15 Most Essential Kitchen Tools and Equipment You Should Never Miss
Whether you are shifting to a new house or moving out of home for the first time, you’re going to need to start filling your new kitchen with essential kitchen tools and equipment.
With so many different cooking tools and gadgets available these days, it can be hard to know where to start, and what you’ll really need. So, what are the kitchen tools and equipment that every kitchen needs? We’ve made a list of the top 15 kitchen tools that we think every kitchen should have.
Essential Kitchen Tools and Equipment
1. Kitchen Shears
More than just regular scissors, kitchen shears are designed for so many uses. Get yourself a pair of multifunction kitchen shears and you’ll be able to cut up chicken, meat, vegetables and even pastry and bread.
You’ll be amazed at all the things you can use them for and some of them even double as a bottle opener, herb stripper and fish scaler! Good kitchen shears should be designed to come apart into two pieces to make cleaning easier, so look for a pair that can do this.
Want to know more about all the things kitchen shears can do? Check out this article about things you never thought to do with your kitchen scissors!
2. Vegetable Peeler
Some might not consider it essential - you can leave the skin on vegetables after all - but, these simple little tools can really make life easier if you’ve got a pile of carrots or potatoes you want to peel in a hurry!
Not only that, you can use a vegetable peeler to cut very thin slices of cucumber or carrot for garnishes and salads. Given they are so inexpensive, we decided to add the humble vegetable peeler to our essential items list. Easy to use and cheap - what’s not to love!
There are two main types of peeler - the “swivel” and the “Y” - and it’s really a matter of personal choice. We’re personally big fans of the “Y” style as it makes doing big vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams so easy.
Oxo makes great peelers and they have a “swivel” and a “Y” to choose from.
3. Chef's Knife
Some say that a chef is only as good as his knife. Whether you’re a chef or just a home cook, you’re going to need a good quality chef’s knife. To cut safely and with precision your knife needs to be sharp and well maintained.
The best way to achieve this is to start with quality in the first place. There is a wide variance in price point for knives so pick one that fits within your budget but that is of as high a quality as possible.
For a reasonably priced (inexpensive) Chef’s knife, we’d recommend the Victorinox Chef’s Knife.
If you’re an experienced chef, or just like to have the best of the best, try the Wusthof Chef’s Knife.
4. Cutting Boards
To complement your new knife, you’ll need a cutting board. But, which one to choose? Cutting boards come in all shapes and sizes and are made from so many different materials, it can be hard to know which one will be best for you.
The 3 main materials you’ll find used in cutting boards are wood, plastic and glass.
Go ahead and cross glass cutting boards off your shopping list - they are simply just too hard and can blunt and damage your knives very quickly.
Traditionally wooden cutting boards are thought of as the best as the wood has a natural “give” that will keep your knives from blunting too quickly. The problem with wooden cutting boards is cleaning. They should really only be wiped over, not thoroughly washed or the boards can warp, and you certainly can’t put them in the dishwasher.
This presents a particular problem for when the board has been used for cutting up meat and poultry. You don’t want any chance of cross contamination from leftover raw chicken on to your fruits and vegetables.
Our solution is to always have two types of cutting board. We use wooden boards for bread, fruits and vegetables and we have a couple of good quality plastic cutting boards that we use for cutting up meat and chicken. These plastic boards can then go straight through the dishwasher to ensure they are fully cleaned and sanitised before their next use.
You want to make sure your cutting boards are a decent size so you’ve got plenty of space to chop, and a juice groove is also an added bonus to look out for - it simply helps to catch the juice from a juicy tomato or watermelon before it drips on your floor.
For a good quality, decent size wooden board we’d recommend something like this bamboo one from Royal Craft Wood.
And, for your plastic board we’d suggest this one by Thirteen Chefs.
Every kitchen needs a spatula or two (or more!)!
There are two main types of spatula. There’s the one for turning, flipping and tossing while cooking - essential for flipping eggs and pancakes.
Then there’s the cake spatula that is so handy for getting every last bit of mixture from your mixing bowl into your pan. For both types silicone is the best material - it’s soft and flexible and won’t scratch your pans.
For cooking we’d suggest something like this set from Upgood. It combines the strength of stainless steel with the flexibility of silicone and comes in a 2 pack so you have different sized spatulas when you need them.
For the cake spatula we’d recommend a set like this one from U-Taste which includes 4 different shapes and sizes of spatula so you should have every cooking or baking situation covered!
6. Skillet or Frying Pan
Every kitchen needs a skillet or frying pan. From eggs, bacon and pancakes to spaghetti sauce, so many things you cook on a daily basis will need a frying pan or skillet.
There are a few different types to choose from, stainless steel, non stick or cast iron. Which type you choose will depend on your preferences and the things you cook.
Cast iron can be heavy and has a bit of a learning curve in terms of care and use but, those who use cast iron pans often swear by how good they are. If you’re prepared to give cast iron a go, you can’t go past Lodge for their cast iron skillets - perfect for cooking steaks - they’re even made in the USA!
For a more traditional stainless steel skillet or frying pan, you could try this one from All-Clad.
A non stick skillet or frying pan is also really handy to have especially for pancakes and eggs which have a tendency to stick. For a good deal for non stick frying pans check out this set from Circulon - you get two pans for a good price.
As far as size goes, you’ll want to match the size of your skillet to the amount of food you’ll be cooking. So, this will depend on the size of your family or number of people you’ll be cooking for and the type of food you intend to cook.
Invariably you’ll eventually need a couple of different sized skillets, so pick the one you think you’d use most to begin your collection, then you can add to this with other sizes and materials as your kitchen grows.
7. Mixing Bowls
From meal prep to mixing up batters and doughs, mixing bowls really are the workhorses of your kitchen. We, personally, prefer large mixing bowls with a pouring spout. The spout makes it easier to pour mixture from the bowl to your cake tin.
Mixing bowls are usually stainless steel, plastic, glass or ceramic. Some people prefer ceramic as it adds a touch of nostalgia as a nod to the old fashioned ways of baking.
Personally we find them a bit heavy and I’m always concerned it will chip or break, so, we’d recommend getting a set of stainless steel and/or plastic mixing bowls. Glass ones can be handy too especially if you want to use them in the microwave to melt butter or chocolate.
Pyrex has hands down the best glass mixing bowls - these get used almost daily in our house.
For your plastic set these ones from OXO are great - the spout makes it so easy to pour out pancake batter!
If you’re looking for a stainless steel set of mixing bowls these Avacraft ones look great.
8. Measuring Cups and Spoons
While many home cooks like me are happy to just guess (gasp!), everyone knows that, especially for baking, the secret to a good result is to follow the recipe exactly. And that means measuring your ingredients precisely.
Whilst especially important when baking, you’ll use measuring cups and spoons all the time when cooking - ½ teaspoon of vanilla essence here, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil there and, before you know it, these essential little kitchen tools will have earned their place in your kitchen.
This measuring cup and spoon set by U-Taste has over 1000 happy customers on amazon!
9. Box Grater
While its uses may seem limited, every kitchen should have a box grater.
Useful for grating carrots for coleslaw, salads and sandwiches, and, especially for cheese! Where would we be without freshly grated cheese? Perfect for sauces, sandwiches and homemade pizza.
Box graters come with or without a container. The container is useful to catch your grated goodies although some would argue that the grater feels less stable sitting on top of the container. The choice is yours.
For a box grater with a container try the OXO Good Grips one.
If you’d prefer a container free box grater, try the Cuisinart which is a basic no frills model at a bargain price.
Read more: Kitchen TV for your kitchen.
From straining spaghetti to washing fruit and vegetables with water, a colander is a very handy kitchen tool.
Look for a colander with small holes so you can also use it for rinsing rice and quinoa without the grains falling through.
This Live Fresh colander has over 2000 happy customers.
11. Baking Sheet
A baking sheet or two is a necessity in every kitchen. Use them for baking cookies or even cook entire meals in them.
Look for a baking sheet that is strong and sturdy and built to resist warping.
Baking sheets come in different sizes and the size you need will depend on the types of food and how much food you are cooking.
If you’re planning on cooking sheet pan dinners for two people, a quarter size baking sheet will be the perfect size. If you’re cooking for more people or plan on baking large batches of cookies, go with a half sheet pan size.
Most baking sheets are made from aluminum which is a good heat conductor, so this helps to brown and cook your food evenly.
For aluminum baking sheets we recommend the Checkered Chef Half Sheet Pan and Quarter Sheet Pan. You can even get these pans in sets with a cooling rack/baking rack which is another very handy piece of kitchen equipment that you will use all the time.
Checkered Chef also make their baking sheets in stainless steel which is very handy for people trying to avoid cooking with aluminum.
We’ve tried these stainless steel baking sheets and they are amazing - very strong and sturdy. We highly recommend them.
No kitchen is complete without a saucepan, or several! Used for cooking vegetables, rice, soup, pasta or boiling eggs, your kitchen just won’t function without a saucepan.
We’d recommend buying a set of good quality saucepans, that way you’ll have different sized saucepans to suit your cooking needs.
Cuisinart has a good saucepan set that even includes a large pot perfect for boiling lots of pasta/spaghetti.
For beating up eggs, whipping cream or whisking up a pancake batter, a whisk is an essential piece of kitchen equipment.
The best whisks will aerate your mixture as you whisk giving you a light and fluffy end result. You want a balloon whisk with a comfortable handle and there’s none better than this one by OXO.
14. Dutch Oven
The ability to be able to use it on the stovetop to brown ingredients and then transfer it to the oven as an all-in-one meal makes it a very popular and well used kitchen item.
These can vary vastly in price range so pick one that best suits your budget.
Amazon’s own brand “Amazon Basics” does a good budget model.
While, if you’re looking for top of the range, check out Le Creuset.
Both models come in a range of colors so you’ll be able to match your kitchen decor!
15. Food Storage Set
There are two types of food storage sets that every kitchen needs. There’s pantry storage for your ingredients - flour, sugar etc. And there’s storage for your leftover cooked food. Tupperware is the biggest known company for all things food storage and you can’t fault their products for keeping food fresh and well organised.
But, if you don’t fancy having a Tupperware party soon or there are no consultants in your neighborhood, we’ve got a couple of food storage options you could consider.
For storing leftovers and other fresh foods, this set from Pyrex works a treat! The glass containers are microwave and dishwasher safe. So you can reheat your leftovers right in the bowl and then pop it in the dishwasher when you’re done for easy clean up. They’re great for meal-prepping too!
So, there you have it, our suggestions for the 15 most important kitchen tools you’ll need to source when first setting up a kitchen. Whether you’re moving out of home for the first time or just moving house and starting a new chapter in your life, we hope you’ve found our list useful and informative.
We know there are plenty of other things we could have added too but, if you begin with just these things, you’re off to a great start in setting up your kitchen. Plenty of other tools and gadgets will no doubt find their way into your kitchen before too long!
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