Large deep spoon with a long; sometimes hooked handle; with a round bowl deeper than a spoon of varying diameters and capacities; made of stainless steel or plastic. Some ladles have a point on the side of the bowl to facilitate pouring.

Most ladles come in stainless steel, but they can also be made of other materials, such as plexiglass, aluminum, and silver. The choice of ladle is also made depending on the amount of liquid or type of food that it is going to be used with. Diameter can range between 6 cm and 20 cm.

In addition to the basic ladle, this utensil comes in a wide range of variations. There are sauce ladles that can hold between 30 ml and 150 ml, punch ladles, straining ladles, and ones with a pouring spout. More original variations include ladles with a flat bottom that make it easier to spread tomato sauce over pizza crust dough, and round and perforated fritter or doughnut ladles, which allows for the batter to be cooked directly in the bowl of the ladle while giving it the typical doughnut shape.