Gravy Boats

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 | Tags: , , ,

Gravy boats are one of those must-have table accessories for big family dinners, roast turkey, and special occasions. But they're not all made alike. We put some to the test to find out which are easiest to use, and keep the gravy flowing.

The Basics

  • Gravy boats range from the simple to lavish in style. They can be made in a wide variety of materials to coordinate with an assortment of service sets.

  • Most gravy boats are made from clay or china and shaped like a long, deep dish with a handle at one end and a spout at the other.

  • Many have an accompanying saucer or bottom plate to collect liquid that drips from the pouring spout. Some versions are solid cast instead of being in two parts.

  • Other gravy boats are designed with two handles and are meant to hold a gravy spoon or ladle, while still others are shaped like small upright jugs from which the gravy can be poured.

  • Make sure you think about your gravy needs. If you have a large family, a small gravy boat will need to be refilled frequently. Buy a boat that will accommodate your party size, or better yet, buy two if you often are feeding a large group of people. One for each end of the table! 

  • Gravy boats aren’t just for gravy! They can be used to dispense other sauces, both warm and cool, for example herb and cream sauces for pasta, hollondaise sauce, anything else you can think of.

What to look for:

  • Decide on a material and style you prefer:
    • Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or acrylic

    • One or two handles

    • Attached saucer, detached saucer, or no saucer

    • Ladle or no ladle

  • Some styles are designed to retain heat better than others, including those with insulated walls, carafe-style, double-walled, candle-warmed, and even electric varieties.

  • Pick it up and imagine it full of gravy. Will it be comfortable to hold, pour, and pass around the table?


You can find just about anything these days, so when we came across some of these new-fangled gravy boats, we decided to put them to the test to see if they are worth it. We tested:

  • Paderno (traditional, stainless steel): $16.99
. . The Shopping Channel
  • Trudeau (traditional, porcelain with saucer): $19.99
. . Trudeau
  • Norpro (boat with stand and warming candle): $24.99
. . Norpro Amazon.com
  • Deni (electric boat with warming plate): $35
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)


Temperature Test

We let our boats sit on the table and measured their heat loss over 15 minutes.

  • The temperature of the Deni electric boat was falling. We also weren’t fans of having an electric cord running across the table for people to trip over.

  • The Norpro boat with the candle warmer was actually bubbling our gravy!

  • The Trudeau and Paderno lost heat, as was to be expected with our traditional boats that had no heat source.

Pour Test

  • All of the gravy boats poured adequately, but the Paderno, which had the smallest spout, was the most precise. It was also the smallest of our test boats, so if you have a big family, you might need more than one!


We liked the looks of the Trudeau porcelain gravy boat with the saucer for its simple design and clean style, but for a long dinner, the Norpro boat with the candle warmer is the way to go.


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