When Things Get Too Hot to Handle, Reach for the Best Oven Mitts and Pot Holders
Your hands deserve more protection than a kitchen towel.
In restaurant kitchens, burns are a badge of culinary honor. After all, professionals work stoves piled high with steaming pots and often reject oven mitts for folded dish towels (aka “side towels”). But our homes aren’t a slammed dinner service, and just a few seconds of contact with a hot oven, tray of molten cookies, or hefty stockpot can cause nasty burns. Oven mitts are the first line of defense.
“I got tired of burning my wrists and the tops of my hands on oven racks,” says baker Lauren Ko, author of the best-selling cookbook Pieometry.
“Stellar oven mitts keep you and your kitchen safe,” agrees former restaurateur Alicia Walter, culinary director of Stardust Fund. She says she prefers extra long, heat resistant options that stretch up to her elbows.
Choices for protecting delicate digits, wrists, and bare arms have never been better. The best oven mitts and potholders are thick enough to ward off heat, but flexible enough to allow for unhindered movement. We also want them to be easy to clean and slip on (and off!) easily. Read on to shop top recommendations from chefs, bakers, cookbook authors, and other kitchen professionals—and leave those kitchen towels for the professionals working the line.
- Best Overall: Homwe Extra Long Silicone Oven Mitt
- Best Value: KAF Pantry Silicone Oven Mitts
- Best Splurge: Five Two Silicone Oven Mitts
- Best Without Being Bulky: Williams Sonoma Ultimate Oven Mitt
- Best Design: Marimekko Oven Mitten
- Best Multi-Tasker: All-Clad Textiles Heat and Stain Resistant Pot Holder
Features to Keep in Mind
Oven mitts are generally made of fabric: cotton, a blend of polyester and cotton, or a combination of silicone and cotton. Cotton is softer to wear and easier to wash, while silicone is more durable and can be spot-cleaned. Barbecue grill mitts often utilize top-of-the-line synthetic heat-resistant fibers such as Kevlar and Nomex, commonly used in firefighting uniforms.
Whatever fabric you choose, be sure to keep the mitts clean and dry. Heat is conducted by water and grease more quickly than cloth, so dirty mitts won’t be as effective at protecting your hands.
Heat Resistance and Durability
Most mitts perform well with a heat resistance of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but those with heat resistance up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit fared better in extended settings, like maneuvering a cumbersome turkey. Avoid open-weave fabrics, which allow heat to penetrate. Silicone mitts are extremely durable and waterproof, but sometimes their rigid construction can inhibit flexibility.
Deciding between gloves, mittens, and potholders? Consider how you plan to use the protective gear. Potholders cover less area than mittens and gloves, but newer models mimic the shape of your hand. Mittens are easy to put on and take off and provide ample space while gloves can be more constricting. Gloves are also more challenging to put on and take off, making them less practical.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Homwe Extra Long Silicone Oven Mitt
Long oven mitts tend to be cumbersome, limiting, and not always able to deliver adequate heat resistance. Luckily, Homwe mitts are comfortable, durable, and allow for dexterity while providing heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This pair’s extra-long length (14.7 inches) protects fingers, wrists, and arms from boiling steam, unexpected splashes, and contact burns.
Each pair features cotton cuffs and a waterproof, silicone exterior with a substantial non-slip grip—critical for anyone handling lots of slippery, buttery bakes. The combination of heat-resistant silicone and polyester-cotton lining is less bulky than other versions we tried. You’ll be able to easily maneuver everything from a simple baking sheet of chocolate-studded cookies to a pot of curative stock, or even a weighty holiday ham. It’s also great at rotating pans around the oven and protecting your fingers while peeking underneath a not-quite-ready batch of scones.
There is plenty to love about the care of these gloves, too. The stain-resistant silicone mitts clean up easily with warm water and soap. A short spin in a cold washing machine does the trick for more thorough cleaning, too. Make sure to turn the comfortable polyester-cotton blend lining inside-out before tossing the mitt in the wash; if time allows, air drying is recommended. Use the convenient hanging loop for easy storage. The cherry on top of these winning mitts? They’re sold in pairs; a rarity these days.
Best Value: KAF Home Chefs Oven Mitts
Coco Cipar, sales associate at State College, Pennsylvania’s Kitchen Kaboodle, didn’t hesitate when asked about the store’s best-selling oven mitts. “KAF,” she said, emphasizing their durability and good looks. “They’re so pretty, good quality and they last forever.” These lo-tech oven mitts are durable, stylish, and machine washable. I can vouch for their longevity; the pair I purchased years ago are still going strong and wash up like a champ. I find these extremely easy to pop on and off. They are my favorites when I’m baking cake layers, trays of holiday cookies, quick breads, graham cracker or crumb crust pie shells, and cheesecakes.
Available in solids and stripes, the mitts are quilted for comfort, sporting a twill exterior and terry interior. Other features like a convenient hanging loop, variety of colorways, and a comfortable price point make these popular everyday oven mitts. Sure, they are a little pricier than the mismatched ones you might pluck from your local dollar emporium—but your hands deserve it.
Best Splurge: Five Two Silicone Oven Mitts & Pot Holders
An unexpected color palette—rhubarb, blueberry, peppercorn, and paprika—automatically makes these mitts stand out from the pack. Five Two’s Silicone Oven Mitts feature a longer length to provide plenty of arm protection, and ward off heat up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. A cotton terry interior keeps palms comfortable while a cotton twill and platinum-grade silicone exterior keeps you safe. Best of all, the fabric maintains plenty of dexterity.
Many food professionals are wary of mitts with built-in magnets, which are meant to attach to the oven but run the risk of hitching a ride on a neighboring hot baking sheet. It’s just a matter of personal preference: If you’d rather not fuss with magnets, simply remove them and use the hanging loops for easy storage. As a bonus, these mitts can be purchased with a matching pot holder, which is ideal for removing hot lids, handling hot baking sheets, or acting as a trivet.
Best Without Being Bulky: Williams Sonoma Ultimate Oven Mitt
No wonder this mitt is a Williams Sonoma bestseller. Customers swear by the extra-long split cuff, which allows arms to bend without bunching up the durable cotton twill. Extended coverage over the wrist adds plenty of protection to an area prone to burns, while comfortably soft insulation doesn’t get in the way of maneuvering hot bakeware and cookware in the oven. It’s also machine washable and heat resistant up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unlike traditional hanging loops, a neat metal grommet allows for easy hanging without adding extra fabric to drag across trays of cookies or pots of steaming liquid. The tips of these mitts offer substantial grip, but those with smaller hands will find some welcome wiggle room around the fingertips. They’re also available in a number of pleasing colors, making them an excellent housewarming gift.
Best Design: Marimekko Oven Mitten
These brightly floral oven mitts are made by Marimekko, a Finnish textile and design house renowned for its original prints, bold florals, and dramatic colors. They’d be a stunning addition to any kitchen, and the company’s responsible sourcing practices also deserve mention. Marimekko partners with the Better Cotton Initiative, a non-profit organization that supports water stewardship, soil health, and other sustainable growing practices. This pair is recommended by pastry chef (and self-dubbed “cake maiden”), Meadow Ramsey, who creates celebratory cakes embellished with fresh fruit, blossoms, and chocolate calligraphy at Kismet in Los Angeles. Ramsey says she usually sticks to using folded kitchen towels, but, “did, however, recently stumble across some very pretty ones by Marimekko and may just have to get some to liven up my kitchen.”
Made from cotton and heat resistant up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit, this oven mitt has additional padding between the thumb and hand for better protection. It’s a perfect gift for bakers, pattern lovers, and anyone who should have retired their vintage mitts years ago.
Best Multi-Tasker: All-Clad Textiles Heat and Stain Resistant Pot Holder
This is not the potholder you wove as a craft project in day camp or the lacy squares your grandmother crocheted from brightly colored yarn. All-Clad’s 100% cotton heavyweight twill pot holder is a true workhorse, capably protecting hands against ripping hot handles, baking pans, double boilers, and casseroles. It’s easy to grab, thanks to a streamlined hourglass shape and winning no-slip grip. The thick, silicone-treated fabric is heat-resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it can moonlight as a trivet. Best of all, it’s available in a dozen colors, all stain-resistant and machine-washable.
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