Worthless Gadget: Splatter Screens

As a bit of a neat freak, I hate it when I’m pan-frying something and oil splatters everywhere. After a couple of days (if I don’t clean regularly) my cooktop can be slick with oil. It gets in my overhead vent and accumulates, and sometimes drips down the back of my stove.

In short, cooking with oil can be a messy pain. I was eager to try something that would make clean-up easier.

I had heard that splatter screens weren’t very effective cooking tools – they were difficult to clean themselves, got hot, were hard to manage, and in general made the cooking process less enjoyable. When I learned about the OXO splatter screen with folding handle, I was eager to try it. OXO makes fantastic kitchen gadgets, and I figured if anyone could make a usable splatter screen, it was OXO.

The OXO splatter screen looked great –  much better than any other splatter screen I had seen in the store. Its folding handle made it easy to store, and its screen was made out of durable stainless steel. The foldable handle also fit right on top of the frying pan handle, so the splatter screen wouldn’t slide off the pan, and would sit flat. The screen had ridges so the screen could fit frying pans of three common sizes.

There’s no question the OXO splatter screen is the best one on the market, by far. It’s also still miserable to use. Cooking with a splatter screen made me constantly wish for a third hand – I couldn’t put the screen down anywhere, of course, because its underside was covered in oil. Tilt the screen to one side and hot oil will start dripping. The screen is very difficult to clean – the oil gets burned on and sticky and no amount of soap can remove it. I had hoped to just use a paper towel or two. Yeah right!

Can you spot the splatter screen in my cupboard? This is not a kitchen gadget I'm reaching for every day.

After using the splatter screen a couple of times, I gave up and stashed it in the back of my cupboard. Cooking with a splatter screen – even the best one available – made preparing dinner less enjoyable, more stressful, slower and more difficult. I’ve resigned myself to doing a quick cleanup of my stove area each time I cook with oil, and it’s much faster than trying to adequately clean the screen itself.

Usually I write about gadgets I like and use frequently. This one I strongly dislike and avoid using at all costs. If you’re tempted to buy a splatter screen, heed my advice. Don’t!

  • Seth

    I really don’t see how using a spatter screen makes cooking less enjoyable let alone why you find it so difficult you’d need a 3rd hand…. I’ll take your advice this is a good one and am happy to buy and enjoy using it.

  • Gregory Smith

    Eureka!

    I have suffered all the problems of using a splatter guard including nearly setting my kitchen on fire.

    The first mistake is when you look at a splatter guard. It looks like it will solve the problem but the design IS the problem. The holes need to be very small resulting in grease, fat and oil sticking to the spatter guard.

    The second problem is we don’t wash it after every use as we do with ALL other items we cook with. Why do we assume it doesn’t need washing? I don’t know! Worry ye not, washing it after every use is not my answer  (and doesn’t work anyway)

    My eureka moment.

    I realized we needed something as a splatter guard that was easy to wash every time we use it. My saucepans have lids!!! Luckily I had a saucepan lid that fits snugly over my small frying pan. WOW it worked.

    I searched the internet and found a lid that’s sold separately which exactly fitted my large frying pan. Yippee my problem is solved.

    The added bonus is the food tastes better and you SAVE ENERGY and therefore save money.

    My new frying pan lid cost less than the *>^_! splatter guard.

  • TJ

    The only thing wrong with a splatter screen. Is the idiot who does not know
    how to use it.
    God forbid you should ever have a real kitchen with proper gas or electric
    stove and range, and you want to keep it clean.
    It will keep YOU from getting splattered by hot oil or grease. As fare as
    cleaning goes. Clean it when you a threw. Don’t keep using it over and over with out cleaning. Hate to see what your house looks like! Cockroaches must love it and you!

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