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Oh sure, we call them turkey basters and think about buying them when Thanksgiving approaches, but basters can come in handy any time of the year—think roasts and steaks. In addition to adding the cooking juices from the pan back onto your meat, they’re also useful for removing hot liquids from pots or pans or for removing a layer of fat from a simmering stock.
Basters are simple to use: Just squeeze the bulb, put the tip in the liquid, and release the bulb to suck up the juice. Then remove from the drippings and squeeze the bulb again to release. Believe it or not, there are many variations. You'll want to factor in size, material, and whether or not the baster includes measurement marks when making your decision on which turkey baster to purchase.
In order to determine the best turkey baster in several categories, we sent some top-rated options to our experienced at-home product reviewer to test side by side. After using each with a turkey or roast, the basters were then rated on design, quality, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tests also revealed information about their versatility and what they might be best suited for in the kitchen.
Check out the best turkey basters, according to our testing.
Best Overall: Tovolo Dripless Baster
Cleaning brush included
No measurements on baster body
Tip could get lost easily
Can roll on the counter
The most annoying thing about basters is that they can drip and make a mess, but this baster has solved the problem with a small valve that keeps the liquid inside the baster instead of leaking onto your oven or counters. While other basters claim to be dripless, this one passed that test handily with both thin and thick liquids.
The baster’s tube is clear so you can see how much liquid you have and it fits comfortably in your hand so you can baste often or use the baster to remove liquid from a pot or pan. A similar model is also available with a stainless steel tube that will never break.
This is heat resistant to 600 degrees, so it can be used for boiling liquids with no worries about melting or cracking. The baster’s tip is removable for a thorough cleaning, and all parts are dishwasher safe. A spare tip and a cleaning brush are included as well.
Material: Clear plastic tube | Size: 12 inches long | What’s Included: Extra tip and cleaning brush
"The number of uses is practically unlimited, as long as the sauce isn’t too thick or chunky."
Best Turkey Set: OXO Good Grips Roasting Set
Foot on tube keeps it stable on counter
Draws up a lot of liquid
No injector attachment
Perfect for a new kitchen, a first Thanksgiving, or to replace an old set of tools, this set includes the two tools you need for perfect roasting and gravy making: a baster and a fat separator.
The baster has an angled tip that makes it easy to get the juices from the bottom of a roasting pan and a silicone bulb that’s easy to hold and squeeze. The baster tube is clear and has measurements in both U.S. and metric, so you can see how much juice you’ve collected. This did a great job drawing up liquid, filling the entire tube well past the last measurement of 1 1/2 ounces, so we got a lot of basting done with each squeeze. It also worked well with thick liquids. In fact, our reviewer found it had the best suction of all the basters we tested.
During testing, the baster didn’t drip at all when held upright, but it did drip just a little when it was held at an angle. The integrated foot attached to the baster tube keeps the curved tip upright on the counter when it’s not in use, so it won’t drip and make a mess in between your basting sessions.
The 4-cup fat separator has a strainer lid to keep the large bits out and an innovative plug on the spout that keeps fat from entering the spout. Measurements on the side let you see how much liquid you have and make it useful as a standard measuring cup all year long. Both the baster and fat separator are dishwasher safe, but a cleaning brush is also included if you prefer washing by hand.
Material: Clear plastic tube | Size: 12 inches long | What’s Included: Gravy separator, cleaning brush
"The one thing I liked best was that the baster sucked up so much liquid with each squeeze."
Best Budget: Norpro Plastic Nylon Baster
Includes measurement markings
Tube isn’t completely clear
Measurement markings are difficult to read
If you use a baster once a year, you don’t need an expensive one cluttering up your kitchen. For an affordable pick that gets the job done, we love the Norpro Nylon Baster. This budget baster will remind you of the one your parents or grandparents used, with the translucent nylon tube and squishy bulb. It’s heat resistant up to 450 degrees, so you don’t need to worry about it melting or deforming as you baste your turkey or roast with hot drippings. After you're done using it, throw it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
This sturdy baster will last for years, but it’s inexpensive enough to keep a few on hand for nights when you’re cooking more than one roast. We found the baster works better than some expensive stainless alternatives, and it's a great value for the price. In our tests, it worked with a thick sauce, so it would be fine with gravy or smooth tomato sauce.
During testing, the baster rolled a little bit on the counter, but not enough to worry that it was going to roll off the edge. It didn’t drip when it was held upright, but it did drip when held at an angle. Still, you're getting a great product at an incredible price.
Material: Nylon tube | Size: 10.75 inches long | What’s Included: No extras
"Aside from the silicone bulb, this could be the baster my mom used back in the day. There's something to be said for nostalgia, and it still works."
Best Stainless Steel: Norpro Deluxe Stainless Steel Baster with Injector and Cleaning Brush
Won’t roll on counter
Loses a lot of liquid when tilted
Can’t see inside the tube
No injector included
How many basters have you found broken or cracked in the bottom of a drawer from age or from being crushed or bent in storage? That won’t happen with this stainless steel baster—it’s nearly indestructible. The stainless steel is also stain-resistant and won’t rust or discolor, even when you’re using it with acidic juices containing citrus or tomatoes. The downside is that you can’t see the liquid as it’s being drawn into the tube, and it’s not possible to see the interior when cleaning. However, the cleaning brush that it comes with greatly helps in that area.
This baster also comes with an injector tip, so you can prep your turkey by injecting it with flavorful liquids, spice infusions, melted butter, or other flavorings prior to cooking. Just remove the injector tip to use it as a standard baster.
Not just for turkey, and not just for oven use, this is great for any kind of roast or even on the grill since the bulb is heat-safe to 450 degrees, and the stainless steel can withstand the same heat as your stainless steel cookware and bakeware.
When it was held upright during testing, the baster was dripless, but as soon as it was turned at an angle, the liquid drained rather quickly. We appreciated the fact that the bulb is designed so it can't roll. All in all, it performed solidly in our tests, and we think it's a good contender for anyone who would rather not use plastic. The cleaning brush is great for hand washing but it's also conveniently dishwasher safe, and our tester found it to be sufficiently clean after trying both methods.
Material: Stainless steel tube | Size: 10.5 inches long | What’s Included: Injection needle and cleaning brush
"It had no issues with a super thick liquid, so it would be fine with medium-thick sauces like gravy or even a smooth tomato sauce."
Best Glass: Norpro Glass Baster
Can see liquid in the tube
Doesn’t roll on counter
Just a little dripping
Bulb is rubber rather than silicone
If you don’t like the idea of hot liquid foods coming in contact with the plastic materials used in many basters, the Norpro Glass Baster might be just right for you. It’s clear, so you can see the liquid in the tube, and it’s heat resistant up to 450 degrees, so it can be used for hot liquids without worries of melting. Because it's made of glass, you won't have to worry about this baster absorbing any unwanted flavors.
The glass is tempered for strength and the bulb is made from rubber. Hand washing is recommended, but we washed it in the dishwasher during testing and didn’t notice any ill effects. In time, the heat of the dishwasher may affect the rubber bulb, though. However, most likely this isn't a kitchen gadget you'll use all that often. In our testing, the baster dripped a little—when held vertical and at an angle—but not a lot either way.
Material: Glass tube | Size: 11 inches long | What’s Included: No extras
"This didn't roll on the counter, which is important since it could break if it fell."
Best Multipurpose: Cuisipro 3-in-1 Baster
Shower head attachment works well
Includes brush attachment
Liquid flows immediately
Doesn’t do well with thick liquids
If you need a baster but wish you’d have more uses for it, the Cuisipro 3-in-1 is the one for you. The tube is made from see-through Tritan material with measurements on the body, so you can check how much liquid you have, and it includes two tips for added versatility. The baster can roll, but the two optional tips keep it from going too far.
Without a tip attached, it functions as a standard baster with a heavy stream of liquid. The "shower head" attachment provides a shower of liquid for fast, wide basting coverage. The silicone brush attachment is handy for even coating of barbecue sauces, melted butter, or other liquids. During testing, we appreciated the way the shower covered a wider area. However, it didn’t do a good job keeping liquid in the tube—it started flowing immediately, so we needed to be quick when moving from the liquid at the bottom of the pan to the top of the turkey.
The large, comfortable silicone bulb is easy to use, but this only drew up an average of about 1/2 an ounce of liquid in our tests. It didn’t do well when we tested it with a thick liquid, either, so it has some limitations. The bulb screws off and then the bulb can also be removed from the ring that screws on, so it's easy to clean all the parts. It's also top-rack dishwasher safe.
Material: Clear plastic tube | Size: 13 inches without attachments | What’s Included: Shower head and brush head
"It comes with a shower head tip that spreads the liquid out more, and also a brush tip. I liked the shower head a lot."
Best Design: MiiKo Steel Turkey Baster & Barbecue Basting Brush
Injector needle included
Separate basting brush included
Can’t see contents in tube
This stainless steel turkey baster and basting brush win points for functionality, durability, and style. The high-grade materials stand up to heat, so during testing, we felt confident cleaning it in the dishwasher even though that wasn’t specified on the package. In tests, the baster didn’t drip when it was held upright, but it did drip when held at an angle. It also worked well with a thick sauce, so it could be used for gravy or a smooth tomato sauce.
The package includes a flavor injector—all you have to do is screw it onto the end of the baster—and a cleaning brush designed to fit perfectly inside the baster for storage. Meanwhile, the basting brush features silicone bristles and a long 12-inch handle to keep you away from the heat, making it perfect for basting your turkey or barbecuing all summer long.
Material: Stainless steel tube | Size: 10 inches long | What’s Included: Injector needle, basting brush
"It comes with a regular basting brush, which could be handy with the baster or on its own, as well as a needle that screws into the end of the baster. The addition of the needle is particularly nice."
Best Basting Mop: Better Grilin' BBQ Bastin' Mop
Basters are great when you have larger quantities of thin liquids, but a basting mop comes in handy when you have a thicker liquid like barbecue sauce or melted butter that you want to mop all over your food. Perfect for those who plan on grilling the Thanksgiving turkey, the cotton mop head picks up a lot of liquid and easily spreads it over the surface.
In testing, it worked well basting our roasted turkey, but it did soak up a lot of the liquid. Wringing it out was a bit messy. This one features an extra-long, 16-inch handle so you don't have to get too close to the flames and can stay farther from the hot roasting pan in the oven.
These basting mops are incredibly inexpensive so you can truly think of them as disposable, but they can be cleaned with soap and water just like a kitchen sponge or dishcloth. Still, once it gets stained, it may never look pristine again.
Besides being great for mopping sauce onto food, the basting mop is also great for "mopping" dirty dishes. It’s particularly useful for mugs, glasses, and even vases or coffee pots.
Material: Cotton mop head | Size: 16-inch handle | What’s Included: No extras
"For anything that needs a gentle baste with a thick sauce, this is the right tool. It's perfect for brushing barbecue sauce on ribs, chicken, wings, etc."
The transparent Tovolo Dripless Baster is the top option here because it's super heat resistant, easy to clean, and in our tests, it didn't make a mess all over the oven or countertop. If you only use a baster once a year, go with the Norpro Plastic Nylon Baster (view at Amazon). It performed better than some more expensive models in our tests and you can't beat the price.
How We Tested
We sent these turkey basters to the home of our expert food writer and product tester who spent weeks in the kitchen evaluating their abilities to baste a turkey or other roast and determining how versatile they can be. She evaluated each one on its design, quality, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tester was able to offer additional insights as well, like how they handled thick versus thin sauces, what kind of tasks they might be best suited for, and whether or not they would roll off the counter when set down. Everything our tester liked and didn't like about each baster was compiled to help inform your purchasing decision.
What to Look for in a Turkey Baster
Most basters these days have a silicone bulb that’s heat resistant and flexible, but some still have rubber bulbs that don’t age as well but should still last years before needing replacement.
There are more differences when it comes to the tubes. Nylon is classic and is translucent enough to show how much liquid is in the tube. Clear plastic has become popular and makes it very easy to see the liquid. Glass is another clear option for those who prefer avoiding plastics. Unfortunately, glass is breakable, so care should be taken not to hit it against the side of a roasting pan. Stainless steel is durable and another alternative to plastic, but it’s impossible to see the contents.
Clear tubes may include measurement marks, which may be handy if there’s a need to draw up a precise amount. Since basting doesn’t usually need any measuring, this may be a difference that won’t matter to most cooks.
Basting usually requires working in a hot oven, so a longer baster may be desirable to keep hands further from the heat. If the baster is too long, however, it may be difficult to work around a large turkey.
What are basters used for?
Basters are used to draw up the tasty liquid from the bottom of a roasting pan and then distribute it over the top of the meat being roasted. They can also be used on the stove for the same purpose. Basters are handy when you want to transfer liquids from a roasting pan to a pot or put sauce on a plate. Some basters include a needle that can be used to inject melted butter, broth, or a flavorful sauce into the food before it is roasted.
Do you need a turkey baster or can you use something else?
While basters are traditional, there are many turkey recipes that don’t require basting. However, if basting is desired, it’s possible to use a spoon to collect the liquid and pour it over the food in a roasting pan.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author, food writer, and product tester and has reviewed more than 100 products for The Spruce Eats. She's basted more than her fair share of turkeys over the years and personally tested all of the basters on this roundup.