Affordable, easy to clean, and comes with an injection needle that’s good for brining.
It leaks, doesn’t hold a huge amount of liquid, and doesn’t let you see how much liquid you’ve sucked up.
This a fine baster for cooks who only need one a couple of times a year. Anything more than that, and you’ll want a baster with greater precision and that doesn’t leak.
That two-piece bulb baster rolling around your mom’s gadget drawer? No matter how many times Mom scrubbed it or put it through the dishwasher, the plastic tube always seemed to have a thin film of grease. Buying a baster made from a less residue-friendly material than plastic is an obvious solution. What about stainless steel? Norpro has an update to the bulb baster in stainless steel and silicone—no ergonomic redesign, no fancy claims regarding coverage, just the classic two-piece baster, produced with upgraded materials.
Actually, the Norpro Stainless Steel Baster does have a couple of accessories that the old-school plastic baster doesn’t: a needle attachment (for injecting brine or basting a very focused area; close-up below) and a bottlebrush for cleaning. There’s nothing surprising about the design—it’s 11 inches long when assembled, easy to handle (empty, it weighs just under 4 ounces), and it claims to hold up to 1 1/2 ounces of liquid. Hand wash only.
We performed a couple of tests with the Norpro Stainless Steel Baster. First, we tested it with boiling water to check the volume and to see if it would become unwieldy when hot. Second, we basted a duck as it roasted.
Boiling water: Though Norpro says the baster holds 1 1/2 ounces of liquid, we could only get it to suck up 1 ounce. When we used it without the injection needle in place, the water easily leaked out the end. And though—not surprisingly—the stainless tube got hot, the silicone bulb stayed reasonably cool to the touch.
Roasted duck: The Norpro did a good job sucking up a lot of rendered fat at once, and made it easy to transfer the fat back over the bird. When it came time to clean up, the brush made it easy to scrub all traces of fat out of both tube and bulb.
General stuff: This is a perfectly fine baster overall. We like how the cleaning brush effectively scours the basting tube and bulb, and how the stainless steel won’t melt if it accidentally comes into contact with a burner—something we can’t say about our old plastic baster. The steel has one disadvantage, though: Since you can’t see through it, it’s hard to tell if the baster’s working, or how much liquid you’re sucking up. And because liquid leaks out of the tube so easily, we found we had to keep the injection needle screwed on, even when we didn’t strictly need it. The Norpro is perfectly fine for cooks who use a baster once or twice a year. If you need better performance or more precision, you’ll want to upgrade.
Photos by Chris Rochelle