I know I said I’d never again cook bacon in a frying pan, since making it an oven — particularly a countertop oven — is easier and cleaner and takes roughly the same amount of time. But if I were to cook bacon on a stovetop in, say, my new favorite stainless steel skillet or cast-iron pan, I wouldn’t do it without the help of a splatter guard.
This simple yet effective device keeps your stove clean when you’re cooking anything prone to grease pops or saucy spillovers such as bacon, steaks, red sauce and stir-fries. And if you use a gas stove with those pesky grates to clean under, this device will prove even more useful.
In fact, it’s the best new kitchen gadget I’ve tested since I got my margarita-loving hands on the incredible Fluicer.
While the concept of a splatter guard isn’t totally new, I found a new model called the SplatterDom ($40 on Amazon) with an updated design and a few smart features that make it more effective and easier to use. That’s all to say, these ain’t your grandma’s splatter guards.
Fry guards, or splatter guards, are simply rubber walls of protection around your frying pan. When a fatty steak or slab of bacon hits the surface and starts sizzling, the walls catch any splatter leaving you with a clean stove top surface and one fewer chore to do when dinner is done.
Sounds simple enough, right? Now the real question is, how did it take me so long to discover the beauty of the splatter guard? As someone who loathes lifting those heavy cast-iron grates to clean a greasy stove after cooking, I’m making the SplatterDom a definite mainstay in my kitchen.
The SplatterDom is a smarter splatter guard
There are a few types of splatter guards, including simple, conical models with openings on top and bottom and no cover. There are also screen splatter guards that look a lot like stubby badminton rackets, but those block you from touching food and when you lift them, you’re also opening your stove up to splatter, which kind of defeats the purpose.
The SplatterDom, which I tested and recommend, is adjustable with an open top and a removable lid. I liked the open top since it allows one to flip and maneuver food inside the pan while cooking without having to lift the splatter guard itself. The accordion-like adjustability lets you raise or lower the walls depending on what you’re making and how much splatter you anticipate. For a quick sauté of vegetables in oil, you probably don’t need the walls up more than the lowest setting. But for bacon or a fatty ribeye steak, you’ll want those rubber walls in full force. Cover the top and you can completely tame the grease pops and enjoy your spoils without a mess.
The SplatterDom has an 8-inch opening on one side and a 10-inch opening on the other so you can flip it to fit the two most popular sizes for frying pans and other stove top cookware. But the 8-inch lid only fits snugly when you’re using it on a pot or pan with a 10-inch surface diameter. SplatterDom also offers a larger size to accommodate 10- and 12-inch pans. It’s made from 100% food-grade silicone and can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do splatter guards work?
Yes, and very well I found. I cooked several traditionally messy frying pan foods using the SplatterDom. While deciding the necessary height to raise the walls had a learning curve, once I got the hang of it, I prevented any and all splatter from reaching the range. I don’t have a dishwasher, so it did result in one more thing to hand wash after. But if you do have a built-in dishwasher, the SplatterDom and most other splatter guards are completely dishwasher-safe.
Is the SplatterDom worth $40?
This new splatter guard is more expensive than most. While the other types I’ve tried work OK, I’d just as soon pony up the extra dough for this superior model. It’s built tough and works well. You don’t have to hold it while you use it and the tight-fitting cover gives you complete protection from grease grenades. It’s also easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher and will save you a lot of grief after frying a batch of bacon or ribeyes.
More kitchen tips