I Was a Pro-Baker, and This $7 Tool Is One of the Few I Still Can’t Live Without

It’s small, but mighty.

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Mercer Culinary M18830P Offset Spatula

Food & Wine / Tyler Roeland

When I first opened my tool kit at The Culinary Institute of America, I was in awe of all the perfectly arranged utensils, knives, and little hardwares that’d suit just about any task you can imagine. But I couldn’t help but notice one tool in particular. It was sleek and silver, and tiny enough that I couldn’t picture what I’d use it for — that is, until a chef instructed me to. 

Offset spatulas have long been a pinnacle of pastry work, especially cake-making. Their long, flat stainless steel bodies ease over icings, batters, glazes, and ganaches naturally, with the perfect handle length and size for sturdiness. When they’re offset, they dip down from the handle, which makes maneuvering even easier. And among the many I had in my kit, the small $7 one I’d doubted has remained one of the most helpful tools in my kitchen since that day. 

Mercer Culinary M18830P Offset Spatula


To buy: Mercer Culinary 4.25-Inch Offset Spatula, $7 at amazon.com

It might look flimsy and unassuming, but the 4.25-inch offset spatula from Mercer Culinary is incredibly durable, as I’ve used it in jobs and in my own kitchen since that day over eight years ago. What makes it so special, as opposed to a knife, it’s its shape, flat body, and size. 

While knives typically have tapered edges, the uniformly rounded top of this offset spatula is ideal for spreading and creating patterns. It’s short and slender enough that it’s effortless to move, even during important detail work. The small flat edge will help you achieve rustic horizontal lines, perfectly-imperfect swirl patterns on layer cakes, or even smooth edges if you want to. It makes light work of decorating cupcakes, and aids in decorative icing techniques there too. 

Of course, this tool can do so much more than slather icing onto a cake. It’s small and thin enough to help me shimmy baked goods like brownies, muffins, bread loaves, and virtually anything else out of their pans. It’s also essential for smoothing batters before they go into the oven, as I find it spreads mixtures delicately and evenly, making it a better choice over a rubber spatula. And nothing’s better than this tool for spreading ice cream between two cookies, lathering jam and butter onto a biscuit, or swirling bread batters for marble interiors. 

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And it’s not just for pastries: It’s a must-have for chocolate and confection work, especially when I need to evenly spread bark or brittle quickly. I also use it to test when my chocolate is tempered too, since the stainless steel material is the perfect surface for setting. 

Don’t forget savory foods, either. Use it to spread condiments on sandwiches, remove small hors d'oeuvres off of a sheet pan, to spread pizza sauce evenly, or to layer bechamel sauce within a lasagna.

The options are truly endless, and that’s why I can’t get enough of this tool. Every day, I find myself grabbing it in situations where I never knew I needed it. And once you have it, you feel like you can’t go without it ever again.  

If you’re missing the Mercer Culinary 4.25-inch offset spatula in your own kitchen, don’t hesitate to add it to your space for just $7.

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