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Bench vs. Bowl Scrapers: Why You Need Both

We break down the differences between bench and bowl scrapers, plus give our recommendations for both from our equipment reviews.

Using the OXO bench scraper to scrape up gnocchi dough on a floured marble countertop
Serious Eats / Eric King

When considering “essential” kitchen tools, bench and bowl scrapers are often overlooked. Yet the moment these scrapers are remembered, they soar to the top of must-have lists. Perhaps not quite as imperative as a sharp knife or a mixing bowl, but nothing else works as well at scooping, transferring, and well, scraping, as a bench or bowl scraper. Whether you’re collecting chopped vegetables, slicing cinnamon buns, or neatening up the edges of a layer cake, you’ll find a use for them.

However, while bench and bowl scrapers perform many of the same tasks, they are unique tools—and we’d argue that home cooks should own (at least) one of each.

What Is a Bench Scraper?

Using a bench scraper to scoop up chopped leek rounds
Serious Eats / Eric King

A bench scraper is a flat, metal rectangle that typically has a rounded handle and is around six inches long and three to five inches tall. They don’t bend, making them durable tools for scooping up and moving ingredients. They can’t scrape the curved interior of a bowl and are typically so firm that their edges—though not blades—can act like knives when it comes to neatly slicing soft items, like butter or dough. 

What Bench Scraper Should You Buy?

“It's like a windshield wiper for your cooking surfaces,” says Natasha Pickowicz, chef and author of the forthcoming cookbook More Than Cake. “It creates a seal with a flat countertop so you can drag wet things, like a spilled cracked egg; or dry things, like loose flour grains, and not dirty up a towel.” Pickowicz goes on to note that bench scrapers shine when it comes to transferring items from one place to another—be it minced onions, feathery chopped herbs, or even the juiciest chopped tomato—from the cutting board to a bowl or skillet. She prefers the bare-bones Ateco Stainless Steel bench scraper. 

Most bench scrapers have handles, be they metal, silicone, or wood; that material (or whether you want your tool to have a handle at all) is ultimately a personal preference—it will also determine whether or not the tool can go in the dishwasher. For example, our favorite bench scraper from our review, from OXO, has a slightly bouncy, non-slip handle and is dishwasher-safe. Many also have a ruler function running along the bottom edge, so you don't need to pull out another tool for measuring when, say, trying to cut dough into even portions. 

Justine Doiron, a recipe developer and food blogger, sings the praises of her Williams Sonoma Olivewood model, which includes the ruler element, and often makes appearances in her popular Instagram and TikTok videos. “[It’s] my coverall tool,” she said. “I use it to transfer ingredients from my cutting board, I use it to slice and portion bread dough, I use it to scrape and clean my counter surfaces. I generally use my bench scraper to ‘work clean’.”

What Is a Bowl Scraper?

bowl scraper lineup on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

A bowl scraper is a fairly flexible tool without a handle that comes in an array of materials, sizes, and shapes. Typically made of plastic, silicone, or nylon, the most commonly found versions in professional kitchens come in a “D” shape and are about the same size as a bench scraper. While some bowl scrapers are essentially flexible bench scrapers, others look more like thin silicone spatulas without the long handle. 

“Those are great for neatly clearing out anything in a round mixing bowl, leaving nothing behind, [be it] a thick hummus, a sticky bread dough, or a chocolate ganache,” Pickowicz says. “In that way it functions more as a kitchen spatula, but with more surface area.” She went on to note that they work “as an extension of your hand”. Pickowicz will coat a bowl scraper in cooking spray or olive oil to fold loose high, hydration bread doughs like focaccia, to prevent her hands from getting coated in dough while kneading.  

What Bowl Scraper Should You Buy?

using the indigo scraper to cut gnocchi
We preferred bowl scrapers with textured, grippy holds.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

While the many vastly different styles of bowl scraper technically complete the same tasks, some perform certain tasks particularly well, while others are generally multipurpose. For example: D-shaped bowl scrapers (like our favorite from Indigo True) are typically made of plastic, are more rigid, and have a uniform thickness. This means they can scrape out moist doughs, batters, or pastes from a bowl on the curved side, then be flipped to the flat side to scoop up chopped ingredients, scoot refuse over to a side of a work surface, or slice butter and firm dough. Others, D-shaped or otherwise—we’ve seen dozens, from those that look like beans to the top half of a shark in the water—can have beveled edges, strong curves, and be extremely flexible, ensuring you’re able to scrape every nook and cranny of a vessel, ideal for some bakers. Some are also heatproof and can be used to scrape and scoop from hot pots and pans as well. 

Pickowicz thinks it’s best to look and hold bowl scrapers before purchasing, as there’s such variation between each model, and its uses tend to be catered to each individual owner. Otherwise, we recommend reading our bowl scraper review prior to purchasing, to make an informed decision.

Do Home Cooks Need a Bench Scraper and a Bowl Scraper?

As both tools are affordable and easy to use, Pickowicz thinks cooks and bakers of all levels should own both a bench and bowl scraper: “Because each tool is so versatile, I find myself using them for multiple purposes all the time. They stack flat and are easy to clean.”  We agree. In total, our favorite bench and bowl scrapers (from OXO and Indigo True) will run you just $22—not a bad investment for two versatile pieces.

FAQs 

What’s the best bench scraper? 

In a recent test, Serious Eats named the OXO Good Grips Stainless-Steel Scraper & Chopper and Norpro Grip-EZ Scraper/Chopper the best bench scrapers.

What’s the best bowl scraper? 

In a recent test, Serious Eats dubbed the Indigo True bowl scraper and the KitchenAid Gourmet Bowl Scraper set the best models.

We Tested 7 Silicone Spatulas—Our Winners Did More Than Just Scrape By

We tested seven silicone spatulas: scraping, mixing, and stirring with them to find out which ones were the best.

a group of silicone spatulas on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A silicone spatula is something every home cook should own. While some may think of it as a baking utensil (and it certainly is!) a flexible spatula is really an everyday kitchen tool. It's handy for lots of tasks, including scrambling (and flipping, if over-easy's your thing) eggs and scraping out the last bit of smoothie from a blender. Compare them with other top-tier stirring and flipping utensils and you’ll see how versatile they are: a metal spoon can stir, but can’t scrape a pan clean; a fish spatula can flip a pancake, but can't combine a batter.

If you don’t already own a silicone spatula, it’s obviously time to change that. But before you put anything in your cart, we put seven popular models to the test to find the very best one. After scrambling dozens of eggs, batches upon batches of cookie dough and brownie batter, and scraping out quite a few thick smoothies, here are the silicone spatulas that are worth your investment.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Overall Silicone Spatula: OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Spatula

Whether it was stirring a pan of soft-scrambled eggs, mixing chocolate chips into thick cookie dough, scraping gloopy brownie batter into a pan, or scooping out the dregs of a smoothie from a blender, this spatula aced the assignment. Its beveled edge made quick work of many tasks.

The Best Spatula for Mixing Thick Doughs: Tovolo Flex-Core All Silicone Spatula Turner 

With a nylon core, the Tovolo Flex-Core spatula proved itself as one of the strongest spatulas of the bunch. Its wider head (2.5 inches) helped it quickly and efficiently combine wet and dry components of brownie batter, as well as cookie dough mix-ins.

The Best Spatula For Nooks and Crannies: GIR Premium Silicone Spatula

GIR’s spatula was the slimmest of the bunch, with a head just under 2 inches wide. Though it was slender, its fiberglass core made it very efficient and durable. Its smaller stature was a boon during our smoothie test where it easily fit the contours of the blender.

The Tests

a side-angle view of seven silicone spatulas on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez
  • Scrambled Egg Test: We used each spatula to scramble eggs to see how agile the heads were. 
  • Cookie Dough Mix-In Test: Cookie dough is tough, so in this test we examined how strong and durable the spatulas were by mixing-in add-ins (chocolate chips and walnuts). 
  • Smoothie Test (Winners-Only): We scooped smoothies from a blender to see how agile the spatulas were and if they could get into nooks and crannies (like the space between the blade and the blender jar's walls).
  • Brownie Batter Test (Winners-Only): We mixed up a batch of brownie batter to see how effectively each spatula combined dry and wet ingredients. We also evaluated the spatula's ability to scrape the bowl clean.
  • Cleanup Tests: We ran each spatula through a dishwasher multiple times to see if the spatulas that claim (all did) to be dishwasher-safe were, indeed, dishwasher-safe.

What We Learned

Spatula Heads Should Be Wide and Flexible, But Not Overly So 

When scraping down the sides of a bowl, a wide head covers the most surface area at once, making it more efficient. The Our Table Silicone Pointed Spatula had the widest head of all the models tested (2.73 inches), which made it very effective for combining chocolate chips into cookie dough. However, it also made it slightly awkward to scramble eggs. In contrast the Tovolo Flex-Core All Silicone Spatula Turner spatula (which was 2.5 inches wide) was just as capable of integrating mix-ins into cookie dough and scraping down bowls as it was scrambling eggs. In the end: anywhere from 1.9 to 2.5 inches wide was best for maximum versatility, efficiency, and ease.

Spatulas with Strong Cores Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder

two spatulas side-by-side: the right bending slightly while the left is overly flexible
An example of a flexible, yet sturdy spatula (left) versus one that's overly flexible (right).Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

When it came to mixing thick doughs, a strong internal core was essential. While all of the spatulas successfully incorporated mix-ins into cookie dough, spatulas with nylon or fiberglass cores and an angled head performed best. They offered flexibility, while still being rigid enough for mixing and their edges easily scraped and glided down the sides of the mixing bowl.

Look for a Lightweight, But Not Too Lightweight Spatula

A hand holding a grey silicone spatula and scrambling eggs in a stainless steel skillet
Too-heavy spatulas felt unwieldy when used for a more delicate task like scrambling eggs.Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

As noted, the Our Table spatula performed especially well when mixing cookie dough—at first it seemed this was primarily a result of its strong core and wide head; however it soon became clear that weight was also major factor as well. At 4.3 ounces, it was the heaviest model we tested. This meant that while the spatula struggled to deftly scramble eggs, combining stiff batter was a cakewalk. At 2.1 ounces, the lightest spatula (Rubbermaid) was the easiest to use in small skillet while scrambling eggs, but was so lightweight it struggled with the hefty cookie dough. And at 3.5 ounces, the OXO again proved to be just right—it was heavy enough to tackle mix-ins with ease, but didn't feel unbalanced when used for a delicate task like scrambling eggs.

Spatulas Should All Be Dishwasher-Safe

All of the spatulas tested were dishwasher-safe, and all survived several trips through the machine without a hitch. OXO was the only model that specified top rack dishwashing (though, ironically, it was also one of three tested that could withstand up to 600ºF, and most dishwashers don’t go above 150ºF); the Rubbermaid (heatsafe to 500ºF) was the only spatula that specified it could handle commercial dishwashing. Still, even the lowest heat-safe models (Our Table, 428ºF; Zulay 430ºF) performed well in multiple runs through the dishwasher. And for those who don’t have a dishwasher, no worries: all of the spatulas were also quite easy to hand wash—even the Rubbermaid, which was the only model that wasn’t a smooth, silicone-coated, one-piece tool. 

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Silicone Spatula

A GIF of scrambling eggs in a small stainless steel skillet
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A silicone spatula should have a flexible (but not floppy!) head, preferably with an angled, beveled edge. It should be lightweight and have a grippy handle that isn’t longer than your forearm. It should be durable enough to sit in a hot pan for a minute or so between stirs, as well as survive regular trips through the dishwasher. 

When selecting a silicone spatula, it’s best to consider what you’ll use it most often for: If you scrape a smoothie from the blender into your to-go mug every morning and rarely mix up cookie dough, consider a slimmer model with an angled head; if you’re constantly mixing up cake batters and scraping frosting into piping bags, look for more heavy-duty, wider spatula with a beveled edge.

The Best Overall Silicone Spatula: OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Spatula

What we liked: We especially loved this spatula’s slim, 2.1-inch head, which is not only tapered and angled to help stir efficiently, but it also had a beveled edge, which helped scrape bowls and pans super-clean. It’s heatproof up to 600ºF, so it could rest comfortably in a hot skillet for a minute or so without running any risk of melting. It had a rounded, comfortable handle.

What we didn’t like: Not much, but if you're looking for a heavier spatula that really excels at handling thick doughs with ease, we'd recommend the Tovolo model below.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 3.50 ounces
  • Product dimensions: 12.5 inches x 2.1 inches x 0.7 inches
  • Materials: Nylon core, silicone
  • Heat resistance: Up to 600ºF
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe (top rack specified)
A grey OXO silicone spatula on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Spatula for Mixing Thick Doughs: Tovolo Flex-Core All Silicone Spatula Turner 


What we liked: Its wide-but-not-too-wide head and slightly heavier makeup made for efficient batter-mixing and pan-scraping. Heatproof up to 600ºF, neither hot pans nor the dishwasher gave this model trouble.

What we didn’t like: The larger width and less-tapered edge of the head, meant this one struggled with scraping tight corners. We found its handle to be a bit long, but still grippy and comfortable to hold.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 3.55 ounces
  • Product dimensions: 12.75 inches x 2.5 inches x .75 inches
  • Materials: Nylon core, silicone
  • Heat resistance: Up to 600ºF
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
A grey Tovolo silicone spatula on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Spatula For Nooks and Crannies: GIR Premium Silicone Spatula

What we liked: This spatula from GIR really proved itself during the smoothie test, when it was able to scrape all the way around the bottom corners of a blender, nimbly avoiding the blades. And its skinny and strongly tapered head did the best job in tight spots of all the models we tested. Heatproof up to 500ºF, it held up to hot pans and the dishwasher and we found its rounded, grippy handle comfortable to hold.

What we didn't like: It was slightly less efficient at cleanly scooping and scraping (compared with the OXO’s beveled edge).

Key Specs

  • Weight: 3.25 ounces
  • Product dimensions: 11 inches x 1.9 inches x 0.7 inches
  • Materials: Fiberglass core, silicone
  • Heat resistance: Up to 500ºF
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
A read GIR silicone spatula on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Competition

  • DI ORO Seamless Series 11.2 Inch Large Silicone Spatula: This spatula’s rigid head was great for incorporating batters, but since it didn't have a strong angle on it, it struggled to uniformly scramble eggs and neatly scrape pans clean.
  • Our Table™ Silicone Pointed Spatula: Its very wide, heavy head was ultimately too awkward to control when stirring lighter batters or scrambling eggs, but proved useful when combing stiff batters.  
  • Rubbermaid Commercial Products High Heat Silicone Spatula: Though it didn’t have a strongly angled head, the ultra-flexible Rubbermaid was great for scrambling eggs and scraping pans clean. But because it was so lightweight, it required more work when combining a thick batter.
  • Zulay Silicone Spatula: This spatula scrambled eggs easily and had a decent angle for scraping corners, but ultimately failed to really stand out when completing any task compared to our three favorite models.

FAQs

What do you use silicone spatulas for?

Silicone spatulas are used to scoop, scrape, stir, and smooth ingredients like sauce, batter, and frosting. If relatively flat, they’re also sometimes used as tools for flipping items like fried eggs or pancakes. They’re also very regularly used for evenly scrambling eggs, as you can both stir the beaten eggs and scrape the surface of the pan clean in one motion.

Is it safe to use a silicone spatula?

As long as silicone spatulas are made of 100% food-grade silicone, they’re regarded as safe for use. It’s best to look for spatulas labeled BPA-free, as those are made without bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used in some plastics.

Which is better: a silicone or rubber spatula?

Rubber and silicone spatulas both scoop and scrape efficiently, but considering that rubber spatulas can melt when accidentally left in a hot pan, silicone spatulas win in our book.


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9 Bevs & Bites to Toast the End of Summer

We’ve teamed up with Patrón Tequila for an end-of-summer lineup you won’t want to miss (psst: there are cocktails involved). Their handcrafted tequilas—like smooth Patrón Reposado—make for highly sippable beverages that’ll help you savor the season.

We’ve teamed up with Patrón Tequila for an end-of-summer lineup you won’t want to miss (psst: there are cocktails involved). Their handcrafted tequilas—like smooth Patrón Reposado—make for highly sippable beverages that’ll help you savor the season.


The end of summer is upon us (doesn’t it seem to go by more quickly every year?). And while the days are still long and the weather’s still warm, we can’t think of a better time to head outside for a barbecue or throw a last-minute dinner party. With just a few good recipes for simple, grillable dishes (meaty and vegetarian!) and little- or no-cooking-required salads, the food’s covered and you can think about the drinks.

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We’ve teamed up with Patrón Tequila for a step-by-step guide to building your perfect paloma—and it all starts with their high-quality, handcrafted tequila. From amber Reposado to crystal-clear Silver, Patrón’s tequilas are the flavorful foundation for a summery sip.


The paloma is one of those perfect cocktails. It’s floral but not too sweet, packs a punch but isn’t too strong, and is simple enough to make at home without having an especially robust home cocktail setup. Start with the basic building blocks of a classic paloma—grapefruit, lime, tequila—and use it to find a formula that suits your needs. Prepared to make your own simple syrup and juice fresh fruit? You go! Only have agave syrup and grapefruit soda on hand? That’ll do just as well. Use any type of tequila your heart desires, like a lightly floral reposado or a smooth-drinking silver from our friends at Patrón—when it comes to tequila these folks know their stuff.

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9 Editor-Loved Cocktails to Celebrate National Tequila Day

To celebrate National Tequila Day, we’re shaking up tequila cocktails with our friends at Patrón Tequila. From lightly floral Reposado to smooth, golden Extra Añejo, their range of handcrafted tequilas are made with high-quality ingredients that’ll add…

To celebrate National Tequila Day, we’re shaking up tequila cocktails with our friends at Patrón Tequila. From lightly floral Reposado to smooth, golden Extra Añejo, their range of handcrafted tequilas are made with high-quality ingredients that’ll add an extra flavor boost to palomas, margaritas, and so much more.


Ready your cocktail shakers and mixing glasses: In anticipation of National Tequila Day (July 24) we’re coming in hot with a collection of our favorite tequila-based drinks. From creative sippers like a Raspberry Rose Paloma and a Smoky Tequila Mule to a classic lime and Cointreau-based margarita, we bet there’s something to please every palate in this list. (And hey, if you don’t want to drink your tequila, you could always pour it over watermelon.) But before diving in, it might be helpful to know your preferred style of tequila, which means knowing the differences between the three main types: blanco, reposado, and añejo tequilas.

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5 Breezy Tequila Drinks That Were Made for Summer Fridays

We’ve teamed up with Patrón Tequila to help you spend your Summer Fridays in style. Whip up a cocktail with one of their handcrafted, high-quality tequilas—like their lightly floral Reposado with just a hint of oak—then pair it with a warm-weather snac…

We’ve teamed up with Patrón Tequila to help you spend your Summer Fridays in style. Whip up a cocktail with one of their handcrafted, high-quality tequilas—like their lightly floral Reposado with just a hint of oak—then pair it with a warm-weather snack to start your weekend off right.


When the weather is warm and my free time is filled with beach trips and barbecues, the last place I want to be is in the office. That’s why I would imagine Summer Fridays—aka the near-mythical tradition of getting to leave work early on the last day of the week—were invented. While I don’t technically have this luxury right now, I like to embrace the spirit of Summer Fridays by celebrating the weekend’s start in a backyard or on a rooftop with good friends, snacks, and a refreshing cocktail.

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Why Instant Pudding Is My Secret Weapon for Summer Desserts

Nickel & Dine is a budget column by Rebecca Firkser, food writer, recipe developer, and expert budgeter. This time, Rebecca is teaming up with our friends at Walmart to share tips for easy summer entertaining, featuring her signature flavor-packed,…

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Ah, pudding. I don’t see how anyone could not love the creamy, classic treat. (I know a lot of folks, in fact, who do not love pudding and I simply do not get it.) Made with just a few fridge and pantry staples—like sugar, cornstarch, milk, sometimes eggs and butter, plus vanilla extract or cocoa powder—it’s an affordable dessert that tastes like a million bucks.

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I’d like to shake hands with whoever was the first to sell pre-made pizza dough. Though not particularly complex to make from scratch, DIY pizza dough is time-consuming (mostly due to rising and resting) and sometimes, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. And even when I do technically have the time I don’t always want to wait—there are far too many tasty treats to be made with pizza dough. From pigs in a blanket to quiche crust, store-bought pizza dough can be so much more than, well, pizza crust.

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Nickel & Dine is a budget column by Rebecca Firkser, food writer, recipe developer, and expert budgeter. This time, Rebecca is teaming up with our friends at Walmart to share tips for easy summer entertaining, featuring her signature flavor-packed,…

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When a perfectly grilled steak or vegetable dish is laid in front of you at a restaurant, it seems to hit all the senses at once. You listen to the sizzle while admiring the crosshatch marks on the steak or charred bits of wrinkly skin on the eggplant. As you inhale that smoky scent, you dig in—it cuts with barely any effort. And then the first bite, bearing a thousand layers of flavor from time directly over a flame. That contrast between scorched exterior and buttery interior simply couldn’t have happened in a skillet alone. Here’s a secret: This symphonic experience has less to do with the restaurant or expensive ingredients than it does with the tool, and you can very easily get any style of grill, at any price point, to suit your lifestyle and achieve restaurant-quality results right at home.

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When cooking on a budget, the best tool in your arsenal is a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. There are a few items that should simply always be in the kitchen (looking at you, olive oil and salt), but there are also budget-friendly proteins and flavor-boosters I use daily—more on those in a minute. If you’re trying to spend less on meals and on cooking in general, I recommend adding some of my top 10 budget-friendly kitchen staples into your weekly or monthly shopping cart, from ingredients to equipment. (Bonus: If you’re shopping online or in-app at a retailer like Walmart, you can find everything you need in one place for easy peasy in-store pickup or delivery—no need to spend visit multiple stores.) I’ve also included some recipes along the way, so you can make good use of these affordable standbys.

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