What Are Kitchen Tongs And How To Use It

Tongs are super useful kitchen tools for cooking.

IMAGE Lazada, Shopee

Tongs are super useful kitchen tools for cooking. If you do not know what these small kitchen tools are, you need to learn because once you start using them, you'll always find a reason to use them in your everyday cooking.

Tongs are tools to hold or grip items. In the kitchen, these items are usually food that are too hot (or too cold as the case may be) to handle with your hands. You may also use tongs to handle food that you do not want to handle with your hands, such as when breading fish fillets, grabbing fried chicken from hot oil, or handling oddly shaped food that you can normally handle easily with your hands such as corn cobs and a bunch of lettuce greens or even pasta. 

There are many kinds of tongs and each is made specifically for a kind of use. Learn the most common kinds of tongs, what they are called, and what they're good for in the kitchen. 

Photo by Shopee
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1 For basic kitchen tasks: Kitchen Tongs 

These are also known as utility tongs because they will do just about anything in the kitchen. These come in short lengths 9-inch lengths or be as long as your arm so you can stay away from the heat of the simmering soup pot, deep frying pan, or the stir-frying wok. 


The ends of these tongs usually have claw-like grips. These can hold just about anything as long as you exert enough pressure on the handles to hold the food you're gripping. These long tongs which are sometimes called grill tongs are particularly useful when barbecuing.

You can use these alone or in tandem with another pair of tongs to firmly grip and lift heavier food such as a full slab of pork liempo or a family-sized whole chicken from the roasting pan.  

Some tongs also come with a number of features. Some will feature locking mechanisms that prevent the tongs from being wide open while not being used and save space in storage. Some tongs will feature silicone-coated claws, so heat is not immediately conducted through the tongs and up to your hand. Some will also have silicone or heat-resistant handles which make dipping these tongs in simmering liquids easy and with no danger of burning your hands. 


Tongs may feature one or all of these features but one thing is certain, the basic kitchen tongs are the workhorse of the tong kitchen tools family.   

Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Food Tongs, 30 cm, P68, Shopee 

Masflex Stainless Steel Food Tongs, 16 inches, P140, Lazada

Photo by Lazada

2 For gripping slippery food, especially noodles: Pasta Tongs

Also known as spaghetti tongs, these are special tongs with many grips on the end which give it its other name: comb tongs. These are shaped like a spaghetti spoon which you use to gather the spaghetti noodles from the simmering hot water. This is the tool you use to finally serve pasta onto plates. 


This is also quite useful for picking up long pieces of food such as corn on the cobs, hotdogs, and long buns or doughnuts that also need to be gently lifted and served.    

Stainless Steel Spaghetti Pasta Tongs, 24.4 cm, P85.07, Lazada  

Photo by Lazada

3 For picking up delicate food: Scissor tongs

Tongs require your hand grip to be pretty strong, so when it comes to picking up food that the usual kitchen tongs cannot grip firmly, you have these scissor-like tongs. These give your hands a firmer and familiar grip just like using scissors. What's unique about these tongs are the flat grips. The flat grips are perfect for picking up delicate food items such as lettuce greens and bunches of herbs. It's also great for food you do not want to pierce with the claws of the kitchen tongs such as asparagus spears and corn cobs. 


Food tongs, 28 cm, P159, Lazada

Photo by Lazada, Shopee

4 For dishing out food at the table: Serving tongs

Sometimes a spoon or a fork is just not the right tool even when you're at the table. For all of those pieces of food that you just can't pick up with either serving utensil, use these. Serving tongs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even features. Some have flat spatulas instead of claws, also known as flat grip tongs or pastry tongs, to make it easy to pick up flat food such as sandwiches, cake slices, and the like. 


Others may have heads that look like slotted spoons to make it easy to pick up food soaking in liquid, allowing it to drain before being plated. These slotted spoon tongs are sometimes used for frying to easily drain oil from the food being picked up. 

Flat Cooking Tongs, P55, Lazada and P55, Shopee 

Scallop Head Tongs, 23.5 cm, P79, Shopee

Photo by Lazada

5 For ice and small pieces of food: Ice tongs

Do you have an ice bucket? This is going to be super useful if you do! These are ice tongs and the great thing about these tongs is that these have small grips. The large and jagged claws are perfect for gripping slippery ice so you can add these delicately into your glass. These are also considered bar tongs for picking up citrus slices and other garnishes for your drinks.

These are also great for grabbing small pieces of food that might otherwise be too unwieldy for the bigger kitchen tongs to handle. 

Metro Cookwares MKT 5371Tongs, 6 inches, P142.26, Lazada

There are kinds of tongs on the market that you may find that have more specialized uses such as pom tongs which curve in only at the ends, plating tongs which are essentially long tweezers for precision placing of food on a plate, and even salad tongs.


Salad tongs are kitchen tongs but usually made of either plastic or bamboo since metal encourages the leaves to wilt. These same tongs commonly will have a spoon on one side and a fork on the other to efficiently transfer greens from one bowl to another. 

You just have to start using it in the kitchen to realize how essential a kitchen tool the tongs are for the cook as well as the baker.  


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.

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