Tips from The Kitchn

The 4 Basic Spatulas Every Home Cook Needs, According to a Professional Baker

published Aug 26, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Do you have one favorite spatula that you use for every kitchen task, but it doesn’t seem to be quite right for most of them? That’s because you should actually own more than one spatula — each ready to tackle the job they were made for. But since so many home cooks and bakers are serial single-spatula users, I talked to Tracey Catarozoli, a professional baker with more than 30 years of experience and owner of two bakeries (Sally’s Sweet Shoppe and Sally’s Sweet Shoppe Too), about the four — yes, that’s right, four — spatulas she swears by. 

It’s time to step up your scooping, scraping, and stirring game — here are the spatula types every home cook needs.

1. The Classic Spatula

Perhaps the variety you’re most likely to have doing the heavy lifting, the classic spatula is by far the most utilitarian. It’s here to help you fold mix-ins into cookie dough, divide cake batter into pans, and scoop frosting out of a stand mixer bowl. There’s not much it can’t do, but there are tasks other spatulas are better-suited for.

2. The Ultra-Thin Jar Spatula

With a handle the same size as a classic spatula, but a head that’s about half the width, the ultra-thin jar spatula is a wonder for tight spaces. Catarozoli uses it to scrape ingredients and condiments out of jars (perfect for getting every last bit), but also loves it for mixing small batches of sauces and spreads. Its thin, nimble head makes it great at spreading, too — kinda like a butter knife, without the serrated edge.

3. The Jumbo Spatula

This is like a classic spatula with a much more oversized head. A jumbo spatula is perfect for scraping large mixing bowls, reaching deep into a stand mixer bowl to get every last bit of cake batter, and mixing together large batches of batters and doughs. Outside of baking, Catarozoli says she uses this large spatula to stir large pitchers of lemonade or margaritas, since it’s longer than most wooden spoons.

4. The Curved Spatula (aka the Spoonula)

A spatula so neat it has its own special name! The spoonula is similar in size to a traditional spatula, but has a rounded head that looks vaguely spoon-like (hence the name). “I use this five times or more every week just in my own kitchen, and that’s not counting what happens in the bakery,” Catarozoli says. Its curved shape and edge makes it a fantastic scraper and really help you scoop to up frostings, batters, and the like.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

How to Take Care of Your Spatulas

Catarozoli says she’s used the same wood-handled spatulas from Williams Sonoma in her own kitchen for more than 10 years because they hold up so well. Her trick to longevity is simple: Hand-wash them every time. But that’s it. Other than that, use them; love them; and scrape, mix, stir, and scoop with ’em to your heart’s content.

Do you have a favorite spatula? Tell us in the comments!