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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.

Can Opener

Oxo Can OpenerA small manual or electrical appliance used for opening cans. Origin 1865-1870.

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.

>> See My Favorite Can Opener Here

Salad Spinner

Ikea Salad SpinnerA set of bowls used to wash and remove excess water from greens. It uses centrifugal force to separate the water from the leaves. Origin 1970-1974.

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.

>> This is the Spinner That I Use and Love Here

Vegetable Peeler

Oxo Vegetable PeelerA kitchen tool used for removing the skin of a vegetable or fruit. These often have a swiveling and protected blade. Origin 1928.

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.

>> See My All Time Favorite Peeler Here

Colander/Strainer

LiveFresh-ColanderA bowl that is perforated and used to strain off liquid from food, especially after cooking. Origin unknown.

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.

>> See What I Would Use Here

Spatulas

SpatulasA kitchen utensil with a wide, flat, usually flexible blade, used for stirring foods or scraping them from cooking utensils, pots, pans etc. Origin 1515-1525.

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.

>> Check Out Some Great Ones Here

Spoons (Ladle, Slotted, etc.)

Utopia SpoonsA large spoon with a long handle and cup-shaped bowl, used to serve soup, stew, or sauce. Origin before 1000.

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.

>> Check Out These Spoons Here

Measuring Cups

A cup or spoon marked in graded amounts, used for measuring ingredients in cooking. Origin 1896.

Pyrex Measuring CupsAs 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.

>> These Are My Favorite Cups Here

Spring Chef Measuring Spoons

Measuring Spoons

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.

>> Best Spoons I’ve Found Here

Grater

GraterA kitchen tool used for shredding food (such as cheese and carrots). Origin 1540’s.

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.

>> See My Go To Grater Here 

Whisk

WMF Profi Plus Ball WhiskAn implement, usually a bunch of wire loops held together in a handle, for beating or whipping eggs, cream, etc. Origin 1800’s.

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.

>> For That Reason I Love This One Here

Meat Tenderizer

Meat Tenderizer MalletA hand-powered tool used to tenderize slabs of meat in preparation for cooking. Origin unknown.

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.

>> This Is What I Use Here

Tongs

Oberhaus TongsAn instrument with two movable arms that are joined at one end, used for picking up and holding things. Origin unknown.

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.

>> This Is My Top Choice Here

Churchkey / Bottle opener / Corkscrew

Bottle Opener CorkscrewA 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!

>> Here Is A Really Great One

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.

>> This Is My Favorite Here

Microplane® / Zester

Microplane GraterA kitchen utensil used to shave zest from lemons and other citrus fruit. The zest is cut into ribbons, one drawn through each hole.. Origin 1990’s – This tool’s original purpose was for woodworking.

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.

>> This Is the One I Use Here.

Spoon Sieve

Fine Mesh Spoon SieveAn instrument with a mesh bottom, used for separating coarse from fine parts of loose matter, for straining liquids, etc. Origin before 900.

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.

>> See My First Choice Here

Egg Slicer

Egg SlicerAn 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.

>> Check Out This One Here

Dough Scraper

Ecoss Dough ScraperA tool used by bakers to cut dough and to clean surfaces on which dough has been worked. Origin unknown.

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.

>> This Is My Favorite Here

Meat Thermometer

RenGard Cooking ThermometerA thermometer used to measure the internal temperature of meat, especially roasts and steaks, and other cooked foods. Origin 1724 (mercury thermometers).

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.

>> See My Top Pick Here

Basting Brush

Oxo Silicone Basting BrushA cooking utensil used to spread butter, oil or glaze on food. Origin 1955.

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.

>> Check Out This Cool Brush Here

Baster

Oxo BasterA tube with a rubber bulb used to take up and release melted fat or gravy in order to moisten roasting meat. Origin 1880-85.

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.

>> This Is My Favorite Here

Potato Masher

A kitchen utensil used to mash cooked food, most commonly potatoes. Origin 1847.

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.

>> Check Out My Top Pick Here

Mortar and Pestle

Tudimo Mortar PestleA kitchen device used since ancient times to prepare ingredients or substances by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder. Origin Stone Age.

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.

>> See My Go To One Here

Splatter Screen

A screen which helps to prevent hot grease and other hot materials from being splattered out of the pan as food is being cooked. Origin 1958.

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.

>> This Is My Favorite Here

Cooking Twine

Regency Cooking TwineA 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.

>> This Is What I Use Here

Pizza Cutter

Oxo Pizza CutterA wheel-bladed utensil for cutting pizzas; also called pizza wheel, pizza slicer. Origin 1708.

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.

>> See The Best One Here

Ice Cream Scoop

Jamie Oliver Ice Cream ScoopA utensil composed of a palm-sized hollow hemisphere attached to a horizontal handle, for dishing out ice cream or other soft foods. Origin 1897.

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.

>> Scoop Up My Favorite Here

Melon Baller

Oxo Melon BallerA spoon like utensil with a sharp edge used especially for cutting ball-shaped pieces from the pulp of a fruit. Origin 1846.

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.

>> This Is My Choice Here

Cheesecloth

Pure Acres CheeseclothA loose-woven gauze-like cotton cloth used primarily in cheese making and cooking. Origin 1650-60.

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.

>> This Is What’s In My Kitchen Here

Apple Cutter / Corer

Apple Slicer CorerA device for removing the core and pips from an apple. Origin 1919-23.

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!

>> See My First Pick Here

Biscuit Cutter

RSVP Biscuit Cutter SetA circular device for cutting out biscuits from rolled dough. Origin 1875.

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.

>> Check Out My Favorite Set Here

Garlic press

Garlic Press SetA kitchen tool used to crush garlic cloves by forcing them through a grid of small holes. Origin 1954.

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.

>> This Is My Go To Here

Blowtorch

JB Chef BlowtorchA small, liquid-fuel torch that shoots out a hot flame intensified by pressurized air. Origin 1797-99.

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!

>> Check It Out Here

 

 

 

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!

33 Best Kitchen Utensils; A List for Home Cooks

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