The Best Spatulas

We spent over 40 hours researching and testing six different types of spatulas—including fish, plastic, silicone, metal, wood, and offset spatulas—to come up with the best in each category. We came to these conclusions after speaking with magazine test kitchen editors, chef instructors, and restaurant pros. If you could only have one all-purpose spatula, we’re confident that the Victorinox Chef’s Slotted Fish Turner is the best for your kitchen. It has the perfect combination of flexibility and strength to tackle everything from turning delicate fish in a pan to flipping pancakes. If you want to fully equip your spatula arsenal, we also suggest the GIR Ultimate 11-Inch Flip Spatula for nonstick cookware, the GIR Silicone Spatula for scraping bowls, and the Winco TN719 Blade Hamburger Turner for the griddle or grill. We also recommend the Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner for scraping up fond on the bottom of a pan as well as the Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula and the Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small-Sized Spatula for applying frosting to cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.

Last Updated: June 29, 2016
After a new round of testing, we’ve changed our pick for the best all-purpose spatula to the Victorinox Chef's Slotted Fish Turner. In addition, our plastic pick is now the GIR Ultimate 13-Inch Flip Spatula; our metal turner is now the Winco TN719 Blade Hamburger Turner; our wooden spatula is now the Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner; and our offset spatula pick is the Ateco Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula. Our silicone pick remains the GIR Silicone Spatula.
Expand Most Recent Updates
November 13, 2015: After receiving a heads up in the comments section about two spatulas, we've added the OXO Good Grips Fish Turner and Victorinox Chefs Slotted Fish Turner to our What To Look Forward To section. Both brands have good reputations, so we're interested to see how they compare to our current picks. Look for an update next year.
June 4, 2014: After six months of solid use, we still love the Mercer just as much as ever. The silicone GIR is also a pleasure to use and very easy to clean. See our Long-Term Test Notes for more detail.
December 13, 2013: Stock of our pick at the original Amazon vendor is temporarily out. In the meantime, we added an additional Amazon link for a different vendor who does have it in stock but is charging higher shipping costs.
Our pick
Victorinox Chef's Slotted Fish Turner
This affordably-priced lightweight spatula can be used for a multitude of tasks, including turning delicate fish fillets in a pan and flipping pancakes.

The best multi-use spatula is the Victorinox Chef’s Slotted Fish Turner. Forget that it’s got fish in its name—it’s a versatile, all-purpose slotted spatula with the right amount of flexibility and strength, and it’s affordably priced at around $20. The gentle slope of the Victorinox’s blade seamlessly slid under over-easy eggs and gently flipped them without breaking the yolks. And though it’s very flexible, the blade is still sturdy enough to hold a stack of eight pancakes without bending. Its handsome walnut handle is lightweight and comfortable to hold, which means your wrists won’t tire if you’re planning to sauté several fish fillets at once. Since it’s so versatile, we’re confident that the Victorinox will get regular play in your kitchen for everything from flipping fish fillets to removing freshly baked cookies from a pan.

Our pick
GIR Mini 11-inch Flip Spatula
This silicone-coated spatula is a must if you use nonstick cookware as it won’t scratch. It’s angled, tapered edge easily slips under brittle cookies and fried eggs without mangling them.

The GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula performs nearly as well as a fish spatula, but it won’t scratch the delicate surface of nonstick cookware. While it can’t beat metal for sharpness or dexterity, its tapered blade allowed us to scoot underneath warm cookies without breaking them. Don’t be deceived by this spatula’s smaller-than-average size; its sharply angled blade, paper-thin edge, and offset handle allowed our testers to flip fried eggs and pancakes with confidence. Since it’s made from a solid piece of silicone (available in many colors), there are no grooves that trap food, simplifying cleaning.

Our pick

*At the time of publishing, the price was $20.

GIR Silicone Spatula
It’s small enough to fit in a peanut butter jar, strong enough to press down doughs, and flexible enough to clean the edges of a batter bowl.

Made from a single piece of silicone and available in several colors, the GIR Spatula has a small head that’s slim enough to fit into a small jar or measuring cup, with parallel sides that can scrape down the straight sides of a sauce pan. Though the tip is thick enough to give the spatula heft for pressing down doughs, the tool is flexible enough to glide smoothly and cleanly around the edges of a mixing bowl. Our testers liked the angled tip for getting around the bottom of sloped-sided cookware. The grippy, rounded handle feels better in the hand than many of the competitors’ flat, thin sticks.

The Winco TN719 Blade Hamburger Turner is the perfect spatula for lifting hefty burgers off of a grill. The metal blade is sturdy and solid; there are no slots for meat to push through, which was the case when we tried flattening meat patties using fish spatulas. Since it’s heavier than the competition, it excelled at smashing burgers Shake Shack-style on a griddle with minimal effort. This heavy-duty metal turner was the only model we tested that had beveled edges on all three sides of the blade, which allowed the spatula to slide easily under pancakes and freshly-baked cookies better than the competition.

Our pick
Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner
This handsome olive wood turner covers a lot of surface area on the bottom of a pan, which makes it the best at scraping up fond.

While it’s on the pricier side as far as wooden spatulas go, the elegant Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner is the best that we tested. The wide blade on this turner covered more surface area on the bottom of a pan better than any other utensil we tested. The thin edge broke up ground beef quickly and scraped up fond with little effort, with a narrow handle our testers preferred over the competition. The only drawback to the Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner is that its straight sides have difficulty making contact with often hard-to-reach areas of slope-sided cookware.

Our pick
Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula
This stainless steel offset spatula slides under delicate freshly-baked cookies with ease. Its long offset blade evenly spreads cake batters in a pan and provides a smooth finish to frosted cakes.

The mirror finish on the Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula allows the blade to slide effortlessly under warm, delicate cookies better than the competition. The angle of the offset blade was easy on the wrists and provided enough clearance so our knuckles didn’t mar the surface of a cake while frosting. The wood handle is lightweight and easy to hold so our wrists didn’t tire after frosting several cake layers.

Our pick
Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small-Sized Spatula
The short blade on this mini offset spatula is best for detailed cookie and cupcake decorating or removing items off of a crowded cookie sheet.

The mini Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small Sized Spatula is our pick for detailed decorating tasks. The Ateco 1385 had the shortest blade out of all the mini spatulas we tested, which allowed us to have better control as we frosted cupcakes. The short blade also allowed for easy maneuvering around a crowded cookie sheet. Our testers also liked the Ateco 1385 for its ease in spreading even layers of mayonnaise and mustard on sandwiches.

Table of contents

Why you should trust us

Ganda Suthivarakom, who wrote our original guide, has spent many hours researching and testing spatulas. Michael Sullivan, who contributed to our 2016 update, spent dozens of hours using spatulas for everything from flipping delicate fish fillets to frosting cakes (and just about everything in between).

To find out what makes a great spatula, we talked to experts, including Judy Haubert, associate food editor at Saveur; Tracey Seaman, test kitchen director for Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine; Pattara Kuramarohit, chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, CA; Brian Huston, the former chef at The Publican and a 2015 James Beard Award semifinalist and chef at Boltwood in Evanston, IL; Chef Howie Velie, associate dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America; and Pim Techamuanvivit, jam maker and restaurateur behind San Francisco’s Kin Khao. To help winnow our selection, we turned to reviews from Cook’s Illustrated, Real Simple, and The Kitchn. We also looked at highly-rated spatulas on Amazon.com.

Who should get this

Every cook will need a spatula—more likely, several spatulas—in their toolkit. Aside from knives, they’re probably the most often reached-for tools in the kitchen. Whether you’re a professional cook or a reluctant home cook, having a few kinds of spatulas on hand for specific tasks—like turning things on a pan or griddle, folding batters, lifting pastries, and releasing fond from the bottom of a pan—is indispensable.

Every cook will need a spatula—more likely, several spatulas—in their toolkit.

A good spatula can actually make your food look and taste better because it won’t mangle delicate surfaces and will bring some of the delicious brown bits up as you cook. Different functions and pans should be paired with utensils of different materials and shapes. For some, like Epicurious’s Regina Schrambling, “You can never, ever have enough.”

Choosing which spatula to get

We talked to our experts about which spatulas they always have on hand. Judy Haubert, associate food editor at Saveur, told us, “For flipping and turning foods while pan-searing or sautéing, I use at least four different kinds of spatulas, depending on what I’m cooking.” While it’s nice to have a plethora of kitchen tools to choose from, we recommend only buying the spatulas that match your cooking needs. After our own research and interviewing the pros, we were able to narrow it down to four key types (with two honorable mentions).

The essentials:

  • Metal fish spatula– this is the platonic ideal of a spatula, with a sharp, slim edge to slip under browned foods easily, a flexible, curved offset and slots that distribute tension so food doesn’t fall off.
  • Plastic or silicone-coated spatula– for cooks who work with nonstick pans, plastic spatulas are a necessity in order to keep pans scratch-free (and food teflon-free).
  • High-heat silicone spatula– custards and batters require these for scraping the sides of the vessel down.
  • Metal turner– these sturdy spatulas can help smash burgers down for beautifully crisped edges or cut and lift bar cookies and lasagne with ease.

Not necessary, but useful:

  • Wooden spatula– this flat wooden utensil is indispensable for releasing browned bits on the bottom of a pan while deglazing.
  • Offset spatula– bakers adore these long, narrow metal spatulas that allow you to frost cakes in wide fluid strokes and lift thin, brittle cookies off of a tray.

How we picked

Our tests confirmed that metal fish spatulas are the best all-purpose spatulas for tackling a multitude of cooking tasks.

Our tests confirmed that metal fish spatulas are the best all-purpose spatulas for tackling a multitude of cooking tasks.

Spatulas are workhorses in the kitchen. They need to be able to lift and support heavy items while maneuvering around delicate foods in tight spaces. Tracey Seaman, test kitchen director for Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine, said cooks should think about “what kind of pan you’re using and what you’re going to use as your tool.” While the thin, sharp edges of a fish spatula are perfect on cast iron or stainless steel, they can do damage to the coating on a nonstick pan. However, some of the plastic spatulas that work well on nonstick aren’t thin enough to slip easily under cookies. And neither of these can scrape down the walls of a saucepan with thickening pastry cream.

All of our experts agreed on one thing—if you have one spatula, make it a fish spatula. “I’d say that the majority of our guys use fish spatulas, slotted so it looks like a rake. I think everyone has that in their bag. It’s probably the most used savory spatula,” said chef Brian Huston of Boltwood. And it’s not just for fish, though “We do tend to use it for burgers and protein on the grill if we’re searing,” he admitted. Chef Howie Velie, Associate Dean of Culinary Specializations at the Culinary Institute of America, confirmed the multiuse importance of fish spatulas in pro kitchens. He told us, “The spatula doesn’t know that it’s made for fish. For me and for a lot of other chefs, it’s kind of an all-purpose, light spatula. I use it for everything.”

spatulas-group-plastic

For this guide, we tested four plastic spatulas for nonstick cookware (from top to bottom): the GIR Ultimate 13-Inch Flip Spatula, the KitchenAid Nylon Short Turner, the GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula, and the OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner.

Aside from metal fish spatulas, we also looked at plastic spatulas for use on nonstick cookware. When cooking with nonstick pans, it’s important to only use plastic, wood, or silicone utensils to avoid scratching the coating on the pan. Like metal spatulas, the best plastic spatulas have a thin edge that can slip under foods. They also maintain flexibility for maneuvering and strength for lifting. Where many plastic spatulas fail is in thickness, as many are just too thick to slide under delicate foods without breaking them. We looked for plastic spatulas that had tapered edges and thin blades.

All of our experts agreed on one thing—if you have one spatula, make it a fish spatula.

We also searched for plastic spatulas that were heat resistant. You could argue that plastic spatulas shouldn’t have to resist high heat since they’re generally being used on nonstick pans, which also deteriorate over high heat. But heat resistance is always a nice feature that won’t limit you to low-temperature cooking.

We also tested silicone spatulas, sometimes called “rubber spatulas,” which are best for scraping down bowls and insuring that custards don’t stick to the bottom of a pan. Silicone has become the material of choice because it’s food-safe and can withstand a much higher heat than its rubber predecessor, which means they are great for cooking eggs as well as preparing pastry-cream and ice-cream bases.

A great silicone spatula can scrape down both the straight sides of a saute pan and get into the rounded bottom of a bowl. It should be stiff and thick enough to press dough together, but flexible enough to wipe down a bowl with ease. It should also be wide and thin enough for folding ingredients together. The experts we spoke to suggested all-silicone, one-piece spatulas were easier to keep clean than those with crevices.

spatulas-group-metal-turner

The best tool for the grill or griddle is a metal turner. For our 2016 update we tested four (from top to bottom): the Dexter-Russell 4-by-2.5-Inch Stainless Steel and Walnut Pancake Turner, the Winco TN719 Blade Hamburger Turner, 6-Inch by 3-Inch, the Dozenegg Square End Spatula with Wooden Handle, 7 1/2-Inch, and the LamsonSharp Pro Turner.

While the light, elegant fish spatula really does a great job in almost every situation, when you’re working with metal pans or on a grill, sometimes a heftier metal turner is the best tool for the job. A metal turner surpasses the fish spatula in its ability to cut sharp, even lines through bar cookies and easily lift heavy pieces of food.

Because metal turners are complementary to the fish spatula, we chose ones that offered different desirable attributes— an offset for comfortable lifting and leverage, a comfortable stiffness for strength, a flat, non-slotted blade for evenly smashing down burgers or pressing grilled cheese sandwiches flat. We also found that a shorter handle allows for great control in flipping, lifting, and carrying.

We also looked at wooden “spatulas,” or turners, which have an angled flat edge for removing fond from the bottom of a pan. Some have rounded corners for use on sloped-sided pans. On his website, Michael Ruhlman denounced the traditional round wooden spoon for its inability in covering a wide surface area on the bottom of a pan. Ruhlman says, “if you had a flat-edge wooden spoon, you scrape everything off the pan, you stir it, you get into the corners.” Since bamboo utensils have a tendency to splinter slightly with prolonged use, we looked for other wooden spatulas made from beechwood and olive wood.

Finally, another multitasking spatula worth adding to your arsenal is an offset spatula. These thin, narrow offset palette knives are designed for bakers who want to add polish to cakes and spread thick batters into the corners of pans, but people often use them for handling delicate tasks of all kinds. The Kitchn’s Emma Christensen calls it a favorite kitchen tool: “Whenever we need to handle hot foods gently, this spatula become an extension of our hands and fingers.”

Fine Cooking’s Abigail Johnson Dodge says of her small, narrow offset spatula, “Because the blade is offset from the handle, I can spread the sides evenly and swirl the top beautifully without my hand getting in the way. It’s also great for spreading mustard or mayo on sandwiches, too.”

For this update, we looked at mini offset spatulas (with blades about 4½ inches long), which are great for detailed work like icing cookies or cupcakes. We also tested longer offset spatulas (with blades around 9 inches long) which cover more surface area and are essential for quickly and evenly frosting a cake.

How we tested

We designed our tests to cover some common use cases to evaluate the dexterity, strength, flexibility, and overall ease of use for each spatula.

For the metal fish spatulas, we flipped flour-dusted tilapia fillets in an All-Clad skillet to test how the spatulas performed a delicate task. We used the plastic spatulas to sauté fillets in nonstick skillets. And we used both the metal and plastic spatulas to flip pancakes to see how they could support the weight of heavier items. We also used the spatulas to flip over-easy eggs and remove freshly-baked Tate’s chocolate chip cookies from a cookie sheet.

We prepared pancake and cake batter, and then we used the silicone spatulas to scrape down the sides of a mixing bowl. We also scraped the pancake batter out of a one-cup Pyrex measuring cup to see how flexible the spatulas were when maneuvering around small, tight corners. To see how the spatulas would perform with thicker, heavier ingredients, we used them to prepare cake frosting and sticky cookie dough. We even pressed the heads of the silicone spatulas against the bottom of the hot pan to see if they could withstand high heat.

We even pressed the heads of the silicone spatulas against the bottom of the hot pan to see if they could withstand high heat.

We used the metal turners to make burgers on an outdoor grill to see how well they could hold the weight of a ⅓-pound patty. In our original tests, we cut and lifted brownies to see if the turner’s edge was thin and sharp enough to cut.

We used the wooden spatulas to break up ground beef in a skillet. We also browned chuck steaks and deglazed the pan using the spatulas to scrape up fond. We evaluated how much surface area they could cover and how easy they were to hold.

spatulas-offset-testing

In our tests, we evaluated the thinness of the offset spatulas and the degree to which the blades were offset.

For the large offset spatulas, we frosted cake layers to evaluate overall ease of use and flexibility. We used the mini offset spatulas to frost cupcakes. We used both large and small spatulas to transfer cookies off a cookie sheet to test their lifting capabilities with thin, delicate items. We took note of the thinness of the metal, the material and weight of the handle, the tension in the blade, and the degree to which the blade was offset.

The best all-purpose spatula

spatulas-victorinox-slotted-fish-turner

We found the Victorinox Chef’s Slotted Fish Turner is currently the best all-purpose spatula.

Our pick
Victorinox Chef's Slotted Fish Turner
This affordably-priced lightweight spatula can be used for a multitude of tasks, including turning delicate fish fillets in a pan and flipping pancakes.

The affordably priced Victorinox Chef’s Slotted Fish Turner is the best all-purpose spatula that we tested. This versatile, multi-use spatula has a perfect combination of flexibility and strength, allowing it to slide under both delicate and hefty foods with ease. The Victorinox’s lightweight handle is thin and more comfortable than some of the other models we tested that had bulky, heavy handles.

In our tests, the Victorinox cleanly flipped flour-dusted tilapia fillets in an All-Clad stainless steel skillet (our pick for the best skillet) without marring any of the browned crust. Its high-carbon stainless steel blade has a sharp edge that seamlessly slid under over-easy eggs and gently flipped them without breaking the yolks. The Victorinox’s thin, gently-curved blade slipped under freshly baked cookies without wrinkling their surface, which wasn’t the case with the sharply bent blade on the Williams-Sonoma Walnut Fish Spatula. Though it’s very flexible, the Victorinox’s blade was still strong enough to hold a stack of eight pancakes without dropping them.

The Victorinox’s handsome walnut handle is lightweight and comfortable to hold, unlike the bulky handle on the Mercer Hell’s Handle Fish Turner, which was more clunky and awkward. Since the handle on the Victorinox is wood, it’s not dishwasher-safe. However, while you shouldn’t let it get too close to a flame, you won’t have to worry about it melting like other fish spatulas we tested that have synthetic handles.

The Victorinox fish spatula is backed by a lifetime warranty. If you encounter problems with the spatula during normal use, contact Victorinox for a replacement.

A comfortable weight, but more expensive

Upgrade pick
Williams-Sonoma Flexible Stainless-Steel Slotted Spatula
For about $10 more, the blade of this spatula is identical to our top pick, but its handle is slightly heavier. It’s a great option if you prefer a more substantial weight.

The Williams-Sonoma Flexible Stainless-Steel Slotted Spatula performed identically to our top pick, except our testers found its polyester handle was slightly heavier to hold. If you like a heavier handle, this is a great option, but it’s about $10 more expensive for the same performance as our winner, and it only offers a 30-day return policy. One reviewer on the Williams-Sonoma site wrote, “I work as a line cook and I use this spatula everyday. [It] works beautifully for fish, but I also use it for scallops, taking cookies off hot trays, and really anything that is solid but too soft for tongs. [The] thin, comfortable handle fits nicely in my hand and is very durable.” Unlike our top pick, the handle on the William-Sonoma slotted spatula will melt if rested on a hot pan or stove. However, since it doesn’t have a wood handle, it’s dishwasher-safe.

The competition

The Mercer Hell’s Handle Fish Turner was our top pick in the original publication of this guide. However, after long-term testing over the last couple of years, we’ve found the wide handle isn’t as comfortable as our new winner’s.

We loved the Wüsthof Fish Spatula, which performed identically to the Mercer Hell’s Handle Fish Turner. However, it costs double the price for the same performance as our pick.

Our testers loved the handsome wood handle on the Williams-Sonoma Walnut Fish Spatula, but they found the sharp bend in the blade difficult to maneuver.

The Winco FST-6 6.5-Inch Blade Fish Spatula has a sharp angle at the edge of the blade that made flipping fish fillets more difficult than our top pick.

The American-made LamsonSharp Slotted Turner has a full-tang high-carbon stainless-steel blade and lovely balance in the hand. But we found that mid-blade flexibility and a too-gentle curve at the tip caused heavier foods to slide off. However, it is one of the few brands that offers a left-handed model.

The MIU France Slotted Turner had a blade that was too flexible and lightweight to carry heavier foods. It felt flimsy and there’s almost no curve at the tip, so food just slips right off.

The blade on the OXO Good Grips Fish Turner is far too large for performing delicate tasks like flipping fish fillets and removing cookies off of a crowded tray.

The best plastic spatula for nonstick cookware

spatulas-gir-flip-spatula

The GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula is the best tool for cooking on nonstick cookware.

Our pick
GIR Mini 11-inch Flip Spatula
This silicone-coated spatula is a must if you use nonstick cookware as it won’t scratch. It’s angled, tapered edge easily slips under brittle cookies and fried eggs without mangling them.

If you use nonstick cookware, you’ll want to pick up the high-heat-resistant silicone-coated GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula to avoid scratching the delicate surface of your pans. The GIR’s blade is thicker than ones found on other plastic spatulas we tested, but its paper-thin, beveled edge slips under delicate foods easily. Although the blade is somewhat small compared to the competition, it managed to support the weight of heavier foods. Since the GIR is made from a solid piece of silicone, it has fewer grooves than much of the competition, so it’s easier to clean.

Our testers were surprised that the GIR performed nearly as well as a fish spatula. In our tests, the flexible, sharply angled GIR spatula slipped under fried eggs without mangling them. The offset handle allowed our testers to weave in and around a tray crowded with freshly baked cookies. Though the blade is on the smaller side, it was still able to flip a fish fillet and hold a stack of pancakes without bending.

spatulas-gir-flip-spatula

The GIR Mini Flip Spatula slipped under fried eggs without breaking the yolks.

The silicone coating (available in several colors) was easier to clean than the OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner and the KitchenAid Nylon Short Turner, which had more grooves that trapped food. The silicone coating also ensures that the spatula is heat resistant to 464 degrees Fahrenheit and heat-resistant up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also dishwasher-safe.

Though the GIR spatula is available in 13- and 16-inch sizes, our testers found these to be a bit unruly. They preferred the 11-inch mini spatula, especially when working with a crowded pan. The GIR mini flip spatula is covered by a lifetime guarantee. Contact GIR if you’re not satisfied or need a replacement.

A wider plastic spatula

Runner-up
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner
This straight-edged silicone-coated spatula took a little more effort to slide under fish and cookies, but its wide blade holds and flips pancakes with ease.

If our main pick sells out, we also recommend the OXO silicone spatula. While we prefer the angled edge on the GIR spatula, the OXO was a close second. The OXO’s blade is thinner and bigger than the GIR, but the edge isn’t as tapered, so it required more effort to wiggle under fish, fried eggs, and cookies. However, the OXO’s wide blade excelled at holding and flipping large pancakes with ease. The cushy, rubberized handle is comfortable to hold unlike the KitchenAid Nylon Short Turner’s, which was bulky and became slippery when wet. The OXO is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and dishwasher-safe. It was also recommended with reservations by Cook’s Illustrated, who said it was “Nicely proportioned, with a comfortable handle and angle similar to those of its steel sibling.” Some reviews on Amazon.com complain of the silicone splitting apart. We didn’t find that problem in our testing, but OXO products come with a great satisfaction guarantee, and the company will replace the product if any issues happen to you.

The competition

The blade of the KitchenAid Nylon Short Turner was not flexible and had a bulky handle that was uncomfortable to hold.

While we liked the Matfer Bourgeat Pelton’s thin blade and fish spatula shape for lifting cookies and flipping eggs, the nearly completely flat shape makes it too awkward to slide under foods.

The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pure Silicone Turner got rave reviews from Amazon users, but our testers found it was too hefty for most nonstick pan needs—its length and angles are a bit unwieldy for delicate maneuvering around eggs, and the thick head was hard to slip under delicate foods.

The Kuhn Rikon SoftEdge Slotted 12-Inch Spatula seems like a good idea—a flexible stainless spatula with its edges covered in heat resistant, non-scratching silicone. But the silicone edge was too thick and floppy to get underneath foods, canceling out the qualities that make a great fish spatula.

The OXO Good Grips Omelet Turner was way too floppy and flexible. The head measures 7 inches at its longest point and 4 inches at its widest point; the spatula mangled food with its size and softness. Also, its large, rounded corners didn’t navigate a crowded skillet of pancakes very well.

The best silicone spatula

spatulas-gir-silicone

The GIR 11-Inch Ultimate Spatula is flexible enough to scrape the sides of a mixing bowl yet firm enough to press together cookie dough.

Our pick

*At the time of publishing, the price was $20.

GIR Silicone Spatula
It’s small enough to fit in a peanut butter jar, strong enough to press down doughs, and flexible enough to clean the edges of a batter bowl.

For another year in a row, the Kickstarter-born GIR 11-Inch Ultimate Spatula is our pick for the best silicone spatula. Like the GIR Mini Flip Spatula, it’s made from a single piece of silicone, so it’s easier to clean and dishwasher safe. The small head is able to fit into tight spaces and has a flexible yet durable tip. The ergonomic handle is most comfortable to hold amongst its competition.

In our tests, the small head on the GIR was slim enough to fit into a peanut butter jar or a small measuring cup but still comfortable and quick to use in a large, wide bowl. Its parallel edges even allow it to scrape down the straight sides of a saute pan. Though the tip is thick enough to give the spatula heft for pressing down thick cookie doughs, it’s flexible enough to glide smoothly and cleanly around the edges of a mixing bowl. Some spatulas we tested, like the Lucentee 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set, had extra soft blades that couldn’t tackle dense doughs or frostings. Since both flat sides of the spatula are symmetrical, it can be used by left- and right-handed cooks.

spatulas-gir-silicone-ultimate

The GIR 11-Inch Ultimate Spatula is flexible enough to glide smoothly and cleanly around the edges of a mixing bowl.

The GIR’s grippy, rounded handle feels better in the hand than the flat, thin handle on the Rubbermaid 9½-Inch High-Heat Scraper, which was more awkward to hold. The fiberglass counterweight in the handle and the bottom half of the blade give the GIR superior strength and won’t heat up like metal reinforcements would. The silicone coating is heatproof to 464 degrees Fahrenheit and heat resistant up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s perfect for high-heat cooking. This spatula is available in a number of bright, popping colors that would look great hanging on the wall.

Though it’s pricier than the other options available, the GIR Spatula comes with a lifetime guarantee. Contact GIR if you’re not satisfied or need a replacement.

Wider head for large batches

If our top pick is unavailable, the Rubbermaid 9½-Inch High-Heat Scraper is a great alternative. It’s a stalwart that can be found in many commercial kitchens. The wider head on the Rubbermaid makes it ideal for preparing large batches of cake batter and frosting or for folding ingredients together. Some of our testers found the head to be a bit too stiff and that the flat handle wasn’t as comfortable to hold as our top pick. However, after long-term testing this spatula for over a year, we found that the blade softens over time and becomes more flexible with use. The Rubbermaid is also more difficult to clean than the GIR because it has more crevices for food to hide in.

The Rubbermaid is available in a small 9½-inch size and a larger 13½-inch size. While our testers found the 9½-inch spatula to be more manageable for home cooks, the larger version was the top pick from Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required). The Rubbermaid spatulas only come with a one-year limited warranty.

The competition

The Vollrath (52010) 10-Inch High Temperature Silicone Spatula performed almost identically to the Rubbermaid High-Heat Scraper, but its warranty is voided if not used in a commercial kitchen.

In our tests, the blades on the affordably priced Lucentee 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set were too floppy for heavier ingredients like cookie dough and cake frosting.

While the StarPack Premium Silicone Spatula Set appears to offer more bang for your buck, the interior reinforcements on the smaller spatulas don’t extend the full length of the handle and offer very little support.

The Tovolo 12-Inch Spatula Set is an extremely affordable set of three spatulas. Though its stainless steel-handled sibling was the one highly recommended on Cook’s Illustrated, the silicone is much floppier and the blade is much thinner than the other models we tested.

The best metal turner

spatulas-winco

The Winco TN719 Blade Hamburger Turner is an indispensable tool for cooking on a grill or griddle.

If you plan to do a lot of cooking on a grill or griddle, we recommend the solidly built and affordably priced Winco TN719 Blade Hamburger Turner. Its riveted handle holds a not-quite half-tang offset blade that is durable and heavy, making it perfect for smashing down burgers on a griddle. The stainless steel blade was the only one we tested that had beveled edges on all three sides, which allowed it to easily slide under delicate items like thin, freshly-baked cookies. Though it’s not dishwasher-safe, the sapele wood handle is a pleasure to hold and feels secure in the hand when flipping burgers on a grill.

Our testers found the blade to be the ideal size for flipping burgers compared to the shorter Dexter-Russell S242 ½ Traditional 4 by 2½” Pancake Turner. Like most of the metal turners we tested, the Winco did a stellar job at removing freshly baked cookies off of a tray. The sturdy blade excelled at holding and flipping pancakes better than the competition. That said, it’s too stiff to use as an all-purpose spatula. We suggest the Winco as a supplement to the flexible fish spatula, as we find its inflexibility useful for the more muscular tasks like smashing, cutting, and lifting.

Since Winco is designed for commercial restaurants, its warranty is voided if used for home use. However, since it’s so durable and inexpensive ($5 at the time of writing), lacking a warranty isn’t a dealbreaker.

A smaller option with more flexibility

Runner-up
Dexter-Russell S242 ½ Traditional 4 x 2½" Pancake Turner
A thinner, lighter blade that’s perfect for smashing down burgers on a griddle Shake Shack-style.

If you want a smaller metal turner that’s lightweight, we suggest the Dexter-Russell S242 ½ Traditional 4 by 2½” Pancake Turner. Its thin blade is more flexible than our main pick, so it doesn’t smash down burgers quite as easily on a griddle. The Dexter-Russell also lacks beveled edges on the blade, but our testers found the thin edges still allowed the blade to slide easily under freshly-baked cookies. Though the thin rosewood handle isn’t as wide as our main pick, we still found it comfortable to hold. The Dexter-Russell spatula also comes with a lifetime warranty. If you encounter problems with the turner during normal use, contact Dexter-Russell for a replacement.

The competition

The Dexter-Russell S825 Stainless Steel and Walnut Pancake Turner is the one of the best-selling, highest rated metal turners on Amazon. However, we spoke with a Dexter-Russell representative who told us the walnut version is no longer being made.

The Dozenegg Square End Spatula with Wooden Handle, 7½-Inch had a wide handle that wasn’t as comfortable to hold as the rounded handle on our main pick.

Serious Eats’s J. Kenji López-Alt praised the Due Buoi Wide Spatula for burger-smashing because of its size and weight. But the wide head on this expensive model makes it a specialty item that wouldn’t be as useful for smaller tasks like cutting bar cookies, so we opted not to test.

The LamsonSharp Pro Turner performed well in all of our tests. Unfortunately, it’s currently unavailable on the LamsonSharp website.

The best wooden spatula

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The flat, wide blade on the Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner covered the surface area on the bottom of a pan better than any of the competition.

Our pick
Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner
This handsome olive wood turner covers a lot of surface area on the bottom of a pan, which makes it the best at scraping up fond.

While it’s more expensive than some of the other wooden spatulas we tested, the Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner is the best that we found. It beats the traditional round wooden spoon because its wide flat blade covers more surface area on the bottom of a pan, allowing you to cook faster. The Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner broke up ground beef quicker than any of the competition and scraped up fond on the bottom of a pan with little effort.

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The Artisanal Kitchen Supply Olive Wood Turner scraped up fond faster than any other wooden spatula we tested.

The only drawback to the Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner is that its straight sides have more difficulty reaching the often hard-to-get areas of slope-sided cookware. However, the straight edge and slight bend in the blade provides extra leverage for both right- and left-handed cooks. Like the other silicone spatulas we recommend, the wooden Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner, is safe to use on all types of cookware, including nonstick.

Our testers preferred the smooth, round ergonomic handle on the Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner over the bulkier handle on the OXO Good Grips Sauté Paddle and the flat handle on the Helen Chen 13-Inch Bamboo Stir Fry Spatula. The Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner doesn’t come with a warranty.

An inexpensive wooden spatula

Budget pick
Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen 13-inch Bamboo Stir Fry Spatula
This cheap wooden spatula is the perfect marriage between a wooden spoon and spatula. Its flat edge easily scrapes up fond while deglazing, and its rounded corner gets into the hard-to-reach areas of sloped-sided cookware.

While our testers don’t love bamboo utensils due to their short lifespan, it’s hard to beat the inexpensive Helen Chen 13-Inch Bamboo Stir Fry Spatula. It doesn’t cover quite as much surface area on the bottom of a pan as our top pick, but it still makes quick work of scraping up fond while deglazing. Its sharp, angled edge and rounded corners can even reach the rounded perimeter of sloped cookware. The wide handle made this paddle easy to grip and break up ground beef in a skillet, though our testers still preferred the rounded, tapered handle on the Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner. Like our top pick, the Helen Chen spatula doesn’t come with a warranty.

The competition

We loved the OXO Good Grips Sauté Paddle but were disappointed when the edges of the blade began to crack in several places after only a couple of uses.

The Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen Beechwood Angled Spatula has slightly rounded sides, but they’re not rounded enough to get into the sloped sides of certain cookware. Its blade also covers less surface area than our top pick.

Our testers found the Bambu “Give It A Rest” Spatula was too small and thin, making it awkward to hold.

The Eddingtons Italian Olive Wood Spatula has both a pronounced upward curve and tip angle which makes it less useful for left-handed cooks (or righties switching arms). The finish seems a bit more delicate and porous. Even after oiling, the spatula looked a bit dry.

The best offset spatulas

spatulas-ateco-natural-wood

The Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula is best for frosting cakes and spreading batters.

Our pick
Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula
This stainless steel offset spatula slides under delicate freshly-baked cookies with ease. Its long offset blade evenly spreads cake batters in a pan and provides a smooth finish to frosted cakes.
Our pick
Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small-Sized Spatula
The short blade on this mini offset spatula is best for detailed cookie and cupcake decorating or removing items off of a crowded cookie sheet.

If you’re an avid baker, the Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula is the best tool to use for everything from frosting cakes to removing cookies off of a crowded pan. Our testers preferred the comfortable angle of the offset blade, which provided more leverage than much of the competition. The Ateco 1387 was the only offset spatula we tested that had a slick mirror finish, which enabled the blade to slide under delicate items without causing damage.

The sharper angle to the offset blade made frosting cakes easy on the wrists and provided enough clearance so our knuckles didn’t mar the surface of the cakes. Due to its shiny finish and thin blade, the Ateco 1387 slid effortlessly under warm, delicate cookies better than the competition. Our testers found that the flatter angle of the OXO Good Grips Offset Icing Spatula and the Wilton 13-Inch Angled Icing Spatula didn’t allow as much clearance as the Ateco 1387. The wood handle is lightweight and easy to hold, so our wrists didn’t tire even after frosting several cake layers.

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If you bake a lot of cakes, nothing does a better job at applying frosting than the Ateco (#1387) Natural Wood Medium-Sized Offset Spatula.

If you bake a lot of cookies or cupcakes, the small 4.5-inch Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small-Sized Spatula is the best tool for the job. It had the shortest blade out of all the mini offset spatulas we tested, which made it ideal for detailed decorating tasks. It’s so small it easily fits in a kitchen drawer.

spatulas-ateco-small

If you frost a lot of cupcakes and cookies, the Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small-Sized Spatula is the best tool for the job.

The shorter blade on the Ateco #385 allowed us to have better control as we frosted cupcakes and easily maneuvered around a crowded cookie sheet. Like the larger Ateco 1387, the mirror finish on the blade enabled it to slide seamlessly under fragile baked items. Our testers also liked the Ateco 1385 for its ease of spreading even layers of mayonnaise and mustard on sandwich bread.

spatulas-ateco-small

The Ateco (#1385) Natural Wood Small-Sized Spatula has a short blade that makes it ideal for frosting cupcakes.

There are some drawbacks to the Ateco 1387 and 1385: they’re not dishwasher-safe and don’t come with a warranty. However, Sweethome writer and test kitchen manager Lesley Stockton has been using her wood-handled Ateco spatulas for at least 10 years and reports that they’re still going strong.

The competition
We liked the Ateco (#1307) 7.75 by 1.25-Inch Medium-Sized Blade Offset Ultra Spatula, which performed similarly to our top pick. However, the handle is heavier and the blade isn’t as slick as the Ateco 1387.

Though we liked the thumb dimple on the handle of the Wilton 13-Inch Angled Icing Spatula, its blade was thicker than our top pick and it didn’t slide under freshly baked cookies as easily.

The grippy handle on the OXO Good Grips Offset Icing Spatula was very comfortable to hold, but the angle of the blade wasn’t as steep as the Ateco 1387, which made frosting cakes more difficult.

The Wilton 9-Inch Angled Icing Spatula had the thickest blade and the largest handle out of all of the mini offset spatulas we tested, which made it more awkward to use than our main pick.

Our testers found the grippy handle on the OXO Good Grips Small Offset Icing Knife very comfortable to hold but ultimately found its longer blade wasn’t as easy to use as the Ateco 1385’s.

Care and maintenance

While we didn’t do lengthy tests for stains or smells on silicone spatulas, Pim Techamuanvivit of Kin Khao suggests using separate spats for strong-flavored foods. She told us, “I have certain types of spatulas I use only for my jams. Those are not allowed to have any contact with those that I use when I make curry or stir-fry. I keep them separate because it doesn’t matter how many times you wash a silicone spatula that touched a curry paste—it’s going to smell like curry paste, and it’s just going to transfer.”

If you’re worried about scraping off the seasoning on your cast iron pans when using a fish spatula or metal turner, don’t be. The Lodge Cast Iron website says, “any utensils, including metal, are okay on cast iron and seasoned steel cookware.” However, the site does recommend using wood, silicone, or nylon utensils with any porcelain enameled products.

Over the years, we’ve nicked the tips of our spatulas by scraping down the bowl of a food processor fitted with a sharp stainless steel blade. To avoid damaging the head of your silicone spatula, try to remove the blade attachment before scraping, if possible. Not only will you avoid ingesting small bits of silicone—you’ll also extend the life of your spatula.

Wood turners and spatulas with wooden handles can crack from excess moisture after hand washing with soap and water. To avoid cracking, Emma Christensen from The Kitchn suggests, “once a month or so, rub in a little [food-safe] mineral oil with a soft cloth. This will restore the warm polished look and keep the wood in good condition.” Don’t be tempted to use olive oil on your wooden utensils, as it can go rancid and possibly transfer off-flavors to your food. Also, avoid running any utensils containing wood through the dishwasher.

When storing offset spatulas, avoid cramming them in a crowded kitchen drawer; they can get bent out of shape. Once bent, they’re nearly impossible to flatten out again, which can be annoying when trying to create a smooth surface on a frosted cake.

Regardless of material, avoid placing spatulas on a screaming hot pan or too close to your heat source.

(Photos by Michael Hession.)

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Sources

  1. Chef Brian Huston, The Publican and Boltwood, Interview
  2. Chef Pattara Kuramarohit, Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, CA, Interview
  3. Emma Christensen, Happy Kitchen: Caring For Wooden Utensils, The Kitchn, May 5, 2008
  4. Emma Christensen, Favorite Kitchen Tool: Offset Spatula, The Kitchn, October 8, 2009
  5. Noelle Cater, Test Kitchen Tips: Fish Spatula, The LA Times Blog, March 29, 2012
  6. Alina Tugend, How Not to Wreck a Nonstick Pan, The New York Times, December 17, 2010
  7. Michael Ruhlman, Something To Say: Stupid Kitchen Tools, Ruhlman.com, February 2, 2012
  8. The Feedbag, The Feedbag’s Shake Shack Burger Lesson, YouTube, October 29, 2008
  9. Abigail Johnson Dodge, Cool Tool: Offset Spatulas, Fine Cooking
  10. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, How to Choose a Wooden Spoon, Serious Eats, June 22, 2010
  11. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Equipment: The Due Buoi Wide Spatula (My New Favorite Tool), Serious Eats, June 27, 2010
  12. Metal Spatulas, Cook's Illustrated, July 2010
  13. Silicone Spatulas, Cook's Illustrated, November 2014
  14. Fish Spatulas, Cook's Illustrated, November 2008
  15. Offset Spatulas, Cook's Illustrated, September 2015
  16. Plastic Spatulas, Cook’s Illustrated, July 2010
  17. OXO Cookie Spatula, Cook's Illustrated, March 2010

Originally published: June 29, 2016

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