These star strainers do a fine job of sifting dry ingredients, smoothing out sauces and more.
1) Vollrath Fine Wire 8-inch Mesh Strainer
(The budget chef)
UPSIDE Inexpensive; lightweight yet sturdy, with reinforced wire rims for added strength; two pan hooks for stability.
DOWNSIDE Uncomfortable wooden handle; not dishwasher-safe.
2) Norpro Stainless Steel 8-inch Mesh Strainer
(The sauce fanatic)
UPSIDE Superfine straining; comfortable rounded handle with finger grooves; dishwasher-safe.
3) Sur la Table Stainless Steel Wire-Handled Sieve
(The minimalist)$23, surlatable.comUPSIDE Long, flat handle provides stability over large pots and wide bowls.DOWNSIDE Expensive; shallow bowl; extra-long handle requires large storage space.
4) OXO Good Grips 8-inch Strainer
(The heavy-duty user)
UPSIDE Sturdy mesh; durable construction; long, flat handle provides stability over large pots and wide bowls; dishwasher-safe.
DOWNSIDE Expensive; heavy; weight causes handle to dig into hands.
5) KitchenAid 7-inch Strainer
(The new cook)
UPSIDE Lightweight yet sturdy; comfortable handle; wide pan hook provides stability; dishwasher-safe.
DOWNSIDE Small capacity; flimsy mesh; round handle makes it unstable set over a wide bowl or large pot; shallow bowl.
USE YOUR SIEVE TO...
Make an Omelet
Whisk eggs in it and they'll slide through into your skillet -- without those pesky bits of shell.
Dust Desserts with Confectioners' Sugar
Fill your sieve and lightly tap the side with your palm.
Steam Veggies and Grains
*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in February 2010.