A good set of tongs can make cooking easier and safer. They’re useful for grabbing hot noodles out of a pot of boiling water, turning food in a hot pan, snagging the lid off a hot pot, or serving foods. And while many people probably have a basic set lying around their kitchen, investing in a new pair to use on nonstick cookware or when barbecuing and serving can make all the difference. Before buying a set of tongs, consider their use. Need to pick up hot and heavy meat? Then you'll want something sturdy. Are you cooking on the grill? A long handle will do.
Tongs can be made from a variety of different materials, each with its own pros and cons. Metal can handle high heat, but all-metal tongs aren’t flexible and may damage nonstick cookware. Tongs with silicone or nylon tips are safe for nonstick but may not be able to handle super-high heat. Wooden tongs have their own niche, too. No material is wrong—it just depends on how you use the tongs.
Tongs can be very basic, but to be competitive, companies add features that can be useful—or not. Some tongs can lock closed, some have holes for hanging, and some are built for specific purposes. The truth is that a single set of tongs may not be adequate in the kitchens of serious cooks who may need different styles for several different tasks.
Even the most expensive tongs on our list aren’t budget-breakers, but some tongs are certainly a bargain. For infrequent use, opt for inexpensive tongs. However, for cooks who use tongs every day, extra features and superior durability are more appealing.
Can you use silicone tongs on a grill?
Most silicone cooking tools can withstand high temperatures up to 400 degrees and sometimes higher. With that said, some gas grills get much hotter than that, and putting silicone in contact with an open flame has the potential to melt or burn your silicone-covered tongs. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use metal tongs for your next grilling adventure.
What's the best way to store kitchen tongs?
Storing tongs varies, depending on the style of tongs you have. If your tongs lock together, they can be stored in a drawer with other cooking tools or a countertop utensil holder. Some tongs are designed with hooks at the end to hang from a wall-mounted tool rack. These will ensure your tongs stay in good shape. If your tongs don’t lock together or have a hanging hook, hang them in the open position on the side of a utensil holder or over a wall-mounted toolbar. You can also band them together to fit comfortably in a holder or drawer.
How do you clean tongs?
Most tongs are dishwasher safe and should be washed at a high temperature to thoroughly sanitize them after use. If you don’t have a dishwasher or are using wooden tongs, they can be washed with hot soapy water and a scrubby sponge. Sometimes, due to the shape of some tongs, food bits or cooking grease get lodged into hard-to-reach places in your tongs. If this happens, soak your tongs in hot soapy water for 20 minutes or so, and use a small scrub brush to reach into the tong handles or crevices to clean out any cooking debris.