Cleaning brush included
No measurements on baster body
Tip could get lost easily
Can roll on the counter
We’ve heard the “dripless” claim before, so we were more than ready to take the Tovolo Dripless Baster for some tests in the oven and on the stove, to see if it was bragging or if it was stating facts. Chicken and beef were basted, and we even found some more interesting uses for the baster before we were done.
Design: Built well, but missing a few extras
Let’s face it, basters all look pretty similar to each other, with a bulb on one end that creates the suction and a long tubular body that holds the liquid. The baster’s bulb isn’t completely round, which gave it a bit of a unique look, but we’re not sure if that improves performance. No one would call this thing pretty, but basters are rarely displayed. It will look just fine in the gadget drawer until the next time it’s needed. The tip is angled and can be removed by unscrewing it from the body.
We did have a few quibbles as far as the design, but all of them are very minor. The body of the baster is completely clear, which is fine for most tasks, but we’ve seen other basters with measurement marks that could be useful. Also, when we set the baster on the counter, the bulb wobbled and rolled a bit. The tip tended to stay still, though, so we didn’t worry about it falling off the counter. Still, we’ve seen other basters that are designed so they can’t roll at all. While it would be nice if this baster had these features, we didn’t have any issues with its actual function.
Performance: It really works
This baster’s claim to fame is that it’s dripless. We were skeptical. We’ve owned other dripless basters that spewed turkey drippings on our oven walls, so we took great care as we sucked up the juices from our roasting chicken, then released the bulb and waited for the mess. Surprisingly, the baster held the liquid inside the clear body, with the only drip caused by drenching the end of the baster in the liquid. What sorcery is this?
When it was time to clean the baster, we took a closer look at the tip and realized it has a tiny valve that holds the liquid in. No sorcery, just some serious kitchen engineering.
The angled tip is very efficient if there’s not much liquid in the baster.
The angled tip really made sense, compared to basters with flat tips, since most folks will use the baster at an angle rather than straight upright. If the tip is deep in liquid, the angle won’t really matter, but if it’s skimming the top of soup or there’s not much liquid in the baster, the angled tip is very efficient.
This BPA-free baster is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees, which is well beyond the temperature of most liquids you’ll deal with during normal cooking. Still, it’s good to know that it can handle high heat for basting as well as drizzling hot sauces. If you’re handling liquids that are especially hot, we suggest using oven mitts and having a good sense of self-preservation.
Versatility: More uses than you’d expect
When did basters stop being called turkey basters? Realistically, basters probably get most of their use when basting Thanksgiving turkeys, but other foods can benefit from basting too, like chickens.
We’ve seen television chefs butter-basting foods in a frying pan using a spoon, but we could imagine doing the same thing with our handy baster. While we didn’t have butter-basted lobster on the menu, we did use the baster for similar stovetop tasks, like when we used it to remove excess grease out of our pan of ground beef, and when we removed excess liquid when our shrimp exuded too much moisture during cooking. It also worked well for skimming fat off of the top of soup stock.
A baster is sort of like the squeeze bottles that cooks use to dispense batters and sauces, but the filling method is different. We made an attempt at cartoon pancakes using the baster to dispense the batter into the pan. The baster did a good job, but our artistic ability left our happy bunny looking more like a perturbed gargoyle. Someone with better drawing skills would have better results.
The number of uses is practically unlimited, as long as the sauce isn’t too thick or chunky.
The dripless feature also worked for transferring batter to cupcake cups, but we found that using an ice cream scoop was quicker and easier for standard-sized cupcakes. The baster made more sense for filling mini cupcake cups since the baster tip offered a more precise fill in the small cups, but an even better use for the baster was for removing excess batter when we overfilled a cup. Doing that with a spoon makes a mess. Removing a small amount with the baster was neat, and it was easy to see when we had removed enough.
We don’t usually add saucy swoops to plates, but we decided to get creative with some barbecue sauce under some baby back ribs. The baster fit neatly into the sauce bottle, making filling easy. The baster also worked well when we drizzled caramel and chocolate onto baked goods. The number of uses is practically unlimited, as long as the sauce isn’t too thick or chunky.
The most surprising use for this baster was for separating eggs. A while ago, companies were selling suction devices for sucking egg yolks out of whites. The bulb of this baster, used on its own, was perfect for the job. It also left the yolk much cleaner than we usually get when we use our hands or when we go from shell to shell to separate the eggs. And it was less messy.
Included items: Tip and brush
This comes with a spare tip and a cleaning brush. At first, we were skeptical about why we needed an extra tip, and we’re still hesitant that it won’t get lost in the back of our gadget drawer. But it makes sense. The special valve is in the tip, and it’s possible it could wear out or be damaged from overly aggressive cleaning. A spare tip means that if the baster starts dripping, we can simply replace the tip and have a perfect baster again. A cleaning brush is also included, so any accumulated goop can be cleaned completely (more on that next). The tip and brush can be stored inside the baster so they won’t get lost, but we’re more likely to add the brush to our collection of other cleaning brushes since it will be useful for more than just the baster.
The fact that the tip comes off makes it easier to clean and inspect the valve.
Cleaning: Simple enough
While this baster is dishwasher safe, we found that it was pretty simple to clean by hand, particularly when we rinsed it shortly after we used it. Instead of taking it apart right away, we sucked up soapy water to start the cleaning process. Then, when it was time to finish cleaning, we took it apart to rinse each section, using the included cleaning brush to make sure grease and bits of food were completely removed from the body. The fact that the tip comes off makes it easier to clean and inspect the valve. This feature also makes the small end of the baster body easier to clean.
Basters are simple, so the price range isn’t too wide. There are some very simple ones that are less expensive as well as some that cost a bit more, but they’re all swimming in the same price pool. This one is pretty firmly in the middle of the pack.
Tovolo Dripless Baster vs. Norpro Nylon Baster
The Norpro Nylon Baster may be the one that your grandma used, or at least the design is the same. It worked well for decades, and it can still get the job done, at a true bargain price. If you’re only using the baster once a year for your turkey … well, we still have to recommend the Tovolo we reviewed, just because it’s truly dripless, and we hate cleaning the oven.
- Product Name Dripless Baster
- Product Brand Tovolo
- MPN 80-11001P
- Price $11.00
- Material Silicone head, polycarbonate body, nylon tip
- Warranty “Tovolo stands behind our products. We will replace any Tovolo item that has a manufacturer’s defect. Standard wear and tear or abuse are not covered.”
- What’s Included Baster, cleaning brush, and extra spare tip