Essential Cooking Tools
This post is part of our Cooking Tools Series
Cooking Tools Series
Having essential cooking tools can mean the difference between a recipe working or not. They can also make the tasks a lot easier and, dare I say fun.
This list focuses mainly on basic cooking, not specialized tasks like baking or grilling.
The following shows some of cooking tools we recommend if you are just starting to stock your kitchen.
Do you have any recommendations for essential cooking tools? Let us know.
Good knives are critical in the kitchen.
- Choose knives that fit your hands well
- Always keep them sharp
- We recommend starting with a good Chef’s knife, Paring, and Serrated knife
Learn more about knives with this infographic
A thermometer is an essential cooking tool to ensure that food is cooked to the appropiate temperature. Especially meat.
- Digital thermometers are the easiest to read
- Some can be calibrated to make sure they are accurate
- Most will allow a choice between farenheit and celcius
Learn more about safe cooking temperatures and different types of thermometers.
- Ensures accurate measuring
- Limits dirty measuring cups and spoons
- Save time by using one bowl and measure as you go
- Are very economical. A good scale can be purchase for about $20
Learn more about the benefits of using a scale.
Having a set of each is essential for successful cooking.
- Teaspoons/Tablespoons are considered universal measurements and are found in every recipe
- If you prefer not to use a scale, dry meauring cups are absolutely necessary
- Having a clear wet measuring cup will help you easily measure liquids
Cutting boards are not given the limelight they deserve:
- Use them to protect your counters
- Use them to protect your knives (glass cutting boards will dull knives)
- Have separate boards for use with meat and vegetables or other food
- Buy boards with non-slip base or place a tea towel under it to prevent the board from sliding on the counter
Box graters are incredibly versatile:
- Grate or cheese or vegetables
- Evenly slice hard vegetables
- Large and small grater holes for different sized shreds
For fine grating of spices such as nutmeg or ginger, a rasp (microplane) is our go-to tool.
Having good pots is very important.
When first starting out:
- Have a large (4 quart +) pot with lid for making sauces and soups
- Have a medium (2-3 quart) pot with lid for steaming or boiling vegetables
Having one good saute pan is all you need when you are first stocking your kitchen.
A medium sized (10-14 inch) pan will allow you to saute vegetables, sear meat and cook eggs and bacon with ease.
Fine mesh strainers are excellent for separating fruit juice from the pulp and seeds.
Strainers are very handy to have in the kitchen:
- Clean fresh fruits or vegetables
- Draining pasta or boiled vegetables
- Rinsing salad greens
Baking sheets are so versatile in the kitchen:
- Baking cookies, pastries and thin cakes
- Roasting vegetables
- Oven drying herbs and other fruits or vegetables
- Flat freezing single layer of food to store in bags or containers
- Flat freezing bagged sauces and soups so they take up less space in the freezer
Many kitchens do not have dedicated kitchen shears.
These are simply heavy duty scissors that never leave the kitchen.
- Excellent for quickly cutting up herbs or other small ingredients
- Always handy when you need them
- Usually have added tools (ie. bottle opener) incorporated
- They are usually stronger than inexpensive household scissors
- *Make a habit of washing kitchen shears after every use so that you know they are clean to be used with food
A peeler is a handy device wth lots of uses:
- Peel fruits and vegetables
- Create thin vegetable ribbons for salads
- Create chocolate curls for dessert decorations
- Thinly slice parmesan cheese
Having a set of mixing bowls will make your time in the kitchen much more organized
- Nesting bowls take up much less space
- Stainless steel will not react with acidic ingredients
- Stainless steel will allow you to use them over steam (like a double boiler) or over ice water to quickly cool ingredients
- Varying sizes are great for different purposes (ie. whipping, sifting, mixing, separating)
Wooden utensils have many benefits over their steel or plastic counterparts.
- Do not conduct heat so their handles do not become too hot to touch
- They do not react to acidic ingredients
- They do not scratch your pots and pans
- *Do not leave wooden utensils to soak in water. Take good care of your wood utensils so you can use them for years