Strainer vs. Sieve – What’s The Difference?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.

You don’t need to buy every kitchen appliance to perform different tasks. Kitchen appliances take up unwanted space and are barely used. However, there are some basic kitchen appliances that every kitchen needs.

Some of these tools may include mixing bowls, knives, cutting boards, spoons, cups, spatula, and saucepans. However, a sieve and strainer are a must to complete this list. Both of them are very important in every kitchen and save a lot of time spent in the kitchen.

They are small appliances and do not take unwanted space. So, what’s the difference between sieve and strainer? A strainer is basically a large bowl with several holes in it and is used to filter liquids. It is, for example, used to separate pasta from cooking water.

On the other hand, sieves are primarily made for the purpose of filtering small particles from large ones. They have a frame that is made of mesh weave. It is widely used to make soups and strain sauces.

While both of them are made for different purposes, we ask, do we need both of them? It might be due to a budget or limited space. However, the answer to this is that you don’t need both.


For straining and easy cooking, one of the most important tools in your kitchen is a filter. While most people mix sieve with filter, they have several differences. A filter is in the form of a large bowl that is primarily used to separate liquids from solids.

It consists of large holes that easily let the liquid pass from the filters. Most commonly, it is used to filter out the liquid. One of the most common examples will be separating pasta from its liquid. It also goes by the name of the colander.

 The most common way to figure out if you are straining or sifting is to look at the mesh basket at the end. If food is left in the basket, then this means you are straining. Moreover, various sizes of mesh filters are available in the market.

Some basic standards include fine ultra-fine, and large. To find out which strainer size you need depends on what you mostly cook. For example, the medium strainer is about 1/16 inches. It is best for straining pasta or veggies. It also filters solid lumps out of flour or sauces.

The fine strainer is about 1/32 inches. It works best at filtering out seeds from sauces. It also is used to filter different kinds of spices. Superfine strainer, commonly called tea strainer, has incredibly small holes. It works best for filtering tea out of its cooking liquid. It is also used to separate cocoa and sugar from desserts.

Strainers will primarily be used for foods that are large and need to be separated from the liquid. As it is a large bowl-shaped filter, it is not specifically built for the purpose of filtering small or fine particles. Some of the key uses for filters are mentioned below.

To drain pasta from its cooking water. To drain lentils or beans after they have been cooked. To drain water from large grains of rice, the size of holes should be kept in mind. To drain water from boiled vegetables like potatoes, turnips or beets.

One of the most effective ways is to rinse fruits or veggies under the tap and then left to dry. Strainer holes are designed to allow filter solids from liquid efficiently. It consists of a handle that allows you to hold the filter until all the liquid has been drained away. They are mostly available in stainless steel, which is durable.


As a strainer is primarily built for the purpose of letting you separate solids from liquid, a sieve is primarily used to separate smaller or fine particles from large ones. For example, fine flour particles are filtered from large particles. They also serve the purpose of squishing solids that are soft to turn them into pulps.

Unlike strainers, they do not have small holes that allow liquid to drain. Instead, they are made up of wire mesh which is held in a frame that allows you to separate bigger particles from smaller ones. They also come with a handle that allows easy maneuvering around the kitchen.

They also come in various sizes to separate large or small particles from each other. As the wire mesh gets smaller, the finer particles will be collected in the mesh. They come with heat-resistant handles that allow you to filter tea from its liquid.

Sieves are one of the most important kitchen utensils that you should have. They come in various sizes providing diverse levels of finesses. Some of the most common things that a sieve is used for are listed below.

It is widely used to filter flours which helps remove large chunks that may affect the texture of baked food. To filter homemade spices, which eliminated large chunks of spices. To remove skins or seeds from boiled tomatoes. To make smooth and silky vegetable purees.

Powdered sugar to be sprinkled evenly. To filter tea from its liquid. It can also be used as an alternative to a strainer or colander to filter out pasta or other foods. You may have learned that sieve can be used in several useful ways. The sizes of sieves do affect the finesse of products at the end. Thus, sieves are one of the essential utensils that every kitchen should have.

So, What’s The Difference Between Strainer and Sieve?

  1. A sieve is primarily used to filter and separate different sizes of ingredients, for example, flour or spices, so a uniform product is obtained at the end. On the other hand, a strainer is primarily used to filter the liquid from solid particles.
  2. A strainer consists of large holes that allow liquid to flow through, while a sieve is made up of wire mesh that allows only fine particles to flow through.
  3. A sieve is used to filter out finer particles, while a strainer is used to filter out small particles from larger ones.