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.
Tovolo Dripless Baster
Cleaning brush included
No measurements on baster body
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 Fahrenheit, 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.
Price at time of publish: $11
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."
Norpro Plastic Nylon Baster
Includes measurement markings
Tube isn’t completely clear
Measurement markings 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 Fahrenheit, so you don’t need to worry about it melting or deforming as you baste your turkey or roast it 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.
Price at time of publish: $8
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
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 Fahrenheit, 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.
Price at time of publish: $15
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."
Williams Sonoma Glass Bulb Baster
Heat resistant materials
No injection tip
Glass basters have several advantages over other materials including that glass doesn't stain, retain grease, or absorb food odors. The Williams Sonoma Glass Bulb Baster is made from Borosilicate glass, which is also heat-resistant. Best of all, it’s easy to clean.
This is also an ideal baster for serious chefs. With clear measurements marked in ounces, it’s easy to get the precise amount of liquid needed. The narrow glass nozzle gives you ideal control for precision basting so you can achieve the perfect flavor. Additionally, it has a high-quality, removable bulb that's designed for high heat and has a band around it to keep the baster in place on the countertop.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Glass | Size: 11 inches | What’s Included: No extras
Kaycrown Stainless Steel Turkey Baster with BBQ/Grill Basting Brush
Great for cooking indoors and outdoors
Can’t see the juice in the tube
If you're looking for more than a baster, opt for the Kaycrown Stainless Steel Turkey Baster. It has several useful accessories for Thanksgiving day, game day, or any barbeque celebration where you’ll need a baster, two injector needles, a basting brush, and a cleaning brush.
Both the baster and baster brush are made from food-grade stainless steel, so they're not only durable, but also won’t melt or bend. The bulb and bristles are made from BPA-free silicone, which is heat resistant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
With an angled band on the baster bulb, there’s no need to worry about the baster rolling off your countertop when it isn’t in use. So you can easily add more flavor and baste as you cook. The two injector needles will help you get the precise flavor you’re looking for. When you’re finished, the brush makes cleanup fast and easy.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: Stainless steel | Size: 11.81 inches | What’s Included: Basting brush, two injection tips, basting brush
Best Basting Mop
Better Grilin' BBQ Bastin' Mop
Holds a lot of liquid
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.
Price at time of publish: $7
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. 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.
Other Options We Tested
- Norpro Glass Baster: Our previous pick for a glass baster is tempered for strength and the bulb is made from rubber. While glass doesn’t stain, one tester noted this one was difficult to clean and the bulb could be damaged in the dishwasher. Our home tester also found that the baster dripped a little when held vertically and at an angle, but not a lot either way. Due to that, the difficulty in cleaning, and the rubber bulb, we’ve taken this off our list.
- Cuisipro 3-in-1 Baster: Made from see-through Tritan material, this former best multipurpose recommendation comes with two tips for added versatility. The "shower head" attachment provides a shower of liquid for fast, wide basting coverage, while the silicone brush attachment is handy for coating. 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. It didn’t do well when we tested it with a thick liquid, either. Add that the measurements are hard to see in the oven.
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.
Amanda Lauren is is a lifestyle writer, host, interior design expert, and co-creator of the online public relations course, Pitch Please. She's also the host of the Bougie Adjacent Podcast. She prefers the sides to turkey on Thanksgiving yet still considers herself a “master baster.”