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May/June 2017

Lid Holders

Do you really need a lid holder? Turns out, you just might.

How We Tested

Here’s a scenario familiar to most cooks: You lift the lid of a pot to stir or add ingredients and have nowhere to put that lid without taking up and dirtying valuable counter or stovetop space. Lid holders promise to save that space and keep your work zone clean. We were skeptical as to whether any of these gadgets were really worth buying, so we put them to the test, gathering four models priced from $11.99 to $80.00 and using them to hold nine lids of different sizes (from 6 to 13 inches in diameter and from 9 ounces to nearly 6 pounds in weight) and materials (steel, glass, cast iron). Three were essentially heat-resistant stands with troughs that cradled the lids and contained any drips; a fourth model held lids faceup, so they couldn’t drip in the first place.

One of the lid holders failed at its primary function—lids of every size rocked and slipped around in the shallow trough, never quite finding a good resting place. The other three models did a good job of handling lids of different sizes. In general, we preferred petite lid holders to big ones. Though smaller models caught slightly fewer drips when we made them hold hot, tomato sauce–laden lids, their more modest footprints meant they took up less room on the counter. All the lid holders were easy to clean and reasonably durable, surviving our abuse testing (placing and removing a heavy Dutch oven lid 100 times for each) with just minor scuffing. Better still, most could simultaneously hold the lids as well as dirty ladles, spoons, or spatulas.

But one particular lid holder’s versatility really won us over. The Yamazaki Home Ladle and Lid Stand ($18.00) held every lid and utensil we asked it to, and it was the only model that could also hold tablets and even magazines—doing so just as securely as our favorite tablet stand. This sturdy, compact lid holder took up very little space, and it’s so chic and handy that we wouldn’t mind keeping it on the counter all the time.

Methodology

We tested four lid holders priced from $11.99 to $80.00. We evaluated their stability, footprint, and basic function with lids of different sizes and materials. We also tested their mess retention with hot, spattered lids that had sat over simmering tomato sauce for 10 minutes. We tested their additional uses (holding utensils, holding tablets, and acting as a trivet) and then evaluated their durability by setting down and removing the lid for our favorite 7.25-quart Dutch oven 100 times. All models were purchased online, and they appear in order of preference.

LID ACCOMMODATION: We awarded more points to models that securely held lids of different sizes and materials.

DESIGN: We awarded more points to models with small footprints that sat stably on the countertop.

MESS RETENTION: We gave more points to models that did a better job of containing any drips that fell from the hot pot lids or utensils.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.