Whether you’re stocking a new or first-time kitchen, or looking to cut down on clutter with stylish essentials… these are the must-have kitchen tools & gadgets.
*If retro/vintage is a style you're interested in, the list below showcases modern retro-chic kitchen must-haves. But I encourage you to find tools that match your own style! :)
1. Chef’s Knife
A good knife is certainly a must-have in the kitchen, and the Chef’s Knife (also known as a Cook’s Knife) is uniquely versatile. Whether you’re slicing, dicing or chopping, the Chef’s Knife will be your go-to. It’s ideal for slicing fruits and vegetables, chopping herbs and even cutting through boneless meats.
2. Cutting Board
You can’t have a good knife without a good cutting board. I say that because a good cutting board with help help your blade sharp. Cutting boards can be plastic, wood, glass or corian. That said, if you’re looking for just the essentials (which we are) than you’ll want to find a wood board that fits your style. A wooden cutting board will be easier on your knife, and can be cleaned with relative ease (did you know wood even has natural antibacterial properties?). Plus, the charming natural beauty of a wood board is great for serving cheese, h'orderves and more!
From washing produce to straining pasta, you’d be surprised at just how useful a colander is. So grab yourself something that fits your style, because one of my favorite uses is to display fresh fruit or undressed salad! Don’t just take my word for it, check out this article, “10 Uses for a Colander.”
4. Instant-Read Thermometer
You absolutely need an instant thermometer! First of all, food-safety is not something you want to play with. Undercooking (especially in meats) can lead to food poisoning (such as salmonella), and an Instant Thermometer will allow you to efficiently check the internal temperature for proper doneness. Secondly, it allows you to make sure your food is cooked exactly as intended (“I said medium-rare, not medium-well!”) without cutting into anything and losing precious juices.
5. Measuring Cups
If you want your recipes to come out right, you are going to need proper measurements. No ifs, ands or buts about it. So grab yourself a set of liquid measuring cups AND a set of dry measuring cups. Personally, I’d stay away from plastic options as you’ll likely throw it in the dishwasher where it’ll warp and fade over time. I recommend sticking with glass and stainless steel for lasting quality.
6. Measuring Spoons
For precision measuring you’re going to need a set of measuring spoons. They work for both liquids and dry ingredients, and will ensure your recipe is correct to the “T”. They offer a precision you just can’t get with measuring cups. Again, for lasting quality, I’d recommend a nesting set of stainless-steel measuring spoons.
For many home-cooks, the peeler is one tool that can see a lot of action. Yes, technically you can use a knife to remove skins and the like, but you’ll likely find yourself going mad with impatience. Skip the frustration and grab a good peeler. It’ll save you loads of time and headache. If you need help finding one, check out “Sharp & Reliable: 5 Great Vegetable Peelers”.
8. Stainless-steel Box Grater
A 4-Sided Grater is great because it offer four distinct grating options to cover everything from cinnamon to cheese, carrots, etc. The side with the smaller holes are ideal for hard foods like unground spices, hard cheeses and hard chocolate. While the side with the larger holes are ideal for soft cheeses, vegetables and the like. The box design is particularly nice because it allows for sturdy grating.
Whisks are perfect for beating eggs, whipping cream or making dressings. They’re also essential for making creaming sauces like hollandaise. Did you know that you should never whisk in a circular stirring motion? It’s true, and most people have the bad habit of doing so. Always whisk side-to-side or in a beating motion! If you’re curious about the science behind whisking, check out “Science Says You’ve (Probably) Been Using Your Whisk The Wrong Way”.
A rubber or silicone spatula (not to be confused with a turner) is a versatile tool most cooks swear by. As one of the most reached for tools in the kitchen, rubber/silicone spatulas are great for folding batters, lifting pastries, releasing fond from the bottom of a pan, scraping every last bit of batter or sauce out of a bowl...even turning things on a pan or griddle!