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The kitchen towel is one of the most versatile tools in your kitchen. Having a good set of dish towels allows you to stabilize a cutting board, wipe down spills, and dry tools and your hands. Mostly made of cotton, they also work well as a banneton lining for your sourdough breads or for patting salmon dry before pan-frying. Kitchen towels can even stand in as an oven mitt to handle hot pans and pots. When choosing towels, you'll need to consider a few key factors, like the type of material, how absorbent it is, ease in washing and drying, how it handles glassware, and the size of the cloth.
We selected the best kitchen towels that cover a variety of uses.
Best Overall: Now Designs Ripple Dish Towel
Turkish cotton is well known for its softness and absorbency. It stands true for these kitchen towels as well. Measuring 24 x 18 inches, these towels are soft, thick, and incredibly absorbent. The Now Designs towels come in a set of two and many colors, from Bali Blue to London Grey and feature a ridged design. The versatile towels can be used to dry hands, pots, dinnerware, and even stemware. Easy to maintain as they are machine washable, they are a good addition to your kitchen linen collection.
Best Budget: Zeppoli Classic White Kitchen Towels
Made with strong and durable cotton material, these 25 x 14-inch kitchen towels showcase a herringbone weave that makes them lightweight, absorbent, and minimizes lint. They're quick to dry, which lowers the risk of mildew or any funky smells. Easy to wash and dry with minimal shrinkage, this 30-pack means you will have a constant supply of kitchen towels for your use. Keep a pair or two in your kitchen, and you will eliminate the need to use paper towels for all those little cleanup jobs.
Best for Food Prep: Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mops Towels
These Utopia Towels stand up to the rigors of food prep in both home and professional kitchens. Measuring 16 x 19 inches, the size is perfect to put under a chopping board to stabilize it, and the appropriate thickness makes it easy to give your knife a quick clean-up before getting on with the next chopping job.
Hemmed edges prevent unraveling, while the ring-spun cotton makes them super absorbent and lightweight. The terry loops on both sides create extra surface area for completely drying off all surfaces and scrubbing off spills without scratching any surfaces. At the end of the day, throw them in the wash, and they will be ready to tackle another busy kitchen day with you.
Best for Dishes: Zeppoli Flour Sack Towels
“I love drying dishes,” said no one ever, but it is a chore that just needs to be done. Why not make it easy with a kitchen towel that does most of the job for you?
Although the label says "flour sack" towels, this 12-pack of towels from Zeppoli is not produced from actual flour sacks like in the olden days. Made of natural ring-spun cotton, which is sturdy and highly absorbent, these lightweight towels make drying dishes an almost pleasant experience. Measuring 31 x 31 inches, these towels can be used to line a breadbasket, clean up spills, and cover vegetables. They are easy to wash and dry quickly.
Best Microfiber: Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels
If talking about microfiber makes you think of dull unimaginative towels, these Gryeer towels are going to be a fun surprise. The striped dish towels, which measure 26 x 18 inches, come in a dozen colors and are designed to absorb a lot of liquid. They dry dishes and cleanup surfaces leaving no trace of lint or fabric.
Composed of 80 percent polyester and 20 percent polyamide, you can even use these to clean counters, cabinet doors, and glass appliance doors. You may even find yourself polishing your wine glasses and tableware for no apparent reason. This pack of eight towels will keep you company in the kitchen for a long time.
Best Cotton: Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels
This 12-pack of flour sack dish towels are an excellent way to minimize use of paper towels in the kitchen. Soft enough to use for hand drying, they're also sturdy enough for all the vigorous kitchen tasks.
Measuring 28 x 28 inches, these towels are lint-free and machine washable. Flour-sack towels make some of the best dish drying towels because they are highly absorbent and leave no residue behind—just a streak-free shine. These are thin enough to be used as cheesecloths, or for cleaning up various tumbles and spills in the kitchen.
Best Waffle Weave: Mia's Dream Cotton Dish Towels
The Mia’s Dream kitchen towel's honeycomb design makes it lightweight, breathable, and absorbent. The waffle weave is known for being lint-free and soft on glassware. So, bring out the fine dishes and glasses. While 100 percent cotton towels can’t make cleaning up enjoyable, they will make it efficient. These towels come in a variety of colors that are made from non-toxic dyes. The size, 13 x 28 inches, is just right for many jobs in the kitchen. The towels have a hanging loop to make drying and storage easy.
Best Multipurpose: Harringdons Kitchen Dish Towels
Made with pure cotton, this is a commercial-grade towel that's great for home use. Generously sized at 28 x 20 inches, these towels feature the herringbone weave and are lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying. The weave on these towels is tight but not stiff. Use them for cleaning, hand drying, dish drying, or simply for all your baking-related projects. These towels are constructed to last and face the rigors of the kitchen. While they absorb a lot of liquid, they themselves do not get soggy, which allows you to get a lot more done with just one towel.
Best for Gifting: Anthropologie Baker Stripe Dish Towels
This set of four unique and decorative kitchen towels from Anthropologie make a great gift for someone who loves cooking and spending time in the kitchen. The whimsical and soft colors add a little splash of fun to your decor. Measuring 28 x 21 inches, these towels are thin and absorbent to make drying anything a breeze. The cotton fabric doesn’t wrinkle after washing, and the towels are machine washable.
Best for Embroidery: Aunt Martha's White Flour Sack Dish Towels
If you want to let your creative ideas take shape and custom-make embroidered kitchen towels, Aunt Martha’s flour sack towels are a good bet.
These 28 x 28 inch towels are fully hemmed, have a close weave made from 130-thread count, and are lint-free—all the things that are needed in a good base for embroidery. And once you have put your creative designs on them, these are excellent towels to use in the kitchen because of their lightweight and absorbent features. They also are great for proofing bread, rolling pies, and drying dishes.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
As a chef, Renu Dhar has cooked in different kitchens using a variety of kitchen towels. Over the years she has used most of these recommendations for various jobs in the kitchen.