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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For all your flipping and turning needs.
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!