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A 28cm (11 inch) spurtle, with decorated end resembling a Scottish thistle

The spurtle (or "spurtel", "spurtil", "spirtle" or "spartle")[1] is a wooden Scottish kitchen tool, dating from the fifteenth century, that is used to stir porridge, soups, stews and broths.[2]

The rod-like shape means that porridge can be stirred without congealing and forming lumps,[2][3] unlike a spoon that would have a dragging effect during stirring, and the low surface area reduces the chances of porridge sticking to the instrument.[2]

Spurtles are made from wood, including beech, cherry wood, and maple. They come in a range of sizes. Traditional spurtles have stylized thistles at the top, while modern ones often have a smooth taper.[2]

The custom is that a spurtle should be used to stir in a clockwise direction with the right hand.[2]

Couthie spurtle[edit]

Early spurtles were flat, wooden or metal instruments, with long handles and flat blades.[1] The spatula-like utensils, known as 'Couthie Spurtles,' can be used for flipping oatcakes or making pancakes - but not for making porridge.[2]

Modern culture[edit]

The Golden Spurtle trophy

The World Porridge Making Championship awards a "Golden Spurtle" as its main prize.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Dictionary of the Scots Language". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The Spurtle; customs, myths, legends and lump free Porridge". The Porridge Lady. 20 January 2014.
  3. ^ National Trust (2007), Gentleman's Relish, p. 67, ISBN 978-1-905400-55-3
  4. ^ "Previous Winners". Golden Spurtle. Retrieved 30 September 2016.