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A mesh strainer type of sieve

In general, a sieve separates wanted/desired/needed elements from unwanted material using a tool such as a mesh, net or other filtration or distillation methods, but it is also used for classification of powders by particle size, or for size measurement as an analytical technique. The word "sift" derives from this term. A strainer is a type of sieve typically associated with separating liquids from solids.

Types of sieves used in cooking

  • Colander, a (typically) bowl-shaped sieve used as a strainer in cooking
  • Chinoise, or conical sieve used as a strainer, also sometimes used like a food mill
  • Tamis, also known as a drum sieve
  • Zaru, or bamboo sieve, used in Japanese cooking
  • Flour sifter, used in baking
  • Mesh strainer, or just "strainer," usually consisting of a fine metal mesh screen on a metal frame
  • Spider, used in Chinese cooking
  • Tea strainer, specifically intended for use when making tea
  • Cocktail strainer, a bar accessory


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