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The Best Kitchen Tools
I have tried more kitchen utensils, cookware, and gadgets than I can count and these are, hands down, the best kitchen tools.
But in my experience, I have found that there are times when a fancy cooking utensil or appliance really isn’t necessary and an everyday kitchen tool will do the trick.
I am all about simplifying the cooking experience and I am here for kitchen gadgets and appliances that make my time in the kitchen easier, not harder.
Below are the best kitchen tools and appliances I use regularly when creating the recipes on this site (I have plenty of others that are now just taking up space in my kitchen because I found I didn’t actually need them… sigh).
The Best Kitchen Tools for Prepping
The key to simplifying the cooking experience is all in the prep. I am a big fan of pre-measuring my ingredients, pre-chopping anything that requires it, and organizing my kitchen according to the recipe so that it flows smoothly. These are a few of the best kitchen tools for prep (read: can’t live without).
7' Santoku Knife
Good knives for cooking don’t come cheap. But you don’t need to splurge on a full set to get the job done. The one I reach for time and time again is this Wusthof Santoku Knife. It is a perfect size with a thinner blade and a hollow edge. I use it for just about everything – vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, you name it. If you buy only one good-quality knife for cooking, make it this one.
I’ve had this exact set of cutting boards for the last 10 years and won’t use any others. These are the best cutting boards and some of the best kitchen tools because they’re safe for knives, dishwasher-safe, and won’t harbor bacteria. Plus, these cutting boards are thin and easy to store – bonus! Say goodbye to clunky, heavy wooden cutting boards.
I don’t want to exaggerate here but… this thing is a total game-changer. An inexpensive tool that I use almost every day – from dressings to marinades to smoothies and cocktails, this citrus squeezer literally turns lemons into lemonade. One of the best kitchen tools you never knew you needed.
So much better than a garlic press, this handy stainless steel garlic rocker minces with ease. The stainless steel keeps the garlic smell from your fingers and, best of all, it’s dishwasher-safe. I prefer it over my garlic press because it is way easier to clean and more fun to use. It’s not fancy and it only has one job, yet it’s definitely one of the best kitchen tools I’ve discovered over the years.
The Best Kitchen Tools for Cooking
I am a big believer in saving money whenever possible, so I choose my kitchen equipment carefully. Some cooking tasks require a higher-quality product, like the Santoku knife above, but there are many techniques where a reasonably-priced option works just as well. Here are my essential cooking tools, both the splurges and the not so splurgy.
Stainless Saute Pan
I am a huge fan of stainless cookware and splurged on a set of All-Clad pans years ago. While the entire set could top any list of the best kitchen tools, this is the one pan I’d spend the money on time and time again. I LOVE this sauté pan – with a flat bottom and high sides, it’s the best sauté pan for sautéing vegetables, meats, or just about anything. It heats evenly, won’t react with food, and is easy to clean. Plus, it’ll last you until… forever? Worth a splurge.
5-Quart Dutch Oven
What is a dutch oven? A dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid, usually made from cast iron. I bought this Le Creuset 5-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven in 2008 and adore it as much today as I did the day I bought it. It’s the perfect sized pot for larger soup and stew recipes but is manageable enough to make cleaning easy. It heats evenly, is oven-safe up to 500 degrees, and is resistant to wear. Definitely worth the splurge as it will last you decades.
I cooked for many years without a proper braiser and I can’t lie, this Le Creuset Braiser really changed things for me. Here’s why I love this: it goes from the burner to the oven with ease. I use it to sear meat beautifully and evenly, but I also love it for shepherd’s pie and baked pasta dishes where you pre-cook on the stove and finish under the broiler. It is sturdy and cleans up easily and is beautiful enough to sit out if you don’t have room to store it.
Affordable Cast Iron
I recommend Le Creuset enameled cast iron because it is what I use in my kitchen and it is the gold standard of cast iron cookware. BUT… it is quite pricey and it has taken me years to build my small collection of key pieces. Another fantastic option for enameled cast iron is the Lodge brand. Lodge enameled cast iron dutch ovens and braisers are of high quality but remain incredibly affordable. Give them a try!
Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer wooden utensils for stirring and sautéing. Wood is gentler on pots and pans, but holds up incredibly well and won’t melt if left sitting in a hot pan (guilty… regularly). This cooking utensil set is one of the best kitchen tools because it’s a great value, is made from organic bamboo that is durable, resists moisture and bacteria, and is easy to clean. I won’t cook with anything else!
Silicone Tip Tongs
If you don’t have a set of stainless steel, silicone tongs, do yourself a favor and snag these. They are inexpensive cooking utensils that make cooking and grilling so much simpler. I love these tongs because they come in a set of 3 handy sizes, are heat resistant and dishwasher-safe, and are ergonomically designed for comfort in your hand. I use silicone tongs when cooking tortillas, carnitas, larger cuts of meat, veggies, you name it! Love them.
Ok, so this isn’t a kitchen tool you’ll reach for every day. But, it is incredibly handy, so it makes the list of the best kitchen tools. I use this KitchenAid immersion blender anytime I am making a soup recipe that needs blending (think tomato soup). Without it, you’re stuck ladling the soup out in batches and using a blender to get the whole pot smooth. No thank you. The KitchenAid Immersion Blender is also great for a quick smoothie or juice as it comes with a handy mixing cup with a lid. Excellent quality and easy to clean thanks to the detachable arm!
Silicone Basting Brushes
These silicone brushes come in handier than you might think. I use them for baking (egg wash over pastries, melted butter on biscuits), grilling, and roasting. I love the amount of coverage these have, how easily they glide over food, and how incredibly easy they are to clean – they rinse clean easily or you can run them through the dishwasher! They dry super fast and don’t retain odors.
The Best Kitchen Tools for Baking
Cooking vs. baking – is there a difference? Yep. A lot of people prefer baking because it is precise and measured. Others dislike it for this very same reason. I started baking long before I learned to cook so I’ll always turn to it when I need a pick-me-up. These are a few of my favorite baking tools that I’ve relied on for (gasp) 20+ years.
No surprise here, a stand mixer is one of the best kitchen tools for baking (and other tasks). I use mine regularly and am always impressed by how efficiently it gets the job done. I have had this KitchenAid Artisan Series mixer for over 16 years and it works as well today as it did new. It is hands down the best stand mixer. It is a solid investment and worth saving up for. Tip: check Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales – they always have sales on stand mixers!
Silicone Spatula Set
This handy silicone spatula set makes it super easy to get every drop of cake batter from your mixing bowl. I use the smaller spatula to scrape down the inside of the stand mixer bowl and the larger for free-hand mixing. I find the clean scrape of batter to be oddly satisfying (is it just me?). These are the best silicone spatulas, and some of the best kitchen tools, because they’re made from durable bamboo with heat-resistant silicone tips – both beautiful and functional and I won’t bake without them.
This may seem silly but get yourself a salt box if you don’t have one. I don’t know what I did before I had this handy little bamboo box. It lives on my counter next to the range, because it’s cute, and gets used countless times daily. I exclusively use kosher salt (just because I like it better) and this salt box is perfect for the larger kosher crystals. It makes measuring salt for baking a breeze and I can easily grab a pinch while cooking. A game-changer for sure.
I don’t replace baking sheets often. I’m not sure why, but hey at least I can admit it. Lucky for me, these Nordic Ware baking sheets are made to last. I am not sure why it took me so long to buy these, but I can tell you that they make a difference in my baking. Cookies bake evenly, finally! Nordic Ware baking sheets are sturdy and high-quality and clean up perfectly every time. Grab a set of these and thank me later.