In metallurgy, a ladle is a vessel used to transport and pour out molten metals. Ladles are often used in foundries and range in size from small hand carried vessels that resemble a kitchen ladle and hold 20 kilograms (44 lb) to large steelmill ladles that hold up to 300 tonnes (330 tons). Many non-ferrous foundries also use ceramic crucibles for transporting and pouring molten metal and will also refer to these as ladles. Close- Up. Full HD.