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Equipment

A Love Letter to: the Fish Spatula

Culinary evolution has created a better spatula.
By Published Aug. 13, 2019

Ever stub your spat on a flapjack? Mangled.

Or go to flip a fish fillet with a clunky turner and watch the cod cleave in half? Hash.

The point is, a bad spatula can wreak havoc in the kitchen. But a good spatula? A fish spatula? It’s a game changer.

A fish spatula is defined by the shape and thickness of its head, which is narrow, rectangular, and very thin, with a slightly offset upturn that cradles foods and increases the spatula’s agility. The angling of the head makes it easy to get it under stubbornly stuck foods, so you’re more likely to pick up all the flavorful browning with your food instead of leaving it in the pan or on the grill. The end of the head is also angled (not square), which gives the cook a slightly pointed tool to work into tight corners.

Another unique and useful feature of fish spatulas is that their heads are perforated with long holes down their length; these holes make the head extra-light and nimble and allow fat and liquid to drain as you lift whatever you’re cooking out of the skillet or pan. Once you get used to using a fish spatula, using a regular spatula feels akin to pounding box nails with a sledgehammer.

The point is, a bad spatula can wreak havoc in the kitchen. But a good spatula? A fish spatula? It’s a game changer.

I love to use fish spatulas not just for fish but for cooking all kinds of things (and so do many cooks in the test kitchen). Turning burgers in a skillet. Flipping pancakes and fried eggs. Stirring roasted vegetables. Lifting crisped bacon slices out of a frying pan. Moving delicate cookies. And if you want to get freaky, you can use a fish spatula as an impromptu strainer, whisk, or masher of hard-cooked eggs or ripe avocado.

The best fish spats, like our winner and Best Buy, have beveled blades that make it extra-easy to get under stuck-on foods. If you cook a lot, try using a fish spatula—I’m quite certain you’ll love it.

The only downside is that your regular blocky spatula will become a seldom-used relic.