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Spatter screens - do they really work?

My range hood is fundamentally a light- if we were to have an outside vent super-sucking hood, we would have to shift the kitchen 90 degrees. Still, there are some dishes I want to fry in deep fat, and would prefer that my kitchen wasn't coated in a light film of far-flung oil spatter. I need to control the grease.

My parents had many wars, and one was over the spatter screen my Dad gave Mom for a birthday(!). It was never used (duh!), so I have no experience with it. I know they are not expensive, but I don't want to spend without knowing if it is truly a utile item and one worth storage.

Do spatter screens really work? Do you like yours? Are they heavy maintenance, cleaning the grease? Shall I go spend (gasp!) five buck and get one?

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  1. I have one. It works alright (I find it hard to see the frying very well), but eventually you have to take it off & there lies the problem. Where to put it since you generally need both hands for dealing with the fried food? It is a little awkward to wash in a sink & it doesn't always fit in smaller dishwashers. I tend to move the occasional deep fry out doors and skip the screen. If I'm indoors, my decision for it's use depends on how much extra room is available for its "home" when removed from the fryer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: meatn3

      jfood places paper towels on the cutting board to "hold" the screen while his paws are busy with the fried food.

      Hope that helps

    2. Mine works great, it does exactly what it's supposed to do. I use it, if not once a day, than close. Dishwasherable. I store it in the drawer under the oven. The one single problem is that I've got a big one and a gas stove and sometimes when it's on a smaller pan it's gotten burned a bit (browned the screen; still functions fine). Get the smallest one that will fit the largest pan you intend to use it with.

      1. I do not have a dishwasher - is cleaning the screen by hand a deal breaker?

        5 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          If it fits in your sink Its not bad. If really gunky I spray on one of those natural citrus cleaning sprays & let it sit a bit. Cleans up fine after that with very hot water.

          1. re: cayjohan

            You want to be able to clean it properly - a friend of my mother's strained chicken soup for eighteen through hers (no, I don't know why she didn't use a sieve) and it was only when the dinner party sat down to eat the soup that she realized the entire batch had turned. The culprit? The dirty splatter screen. So while you might not choose to use yours as a multipurpose item (!) be prepared to give it a good scrubbing.

            My first splatter screen didn't work - it was mesh wire and had stupidly large enough holes for oil to splatter through. Get something quite dense, and you should be fine - my current one is solid metal with tiny perforations, works fine.

            1. re: Gooseberry

              I have a large and smaller one that I use to contain the splatter and also use it to steam burrito shells over a pot of simmering water.

              The large one doesn't quite fit into the dishwasher, so I hand wash it with Dawn dish-washing liquid to get all the grease out.

              1. re: MysticYoYo

                Second the use of Dawn to clean both the splatter screen AND the screen on the exhaust fan after every serious fry job.
                The cheap screens from Walmart will cut the splatter by about 95%. And that's a lot less to clean up.

            2. re: cayjohan

              I wash both of mine by hand most of the time with a soapy sponge, no problem.

              However, mine seem to reduce splatters, not really eliminate them. The catfish I fried the other night seemed to have enough water to make the big splashes go through the screen. So, it is an improvement, but not a perfect solution. And it definitely is no substitute for a vent.

              That said, I only paid about $15 for mine at BB&B. I wonder if the other brands are better?

            3. So why can't you just turn your kitchen ;-)? We use our spatter screens (large and small) and wouldn't be without them. CI recommends the Amco Splatter Screen 13", which was the one we had before the rating so I didn't have to trot out and get a new one (gotta have the best, after all).

              1. I've never had one that worked very well. I keep trying them though. I did buy a deep fryer this past winter that has a double filtering system in the lid that lets the steam out and keeps the fat and odors in.

                1. I deep fry in a dutch oven, so most of the spatter stays in the pot. A spatter screen won't keep in all the vaporized oil, anyway, mostly just the splashes and spitting. They're semi-useful for frying bacon or sauteeing, but you do still have to take the screen off the pan to turn the food, which lets the cooking food spit all over the stove while you're turning it. Can't win.

                  1. I have used them a few times, but find that they end up just getting in the way. Like stated above they make it hard to see through. You never really know when your food ready with them on. What I do is simply wipe down the stove top right after I am done with it so that the oil picks up easier then if it would have sat there. Or you can simply get a spray cleaner and spray it after you are done. When you are done eating just wipe it down. Problem solved.


                    1. i like mine, and got it at Wally-Mart

                      1. I recently bought a silicone one and it's really quite good and cleanup is a breeze compared to a metal screen.

                        1 Reply
                        1. I found they ended up steaming the food that I was trying to pan fry.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kayakado

                            I agree the silicone ones do have a tendency to do that. I started noticing the problem now that I've been using it for a month or so.

                          2. Yes I have one that works really well. For the smaller jobs, or for my fried chicken, I use the cook top. The splatter guard I have is black with the knob on top making it handy to lift it on and off quickly. It also allows me to get the best fit to the pan. I used to have one that had a side handle, that one was pretty clumsy and did not fit well, I tossed it.

                            I clean it by hand first and then the dishwasher. It's find that its not that much trouble to work with.

                            1. jfood uses one when mrs jfood is around. jfood would give it a B. In any event there is still the post fry requiremenet to wash down the stove and it's a matter of wiping a bunch of splatters or a bunch of lots of splatters. Same amount of work to clean the stove and jfood has to wash the splatter screen as well. It's the least he can do while mrs jfood is around to please her.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jfood

                                jfood, you are something else, you are. I love your thinking process behind as well as your writing. Thanks for your contributions...

                                1. re: Bramble

                                  I don't have a mrs. jfood looking over my shoulder (grin) but I do like to use one - I think it does reduce the splatter pretty significantly and also protects me if the oil decides to "pop".

                              2. you know I figured I have ADD, everytime some one mentions something on here I immediately must run and go look for it. So I now can't find my new splatter screen, of course I found the older one.... Someone must of stolen it, I always say that, it makes my kids laugh.
                                No wonder I can't get anything done! This will bug me for days!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  Not just for frying. If I make a pot of tomato sauce and it is initially a little too thin or watery, or if the desired consistancy of the finished product is a thicker reduction, I just leave the spatter screen on the pot and let it reduce-prevents all those little red dots all over the stove.

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    check the kids rooms, they may be enjoying it more than you know. LOL

                                  2. Mine does. Not 100%, bvut really well. Clean up is easy with dishwasher soap and a brush. It's an inexpensive (i.e., cheap) fine mesh screen. Do I still get splatters when I pick it up to turn food? Of course. By tiilting the screen I can to the parts under it, but there's still some splatter. Still,it's much, much better than withouit it.

                                    A great other use for it is for popping corn in a pot instead of using a lid. It lets the steam out, giving a crisper and lighter product.

                                    1. I like mine, it works as needed, but I bought a cheap one and the mesh is separating from the rim. I stick it in the dishwasher but a little more carefully than I did at first!

                                      1. 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.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: mrfixit700

                                          so you are steaming your food rather than frying it?

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            Not so! There's a hole in the lid. Another benefit is you can see the food and not keep lifting a splatter guard. It takes me exactly 10 seconds to wash the lid. With all the previously mentioned benefits I will never use a splatter guard again. Try it... I'm sure you'll be delighted as I am. To save expense use a lidded saucepan you already own. Use a little oil with some sausages... wonderful!!!

                                            1. re: mrfixit700

                                              ah, so your saucepan lid is glass then? And even with a hole i still see it catching a lot of steam, but if it works for you, great.

                                        2. I don't fry very often, but when I do, I use a splatter screen. It does seem to cause a bit of steaming but not much. It definitely reduces the mess by a huge amount if not entirely. I'm not sure what the big deal is about washing it - I just wash it with a nylon mesh covered pot scrubber and dish soap. I wouldn't fry anything without it.

                                          Now if I could just figure out how to get the frying smell out of the house!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                            A bowl of vinegar on a nearby counter helps.

                                          2. 5-1/2 years after the post.....!

                                            I use a spatter screen a lot -- it keeps grease spatters, simmering soup, and bubbling sauces *mostly* in the pot where they belong.

                                            I have yet to have any noticeable steaming -- but there's a lot less crud on my stovetop/countertops.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              my comment about 'steaming' was in relation to MrFix using a solid lid rather than a screen.

                                            2. Following Cooks Illustrated's recommendation, I have an Amco Professional Splatter Screen that fits my 12" skillet well and does a good job of containing oil and grease when sauteing. (I don't deep fry.) They don't make smaller screens, so I've bought 10" and 8" screens by other manufacturers. They work too.

                                              1. Yes! Clean in dishwasher.