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If you’re reaching for folded up dish towels to handle the hot stuff in your kitchen, it’s time to consider new and safer options. You need better gear to protect yourself from molten hot pizza stones, fajita-sizzling cast iron, scorching splashes of boiling pasta water, and chili-filled Dutch ovens that weigh a ton. There’s a pot holder or oven mitt out there that will match your kitchen, feel comfortable in your hand, and keep you free from burns.
Here are the best oven mitts and pot holders.
Best Overall Oven Mitts: Homwe Extra-Long Professional Silicone Oven Mitt
Cover hands and lower arms
Textured for more secure grip
Thinner and flexible
Keep lining dry to avoid heat transfer
Many modern oven mitts incorporate silicone into their design. This can result in thick, bulky, and hard-to-maneuver mitts. These mitts, on the other hand, are thinner and more flexible than you’d expect. They give you all the dexterity you want in the kitchen. They’re lightweight and stand up to heavy use.
The lightly patterned surface makes them exceptionally grippy. The design offers ample coverage to protect your arms as well as your hands from the heat of the oven and hot pots and pans. If you’re in camp mitt, this pair is sure to exceed your expectations.
Material: Silicone and polyester | Dimensions: 11 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
“For me, oven mitt and pot holder material doesn’t matter as much as the size. Get oven mitts that are long and come up your arm. The longer the mitt, the better, as I always hit my arms on hot pans.” — Rebecca Bloom, Baker and Founder of Piedaho Bakery
Best Overall Pot Holders: Ritz Royale Collection 100 Percent Cotton Terry Cloth Pot Holder
Eight color choices
Easy to wash
May need to be replaced quickly
Less safe with heavier pots and pans
The trend in pot holders and oven mitts alike has been toward higher-tech materials and novel designs in recent years, but traditionalists will love this old-school pot holder. It will likely remind you of the ones your grandmother has used since before you were born.
Fluffy terry cloth provides better heat protection than flat fabrics. It conforms easily to pot handles when you grab them, leaving heavy, hot items feeling secure in your grasp. Yet, it isn’t flimsy—the terry cloth can stand up to cast iron skillets that have been roasting in a 500-degree oven. When this pot holder gets grimy, just toss it in the washer and dryer. Another bonus? The timeless, no-frill square will also double as a trivet.
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.25 x 0.25 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best Silicone: Oxo Good Grips Silicone Pot Holder
Pot holder/mitt combo design
Textured non-slip silicone grip
Sold individually, not as a set
This pot holder is more comfortable to hold than many others made from silicone. It’s also surprisingly agile in your hand. A silicone ring is attached for easy hanging, and although you can’t toss it in the washing machine, it wipes up very easily after splatters or spills.
The OXO Good Grips Silicone Pot Holder is available in neutral white and black as well as cherry red, should you want a pop of color for your kitchen. Like other pot holders of this style, it can serve as a trivet at the table.
Material: Silicone | Dimensions: 9.75 x 7.5 x 0.25 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
“I really like silicone oven mitts, and if you could, try sourcing sustainable silicone. It is very sturdy and usually lasts a lifetime. You’ll also know you’re helping the environment by not having to buy new ones every year or so.” — Domenica Lazo, Assistant Application Chef at Barry Callebaut
Best Hybrid: Ritz Royale Terry Cloth Mitz
Pot holder/mitt combo design
Attractive color choices
Sold in set of 4
May not fit larger hands comfortably
Can’t decide between pot holders and oven mitts? This design offers a best-of-both-worlds quality, straddling the oven mitt/pot holder divide. It's easier to maneuver than the typical oven mitt, yet it offers more coverage than your standard pot holder. It's also a snap to put on and off. Made from sturdy cotton and terry cloth, it can go into your washer and dryer.
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.75 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best for Large Hands: Big Red House Oven Mitts
Thick cotton mitts with silicone grip
Fits large and small hands
Safer for extra hot and heavy items
Silicone may peel off in washing machine
These mitts fit comfortably over big hands thanks to a spacious interior. They were designed by a chef who knows what home cooks want in their oven mitts. Even though there’s plenty of space for meaty paws, they are also comfortable for smaller hands as well, making them a good choice in multi-cook households.
They have a good combo of silicone and cotton, so they're easy to maneuver while still being great for grabbing hot items, like steamy dinner casseroles. The terry cloth lining makes them comfy to wear and even more heat resistant.
Material: Cotton and silicone | Dimensions: 12.5 x 7 x 2 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best for Small Hands: Le Creuset Fingertip Pot Holders
Teflon-coated nylon resists steam and grease
Safe for machine washing
Doesn't cover wrists or arms
While oven mitts built to accommodate larger hands can be beneficial for many cooks, they may be unwieldy and difficult to use for smaller hands. The entire grip is taken up by holding onto the glove itself, and it’s hard to get a grip on the pot or pan you’re trying to move. These smaller potholders have pockets on the top and the bottom for fingers to slide into above and a thumb pocket below for a more natural grip. The potholders maintain heat resistance with Teflon-coated nylon, lined with a thick cotton terry cloth padding. Measuring eight inches long and five inches wide, these potholders are built to fit snugly in the palm of your hand.
Material: Cotton and nylon | Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.6 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best With Fingers: Grill Armor Gloves Extreme Heat-Resistant Oven Gloves
Extremely high heat resistant
Glove shaped instead of mitts
Cuffs for wrist and lower arm protection
Light fabric color shows stains easily
Thick and sturdy, but lightweight, these oven gloves will let your fingers feel free. The surface is trimmed with silicone grips to keep pot handles and utensils firmly in hand. You can confidently reach into your hot oven and move things around without worrying about burns.
The cuff means your wrists will be protected as well. If you’ve ever felt like a traditional oven mitt hinders your freedom of movement and ability to grab hot cookware, these are just what you’ve been looking for. Remember, like most oven mitts and pot holders, these aren’t waterproof, and if they get wet, you’re more likely to get burned.
Material: Cotton and silicone | Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 1 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best Farmhouse Style: Food52 x Farmhouse Pottery Double Oven Mitt
Beautiful cotton and linen patterns
Attractive farmhouse aesthetic and storage
Covers arms and torso from heat
More expensive option
Difficult for turning large sheet trays
These are oven mitts that function like one very long pot holder with deep mitts at each end. While not the most contemporary style, these cotton-insulated oven mitts are styled with a classic farmhouse design and beautiful cotton and linen fabrics. The pockets are large enough for nearly all hand sizes, and the connecting material is large enough to wrap around large stock pots to protect both your arms and torso from the heat. For storage, the potholders can either be laid flat or hung over the oven door handle for quick access while cooking. The oven mitts can be machine washed, but it’s recommended that they lay flat to dry to avoid shrinking.
Material: Yarn-dyed linen and cotton | Dimensions: 8 x 34.5 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
If you're in the market for an oven mitt, we recommend the Homwe Extra-Long Professional Silicone Oven Mitt (view at Amazon) because it's lightweight and flexible, but stands up to heat and heavy use. As for a pot holder, the Ritz Royale Collection Terry Cloth Pot Holder (view at Amazon) is a nostalgic, machine-washable option that ensures better heat protection than flat fabrics.
What to Look for in a Pot Holder or Oven Mitt
Pot Holder vs. Oven mitt
People tend to prefer either a pot holder or an oven mitt when cooking, based mainly on what feels most comfortable to use with a secure grip. For some people who like the ease of kitchen towels but find they need more insulation, a traditional pot holder is a rational choice. For those who find themselves getting singed going in and out of the oven or pouring sauce out of a pot, an oven mitt is the safer option. The decision ultimately depends on how much protection you’re looking for and what feels the most secure. Also, it’s a good idea to keep both handy for different situations so that you’re covered.
Traditionally, pot holders and oven mitts are made with cotton, either in one thick layer of terry cloth or quilted. This is how many options today are still made. A more contemporary option is silicone, used for its slip-resistant grip, water and grease resistance, and high heat capacity. Typically silicone gloves are lined with cotton for additional protection, or thicker cotton mitts and holders have a silicone coating. Additionally, some mitts are made with materials like Teflon-coated nylon to provide a thick layer of protection that helps resist steam and oil.
There is no wrong option when it comes to material. The most important thing to remember when using gloves made of any material is that they should be kept dry. If they get damp or wet while you’re using them, their heat resistance is severely diminished, and you risk getting burnt through your mitt.
As a general rule, oven mitts provide more hand and wrist coverage than pot holders alone. Oven mitts come in different lengths, which you should consider if you’re prone to burning yourself while cooking. Pot holders fit in the palm of your hand, but can also provide extra coverage with pockets for fingers.
Most oven mitts and pot holders are safe to clean in the washing machine, although care should be taken when drying. Since most are made with cotton components, they have the potential to shrink in the dryer, and line drying is the safest option. Realize that your mitts will likely stain and get burnt over time, which will never entirely wash out. The sturdier the holder you begin with, the longer it should last.
How do you store oven mitts and pot holders?
The best spot to store oven mitts and pot holders is close to your stove, either hanging on an adjacent wall or in a convenient under-counter drawer. You may be tempted to store them in that mysterious drawer under the oven, but beware. Some ovens have drawers that are simply storage, but whatever you store there must be able to withstand prolonged exposure to possibly high heat. Other oven drawers are warming or broiling tools. If that is the case, you may accidentally push a button or activate the heating function and cook whatever is in there. In this case, it is a fire hazard.
Ultimately, all oven mitts and potholders are flammable at a certain point. For safety reasons it is best to store them away from the oven, but close enough to grab easily. Most come with a loop for hanging, taking up less real estate in your kitchen.
What are the differences between oven mitts and pot holders, and what are their uses?
The biggest difference between oven mitts and pot holders is the coverage area. Pot holders are squares of material, usually with a hanging loop on the end and sometimes a pocket on the backside. They do not cover your hand or arms to protect from burns, but are much easier to maneuver than longer oven mitts. They also make great trivets for hot dishes or quick grabs to move pots around on the stove or remove a hot lid.
Oven mitts encapsulate your whole hand, wrist, and part of your arm, fully protecting your skin from contact burns. They are bulkier than pot holders, but offer security in the kitchen when pulling a pan of bubbling lasagna or fudgy brownies out of the oven. They also come in various lengths if you are looking for something less cumbersome.
Can oven mitts catch on fire?
Heat resistance is an important consideration when choosing oven mitts, but no matter what temperatures the material withstands, all are flammable when exposed to an open flame or long-term high heat. Fabric oven mitts are more likely to catch fire if left near open flame, but even high heat-resistant neoprene, silicone, and aramid will burn eventually if left unattended
Can silicone oven mitts handle cast iron?
Cast iron cookware conducts very high heat, and silicone is a great choice for oven mitt material to handle extreme temperatures. Most silicone oven mitts are heat-resistant beyond the normal 400-degree threshold, which makes them an excellent option for cast iron’s range of 500 degrees or more.
Can you wash silicone oven mitts in the dishwasher?
You should always check the manufacturer's instructions. That said, silicone should easily withstand the top rack of a dishwasher. They are crafted to be high heat-resistant and durable. If your silicone mitts have a cotton liner, it is often removable and can be machine washed. Be sure all water is drained from mitts once the wash cycle is finished to avoid unpleasant odors or bacteria growth.
Do you need to replace oven mitts after a certain amount of time?
If you care for your oven mitts properly, they will last a very long time. You will know it is time to replace them when they start to become threadbare or the material starts to degrade. Once the material thins, it loses its efficacy and will not provide the necessary protection from high heat, but don’t just throw them out. Oven mitts make great dusters and can be recycled for house cleaning rather than adding to the landfill.
What heat resistance do you need for oven mitts?
To be safe, make sure your oven mitts can withstand temperatures starting at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds. If you cook often with cast iron or extreme heat, look for material that is more in the 500- to 550-degree range.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Joy Manning is a food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. She’s the author of "Almost Meatless" and "Stuff Every Cook Should Know."
This roundup was updated by Jenny Kellerhals, a food writer and professional pastry chef for over a decade in NYC. Oven mitts that resist steam and oil are an essential part of every pastry kitchen, and Jenny prefers the Oxo Good Grips Pot Holders or the Le Creuset Fingertip Pot Holders for daily use.
Carrie Honaker also updated this article. She is a food writer who has pulled thousands of hot pans out of the oven. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of protecting your hands and arms with a reliable pair of oven mitts. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.