Do Ovens Need Gloves? – Read This First!

Whether you are a regular baker or barely use the oven, I am confident that no one has ever escaped the curse of being burned by a scorching hot baking tray, grill rack, or brownie pan throughout their entire life. Is it necessary to wear mitts when inserting or removing something from the oven?

Wearing mitts are essential to protect your arms and hands from the extreme heat of the oven. More importantly, gloves allow you to successfully hold onto and transport hot items. There are a few alternatives to mitts, but it all comes down to protecting your hands and arms from burning. 

oven mitts
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In the restaurant industry, hand injuries, including burning wounds, are the second most common in-practice form of injury. Most bakers would thus agree that it is a rule of thumb of baking to always wear gloves when working with the oven.

Do You Need Oven Mitts?

Although it is beneficial, purchasing oven mitts is unnecessary. If you do not intend to use them more than once or twice, or if your budget does not allow you to buy them, there are more cost-efficient alternatives.

Some alternatives at home already include a folded towel, pot holders, or traditional quilting gloves. However, buying oven mitts or gloves will never be a bad or wasted purchase. Material oven mitts are usually thermally insulated with a layer of decorative cotton fabric.

Oven Mitt Uses

Oven Mitt Uses
Oven Mitt Uses

Usually, oven burns result in first-degree burns: a red, sensitive spot on your finger or hand. Although these might burn or pain when you touch them, oven burns can also penetrate deeper into the skin, causing second-degree burns. The primary function of oven gloves and other protective kitchen gear is to prevent these incidents from happening.

Oven mitts are also handy in a commercial kitchen where it is necessary to transport flaming-hot pans or trays. It allows you to grip more steadily, which minimizes the risk of dropping freshly-baked items and, more seriously, injuring yourself and others.

Another use of oven mitts is for protection when working with boiling-hot oil. Although oil splatters can easily travel further than what the gloves cover, the hands and arms are the most vulnerable. Oven gloves minimize the risk of severe, uncomfortable, and painful blisters due to oil splatters.

Best/ Most Recommended Baking Mitts

Here are a few other aspects recommended to look out for when buying the best oven mitts.

Oven Mitt Uses
Oven Mitt Uses

High Heat Tolerance

Different materials have different heat tolerance, so it is crucial to look up the specs before purchasing. Cotton is the most widely used material, yet not ideal for extreme temperatures. Silicone and rubber-covered mitts can sustain higher temperatures and offers more grip. It is thus considered the better and more practical option.

The Correct Size

Most oven mitts or gloves are made to fit everyone. The difference between sizes lies in length. Some cover a more significant part of the arm, while some barely cover the wrist. The larger area covered the safer and better the mitts.

The Best Grip

The grip of oven gloves or mitts is crucial in how easily you can use them in the kitchen. Having more grip naturally increases safety since dropping a pan fresh out of the stove might even cause more damage than touching the pan with your bear finger. Look for added rubber or neoprene.

What Can You Use Instead Of Oven Mitts?

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Oven mitts or gloves are always a safe and recommended option. Yet, there exist a few alternatives you might already have at home. Here are a few items you can use if you do not have oven mitts.

Silicone Mitts

Silicone mitts are not as common but make a great alternative to the well-known material oven mitts. Silicone gloves or mitts are high-quality with good grip. It is also easy to wash!

Pot Holders

Pot holders are pieces of insulated textiles. They are similar to oven mitts in their function but only cover the side of your hand directly in contact with the heated items. Your arms and the back of your hands are thus not protected. Pot holders are small and mobile, making them easier to carry around and grab quickly.

Quilted Gloves

Another alternative to oven mitts is the traditional quilted gloves. Although not entirely as effective as mitts, the cushioning effect and the excellent grip make it a reasonable alternative when working with extreme temperatures.

A Towel

Towels are not the most effective in insulating heat, especially when not folded enough. Still, their accessibility makes them a widely used alternative for oven mitts. It is easy and quick to grab a nearby towel or drying cloth. Many chefs and professionals working in commercial kitchens actually prefer using a towel over wearing oven mitts.

Why Do Chefs Use Towels Instead of Oven Mitts?

If you like watching cooking shows on TV, you might have realized that many chefs operate the stove using a towel, or dishcloth, rather than wearing gloves. It might seem strange because surely towels are thinner, more dangerous, and more impractical than gloves?

The reality is towels are not as effective in insolating heat. Still, other elements make it a competitive alternative for gloves. Firstly, towels are easier to carry around in one’s apron pocket. Towels are also multipurpose. It can be used as a glove alternative, a pot holder, a drying rack, or to clean or dry with.

Because of the significant price difference, many chefs prefer towels to gloves. Towels are much cheaper than oven mitts. It is also much easier to wash. Throwing it in the washing machine or hand-washing it with hot water and maybe a bit of bleach can get the job done. This also makes towels a more hygienic option in the kitchen.

Lastly, not all oven mitts are as effective as advertised. Personally, I have burned my hand through gloves before. With a towel, chefs can adjust the thickness by folding it as often as they prefer. This allows maximum protection.


Why is it essential to use oven mitts?

Oven mitts allow you to protect your hands from the extreme heat of the oven and blistering-hot dishes. Many alternatives to oven mitts, such as towels, do not have the same amount of grip.

Working with a towel rather than oven mitts could cause the hot dish to move and burn your hand. It could also cause the plate to slip and fall, which might cause more serious injuries.

How do I use oven mitts safely?

It is vital to ensure that the mitts are all the way on for maximum grip and comfort. When putting something in or taking something out of the oven, ensure that only the part of your arms covered by the oven mitts enters the oven. Therefore, hold the dish on the side closest to you so you don’t burn yourself or the oven mitts.

Why are oven mitts never paired?

In many cases, it is the most practical for shops to sell mitts as singles. The reason for this is based on how gloves are used. In most scenarios, it is easy enough to take items out of the oven with one hand while the other is used to open the door.

If a customer needs two mitts, they can easily purchase two singles. Instead of buying a whole new pair, selling single gloves allows customers to replace a single mitt if only one has to be replaced.


Using something to protect your hands when working with high temperatures is crucial and could save you a lot of pain and discomfort. Although oven mitts are the most popular option for bakers, many alternatives, if used with care, do the same job equally well. Keep safe, and happy baking!

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Hi there! My name is Zitang, and I’m a retired chef who has a passion for all things related to the kitchen. That’s why I founded my website, Kitchen Joker, to share my love of cooking with others.

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