4 Best Spider Skimmers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed
We fried, blanched and stirred veggies, hushpuppies and more to determine the best skimmers.
Our Top Spider Skimmer Picks
Tested by Michelle Warner for Food Network Kitchen
From scooping fried foods out of oil like donuts and fritters to mixing up a stir fry and blanching vegetables, a wire spider skimmer might be more of a kitchen essential than expected. Afterall, there really aren’t any substitute tools strong enough to withstand high oil heat while gentle enough to transport delicate foods like fish and dough. We can almost ensure you’ll be surprised how helpful these are in the kitchen. While a slotted spoon can be of use if you need to scoop some vegetables out of a large pot of boiling water its helpful to have a nice big skimmer that has a long handle to keep you at a safe distance. Spider skimmers don’t vary greatly, but there are some key factors that help some rank higher than others. We put them to the test to determine which are our favorites.
What to Consider Before Buying a Spider Skimmer
Depth: When determining which skimmer is right for you, take a look at the basket depth and consider what foods you are typically frying. If you like to make donuts, fritters and hushpuppies, a more-shallow basket might not provide the right control that you need. If you have too deep of a basket, however, you might find it cumbersome to quickly scoop and dispense smaller veggies. Overall, picking a skimmer with a basket that hits right in the middle is a good go-to.
Handle Length and Material: When you’re scooping food out of hot oil, you want to make sure the handle is long enough to protect your hands from getting hit with oil splatter. We also found that material and handle weight can make a difference, both when handling and when washing.
Type of Basket: When looking at skimmers, there are two styles: One that uses a thinner, woven wire to create a meesh basket and another that has multiple cylinders of thicker wire. While we found other factors to be more important than these two differences, it mainly comes down to preference. Overall, both will drain oil more efficiently and effectively than a slotted spoon would.
How We Tested
We put these skimmers through a full testing. We tested large and small veggies blanching in a pot of boiling water. We fried hushpuppies and tomatoes. We tested how easy it was to pull food out of a fryer and how well it left behind all the hot oil. Stir-frying a big wok of vegetables was our final test with each skimmer. We found it important to have a skimmer than can toss vegetable of different sizes evenly without splashing sauce. We also considered the handle. A sturdy handle on a spider skimmer is important to note since you’re moving hot food around a pot or pan, but you also want it to be comfortable to grip.
Traditional wire spider skimmers with bamboo handles are always a favorite, and this one from Helen Chen is sturdy and will last a lifetime. The basket on this skimmer is about 1.5-inches deep, putting it right in the middle point of most skimmers. Bamboo is a water-tough wood, so it’s great to toss in the dishwasher and you don’t have to worry about wearing out. Also, the handle won't heat up when using it in hot fry oil.
This version is a great take on a traditional mesh strainer with a metal handle. It’s a great tool for frying as well as if you’re blanching vegetables, as you can grab them out of the hot water and drop in an ice bath no problem. There’s a loop on the end of the handle that makes this an easy tool to hang, which is great because skimmers are not the easiest to keep in a drawer.
This is a pricier skimmer, but it delivers in quality and design. The weight in the handle is substantial, creating a nice counter balance when lifting out food from a pot. It is also really agile around a wok when stir frying vegetables.
This deeper skimmer has a nice scoop to grab wontons or potatoes out of a pot of simmering water. The plastic handle is heat resistant and has a good ergonomic shape making it the most comfortable one to use. The plastic handle and stainless-steel body also makes this dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.