Spatulas 101: What is a Spatula & the Best Types for Your Kitchen

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 1, 2022

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A spatula is a kitchen utensil used to mix, spread, and lift material.  It’s a tool that’s used for a variety of cooking tasks.  The name spatula comes from the Latin word “spatula,” meaning “spoon.”  It’s a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of cooking tasks. 

Let’s look at the different types of spatulas and their uses.  Plus, some fun trivia!

What is a spatula

Spatula: A Handy Tool for Your Kitchen

Despite being a confusing term, spatulas are distinct tools that come in multiple types depending on what you need or want to do in the kitchen. Simply put, a spatula is a flat tool with a wide blade that is used for lifting or turning food.

Types of Spatulas

There are multiple types of spatulas, each with their own distinct features and uses. Here are some of the most common types of spatulas:

  • Turner or Flipper: This type of spatula is handy for flipping or turning food items like fresh eggs or frying bacon. It has a long, flat blade that is wide enough to support the food item without breaking it.
  • Scraping Spatula: This type of spatula is used for scraping the bottom of a pan or jar to get every last bit of food. It has a flat blade that is slightly angled to make it easier to scrape.
  • Spatula for Spreading: This type of spatula is used for spreading frosting or peanut butter onto bread. It has a long, flat blade that is narrow enough to fit into jars or containers.

Spatula Handle Features to Consider

When buying a spatula, there are a few handle features to consider:

  • Ergonomic Handle: This type of handle is designed to fit comfortably in your hand, reducing the strain on your wrist and hand.
  • Loop or Hole for Hanging: This feature allows you to easily hang your spatula for storing and keeping it away from other kitchen items.

Using a Spatula

Here are some tips for using a spatula:

  • Always use a spatula with a long handle when working with hot food to keep your hand away from the heat.
  • When lifting food with a spatula, place the blade under the food and lift it away from the surface.
  • Depending on the type of spatula you are using, play around with the angle and pressure to find the best way to use it for your needs.

Kitchen Use of Spatulas

When it comes to kitchen tools, a spatula is a mainstay item that every cook needs. But with so many models and brands available, how do you know which one to buy? Here are some features to consider when looking for the perfect spatula:

  • Blade Material: Stainless steel is the most commonly used material for spatula blades. It is durable, easy to clean, and can resist heat. Rubber-based blades are also a good choice for scraping and spreading.
  • Blade Shape: A straight blade is ideal for flipping and turning items, while a rounded blade is better for scraping and spreading. A flexible blade can help you get into tight spaces and work with delicate foods.
  • Handle: Look for a handle that is comfortable to hold and easy to grip. Wood and rubber are good options for creating a solid grip, while metal handles can get hot during cooking.
  • Size: Spatulas come in a variety of sizes, from small to wide. Consider the size of the items you will be cooking and choose a spatula that is the right size for the job.
  • Quality: Spending a bit more money on a high-quality spatula can make a big difference in its performance and longevity. Check the brand and read reviews to make sure you are getting a good product.

Using Spatulas for Baking and Cooking

Spatulas are a versatile tool that can be used for a wide variety of kitchen tasks. Here are some ways to use spatulas in your cooking and baking:

  • Flipping and Turning: Use a spatula with a thin, straight blade to flip and turn items like pancakes, eggs, and burgers.
  • Scraping: A spatula with a rounded or flexible blade is perfect for scraping the sides of bowls and pans to get every last bit of mixture.
  • Spreading: Use a spatula with a wide, flat blade to spread frosting, batter, or other mixtures evenly.
  • Serving: A shorter spatula with a wide blade is ideal for serving items like brownies, lasagna, and other baked goods.

Caring for Your Spatulas

To keep your spatulas in good condition and ensure their longevity, follow these tips:

  • Clean your spatulas after each use to prevent food buildup.
  • Avoid putting your spatulas directly on heat sources, as this can affect their performance.
  • Check for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or breaks in the blade.
  • Store your spatulas in a way that keeps them away from other sharp or heavy items that could damage them.

By following these tips and choosing the right spatula for your needs, you can make sure that this kitchen tool is a great help in your cooking and baking endeavors.

Spatula Blade Materials

When it comes to spatulas, the blade material is an essential factor to consider. The material determines the durability, versatility, and ease of use of the spatula. With a variety of spatula blade materials available in stores, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. In this section, we’ll list the notable pros and cons of the most common spatula blade materials and answer some FAQs about spatula care.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a popular spatula blade material due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear. It’s also easy to clean and doesn’t attract stains or odors. However, stainless steel spatulas tend to scratch easily and are not suitable for use on non-stick pans. They also tend to lose their edge over time and can damage the coating on pans.


Silicone spatulas are incredibly versatile and can resist high temperatures, making them ideal for cooking a variety of foods. They’re also easy to clean and gentle on pans, making them a popular choice for non-stick cookware. However, silicone spatulas tend to be fairly heavy and may not be comfortable to hold for long periods. They’re also not as durable as metal spatulas and can split or wear over time.


Wooden spatulas are inexpensive and usually come with comfortable handles. They’re also soft and won’t scratch pans or transfer heat to your hand. However, wooden spatulas are porous and can absorb bacteria and odors. They also tend to split or wear over time and are not suitable for use in the oven or on high-temperature surfaces.


Plastic spatulas are handy for regular cooking needs and are usually inexpensive. They’re also easy to clean and won’t scratch pans. However, plastic spatulas tend to be less durable than other materials and can melt or warp at high temperatures. They’re also not suitable for use in the oven.


Hybrid spatulas, made from a combination of materials such as silicone and stainless steel, offer the best of both worlds. They’re strong, durable, and can resist high temperatures, making them ideal for a variety of cooking jobs. Hybrid spatulas also hold up well against cuts and sharp blades. However, they tend to be more expensive than other types of spatulas.

How do I choose the right spatula blade material?

Consider the types of foods you’ll be cooking and the surfaces you’ll be using the spatula on. Also, remember to choose a material that is comfortable for you to hold and use.

Spatula Handle Features to Consider

The material of the handle is an important factor to consider when shopping for spatulas. Here are some types of materials available:

  • Wooden handles are inexpensive and provide a comfortable grip. However, they can be porous and hold onto food and bacteria, making them difficult to clean and potentially contaminating.
  • Metal handles are durable and resist wear and tear. They are also fairly heavy, which may not be handy for regular use. Remember that metal handles can get hot when used on heat pans.
  • Plastic handles are lightweight and easy to clean. They are also resistant to heat and can be found in a variety of colors. However, they can easily scratch and wear out over time.
  • Silicone handles are incredibly versatile and can resist heat, making them ideal for use with hot foods. They are also soft and comfortable to hold. However, they may not be tough enough for scraping jobs.
  • Rubber handles are tough and can resist wear and tear. They are also soft and provide a comfortable grip. However, they may not be as heat-resistant as other materials.


The length of the handle depends on your needs and the type of food you are working with. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Shorter handles are great for scraping and spreading, while longer handles are better for flipping and turning foods on a griddle or in a pan.
  • If you have a collection of utensils, consider getting spatulas with different handle lengths to pair with different types of foods.

Protrusions and Holes

Some spatulas have protrusions or holes in the handle that allow them to be hung on a hook or placed on a surface without touching and contaminating it. Here are some benefits to consider:

  • Protrusions can reduce the risk of the spatula falling into the food or onto the floor.
  • Holes allow the spatula to be hung up, reducing the risk of it getting lost in a drawer or collection of utensils.


The handle of a spatula should be comfortable to hold, especially if you plan to use it for extended periods of time. Here are some things to consider:

  • The handle should be constructed in a way that provides a comfortable grip, with no sharp edges or attached protrusions that could dig into your hand.
  • The size of the handle should be appropriate for the size of your hand, with a comfortable distance between the handle and the bowl or blade of the spatula.


The price of a spatula handle depends on the material and features it offers. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Inexpensive spatulas may be made of plastic or wood, while more expensive ones may be made of metal or silicone.
  • Remember that a higher price doesn’t always mean a better product. Consider which features are most important to you and find a spatula that works for your needs and budget.

Choosing the Best Spatula for Your Kitchen

When it comes to choosing a spatula, the handle is an important factor to consider. You want to make sure that the handle is comfortable to hold and provides a good grip. A heavy handle may be more comfortable for some, while others prefer a lighter handle. Wooden handles are a popular choice for their natural look and feel, but they may not be heatproof. Plastic and silicone handles are practical for dealing with heat, but they may not be as comfortable to hold for extended periods.

Blade Material and Size

The blade material is another important factor to consider. Metal blades are common and are better for lifting heavier food items like steaks and vegetables. Thin and flexible blades are perfect for working with delicate food items like fish or slices of cake. Spatulas come in different sizes, and it’s useful to have a set of different sizes for different uses. A larger spatula is handy for lifting larger pieces of food, while a smaller spatula is perfect for spreading.

Heat Resistance

If you plan on using your spatula for grilling or cooking on a hot surface, you need to make sure that it can handle the heat. Stainless steel and silicone spatulas are heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, making them perfect for use on a grill or in a hot pan. Wooden spatulas are not heatproof and may melt near high heat.

Uses and Practicality

Different spatulas have different uses, and it’s important to pick the right one for the job. A turner or offset spatula is perfect for flipping and turning food items, while a scraper spatula is useful for loosening food from a pan or surface. A pastry spatula is perfect for working with delicate pastry items like quiche or lasagna slices. A grill spatula is handy for cooking on a grill, while a fish spatula is perfect for working with delicate fish.

Price and Brand

The price of a spatula can vary dramatically depending on the brand and material. A basic plastic spatula can be found for a few dollars, while a heavy-duty stainless steel version can cost upwards of $50. A set of spatulas is a practical choice for home cooks, while chefs may prefer to invest in higher-end brands like Ateco, Di Oro, or Mercer.

In conclusion, the best spatula for your kitchen depends on your needs and preferences. Consider the handle, blade material and size, heat resistance, uses, and practicality when choosing a spatula. Don’t be afraid to try different brands and versions until you find the perfect one for you.

Spatulas for Flipping and Turning: A Versatile Choice for Your Kitchen

When looking for a spatula for flipping and turning food in your kitchen, there are a few types to consider:

  • Metal Spatulas: These are great for creating a solid edge to flip foods and are ideal for heavier items like burgers or steaks. They are typically fairly heavy and can resist heat well, but be careful not to use them on non-stick surfaces as they can scratch and damage the coating.
  • Wooden Spatulas: Wooden spatulas are a good choice for delicate foods like fish or eggs as they are less likely to break the food apart. They are also a good option for those who prefer a more natural material in their kitchen utensils. However, they can be difficult to clean and may absorb odors over time.
  • Plastic Spatulas: These are a good choice for non-stick surfaces as they won’t scratch or damage the coating. They are also usually flexible, making them a good option for flipping delicate foods. However, they may not be as strong as metal or wooden spatulas and can easily break or melt if exposed to high heat.

Scraping Spatulas: A Handy Utensil for Mixing and Scraping

Scraping spatulas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the rectangular or rounded edge with a tip is the most common. The tip is perfect for stirring, scraping, and folding ingredients, while the edge is great for scraping sticky or wet mixtures from the sides of bowls or containers.

The Chance to Help Fundraise

Rada offers a chance to fundraise by selling their products. This is a great opportunity to stock kitchens with remarkable products that have been passed down for generations. Grandmas and moms alike know the value of a good scraping spatula, and the Rada scraping spatula is a perfect addition to any kitchen.

Spatulas for Spreading

  • Drop the batter or frosting in small pieces directly onto the surface you will be spreading it on.
  • Use a smooth, straight edge to spread the food evenly.
  • Keep the spatula level while spreading to ensure an even layer.
  • Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl or container to get every last bit.


So there you have it, everything you need to know about spatulas. Spatulas are a versatile kitchen tool used for flipping, spreading, and scraping food. They can be made of metal, silicone, or plastic, and come in many different shapes and sizes. So next time you’re cooking, don’t forget to pick up your favorite spatula! I hope you’ve learned something new today.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.