Spatula Vs Turner: Unveiling the Key Differences

Spatula vs. Turner – What’s the difference?

When it comes to kitchen utensils, there are often terms that are used interchangeably, leading to confusion. One such example is the spatula and the turner. These two tools are often referred to as the same thing, but in reality they have distinct differences and serve different purposes. Understanding the difference between a spatula and a turner can help you choose the right tool for your cooking needs. In this article, we will explore the differences between spatulas and turners and discuss their functionality, design, and materials.

What is a spatula?

A spatula is a basic kitchen tool that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. The term “spatula” is often used broadly to describe any tool with a wide, flat head attached to a long handle. Spatulas are commonly used for mixing, spreading, scraping, and turning food. The heads of spatulas are usually made of rubber or silicone, although they can also be made of wood or metal.
There are several types of spatulas available, one popular variation being the flexible silicone head spatula. These spatulas are often used to scrape cake batter, creams and frostings from mixing bowls. Silicone spatulas are flexible and leave bowls very clean. Some scraper spatulas are also heat resistant, making them versatile tools in the kitchen.
Another type of spatula is the frosting spatula, which is used to spread frosting or cream on cakes. Spatulas can be either flexible silicone or flat metal blades called offset spatulas. They have long, straight, flat blades with rounded tips that make it easy to spread frosting evenly. Spreaders are also known as frosting spatulas.
Wooden spatulas are popular in Asian cooking because they are lightweight, durable and convenient for tossing food in the pan while frying or sautéing. However, wooden spatulas are not suitable for turning food because they are not thin enough.

What is a turner?

A turner, as the name implies, is a type of spatula designed specifically for lifting, turning and flipping food. It is important to note that a turner is a type of spatula, so it is accurate to say that a turner is a spatula, but not all spatulas are turners.
Turners are primarily used for flipping flat items such as patties, pancakes, fish fillets and cutlets. They have straight or slightly rounded tips, although angled tips are common because they are easier to slide under delicate foods. Turners are built for the specific purpose of lifting and turning food, making them ideal for tasks such as flipping pancakes or burgers.
There are several types of spatulas available, each with its own unique features:

  • Perforated spatulas: These spatulas have a series of holes that allow liquid or grease to drain while flipping food.
  • Solid Turners: Solid turners have a solid head with no holes or slots. They are good for flipping items such as pancakes and crumbly foods because they prevent loose food from falling apart or crumbling.
  • Slotted Turners: Slotted turners are versatile and useful for flipping fatty foods. The slots in the head allow oil and liquid to drain, making them ideal for delicate foods. They are more flexible and slide easily under different types of food.

Compare spatulas and turners

To better understand the differences between spatulas and turners, let’s compare them based on several aspects:


Turners have straight or slightly rounded tips, which are ideal for turning flat items. In contrast, most spatulas, except for turners, have curved or angled tips. Spatulas are designed for scraping mixtures from mixing bowls, mixing food in pans, or spreading frosting on cakes.


Spatulas come in a variety of materials, some heat resistant and some not. Scrapers are typically made of plastic or silicone, while spreaders often have metal heads. Turners, on the other hand, are always heat resistant. Stainless steel turners are the most durable and can withstand high temperatures. Nylon-headed turners are also available, but their melting point is lower than that of stainless steel.


Spatulas include a wide range of kitchen tools, including turners. They can be broadly categorized as baking spatulas and cooking spatulas. Baking spatulas include scrapers and spreaders, while cooking spatulas refer specifically to turners. Within the spatula category, there are perforated, solid and slotted spatulas, each with their own benefits and uses.


Spatulas come in different thicknesses depending on their purpose. Scrapers and spreaders are often thicker for efficient mixing and spreading of ingredients. Turners, on the other hand, are thinner to easily slide under food for turning or lifting.

Best used for:

Spatulas are great for scraping bowls, mixing food and spreading frosting. They are versatile tools that can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks. Turners, on the other hand, are specifically designed for lifting, turning and flipping food. They are essential for flipping delicate items such as pancakes, omelets or fish fillets.


The main difference between a spatula and a turner is their functionality. A spatula is a versatile kitchen tool used for mixing, spreading, scraping and turning food, while a turner is specifically designed to lift, turn and flip flat items such as pancakes, burgers and fish fillets.

Can a turner be considered a spatula?

Yes, a turner is a type of spatula. While all turners are spatulas, not all spatulas are turners. Turners have a specific design and purpose for turning and lifting food, making them a subset of spatulas.

What materials are spatulas and turners usually made from?

Spatulas and turners can be made from a variety of materials. Spatulas often have heads made of rubber, silicone, wood or metal, depending on the application. Turners are usually heat resistant and are usually made from stainless steel or nylon, with stainless steel being the most durable option.

What tasks are best suited to spatulas?

Spatulas are versatile tools that can be used to scrape bowls clean, mix ingredients and spread icing or frosting on cakes. They are also handy for tasks such as folding delicate mixes or transferring food from a pan to a plate.

When should I use a turner instead of a spatula?

Use a turner when you need to lift, turn or flip flat items such as pancakes, omelettes or burgers. Turners are designed with thin, flat heads that slide easily under food without damaging it, making them ideal for delicate flipping.

Are there different types of turner?

Yes, there are different types of turners to suit different cooking needs. Some common variations include perforated turners, which have holes to allow liquid or fat to drain away when flipping food, solid turners without holes for flipping crumbly foods, and slotted turners, which allow oil and liquid to drain away when flipping fatty foods.