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What’s the Difference Between a Spatula and a Turner?

A person stands in a kitchen wearing an apron with spatulas in a front pocket.

If you’re one of the people who has been calling every flat-surfaced food-flipping tool in the kitchen a spatula, then we hate to break it to you… but you’ve been wrong (It’s me. I’ve been wrong).

As it turns out, there are actually a lot of differences between utensils and they’re not all a spatula. You may actually be referring to a turner.

Hello Fresh offers a clear discussion of the spatula versus turner debate. Apparently, spatulas tend to be more generic (it’s a tool with a wide, flat head and a long handle) while a turner has a specific purpose.

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The tool you tend towards when you fry eggs, grill a burger, or flip a pancake on the griddle is most likely a turner. Some people like to call this tool a flipper. It’s often a stainless steel, rubber, or silicone utensil that can be flexible or stiff, depending on its distinct purpose, and has holes or slats so that grease or drippings can seep through.

A spatula is an item you reach for when you need to scrape the bottom of the peanut butter jar, prepare frosting, or spread mayo out on a piece of bread. Spatulas are commonly made of rubber or silicone and tend to be on the flexible side of the scale.

You use a turner to get your food from one place to another or to flip it in a pan. You use a spatula to scrape, spread, fold, or mix. Now get to cooking!

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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