I live in a small, third-floor apartment where every inch of space matters, and the kitchen is no exception. While I’d love to have all manner of one-hit-wonder kitchen tools (who doesn’t want an olive/cherry pitter?!) storage space dictates I be more selective.
For years, I’ve had three metal spatulas vie for drawer space: a deft metal fish spatula, a behemoth diner-style metal turner, and the compact OXO Steel Lasagna Turner.
The last two offset turners are different than slotted, bendy fish spatulas in that the spatula is made of one continuous piece of metal and often has a sharper head-to-handle angle. This allows the user to maneuver it into tight spaces without hitting anything. They’re great for flipping pancakes, lifting out pieces of casserole for serving, and smashing burgers.
While I have yet to cull from my trio of metal spatulas, if I had to pick one to keep (warning: controversial opinion ahead) I’d get rid of the fish spatula and the big metal turner spat before I even thought about ditching the lasagna turner.
Why? For a few reasons.
What's Great About the Lasagna Turner
OXO Steel Lasagna Turner
Unlike the big, unwieldy offset diner-style metal turner spatula, the OXO lasagna turner is smaller—it’s a hair less wide and the blade is 1.75 inches shorter. While you might think bigger is better, the smaller turner is much nimbler and easier to angle into skillets and baking dishes. But, it’s also still large enough to flip a burger or pancake without the edges sagging off the end (unless you’re making a huge Mickey Mouse pancake, in which case, I can’t help you).
I also like the solid blade on the turner more than the slotted fish spatula; not having slots makes the turner more versatile since you can slip it under a seared piece of fish just as readily as you can squash a patty for a smashburger. If you used a fish spat to smash a burger, the meat squishes through the slats.
Finally, another thing I love about the turner is the small, slightly-less-angled offset; it makes it easier to wriggle under hard-to-move foods like pie slices and brownies (both of which abut the containers they are in). If the offset part were longer, like it is on my other hefty metal spatula, it would hit the edge of the serving dish, making it harder to finagle under the food. The shorter blade also helps with this problem.
It also doesn’t hurt that the handle, which has textured silicone on either side, is super comfy to grip—a win when you're doling out slabs of to hungry friends or relatives at a gathering.
Other Notable Offset Turners
While I (obviously) love the OXO specifically, my co-workers also have strong opinions about their metal turner spatulas. Serious Eats commerce editor Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm likes her turner from Mercer Culinary. “I think it’s about the same size as the OXO. I bought it because of its textured handle and name (Hell’s Handle) and have been impressed with it so far. It’s nimble, yet strong.”
Mercer Culinary Hell's Handle Turner Spatula
It’s also worth noting that, for some, nothing will ever beat a fish spatula. Which is why for culinary director Daniel Gritzer, a slotted Lamson is the turner to beat.
Lamson Flexible Slotted Spatula (Fish Turner) for Lefties
“I’m a lefty, so I’m very fond of my Lamson left-handed model: it’s nimble, thin, a good balance of flexibility and stiffness, just right to slide under fish or chicken and free it without too much if any damage,” he says. “The slots allow oils to drain through, so it can double as a slotted spoon when lifting foods out of deeper oil, usually with the help of another tool like tongs.”
To each their own, as they say. And, luckily, I don’t really have to pare down my turner trio.
What's the difference between a turner and a spatula?
Technically, a turner is used for turning while a spatula can be used for other kitchen tasks. However, we argue that a turner (specifically, the OXO Steel Lasagna Turner) is actually a great tool for a myriad of tasks. We use ours for squashing smashburgers, flipping pancakes, and serving slices of casseroles and cakes.
What food do you use a turner for?
A turner can be used for a variety of foods, whether you're moving cookies from a sheet tray to a cooling rack or need to smash a burger. They are also great for serving casseroles (read: lasagna) and flipping pancakes.