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A medium fine chinoise
A China cap

A chinois is a conical sieve with an extremely fine mesh. It is used to strain custards, purees, soups, and sauces, producing a very smooth texture. It can also be used to dust pastry with a fine layer of powdered sugar.[1][2][3]

Chinois is pronounced shin'-wah.

The name is a loanword from French. The name chinois comes from the form of the French adjective meaning Chinese. It is the name of this utensil in French.

A related but far less expensive utensil, with a related name, is the China cap, a reference to the conical Asian hats common in China. It is a conical strainer of perforated metal with much larger holes than a chinois. A China cap is used to remove seeds and other coarse matter from liquids and soft foods, but does not produce a very smooth texture.

Both the chinois and the China cap often are used with a matching wooden cone with a handle. With its tip placed in the bottom of the strainer, the cone is moved against the sides of the strainer to work soft food through it. A China cap, used with this dowel, functions similar to a food mill, tamis, or colander used with a muddler. A chinois generally is too fine for this purpose.


  1. ^ Alfaro, Danilo. "Chinois: Definition". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Chinois | Resource". Smart Kitchen Online Cooking School. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Kimball, Christopher (July 2012). "Chinois Sieves Review". Cook's Illustrated (July 2012). Retrieved 4 December 2013.