Do these supersize restaurant spatulas deserve a place in your kitchen?
Published Sept. 5, 2019. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Butter-Basted Fish and Succotash
Nine times out of ten, we grab a metal or nonstick-safe fish spatula when we want to flip or transfer food. Their heads are thin and flexible enough to get under the food without damaging it and long enough to do a good job of supporting most foods once they’re off the cooking surface. But occasionally we find ourselves wishing we had a tool that was a bit bigger or beefier—something that could help pick up larger or heavier foods, such as a roast or a cake, or corral and flip more pieces of food, such as roasted vegetables, at a time.
The solution can be found on the short-order line at your local diner. Offset metal turners look like supersize offset spatulas: Their heads are broad and long, making them ideal for heavy-duty or high-volume tasks. And, as their name implies, there’s a large “offset” angle between the head and the handle, which can make it easier to scoop up lots of food at a time. We wanted to know whether these tools would be worth stocking in home kitchens, so we bought eight models, priced from about $7 to about $32, and put them to the test, using them to lift and transfer large, delicate tarts and heavy hams; to flip and transfer Roasted Cauliflower from How to Roast Everything and Sheet Pan Hash Browns; and to smash, flip, and transfer Griddled Smashed Burgers from The Ultimate Burger.
We liked most of the turners, though some were better at certain tasks than others. As we’d seen in other spatula testings, the design of their heads was key. Testers liked heads with plenty of surface area—about 23 square inches was ideal—that could pick up a significant amount of food in a single pass without being unwieldy.
The dimensions of the heads mattered, too. We preferred models with long but relatively narrow heads measuring about 7.5 by 3 inches. These longer heads allowed us to easily flip large swathes of hash browns, smash two burgers at a time into thin, crispy patties, and securely pick up large tarts. These models also provided a little more distance between our hands and the surface of the screaming-hot stovetop griddle when we were flipping the burgers. Although turners with smaller heads were better at maneuvering in tighter spaces and a touch easier to control when flipping food, they took about the same number of passes to turn food as our favorite fish spatula, and they could only smash one burger at a time. Plus, transferring tarts with these smaller heads felt a bit precarious.
Models with broader, square-ish heads offered the greatest security when transferring tarts, owing to their large surface area. They were also good at smashing two...
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.