If you have spent more than five uneducated minutes cooking around a frying pan you have probably been splashed with oil or watched your nice clean stove top turn into a greasy mess. Foods like bacon, sausages, fried eggs, fried potatoes and just about anything else which hits the frying pan are going to pop and sizzle as they cook, sending fats and oils flying out of the pan and onto things you’d rather keep oil free … like yourself!
There are things you can do however, to keep that hot oil where it belongs. You can go the more complicated route and buy specialized cooking items like a bacon press or microwave your bacon using a bacon rack, or you can turn down the heat and hope that helps but end up spending much longer in the kitchen as a result. Or, you can do the smart thing and invest in a splatter screen instead.
Splatter screens come in multiple sizes, shapes and designs to suit the varied uses to which they are put. The basis form is the same however, featuring a tight wire mesh bounded by a more robust metal outer ring and a handle for easy removal and replacement of the splatter screen. The mess sits snugly over the top of the pan in question, allowing hot air and steam to escape but keeping splattering oil safely and cleanly inside the pan.
Splatter screen are typically circular as they’re generally used with fry pans and saucepans rather than any other kind of cooking pan, although you can buy square ones to fit over grills and griddle pans too.
The size is important as you want it to fit over the top of the pan but not fall in and not be so large as to become unwieldy to where it might fall off without constant attention. Some splatter screens feature concentric rings underneath the mesh to allow the same screen to fit snugly over multiple pan sizes. Others are just a fixed size designed for one size of pot or pan.
Metal, and in particular, stainless steel is the most commonly used material to make a splatter screen which also makes them easy to clean and in many cases dishwasher friendly too. Silicone splatter screens are also available if that is your favorite kitchen material. Personally, give me metal any day.
Splatter screens are usually stored under the counter but some are attractive enough that you might actually want them hanging up there with your pots on your pot rack. Many come with folding handles to facilitate their storage.