The 1 Utensil You Should Never Use While Cooking Sauces

<span class="copyright">Hinterhaus Productions via Getty Images</span>
Hinterhaus Productions via Getty Images

Whether you’re whipping up a roux or getting cracking on a tasty jus, home cooks will be familiar with the struggles of creating the perfect sauce.

They split; they clump; they can end up way too thick or way too thin. So, it’s important to use the right tools where possible to get the best result you can, right?

If you’re anything like me, you probably already have a favourite kitchen tool for perfecting your sauces.

But according to pros, there’s one you should avoid altogether ― the ball whisk.


Well, it has to do with how the utensil introduces air to your food, as well as how good it is at getting to the bottom of your pan. 

BBC GoodFood notes that a balloon whisk is great for cream and egg whites, while ball whisks ― which have weighted spheres on the end of metal prongs ― are great for getting into the nooks and crannies of hard-to-reach areas, like the corners of square dishes.

Though great for dry ingredients, a ball whisk “is not ideal for thick, heavy batters,” culinary site The Kitchn shares ― and nor is it great for gravies and sauces.

The problem is that, though the utensil can reach parts of the pan a balloon or flat whisk cannot, it doesn’t have enough strength to push through heavier sauces and may not offer enough coverage to truly incorporate all the ingredients into smooth, silky perfection.

So, you may face lumpy gravy and split sauces ― nobody’s idea of a good time.

What should I use instead? 

A mini whisk, or a gravy whisk, is (predictably) specifically designed for sauces.

It’s made of a single metal loop surrounded by a coil and excels at reaching the bottom of a pan without introducing too much froth-inducing air, as a balloon whisk might.

Then, there’s a flat whisk (AKA roux whisks), which is made from multiple ― usually three ― wire loops with no coil.

Again, its flexible shape allows it to reach the base of your pan without bringing in too many bubbles.

Spiral, conical, and kettle whisks can all help to achieve sauce-based perfection, too.

So long as you leave the ball whisk alone when whipping up that delicious bechamel sauce for your lasagne...