Oven mitts are a very common but often much overlooked household item. Anywhere you have a kitchen, you will almost certainly find at least one oven mitt. But few people know just how many great new designs and materials are available that could make your cooking experiment not only less painful but more comfortable.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the different kinds of materials oven mitts can come in as well as the different styles and designs so that you can choose the very best oven mitts for your baking and roasting needs!
Types Of Oven Mitt Material
There are many different materials being used to make great oven mitts. The differences in materials are mostly in two key areas: the maximum temperature it can withstand and the length of time you can hold a dish before the heat transfers to your hand and burns you.
- Cotton oven mitts: this the traditional material. It can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit but this is only for a few seconds since cotton is a very breathable fabric which heat can quickly pass through. Most cooking in the oven is done at much higher temperatures than 200 degrees so you might often find yourself using potholders in addition to your oven mitts for added layers of protection.
- Rubber oven mitts: the most dreaded fear of anyone carrying a piping hot dish from the oven to the counter is slippage. You can get seriously hurt if that boiling lasagna were to splatter all over you or the cake you’ve been laboring over for hours could be destroyed in a matter of seconds. If slippage is a problem, rubber is your solution. Even without special design, the material itself offers a much more secure grip than cotton. It also lets you hold the dish for longer without the heat transferring because the material is not as breathable (which can mean sweaty hands but that’s a small price to pay).
- Silicone oven mitts: silicone can withstand maximum temperatures as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit and that can last for as long as 30 seconds of holding the dish. It’s also much more flexible than rubber so you won’t have to struggle with a stiff glove that won’t let you get the secure hold on the dish you need.
In addition to these 3 most widely used ones, you can also find neoprene (wet suit material), Kevlar (bulletproof vest material), and more.
How To Choose The Right Material
You want to choose your material based on your own needs. What temperatures are you usually working with in your kitchen? How long do you have to hold the dish after you take it out of the oven and before you can set it down somewhere safe? For extended times, you need something with a higher heat tolerance.
Do you struggle with slippery or difficult to grip dishes? Then you definitely want to skip the cotton and go for a rubber oven mitt which usually have nonslip surfaces to make sure that dish of piping hot food does not slip out of your hands and wreak havoc on you and your kitchen.
Types Of Oven Mitt Designs
In addition to choosing the perfect material, you can also choose from a number of different styles.
- Mitten: this is the classic design—no individual slots for the finger, just one large pocket for your 4 fingers and a separate pocket for your thumb. This is perfectly fine if you don’t need the use of individual fingers while taking the dish out.
- Fingered glove: fingered gloves provide protection while also letting you move each finger individually. This allows you to comfortably hold even the more tricky dishes. It’s great if you find you would still like more maneuverability in your fingers while holding hot dishes fresh out of the oven.
- Long oven mitts: This is a unique design that mimics a towel. It’s a long piece of fabric (or other material) with pockets at each end where you slide your hands in. It’s great for dishes that you grab from the sides. If you have dishes where you need to support the bottom as you pull it out, a long oven mitt can make the task a little difficult.
- Double oven mitt: most oven mitts are sold as a single item. But having a double set offers one more level of safety. Even for dishes that can be gotten with just one hand, it’s nice to have a second gloved hand at the ready in case of unexpected emergencies. And there are many dishes that require both hands to hold securely. Two complementary mitts can give you a wider range of movement than a single long oven mitt.
How To Choose The Right Design
When choosing design, you need to consider what kind of functionality and maneuverability you need. A long oven mitt protects you from accidentally burning your wrists or arms on the dish. A fingered glove lets you get a more secure hold on the dish. Getting a double set ensures that you can use both hands to hold the steaming hot dish (which decreases your risk of dropping it).
Decide what your highest priorities are and choose a design based on those priorities.
The best kitchen mitts can and should be more than just a thin barrier between you and scalding hot temperatures. You want something that can withstand the highest temperatures your oven can reach and will keep you protected even if you have to hold the dish longer than a few seconds.
You might also want more hand maneuverability in case you have a difficult to hold dish or need your hands for other things while holding the dish. Whatever your needs are, it’s important to shop around and find the kitchen mittens that will perfectly suit those needs instead of just buying the first pair you find.