide range of culinary uses, from straining small particles out of stock, soup, and juice to filtering leaves out of steeping tea to sifting sugar and flour. A chinois strainer can even double as a colander to rinse pasta and wash vegetables.

You may be wondering what the difference is between a chinois strainer and a colander. A chinois strainer is cone-shaped with one handle, and the straining mechanism is usually fine mesh. A colander is bowl-shaped with two handles and made to sit in the kitchen sink. Of the two, a chinois strainer can handle a wider variety of kitchen straining tasks than a colander can.

In this guide, we explore the features of chinois strainers that make them desirable for the kitchen.

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Making lemon bars or molten lava cake? Use a chinois strainer to gently sprinkle powdered sugar on top of your dessert.

Key considerations

Mesh filter

Unlike a large-gap colander, a chinois strainer is known for its fine mesh. The mesh captures smaller food particles, resulting in a smooth end product, be it soup or stock. While the majority of chinois strainers include a fine mesh basket, you can find some with coarse mesh or even ultra-fine mesh.

Size

Chinois strainers come in a variety of sizes: expect to see diameters between 3 and 12 inches. If you cook often or for big crowds, a larger strainer may be a better option for you. If you occasionally create small batches of soup or similar recipes, a compact strainer might be better. The rationale here is that while you can do much more with a large chinois strainer, it will also be more difficult to store.

In addition to diameter, look at a chinois strainer’s depth before you purchase it. The deeper the basket, the more food you can strain at once.

A chinois strainer is also sometimes called a chinois sieve.

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Features

Material

Chinois strainers are typically made of stainless steel or plastic. Plastic will no doubt cost less, but rugged stainless steel will hold up better over time and is ideal if you plan to use the strainer often. Stainless steel is also known to resist heat and rust — two pluses in a kitchen tool.

Handle

A primary feature that separates chinois strainers from colanders is the handle. A chinois strainer handle allows you to steady the strainer while pouring food into it. Cooks appreciate this, especially when the strainer is full. A longer handle is easier to use than a shorter one. The best chinois strainers have handles that are ergonomically designed for comfort and ease of use.

Often, there is a hole or other opening at the end of the chinois strainer. This can be used to hang the strainer on a pot rack or other hook when not in use.

Frame and basket

The frame and basket of a chinois strainer should be durable; stainless steel is often the material of choice. The fewer crevices and indentations in this hardware, the easier the strainer will be to clean. Most frames include a hook directly opposite the handle to help secure the strainer as you pour food into it.

The basket of a chinois strainer is typically made of fine wire mesh or perforated metal. Wire mesh tends to be less durable than perforated metal, but it is nevertheless quite common.

Extras

Chinois strainers typically do not ship with extra items, but there are exceptions. Some chinois strainers come with added tools, such as a stand and pestle. A stand can help free up your hands, and a pestle can help you force food through the strainer.

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DID YOU KNOW?
A chinois strainer with a deep basket or cone will create less mess due to minimal splashing.
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Chinois strainer prices

Inexpensive: The smallest chinois strainers in this range, suitable for straining a cup of tea, often cost less than $10. For up to $20, you can get something a little bigger. Occasional cooks may not mind the smaller size of these inexpensive strainers.

Mid-range: For $20 to $35, you will find chinois strainers that are larger and sturdy. Someone who cooks frequently would appreciate a quality appliance like this.

Expensive: When you’re ready to don your chef’s hat, a chinois strainer in the $35+ range will be more your style. These durable strainers are often large and frequently feature finer mesh for professional-level sauces and soups. Because the price is a little higher, you’re more likely to get a stand or pestle with your purchase.

While a chinois strainer is a must-have for cooking fanatics, it is something that even occasional cooks will find themselves turning to often.

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Tips

  • For finer straining, go with a chinois strainer with wire mesh.
  • For rinsing fruits and vegetables, select a chinois strainer with larger holes or coarse mesh.
  • For added comfort and ease of use, look for a chinois strainer with a silicone or rubber-coated handle.
  • Consider picking up a silicone spatula or pestle to use with your chinois strainer.
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If your only purpose for getting a chinois strainer is to remove leaves from tea, make sure you choose one small enough to fit inside a mug.

FAQ

Q. Which size of chinois strainer is best: large or small?

A. The answer to this question depends on how you plan to use your chinois strainer. If you cook for multiple people, a larger strainer would probably meet your needs. If your straining requirements are minimal, a smaller chinois strainer will be there when you need it but will take up less room. Some cooks prefer to have one of each. Often, you can find chinois strainers that nest inside one another for storing convenience.

Q. Is a chinois strainer the same thing as a mesh strainer?

A. Not necessarily. Chinois strainers are conically shaped. There are a host of other mesh straining products you can buy for the kitchen as well. However, the conical shape lends itself to certain applications, such as finely straining sauces and soups.

Q. Is it hard to get a chinois strainer clean?

A. Not usually. The majority are made of stainless steel, which is dishwasher safe. We recommend flipping the strainer upside-down and spraying the inside of the basket with water to remove food particles before loading it into the dishwasher.

If you wash your chinois strainer by hand, use a soft dishcloth, warm water, and mild dish soap. To remove stuck-on food, try soaking the strainer in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes before cleaning it. Note that physical characteristics such as a deep basket or crevices within the basket or frame can result in more difficult cleanup.

 

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