Have you ever gone shopping for kitchenware and thought to yourself: “Woah! This is harder than I thought”?
You walk into a store and you’re bombarded with tons of kitchen and appliances, all of them promising that they’re the best of the best and that they’ll make your life easier.
Although it may be tempting to buy every new kitchen gadget you that comes your way, it’s important to make sure that you’ll really use it, otherwise, you’ll be cluttering your kitchen with useless items.
Choosing the right tools for your kitchen may be a little confusing for many of us. No need to worry though! I’ve compiled a list of all the kitchen essentials that’ll bring out the chef in you and inspire you to cook with love!
Since prepping your food is a major part of the whole cooking process, choosing the right tools to help you do so is key to making your time in the kitchen as smooth as possible.
Let’s start off by the gadgets that’ll you be using in the pre-cooking phase.
Knives are an obvious kitchen must-have, but did you know that different knives are designed to serve different purposes?
Using the right knife means you’ll be able to cut up your food much faster with minimal effort.
A chef’s knife is a versatile tool that you definitely need in everyday cooking. Originally, the purpose of a chef knife was to cut slices of meat, however, a chef knife is now also used in neatly chopping and mincing vegetables.
It’s usually around 6 to 14 inches long and it’s a little curvy. That curve shape allows the knife to rock back and forth for fast and fine mincing. Whether you buy a small or large-sized chef knife, that goes back to the size of your hand.
You can think of a paring knife as the smaller version of a chef’s knife. It’s smaller and shorter, usually between 2 ¾ to 4 inches long. This knife is usually extremely sharp with a pointed tip.
It’s a must-have if you’re looking to cut food with precision. Some of the common uses of a paring knife are peeling fruits and veggies, de-veining shrimps, and trimming excess meat fat with ease.
A bread knife is specifically designed to slice bread. Although you can use a regular knife to cut bread, you’re likely to end up with messy looking slices and a lot of crumbs that you won’t use. The serrated design of the bread knife makes cutting crispy bread a breeze.
A steak knife is used both in the kitchen and on the table. You’ll probably notice it at a restaurant if you order a steak. It easily cuts into cooked meat and chicken and can be used in the kitchen for cutting veggies and fruits too.
This knife is the one if you’re in for some serious cooking business. It’s definitely not for beginner cooks, but rather a good choice for pro chefs and dedicated cooks. This knife is probably the biggest and heaviest knife among all.
That’s because it’s used to cut up bones, disjoint chicken and turkey, and chopping through tough veggies like pumpkin.
A cutting board is an essential kitchen tool that keeps your food clean and protects your countertop. One cutting board won’t do the trick, you’ll need at least two, one for meats and one for produce. It’s important to separate cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination.
It’s also a good idea to purchase a smaller cutting board in case you only need to chop up some garlic or maybe a few strawberries. When choosing a cutting board, consider the size of your countertop. You don’t want to buy an extra large board that’ll take up all your space, and you definitely don’t want one that’s too small to fit your food.
Choose from wood, bamboo, or plastic cutting boards and try to buy one that’s a dishwasher.
From cutting poultry to slicing pizza to slicing herbs, kitchen shears have many surprising uses! Heavy duty kitchen shears or scissors make certain tasks quicker and easier. You won’t need a cutting board while using them and they’re dishwasher safe.
A knife sharpener will help you get your knives back in shape when time dulls them. If you use your knives often, it’s a good idea to invest in an electric knife sharpener. If that’s not the case, a handheld knife sharpener should do.
Honing steel realigns the blade back to its original position. Unlike a knife sharpener, honing steel correct the edge of your knife without actually shaving off any of it.
This is helpful if you want to peel your veggies. You’re welcome to use a knife for peeling if you’re confident with your cooking skills, but this may cause injuries so it’s better to stay safe.
A garlic press is used to crush and mince garlic so you can use fresh cloves for cooking. They’re also very helpful because they allow the garlic to keep its flavor.
Whether you love Parmesan cheese on your pasta or your love grating fresh ginger in your Asian chicken, a grater is an essential tool for every cook, beginner or pro! A grater is used to grate veggies, cheese, chocolate, and cinnamon.
There are many different grater designs to choose from. It all comes down to how you intend to use it. For instance, if you’ll be shredding large amounts of cheese, a rather big tower grater is a good option. Choosing a multi-sided grater is a good idea because it allows you to shred food to the desired size.
For smaller foods like grating garlic and cinnamon, zesting onion, or sprinkling some parmesan for topping, a handheld grater is a better idea. I personally like to have both at hand to make things easier!
Measuring Spoons and Cups
I can’t stress enough how important having measuring spoons and cups can be! You’ll find tons of recipes where you’ll need to measure exact amounts of solid ingredients or liquids for perfect results.
Whether you’re baking a cake, preparing a delicate sauce, or blending a delicious smoothie, you don’t want to mess up the ingredients. There are many measuring cups and spoons out there, but I’d recommend you go for stainless steel rather than a plastic set of measuring cups and spoons. That way you can use them for both hot and cold ingredients safely.
Measuring cups usually come in a ¼, ⅓, ½, ¾, and 1 cup sizes while measuring spoons come in smaller sizes of ¼,½,1 teaspoon, and 1 Tablespoon.
You’ll use mixing bowls a lot in the kitchen and on the table upon serving. Mixing bowls are used for preparing and mixing salads, incorporating cake batter and dough, marinating, preparing the sauce and much more.
I’d buy a set of bowls of different sizes. You definitely won’t use the same bowl when you’re mixing a cake batter and when you’re preparing a dipping, for instance.
Glass is a great option because it withstands heat and doesn’t absorb stains. Buying a stackable set of mixing balls is worth considering if you wish to save some space in your kitchen cabinets.
Craving some pasta? A colander is a tool you’ll definitely need to drain your food. It’s also a great and lazy solution for your vegetable and fruit cleaning needs. Opt for stainless steel rather than a plastic colander so it can withstand heat from boiled water. Also, choosing one with rubber non-slip feet is best to ensure safety.
There are many types of whisks to choose from. I personally choose to take the shortcut and use a balloon whisk. The reason why?
A balloon whisk is so much better than many other types because it adds fluffiness and texture to your batter. It’s your go-to whisk that you’ll use for scrambling eggs, whipping cream, fluffing egg whites, and mixing sauce.
I also love that I can use my rubber balloon whisk to scrape off the sides of the bowl. Investing in an electric whisk is a great idea too, but that doesn’t mean you’ll let go of the typical balloon hand whisk!
A sieve is a small colander. It’s typically made of wire or plastic, and it’s used to filter liquids out of solid food. I’d personally buy 3 or 4 sieves in different sizes to accommodate different uses.
A citrus juicer is used to make juice out of citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons. Citrus juicers are either manual or automatic. Most people will probably do well with a manual juicer, you just need to squeeze the fruit into the juicer yourself. An automatic juicer does that for you.
If you or your family enjoy drinking fresh juice a lot, then I recommend you buy an automatic citrus juicer to save yourself the time and effort.
This is used more commonly with old can types that still don’t have a pull. You use this to open a can without risking cutting yourself. You may also want to keep one handy in case the pull accidentally breaks. A can opener can be very basic, so it’s always better if you buy a multi-purpose can opener that can unscrew the top and open jar lids and cans.
Cookware and Bakeware
Now that your food is all ready and prepped, let’s get some cooking done! There are some utensils and tools that I can’t do without. I mean that literally!
Here’s a list of my all-time favorite cooking and baking basics.
Pots and Pans
There are tons of options to choose from in this section. The market is full of pots and pans made of different materials and each comes with its benefits. You can choose from stainless steel, granite, ceramic coated, Tefal, and cast iron pots and pans.
A large pot is essential for cooking big batches of food. Whether it’s cooking soup, pasta, stew, or even preparing chicken stock, a large pot is important to handle large volumes.
A frying pan is a flat bottomed pan that is used for searing, frying, and browning food. It’s important to choose a high-quality and durable frying pan because you’ll use it regularly. Also, try to choose one with a rubber handle to make holding it less of a hassle while cooking.
A saucepan is deeper than a frying pan. It’s usually used for cooking sauce, pasta, and soups.
I like to keep a small and a medium-sized saucepan at hand, depending on the portion that I’m cooking.
Cast Iron Skillet
This is definitely my favorite! All you need to cook mouthwatering dinner some marinated chicken or steak with some seasoning and you’re good to go. A cast iron skillet cooks food evenly and can be used on the stove top and in the oven.
Bear in mind though that cast iron skillets are relatively very heavy.
What’s better than a tin that catches all the juice that drips of a roasted turkey or chicken? A roasting tin is important to have if you’re a fan of roasting meats and veggies. Make sure you double check the size of your oven to make sure that the roasting tin fits inside.
Muffin tins usually come in two sizes, six and twelve capacity tins. Other than baking muffins and cupcakes, muffin tins are perfect for making individual quiches and breakfast egg muffins.
Your best option is a muffin tin that’s non-stick and distributes heat evenly. Moreover, make sure you choose a size that fits your oven.
Baking Sheet Pan
The idea of a wobbly and thin baking sheet pan makes me cringe! There’s nothing worse than that, don’t you think? Investing in a high-quality baking sheet pan will ensure that all your baking goods are cooked evenly and that they don’t stick.
Baking sheet pans are commonly used to bake cookies, potatoes, bread rolls, sheet cake, and pizzas. You can also line them up with aluminum foil and use them under your oven-dish to collect food that falls on the side for easier cleanup!
Whenever I hear the words “Casserole Dish”, I can’t help but think of comfort foods! Think cheesy lasagne and hash brown casserole, it really doesn’t get better.
Casserole dishes can be made of glass or ceramic and come in many different sizes. Owning a few sizes is a good option for portioning food.
For turning, mashing, stirring, incorporating, and mixing ingredients, check out all what you’ll need for the perfect dish!
Wooden Stirring Spoon
I prefer using a wooden stirring spoon rather than a stainless steel spoon that can get really hot while you’re stirring while cooking. They’re also great for scraping non-stick pans without damaging them.
A slotted spoon is a big spoon with holes. You use it to filter the food out of the water. It’s a very commonly used tool when you want to remove food from the pot and leave the juice or sauce behind.
A spatula is one of the most versatile kitchen tools that you’ll be using. It’s wide, flat, and also flexible. Spatulas are used to incorporate ingredients, turn food over, and to spread sauces. Rubber spatulas have been developed to withstand high degrees of heat safely and can scrape the sides of the bowls to catch every bit.
These are what you use to take single food items out of the frying pan. Tongs make it easier to pick up the desired food items from the pan or turn your food over.
A ladle is a spoon that comes with a long handle and a cup-shaped bowl. It’s essential for serving soups and stews.
A masher is used to crush cooked food. A masher is most commonly used to prepare mashed potatoes. Opt for a masher with a comfortable rubber handle to make things easier.
Oven gloves come in different materials. The cotton gloves are the most widely used type. They’re convenient and you can wash them in a washing machine. However, they can’t withstand high temperatures.
If you want something that can take some heat, try rubber gloves. Rubber gloves can withstand up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and they are perfect for your grip. However, they are not very comfortable as they stick to your hands so much and leave them sweaty.
Silicone gloves are my personal choice though. They’re comfortable to use and can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, some of them come with fingers so that you can get a better grip.
Much like gloves, these are exclusively for your safety. They’re used to carry hot dishes and they can double up as trivets to protect your table so that the hot pots won’t damage it.
A food thermometer comes in handy when you can’t tell if your food is done or not by sight alone. It’s an essential piece of equipment if you want to make sure that you’re not undercooking your food.
A food thermometer ensures that food has reached a temperature that’s high enough to eliminate harmful bacteria.
Buying the right appliances can make all the difference to your cooking experience, your budget, and your kitchen space. No one wants to clutter their kitchen and spend an extra buck for tons of unnecessary appliances.
Here’s a list of the appliances I find very important.
A food processor is one of those kitchen gadgets that you can use for many tasks. Most commonly, food processors are used to chop, slice, shred and dice food really quickly and efficiently.
Blenders are used for making quick smoothies, soups, and pureeing food. There are small and convenient blenders now available. Choose a high-quality blender that will last long. You may pay a little more now, but that would save you some money in the long run.
Also, make sure that your blender is of convenient size and that it fits under your countertop. Purchasing a blender with minimal noise is always a plus too!
A small and lightweight kitchen scale is great if you’re a regular baker. It ensures that ingredients are measured precisely and save you the hassle of converting grams to cups and spoons.
Other Kitchen Essentials
Apart from cooking and preparing tools, you’ll need some gadgets to keep your kitchen clean and organized.
Check out this list of must-have kitchen supplies.
You might think that you won’t need a dish rack if you own a dishwasher, but that’s not necessarily the case. You may need to quickly wash a tool to use right away or give it a quick rinse.
Aluminum foil can be used to cover countertops, wrapping sandwiches, and covering baking pans in the oven to avoid burning the food.
Parchment paper is used to line baking sheet pans, bakings dishes, wrap food, and cover countertops for easy cleanup.
Parchment paper is safe to use in the oven and can withstand heat. You can find it in rolls, sheets, or already cut in circular shapes for cake molds.
Storage containers are very useful especially for storing leftovers. You can also safely freeze food in them. To make the most of your containers, make sure that they’re oven and microwave safe.
Towels and Sponges
You’ll need towels for wiping out surfaces and drying dishes. Sponges are also needed for scrubbing dishes and regular cleaning.
Trash Bin and Bags
If your kitchen is large, opt for a large trash bin. That always comes in handy while cooking. However, if your kitchen is rather small, don’t overcrowd it with a large bin.
Also, remember to keep heavy-duty trash bin bags at hand all the time.
Getting your kitchen ready with the right tools can be overwhelming, but with a few smart choices and some organization, you’ll get it done in no time. Always remember to purchase high-quality, durable, and versatile items to save you money, time, and kitchen space.