If you are a cook, even an occasional cook, you probably have a rubber spatula. These tools are essential for working in the kitchen, from gently folding delicate batters or mousses, to effectively scraping every last drop from a bowl, to being the ideal utensil for stirring scrambled eggs. If you are anything like me, once you begin cooking, the search for the perfect rubber spatulas commences: extra-large professional sizes for deep bowls of fluffy angel food cake batter, long skinny ones for getting every last bit out of a jar, spoon-shaped ones for transferring ingredients, tiny ones for tiny jobs and every size and shape in between. And when you start collecting, you also begin to learn that many rubber spatulas have some problems.
The problem(s) with rubber-headed spatulas
Old-school true “rubber” headed spatulas can get hard and brittle over time, cracking or even crumbling, which is not the secret ingredient you want in your cookies. They can stain (we all have that one old spatula with the orange hue from stirring marinara) and sometimes retain odors. And if you use them in your cooking, you risk them melting against the heat of your pan.
The problem with two-piece spatulas
Two-piece spatulas also have cleaning complications. Gunk tends to collect at the neck where the head is connected to the handle, requiring special attention during washing. The wooden handled ones can’t go in the dishwasher, and while the heads are removeable for washing, once you remove them once or twice, they have a bad habit of simply removing themselves at random, often into the bowl of whatever you are mixing. The all-plastic ones, while dishwasher safe, can degrade: The glue connecting head to handle comes loose, and once the head is off it’s a dead utensil.
The solution: the all-silicone solid spatula!
I was over the moon when I discovered the all-silicone solid spatula. Made by forming silicone around a metal handle insert, the whole thing is seamless, which eliminates the “goo around the join” issue of two-piece spatulas. Since they are one piece, the head will never pop off, and silicone is dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze. Silicone does not degrade over time, so my first spatula, now over a decade old, is still as supple and useful as the day I bought it: No cracking, no crumbling. Silicone does not stain or retain odors, and is heat safe, so no melting in your pans.
Even better? They come in a rainbow of colors and every size and shape your spatula loving heart could desire. And at a reasonable price to boot. I have tested literally dozens of these over the years, and my favorite company is GIR, which stands for Get It Right. Which they do. The spatulas have a great weight and feel good in the hand. They are firm enough to effectively scrape even a tough cookie dough out of the bowl, but still flexible enough to get into nooks and corners. And no amount of dishwashing can pale their saturated happy hues.
Best silicone spatulas to buy
If you want to have the perfect cadre of silicone spatulas in your kitchen, start with the set, below, and then add these excellent specialists to your team.
GIR Silicone Spatula Set: Mini, Skinny and Ultimate
Start with this three-piece set which includes the Ultimate, which is the standard size that will match your usual spatula; the Mini, which is perfect for smaller jobs; and the Skinny, which has the same size head as the Mini but on a long handle—perfect for getting into jars.
Buy it: GIR Silicone Spatula Set – Mini, Skinny and Ultimate ($39.99), amazon.com
GIR Silicone Pro Spatula
If you love baking or do some large-batch cooking, add this professional size spatula to your arsenal. Four inches longer than the Ultimate and with a larger head, it is perfect for folding or mixing big bowls of goodies.
Buy it: GIR Silicone Pro Spatula ($15.95), amazon.com
GIR Silicone Ultimate Spoonula
I love the Spoonula (spoon meets spatula), especially for things like stirring risotto or polenta, or making scrambled eggs, and then serving right out of the pan.
Buy it: GIR Silicone Spoonula ($16.95), amazon.com
GIR Silicone Skinny Spoonula
For a bonus, try the Skinny Spoonula, which has a smaller head than the Ultimate Spoonula, and a longer handle. I love it for scraping down the sides of my blender or stand mixer bowl.
Buy it: GIR Silicone Skinny Spoonula ($9.95), amazon.com