Pancake spatulas – Ratings & Informative guide
When it comes to what is the best pancake turner out there, Grandma Jen’s vote goes to the StarPack SYNCHKG107227. It’s extra wide, so it can flip even the biggest pancakes without bending edges, while flexible and thin enough to easily slide beneath the softest batter. And you get all this in an ergonomic, high-quality form. We’ve reached this conclusion after going through the best pancake spatula reviews we could find, both from expert advice sites and satisfied owners, so you might be spared the trouble of scouring the internet for obscure data on kitchen utensils yourself. If the excellent StarPack is for some reason unavailable for sale, then the OXO 1071533 might prove equally valuable due to its large size and good flexibility. Our more affordable pick is the Norpro 1417, not as well reviewed as the others but great value for its cost nonetheless.
These are the aspects worth focusing on when buying a pancake spatula
Probably more than any other piece of cutlery, a spatula is only good for a narrowly defined purpose. There’s no one-size-fits-all spatula. A turner that’s perfect for steaks or holding heavy stuff without bending will be rubbish at flipping soft items such as an omelet or pancakes. So in the paragraphs below, we’ll only concentrate on what makes a spatula good for pancakes.
Expert consensus seems to be that thinness, size and flexibility of the turning head are all things to look for.
A rigid material, such as stainless steel or aluminum will often break through the fragile batter of a pancake, especially if you use a pan that’s prone to sticking or you tend to make fast and sudden movements while cooking.
To achieve best results, you’ll need a flexible turner head and one that’s thin enough to slide right in between the pancake and the pan. These are made of either nylon and silicone, and between the two silicone seems to enjoy greater popularity. It’s more heat resistant than nylon and holds its shape better over time. It’s also ecologically friendlier, but it does have a tendency to peel off, revealing its metal base (silicone isn’t firm enough to be used for a flipper head without one).
This one can be a trade-off, depending on the size and shape of the cooking surface used, and on the variety of pancakes you most often indulge in.
Intuitively, the spatula head should be as large as possible, since you’ll need a lot of area surface underneath the pancake to prevent it from slipping off too fast, or its edges from turning in on themselves.
But too wide a spatula could prove problematic when working within a small pan, especially one with tall rims. Even when frying on a large-ish griddle, a turner that’s too big might pose difficulties when picking up the pancakes one at a time.
Around 6 inches will provide more than adequate support for a traditional pancake without affecting handling too much, and only extra flat European style pancakes might need more (although this can easily be countermanded with good technique.)
There’s only one golden rule to apply to thickness: the thinner, the better.
We don’t buy spatulas based on the shape of their handles, but ergonomy is deceptively important when working with pancakes since the batter can be remarkably soft.
We can’t tell you which handle will fit your hand and flipping style is the best, just don’t ignore this detail ignore it. A universal thing to look for, however, is for the shaft to come at an angle with the head. Having the two form a continuous line will make for some awkward movement, considering that the cooking surface is almost always well below our elbow line.
Top 3 products I recommend – Review & Advice
Based on the attributes we’ve already mentioned and the overall product quality as ascertained from user reviews, we’ve made our pick of the three best pancake turners, showcased below.
The very well received StarPack product seems to have it all, in regards to both pancake handling characteristics and manufacturing standards. The Mercedes of pancake turners, one might say.
Users foremost appreciate its extra-wide 5.9-inch turning head as ideal for any variety of pancakes. The flexibility conferred by the ultra-thin silicon wrapped around stainless steel allows it to fit smoothly underneath the batter even in difficult scenarios — such as when using a steel pan that’s prone to sticking with little oil. There’s no need to worry about this soft, flexible silicone scratching expensive pans. To boot, the StarPack product also has anti-stick properties and holds well to temperatures as high as 600 F. It’s also stain resistant, odor resistant and abides by all FDA regulations — LFGB grade and BPA free.
The one piece shaft, which goes all the way through the handle, is made out of stainless steel and set at a soft angle for better ergonomy. The handle is also made out of quality silicone, and shaped to perfectly fit in a human hand.
Grease washes easily off of the anti-stick silicone, and it’s usually enough to rinse the StarPack with warm water for adequate cleaning.
The StarPack SYNCHKG uses high quality, LFGB grade silicone which gives it both great flexibility for sliding under food and softness to prevent scratching the pan.
At 5.9 inches, the ultra-thin flipper is wide enough to properly handle both traditional, thick bodied pancakes and crepes.
It’s got very good handling characteristics thanks to the ergonomic, leaf shaped handle that also features a thumb rest.
A sturdy stainless steel and high-grade silicone build give it great resilience. The confidence StarPack has for this model is reflected in their customer policy: they offer no less than a full refund if not satisfied.
After some serious head scratching, the only thing we might find wrong with this item is the fact that its large dimensions might be constraining when working with a small pan. To be clear, we encountered this complaint addressed towards the slightly wider model we’ve also showcased in this selection.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.92)
The OXO product could be considered a hybrid between rigid metal spatulas and floppy silicone ones. You don’t always want full flexibility, even when dealing with pancakes since at times you might need to carry a stack of them on your spatula or force it under the batter that’s already stuck to the pan.
The semi-rigid OXO is designed to meet these scenarios. This has been achieved by using a slightly thicker than usual sheet of stainless steel for the silicone covered flipper head. Thus, the OXO offers some tensile resistance while gaining most of the advantages of silicone.
It bends in order to slide smoothly underneath soft batter, it doesn’t scratch the pan and has a stick-free coating that works well to temperatures as high as 600 F.
Its size is really impressive, at 6 inches maximum width it can easily handle the largest pancakes, but some find it cumbersome when using it with small skillets.
The handle is made out of rubber for superior grip and while its semi-circular section and straighter lines aren’t as ergonomic as the StarPack’s none of the users complained about it feeling uncomfortable.
Composite flipper head that combines the strengths of flexible stainless steel and soft, chemical free silicone for higher versatility. Doesn’t damage the batter, doesn’t stick, doesn’t scratch the pan but can be used to hold a stack of pancakes.
Very good for all varieties of pancakes but also firm enough to handle grilled cheese sandwiches and thinly sliced steaks adequately well.
Considered to be especially good in “sticky situations.” Multiple users reported that thanks to its anti-stick coating it can easily slide underneath pancakes already stuck to the pan.
Good ergonomy provided by grippy rubber handle.
At 6 inches, it might be a little too large. Some users complained that its size makes it difficult to work around small cookware that also has tall edges. Best to pair with a large griddle or a countertop cooker. Also, the pancakes shouldn’t be placed too close together.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.44)
What sells this Norpro product as a pancake spatula is its remarkable thinness, made possible by the use of flexible nylon for the flipper head. This will make it easier for it to slide underneath the batter than an equivalent silicone product. Just as well, since the anti-stick properties of nylon aren’t remarkably good (but still pretty workable).
Since this material doesn’t need to be placed on a metal frame in order to be workable as a flipper head, the Norpro can be said to hold better over time as compared to a similarly priced silicone model.
To be clear, we aren’t saying that the Norpro is necessarily more resilient than the StarPack and OXO rivals we talked about since those belong to a higher price range, but only that it might prove superior in this regards to an equally affordable silicone product. This is due to that fact that silicone can sometimes flake off, exposing the metal base underneath.
The great disadvantage of nylon is its rather mediocre heat resistance. It usually starts melting at around 400 F, which isn’t such a high temperature when fry cooking is concerned.
At 5 inches wide, the spatula head offers a good size for scooping up most pancakes, while potentially providing for more comfort when working with small sized skillets and pans.
The Norpro 1417R is an overall competent product, easy to handle and offers good reliability for the price.
The flexible, extra thin flipper head is exceptionally easy to slide underneath batter.
The size of the flipper offers a good balance between adaptability and pancake handling. It doesn’t impose special difficulties around smaller cutlery yet it can still be effectively used to flip wide and flimsy European style pancakes.
It’s very affordable, without any serious faults of its own.
Not the best ergonomy. While providing good grip and comfortable in the palm, some customers found the handle awkward to wield due to its steep angle.
It offers rather poor heat resistance and begins to melt at 400 F. It can permanently lose shape if exposed to high temperatures for too long.