Why Do I Need A Special Fish Spatula And Where Do I Get One?

Ah, the stainless steel fish spatula.  It actually took me a while to realize this was a thing and that I needed one.  If you cook fish with any regularity, though, you may already know why it’s so important: fish flesh is reaaally delicate, and has a tendency to fall to pieces when you’re trying to cook it.  Enter the fish spatula, or more specifically, the fish turner.

It looks a lot like a pancake flipper, though they’re typically longer and made of stainless steel instead of the typical silicone you say for most turner-style spatulas (see: “rubber spatulas“).  You want one that has a beveled edge so it slips neatly under the fish without damaging the tender flesh, and with nice wide slots to let the cooking oil or poaching liquid slide through.

I’ve seen these suckers listed for pretty high price tags, but if you’re not a professional chef or cooking fish nearly every day, you can probably use a more everyday-priced utensil.  Here are a few of my choices for good home fish spatulas:

A Fish Turner For Almost Anyone

Above is a picture of the OXO Good Grips Fish Turner, which usually runs a little more than 10 bucks at Amazon.  I’ve mentioned OXO kitchen utensils (well, spatulas, anyway) a few times, and it’s because they’re well made, do the job, they last and they’re affordable enough for anyone.

This baby has a nice oversized, slotted stainless steel head with that beveled edge we talked about, so it slips right under your fish without damaging it.  Of course, you can use it for other things besides fish, like crab cakes, omelettes, or anything delicate that you’re worried about breaking apart.

The one flaw I’ve found with this is the handle can and will melt if you set it against the pan.  My advice to combat this problem is this: don’t rest the handle against your hot pan!  It’s pretty simple.

Of course, if you cook a lot of fish and want to step it up to a better model, or you’re way clumsy and apt to leave it to melt against the pan, this is my choice for a higher-end fish turner…

A Fish Spatula For Those Who Mean Business

Here we have the LamsonShapr 3″x6″ Chef’s Slotted Turner, which will run you about 20 dollars at amazon.com, and they even have extra big-ass one for a few bucks more.  And since we’re talking high-end cooking utensils here, this is specifically made for right handed people, so if you’re a lefty you’ll want the left-handed version.

The construction quality on these suckers is top-notch (check out those nickel silver rivets!) and unlike the OXO fish turner, the handle isn’t going to melt on you.  And the left/right hand construction makes it a little easier for you to handle.

But What If I Use A Non-Stick Pan??

Well, honestly, I mostly use a non-stick pan, too… just not for fish.  But I’m not one to tell you how to cook, so I’ve got you covered here, too.

The Zyliss Angled, seen here, will run you under ten dollars over at amazon.com.  It’s got a tapered edge, and it’s made of silicone so it shouldn’t melt on you.  The slots aren’t as wide as I prefer when I’m cooking fish, but they’re alright for this type of turner.

My advice for anyone cooking anything is to use the right tools for the job.  If you’re cooking fish, or really anything that is delicate but that you’ll need to flip, while straining off the fluid it’s cooking in, you ought to have a nice fish spatula.

Finding The Right Scraper Spatula Or Spoonula: 3 Great Options

Thinking back to Mrs. Dimitrius’s cooking class in 7th grade, I have to admit: she changed the way I thought about spatulas.  Well, really, she changed what I thought of  as spatulas.  I used to think only the turner types, like I talked about in my rubber spatula article, were the only things known by this name.  Of course this is totally wrong.

If you actually do a search for spatula, the first thing that comes up is often the scraper type, sometimes called spoon spatulas or spoonulas, though these are even more specific sub-types.  These are used for, well, scraping, for one thing, getting the last bit of sauce out of the jar, or applying frosting to cakes.

Now, admittedly, I use this far, far less often than the turner type, which I use pretty much every time I cook.  Still, if you do a fair amount of cooking, you probably need yourself a good scraper, or maybe a few, since they tend to come in cheap sets.  Here are some good scraper options for the typical home cook.

(Confused? Read my article on Types of Spatulas.)

Scrapers That Will Last A While

The Wilton Easy Flex 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set, pictured here in a lovely blue, is a great option for the average home cook.  It’s VALUE PRICED IN THE TEN DOLLAR RANGE, and you get a small jar spatula, your standard scraper spatula, and your spoonula (or spoon spatula).  They’re comfortable and made of silicone, which makes them heat resistant and durable.

I had this set for about a year before I started seeing little cracks on the edges.  They’re still usable, for sure, and I probably do more cooking than the average person, so most people will be fine with these, and they will last for years.

Being the cooking enthusiast and spatula fanatic that I am, I naturally wanted another set.  So here’s the set I recommend for people that want some really, really, ridiculously good spatulas…

Scraper Spatulas To Use Every Single Day

These are the Oxo Good Grips 3-piece Silicone Spatula Set, which I highly recommend for anyone serious about cooking.  They’re inexpensive, costing ever-so-slightly more than the cheapos listed above!  This is a totally solid value on some spatulas that are going to last you a good, long time.

I’ve mentioned the OXO brand before, and I really like their cooking products. They’re well made, durable and comfortable, and most importantly, very useful.  I rank them above the bigger names like the Rachel Ray cookware (I’m absolutely convinced you’re largely paying for her name with these) and the QVC spatulas you see for sale.

But what if you don’t do a ton of cooking and you just want something really cheap?  Like, reaallly cheap?  Well, I found some good ones for that, too.

Decent Cheapo Scrapers, Too

These bad boys are the Good Cook Classic Set of 2 Spatulas, which will COST YOU SO LITTLE THEY’RE PRACTICALLY FREE, which is a mighty fine deal on spatulas. They won’t last you forever, but if you don’t do a lot of cooking, they’ll come pretty damn close.  You don’t get the spoon spatula with this set, though, which may make spending a few more dollars on the Wilton set a good option for a lot of people.

Hopefully this has been helpful for anyone looking to get themselves a good scraper spatula (or three). If you only have one scraper type, and then you get one of these sets I’ve mentioned, you may come to realize just how convenient it is to have specific types of scrapers, like the spoonula or jar spatula.