Most home chefs have a wide variety of spoons sitting in their kitchen, but not everyone knows how to make the best use of each unique style. Read on to learn more about the different types of spoons and their many uses.
25 Types of Spoons & Their Uses
Humans have been using spoons for millennia, but the modern version we recognize didn’t appear until the 1700s. Nowadays, there are countless types of spoons that fall into one of several categories:
- Spoons for eating
- Spoons for drinking
- Spoons for cooking
- Spoons for serving
In this guide, we’ll show you the most common types of spoons today and how to make good use of them.
What Are the Different Types of Spoons?
If you want to make the most out of your kitchen, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of spoons that you can use. Here, we’re going to discuss some of the most common spoons used today.
1. Spoons for Eating
When most people think of spoons, the first thing that comes to mind is sipping on hot soup. Many styles of spoons are designed with meals in mind, from soup spoons for ladling to dessert spoons for scooping.
This rounded spoon is smaller than a soup spoon but shares its large, circular design that helps cool brothy soups quickly. People also often use bouillon spoons for cold or jellied soups.
Caviar reacts with traditional metal flatware, absorbing the flavor for an unpleasant tasting experience. Instead, caviar spoons contain nonreactive materials such as ivory, pearl, or wood. They are usually smaller than the average spoon to fit inside the lip of caviar jars.
Also known as a “duck spoon,” these thick, porcelain utensils are often seen at Chinese restaurants. They are used to scoop both broth or sauce and solids together in dishes such as ramen or curry.
As the name suggests, you’re supposed to use dessert spoons to eat the sweets that come after your meal. A small bowl and a long, elegant handle make it easy to enjoy dishes such as ice cream or creme brulee. However, many people also use dessert spoons for dishes such as beans or cereal.
While most people might not be familiar with an egg spoon, it can be a valuable tool when eating soft-boiled eggs from the shell. The spoon’s bowl is short, shallow, and rounded, making it the perfect shape and size for scraping the inside of an average egg.
French Sauce Spoon
The French sauce spoon is a relatively recent invention, only becoming popularized in the 1950s. It has a small, thin design with a deep bowl and a notched tip for pouring. This type of spoon makes it easy to scoop and eat the leftover sauce after a meal.
Grapefruits are notoriously difficult to peel and eat, and so this spoon helps to make quick work of unwanted rinds. A small, shallow bowl with jagged edges and a long handle allow you to separate the flesh from the skin without trouble. Grapefruit spoons are also ideal for eating other citrus fruits as well as melons.
Also known as a “gumbo spoon,” this spoon design allows you to eat thick, creamy soups such as chowders. They have a large, shallow bowl for efficient scooping and cooling, with enough space to pick up chunks of meat and veggies along the way.
You can eat desserts served in a tall glass with a parfait spoon thanks to its long, slim handle and teaspoon-sized bowl. In addition to parfaits, this includes milkshakes, sundaes, ice cream, sorbet, and much more.
Like a French Sauce Spoon, a saucier spoon has a notch for pouring at the tip of the head, making it easy to drizzle sauces. However, the overall shape is wider and shallower, making this spoon less than ideal for directly eating sauce.
You commonly see soup spoons in table settings at home and restaurants. While the design is technically for soup, the large, round bowl is incredibly versatile. Many people use soup spoons as a general eating utensil, whether they’re sipping on soup, having a bowl of cereal, or enjoying a side of rice.
The spork is a relatively recent craze to hit the markets. The spoon’s head features blunt prongs, allowing you to scoop or stab food as necessary. Some sporks even go the extra mile and include a knife built into the handle.
2. Spoons for Drinking
While most dining spoons are for eating food, some help us enjoy our beverages more easily. There are several types of spoons designed to stir and mix drinks.
These small, often metal spoons are used for stirring and sipping coffee, most often as an after-dinner treat. Nowadays, most people have replaced coffee spoons with slightly bigger teaspoons.
This spoon style is even smaller than a coffee spoon, making it ideal for use with a cappuccino or espresso mug. Historically, Demitasse spoons are highly ornate, with carved handles and sometimes heads.
Iced Tea Spoon
In the South, iced tea is such a popular beverage it merits its own spoon for stirring in fruit and sugar. Iced tea spoons boast a long handle and a small, rounded head so that you can reach the bottom of the glass when mixing.
Bar spoons have a small, shallow head similar to that of a teaspoon, but they have a much longer handle. A bar spoon allows you to mix drinks in tall glasses or tumblers without spilling or wetting your hand. Often, the handle has texture for a superior grip.
Tea drinkers may recognize a mote spoon as the small, perforated spoon accompanying most serving sets. You can use this type to scoop loose tea leaves from a brew before drinking it.
3. Spoons for Cooking and Serving
Some spoons are either too large or too specialized for use when eating. Instead, these spoons help you cook more efficiently or improve your serving style during meals.
A berry spoon has a large, shallow, rounded bowl. This design makes it easy to scoop and serve berries without crushing or bruising them. Some also come with slots for serving berries in syrup.
If you’re trying to serve crumbling desserts such as cakes or shortbread, a bonbon spoon gives you a fashionable way to dish out food without making a mess. Some have perforations to allow for controlled dishing of nuts, crumbs, and other treats.
You can scoop beautiful spoonfuls of jelly or jam straight from the jar with a traditional jelly spoon. Most have a shallow bowl and carved or clouded edges so that your servings of jelly have some definition to them.
Almost all home cooks are familiar with the standard ladle. This spoon has a long handle and a deep, angled head for easy dipping. It can hold a decent volume of liquid at once, making it a good serving tool for soups and sauces.
Slotted spoons are large, typically with a moderately deep, rounded bowl. They may have perforations in the base, which is better for food such as peas and beans, or there may be larger slots for foods such as whole vegetables or cuts of meat.
A spaghetti spoon has a deep, rounded bowl similar to a ladle, but the edges often have ridges while the base has slots. This design allows you to better grip long noodles such as spaghetti and drain any excess liquid before serving.
The tablespoon originated as the everyday spoon to use at meals, but nowadays, many people use it as a measurement as well. A tablespoon can hold up to 15 mL of liquid.
Like the tablespoon, the teaspoon gets used largely to measure when cooking. However, some people still use teaspoons to stir and drink tea, thanks to their small, lightweight size. A teaspoon is equivalent to 5 mL.
Things to Consider
It can sometimes be a challenge to decide what type of spoon to use in the kitchen. There are a couple of things that you should consider when choosing the right spoon:
- Large, shallow spoons promote fast cooling and congealing
- Deep spoons such as ladles keep liquids warm and fresh
- Slotted spoons allow you to scoop solid food out of broth or liquid
- Metal and ceramic make better insulators than wood or plastic
- Spoons made of metal or ceramic may damage Teflon and other delicate cookware
- Some foods, such as caviar, react with materials such as metal and require an inert spoon
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, we’ll answer some of the most common questions people have about the different types of spoons.
What kind of utensil is a spoon?
Spoons are a common style of cutlery found in most Western cultures. While there are many different varieties, they all share the same basic design. At the top is a shallow, hollowed-out bowl used for scooping, known as the head. This head is attached to a handle for ease of use.
How many types of spoons are there?
There is a near-endless variety of different types of spoons that you can find available at your local home goods store or restaurant supply shop. In some places, certain styles may also go by other names.
What spoons are used for measuring?
Tablespoons and teaspoons are some of the most common spoons used to measure liquids or powders. One teaspoon holds 5 mL, while one tablespoon holds 15 mL. Most measuring spoon sets also contain half or quarter measurements for easier cooking.
What is a spoon and pusher?
While pushers are no longer widely used, you may sometimes see them included in formal table settings or sold with nice silverware sets. A pusher is a flat, shovel-like utensil used to move food onto a spoon.
What are the spoons in a table setting?
Typically, you will see three spoons present in a traditional table setting. At the top of the plate, a small dessert spoon sits above a cake fork. There will be a large soup spoon used in early courses to the rightmost side of the plate. To the soup spoon’s immediate left sits a smaller teaspoon.
So, How Many Types of Spoons Are There?
While we’ve covered the most common types of spoons that you’ll see in your kitchen or dining room, this is only a fraction of the styles out there.
Spoons come in every shape and size to help improve our culinary experience, from cooking to serving. When you know the best type of spoon to suit your needs, you’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make during mealtimes.