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How to Choose the Right Wooden Spatula

April 03, 2021 0 Comments

Wooden spatulas for cooking in cast-iron pan

**Thank you Sharon (@hungrysquared) for this awesome photo!

Want to know the secret to whipping up delicious meals like a pro? The key is using versatile tools that make cooking effortless and enjoyable. Plus knowing a good recipe or two… The right kind of kitchen utensil can make a huge difference in your meal prep. One great utensil to start with is a
wooden spatula!

This simple tool is an underrated workhorse in the kitchen. Whether you’re frying an omelet, sautéing veggies, or flipping pancakes, a wooden spatula will help you accomplish each of these tasks flawlessly. On top of that, a flat spatula can handle other tough jobs such as scraping up caramelized bits from a pan or removing sticky bits of brownies from a baking pan. 

Looking for the right spatula for all these tasks and more? Then, you’re in the right place! We created this guide to help you find the right wooden spatula for all your cooking needs. Let’s begin!

What’s a Spatula Anyway?

Two wood spatulas for serving salad A spatula is a cooking utensil with a flat, wide edge and can be made out of wood, metal or silicone. You can find it in all shapes and sizes, some really simple and others in pretty elaborate designs. You can also use it for plenty of kitchen tasks but its three primary functions are:

1. Turning - A spatula is largely used for turning pancakes or delicate fillets. When it’s grilling season, we find that our wooden spatulas take the forefront because they’re the perfect tool for flipping meats!

 Grilling burger meat using wooden spatula

2. Scraping - Love making yummy cheddar cheese crisps or sourdough bread from scratch? A handy spatula is therefore an essential comrade in your kitchen. Use it for scraping every last bit of stringy cheese or sticky batter from a pan!

Scraping spinach and mushroom frittata using wooden spatula

3. Stirring - For keeping all of your tasty food from sticking to the bottom of hot pans, a reliable spatula is a must. When you are sauteing, we highly suggest using two at a time! Take our word for it, once you try two, you’ll never cook with just one again.

Cooking berry pancake topper using wooden spatula

As you can see, the term spatula encompasses a wide range of functions! Basically anything that flips, scrapes, spreads, stirs, chops, or moves food can be considered a spatula. This makes it a staple in any kitchen. Of course there’s a wide variety of spatulas out there and we’ll be getting into the details of that topic in another post. Look out for that one - coming soon!

What to Look for in a Wooden Spatula?

Earlywood spatula for cooking in camping

By now you’re probably convinced that a spatula is an indispensable tool in the kitchen! But what actually makes a good spatula? Well, there are a few things to consider when choosing the ideal wooden spatula for all your cooking needs. Here’s a little guide to help you: 

Wood Type Above All Else

Before anything else, consider the type of wood used when purchasing your very first wooden spatula. When it comes to wooden spatulas (or other wood utensils), the best choice is always hardwood. Here at Earlywood, our kitchen tools are made from durable and exotic hardwoods such as jatoba and bloodwood. These types of woods are more dense, sturdy and less likely to splinter with repeated use. If you want to learn more about our hardwoods, check out our post on Wooden Utensils 101.

Design Matters

Aside from the wood type, you also need to heed the inherent design of the wooden spatula. Great design is the key to a functional wooden spatula after all! The perfect spatula should not just be a pretty face, it should also excel at the most common kitchen tasks. The ideal spatula design revolves around these factors:

① Head Shape and Size - Perhaps the most vital part of a wooden spatula is its head. There’s a wide range of designs - angled, curved, straight, etc. - so you can definitely take your pick! But if you ask us, our ideal spatula head should be straight, slightly tapered toward the edge and have enough surface area. Sure a 6” wide spatula will flip a huge burger, but that is not going to be useful for the other tasks we mentioned earlier like… spreading, stirring, tasting and scraping. These features make it easier to maneuver the spatula and allows you to use it for more difficult tasks such as scraping and flipping.

Using head or blade of wooden spatula for sautéing

② Length - The overall length of the spatula is also integral to its usefulness. Anything too short and you risk getting burned by deep pots or woks. Something too long makes it cumbersome to control when cooking and makes it too long to sit securely in most average pots and pans. Brad, our master woodworker, estimates between 10 and 13 inches as the optimal length for the ideal wooden spatula.

③ Thickness - An all-around spatula needs to have the right thickness. If it’s too thick, it’s hard to get underneath delicate fillets or crepes. On the other hand, anything too thin renders it useless for flipping heavy fritters or patties. You’ll know that the depth is just right if a spatula is able to flip both thin, delicate items and thick, heavy items.

Using cooking turner to flip pancake
④ Comfy Handle - Wooden handles feel more natural and comfortable to grip compared to metal or plastic ones. You can, however, find variations when it comes to the handles of spatulas. There’s chunky, rounded, flat, and the whole lot. The perfect spatula should feel like it’s an extension of your hands and should be very easy to hold or control and it’s up to you to experiment and determine what you prefer.

Lightweight Yet Sturdy

Using wooden flat saute tool to stir risotto
**Thanks to Paula (@bellalimento) for this cool photo!

You also don’t want a spatula that is too heavy or bulky. A wooden spatula needs to be solid and sturdy but not to the point that it’s unwieldy and lumbering. So when you’re stirring something like creamy risotto you’ll be able to do it effortlessly and efficiently. 

Simple and Clean

There is beauty and perfection in simplicity. We think that the ideal wooden spatula should have only the most basic, minimalist features. So far, we tend to lean towards spatulas made from a single piece of wood with a seamless transition from head to handle. No embellishments or unnecessary details that take away from its main role as a spatula. A simple, utilitarian design makes cleanup way easier and ensures that no food gunk is left in between spaces, holes, slots, etc.

Our Favorite Wooden Spatulas: 
Earlywood’s Flat Sauté Tools

Want a wooden spatula that ticks all the boxes? Look no further than our very own spatula aka the Flat Sauté Tool! Here are more reasons why you’ll love these beauties:

More Sizes, More Fun

Our Flat Sauté Tool is available in three different sizes: small, medium and large. The Small Flat Sauté (9.5 x 1.6 x 0.2) is perfect for little hands especially when paired with small skillets or pans. These are a must for small one-person meals.

Beautiful wooden spatula small

Its older brother, the Medium Flat Sauté (11.3 x 1.7 x 0.2) is slightly larger and works great for regular pans.

Jatoba wooden flat sauté tool

The Large Flat Sauté (13 x 1.9 x 0.2) is the biggest out of the three and perfect for reaching the bottom of deep pots. This is definitely our favorite size. We love using two of these for tossing and serving salads!

Exotic beautiful wooden spatula in dark ebony

Mix It Up With a Set

Looking for a complete bundle instead? We got you covered! Our Flat Sauté Set includes one of each different size wooden spatulas. It’s also the perfect gift to give to professional chefs or home cooks! Whether it’s sautéing, stirring, flipping, scraping, you name it... the tools in this set can do it all!

Three-piece wooden spatulas

The El Quatro includes four Large Flat Sauté tools. That’s right! We know one isn’t enough when it comes to our very handy large spatula which is why we created this bundle. Each piece comes in a different wood variant so it’s also a great way to get acquainted with our hardwoods. This is quite possibly the best set we make and sell. Seasoned chefs don’t even know how they cooked before they found the large flat saute.

Set of four large wood flat spatula tools

Versatility Guaranteed

You’ll usually find a variety of spatulas with specific uses but not one that is considered an all-around kitchen tool. That’s not the case with our Flat Sauté Tools! Our wooden spatulas are unlike any other - from their design, up to their overall craftsmanship. We created these spatulas with versatility and usability in mind. That’s why our spatulas can do everything from flipping pancakes to sautéing vegetables in a pan. 

Non-Stick Pan Friendly

Cast-iron friendly wooden spatula tool
**Thanks to @essentialoutdoorsman for this awesome photo!

Unlike metal, wooden utensils won’t scratch or damage your delicate cookware with non-stick surfaces. You can confidently use them to scrape or remove little bits of batter or sauce from any pan without putting your expensive new pan set at risk.

Lefty Approved

Being a lefty in the kitchen can be kind of annoying. Don’t let that hold you back from being a great cook! Our wooden spatulas are not just for the righties - they’re also perfect for the lefties. They were designed simply, without any slants or grooves, so you don’t have to worry whether you have righties or lefties in the family. In fact, every single Earlywood utensil can be called a left handed utensil because we make them all symmetric.

Unique Grain Pattern 

Lovely ebony wooden spatulas with one-of-a-kind grain

Want to know something else about our hardwoods? They’re not just durable, long lasting and dense… they’re quite the stunner too! If you’re looking for a spatula with a simple, light, clean grain, there’s hard maple. If you want something darker and striking, there’s Mexican ebony. Once in a while, we release even more unique designs using boards with rare grain patterns. This one above is what we call “Bacon Strips” and they’re quite popular! Join our mailing list to be the first to know whenever we release these limited edition items. 

So there you have it... a complete guide to the wooden spatula AKA the flipper, turner, scraper and a lot more.

TL;DR? Investing in superior and high quality items can make a huge difference in your cooking. When it comes to the mighty wooden spatula, go for durable hardwoods. They’re considered the premium option in the world of woodworking! Of course, design plays a huge role too so take that into account before getting yourself a new spatula.  

Or to make things easier, find our selection of versatile hardwood spatulas and other cooking utensils here. 

Good luck!

- The Earlywood Team
Different kinds of wooden spatulas

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