An artist has a variety of brushes to paint with. A dentist has a set of tools to make your teeth sparkling. A photographer has different lenses to get the perfect shot. And rookie cooks to experienced chefs have essential utensils and tools to assist them in their culinary creations.
Everyone’s kitchen space is unique. You may be in a typical home kitchen with all the basic appliances. You may be crammed into a dorm room ½ kitchen that lacks both space and countertops. You may have expanded your kitchen into an open concept room where you can easily cook and carry on conversations with people in other rooms.
Regardless of the space in which you cook, the tools you have in your arsenal for preparing food matters. You may just have access to a microwave but the utensil you use to scramble that eggy breakfast bowl can make things easier.
Here, we share the top 10 kitchen utensils that can really come in handy when crafting your dishes. These tools can also come at all different price points so you don’t have to worry about spending a ton to get what you need. These items also can be great additions to any wedding or housewarming registry. Whether you consider yourself an accomplished culinary artist or are just moving beyond boiling water for noodles, these 10 kitchen tools can help you in your cooking.
When you begin your “mise en place” - a French term used for food preparation - one of the first tools you’ll most often reach for is a cutting board. You’ll use it for quartering veggies, slicing meats, tenderizing steaks, finely chopping herbs and much more.
Cutting boards come in a variety of materials. Durable wooden boards are often the best as they don’t dull your knife as easily, but can be more challenging to clean up. Plastic boards tend to be the most common but require more attention to sanitation as they can carry bacteria if not cleaned properly. Depending on the strength and quality of material, cutting boards can also dull your knife, so be sure to pick a board that fits well with what you’re planning on preparing. If you’re looking for something truly unique, stop into Fustini’s to find wooden cutting boards crafted right in Petoskey, Michigan.
Some expert and experienced chefs can eyeball their ingredients without even needing to measure. For the rest of us, measuring spoons and cups are essential resources to ensure our measurements are accurate and that our dishes actually come out as we had intended. Get yourself a set of quality measuring spoons and cups for both liquids and dry ingredients to help you with your accuracy of ingredients. You’ll also want to make sure that these measuring devices are sturdy enough to scoop ingredients without bending or snapping apart.
Put down the butter knife. To slice, dice, chop and julienne your ingredients to look uniform and appetizing, get a knife that gives you control, precision and feels good in your hand. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end knife, either. A metal knife that is comfortable, is the right size and has a handle that protects your fingers will most often suffice. You also want to make sure that the metal goes all the way through the handle and has a bolster to grip onto. Having a knife that you’re comfortable with helps you prep your food easier and faster.
Another versatile knife that you can pull out for a variety of ingredients is a smaller paring knife. This 3-4 inch knife is ideal for smaller fruits and vegetables to peel, slice or chop for snacking or to throw in your dish. Like a chef’s knife, it should also feel comfortable and natural in your hand.
A durable, medium-sized skillet can be a game-changer in your recipe creation. A skillet is the perfect reservoir for so many dishes - everything from stir-frys, pan-fried fish, creamy sauces and so much more.
The type of material you use for your skillet can also be an intentional decision. Stainless steel is most often praised for its easy clean-up, chip prevention and versatility. You can also find skillets made out of cast iron, which can also be a great choice but tends to be more difficult to clean. Non-stick is also a popular option that can also help save on clean-up later.
If you’re taking your culinary skills to the oven, you’ll want to be equipped with a rimmed sheet tray. This tool is perfect for baking and roasting your dishes or treats. Having a rimmed edge makes it easy to take the pan in and out of the oven. Choosing a metal or aluminum sheet tray also makes it lighter and easier to carry around or store.
Whether you’re scraping out the last of the cake batter or stirring around your sautéd veggies, a spatula is an extremely versatile tool that you can use just about every time you step into the kitchen. A flat spatula with a silicone head is a helpful tool in all your dishes. You can also find different sizes if you want to mix up your spatula set.
You can’t stir everything with a spatula or metal serving spoon. For emulsifying vinaigrettes to whipping fresh cream to making frosting, a medium-sized metal whisk will come in handy.
Sometimes prepping dinner is better with a glass of wine with friends. Ensure you can get the party started with a corkscrew that is easy to use. Better yet, find one that also has a bottle opener so all can enjoy whatever they’re drinking.
It’s an unfortunate situation when you are planning on making a fresh pot of chili or a dip and realize there’s no way to get the aluminum can open. Be prepared for those moments with an affordable opener.
Like a mechanic comes prepared with his toolbox, so you can cook with your own set of kitchen utensils and tools to get on your way to cooking. Use this easy list of 10 must-have kitchen tools as your starting point to bake, sauté and create to the fullest.
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