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First off, think about what you’d like to use them for – hot or cold food, serving or cooking, or maybe a pair that can handle just about anything. You can always go for a couple of different kinds if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen!
You’ll have a choice between scalloped pincers or a flatter edge similar to a spatula. Scalloped designs will be better at grabbing and keeping hold of items much like if you were using your hands – just be aware that if the edges are too jagged they may tear delicate items such as flaky fish or soft cakes.
On the other hand, flat-ended pincers are great for getting right underneath items without damaging them or their coating: think breaded chicken or vegetables, or dishes sitting in a sticky sauce or marinade that you want to scrape up every last drop of before serving. They can be a bit hit or miss when picking up smaller items, though.
There are many types of serving tongs out there, but the most common are “fork and spoon” tongs or those with curved ends. We recommend these designs particularly as they’re perfect for securing handfuls of food without too much liquid, such as salads or vegetables, as well as being able to pick up small, rounded items like pastries or bread rolls.
Serving tongs can be made of steel, but also of plastic as they’re not really intended for cooking. Metal tongs are durable, won’t absorb any odours or food stains, and can be used hot or cold, whereas plastic may crack or melt with heat, but will still be sufficient for cold foods.
You will have the option of curved/offset or straight, the choice of which is yours. Offset designs can be better at plating multiple items, as you have better reach without moving or damaging items you’ve already set on the plate.
Tweezer tongs can also be doubled up as cooking tongs, and although they won’t be much use for turning heavier items, they can be useful for flipping smaller foods in a pan or on the grill. Either way, it is best to look for those with enhanced grip to stop them slipping.
Shorter tongs, however, will give you better control over the preparing or serving of food, and will be fine if you’re only cooking for a couple of people as you may only ever serve up from smaller bowls.
In general, tongs of 8 inches are considered short, while your typical mid-sized pair will measure 9 or 10 inches. Those looking for longer tongs suitable for most uses can go for 12 inches, or all the way up to to 16 inches for an extra-long pair.
Tongs with silicone tips are also a good choice if you don’t want to scratch your non-stick pots and frying pans. Additionally, they're gentler at handling delicate items and can get a better grip on slippery foods, so you can extract your lovingly made-ravioli from their vat of water without going into a chef-style meltdown.
If you usually hook your utensils on a kitchen rail for storage, it’s also worth checking if the tongs have a ring for hanging them up.
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OXO Good Grips
1. OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs
The Best Multipurpose Tongs for Every Cook
3. Joe Wicks Elevated Cooking Tongs
Flat Tongs Boasting Safe Handling and No Counter Drips
2. Cuisipro Commercial Quality Stainless Steel Tongs
Sturdy, Simple, and Commercial Kitchen-Approved
4. iNeibo Kitchen Silicone Tongs, Pack of 2｜Set of 2
Practical Silicone-Tipped Tongs
5. Global Utility and Serving Tongs｜Set of 2
A Great Budget Pair for Serving, BBQ and Kitchen Use
6. John Lewis and Partners BBQ Tongs
The Tong and Tweezer Hybrid
7. May Steel Kitchen Tweezers
Long Tweezers for Both Plating and Cooking
8. Joseph Joseph Turner Tongs
Cleverly-Designed Heatproof Tongs
9. KitchenCraft Serving Tongs
Simple and Smart Serving Tongs
10. Wüsthof Gourmet Tweezer Tongs｜7726
Precise Plating From a Favourite Brand Among Chefs
They're comfortable to use too, with an easy ring-pull locking mechanism and a ridged silicone grip. However, you will have to be mindful of the fact that the silicone does not extend to the tips, so they may be a bit rough on delicate items or precious pans.
They're also made not from steel or silicone but from heat-resistant nylon, so they're able to be used for stir fries, baking, and deep frying alike. Though sadly not lockable, they do have a hole for hanging.
You can buy all the high-tech culinary gadgets under the sun, but the trusty old essentials will always be the most useful items in the kitchen! With your tongs sorted, why not check out some of our other recommendations?
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
No. 1: OXO Good Grips｜1. OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs
No. 2: Joe Wicks｜3. Joe Wicks Elevated Cooking Tongs
No. 3: Cuisipro｜2. Cuisipro Commercial Quality Stainless Steel Tongs
No. 4: iNeibo｜4. iNeibo Kitchen Silicone Tongs, Pack of 2｜Set of 2
No. 5: Harmiey｜5. Global Utility and Serving Tongs｜Set of 2
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