Best Spatula of 2021
The OXO Good Grips Nylon Square Turner was our favorite all-around spatula. A spatula's main job is simple — turning things over in a pan or skillet, and this one excels with its comfortable handle and good grip. The thinner profile of its head allows it to slide under food easily without pushing it around on a pan or baking sheet. It manages to be understated without looking cheap. Since it's plastic, it won't scratch up your non-stick cookware, and it can take a ride in the dishwasher without damage.
The OXO showed the slightest bit of fraying at the edge after a week of being scraped repeatedly over hot pans, which is typical of nylon turners. You also must be mindful not to leave it sitting on a hot cast iron, as it can melt. It is more delicate and not quite as fun to use as the metal utensils, but if you could only have one spatula for your kitchen, the OXO is where we'd point you.
The Toadfish Ultimate Fish is an elegantly crafted kitchen instrument that is both a great turner and feels nice in hand. The one-piece stainless steel utensil is ergonomically designed with the majority of the weight in the handle and with a clever resting block that eliminates the need for a spoon rest. The rubber grip is the same bright teal found on most Toadfish products. It is smoother than OXO's rubber grip but still ensures a secure grip.
Examining all of the contenders, the Toadfish clearly has the nicest design and is made to use and to last. But if we were looking for a single best spatula for our kitchen, we would need something that wouldn't scratch our non-stick pans. Even the best metal turner in the world will do that. If you do a ton of cooking on cast iron or an outdoor grill, the Toadfish is easily the best tool for the job.
The affordable KitchenAid Classic Slotted Turner is a solid choice. It is the biggest of the nylon turners we tested, and like all the plastic contenders we tested, it is great for flipping and serving food. The handle is available in several color options so you can coordinate with your kitchen decor. Its functionality, combined with its low price, makes for strong value.
The head of the KitchenAid is slightly thicker, and we found ourselves occasionally pushing a cookie around the baking sheet trying to get under it. While the handle does have nice color options, it's smooth plastic, which we found less appealing after testing models with rubberized grips. Still, this nylon model keeps costs down and suffices for a variety of kitchen utensil needs.
The Totally Bamboo Angled model is our choice for a wooden turner because it's dishwasher friendly and more useful for flipping food than the other wooden model we tested. Furthermore, we found ourselves frequently reaching for the Totally Bamboo for kitchen tasks not related to our testing metrics. Sautéing vegetables and making stir fry? A nice serving spoon to adorn the salad bowl? Totally Bamboo.
Wood was our least favorite choice of materials we tested when it comes to passing the primary test of turning food. The thicker wooden options gave us more trouble performing the fundamental task of getting under eggs and cookies. The Totally Bamboo is more like a mixing spoon with an edge. Yes, it can technically flip pancakes and hamburgers, but it's not a flipper with much finesse.
The Westmark Non-Stick Thermoplastic model turned out to be capable of quite a lot due to its comfortable and functional shape. Its shape seems like a hybrid of many of the positive features of the other kitchen utensils we tested. This angled turner resembles a fish spatula and easily slid under all the food we tested it with. Its shape is similar to the wooden Eddington model we tested and functions quite well as a mixing spoon. It's as dense and strong as the KitchenAid, barely flexing while holding 8 stacked burgers on its turner.
Thermoplastic, the material the Westmark is made of, is described as a 'high-quality heat-resistant polyamide,' which is technically true. What's also true is that its heat resistance is functionally extremely similar to the nylon OXO Good Grips and slightly less than the nylon KitchenAid. Nylon is a polyamide, and both are simply a synonym for plastic. Our team focused on the performance we experienced and ignored the marketing. The Westmark is an excellent multi-purpose utensil and a great addition to your kitchen.
Thin and snappy, the OXO Good Grips Nylon Flexible Turner is fully capable of deftly flipping pancakes and eggs, as well as scraping away at that last stubborn bit of melted cheese, all without damaging your non-stick pan. This little utensil differentiates from other models by being shorter and having a steeper rise angle. This makes it more adept at flipping and scraping in deeper saucepans, and depending on the depth of your kitchen drawers, more easily storable. It also features a small hole in the handle for hanging storage.
There are downsides to being on the short side. Your hand will be hovering over the pan when using the OXO Good Grips Nylon Flexible Turner, directly in the line of fire for hot greasy projectiles. However, if you're an attentive cook and you're using lower heat and less oil, this should be less of an issue. Storage could also be a problem if your drawers aren't very deep. Overall, this model does its job well and at an excellent price. Pairing this with a metal turner could complete your kitchen spatula arsenal.
The Di Oro Chef Series Standard Flexible Silicone Turner is a great addition to your kitchen because of its quality construction. One of several options tested with a nice rubber grip for fewer slips, the Di Oro was the model we reached for to spread oil on the griddle for cooking the dozens of pancakes and eggs tested for this review. It's great for non-stick pans and flexible as advertised, easily able to slip under all the foods we tested. What's more, the Di Oro showed no signs of wear compared to nylon counterparts.
While the Di Oro is exceptionally heat resistant and durable, it's not the best tool with food stuck to pans. Whereas a metal model can easily loosen foods scorched to the pan, the flexible Di Oro isn't as helpful in a jam. The other nylon models we tested were more rigid and more adept at scraping than the Di Oro. However, if you're concerned about damaging your non-stick pans, the Di Oro will be more gentle on them.
The New Star Food Service Wood Handle model is an excellent, compact choice for someone in search of a fish utensil. There is something about a fine steel instrument that made us feel like professional chefs when testing this piece. Despite its delicate feel, it is constructed of stainless steel and gets right under anything you are trying to flip without damaging it — provided you are not working on non-stick cookware.
The shorter the turner, the closer the hand to the skillet. Grease splatter is something to be aware of when cooking fatty meats with a short turner like the New Star or the Sabatier. We recommend handwashing, as the finish on the wood handle dulled a little after running through the dishwasher. And — like all metal tools — it will scratch your non-stick pans.
The Eddington Italian Olive Wood Wide Pierced utensil is a functional piece, handmade in Europe. Like the Total Bamboo model, the Eddington is durable and rigid, but its grain is somewhat more attractive than its bamboo counterpart. It is useful for stirring and serving as well as flipping food.
The Eddington is the least effective flipper of the tested turners in our experience. Its thickness made it difficult to get under food, particularly cookies and pancakes. Its nice finish will dull if cycled through a dishwasher, but it's a sturdy kitchen tool, and the wood grain is quite nice.
The Sabatier Triple Rivet Stainless Wide Turner is a heavy-duty steel flipper for turning food. It looks like something you might see a hibachi chef use, and we love the way it feels in our hands and how easily it scoops up pancakes and gets under eggs. Its sleek appearance is sealed with a black gryphon stamp.
The Sabatier is slightly longer than the New Star fish turner, but not long enough to keep wrists and hands away from aggressive grease splatter. While it looks nice, the black plastic handle is not heat resistant. And naturally, as a metal turner, the Sabatier is strictly suitable for grills, griddles, and cast iron cookware that won't be scratched by the steel.
The Norpro Nylon Slotted checks all the boxes for an effective kitchen turner. It performed perfectly, out-flipping several of the more expensive items we tested. The Norpro's head is slightly smaller than the other turners, but it functions well and stores easily.
The Norpro looks cheap next to the rest of the items we tested. Like the other nylon turners, it is heat-rated to 400 degrees F, but it showed a bit more wear on the edge comparatively. It's not stylish, but it's not an eyesore, and it certainly worked fine across our tests.
Why You Should Trust Us
Head tester Matt Rowe has been a food lover and amateur chef for two decades. He started cooking at age 18 on his first WWOOFing excursion and spent his college years working in restaurants as a prep cook and waiter. In 2010, he took up baking as a hobby, focusing most of his creative energy in the kitchen on pies and fresh bread. He particularly enjoys utilizing freshly foraged ingredients from the garden and meat supplied by members of his family who are better hunters. Despite transitioning into different professional fields, he maintains a love of cooking and a dedication to preparing food at home for himself, family, and friends.
Our review process started with our lead tester and editorial team researching the top models available today. Then, we bought 10 of the top styles and brands to test out head-to-head. Once the spatulas arrived, we decided on a series of tests designed to bring out the best and the worst in each of the products. First and foremost, these utensils had to demonstrate versatility by effectively flipping a standard variety of foods. We turned over a minimum of 3 eggs and pancakes on a seasoned cast iron griddle per test model. We tested getting them under soft chocolate chip cookies hot off a metal baking sheet and flipping burgers on a cast-iron grill pan. We tested for quality and durability by carefully assessing all construction features and materials, purposefully dropping them off our counters, and scratching them hundreds of times on cast iron pans. We tested ease of maintenance and storage by cleaning them over and over by hand and through the dishwasher. Finally, we tested their strength and rigidity by stacking up to eight 1/4-lb burger patties on the end of each utensil to see how sturdy they felt loaded up.
Analysis and Test Results
As we developed the criteria to judge each product, it became clear that different models would have specific advantages and disadvantages. Nylon, plastic, and silicone utensils can get the job done without damaging our non-stick cookware and go straight into the dishwasher for cleanup, while metal and wood models are better suited for specific and sometimes different tasks. The turner best suited for your kitchen depends not only on your pans but what you enjoy cooking. We dissect the key performance areas for these utensils below and highlight top performers in each area.
Testing versatility is more than knowing a metal spatula will scrape your non-stick pan, but we did give points to our non-metals for being able to work on common surfaces. We test each product to make sure they scoop hot cookies off baking sheets, burgers off grill pans, and turn pancakes & eggs on a hot cast iron griddle without breaking them (we broke some in the process). We also took into account how the shape of certain models make them more well-suited for sautéing and serving vegetables or functioning as effective mixing spoons.
Synthetic turners such as the OXO Good Grips and Di Oro Chef Series will serve your kitchen well, especially if you don't find yourself cooking on cast iron often. Like other nylon turners, the Westmark works wonders on all cooking surfaces. Its unique shape and hardness allow it to function as a mixing spoon as efficiently as the wooden options we tested. We did the majority of our fry and sauté testing on cast-iron surfaces, but we prepared a lot of meals in our kitchen on all kinds of pans, and nylon was the do-it-all material that we usually reached for.
Quality and Durability
After determining which turner will likely get the most use in your kitchen, an equally important factor is how well they are constructed and how they hold up to heavy use on hot pans. Testing for this metric involved assessing all construction features and materials. We dropped each model off of our counters, scratched them 200 times across a cast-iron griddle, and noted the durability issues. We ran all of them (even those designed to be hand-washed) through several cycles in the dishwasher to see how it actually impacted their finish.
All the nylon turners began to show slight signs of edge wear after a short time in the kitchen, while the silicone turner on the Di Oro Chef Series seemed unaffected by hot pans and sizzling griddles. The metal and wood models had mixed results. The Toadfish Ultimate Fish utensil not only has a comfortable handle but is sturdy enough to outlast non-stick pans. Remember, even if your spatula is metal, a plastic handle left to rest on the edge of a hot cast iron pan can melt quickly.
Cleaning and Storing
We measured ease of cleaning by noting how easily these utensils were cleaned through several cycles in the dishwasher and in the sink after submerging them in hot soapy water. We compared the lengths of the flippers and whether or not they have holes from which they could be hung. Though a variety of lengths and widths, all the spatulas fit easily into our kitchen drawers or utensil crocks.
Only three of our turners have wood that is not recommended for a spin in the dishwasher. The lovely grain of the Eddington Italian Olive Wood did dull after a couple of cycles, and the company recommends a thin application of mineral oil to restore it. For the metal models, we didn't experience any signs of rust during our weeks-long testing period. With no slots, the Sabatier is easy to clean in the sink, and its small size means it fits anywhere in the dishwasher.
We wanted to ensure these turners didn't warp, crack, or break in two when flipping and serving larger cuts of meat. For this metric, we stacked eight quarter-pound beef patties on the head of each turner to observe how it handled the weight.
The OXO Good Grips, Westmark, the OXO Good Grips Nylon Flexible Turner, and the KitchenAid Classic are nylon turners that held strong. The Norpro bent severely and had difficulty balancing. Despite being different wood types and thicknesses, the wooden spatulas were rigid enough to hold up all the burgers with no issue. Of the metal models, the New Star felt like it could warp if it held that weight for long, but the Sabatier could easily handle the weight.
We researched and tested the best spatulas to ensure you could make an informed decision on which turner will best suit your kitchen. We found that each utensil tested performed its essential functions. Some are simple stove workhorses that get the job done. Others are elegantly crafted tools with slightly specialized uses. All of them offered a helping hand fixing and flipping food on various cooking surfaces.
— Matt Rowe