Bouillon Spoon vs Soup Spoon. (The answer might surprise you!)


If you’ve ever been to a nice restaurant or formal party and wondered why you have multiple soup spoons on the dinner table, you’re not the only one. I’ve wondered the same thing while attending banquets and formal dinners. While it might seem like they are similar, each spoon is intended for different reasons. Two spoons, in particular, the bouillon and the soup spoon look quite similar, so I decided to do my research to find out what the real difference is.

The Difference Between a Bouillon and a Soup Spoon

Bouillon spoons and soup spoons are both used to eat soup, but they are intended to be used for different types of soup. A bouillon spoon is used for clear or broth-based soups or jellied soups. A bouillon spoon is round-shaped but has a shallow bowl to fit the side of a soup bowl. A soup spoon is a general term for various kinds of spoons, but most commonly refers to a cream soup spoon. A cream soup spoon is normally larger and meant for thick soups such as cream-based soup, chowder, and bisque.

What is a soup spoon?

As a general rule, soup spoons have larger, more rounded bowls than traditional spoons and they are designed for sipping soup. They are meant to fit the bottom and the side of a soup bowl so the soup can be ladled out easily. The bowl of the soup spoon is too wide to fit in the mouth and the soup is meant to be sipped from the side of the utensil. There are several shapes, sizes, and varieties of soup spoons such as the cream soup spoon, and the Chinese soup spoon which all have different uses.

What is a cream soup spoon?

A cream soup spoon is meant for thick soups such as cream of mushroom soup, clam chowder, and lobster bisque. A cream soup spoon is made of stainless steel and has a wide, deep bowl to fit the shape of the side of a cream soup bowl. The cream soup spoon is about 6 inches long and is made with a long handle, to reach the bottom of a cream soup bowl. A cream soup spoon is too wide to fit inside the mouth and it’s designed for someone to sip soup from the side of the spoon. A cream soup spoon is normally used at luncheons, not formal dinners because a cream-based soup is usually considered too heavy for a multi-course dinner.

What is a bouillon spoon?

A bouillon spoon is used to eat clear, broth-based, and jellied soups. It is not meant for cream-based soups or stews. It looks similar to a cream soup spoon, but it is shorter in length at about 5 to 5 1/2 inches long. As you can see in the picture above, the bowl is round and shallow, not oval and it’s designed to fit the rounded edge of a soup bowl. Bouillon spoons are used for lighter dishes and sides, not for heavy cream-based soups such as stew which are normally served at more formal dining experiences. Bouillon spoons are normally made of stainless steel.

What is a Chinese soup spoon?

Chinese soup spoons are another type of soup spoon with very distinct features. They are lightweight and are usually made from ceramic or porcelain. They have a large, deep spoon bowl with a short, thick handle. Chinese soup spoons originated in China as their name suggests. They have flat bottoms which allow for eating soup that has liquid and other components such as Ramen, Wonton, Pho, Udon, and Soba. Chinese soup spoons vary in size from small to large ladle-like spoons.

Where is a soup spoon placed?

As a general rule, the soup spoon is placed on the right side of the dinner knife which is placed on the right side of the plate. Soup is normally the first course served and most guests are right-handed so it is placed on the outer right-hand side for easy access for the guest. There may be exceptions when soup may be served at a different time so it would be moved to the appropriate order. The diagram above shows a what a formal table setting looks like in most cases.

How do you use a soup spoon?

The proper way to eat soup with a soup spoon is to hold it horizontally to your body. Gently dip soup away from yourself while dragging it toward the edge of the bowl or plate which will prevent dripping. Ovoid overfilling the spoon and bring the spoon to your mouth. Sip soup from the side of the spoon, not the point which could cause spilling. Generally, soup spoons are too wide to fit inside the mouth. It’s best to sit up straight and lean over just slightly to sip from the spoon. If you are eating soup from a soup plate, you can rest your spoon on the plate in between bites. If you are eating soup from a bowl, place your soup spoon on the liner underneath the bowl in between bites.

What can I use instead of a soup spoon?

Dinner spoons are often used in place of soup spoons. A dinner spoon is larger than a teaspoon but smaller than a tablespoon and it has a deep, oval-shaped bowl, and is designed to pick up foods that have liquid and solid foods such as ravioli or vegetables in broth. You can also use a dessert spoon like the one in the photo above. A dessert spoon is similar in size to a soup spoon. They have an oval bowl rather than a round bowl. Some restaurants even use soup spoons and dessert spoons interchangeably.

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