Do You Know The Difference Between Strainer and Sieve?

In the kitchen, we have many tools for straining tasks. But people often use strainer and sieve for similar types of jobs. Let me tell you, they are totally different from each other. They differ in size, shape, and using purpose.

A strainer and sieve both are used to separate solid and larger particles from smaller ones. However, you should always care about the purpose of each. In this post, you can unleash the difference between strainer and sieve so you can use them properly.

Difference Between Strainer and Sieve

A strainer and sieve are small filter appliances in the kitchen, still, they have many benefits. If you understand their differences and use them properly, your kitchen job will be easier. These below facts you can instantly observe:

Shape & size

strainer and sieve both have a bowl or basket shape. Their sizes vary from small to large. But most times sieves are found larger than strainers.

Material composition

strainer and sieve both are available in different materials like metal, plastic, and aluminum. Strainers contain a wire mesh basket with a handle, while sieves have wire or nylon mesh baskets with very small openings. Sieves may have a handle or not.

Using purpose

actually, the usage of these two tools determines huge differences. Strainers are used to separate solid particles from liquid substances. On the contrary, people use a sieve for sifting dry ingredients.


A sieve has tinier openings than a strainer that helps to bring out the finest food particles. On the contrary, strainers have slightly larger openings that drain out the liquid and catch larger food particles.

What is a Strainer Used For?

The strainer is a fancy piece of equipment in the kitchen. It is an ultra-mesh basket that finely separates solid particles. After pouring the liquid, the strainer filters the large pieces of food through the tiny openings.

People use it while making smoothies, sauces, fruit custard, soups, juice, or tea. In Asia countries, cup-sized strainers are very popular as a wide range of people uses them for filtering tea leaves during making tea. Another simple yet brilliant use is straining citrus juice to catch stray seeds.

There is also a double-lined wired mesh strainer for a more smooth and luxurious mouthfeel. It is used while making custard or smoothies. Well, this process will be elbow grease and take much time.

What is a Sieve Used For?

A sieve is a mesh bowl that is widely used to sift dry ingredients. Most sieves feature fine wiring or nylon mesh for a more refined result. There is a solid rim of metal around the sieve. When you pour elements through the sieve, it will catch large particles leaving fine food that passes through. Aerating is so important before making any batters or doughs.

In cooking, a sieve is mostly used for baking purposes like sifting flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, etc. The tool not only separates the larger particles but also adds the necessary air to make the baked dishes fluffy. The sifting process results in a lighter and more tender crumb that is useful in delicate sponge cakes.

Additionally, you can use a sieve to give a professional-looking dusting using cocoa or powdered sugar on your desserts. A more unusual use of a sieve is a cheese-making process.

Actually, a sieve is an all-in-one straining tool. You can utilize it as a colander as well you have the benefits of using small openings. It is great to use a sieve for rinsing rice, beans, peas, and so on. Moreover, you can also strain pasta and soup.

You will be amazed to know that larger sieves are being used for industrial purposes like separating different types of materials like sand, pebbles, gravel, and rocks.

Does a home cook Need Both a Sieve and Strainer?

Sieve and strainer both have their own advantages. They are helpful in many ways and fasten your kitchen chores. If anyone prefers to keep minimal types of kitchen appliances on the counter, then you might not need both sieve and strainer.

However, it would be better to invest in a sieve which is the most versatile one. Purchase a finer-lined coarser mesh sieve that can be used as a strainer and colander. Using a sieve, you can sift dry ingredients, strain soup, and fruit pulp, and use it as a colander while draining pasta or rinsing rice and beans.

What is Sieve Flour?

When you sift flour using a sieve, called sieve flour. With this process, you can simply break any lumps on the flour. It also aerates the flour, therefore lighter and easier to mix thoroughly. For making a smooth batter or dough for pancake or sponge cake, you need sieve flour; otherwise, it won’t come perfectly.

What Can Be Used Instead of a Sieve?

You can use a strainer instead of a sieve but you won’t get such a perfect and fine result. The main reason is sieves have a mesh size of 1/32 inch for the refining texture. The mesh size is so small that you barely see through it. As the strainer has slightly larger openings that may allow escaping larger particles. However, you will get nearly the result of using a strainer.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a sieve or strainer either, and you need aerates flour then you can use a whisker to do the task.

Final Words

There are a variety of priorities when it comes to using cooking equipment. But in the end, you need to take a decision according to your skill level, dish varieties, and storage space. You don’t require to store every type of strainer or sieve.

A multitasking sieve will give you more functionalities or space it occupies. However, you can’t deny the benefits of a strainer. It is also multitasking equipment. It would be great to get a small-sized strainer beside a sieve.

You should always keep in mind your kitchen storage space and the recipes you usually like to cook for your family members. Use the info in this article to make the right choice for your household.

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