Did you know that different types of spoons existed in prehistoric times? In ancient civilizations, people made spoons out of rock, bone, wood, ivory, or silver. In the UK and Egypt, people used spoons as a status symbol. The 1700s brought about the modern appearance of spoons. Today, you can get different types of spoons made out of materials like wood, metal, ceramic, plastic, or a combination of the two, and they come in different sizes. The most popular material is stainless steel.
Minimizing how long it takes you to cook while making it as convenient as possible relies on the different types of spoons and how you use them. You can even get spoons as traveling souvenirs now, and there are museums with bigger collections. We’re going to outline 36 types of spoons to consider below.
1. Absinthe Spoon
People who routinely drink absinthe like having this type of spoon on hand to help them with this ritual. These spoons typically come with a flat bowl instead of a curved one, and you’ll see designs cut into them that let the absinthe flow through it. You’ll generally have a notch in the handle of the spoon that lets you rest the spoon right on the rim of the glass. The goal of this spoon is to mix a cube of sugar into the drink to help negate some of the bitterness that can come from the liquor, and they’re very decorative.
2. Baby Spoon
When you start feeding your child solids, you’ll want to get a type of spoon that is small enough for your baby to use easily without getting too much food into their mouth at once or choking. Baby spoons are usually very small, and they usually feature a rubber or silicone coating to ensure that your baby doesn’t get injured while they eat. The spoons come in several materials, and it’s very common for families to possess heirloom spoons that are made out of silver and get passed from generation to generation. Some baby spoons also come with rubber tips that change colors if the food you serve the baby is too hot to help prevent you from accidentally burning your child.
3. Bamboo Spoon
This is a type of spoon that is rapidly gaining in popularity, and it has a good reason for doing so. Bamboo spoons do a great job resisting odors and stains, and this means that you won’t have to worry about them smelling funny or losing their pretty look. Also, these types of spoons tend to be very strong and durable, and they’re also light while being flexible. The spoons can last for a longer period than wooden or plastic spoons tend to. They also won’t scratch any non-stick surfaces, and they’re affordable enough that you can easily buy a number of them without going over your set budget.
4. Beverage Spoon
It’s easy to identify a beverage spoon because they have very long handles that are significantly longer than any other type of spoon on the list. The bowl at the end of the long handle can even look out of place because it’s much smaller than what you’d expect with a longer handle. However, the handle design does have a specific purpose. They’re great for stirring taller glasses of liquid and adding sugar in. Due to the length, even when you stir a very tall glass full, you won’t run the risk of getting your fingers wet. However, outside of stirring tall drinks, these spoons are more impractical and don’t have a lot of applications due to the longer handle. They’re great to have if you entertain though.
5. Bouillon Spoon
This type of spoon has a round and wide bowl over an oval one, and the bowl is shallow to expose more surface area. This allows the broth-based, clear soup to cool quicker. You’ll also see it used for cold-served madrilene and jellied soups. The spoon’s design allows it to curve into the soup bowl’s rounded sides so you don’t have to tip the bowl to drink it as this is considered a faux paus by many.
6. Caviar Spoon
Caviar spoons were traditionally made out of mother of pearl, wood, gold, and animal horn. There is a widespread belief that caviar should never be served with or out of a metal spoon because the material can leach the taste away from the caviar. This type of spoons varies in size from three to five inches, and they come with a shallow and small bowl that is great for scooping out and serving smaller amounts of caviar. The bowls get shaped like an oval or paddle. Since it has a small shape and size, it’s very rare that you’ll use them for serving anything with caviar.
7. Chinese Spoon
You can see these spoons at oriental restaurants, and they come with a much thicker and shorter handle that connects to a deep bowl with a flat bottom. They usually have ceramic as the material, and you use them for liquid like sauces and soups. However, they also work well to scoop out solid, loose food items, and many people call them duck spoons.
8. Coffee Measuring Spoon
People who like to drink a lot of coffee usually have a dedicated coffee setup in their home that includes a coffee maker, cups, sugar, additives, and this type of spoon because it makes it easy to make the perfect cup of coffee. They have round and deep bowls that come designed to measure out your coffee grounds. Due to the shape on these spoons, they’re not great for eating or serving. However, they do a great job at ensuring that you have a consistently great cup of coffee.
9. Copper Spoon
Copper spoons will look lovely in virtually any kitchen, especially if you have pans and pots that also feature copper. Although this material tends to be extremely durable, it’s important that you don’t use this type of spoon with highly acidic foods because it can damage the copper material itself. It’s also not a good idea to pop these spoons into the dishwasher, and they do best by hand washing to reduce the chances of damage.
10. Demitasse Spoon
Better known as the espresso spoon, this type of spoon is a lot smaller than most traditional spoons. The size is so you can fit them into an espresso cup, and this is right around half of the size of a regular cup. The total length usually tops out at four-inches, and it can have very simple or very ornate handles, depending on your preferences. They’re usually made out of polished silver, gold, or stainless steel. These materials make them very durable, even though they tend to look more delicate.
11. Dessert Spoon
Dessert types of spoons usually have a more pointed bowl on them rather than rounded. You can use them to eat virtually anything, but they’re normally reserved for eating dessert. The spoon size can vary greatly from a teaspoon to a tablespoon size. Most people won’t use this spoon every day, and they’re very popular to have in informal table settings. It’s common to bring this spoon in when you bring out the dessert or to put it above the plate to keep it completely separate from other utensils on the table.
12. Egg Spoon
As the name suggests, this type of spoon comes designed for eating hard or soft boiled eggs out of an egg stand. You’ll get a spoon with a shorter handle with a shorter bowl that allows you to scoop the egg out of the stand. The tip of this spoon is slightly more pointed, but the bowl has a more rounded design than a teaspoon.
13. Engraved Spoon
If you’re trying to get someone a special gift that can stand out from anything else they’ve gotten, this type of spoon is a personalized option for you to try. Not only does it work wonderfully as a wedding gift to commemorate the couple’s special date, but it also makes a great gift for anyone who wants to enjoy certain desserts or meals, like ice cream.
14. Flat End Spoon
The flat end spoon is one you usually see in cafes or restaurants with gelato, but you can buy this type of spoon to use at home as well. As the name suggests, the end is flat instead of pointed or rounded, and this helps you scrape the bottom of the dessert bowl. Due to the more interesting shape of this spoon, it’s not great to try and use with other foods like soup. However, it’s great for making sure that you can enjoy your gelato or ice cream with ease.
15. French Sauce Spoon
The French created this type of spoon to eat sauce in the 1950s, just as the name suggests. It’s very similar to a dessert spoon in size and shape, but the bowl is notched and flatter. The sides are thinner with notches, and it can be called a saucier spoon. The design allows you to scoop the thin sauce layers from your plate, and this stops you from having to tip the plate. The notch is rumored to allow fat and oils to run off the sauce.
16. Gumbo and Chowder Spoon
Anyone who eats thicker soups with vegetables and meat in them can use a gumbo spoon. This type of spoon is usually around seven inches long with a much larger bowl than a teaspoon. The bowl is perfectly round and shallow, and this allows for big scoops of food. Also, the bigger surface area allows the soup to cool much quicker before you eat it to reduce the risk of burning your mouth.
17. Grapefruit Spoon
Grapefruit is a popular type of fruit tree for people to grow, and the grapefruit spoon is very similarly shaped and sized to a teaspoon. However, the edges are serrated, and this helps you to quickly and easily separate the rind from the fruit. This is very important to know if you’re going to use this spoon or if you’re going to let your kids use it because the serrated edges are sharp enough to accidentally cut you if you’re not careful or if you’re not paying attention.
18. Hanging Spoon
If you’re going to use your spoon with sticky substances like honey, you’ll get a type of spoon that comes with a crooked handle that you can hang on the honey pot. This makes it quick and easy to contain the honey so you don’t end up with a sticky mess on the table. It also allows everyone to reach the honey and use as much as they want without any issues.
19. Horn Spoon
As the name suggests, this type of spoon is made out of animal horns, and they have two traditional uses. The first use is that they’re great for eating soft or hard boiled eggs because they won’t tarnish with heavy use or from being exposed to the yolk’s sulfur content. The second use is for caviar, even though this is less common than other materials, because it doesn’t impact the caviar’s taste.
20. Ladle Spoon
This is a bigger type of spoon that you use for serving foods that have a large amount of liquid, like a soup or stew to ensure that you don’t have a big mess to clean up when you serve your food. They can vary in type, size, and style, but they usually have a longer handle that attaches to a very deep and big bowl. It’s common to find ladles that come with a handle attached straight to the bowl, but others usually have the bowl attached to the handle at an angle to make it much easier to lift the food from the pot without spilling. There are also ladles that have a point or spout to make it easier to pour liquids without spilling anything.
21. Love Spoon
This type of spoon is a traditional Welsh gift that a suitor will give to their intended. Typically, they’re made out of wood, and they get carved to be very decorative. There are usually dual bowls within them, and one bowl will be halfway up the handle. The carvings usually also feature symbols for faith, luck, commitment, security, and other positive meanings to help ensure a successful marriage.
22. Plastic Spoon
You’ll typically find this type of spoon in instances where you can throw them away when you finish with them, like in an outdoor kitchen. However, you can also wash them and reuse them, especially if you pay for more heavy-duty plastic. One issue a lot of people have with this type of spoon is that it tends to be very lightweight, and this allows it to break or shatter if you’re not careful. This is something to keep in mind if you’re going to give your child a plastic spoon because the spoon can break and cut their mouth if they bite down too hard. Plastic spoons also aren’t great for the environment.
23. Porcelain Spoon
Porcelain or ceramic spoons are very attractive and delicate, and this means that they’re not a fantastic choice for everyday use. However, they’re great for special occasions. You typically use them as sugar or serving spoons, and you won’t use them as an everyday utensil at your mealtimes. They can be easily broken because the material is much more fragile.
24. Risotto Spoon
As the name suggests, this type of spoon is the one you’d use to stir risotto, creams, and sauces. They come with a larger hole in the middle of the spoon that creates a vortex in your pot to ensure that everything gets thoroughly mixed together and that everything gets agitated correctly. Unlike a more traditional wooden spoon that can deflate a foam or batter as you stir them and add additional ingredients, this spoon will help you incorporate new ingredients into the batter without causing issues. Since it won’t compress the batter, it’ll be a lot lighter when you finish stirring it.
25. Serving Spoon
If you’re going to serve food at the table, you want to have this type of spoon to make the process as quick and easy as possible. Unlike most regular spoons that you use to eat with, serving spoons are a bit bigger, and they have larger bowls with longer handles to ensure that you can get a generous portion with a single scoop. When you buy your serving spoons, you want to have an idea on which type you need. They come in a range of sizes, and you can get bowls without holes, with slots, or with scalloped edges.
26. Set of Spoons
If you want all of your spoons to look the same, you should invest in a set of spoons. This means that you’ll never have to worry about setting the table and trying to track down spoons that’ll match and look uniform. This makes it much easier to set a formal table setting.
Getting a set of spoons usually allows you to have several different types of spoons that all have the same design on them to give you a uniform look when you set the table. Set of 5 Vintage Spoons with Leaf Motif – Made in Japan by upcountryvintage / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
27. Shaped Spoon
You can buy types of spoons that have bowls made into interesting shapes instead of traditional rounded ones. Buying spoons like this is a great way to express your personality or make the meal more interesting, and it’s a fantastic way to give someone a unique gift. If you want to give a gift that shows you know the person, spoons with the bowls in the shape of hearts are great presents that will make the person think of you every time they see or use it.
28. Side Notch Spoon
A lot of larger spoons come with a side notch on the handle to make it easier to balance your type of spoon on a pan or pot when you’re not using it to actively stir. This can help prevent you from dripping food from the spoon since the bowl portion will stay directly over whatever you’re cooking. The notches get located so that the spoon will balance evenly over your pot or pan.
29. Silicone Spoon
Any type of food that is made out of food-grade silicone will be able to stand up to very high heat without sustaining any damage. This is great for anyone who tends to sit the spoon in the pot or pan and forget it when it’s cooking. The silicone won’t let it get damaged, even if you forget it for an extended period. The spoons also resist staining, and they can stand up to colors and odors while retaining a new look. They’re great for scraping your sauce out of the pan without scratching it and causing damage, and you can pop them into your dishwasher when it’s time to clean them.
30. Slotted Spoon
This type of spoon can be plain or very ornate and intricate. However, the purpose of these spoons is the same no matter which style they have. They have slots, holes, or other types of openings that get cut right into the spoon’s bowl to let liquid pass through when you serve your items. The bigger pieces of food will stay on the top of the bowl so you can serve them. Bigger slotted spoons work well for removing items from a cooking liquid in a pan or pot, and smaller spoons are great for people who want to eat foods that come packed with juice. We touched on the absinthe spoon, and this is one slotted spoon that has a very specific use. However, you can get slotted spoons that work for a broad range of purposes and foods.
31. Soup Spoon
Any type of spoon that is specifically meant to help you eat soup will come with a bigger bowl that is slightly deeper to make it easy for you to scoop up your soup without spilling anything. There are several styles and sizes available you can choose from when you shop. The two main types are Chinese soup spoons and British soup spoons. British soup spoons come with a very circular bowl that is smaller, and Chinese soup spoons can be anything from impressively big, and they usually come with a handle that extends from a deep and flat bowl. Most of these spoons are ceramic, but you can find them made from other materials.
32. Stainless Steel Spoon
It’s very common for people to have this type of spoon in your kitchen for cooking and eating. They usually have a very nice way to them, and this makes them a great choice for eating or cooking. One thing that you have to be careful about when you use stainless steel spoons for cooking is that they can heat up and you can burn your hand if you grab them. Also, these spoons come with a very hard surface and an edge that can easily scratch your nonstick coating on your cookware.
33. Sugar Spoon
Sugar spoons are types of spoons that you use to serve granulated sugar at your table. They can look very similar to teaspoons, but they come with deeper bowls with fluted edges along the bowl. It’s very easy to pick out sugar spoons that get molded into a pretty shell shape. You can technically use any type of spoon to serve sugar, but if you have a very formally set table, then you want to have this particular spoon type available for the sugar dish. They are also called sugar shovels or sugar shells, depending on the shape you pick out.
A tablespoon is both a type of spoon and a unit of measurement that you’ll use for cooking or baking. You can purchase tablespoons that are specifically designed and shaped to measure ingredients, but tablespoons are also a utensil that you can use for eating. They’re great for adults because they have a bigger size, and this makes it easy to eat your meal. Some people also think that they’re a great size to eat soup, but there are dedicated soup spoons we touched on above.
A teaspoon is a type of spoon that is very popular for measuring out ingredients when you bake or cook. However, teaspoons do have a different shape and look just like miniature tablespoons. They’re a good pick if you want to stir cream or sugar into a cup of coffee or tea, and they’re great for feeding children. Once your child is too big for baby spoons, this spoon lets you use them as silverware that looks just like the adult version. However, the smaller size lets your child eat more easily without making a mess.
36. Wooden Spoon
The final type of spoon on the list is the wooden spoon, and they come with several advantages that make them a popular kitchen utensil. They’re usually comfortable to hold, and they come with a longer handle to keep your hand away from the heat when you stir something on the stove. Also, because the wood isn’t conductive, you won’t have to worry about burning your hand because the spoon won’t heat up.
This spoon is also great to use on nonstick pans and pots because they won’t scratch the surface. Some metal spoons do react to acidic foods while wood doesn’t, and this makes it a great choice for cooking lemon curd and tomato sauce. You don’t want to put the wooden spoons into the dishwasher, especially if you use the drying cycle because this can damage them.
We’ve outlined 36 types of spoons and how to use them for you, and you can take this list and start to build your collection with the spoon types that will work best for your wants and needs. Many people have several different spoons like we listed in their kitchen, and they can make the cooking or baking process go much smoother.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.