Which fish spatula is best?
Spatulas have the strange distinction of being the name for more than one type of kitchen utensil. The first, also known as a scraper, is used for cleaning a bowl of cake batter or cookie dough. The second is used for flipping food. Of this variety, there are specific shapes corresponding with its use. A fish spatula is long, thin and often slotted, used to flip or pick up delicate items like fish.
The Victorinox Slotted Fish Turner is a finely crafted utensil that manages to be both sturdy and precise.
What to know before you buy a fish spatula
Type of spatula material
Spatulas come in a variety of materials.
- Plastic or nylon: Plastic or nylon fish spatula blades are best for use on nonstick pans. Unfortunately, these cannot be made thin enough to reliably slide under fish without tearing it. But if you need something quick and affordable, this is your pick, and it may work for sturdier fish. A nonstick pan also releases more easily, so the thicker blade won’t need to work so hard.
- Silicone: Silicone has the same issue as plastic and nylon, but it works better on high-heat pans.
- Metal: The winner and most durable material is a metal spatula with a stainless steel blade. It’s thin and slides gently under delicate fish like tilapia with barely a scratch. This cannot be used on nonstick cookware, but that’s its only challenge. Metal blades may have metal, plastic, nylon, silicone or wood handles.
Fish spatulas have a distinctive shape. The area that lifts the food — called the blade or the flipper — is elongated, narrow at the handle and wider toward the end. A slight angle at the edge of a fish spatula lets you ease it gently under food. Most fish spatulas are also slotted.
Handle shape and size
You’re looking for a Goldilocks handle. Too long and heavy and it’s uncomfortable to hold and hard to control. Too short and lightweight and it cannot handle larger pieces of fish. The perfect handle is well-balanced, not too fat and the perfect length for control.
What to look for in a quality fish spatula
Safe over high heat
Most fish is not cooked over high heat, but the pan itself can become hotter than the food. You’ll need a fish spatula that can take the heat. Metal is the obvious choice, and silicone is in a pinch. If you use a plastic or nylon fish flipper, check to make sure it is rated for the temperature you’re using.
Easy to clean
If a fish is on the menu once or twice a month, it’s no big deal to hand-wash. However, if your family of die-hard fishermen eats it multiple times a week, you’ll want something you can put into the dishwasher.
Strong and flexible
There is a balance between strength and flexibility that is important to strike. The flipper of the spatula needs to be thin and relatively flexible. This lets it glide underneath lightweight fish. Additionally, it’s easily maneuvered in a pan that’s crowded. Rigid fish spatulas make it hard to work with precision when moving fish in a hot, crowded pan.
Wider slots in the head of the spatula help with flexibility, but watch out for spatulas that are so flexible as to be flimsy. Even with a little give, these tools should be able to hoist a fat burger safely out of a pan and onto a waiting bun.
Unlike plastic or silicone spatulas, metal fish spatulas need to be attached to the handle somehow. The best attachment is one that is full-tang. This means that the head extends well into the handle for more security.
How much you can expect to spend on a fish spatula
You can spend as much or as little as you like, with prices varying mostly due to the quality of construction and materials. Expect to spend $10 to $35.
Fish spatula FAQ
Can you use a fish spatula for anything other than fish?
A. Yes. Fish spatulas aren’t confined to simply flipping fish. They can also be used to flip everything from delicate crepes and pancakes to chicken tenders. The beauty of this tool is its ability to slide under food cleanly without shredding the underside. This is valuable for a variety of foods.
Can you flip fish with a regular spatula?
A. Technically, yes. If the goal is simply to flip the fish to the other side, any flat spatula or turner will do. However, if the goal is to flip your fish without tearing the skin, a fish spatula is the only tool for the job.
What’s the best fish spatula to buy?
Top fish spatula
Victorinox Slotted Fish Turner
What you need to know: This fish spatula is lightweight to handle but heavy enough to get the job done well.
What you’ll love: The spatula is 6 inches long, with a turning area of 3 inches. The wooden handle is comfortable and stays cool. The metal blade works well on cast iron and the grill. The high carbon blade is durable and well-designed.
What you should consider: It’s very expensive for one utensil, and it needs to be hand-washed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top fish spatula for the money
What you need to know: If you need a spatula that isn’t quite so specialized and comes at a more affordable price, this is the one for you.
What you’ll love: The blade is thin nylon and the handle is stainless steel. It’s heat resistant to 400 degrees. It’s perfect for nonstick pans. It’s lightweight and has a hole at the end of the handle for hanging.
What you should consider: It cannot be used on stainless steel or cast iron, as the high heat of those pans may melt the blade.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Lamson Chef’s Left-Hand Slotted Turner
What you need to know: Left-handed chefs will appreciate this design that’s tailored just for them.
What you’ll love: It features a full-tang carbon steel blade with a heat-resistant wood handle. It’s sturdy enough for burgers but precise enough for crepes and fish. It’s also available in a right-handed version as well as a slightly longer 4-inch by 9-inch model.
What you should consider: The tip of the blade is slightly sharpened and collects food particles that can be difficult to remove.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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