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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.

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  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: http://www.jbprince.com/index.asp?Pag...

          chinoise: http://www.jbprince.com/index.asp?Pag...

          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" it...it 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.

                  2. I have owned several chinois in the goal of finding the perfect one. My favorite is at Lehmans.com look undercanning and preserving. The greatest this about this one is the very wide stand and best of all, if you spin the strainer when it is sitting in the stand it scrapes the sides clean.

                    1. Bridge has a very good small chinois for $25.00. I use it frequently, stirring with an old wooden spoon.

                      They also have large ones, for high prices, and the wood pestle is sold separately. However, you can't beat the quality and durability.

                      I think a china cap is more trouble than it's worth. A food mill does the same thing faster and with less effort.

                      1. I have an awesome steel strainer set that we purchased at an Indian store years ago. It has mesh of 6 different sizes - you pop them in and out of a circular thing similar to a springform pan. Easy to use and clean. I've done everything from straining fruit coulis to washing lentils in it. I think it was $10 or so. Check your local East Asian stores and you might find something similar. If you don't like it, you can try the more expensive gadgets...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jcanncuk

                          I've been looking for something like that. Does yours have the springform clamping clip, or is it a straight "drop-in"?

                          Here's something that amazon sells. These are usually marketed to gardeners. Note the finest mesh is 10/inch.


                          1. re: jcanncuk

                            Thanks. Sorry for the late reply. I had neglected to bookmark this thread.

                            That seems like the perfect versatile tool for many applications.

                            Just found a web sales link...found "Google" then "Images" to work much more than "web" text search.

                            Bonsai site came up... of course...the zen of the gentle diminuative operation:

                            "Shohin Size Soil Sieve Set (tel002)" strikes me as the most versatile for kitchen, at: