Today I thought it would be fun to dive into a question I get asked all the time and that’s what essential tools do I need for my kitchen?
Let me tell you, I am the queen of kitchen tool ownership (dehydrator, immersion blender anyone?) but I have my favorites I use over and over again. And while I do love to use everything on the list below, don’t feel the need to drop everything and embark on a major kitchen overhaul! My only absolute recommendation is to make sure you pick up one good knife and grab a nice wooden cutting board. These two will make all the difference in the world to your daily cooking and you can acquire any or all the rest as and when you want!
So here we go!
A good, sharp knife is an essential tool for preparing food quickly and it’s actually safer to use a sharp knife over a dull one any day. My favorite brand of knives is Global. They’re sleek, sharp and lightweight and hold up really well to everyday use. Although they’re not cheap, you really only need one or two good knives for all of your chopping, dicing and slicing needs.
Just be sure to take good care of them – store them in a block or on a knife strip, never ever put them in the dishwasher and always have them professionally sharpened! When you’re going to buy your knife, head to Williams Sonoma and ask to hold the knife you’re most interested in. It has to feel good and fit in your hand.
I am a big fan of butcher block or bamboo cutting boards as they’re much better for knives than plastic. I also like to have lots and lots of space to cut and prep my ingredients so the bigger the better! If you’re worried about the board being clean, just wash with soap and hot water and dry really well. You can also seal your boards with mineral oil every several months to keep them in tip-top shape. I love the Ikea boards because they’re super affordable and when they wear out, I just toss them in the recycle bin!
Heavy-bottomed, nonstick, oven-safe skillets are essential in my kitchen. I won’t deny All-Clad are incredible pans but for everyday affordable cookware, Calphalon makes some amazing products. I own a couple of the 10″ and 12″ pans and they’re perfect! Just be sure when you’re buying skillets to look for ones without a plastic handle so they can go into the oven. And like your knives, keep these babies out of the dishwasher and hand-wash only!
Oh my goodness, this tool will change your life! I love cooking my grains in a rice cooker because, well, it’s foolproof! You put in your grain, add water, push a button and it cooks perfectly! Plus, it also stays warm until you’re ready to use it! To make them even more of a no-brainer, they’re insanely affordable – I use a little 6-cup version that I picked up on Amazon. Frills? What frills?
I use both nonstick and stainless steel pots for cooking pasta and making soups. Any brand works. The only must-have is a Dutch oven with Le Creuset taking the cake in this category. They’re pricey but they last a lifetime!
A good set of glass nesting bowls are so handy for making salads, vinaigrettes and prepping ingredients. I love the Anchor brand – it’s classic and super affordable! They can also go in the dishwasher to make clean-up that little bit easier!
It’s sort of funny because my favorite brand of vegetable peeler was actually purchased via infomercial as a joke but it’s lasted over 10 years and out-performed every other vegetable peeler I’ve owned! Vegetable peelers are essential for peeling lemons, vegetables and even shaving cheese. Invest in a good one and it’ll probably last forever!
I use a microplane for grating cheese and zesting citrus. The key is to look for one with medium grates so your cheese/zest doesn’t end up lost in the dish.
I always have a few of these on the go in my kitchen. Honestly, I usually just pick them up from Home Goods or TJ Maxx. Ideally, your baking sheet should have a nice lip to keep all of your food contained and be good and heavy to hold heat evenly.
A LIFESAVER when it comes to clean-up, parchment paper has changed my life. Most of the time my baking sheet just needs a quick rinse after it’s been used with no more scrubbing or soaking required. Plus parchment helps everything cook more evenly and prevents your food from sticking! I also use parchment to make packets to steam fish or veggies for a yummy, simple meal!
I do use my food processor quite a bit for pureeing, whipping and chopping. I like the Cuisinart Pro series – they’re both functional and affordable!
When it comes to making soups, a food processor will do but a blender will really give you the most silky, smooth results. My favorite blender is definitely Vitamix. I’ve been using one for years now and absolutely nothing comes close to how amazing it is. Although it’s an investment, it’s definitely one worth making if you’re a fan of creamy soups and smoothies!
I use wooden spoons for most of my cooking (I prefer wood to plastic spatulas) and my favorite is from IKEA. They’re super-affordable, quite durable for everyday tasks and go right into the dishwasher for a thorough clean. And when they begin to show signs of wear, I just recycle and pick up a bunch of new ones!
A good pair (or two) of tongs is essential for flipping meat and tossing pasta. While I prefer stainless steel, a silicone tip one is great to prevent scratching nonstick skillets.
Mostly used for making vinaigrettes and dressings, I look for a whisk that’s solid and durable and prefer stainless steel over anything else.
This tool comes in handy if you’re a citrus lover like me! I find it helps to get the most juice out of the citrus and makes the process quite a bit easier than squeezing by hand.
I love my potato masher not only for making amazing smashed potatoes but also for making banana bread! Look for a stainless steel one that has nice wide wires so nothing gets stuck! Just pop it in the dishwasher when you’re finished for super low-maintenance cleaning!
A 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup and as well as some stainless steel cups and spoons do the trick. No need to get fancy!
And there you have it. The above list is what you’ll find me using in my kitchen on a daily basis and most of the items included are simple, durable and inexpensive! So if you want to put some tools to work, check out a couple of my favorite recipes this week!
Lemony Veggie Pasta Salad
Tools Used: Knife, Cutting Board, Skillet, Pot, Bowl, Vegetable Peeler
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Carrot and Fava Bean Salad
Tools Used: Knife, Cutting Board, 2 Skillets, Pot, 2 Bowls, Vegetable Peeler.
Chicken with Zucchini Noodles and Avocado Sauce
Tools Used: 2 Skillets, Food Processor, Knife, Cutting Board.
Quinoa Kale Salad
Tools Used: Rice Cooker/Pot, Glass Bowl, Knife, Cutting Board, Small Bowl, Whisk.