Why use a wooden spoon

As long and varied as its history is, the wooden spoon’s versatility and durability is what makes it worth using. Wooden spoons don’t quickly heat to scalding temperatures, chemically react with acidic foods, or scratch pots and bowls, as their metal counterparts do. They don’t melt or leach chemicals or strange tastes into hot foods as plastic does. A wooden spoon can be used to stir any dish in any type of vessel.

Concerns about wooden spoons are varied but they really are the best option for most.

Sanitation of wooden spoons

Many people worry that wooden spoons harbour bacteria and are therefore more likely to contaminate your food than plastic or metal spoons. It’s true that if you don’t properly clean your wooden spoon, it will retain bacteria—but so will any other type of spoon. Thoroughly cleaning any utensil, wood or not, after it’s been in contact with raw meat, poultry, or fish is the only sure way to prevent contamination.

The easiest way for laypeople to sanitise wood that’s been in contact with raw meats is to put it in the dishwasher. Most dishwashers now have a high-temperature final rinse that will kill any residual bacteria that survived the detergent. Let wooden spoons air-dry after washing to ensure they are completely clean.

Transfer of intense flavours

But, you’re thinking, doesn’t wood retain the flavour of pungent foods? It can, but there’s an easy fix for this: Keep one spoon for savoury dishes and one for sweet.


Wooden spoons are flammable. Well, so are a lot of things hanging around your kitchen. You shouldn’t be leaving a spoon anywhere that it can light on fire. If you do this with metal, it will burn you, and if you do it with plastic, it may melt. Best bet: Keep your spoons—and most other things—away from fire.

Wooden spoons remain the best option for stirring spoons

Wood retains memories in a way that metal and plastic cannot. It shows signs of use. It changes colour and texture, wears and ages, even changes shape.


Today, wooden spoons in western cultures are generally medium to large spoons used for mixing ingredients for cooking or baking. They may be flat or have a small dip in the middle.

They are still used for stirring many different kinds of food and beverages, especially soups and casseroles during preparation, although they tend to absorb strong smells such as onion and garlic. Wooden spoons are generally preferred for cooking because of their versatility

Folk art

Workers painting wooden spoons. Wooden spoons have been made in virtually every nation on earth and (compared to silver or pewter or gold spoons) represent the ordinary artisan and reflect the life of ordinary folk: this is their “folk art”.