All About Salad Spinners and How To Use Them

If you’ve ever had the disappointment of biting into a soggy lettuce sandwich, or a forkful of droopy rocket, you’ll appreciate the game-changing effects of a salad spinner! What is a salad spinner, exactly? It’s a handy tool consisting of a basket and a bowl that eliminates the problem of limp leaves, keeping your salads crisp and fresh.

What is the point of a salad spinner?

We all know it’s important to wash fresh produce before eating. Many fruits and vegetables are treated with chemicals and pesticides that are best to remove rather than ingest. In fact, lettuce is one of the most likely vegetables to retain pesticide contamination, so it’s important it gets a good rinse before it’s eaten.

Even organic and home-grown veg needs a wash to get rid of traces of earth and any sneaky critters that might be hiding in the nooks and crannies.

lettuce with water on it, needs a salad spinner


However, salad leaves can be a pain to wash. Once you’ve rinsed them under the tap, you often end up with waterlogged lettuce, limp rocket, or weighed-down cabbage. Patting it dry with a paper towel is an option, but this creates extra waste and can bruise or damage your leaves.

A salad spinner allows you to thoroughly wash your ingredients and these innovative gadgets remove any excess moisture, so you’re left with clean, dry and — most importantly — crisp salad.

How do you use a salad spinner?

Salad spinners are generally made up of a basket that spins inside a lidded bowl. The spinning motion drains excess water from the ingredients, transferring it from the basket to the bowl.

The spinning motion can be controlled by a few different types of mechanisms. Manual spinners use a pull cordpush pump, or crank handle. Electric salad spinners are also available and tend to operate with multiple speeds.

Using a salad spinner is quick and easy.

First, you need to prepare your salad ingredients. If you like, you can combine all the elements, including any tomatoes, cucumber slices, or other tasty additions before washing. You don’t need to clean the leaves separately. 

Take the basket out of the salad spinner and put all your salad in it. Be careful not to overfill the basket as this will affect how it spins. Just like clothes in an overloaded washing machine, if there’s too much, the salad will come out retaining water.

Rinse the salad and entire basket under the kitchen tap. You can shake the basket to make sure the leaves in the middle get washed as well as the top layer.

Then put the basket back in the salad spinner bowl and put the lid on, ensuring it’s secure. 

Next is the fun part — it’s time to spin your salad! Push the button or pump, pull the cord, or crank the handle, depending on which type of salad spinner you’re using. Salad spinners work quickly, and you’ll want to let it spin for about 15 seconds. Larger portions may need a little longer to make them crisp and ready. You can check the moisture levels as you go by seeing how much water has gathered in the bowl. 

Zyliss salad spinner in use

If you prepare salads regularly or suffer from arm fatigue, try to find a salad spinner with a comfortable handle. The Zyliss Easy Spin Salad Spinner was awarded a Red Dot Design Award for its retractable cord and brake system, complete with an ergonomic handle that makes the pulling motion effortless. The bowl and basket are lightweight to make them easy to manage, too.

Do you really need a salad spinner?

At first glance, a salad spinner may seem like an unnecessary extravagance. However, once you start using one, you’ll notice how much fresher and tastier your salads are! A salad spinner can be a great incentive to get you and your family eating more portions of healthy greens. 

If you often prepare meals for large groups of people, salad spinners can also save you lots of time.

Salad spinners can even enhance the taste of your dishes! Because there’s no excess water draining them away, dressings and sauces are able to coat the salad more evenly and efficiently, allowing their flavours to stand out more distinctly. No more watered-down balsamic glaze!

What size salad spinner is best?

The size spinner you go for depends on how many servings of salad you’re preparing. If you tend to make single portions or enough for two, a small salad spinner with a maximum capacity of 2.5 litres will be sufficient. 

Large spinners, like the Zyliss Large Swift Dry Salad Spinner, have a capacity of 5 liters and can wash up to 6 portions of greens. These are ideal for dinner parties, batch lunches for the week ahead, or buffet preparation.

What else can you use a salad spinner for?

Salad spinners can be used to wash and dry an array of ingredients other than salad leaves. They are a convenient way to clean soft fruits, such as grapes and berries, which can rot more quickly if they’re left in a stagnant pool of water after rinsing.

noodle salad in a bowl

Salad spinners make rinsing vegetables with florets, such as broccoli or cauliflower, a doddle. They can also speed up the cleaning process of any root vegetables that might be concealing pesky bits of mud.

Because a salad spinner’s components come apart, you can use the basket as a colander for rinsing canned beans and pulses. You can also use the bowl as a handy serving dish. 

For ease of cleaning, look for a salad spinner that can be washed in the dishwasher. The bowl, basket, and clutch plate elements of Zyliss salad spinners are dishwasher-safe, making them really convenient to care for after use.