In the culinary world, people often get confused between turners and spatulas. It is very common that people who ask for “spatulas” are directed to plastic or rubber spatulas that sometimes have a curved surface, while what they want actually are turners. In this article, we will help you understand the differences between a turner vs spatula.
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– What a turner is,
– What a spatula is,
– The differences between a turner vs spatula,
– The purposes of each of the two kitchen tools, and
– Whether you actually need a turner or spatula.
What is a Turner?
A turner is a kitchen tool designed for turning a food over, so that the other side can be cooked evenly, and for lifting the food from the pan. Turners are very versatile. You most probably have used them when preparing hamburgers, pancakes, bacon, fish, potatoes, eggs, or cookies. See also: Santoku Knife vs Chef Knife.
Most turners are not designed to withstand very high temperatures continuously. They are usually made from nylon or silicone, although there are indeed metallic ones that can withstand high heat better. The nylon and silicone turners may melt or warp if exposed to temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) – pan surface temperatures often exceed 650 degrees Fahrenheit (343 degrees Celsius). So, it is not a good idea to leave your turner resting in the pan while cooking.
What is a Spatula?
There are actually several different variations of spatula. However, the most common one is the classic spatula, which is made from plastic or rubber and designed for blending ingredients, folding a dough, and collecting the dough from a mixing bowl. These spatulas usually have flat heads. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, the word “spatula” was derived from the Latin spatha which means broadsword.
There are also spatulas with spoon-shaped heads. They are sometimes called spoonulas. They are easier to use for collecting foods. Finally, there are wooden spatulas, which are typically used in woks and skillets. Wooden spatulas are not very good for bowl works, but applicable as a dough tool or batter stirring tool.
Shapes and Variations
One distinction is the shape. A turner always has a thin, flat head. This flat shape is designed to allow you to easily slip the head under the food, so that you can turn it over or lift it. The front edge is straight. Sometimes, turners are slotted so that oil can drip out instead of getting carried along.
On the other hand, spatulas are available in many shapes and variations. A spatula may be shaped just like a turner. However, spatulas for processing dough are typically thicker and more durable. The front edge is not always straight. More often than not, the front edge is curved. Most spatulas are not slotted, although some spoonulas do have slots.
Turner vs Spatula
|- Designed for turning or lifting food||- Designed for blending ingredients and folding dough|
|- Always has a flat head||- Some models have flat heads, some others have curved heads|
|- The head is typically thin||- The head is usually thicker and more durable|
|- Straight front edge||- The front edge is not always straight|
A turner always has a thin, flat head, as it is designed for turning and lifting food. On the other hand, spatulas have more variations. Classic spatulas are designed for blending ingredients and folding dough. Spatulas are usually thicker and more durable, and they don’t always have a straight front edge.