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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- 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
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.
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.
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.