Essential Tools

5 Reasons You Absolutely Need a Bench Scraper in Your Kitchen

It does more than what its name implies.

March  8, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

Your bench scraper has news for you: You're not using it enough. A bench scraper is one of those inexpensive kitchen essentials that lasts a lifetime and has a million uses, but is somehow one of the most underrated tools. I keep mine wedged between a plastic drawer divider tray and the side of the drawer, so it's easy to grab.  

Whether you have one that's hiding in a drawer somewhere, or you've yet to figure out how versatile the tool is, you might want to catch up on all the reasons why a bench scraper is so handy.

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Photo by Rocky Luten

It’s a scraper, of course. True to its name, you can use it to scrape congealed bread dough (sounds delicious, no?), hardened chocolate, or any other kind of wet, dry, or sticky stuff from your counter or pastry board. It makes your surfaced so much easier to wipe down with soap and water afterward. In a pinch, a bench scraper can even scrape paint or remove ice from car windows—just be sure to clean it well afterward.

It’s a straight edge. Use it to level a cup of flour, tighten a log of cookie dough in parchment paper, fold over pastry dough, or if you're short an offset spatula, level batter in a cake or sheet pan. 

Photo by Rocky Luten

It’s a knife. Use it to trim the edges of rolled-out dough, cut square or oblong cookies, or portion out bread dough for rolls. 

It’s an extra-wide spatula. Use it to loosen pastries, transfer cookies or biscuits, lift a fragile cake layer, or divide and scoop sifted flour from wax paper into a mixing bowl. You can even turn a fragile fish fillet on the grill. 

It’s a ruler. If you grab one that has measurements along the edge, use it to check the thickness of pie or biscuit dough, a piece of meat, length of a lady finger—the list is endless.


This post was updated March 2022 with more reasons why you need a bench scraper.

Do you use a bench scraper? Let us all the ways you use it below! 

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Nadia Javed
    Nadia Javed
  • AntoniaJames
  • amandainmd
  • Anna Wisner
    Anna Wisner
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Smaug March 8, 2022
I kind of wonder where that name came from (we used to call them dough scrapers)- I suspect it was adapted from woodworkers' bench scrapers, which are a considerably different tool. At any rate they're very useful. I use mine for cutting sometimes, but mostly just for scraping. Other than scraping up dough, they're a good first cleanup tool for counters and tables, not only flour but small vegetable scraps etc. are more easily scraped up dry than with a wet rag or sponge. The side of a metal spatula will serve very well as a substitute, though- it may take a while to find a scraper that's not outrageously overpriced.
Nadia J. June 16, 2015
hi is it safe to use a paint scraper with food? As I can buy one for the local hardware store, but somebody suggested that I should buy a similar shaped tool from a cookery store - as its food safe?
AntoniaJames July 16, 2014
Mine has a nice sharp blade, so I use it to cut butter into small pieces before popping them into the freezer to chill, or when adding tiny bits of butter to a sauce, one at a time. ;o)
amandainmd May 29, 2014
It's sort of a silly hack, but I use an old credit card as a bench scraper.
Anna W. May 27, 2014
It's a great mixer for things like gnocchi or pasta, too!
Marie-Pier P. May 27, 2014
I also use it to transfer, for exemple, cut vegetables from the counter to the cooking pan! Goes so much faster than with hands, and less mess :)