Comfortable and effective, allowing you a full range of hand movements. These look cool and keep your hands cool, too.
Awkward for handling large casseroles, and there’s nothing to keep your palms from getting scalded when dealing with hot water baths.
These are great, like a second (thick and rubbery) skin that resists gross stains and cleans up much easier than standard oven mitts. Buy two.
Turns out that one's choice of potholders is a very personal decision. From Ove Gloves and quilted oven mitts to quarter-folded kitchen towels, the thing you prefer to grab a hot cookie sheet with sort of defines who you are as a cook. The silicone housewares revolution ushered in a slew of new possibilities for self-expression, culminating perhaps with the Dexas Nib Mini Mitt. They’re bold and colorful kitchen accessories—like Crocs for your hands—but can they cope with a searing broiler pan or the red-hot handles of a pasta pot left over a roaring gas flame?
Sold singly and in various bright colors, the 4-Inch Nib Mini Mitt takes a two-pronged approach to insulation. The shallow, glovelike pad is made of heat-resistant silicone (it’s said to handle surfaces at temps up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit), plus it has raised nibs on the interior of the grip to cushion thumb and fingers from contact with hot surfaces. The Mitts are non-hand-specific (they fit on both right and left hands, in other words), and the dimensions (4 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches long) work for both small- and large-handed cooks. Nib Mini Mitts are dishwasher safe.
We tried out a pair of Nib Mini Mitts during the annual oven gridlock season in the CHOW Test Kitchen: the time of year when holiday recipe testing is in full swing. We slid them on to handle a variety of roasting pans, casserole dishes, cookie sheets, muffin tins, and bread pans.
We usually use folded kitchen towels to handle hot pans, but we soon found ourselves reaching for our Nib Mini Mitts instead. They felt more natural than bulky towels that heat up quickly. The mitts molded right to our hands, giving us a feeling of full movement.
They were great for muffin pans: no swiping the top of the muffins near the edges when rotating the pans in the oven, always a risk with kitchen towels. Our Nib Mini Mitts grasped the handles of roasting pans as well as if we were using bare hands. We even used one to steady a hot turkey during carving, and to turn ducks as they were roasting. Since the silicone washes up easily with dish soap and hot water (and can be cleaned in the dishwasher), there's no worry about direct contact with food.
It wasn’t all hot-pad bliss with the Nib Mini Mitts, though. The clearance between the finger and thumb areas is limited, so grabbing something girthy like a large casserole dish was tricky. And because the Mitts don't cover your whole hand, beware of things that slosh, like hot water baths for custards. Finally, we think it's a little disingenuous for Dexas to sell the Nib Mini Mitts individually. They’re really only effective when you have one on each hand, so they should be sold as a pair.
Still, we think these are a worthy replacement for stained, tattered oven mitts or bulky kitchen towels. Our tests have ended, but we still reach for our bright yellow Nibs.
Photos by Chris Rochelle