Slotted spoons and tongs have their place, but certain dishes require a utensil with a little more finesse. And that can be tricky to come by, but it’s essential for the most delicate dishes—no one wants to squash tender donuts or crisp tempura during the cooking process. Originating in East Asian cuisine, spider skimmers are the answer.
Constructed from slim wire to form a shallow well, spider skimmers generally have wide spacing between their coils which makes for excellent drainage whether shallow frying or blanching. Its proportions mean that it can ferry a generous amount of food that’s dispersed evenly rather than stacked together and its light weight gives it a nimble feeling in the hand for extra precision.
Like every other kitchen tool, it comes in endless iterations that are difficult to sort through. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork by sifting through the best models to compile our list of the top four available on Amazon.
1. Hiware Skimmer Spider Strainer
What’s better than one great spider skimmer? Three. Hiware’s set is made from polished stainless steel and comes with three different versions of the utensil measuring 13.8 inches, 15 inches and 16.4 inches, respectively. Each of their wells is constructed from concentric circles of slender wire that allow for maximum drainage yet are spaced closely enough so as not to have tender foods easily fall through. So whether you’re fishing out tiny peas or airy fritters, it’ll work just as well.
2. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Spider
The spider skimmer was originally developed in East Asia and, as far as we’re concerned, its traditional design is just as good today as when it was first developed. If you’re looking for a skimmer that adheres to that more authentic style, try Helen Chen’s version which has a chicken wire-like basket and slim bamboo handle. Use it for everything from retrieving blanched vegetables from simmering broth to crisp french fries from golden oil. Its natural wood handle is sure to gain a rich patina over time that will make it truly unique.
3. Artyea Spider Strainer
Constructed with a wide six-inch basket, Artyea’s version of the spider skimmer is ideal for jobs where you have to handle large batches. Made from mirror-polished stainless steel, it has a sleek look backed up by pragmatic details, like the round, smooth handle that’s comfortable to grip for extended periods. Measuring just over 16 inches long, it’s the ideal length for keeping your hands a safe distance away from bubbling oil or water. Plus, its material means that whatever you use it for, it’ll be easy to clean.
4. Letschef Spider Strainer
Letschef’s version of the spider skimmer is an intelligent hybrid of old and new with a traditional mesh basket and a contemporary stainless steel handle. Measuring 10 inches in length, it’s a nice middle of the road choice that allows you to tackle a variety of jobs. Handmade, it features a stay-cool handle for comfort when dealing with especially hot preparation methods like deep frying or boiling. And being lightweight means that you can cook for extended periods without fatigue.