WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Food Prep / Kitchen Scoop and Disher Guide
fork and pencil
Kitchen Scoop and Disher Guide

Kitchen Scoop and Disher Guide

Whether it's used to serve a big or small scoop of ice cream, cookie dough, or mashed potatoes, every foodservice establishment needs a scoop, disher, or even both. These essential kitchen tools help with portion control to reduce food waste, while also providing an easy way to serve food without sacrificing presentation.

Types of Scoops and Dishers

In the same way a fork isn't an appropriate utensil for eating soup, a disher isn't the right tool for serving ice cream. So then why are scoops, dishers, and spades always grouped together? They generally perform the same role, but in different capacities. For the longevity of your product, it is important to understand these differences.
Assortment of thumb press dishers with different handle colors

Thumb Press Disher

  • Allows the user to dispense product quickly and easily by simply pushing down on the side press with their thumb
  • Use to scoop softer foods like vegetables, rice, dough, batter, and ground meat
  • Come in a variety of sizes for accurate measuring and portion control
  • Most come in a variety of handle colors for quick capacity identification and to reduce cross-contamination

Gray squeeze handle disher portioning tuna onto a sandwich

Squeeze Handle Disher

  • Allows the user to use their whole hand to activate the blade which minimizes hand fatigue. Comfortable for both left and right-handed users.
  • Use to scoop softer foods like vegetables, rice, dough, batter, and ground meat
  • Come in a variety of sizes for accurate measuring and portion control
  • Most come in a variety of handle colors for quick capacity identification and to reduce cross-contamination
  • Some boast an ambidextrous handle for ease of use

Non-stick scoop placing ice cream into a cone

Ice Cream Scoop / Dipper

  • Generally used for hard ice cream
  • Creates the classic ice cream scoop shape
  • Easy-to-clean, one-piece construction eliminates moving parts and minimizes the chance of malfunctioning
  • Many have handles with defrost liquid inside that aid in the smooth rolling of ice cream and help prevent ice crystals from forming and mixing with the ice cream
  • Most come in a variety of handle colors for quick capacity identification and to reduce cross-contamination

Ice cream spade scooping vanilla ice cream out of a tub

Ice Cream Spade

  • Generally used for gelato and creamier ice creams
  • Designed with better leverage than scoops and dishers, making it an ideal tool for scraping down ice cream bins filled with hard ice cream
  • Helps minimize wasted product and maintain your establishment's bottom line

Food Disher Sizes

Dishers are commonly categorized by their size, which is based off of the approximate amount of servings it takes per quart or the number of ounces it holds. To make these sizes both easier to identify in a busy kitchen setting and to prevent cross-contamination between foods, specific handle colors are assigned to each size.

Check out our food disher size chart to better understand the variety of sizes on the market! This chart includes common industry standards, but each brand may have slight variations so keep that in mind as you shop for the perfect dishers for your establishment.

Click below for a downloadable food disher size chart that you can keep in your kitchen:

Download Our Disher Size Chart

Food disher size chart
Disher Size (Approx. servings per QT.)
mL (Approx.)
Fluid Oz. (Approx.)
Cup/Tablespoon/Teaspoon (Approx.)
Orange 236.6 mL 8 oz. 1 Cup
Teal 177.4 mL 6 oz. 3/4 Cup
White 140.5 mL 4.75 oz. 5/8 Cup
Gray 110.9 mL 3.75 oz. 1/2 Cup
Ivory 96.1 mL 3.25 oz. 3/8 Cup
Green 85 mL 2.875 oz. 1/3 Cup
Sky Blue 70.2 mL 2.375 oz. 1/3 Cup
Royal Blue 59 mL 2 oz. 1/4 Cup
Yellow 55.5 mL 1.875 oz. 3 1/2 Tablespoons
Red 44.4 mL 1.5 oz. 3 Tablespoons
Black 33.3 mL 1.125 oz. 2 1/4 Tablespoons
Mushroom 25.9 mL 0.875 oz. 1 3/4 Tablespoons
Orchid 22.2 mL 0.75 oz. 1 1/2 Tablespoons
Terracotta 18.5 mL 0.625 oz. 4 Teaspoons
Pink 14.8 mL 0.5 oz. 1 Tablespoon
Plum 11.1 mL 0.375 oz. 2 3/4 Teaspoons
Orange 7.4 mL 0.25 oz. 2 Teaspoons

Scoop and Spade Materials

While dishers are primarily made of stainless steel, scoops and spades can be constructed from one of a few different materials. However, you may notice not many seem to be made of plastic. That's because plastic tends to be less durable for the types of jobs these products are used for and may even chip off into your food if overextended.
A hand holding a full scoop of vanilla ice cream surround by sundae ingredients


  • Both scoops and spades are available in aluminum
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Light weight
  • Can be both chilled or heated
  • Attractive for front of the house use
  • Low maintenance


A hand holding a full scoop of strawberry ice cream over an empty bowl


  • Scoops are available with a non-stick surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Consistent size with each scoop
  • Allows for faster service
  • Limits the need for gloves or other utensils to help with release

A hand dipping a scoop into a small container of vanilla ice cream

Stainless Steel

  • Spades are available in stainless steel
  • Extremely durable
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Can be chilled to help keep colder products from melting or heated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit to help dish out hard or even frozen foods
  • Easy to clean
  • Attractive for front of the house use
  • Low maintenance

A hand with a scoop full of cherry ice cream with a bowl and sundae toppings nearby


  • Both scoops and spades are available in zerolon material
  • Trademarked material by Zeroll, made of one-piece aluminum alloy with an anodized Teflon® finish
  • Eliminates compression to create the appearance of a bigger scoop
  • Saves on product by allowing for 20 percent more scoops per gallon
  • Protected from hard or highly chlorinated water

Kitchen Scoop Cleaning Guidelines

Some food dishers and scoops are dishwasher safe, but many need to be hand washed to maintain their appearance and functionality. For example, any antifreeze ice cream scoop cannot be used in the dishwasher because the conductive fluid within the handle will solidify and lose its ability to warm to the user's touch.

Look for the following certifications on product pages to identify the appropriate way of cleaning each item:

Hand Wash Only

Dishwasher Safe

Join Our Mailing List

Receive coupon codes and more right to your inbox.

Make money with our recipes
Recipe converter
WebstaurantStore blog
Videos of demonstrations, how-tos and more