Your top 10 spiralizer questions answered
By Anna Studman
We answer the most common spiralizer questions, from how to use a spiralizer to which one is the best.
Spiralizers have enjoyed a huge boost in popularity, offering a relatively easy way to cut down on carbs and welcome more veg into your life. But, if the search results are anything to go by, they can be deceptively difficult to get the hang of. Here we answer the top 10 most frequently asked spiralizer questions to help you spiralize successfully.
Below you’ll find the answers to the most asked questions on Google search based on data from 1 January 2016 to 1 January 2017 (source: Google Trends). You can browse through the list, or click on one of the links below to jump to a specific question:
- 1. What is a spiralizer?
- 2. How to use a spiralizer?
- 3. How to use the Oxo spiralizer?
- 4. Which is the best spiralizer?
- 5. What to make with a spiralizer?
- 6. Where can I buy a spiralizer?
- 7. How do I use a handheld spiralizer?
- 8. What can you spiralize?
- 9. How to make courgetti with a spiralizer?
- 10. How to use the Salter spiralizer?
A spiralizer is a food prep gadget that cuts fruit and vegetables into long ribbons or noodles. These can then be used in all sorts of dishes. A popular option is using courgette noodles, or courgetti, to replace pasta in traditional dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese, or to use spiralized veg to brighten up salads and slaws.
You can get a manual spiralizer, where you twist the veg through the blades, or an electric one, which will do the hard work for you. Manual spiralizers cost between £5 and £35, electric models between £25 and £50. To find out more about the different types of spiralizer, head to our spiralizer buying guide.
Most spiralizers work in a similar way, by pushing raw fruit or veg through a blade to shred them into noodles. Smaller blades that stick up from the main blade unit score a line in the veg as it turns so that you get noodles instead of one larger slice.
Handheld spiralizers generally require the most manual labour as they don’t have a handle to turn, so you’ll have to twist the vegetables through the blade by hand.
Horizontal-feed spiralizers have a rotary handle that you use to churn your veg through the blades, with the vegetable attached to spikes on one end to hold it in place.
Vertical-feed spiralizers also have spikes and a rotary handle, but you feed in the vegetable through the top rather than from the side, which can be easier because it tends to require less pressure.
Electric spiralizers work more like food processors, with automatic blades, so you simply need to lightly push the vegetable down on the blades using the plastic pusher, and the spiralizer will then do most of the work for you.
Depending on the spiralizer you have, you'll need to prepare your veg slightly differently before spiralizing.
Top tips for using a spiralizer:
- Try to buy straight, evenly shaped veg for best results.
- Wash veg before spiralizing and slice off both ends to get an even base.
- Centre your veg on the blade to get even, long noodles rather than choppy ‘half moon’ shaped off-cuts.
- Steady pressure when feeding the veg in should give more even results.
- Pat your noodles dry after spiralizing to avoid watery courgetti.
Some spiralizers are easier to use than others. We tried out a range of popular models and found some slipped around on the worktop or needed plenty of elbow grease to get decent results. See which models we recommend in our guide to the best spiralizers.
Oxo makes two types of spiralizer - a small, cheap handheld version with three blades costing around £15, and a horizontal tabletop model costing around £40. The handheld version is also available with just one noodle blade for slightly less (around £12).
To use the Oxo Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer (pictured above):
- Slice both ends off your veg so it has flat edges. If spiralizing something larger like a butternut squash you'll need to cut the edges to fit, too.
- Place one flat end of the vegetable against the centre of the blade, and apply pressure as you twist it through.
- Have something flat such as a chopping board underneath to catch the noodles.
- When you near the end of the vegetable, apply the food holder to the top to safely twist the end through and keep your fingers away from the blade.
Find out what we thought of this spiralizer in our spiralizer reviews.
To use the Oxo Good Grips Tabletop Spiralizer:
- Cut both ends off the fruit or vegetable, place one end so it’s centred over the cylindrical coring blade, and the other end pushed into the spikes of the food holder on the handle.
- Turn the rotating handle with a gentle firm pressure to spiralize.
- Use a plate or chopping board to catch the noodles.
For more detail, cleaning instructions and diagrams, consult your user manual.
The best spiralizer for you will depend on your needs. If you only want to spiralize small amounts of fruit and veg every so often, or if you’re short on kitchen space, you might be fine with a cheap, small handheld spiralizer.
If you want something a little more robust, and that can handle larger portions, you could go for a horizontal or vertical manual spiralizer. An electric spiralizer might be worth the investment if you’re regularly spiralizing loads of veggies and want to get this done with minimal fuss.
We’ve tried out popular spiralizers to find out which ones are the best – see our electric spiralizer reviews and manual spiralizer reviews, and find out more about how to choose in our spiralizer buying guide.
5. What to make with a spiralizer
Spiralizers were originally popular for making courgetti - courgette noodles you could use in place of pasta in dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese.
However, you can spiralize most fruit and veg, depending on the spiralizer you buy. And as spiralizers have become more popular, you'll now find plenty of recipes designed to make the most of them.
Popular veg to spiralize include butternut squash, carrots, sweet potato and beetroot. You can even buck the healthy-eating trend this gadget is intended for and spiralize potatoes into delicious curly fries.
Check out our suggestions for courgette and other spiralizer recipes at the bottom of our spiralizer buying guide.
Spiralizers are pretty commonly available now, and can usually be picked up anywhere you’d usually buy kitchen gadgets. Major retailers such as Amazon, Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Lakeland have a good selection.
Before you buy, make sure you check our spiralizer first look reviews to find out which models we recommend.
Most handheld spiralizers work much like an old-fashioned pencil sharpener. You'll need to cut one end of the vegetable into a flat surface and apply some pressure while you twist the vegetable or fruit through the blade.
Some models have a few different blades you can use to cut different shapes and thicknesses. Most will also have a 'pusher' that you stick on the end of the veg to make it easier to twist and keep your hands safely away from the blades.
Handheld spiralizers work best with long thin veg such as carrots and courgettes.
Some vegetables spiralize better than others. It’s generally best to stick to vegetables with a medium to firm texture. Squishy or juicy fruits will simply disintegrate if you try to process them.
As you may have guessed by the sudden ubiquity of the word ‘courgetti,’, courgettes are a popular option. You can also spiralize carrots and cucumbers into ribbons for salads, and root vegetables such as parsnip, celeriac, beetroot, squash, sweet potato and pumpkin. Firm fruits such as apples and pears also work.
Most spiralizers work better with larger veg – a good rule of thumb is to make sure they’re at least a 1.5 inches in diameter. Having said this, you may need to go a bit smaller if you’re using a handheld spiralizer. Spiralizing works best with ‘straight’ sections of veg, so you might need to cut rounder veg such as beetroot to shape, and try to choose straighter veg in the shop to make life easier.
If you’ve got different blades to choose from, use the thin or thick noodle attachment to spiralize your courgette into noodles most resembling spaghetti. The noodles don’t need much cooking – either boil them for about 20 seconds or lightly fry for a couple of minutes. You can also eat the noodles raw if you wanted.
Some people don't like having the courgette seeds in their noodles, as they can break up the noodle strands a bit. If this is you, it's best to opt for a horizontal spiralizer that leaves the central core of your veg unspiralized, as this will avoid the seeds.
Top your courgetti with anything you’d usually put on pasta, but remember that spiralized veg will be more watery than pasta, so avoid using watery or runny sauces. It helps to reduce your sauce for longer so it thickens, and pat your courgette noodles dry before cooking them.
Salter makes a few different spiralizers, including a vertical spiralizer, a tabletop horizontal spiralizer and an electric spiralizer. See our spiralizer buying guide if you aren't sure of the differences between the types. Most horizontal spiralizers work in a similar way, so for general guidance on how to use this one, see question two.
For both vertical and electric spiralizers, you'll need to cut both ends of your veg so they are flat, and if it's a larger or rounder veg like a sweet potato you may need to cut down the edges to fit.
You then attach the veg to the spikes on the end of the pusher or handle, and position the other end onto the centre of the blade, and either turn the electric model on, or turn the handle steadily on the manual model.
For detailed advice, you'll find instruction manuals for the specific products on Salter's website.