What is a Rubber Spatula?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A rubber spatula is a cooking tool that has a rubber head. The handle may be made of plastic, metal, or wood. It is common for these spatulas to be used when cooking with pots and pans that are easily scratched by metal utensils. Also, it is common for people to use these types of spatulas instead of those with a metal head because they can usually be washed in a dishwasher instead of requiring hand washing.

Rubber spatulas are sometimes preferred over metal spatulas to prevent scratching on pots and pans.
Rubber spatulas are sometimes preferred over metal spatulas to prevent scratching on pots and pans.

A metal spatula is more commonly used for grilling whereas a rubber spatula is often used for cooking on the stove and for baking. The slightly curved head is helpful when removing batter or dough from a bowl or transferring the dough into baking tins. In addition to having a curved head, this type of spatula is also slightly flexible, a quality that aids in these processes. This kind of spatula can also be used during a mixing process if mixing must be done by hand. A metal spatula, however, would not be ideal for any of these uses.

In addition to the design with the solid curved head, there are also rubber spatulas that are designed with broad, flat heads with open slats in the center. These kinds of spatulas are best for cooking on the stove, for turning ingredients in a pot or pan, and for stirring ingredients that are being sauteed or caramelized. In addition to being slightly flexible, the broad heads of these spatulas allow cooks to turn large quantities of ingredients at one time, more than with a spatula with a solid curved head. There is also a kind of rubber spatula with a thin, flat head that is used specifically to ice cakes and cup cakes.

It is common for kitchen tool companies to sell a rubber spatula set. These sets include a number of spatulas with heads of varying sizes and shapes and handles of different lengths. Spatulas can come in almost any color, but the most common colors are white and black. Many times sets of spatulas will have handles that are the same color but heads that are a number of colors.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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My husband bought me this really cool set of silicone spatulas that are all in neon and pastel colors. We are both really in to design and feel like something should look as good as it can be. I think a lot about kitchen design and have even had pictures of mine printed in a lifestyle magazine.

Anyway, these spatulas are so cool and I have a way to display them creatively so that they become another element of the kitchen. Definitely a step up from my mom's old kitchen.


A rubber spatula is really helpful for baking. Because the spatula is flexible it can bend and flex to mold itself to the sides of a bowl or pan. It is great for getting all of the batter out of a bowl and onto a cookie sheet etc.

I have four or five of them of various shapes and sizes. Anytime I am at the store and I see them on sale I pick one up because I know that I will need to use it eventually.


If You are using a non stick cooking pan a rubber spatula is a must. Most non stick pans you cannot use metal utensils on. It scratches the surface and eventually scrapes off all the coating that makes the pan non stick.

I am speaking here from experience. I bought my first non stick pan and used it like I did any other pan. I usually use a metal fork when I am cooking and I scraped the bottom of the non stick pan without even thinking about it. Within a few months it was not non stick at all. It still worked as a pan, but I had ruined the best feature.

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