Why Everyone Needs an Offset Spatula

published Apr 13, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

An offset spatula might seem like a niche kitchen tool that only professional pastry chefs need — but that’s not the case. They’re cheap, endlessly useful, and make a variety of cooking tasks so much easier. Here’s why we love offset spatulas and why we think everyone should own one, even people who don’t bake.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Why Everyone Needs an Offset Spatula

You probably associate offset spatulas with frosting cakes, which is one of their main uses because you can use the offset shape to create smooth, crisp lines with ease —without having to rely on a turntable. The shape gives you more control versus a standard straight spatula: With a straight spatula, the blade extends right off the handle; with an offset one, the blade dips down, creating space between your hand and your food, preventing you from accidentally dragging your knuckle into whatever it is you’re working with. With a straight spatula, you’re just not going to get that distance.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

But offset spatulas are not just for frosting cakes. They’re also great for handling delicate proteins like burgers, scallops, and fish. Their thin, flexible blade is able to get underneath these items without ripping them and flip them with ease. They’re the perfect tool to test the doneness of potatoes or other vegetables when grilling, to lift crispy bacon out of a hot pan, to smooth enchilada sauce into a casserole dish before placing the rolled tortillas on top, and so much more.

What Size Is Best?

For most kitchen projects a small 4.5- or 6-inch offset spatula works best. These smaller varieties are the go-to size for professional pastry chefs. Large offsets (such as 10- or 12-inch varieties) are only really used to frost very large cakes. These large spatulas are not the most versatile tools to keep around and barely fit into most kitchen drawers. They’re also too large to fit into most cake and brownie pans, so you won’t be able to use them to smooth out batters. Instead, get a smaller one, which doesn’t take up a lot of room and is incredibly cheap.

Do you have an offset spatula? Do you love it? Tell us about it in the comments below.