Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Nov 20, 2006 09:12 AM

Very fine strainer

What is the best, easiest implement I can get to strain liquids to a very fine state? I would be using it for making clarified butter, straining broth made from dried mushrooms, etc. In the past, I have used a cheesecloth-lined collander, but this is messy and doesn't work perfectly.

Any recommendations? Bigger is better and something easy to clean would be huge plus.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'd recommend a chinoise ( or chinois ) that you can pick up here:

    1. I second the chinois, but I bought one at a local restaurant supply store for less than half that price. It came with two washable fine mesh filters that are inserted into a frame. I used to have a rigid one which worked well, but was much harder to clean.

      1. Third the chinois (also known as a "china cap") idea. If there is no stand, be sure to have one with guard rods on the outside (the cheapest ones are without), because you can easily damage the mesh if it is not protected.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Karl S

          In kitchens i've worked in, 'china cap' refers to a perforated metal conical strainer with small holes, not the very fine mesh of a china cap. Might not be an official definition, but that's how we differentiate.

          china cap:


          1. re: babette feasts

            Here's another similar tool. It uses a tapered dowel that you roll/stir along the cone insides to push the liquid out thru the holes. It's extremely sturdy, unlike the screen chinois.

            For those rare times of superfine straining, I've used this with a finer-meshed strainer placed underneath.

            It is labeled as a "food press".


            1. re: babette feasts

              I would have to agree. A strainer has punched holes in a metal cone and a chinoise is a very fine woven metal basket.

              I have always used the back of a small ladle to push the food through the device.

            2. re: Karl S

              I "fourth" is an expense...I purchased mine at Williams Sonoma, but it works really well...I just used it to get the clearest most golden clear chicken soup!

            3. I also use a gold coffee filter, the sort that you reuse in your coffee maker, when I need a super-fine strainer for liquids.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jillp

                I am a retired restaurant owner, (8 restaurants) and would agree on the strainer/chinoise issue, but the gentleman that suggested the gold coffee filter or coffee filter period, is not far off base for someone that doesn't want to spend the money for the other kitchen utensils. When space becomes a consideration a creative alternative is, always, at hand.

              2. Go to a fabric store and get plain cotten muslium

                2 Replies
                1. re: jefpen2

                  That would be muslin, in case the OP has trouble finding it.

                  1. re: jefpen2

                    ....comes in many different weights; go for a light weight unbleached muslin, fine but not too tight a weave.