If you’re trying to cut down on carbs, eat a healthier diet, or simply make eating vegetables more exciting, a spiralizer is a must-have kitchen gadget. Read our best spiralizer round-up to find out the best machines for the job.
What is a spiralizer?
Spiralizers turn your five-a-day into improbably long noodles at the turn of a handle – like a julienne peeler that keeps on giving.
You can use a spiralizer to make attractive salads, slice radish for sushi, or most likely replace noodles and spaghetti with low-carb alternatives.
The most popular veg to get the spiralizer treatment is the courgette – which is transformed into “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). Leave the skin on for extra nutrients, or peel first for paler zoodles that look more like the real thing.
The long, pale ribbons can be served up raw or sautéd. Once covered in bolognaise sauce or dropped into a soup, they’re easily mistaken for pasta.
Other popular spiralized veg include beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. With the right spiralizer you can turn an entire cucumber into one long spiral that could probably reach to the end of the street – a great trick for getting children to eat more salad. You can also spiralize hard fruits such as apples.
Spiralizers are affordable, as kitchen gadgets go. The only real downside is that they take up cupboard or counter space. If you’re low on storage, look for a small one… If you get the spiralizing bug you can always invest in a big one later.
How do they work?
Most spiralizers put your vegetable on an axis and then you turn a handle to spin the veg and push it towards the cutting blade. The machine has a very sharp blade (fingertips be warned) and then, depending on what size spirals you require, a set of little sharp teeth just before the blade that cut the veg into strips.
Another thing to look for is what size strips the spiralizer cuts. Some basic ones can only cut small veggies into a single thickness of spirals, but the best spiralizers come with several options, from thin noodles to wide spiral strips.
Also most spiralizers leave a “chef’s bonus”: a long, thin core from the centre of the veg that doesn’t get cut. Much as it’s nice to nibble these as you cook, it’s worth looking for a machine that spiralizes as much of the veg as possible – with thin vegetables like carrots, a wide core going uncut feels like a waste.
Convinced? Choose from the list below...
Lurch Spiralizer Attila Hildmann Edition
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The photo isn’t monochrome by mistake – this spiraliser really is grey – but your veg will provide plenty of colour, and this horizontal spiralizer really does them proud.
It comes with three blades (1.5mm noodles, 3mm noodles, spiral slices) that are easy to swap. There’s storage underneath for the two you’re not using too.
Suckers on all four feet hold it firmly to the worktop; spin the handle as fast as you like, it won’t budge.
The cutting width is impressive, handling veg up to 18cm in diameter. And there’s very little waste. A core of just 0.5mm diameter is left after spiralizing 1.5mm noodles, and a core of 1.2cm with the other blades. Spirals are impressively long and cleanly cut.
The machine is easy to clean and packs away neatly, the only quibble being the lack of storage for the front handle. But lefties will love the fact the handle can be used on either side. And the machine comes with a booklet of superb recipes from vegan chef Atilla Hildmann that are bound to inspire.
If you’re keen to get into spiralizing, this is a great buy.
Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk
At time of review Lurch Spiralizer Attila Hildmann Edition was available for £40
GEFU Spiralfix Spiral Cutter
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The GEFU has an unusual design that saves on storage space. It’s designed like a food mill, so you hold it in one hand and turn the handle clockwise with the other.
Most spiralizers deposit veg cuttings all over your worktop. But you can hold the GEFU over a plate or salad bowl, or clip on the supplied container to spiralize straight into. The container is a bit small, but it’s a nice touch and it comes with a lid.
Another clever design touch is the way you change blades: it has a single cutting blade and then you turn a knob to choose between 3mm, 6mm and 12mm widths or spiral slices. It doesn’t produce super-thin noodles like some spiralizers, however.
But it cuts veg up to 15cm in diameter and produces elegant, long spirals with virtually no food waste because there’s no uncut core left behind.
If you’re intrigued by spiralizing but don’t want to take up too much cupboard space, this is a good compromise.
Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk
At time of review GEFU Spiralfix Spiral Cutter was available for £39.99
Hemsley + Hemsley Spiralizer
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This horizontal spiralizer from the celebrity sisters has a very similar design to the Lurch Spiralizer Atilla Hildmann Edition, but with a couple of minor downsides.
Again it comes with three blades: for thin noodles, thicker noodles and spiral slices. And again there’s space for them underneath, but they’re stored at the back rather than the front – assuming you’re using the machine right-handed. This gives the machine cleaner lines but makes swapping blades fiddlier.
The front handle folds away – a clever design that makes it easy to store, but it means you can’t really use this spiralizer left-handed. And it comes with just one recipe… plus a plug for the Hemsley sisters’ book.
There are strong suckers on the bottom of all four feet, which hold it firmly to the worktop as you spiralize. So firmly, in fact, that you have to pull a special tab on each sucker to release it when you’re done.
It produces good-quality spirals: long and neat. And, like the Lurch, the cutting width is impressive, handling veg up to 18cm in diameter. But there’s more waste; all blades leave an unspiralized 1.1cm core.
If you fancy spiralizing, this is a fine machine, but the Lurch Spiralizer Atilla Hildmann Edition is even better.
Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk
At time of review Hemsley + Hemsley Spiralizer was available for £29.99
Resembling a downsized coffee percolator, the Spiralizer Express is an electric machine designed to make spiralizing effortless – a noble job it executes well. It requires fruit and vegetables to be fed from the top towards the blades, so there’s little pressure needed, and the ribbons collect in a beaker below, compacting in swirls so you don’t have to constantly empty it.
You turn the machine on with a discreet flick of a switch on the side, and there’s a plunger to attach your food to, which features a cross that sinks into the vegetable to keep it static during operation.
It comes with two blades: a thin cutter and a thick cutter for varying widths of spirals. Aside from the one caveat, which is that most of the parts aren’t deemed dishwasher safe, this is a zero-effort appliance that will turn you hard fruits and veg into luxuriously thin ribbons. It comes with a great range of recipes for inspiration too.
Whether you’re only just beginning to experiment in the world of spiralizing, or you’re a seasoned spiralizer in search of a more heavy duty machine for the job, the Spiralizer Express is a brilliant spiralizer that requires little elbow grease.
At the time of the review the Morphy Richards 432020 Spiralizer Express was available for £50
Benriner Japanese Turning Slicer (No5)
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Spiralizers were invented in Japan, and this top-of-the-range Benriner Japanese machine has an impressive pedigree – it’s used in the kitchens of YO! Sushi.
It’s a fairly compact horizontal spiralizer with a very solid build quality. There’s a single cutting blade to which you can add one of three serrated blades to make 1mm, 2.5mm or 4mm noodles from veg up to 13cm in diameter. Or with no extra blade it cuts spiral slices from veg up to 17cm in diameter. All sizes leave a core of 1.1cm waste.
The blades are sharp and swapping them is fiddly. You have to unscrew a knob and swap them by hand, so it’s quite easy to cut your fingers. On the plus side, they take up negligible storage space.
Cutting was impressive, and the Benriner produced good spirals. The 1mm “angel hair” blade is best for hard veg like carrots into vermicelli – they make superb coleslaw. The thicker 2.5mm blade is great for making noodles from soft veg like courgettes.
But the design isn’t perfect. Two rubberised feet and no suckers make it hard to keep still on the worktop. And there’s no front handle, so you have to push sideways as you turn the handle.
It’s also hard to clean; the cutting blade stays in situ and is very sharp, so it easily cuts the bristles of a dish brush as you attempt to clean it.
That said, it does cut superb spirals. If you received this as a gift, you’d be delighted. But it costs more than twice as much as others in this list doesn’t produce the thinnest spirals of those we tested.
Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk
At time of review Benriner Japanese Turning Slicer (No5) was available for £89.99
Microplane Spiral Cutter
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Unlike larger spiralizers, which have a handle and big blades, this is a simple, handheld tool. In fact, it’s best described as a large “pencil sharpener” for veg, because that’s exactly how you use it: stick your veg in to the end and then turn the veg by hand.
It’s double-ended. The smaller end lets you cut veg up to 3.5cm in diameter and leaves a 1.2cm wide core of waste. It’s a good size for thinner veg like carrots.
The larger end lets you cut veg up to 6cm in diameter and leaves a 1.5cm wide core of waste. It’s a good size for cucumbers.
There are several failings, however. It only cuts one size of noodles; spiralizing is a lot of effort; the 6cm max cutting width is narrow – other spiralizers can handle veg up to 18cm wide – and the pencil sharpener design leads to a lot of waste as you’re left with a pointy cone of veg rather than just a thin slice.
This offers an affordable introduction to spiralizing without taking up much space. But comparing it with proper spiralizers is like comparing a lemon squeezer with a juicer. If you get heavily into spiralizing you’ll definitely want something bigger and better.
At time of review Microplane Spiral Cutter was available for £15
Lurch Spiralo Spiralizer
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Vertical spiralizers should, in theory, be the best. Gravity is on your side, so they should be less effort. And because veg rotates on a pin rather than a ring, there’s no core of wasted veg. But theory doesn’t always work in practice.
This vertical spiralizer cuts veg up to 15cm diameter. It comes with three blades (thin noodles, thicker noodles and spiral slices) and has onboard storage for them, but in a clumsy way – the blades sit in a carrier when not in use.
It’s tall and thin. Two of its three feet have suckers and the other has a rubber foot. This leads to it lifting off the worktop too easily as you turn the handle, which is a pretty vital design flaw.
We found the machine hard to use. It’s does minimise waste, with no central core left unspiralized. But this is achieved by locating the veg on a pin, and we found that veg kept slipping on the pin, meaning it doesn’t stay centred.
It’s better at hard veg like carrots, but take a courgette to it, and you’re left with ugly, mangled noodles rather than the desired perfect courgetti. Avoid.
At time of review Lurch Spiralo Spiralizer was available for £29.99