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What Are the Different Types of Serving Spoons?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated May 16, 2024
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Serving spoons are utensils used to remove food from a main dish to individual plates. It is usually easy for a person to identify a serving spoon, because this type of utensil is much larger than a spoon used for eating. Some people choose serving spoons based on practicality, while other people may purchase fancy serving spoons specifically to create a stylish table presentation when entertaining guests. There are multiple types of spoons that are considered serving utensils. Some of these utensils include a standard serving spoon, wooden spoons, ladles and slotted spoons.

Traditional serving spoons are larger than both teaspoons and tablespoons. A typical serving spoon also has a longer handle so people at the table can easily serve themselves second helpings. Spoons intended for serving also are usually deeper and rounder than an eating spoon. Serving utensils can be made out of many materials, ranging from low-cost plastic to expensive silver.

Wooden spoons are often associated with cooking food, but they also can be used for serving. Foods such as salads and cold pastas can be served with wooden spoons. Wood salad spoons are sometimes sold in sets with large wooden serving forks. Slightly smaller wooden serving spoons also can come in handy for tables with a spread of cold appetizers. These spoons can be used for guests to serve themselves items such as olives or salsa.

Ladles also are considered a type of serving spoon. A very long handle is a key aspect of a ladle, because this feature makes it easy for a person to safely remove a hot serving of soup from a deep pot. A ladle is typically the deepest of all serving spoons, because it is designed for serving foods such as soup, oatmeal and stew. Some types of ladles will have curved tops or openings on top of their handle so they can be hung from a rack when not in use.

Slotted spoons are used to plate food that has been soaking in a liquid. Fruit salads are often served with slotted serving spoons. When a person is using a slotted spoon to serve someone, it is important for the server to remember to take a moment to lightly shake the spoon over the serving bowl to get any excess liquid to drain out of the spoon. A person who serves food too quickly using a slotted spoon risks getting juice or liquid on the table or on a guest.

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