When you first see a rice paddle you might think that it’s like any other wooden or plastic spoon you already have. But the truth is rice paddles are thoughtfully designed for very specific rice-making tasks.
So what are rice paddles, and which ones are the best? A rice paddle is a spoon with a large flat head and a thick handle. The main uses of rice paddles include fluffing the rice, mixing vinegar into it, measuring and serving rice. When buying a rice paddle, consider the material, handle design, usability, and ease of cleaning of the tool.
This article tells you everything about rice paddles and their uses. It includes a buyer’s guide to this handy tool as well as a list of the 13 best rice paddles.
What Is a Rice Paddle?
A rice paddle is a tool designed for mixing rice. While this tool is also known as a rice spoon or shamoji in Japanese, paddle is the word that perfectly describes its shape.
A rice paddle is a common tool in Asian cuisine. Recipes that include rice are usually made using a rice paddle, including sushi, one of the most popular Japanese dishes.
Shamoji, or a rice paddle, is much larger than a table spoon. It has a large flat head and a short but comfortable handle.
While the general shape of rice paddles is the same, the head part can be more rounded or square depending on the brand you buy the spoon from.
The shape of the spoon allows you to effectively fluff the rice once it’s cooked, mix the rice and serve it. This is the tool to use when you are adding vinegar to rice for sushi.
Rice paddles have other uses too aside from mixing vinegar and seasonings into the rice. You can use them to measure rice and serve when it is already cooked.
If you enjoy cooking Asian dishes, you will find many other uses for this kitchen tool. For example, a rice paddle comes in handy when transferring the cooked rice onto the nori sheet and pressing it to form an even layer.
As soon as you get comfortable with using a rice paddle, you can also use it to form rice balls, dumplings, and other dishes where a rice paddle can be used instead of bare hands.
What Are Rice Paddles Made of?
Traditionally, rice paddles are made of bamboo and wood. Aside from these two materials, rice paddles were also made of lacquer.
These were wooden rice spoons with shiny finishes. While you can still buy lacquer rice paddles, they are not as common nowadays.
Today, one of the most common materials for rice paddles is plastic. This is not surprising as plastic has a range of benefits when it comes to kitchen tools.
Plastic rice paddles are cheaper than their wooden or bamboo counterparts. And still, they are extremely durable and long-lasting. Additionally, plastic rice paddles are easy to clean.
Silicone is another common material used to make rice spoons nowadays. Silicone is another great material for kitchen tools as it is resistant to hot and cold temperatures, durable, and easy to clean.
Metal is not a suitable material for rice paddles. Metal rice spoons may damage the delicate rice grains. They may also do damage to the hangiri. The latter is a rice bowl commonly used in Japanese cuisine.
Another reason why rice paddles are not metal is that they are very often used with rice cookers.
Rice cookers have a non-stick coating which is easily damaged by metal utensils. Thus, even if you feel like a metal rice paddle would feel much sturdier, plastic, wood, and bamboo are much better choices.
How Do You Use a Rice Paddle?
If you cook a lot of rice, don’t miss out on getting on a rice paddle! It will help you easily deal with sticky rice.
Once the rice is cooked, you can use the rice paddle to fluff it by doing circular scooping motions. To see why a rice paddle works so well try doing the same thing with a wooden spoon.
The latter won’t produce the same result and will make the rice mushy. The broad shape of the rice paddle is ideal for fluffing the rice with the least effort and damage to the grains.
In certain cases, you may need to wet the bamboo or wooden rice paddle before putting it into the rice. Doing it will make the rice paddle non-stick.
Use the rice paddle for any type of rice – short-grain or long-grain, sticky or non-sticky.
Do You Need a Rice Paddle?
At first sight, there is nothing special about the design of a rice paddle. You may wonder if you actually need a rice paddle?
We recommend you buy a rice paddle if you make rice dishes often, including sushi and other Asian-inspired rice dishes. Considering the abundance of affordable rice paddles on the market, buying one is certainly worth it.
There are a few things that make this tool amazing as far as certain rice-related tasks are concerned.
First off, the material rice paddles are made of doesn’t damage the rice grains.
Secondly, as the spoon is wide and broad, it allows you to mix the seasonings into the rice in a way that they get evenly distributed. And thirdly, you do all this while keeping the rice nice and fluffy.
You can certainly use other kitchen tools that have a similar shape to the rice paddle.
However, the Japanese shamoji has been around for over three centuries and is used till now which surely says that there’s something special about this simple yet effective tool.
What To Consider When Buying A Rice Paddle
A rice paddle seems to be a simple tool unless you search for one and are instantly overwhelmed by the number of rice spoons that come up on the screen.
Here are the things you should consider when buying a rice paddle.
As we have already mentioned, rice paddles typically come in a few different materials – wood, bamboo, and silicone. When deciding on the material of the rice paddle, consider the pros and cons of each.
But one thing is important for all rice paddles – the material used to make them should be food-grade, high-quality, and durable.
In addition, if you have all your frequently used kitchen tools on display, it would be good to buy a rice paddle made of the same material as your other tools.
Rice paddles typically have flat surfaces. But modern silicone and plastic ones often have textured surfaces. The uneven grainy finish elevates the non-stick property of rice paddles.
When buying a rice paddle, pay attention to the design of the handle. The handle should have an ergonomic shape.
The well-designed handle provides you with a secure grip on the tool. Additionally, due to the ergonomic design, your hand won’t get tired too soon if you use the rice paddle for too long.
If you are someone that doesn’t like to wash dishes and kitchen tools by hand, it is best to choose a rice paddle made of dishwasher-safe materials, such as plastic or silicone.
You can never put bamboo or wooden rice spoons in the dishwasher.
Additionally, bamboo and wooden kitchen tools require proper care. You can’t wash bamboo and wooden rice paddles in the dishwasher. Once you hand wash them, you need to dry out the tools using paper towels and allow them to air dry.
There are some extra features to look for in a rice paddle, such as a hanging hole on the handle to make storing the rice paddle easy if you like hanging your kitchen tools.
Also, some rice paddles have handles with flat ends. This allows you to put the used rice paddle upright on the kitchen counter to prevent your cooking area from getting messy.
Set Vs Individual Rice Paddle
If you rice buy a rice cooker, you will most likely get a plastic rice paddle with it. In case you don’t, you will have to choose between single rice paddles or a set.
You can buy a set of multiple rice paddles or a sushi kit that also includes a rice paddle.
The 13 Best Rice Paddles
Now that you know what a rice paddle is and why you need one, here’s the list of the 13 best rice paddles that you can purchase online.
From classic bamboo rice paddles to plastic and silicone varieties, there is a range of options in this list. At least one of these rice spoons will fit your preferences.
|1.||FAAY Rice Paddle||Teak wood|
|2.||Joyce Chen Rice Paddle||Bamboo|
|3.||1st Choice Japanese Rice Spatula||Plastic|
|4.||Gonioa Premium Wood Rice Paddle||Wood|
|5.||Inomata 1150 Rice Paddle Set||Plastic|
|6.||Kotobuki Swing Shamoji Serving Rice Paddle||Plastic|
|7.||Honbay Bamboo Rice Scoops||Bamboo|
|8.||Tazanma Rice Paddle Spatula||Natural wheat straw|
|9.||Walfos Rice Paddle Set||Silicone|
|10.||DIMVKA Non Stick Rice Scooper||Plastic|
|11.||Honbay Wooden Rice Spoon||Wood|
|12.||AKOAK Rice Spoon||Stainless steel, silicone|
|13.||OUTLANDWAY Rice Paddle||Wood|
1. FAAY Rice Paddle
If you love wooden kitchen tools, then this golden teak wood rice paddle will be your absolute favorite.
Golden teak wood is hardwood which means this rice spoon has the highest level of durability. It is also an eco-friendly material that is resistant to both heat and moisture.
This FAAY rice paddle has a 2.9-inch wide rounded head which is perfect for fluffing rice and serving it.
Aside from your regular rice tasks, this wooden spoon can be used for a number of other tasks, such as transferring icing into piping bags, mixing ingredients, etc.
The handle of this rice paddle is around 5-inch long. The length and thickness of this spoon are perfect for holding it comfortably. The handle also has a hanging hole.
The fact that this wooden spoon is handcrafted adds more value to it and makes each piece unique.
2. Joyce Chen Rice Paddle
Bamboo is a material traditionally used for making rice paddles.
Many people prefer bamboo cooking utensils over other materials as bamboo is safe to use on any surface. It won’t cause any scratches on your cookware.
Additionally, this bamboo rice paddle by Joyce Chen is made without any paint or stains and is resistant to heat and steam.
The total length of this rice paddle is 9 inches. As this spoon is burnished, it has a smooth finish and a polished look.
Aside from smoothing out their surface, burnishing also prevents these spoons from absorbing water and swelling.
Handwash this bamboo rice paddle for the longest life span of this product. You can put the spoon in the dishwasher on days when you don’t have time to wash it by hand.
3. 1st Choice Japanese Rice Spatula
If natural materials are not a priority for you, then this plastic rice spatula might be a good fit for your preferences.
This white plastic rice scooper has a flat head. It is non-stick with a grainy surface.
Being a one-piece plastic tool, this rice paddle is durable enough to handle mixing the rice.
The total length of the spoon is 10 inches. The handle is long enough for you to have a good grip on the tool but not too long to make it flimsy.
This rice spatula is dishwasher-safe. But as it is non-stick, washing it by hand is an effortless task too.
4. Gonioa Premium Wood Rice Paddle
With this rice paddle set you get two rice spoons made of premium quality wenge wood.
This exotic hardwood is very dense and tough. Thus, the rice paddles made with it are extremely durable and not flimsy.
This eco-friendly shamoji has a natural oil finish. The manufacturer doesn’t use any chemical substances to polish it.
Thus, the rice spoon is perfectly safe when it comes in contact with food.
The handle is large and thick for a comfortable grip. The head part is wide and deep enough to make serving rice easy.
As for cleaning the Gonioa rice paddle, rinse it with lukewarm water after each use, pat dry to remove excess moisture, and leave the spoon to air dry.
5. Inomata 1150 Rice Paddle Set
If you are in need of two rice paddles of different sizes, then this set by Inomata will be great for you.
It includes two rice spoons of the same design. One rice paddle is 7.5 inches long while the other is 6.25 inches long.
The rice paddles are made of white plastic. They s are wide and flat to make fluffing the rice easy. These rice paddles will also work well for forming rice for sushi.
The surface of the paddles is textured to make them non-stick. Once you are done using the paddles, you can wash them in the dishwasher.
6. Kotobuki Swing Shamoji Serving Rice Paddle
Kotobuki rice paddle may be expensive compared to it its counterparts. But the design and thoughtful details of this shamoji are what make it so special.
This plastic rice paddle is wide and flat. It has a grainy non-stick surface and can be washed in the dishwasher with no damage to the tool.
The handle has an ergonomic design. It is thick and rounded and flat at the bottom. You can stand the spoon upright to prevent the kitchen counter from getting messy.
Kotobuki rice paddle comes in multiple colors. The only thing is you should use it with hot pans and pots.
7. Honbay Bamboo Rice Scoops
Another classic option for those who prefer to stick to bamboo cooking tools.
This rice paddle set by Honbay includes two bamboo rice spoons of the same size.
The spoons are neither too deep nor too shallow- ideal for fluffing and mixing rice as well as serving it. The handle is thick and short. This makes the rice spoon sturdy and easy to use.
The spoons have hanging holes in case you like hanging your frequently used tools near the kitchen counter.
8. Tazanma Rice Paddle Spatula
Tazanma rice paddle set is a good option for people who are after eco-friendly everyday products.
This set includes three colorful rice spoons made of natural wheat straw. This material is food-safe and BPA-free.
Besides their eco-friendly qualities, the rice paddles are also lightweight. They are durable and non-stick thanks to the grainy surface.
While the spoons are heat-resistant, you shouldn’t use them for stir-fries or leave them in the hot rice cooker.
Don’t wash these straw rice paddles in the dishwasher. Wash them by hand and dry them with a cloth.
9. Walfos Silicone Rice Paddle Set
Walfos silicone rice paddle is a good option for those who prefer silicone kitchen tools over bamboo, wooden, or plastic ones.
Silicone tools are easy to take care of. They don’t rust and can be washed in the dishwasher.
Walfos rice paddles are made of BPA-free food-grade silicone. This material doesn’t stain and absorb odors and is heat-resistant to up to 480°F. The handle is soft to touch. The curved design provides a safe grip on the tool.
As this rice paddle is all silicone, you may think that it is too flimsy. However, it has a stainless steel core which makes the spoon very sturdy and durable.
10. DIMVKA Non Stick Rice Scooper
If you find plastic rice paddles to be most practical, then this one by Dimvka is certainly an option to consider. It is made of high-quality BPA-free plastic.
This rice scooper is durable and non-stick thanks to the texture on the top part of the spoon.
As it’s non-stick, washing this rice scooper is a matter of seconds though you can wash it in the dishwasher too in case it gets too messy.
The handle has an ergonomic design and can stand by itself which is a convenient feature as you don’t get your kitchen counter dirty while using the rice paddle.
11. Honbay Wooden Rice Spoon
Another great set by Honbay but this time with wooden rice spatulas with straight edges to easily reach all corners of your pots and pans.
Thanks to the shape of the head, these rice spatulas work well not only for stirring, mixing, and serving rice but also for turning and slicing soft foods.
Made of wood, these rice turners are very sturdy. The handle has a convenient design and a hanging hole for easy storage.
12. AKOAK Rice Spoon
If you find the look of traditional bamboo and regular plastic rice paddles to be old-fashioned, then this rice paddle with a silicone head and stainless steel handle is the perfect option for you.
Looking exceptionally sleek and modern, this rice spoon does everything a true Japanese shamoji does. You can use it to fluff the rice, serve it, and do a range of other tasks too.
The silicone head is durable but it has the perfect level of flexibility to make using the spoon convenient. It is also non-stick and very easy to clean.
The stainless steel handle is securely attached to the silicone part of the spoon. It is also rust-resistant and has a rounded shape for a comfortable grip.
13. OUTLANDWAY Rice Paddle
For those who find plain items boring, this rice paddle by Outlandway will be a good find. These shamojis are shaped like fish.
And still, they have the perfect design to handle all your rice-fluffing, mixing, and serving tasks.
You get two wooden rice spatulas in this set. As these spoons have a quite versatile shape, you can use them not only for mixing and serving rice but for other tasks too.
The manufacturer recommends placing the spatulas in water for 5 minutes before washing them.
Once you do this, cleaning the spoon with warm water and a soft sponge will be very easy. You can also apply vegetable oil to the spatula to protect it.