If you’re like me, you do a huge amount of your cooking in a nice nonstick skillet (like this great 12″ Green Earth Frying Pan from Ozeri). And of course, if you use one of these kinds of pans, you have no intention of ruining it by scratching away the nonstick part with a metal cooking utensil. That means you need a good rubber spatula, right? Or maybe a plastic spatula? Like, maybe you can use one of those $1.35 deals like I saw at the grocery store last, you think?
Well, actually, no. You don’t want one that’s actually made of plastic or rubber.
No worries, though. Like I talked about in my article about types of spatulas, this is just a language thing. You’re probably thinking of the same thing I’m thinking of, you just don’t realize what it’s actually made of.
It’s Actually Silicone, Not Rubber OR Plastic
Modern spatulas, the softish, semi-pliable ones (in other words, the ones that aren’t made of metal), are actually made with a metal core that is enclosed in a layer of soft silicone. Silicone is actually made of the same stuff as glass (sand), which it gives it some properties like strength that make it great for kitchen utensils, but it’s also pliable like rubber, which makes it absolutely ideal for the kind of spatula you want for cooking in a nonstick pan without scratching it all to hell.
Let’s take a look at some of the properties that make silicone the ideal material for spatulas.
- It doesn’t conduct a lot of heat, keeping your hands safe
- It doesn’t react with chemicals (metal cooking implements sometimes react badly with acids in your food)
- It’s non-toxic
- It’s heat resistant; it’s not going to melt and leave plastic/rubber in your food
- Water resistant; it won’t get ruined in your dishwasher
- It doesn’t stick!
- Microbes don’t want to grow on it
Okay, So What Spatula Should I Get?
Well, assuming you’re looking for the turner type spatula most people are looking for, my main recommendation and go-to spatula, again, is the OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner. It will run in the sub-10-dollar range, will last you a nice long time, and has all the above listed properties of silicone. It’s got a nice size that is suitable for most applications. It is probably the BEST VALUE SPATULA FOR MOST PEOPLE!
If you’re looking for something a little bigger, like something that it would be easy to flip things like pancakes and omelets with, I recommend getting the OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Pancake Turner. Honestly, I would get both.
What If I Want A Real VALUE Spatula?
Well, you could go throw your money away on one of those dollar-store specials, but it’s not going to last you very long, and you’ll probably end up with plastic in your food. If you want to save a few bucks, literally, the Zyliss Silicone Slotted Turner is not a bad bet, but I think it’s worth the trivial amount extra for the OXO, which has a better grip and design, and will last you longer. (Update- This sucker has actually gone up in price since I bought mine. See? Just go with the OXO!)
Okay, Well What’s The Cadillac Of Rubber Spatulas? I Mean, Silicone Spatulas?
If you’re looking for a rubber spatula, I mean a silicone spatula, that is going to last you practically forever, I recommend the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pure Silicone Turner. It costs a bit more than the OXO, but it’s BASICALLY THE BEST SILICONE SPATULA YOU CAN GET! I mean, this isn’t rocket science here, folks, it’s still a spatula, and while incredibly important in the kitchen, it’s still a fairly simple machine.
This thing is professionally designed and manufactured, and used by professional cooks around the world. If you want to cook like a pro, and you don’t want to mess up your pots and pans, this is the spatula for you. I mean, just look at that thing. That is a sexy spatula!
Hopefully I’ve convinced you not to damage the integrity of your kitchen and cookware with, ugh, an actual rubber spatula, or a real plastic spatula. Silicone is usually the way to go when it comes to turners like these, and you’ll get a ton of use out of any of the spatulas that I’ve recommended.