Using the wrong tool when cooking or baking will give you subpar results. When your kitchen is well-stocked with high-quality tools, the list of entrées, desserts, appetizers, and specialty treats you'll be able to make and enjoy will go up significantly.
You may think that buying lots of tools for your kitchen will be too expensive, but the truth is, it can actually help save you money. If you're able to make your own restaurant-quality food at home, it can help provide a significant cut to your monthly dining out expenses. The right tools and utensils in your kitchen can help you have fun experimenting with different recipes, cooking for friends and family, preparing stunning desserts, appetizers, and meals to gift to other, and so much more.
We've compiled a list below of the tools and utensils you'll want to consider adding to your kitchen if you don't already have them. To make it easier for you to navigate the list, we've broken our recommendations down into different product categories: essential prep tools, must-have cookware pieces, key bakeware items, indispensable small electric appliances, time-saving tools and gadgets, and impressive entertaining products.
Not every kitchen will need every product we recommend. For example, if you don't eat pasta, you can definitely skip on the pasta maker. However, the goal of our list is to provide you with some inspiration to select a few key products you'd like to add to your kitchen and start using right away!
Essential Prep Tools
When cooking or baking, there is often a lot of prep work that you'll need to do. Whether you're chopping up vegetables or measuring out wet and dry ingredients, you'll find that your life is so much easier if you have the right tool for the right job. Below, we've compiled a list of some of the prep tools you'll definitely want to consider adding to your kitchen collection if you don't have them already.
Whenever a recipe calls for a certain amount of an ingredient, you'll need a good set of measuring cups. Adding the right amount of something is important when cooking and crucial when baking. You'll want to purchase a set of measuring cups designed for measuring wet ingredients as well as a set designed for measuring dry ingredients. This will help ensure that what you cook turns out as intended.
Just as you'll need a few sets of measuring cups, you'll also want to purchase a set of measuring spoons for measuring smaller amounts of ingredients. There are many different varieties and designs when you're looking for a set of measuring spoons. You'll want to be sure to select an option that will allow you to measure quantities between ¼ (or even 1/8) of a teaspoon up to one tablespoon.
A quality chef's knife can be used for so much in the kitchen. When you have a knife that performs well, you'll find yourself reaching for it for everything from cutting up vegetables, mincing herb, slicing raw meat, and so much more. This is a product you definitely want to make an investment in. Look for a high-quality knife that is sharp and well-balanced; it will make all the difference!
A paring knife is another knife you'll always want to keep within easy reach when you're in the kitchen. Unlike the large blade you'll find on a chef's knife, a paring knife has a much smaller blade and is very useful for smaller or more precise cutting jobs. You'll find that you use your paring knife for tasks such as peeling vegetables, and slicing smaller items, such as mushrooms, carrots, strawberries, or garlic.
Another essential cutting tool you'll want to keep in your kitchen is a good pair of kitchen shears. Kitchen shears have very durable and sharp blades that can be easily cleaned. They can be used for everything from snipping herbs to cutting up a whole chicken.
If you ever have to peel potatoes or other vegetables, you'll definitely be sad if you don't have a vegetable peeler. They are so much easier (and safer) to use than trying to peel the skin off with a knife. You'll also find that using a vegetable peeler leads to less waste than if you were to try to use a knife.
You'll also want to have a few good cutting boards in your kitchen. A cutting board can provide you with a nice surface for cutting up meats, chopping vegetables, slicing bread, and so much more. Look for options that can be easily and thoroughly cleaned, so you'll feel comfortable using them with different types of food. You'll likely want to have a variety of sizes available. Smaller cutting boards are great for smaller tasks like slicing a lemon, while you'll want a large cutting board for slicing a roast or a loaf of bread.
A can opener is another prep tool you'll want to have in your kitchen. Whether you choose an electric or hand-held model, you'll definitely want to have the ability to open a can when you need it.
Without a colander, you won't be able to easily rinse of fruits and vegetables or drain pasta. A few features you may want to look for when choosing a colander include stay-cool handles and non-slip feet. You may also want to purchase a set of colanders to provide you with different size options depending on the task you need to complete. For example, if you just want to rinse out a can of beans, you won't need a large colander like you would for washing a head of lettuce.
A set of mixing bowls is another must-have for every kitchen. You'll need mixing bowls for baking, stirring ingredients together when making a marinade, crafting homemade salad dressings, and separating ingredients for a recipe. Finding a set of mixing bowls that offers a variety of size options will help make sure you have what you need for any task, big or small.
A mandoline can significantly decrease your prep time, especially when grating or slicing large quantities. Mandolines come with different blades designed to help you quickly create even slices of onions, tomatoes, cheese, zucchini, potatoes, and so much more. They often include a grating blade as well, which will allow you to add freshly grated cheeses to your recipes.
Mandolines have a slanted design and an exposed blade. You simply slide your food up and down over the blade to achieve quick and impressive results. You should look for a model that includes a food holder, since this will make it less likely that you'll inadvertently slice your finger as you slice your foods.
Must-Have Cookware Pieces
You never know the difference a good piece of cookware can make when cooking a meal until you get one. Cooking without worrying about your food sticking to the pan is a great feeling. Having the right piece of cookware to match what you're cooking can make all the difference as well.
When selecting cookware, you can choose between stainless steel and non-stick pieces. Both have their own pros and cons, so you'll need to think about the foods you cook and your cooking style to help you make the right decision for your needs.
Nonstick cookware is typically less expensive and a little easier to cook with, especially for less experienced chefs. A nonstick pan is great for cooking eggs, pancakes, rice, and some other foods, since they have a nonstick coating to prevent these foods from getting stuck.
If you purchase a set of nonstick cookware, you'll definitely want to be sure to purchase a high-quality set since they are less likely to release any harmful chemicals or residue from the nonstick coating into your foods.
Most professional chefs choose stainless steel for nearly all of their cooking tasks. It can be used at higher temperatures, is more durable, and can safely be used in the oven. A stainless skillet can also help you create delicious sauces using the fond of the foods you cook in them. However, stainless steel cookware is more expensive and may involve more of a learning curve.
All this being said, you don't have to select only stainless steel or nonstick cookware when outfitting your kitchen. There is no reason you can choose to have some of both. Having some nonstick and some stainless-steel pieces will even increase the types of foods you're able to properly prepare.
Check out our recommendations below to make sure your kitchen is well-stocked in the cookware department.
Skillets are useful for so many different tasks. Skillets have a flat bottom and slanted sides. You may also hear them called a frying pan. Their design makes them an ideal product to grab when you need to sauté vegetables, scramble eggs, cook pancakes and much more.
Unlike skillets that have slanted sides, a sauté pan has vertical sides that go up a bit higher. That makes this cookware piece ideal for making sauces, searing meats, and more. Sauté pans can also be used to start a recipe on the stovetop and finish it in the oven (just make sure your cookware is safe to use at the temperature called for in the recipe).
Small and Medium Sauce Pans
Two other pieces of cookware you'll want to keep in your kitchen include a small and medium sauce pan. Despite the name, you'll be able to use these for much more than just cooking or heating up a sauce.
A sauce pan is a good shape for a variety of tasks including cooking pasta or rice, warming up a can of soup, or boiling water.
Having a few different sizes will keep you prepared for different tasks and allow you to more easily prepare the right amount of food. Consider adding a one-, two-, and three-quart sauce pan to your collection.
A stockpot is a much larger pot that can be used for making large quantities of food or cooking large items. Stockpots have a capacity that is typically between eight and 12 quarts and are great for making homecooked soups and stews, steaming crabs, boiling corn on the cob for a crowd, and cooking a large quantity of pasta.
A grill pan can help you enjoy delicious grilled food year-round. It is also a great alternative to using a charcoal or gas grill if you don't have the space or don't feel comfortable out in front of the grill. A grill pan's design allows it to put those classic and delicious grill marks on your food. You can make some delicious hamburgers, steaks, grilled vegetables, and much more with your new grill pan.
Key Bakeware Items
There are also a number of bakeware items that you'll want to think about adding to your kitchen cabinets if you don't have them already. Again, when you have the right tools, you'll find that the list of delicious treats you're able to whip up in the comfort of your own kitchen increases significantly. Ensuring the products you have are of a high-quality will help you create truly delicious and impressive desserts and delicacies.
A sheet pan can be used for so much in the kitchen. From baking a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies to roasting vegetables, your sheet pan will surely get plenty of use. Sheet pans provide you with a large surface that will hold a lot of food. They have raised sides, which can prevent juices from leaking out into your oven.
If you enjoy baking at all, you'll also want to have a muffin pan in your cabinets. This will allow you to whip up a batch of cupcakes, muffins, or cornbread. You can also use your muffin pan for making individual servings of various meals, including mini meatloaves, ham and egg cups, crab cakes, and mini lasagnas.
A loaf pan is another versatile product. In addition to the obvious use of baking a load of bread, you can also use your bread pan to make meatloaf, frozen layered desserts, smaller portions of lasagna or baked ziti, chicken pot pie, and shepherd's pie.
A cake pan set will allow you to make your own impressive layer cakes in your own kitchen. Whether you are trying to perfect your cake decorating skills or just want to be able to make a homemade birthday cake for your family member, a set of cake pans will make this possible. There are two different types of cake pans you can consider: A set of two (or three) pans that are all the same size, or a set of different sized pans. The first option will let you make a layer cake, while the second option will let you create tiered cakes.
Indispensable Small Electric Appliances
You'll find a relatively lengthy list of small kitchen appliances below. Realistically, unless you live in a mansion, you aren't going to have space to store each item we recommend. However, selecting two or three that you'll make regular use of and that will allow you to make more foods that you enjoy eating is a great place to start.
Toaster or Toaster Oven
What kitchen is complete without a toaster? Having a toaster will let you enjoy a slice of toast with your breakfast, toast a bagel to perfection, reheat a frozen waffle, and so much more. You can also consider purchasing a toast over instead. In addition to doing all the things mentioned above, it will also let you make hot sandwiches, reheat slices of pizza and other left overs, and even bake small quantities of biscuits, cookies, and other items.
A blender is another small appliance you'll likely want in your kitchen. Blenders help with a variety of cooking-related tasks including making homemade sauces and dips, blending ingredients to make a smoothie or milkshake, and mixing ingredients for a soup. You can even use a blender to make homemade peanut butter, hollandaise sauce, vegetable purées, baby food, almond milk, and more.
Air fryers seem to be all the rage these days. But it isn't without reason. These small appliances can deliver simple and delicious results. An air fryer is a small convection oven that allows to rapid circulation of heat around your food. This allows foods to crisp up as they would with frying, but does not require the added use of unhealthy fats and oils. You can use an air fryer for cooking many foods including meats, French fries and chips, cookies, donuts, roasted vegetables, and so much more. It will be easy to get your money's worth out of this product!
A slow cooker is a great product to have if you have a busy schedule and don't always have a lot of time available to cook dinner. With a slow cooker, you can add the ingredients for your meal, set the timer, and walk away while your dinner cooks itself. This can be a huge time-saver for busy nights; you can walk in from work or picking the kids up from their soccer practice to a dinner that is cooked and ready-to-eat.
Pressure cookers can also be a huge time saver. Pressure cookers are sealed and build up steam and pressure to quickly cook foods. Foods that may take hours to cook in the oven can be cooked in minutes with a pressure cooker. Many pressure cookers you'll find today include additional settings that make them an even more versatile product. They can also be used as a slow cooker, to make yogurt, bake cakes and cheesecakes, sauté foods, and even make hard-boiled eggs.
If you enjoy the crisp and delightful taste of rotisserie chicken, why not make it in your own home? A rotisserie oven will make this possible. With minimal prep work, you'll be able to get your chicken cooking to enjoy a yummy dinner. In addition to making a rotisserie chicken, a rotisserie oven can also be used to cook roasts, vegetables, and seafood.
Electric Pasta Maker
If you've ever had homemade pasta, you know what you purchase in the store just can't compare. An electric pasta maker will allow you to make your own pasta at home. These amazing tools will mix and knead your ingredients for you, taking the time and prep work out of making pasta. They include different attachments that will let you make different shapes of pasta as well. If you love Italian food, this is an investment you will not regret.
A food dehydrator is one of those tools that you won't realize how much you'll use it until you purchase it. A food dehydrator reduces the water content of different foods. There are so many uses for a food dehydrator including making jerky, proofing bread, preserving fruits, making prunes, crisping up seeds and nuts, drying herbs, drying berries, and making crackers. You'll also find that a dehydrator can be helpful with non-food related tasks such as making potpourri, drying flowers, drying crafts, and making fire starters.
Juicing fruits and vegetables is a good way to increase your daily consumption of the essential nutrients found in these superfoods. Juices let you extract the juice from everything from oranges to celery. Most juicers are easy to use and will let you drop in whole fruits and vegetables, helping you quickly create the delicious juice.
While you won't use a vacuum sealer for making foods, it is still a small appliance you should consider purchasing. A vacuum sealer allows you to suck all the air out of storage bags and containers, which can help with food storage.
Vacuum sealers can prevent freezer burn from building up on your meats, help food stay fresher, and can even improve the taste of foods. When you invest in a food saver, you'll find that you're wasting a lot less food and can save money by stocking up on meats when they're on sale, so it can easily pay for itself in a short amount of time.
Time-Saving Tools and Gadgets
There are some kitchen tools that you may initially look at and say, "gee, that doesn't seem like something I'd use very often" or "that just seems to be too specialized that it probably isn't worth purchasing." For some items, this is completely true. However, with some other tools and gadgets, you'll find that they are more versatile than you may initially have thought or that they can save so much time and effort that they are well-worth the purchase.
A whisk is another item you'll likely want to make sure to have in one of your drawers. They can be used for a variety of tasks including making sauces, stirring gravy, and mixing pancakes. When selecting a whisk, look for a product that has a comfortable handle, since many times when you're using a whisk, you'll be mixing for a while.
With a garlic press, you can easily add the taste of fresh garlic to your recipes. While you can finely mince or chop garlic with a knife, having a garlic press will make the task much easier. Some garlic presses can even press garlic without you needing to peel the clove. When choosing a garlic press, look for a model with a comfortable handle and large hopper that will hold a large clove.
You'll want to have a quality spatula in your kitchen for flipping pancakes, stirring different ingredients, and more. There are tons of spatulas to choose from in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. You'll easily be able to select a product that will meet your needs and help you accomplish the tasks you'd like.
A good pair of tongs will also certainly come in handy. You can use them for everything from flipping meats that are cooking to serving salad. You can also find specialized products designed for cooking or serving, or you may choose to purchase a model that could be used for either purpose. If you plan on using your tongs for cooking, be sure to look for a model with a silicone finish, especially if you have nonstick cookware.
While you likely won't use a ladle as frequently as some of the other items on our list, when you need one, you'll be sad if you don't have it. Ladles make serving liquid dishes such as stews, soups, and sauces much easier.
If you enjoy making your own salads, a salad spinner is a good item to purchase. With a salad spinner, you can quickly wash and rinse your lettuce and other vegetables. Spinning all the water off your lettuce will also help it last longer in the refrigerator if you won't be eating it all right away. Many salad spinners can also be used to dry berries.
You will definitely want to invest in a meat thermometer. Cooking meats to the right temperature not only ensures they'll be tender and juicy, but it is also essential in making sure things are thoroughly cooked and safe to eat. There are different options to consider when purchasing a meat thermometer.
Some are designed to go in the oven with the foods and keep track of the temperature as it cooks, while others can be used to quickly test a food's internal temperature once it is out of the oven. Some models are digital and can be set to sound an alarm once your meat has reached the desired temperature.
If you ever use your oven, you should definitely own a good pair of oven mitts. They are much safer and more effective than trying to use a towel or other item to remove your items from the oven. When selecting a pair of oven mitts, you want to choose a pair that is long enough to also provide some protection for your forearms, so you don't burn them on the side of the oven.
A kitchen scale can help you make sure you are using the right amount of ingredients when following a recipe. Kitchen scales can also be helpful when trying to control portions. Most kitchen scales allow you to choose between different units of measure and let you zero out the scale to add new ingredients to a bowl.
Impressive Entertaining Products and Products Just for Fun
When you have the right products for entertaining, you'll likely find that you invite friends and family over more to enjoy a meal together. This can improve your bond and relationship with the loved ones in your life, allow you to present them with a unique gift through a relaxing evening and delicious meal, and decrease everyone's dining out bill. Read through our suggestions of some entertaining products you just might want to order today.
Cheese and Charcuterie Serving Board
Wow your guests by creating a cheese and charcuterie platter. Include some fresh meats, cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, olives, and slices of breads for an appetizer that won't disappoint. You can even step it up a notch by purchasing a cheese making kit to make your own homemade cheeses to add to your display.
Everyone will want to come to your get-togethers when they know you have a margarita machine. You can serve up a pitcher of delicious frozen margaritas, piña coladas, daiquiris, and other yummy tropical drinks. You can also use your margarita machine to make non-alcoholic smoothies for kids and other guests that would prefer to avoid alcohol.
French Press Coffee Maker
An after-dinner coffee is a nice touch with any meal. A French press coffee maker allows you to create a more flavorful coffee than a traditional coffee maker. With a drip coffee pot, the water often gets heated up too quickly and then cooled down too quickly. Conversely, a French press will keep the water at the ideal temperature throughout the entire coffee-brewing process.
A fondue maker is a great product to have for entertaining. You can use it for any course in your meal, including creating delicious cheese dips, broths for cooking meats and vegetables, and sweet chocolatey dipping sauces for desserts. You could even host a full fondue night where you and your guests can partake in some great conversation as you enjoy a multi-course fondue meal.
Cotton Candy Machine
A cotton candy machine will let you create sweet treats to share with friends and family at your next get-together. Sure, the kids will love it, but so will the adults. Cotton candy is an airy sugary concoction that brings up memories of carnivals and fun summer times. Whether you're hosting an outdoor summer barbecue or a dinner party, why not offer your guests this tasty treat after the meal?
The right kitchen tools and utensils can dramatically improve what you'll be able to cook and bake in your kitchen. Read through our recommendations one more time and select a few key items that you know you'll definitely use. Start with purchasing these items, then slowly add more to your collection. You'll be impressed with the delicious results you'll be able to produce!