There are so many different kitchen utensils to choose from! How do you know what you really need in your kitchen? Let alone which brand is best and where you can find the better deal? Especially if you are just starting out and haven’t spent a lot of time cooking on your own or shopping for these items. Now I could go on and on listing utensils and gadgets, but if they aren’t necessary for what you’re cooking up then what does it matter? Basically, it all boils down (no pun intended…Ha!) to the question, “What do you like to cook?”.
So to try and help you get started I have compiled the below list. It starts with what I consider to be the most necessary utensils in my kitchen. I hope it is helpful for you.
So why is this at the top of my list you ask? The only other thing I could think of to try and get into one of those metal cans would be my teeth and I am pretty sure that would not end well. I’ll keep my teeth and splurge on the can opener instead of a dental appointment! Secondly, I don’t want one of those automatic can openers because they never seem to have the power to cut through the entire lid. Just use your muscles and you’ll be better for it. I am a sucker for oxo good grips. I think they make great products so you’ll see a few recommendations for them from me. Their can opener seems to hold it’s own when it comes to cutting these cans open.
This handy item will only be on your list if you’re a leaf lover like myself! It is so easy and efficient to wash greens this way. It saves a lot of time and a lot of paper towels that you’d otherwise use to dry your lettuce. It helps to make the world more green by saving one paper towel at a time. 🙂
I will be completely honest with this one. I have had better experience with the less expensive spinners so your big bucks won’t always go to good use here.
Again, if you don’t fancy the veggies then this item might drop a few levels on your priority list. But even the “meat and potato” person could love this tool! I use it everyday for salad toppings such as carrots and cukes. Also great for potatoes, especially the mashed up creamy kind! I have to revert back to oxo good grips for this one.
For all you pasta fiends out there this is a must have! Sure you can try holding the lid to the pot and leave a little gap to pour out the water trying not to spill the pasta, but that always ends with poor precious noodles down the drain instead of in your belly! Besides, you need the pot empty for a minute so you can melt some butter or heat some olive oil in to toss the pasta back into… Yum, right?!?! Be sure to find something with fine holes so when you’re cooking something like angel hair pasta the fine noodles don’t fall right through.
Well there is obviously going to be a couple of suggestions for this tool as there are multiple kinds of spatulas. If you have a big sweet tooth and enjoy baking then I would recommend picking up a set of the silicone flexible spatulas. This set could also come in handy for scraping up the last bits of those savory sauces and creamy dips.
Another spatula that I like to have around are the typical flat, wide and rubber ones most commonly known for their ability to flip eggs and pancakes flawlessly. I find that the ones with a rounded edge are much easier to use when trying to get all the yumminess off of the sides of the pots and pans.
Spoons (Ladle, Slotted, etc.)
So I tend to lean towards the stainless steel or wood versions. Mainly because most of the plastic ones over time aren’t as strong and tend to bend in the handle. They can feel very cheaply made. When I am scooping up a big heaping of bolognese sauce for my pasta, I want a spoon that can handle it and not droop and spill the sauce everywhere.
A cup or spoon marked in graded amounts, used for measuring ingredients in cooking. Origin 1896.
As far as measuring cups go, I am a big fan of the glass jars. They are super helpful, for example, when making a dressing and you need 1/4 cup of this and 1/2 cup of that. If you use one glass measuring cup that has multiple measurements on the side up to 1 cup or 2 cups then you can do it all in one! That beats using 2 or more separate cups and having a bigger mess to clean up at the end. They are also helpful if you need to heat the measured ingredients. You can measure and heat all in the same cup.
For the measuring spoons you can really go in any direction as far as material. One thing I like to keep in mind is how wide or deep the spoon is. When you’re trying to measure 1 tbsp of pepper and the spoon doesn’t fit inside the spice jar because it’s too wide and/or deep that can be frustrating. Now you have to pour the spice out and spill half of it on the counter. So I would go for a more narrow and shallow set.
Cheese please!!! Yes, I know. A grater can be used for all sorts of things. But cheese is by far my favorite :)! Some people like the box graters (I would consider myself to be partial to these because it’s what my mom used). Other’s like the ones that have a handle and then a flat grater on the end. These are great when you don’t have a lot of space to store things. Both work well and I would say the important thing to consider with a grater is the handle. You want the handle to have a comfortable grip.
You could stick with just the old school whisk but I always have such a difficult time cleaning them. Everything always gets stuck in the inside of the wires and doesn’t want to come out.
This is a must have, especially for anyone who loves schnitzel! Yes, that would be my entire family… It’s a simple tool that goes way back in time. No one really knows exactly how long it’s been around. You don’t have to look for anything fancy. It pounds meat, that’s it. Just keep in mind that if you use one that is aluminum, it doesn’t like the dishwasher.
I do use tongs on occasion but I have to admit that my boyfriend would be “keeper of the tongs” in our house. Absolute griller’s best friend! You should have a set of two. One long and the other a little shorter. The ones with the silicone covers are pretty nice and if you’re using them on a non stick you don’t have to worry about scraping up your pans.
Churchkey / Bottle opener / Corkscrew
A device that enables the removal of metal bottle caps from bottles. More generally, it might be thought to include corkscrews used to remove cork or plastic stoppers from wine bottles. Origin – Churchkey 1930’s / Bottle Opener 1894 / Corkscrew 1795.
OK, maybe the corkscrew should be number one on my list! Vino Vino, oh how I love thee! But really, these tool can be so handy for all kinds of reasons!
Mandoline / Julienne Tool
A utensil consisting of a base into which adjustable blades are set, used to slice or cut fruits and vegetables. / A culinary knife cut in which the food item is cut into long thin strips, similar to matchsticks. Origin – Mandoline 1707 / Julienne Tool 1835-45.
I LOVE my mandoline! I like to make a lot of cucumber salads and I am also a fan of potato casseroles. So being able to just slice super fast and take all of the hard prep work out of the mix definitely works for me! Also, the trendy new zoodles and such are really simple with these tools.
Microplane® / Zester
I am a big fan of citrus so a lot of the recipes I whip up want some zest. The microplane makes zesting a breeze! I would recommend finding one that has a guard on it for storing. Otherwise, you may scrape your fingers on it when rummaging through your utensil drawer.
Well this is just a basic kitchen tool that has been around for a LONG time! It’s super simple and can be used for a variety of tasks. I would recommend one with a strong handle and a couple of different size options.
An egg slicer is a food preparation utensil used to slice peeled, hard-boiled eggs quickly and evenly. An egg slicer consists of a slotted dish for holding the egg and a hinged plate of wires or blades that can be closed to slice. Origin early 20th century.
This tool has so much more to offer than just slicing eggs. It’s also great for slicing olives and mushrooms! Most people think it’s just a sole purpose instrument but this thing can do quite a lot if you let it. I like the ones that you can select a few different cutting styles from.
So yes, this is a dough scraper meant for “scraping dough”. Creative name, huh? I, however, use this handy dandy scraper to pick up just about everything I can. Say you’re making a sauce and you have a cutting board filled with a bunch of different chopped ingredients that need to be tossed in the pot at different times… Use the dough scraper to pick up what you need and leave the rest of the ingredients be. Simple but handy. You could just use the blade of your knife but there is the potential of cutting yourself and/or making your knife blade more dull.
It’s pretty obvious why you’d want one of these in your kitchen. Raw chicken at midnight anyone?!?! No thank you! The digital ones are the easiest for me to use and this one here is also pretty simple to clean.
Basting brushes for the most part have gone 100% silicone which is great for heat and cleaning reasons. However, in my experience they just don’t spread as well as the old bristle brushes. I recently found one that has gaps within the inside bristles that are there to hold liquid. This way you have a nice spread and it’s still heat resistant.
You may not use this tool super often but when you need it, it’s really helpful! The biggest thing I would keep in mind when shopping for this is 100% silicone to handle heat and the bulb at the top should detach for easy cleaning.
Typically, when I make potatoes they are roasted or “smashed” with a large spoon and the help of butter and cream to break them down. But when you want to make traditional mashed potatoes and you’re not looking for any lumps then having an actual masher is the way to go.
Mortar and Pestle
Well, something that was created in the Stone Ages and is still used in the kitchen today without having been completely modified must have a pretty good use. So if you like grinding your own spices or making pastes or rice powder then you’ll definitely want one of these.
Plain and simple, when you’re frying up some bacon and it wants to spit grease back at you you’re better off having a screen to cover your pan! They come in all different sizes or they have a universal style that fits multiple pots and pans.
A thin food-grade string that is used to truss or tie joints of meat to prevent them falling apart while being cooked. It is especially useful for tying up meat that has been butterflied and stuffed. It is often used to tie-up bouquet garni. Origin unknown.
Very helpful when roasting a turkey or chicken and you want to keep the stuffing/seasonings inside the bird. Just tie up the legs with some cooking twine! Or if you want to stuff a flank steak and you need something to help it keep its shape then you’ll need some cooking twine.
I LOVE PIZZA! Who doesn’t?!? Always a handy tool whether you want to go with a frozen pizza for dinner or start tossing the dough! Also a great tool to use for shredding lettuce or fresh herbs. It’s even great for cutting that quesadilla into sections. Get creative with it! The biggest thing to check with a pizza cutter is that the wheel is tight and isn’t going to wobble all over the place.
Ice Cream Scoop
I scream! You scream! We ALL scream for Ice cream!
Enough said, right?!? 🙂
Keep it simple and strong. You don’t need an frills with this tool but you will want solid and some good grip.
Well, this is just fun to use when making appetizers and such for parties. I would definitely stick to one that has a rubber handle and they also make them with two different size scoops, one on each end.
There are a lot of good uses for cheesecloth outside of the kitchen as well as inside.
Some of the pros of it in the kitchen are straining liquids from citrus or stocks. You can also use it to make bags of seasonings for roasts or soups, etc.
Apple Cutter / Corer
I really enjoy apples but they usually get overlooked if chips or nuts are around. They just aren’t the easiest grab and go snack. Unless you just bite into one but I always get juice all over me… When you can slice and core in apple all in one motion it’s a much more appealing and convenient treat!
When you’re in the mood for some good ol’ homemade biscuits and gravy… yummy! It’s a simple tool but it makes such a tasty meal! You could also use these for making eggs in a hole. They are the perfect size to cut out the middle of the bread. I would choose a set with multiple sizes.
For the love of garlic! I use garlic in almost every dish I cook. Call me a garlic snob if you want but I only use fresh. I have no interest in the jar stuff. I also tend to chop mine by hand instead of using the press but if you’re cooking for a large crowd and need lots of it here’s what you should try.
Maybe this isn’t on the list for most, but come on! Who doesn’t want one of these?!?!
After a lot of research and shopping around I have finally found it! And it’s awesome!
While there are many other items that are great in the kitchen, this list sums up what I enjoy working with on a regular basis (except for the blowtorch…). I hope that you found it to be helpful! I am also very interested in hearing from you and what gadgets you like to keep in your kitchen. Let me know your favorites below!