Do you love cooking and spending time in the kitchen? Or do you hate cooking and spending time in the kitchen? Either way, having the best spatula(s) makes all the difference. It’s always important to have the right tools for the job, whatever the job may be. This is especially true for cooking and baking and all other kitchen undertakings, too. Using the correct tools, gadgets, or gizmos is the simplest way to make any task much easier for yourself. For example, pots and pans aren’t just pots and pans. You have your Fry Pan (perfect for eggs, flipping pancakes, and sautéing veggies), Sauce Pan (for risotto, mac and cheese, soups, and sauces), Sauté Pan (your go-to pan for dinner parties, stir-fries, and dishes with stock), and your Dutch Oven (your best friend for pasta, stews, and all one-pot wonders). Sure, you could use whichever pot or pan happens to be closest to you and hope for the best. But if you want your dish to be as delicious as possible (which you do) and get through the recipe with minimal clean-up to do afterward (which you do), then using the correct pot or pan is well worth your while. Let’s extend this principle to the world of spatulas. There are several variations of spatulas, but generally, a spatula is broad, flat, and semi-flexible and used to mix, spread, and lift ingredients. But as we’re about to explain, not all spatulas are broad, flat, and semiflexible; different types are designed with unique features to help them do specific tasks really well. #FunFact: the word spatula comes from the Latin word spatha, which roughly translates to “broadsword.” Calling all Fruit Ninja warriors, mastering the different spatulas might be your next calling. Different Types of Spatulas Spatulas are excellent tools for flipping, scraping, spreading, and mixing. In other words, flipping burgers on the barbeque, scraping cookie dough from the sides of the bowl, spreading icing on cupcakes, and mixing cake batter. See how essential spatulas are? Wow, that got us excited for summer cooking and baking… soon. Different spatulas are better suited for specific uses, and certain constructions, sizes, flexibility levels, and materials will help them serve their function as best as possible. Determining which spatula is best for the task at hand depends on what’s being cooked. Once we go over the different types of spatulas and what they’re best for, you’ll be one step closer to always knowing which to reach for. (The next step would be deciding between the different materials to choose from, which we’ll also get to later on). Let’s get into it! Flippers are the largest spatula of the bunch, featuring a long handle and a large flat bottom, designed to get under wide foods such as burgers, pancakes, and omelets. Flippers are sturdy and always made from a strong material, like stainless steel, to help them maintain their shape under heavy items. Flippers also go by turners, referencing their construction specifications perfectly suited for turning things over. The “blade” of flipper spatulas is roughly the size of a human hand and might be slotted or solid. The blade’s tip is often tapered to facilitate getting underneath food with ease and without too much damage to the food’s shape or construction. Perforated flippers with slots or several small holes allow excess liquids (runoff fats or oil) to drain as you cook. This feature can come in handy when flipping greasy burgers or slightly-too-buttery pancakes. Flippers made for the barbecue will be made of metal, most often stainless steel or aluminum. The caveat with metal spatulas is running the risk of scratching your cookware and damaging their non-stick coating. When working in a pan, you’ll want a flipper made from silicone or rubber to protect your cookware, because when your cookware is basically an art piece, you’ll want to protect those beauties 100%. Scrapers are long-handled like flippers but have a smaller blade, closer to half the size of a flipper, and the blade will be a flexible material, usually silicone or rubber. Scrapers sound like they would be the harsh, sharp spatulas, but they’re the softest of them all. Scraper spatulas are what you use for scraping every last drop of cake batter from the sides of the mixing bowl. They’re also perfect for making scrambled eggs, mixing baking ingredients, and cleaning out the inside of jars of peanut butter. These soft-tipped spatulas have a rectangular blade with at least one rounded edge to help you move it around circular bowls with ease. Scraper spatulas are available in slight size and shape variations, with some larger or smaller and some wider or skinnier. The blade of a scraper is always a soft, flexible material, with any material for the long, slim handle. Scrapers are best suited for stirring, mixing, folding, and scraping ingredients in a mixing bowl. For our friends who love to bake, scrapers are your best friend, and you’ll probably more than benefit from having a few on hand to choose from. Given scrapers are often used for fun and delicious recipes, having a few spatulas in playful colors seems like the right thing to do (and an easy way to add a pop of color to your kitchen). Can we recommend matching your scraper to your cookware? That’s a look we can get behind. Remember our fun fact about the word spatula coming from the Latin word spatha, roughly translating to “broadsword?” Spreader spatulas are the most accurate representation of this, having a long and narrow blade looking like a flattened sword. Spreader spatulas are for spreading softer items and mixtures, usually onto other food items. Spreaders are basically a third arm for bakers, and they’re the absolute perfect tool for icing cakes and cupcakes. Some spreaders are longer and larger, designed for tasks with a lot of surface area. Other spreaders are smaller, designed for smaller foods like cupcakes, spreading sandwich condiments, and cheese spreads. Once you put the perfect amount of mayonnaise on your sandwich - spread out perfectly evenly and covering all of the edges, of course - using a knife to spread mayonnaise will never seem quite good enough. There are two variations of spreader spatulas: offset spreaders and straight spreaders. Offset spreaders have a sharp bend in the handle to make it easier to cover large flat surfaces, such as when icing a cake. This is particularly helpful for getting icing all over the cake and not all over your wrists and sleeves. Straight spreaders are smaller, shorter, and rounder, designed for smaller foods like bagels, cheeses, and cupcakes. Fish spatulas are specifically designed for - you guessed it - cooking fish, and they’re great—if you’re using stainless steel cookware. Fish spatulas are always metal and resemble an elongated and thinner variation of the flipper spatula. They have long slots to allow liquid drainage and are semi-flexible, facilitating the perfect angle to get right underneath the piece of fish. Fish spatulas are ideal for flipping fillets and moving them from the pan or barbeque to your dish without tearing the fish skin. Fish spatulas can also be used for tasks requiring similar features, such as flipping grilled cheese sandwiches, crepes, and omelets and transferring hot cookies from the baking tray to the cooling rack. However, if you’re any other cookware surface besides stainless steel, a metal fish spatula will scratch and damage the interior surface. This may be a useful tool, but make sure it fits into your lifestyle before purchasing. Spatula Materials After going over the different types of spatulas and what they’re best used for, you probably have a good baseline understanding of which materials will be best for different purposes. Silicone is an excellent material in the kitchen because of its versatility, resistance to heat, and semi-flexibility. Working with silicone tools also guarantees a quick clean-up process afterward. Silicone would be one of the preferred materials for scrapers, allowing you to really pick up every last drop of brownie batter without damaging the mixing bowl. Silicone is non-stick, easy to clean, and always gentle on your cookware. The drawbacks are that silicone holds onto odors easily, and these spatulas are susceptible to cut from sharp blades. Wooden and bamboo spatulas are an excellent choice for those wary of using silicone and plastic in the kitchen. Wood and bamboo are eco-friendly and non-toxic, heat resistant, and can complement the rest of your kitchen decor (hello boho kitchens!) better than metal or silicone. The tricky part with wood and bamboo is that it can be harder to do a thorough cleaning job. They may need some extra attention and diligence to ensure they don’t hold onto residual food and develop bacteria over time. Plastic and rubber are other materials sometimes used for spatulas, but they’re relatively inferior to other materials due to their higher likelihood of leaching chemicals and their typically shorter lifespan. The Best Spatulas in the Game Let’s break these down by category, shall we? Summer grilling season is right around the corner, and with this flipper spatula by your side, you’ll be ready to flip burgers, steaks, and chops for as many guests as the dining table will allow for. The Winco TN719 features a wooden handle and stainless steel blade and is strong and sturdy to support even the heftiest of burgers. Winco products are used by foodservice and hospitality experts across several industries and have proven worthy of this top spot. Its solid blade with beveled edges makes it easy to smash burgers thin and then easily slip underneath them when it comes time for flipping. Rubbermaid feels like a mother brand in the world of cooking, and for a good reason; their products are tried and true since 1920. This spatula has a winder head, making it easy to work with large mixtures of batter and scrap the edges, leaving no drop behind. While the head may seem stiff at first, it softens and becomes more flexible over time. This spatula comes in three sizes of a 9.5”, 13.5”, and 16.5” handle, although the 9.5” is likely the most practical choice for the functions it will serve in the standard household. This smaller blade spreader spatula is the most suitable choice for day-to-day kitchen needs. The Ateco 1385 has the shortest blade (0.75” x 4.5”) within their offerings of spreader spatulas, and we find this size the most practical and easy to work with, most notably allowing for better control. This blade works wonderfully for icing birthday cakes and Father’s Day cupcakes, as well as with smaller items like spreading cream cheese on bagels and using it for charcuterie boards. If you like fish - as in you enjoy eating fish more than once a season - you need a fish spatula. This Winco Fish Spatula features a brushed stainless steel blade with a riveted smooth wooden handle and ergonomically edged blade to facilitate peeking into the fish as it cooks. This spatula measures 11” long, with the blade consisting of 6.5” and the handle 4.5”. Its semi-flexible blade is perfect for getting right underneath a fillet or easily slipping between the skin and flesh to separate. Are Your Spatulas Ready for Summer? So, now that you know the ins and outs of the spatula world, are you prepared? Do you have the right spatulas for all of your tasks? Remember that kitchen tools are specially constructed for a reason; they’re specifically designed to do a particular task really well. Why make things harder for yourself? Using the right tools makes everything easier. It’s easy to get locked in the utilitarian side of kitchen gadgets, but never forget your kitchen’s color story when making a purchase. Do your spatulas match your cookware? How about your linens? Never let go of a magazine-worthy moment!