Save us from the spiral of defeat!
August 16, 2016 6:06 AM   Subscribe

Need to buy a handheld (or otherwise small) veggie spiralizer, especially for use with zucchini, but would like to be able to do carrots and beets as well. Small kitchen! Space is at a premium, or I would get a larger tabletop version, but we need to scrimp on size because of storage limitations. Your recommendation?

We want the kind that creates thinner pasta-like spirals, like this. We tried one from eBay that is terrible, terrible, terrible, and don't want to throw good money away after bad.

At the moment, I'm leaning toward the OXO handheld version (just because it's OXO, which is usually reliable), but I fear we might have some of the same problem: if the size of the veggie is not juuuuuuuust right, the one we have doesn't work at all ... and our choice of vegetables is not so uniform. For example, smaller/medium carrots are impossible with ours, but we don't usually see giant, one-inch+ diameter carrots at our greengrocers or market.
posted by taz to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We have this one but we didn't get it at Amazon, we got it at the Asian grocery for maybe $20. Works like a charm, pretty small.
posted by fixedgear at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2016

Best answer: To a certain extent your just not going to get the same yield from smaller/narrower veg. For this reason I dislike buying zucchini from our internet-grocery-delivery of choice because if I am making zoodles I want fat straight ones. I got two very large very straight zucchini at the farmers market this weekend which will work great.

I have a table-top model and it is very good, but it too struggles with smaller diameter pieces.

I was initially concerned that the lower portion of the OXO model you linked to was a container, but in other photos I see its a chute type situation. I think you will probably grow tired of holding it in the air while spinning but if that is a trade off you are willing to make (and you go into it knowing that youre going to have to temper expectations for smaller diameter veggies) you will be happy with that pic.

There are some manual options that would be "uglier" but since you operate them yourself you could get over the size limitations from rotary models. Something like this for making thai style green papaya salad maybe? (it is insanely overpriced, if you can find a southeast Asian grocer - or even spend more than the 30 seconds I did on amazon, you can probably find an equivalent product for a lot less).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:00 AM on August 16, 2016

I apologize if this is not useful information, but I bought a full size spiralizer last year, and found it difficult to use. I went back to using a plain old Y shaped vegetable peeler, and it makes more fettuccine-like "pasta," but is tiny and SO easy and fast.
posted by instamatic at 7:04 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have one of those pencil-sharpener type spiralisers (which I suspect is what your eBay one is) and I found it difficult to clean, although it worked ... okay. I just bought a full-sized spiraliser, because I have the space, but that Oxo one looks brilliant. And, as you say, their products are generally made well, last well and do what they're meant to do.

But I think you're going to have problems with small, thinner carrots. You might need a julienne peeler for those, although you'll get strips, not spirals.
posted by essexjan at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2016

I have the OXO spiralizer and I like it, but it will probably not work well for normal carrots - I find that it's okay for the upper half, leaving me to eat the smaller lower half, which I find no great inconvenience.

It's easy to clean and easy to store, which for me means that I'll actually use it. It's also really easy to use - you can hold the chute in place and spiral until you've filled it, then move the chute up and over and repeat, rather than holding it.

otoh, it's cheap, so I would recommend it as an interim solution while you search for the one true spiralizer.
posted by punchtothehead at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2016

Best answer: I just bought the OXO spiralizer you linked to. You definitely need a big enough veggie for it to work properly. You end up with a core that's ~1/3" in diameter so if your veggie isn't wide it's a lot of effort for not a lot of noodles. You'd have to have giant horse carrots to make carrot noodles with it.

Beyond that issue, it is really easy to use and at least for softer veg like zucchini I didn't find it as annoying/cumbersome to hold in the air and twist as I had expected. I haven't used it on harder veg yet. For $15 it's not a bad purchase for me, but I'm definitely searching for nice big, fat zucchini at the store now.
posted by misskaz at 7:15 AM on August 16, 2016

I have this Veggetti spiralizer. It's cheap, it's compact enough to fit in a drawer, and it works just fine for my purposes. I've tried it on zucchini and carrots of various sizes, and it worked for me -- because you control the angle at which the vegetable hits the blades, you can get spirals out of pretty much anything.
posted by ourobouros at 7:31 AM on August 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Whenever I'm planning to use my spiralizer, I also plan to make a pureed soup with the remainders. That really calms me down about the the wasteful size of the cores and ends. Once I stop worrying about that, the cheap spiralizers become perfectly functional, because they turn about half a zucchini into zoodles, and I don't need to try to upgrade to a better tool that gets 75% of it. It seems kind of redundant to serve zoodles with a pureed-zucchini sauce, but I've done it.
posted by aimedwander at 8:15 AM on August 16, 2016

Best answer: I also have the Vegetti, and I feel like any sort of external-blade spiralizer is going to give better results. Like, I can't do an apple with mine, and only beets of a certain size will fit into the chamber, and the grabby-pushy thing is kind of useless so I either risk including finger spirals or I lose a good inch-plus on the end of the zucchini or cucumber.

I think one of the newer format models like this Müeller is probably the most ideal for both size and flexibility.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:33 AM on August 16, 2016

I like my OXO spiralizer. It noodles nicely, cleans up well in the dishwasher and stores upright in the cutlery drawer. Win win.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:55 AM on August 16, 2016

I bought this one and I like it. I like the peeler that came with it even more. It cleans up easily, comes with everything you need, and is pretty fun to use.
posted by jenjenc at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2016

Best answer: Hi there, we go through tremendous amounts of spiralized / ribbon cut veg in our (very, very tiny) household. We used to have a handheld model, but... it sucked. The amount of tension one needs to put on the veg being sliced isn't trivial, and doing that just with two hands and no stabilizing surface is a little uncomfortable. I had a little mishap with it--lost my grip and sliced off the skin on the tip of my middle finger--and tossed it without looking back.

We now have and love the larger model Benriner--the smaller version that someone linked to above is also great, but since it faces downwards it has to be lifted often to collect the cut veg. The larger model pushes the cut veg out the back, so you can keep going and going (I position the end over a bowl and fill the sucker up).

We have a 600 sq ft house, so I understand space being at a premium. This thing isn't huge, but it isn't tiny. I'd say it (and the smaller model) are the smallest sizes that we feel work well enough to keep. After rinsing, I keep the machine tucked inside a stock pot that lives in a cabinet.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much, everyone! While I was really looking for something tiny that could be crammed into our overstuffed utensils-slash-kitchen linens drawer, Lyn Never's mention of the Müeller standing version led me to look it up on amazon uk ... where I found a different Müeller that folds down into a self-contained box for storage (demonstration video and assembly video). Since it doesn't have awkward vertical height and stray bits and parts and stuff-sticking-out issues, there are many places around the house I could find to tuck this smallish box unit away ... including late afternoon dreaming hotel 's suggestion of storing inside a stock pot, but also different areas of the house, like bookshelves or drawers in other rooms.

It has more options than just a spiralizer, and also does cabbage, and whoa, we eat a *lot* of cabbage salad in winter, and haven't invested in a good large format mandoline for that, again because of space issues. We'll see how it manages not-giant carrots, but I'm resigned to using a julienne peeler instead, since I don't think most any option will handle both larger and smaller things.

I also appreciate the advice to plan for a pureed soup to use up parts that can't be used in a slicer – soothing! :)

Will let you know how it works out, and thanks again!
posted by taz at 10:26 AM on August 17, 2016

Interestingly, if anyone's following this thread out of interest, that same product taz found in the Amazon UK store appears to be sold under the Paderno brand on US Amazon.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:10 PM on August 17, 2016

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