The First 12 Essential Kitchen Tools You “NEED” In Your Kitchen

forkI have assembled a list of kitchen tools that I believe you need to equip your kitchen for great cooking.  Likely, you will already have most of these and you can mark it off the list.  It doesn’t matter if you just got married and you’re buying for your new kitchen, or your kitchen is thirty years old and you’re ready to purge old kitchen tools, here is a fresh new look at your kitchen supplies. I spoke about the Excessive Kitchen Gadgets in a previous post and is worth reading before or after reading this post.  

In truth, we can do most of the tasks in the kitchen with two different knives and a vegetable peeler.  Presently, the pendulum has swung too far where are drawers and cabinets are full of contraptions that will supposedly handle any task we face in the kitchen.  I think they just add more work for us as we scramble to find them in drawers with all the other kitchen gadgets.  Plus, who has time or wants to clean up all of those kitchen gadgets.  Not me.  However, there are convenience tools we can use that will make our experience in the kitchen more productive and fun without going too far.  

Lets get started.  Here’s my list of kitchen tools you “need” for your kitchen.  

  • Chef’s Knife/Pairing Knife/Steel/Vegetable Peeler- These two knifes will become an extension of your hand.  These are the most diverse kitchen tools you will ever have in the kitchen. These knives are also very personal: do you prefer a light knife, a longer knife, beveled on one side knife, etc.  You can get as crazy as you want.  The best thing to do is to go to a quality kitchen supply store and literally try them out, one-by-one.  I personally use a Global 7″ Knife and have for years. I love it!  
  • Cutting Board– There are many kinds of cutting boards to choose from: wood, plastic, even glass.  I prefer the synthetic white plastic cutting boards because I find them easier to keep clean and maintain.  The plastic still has a nice “feel” when you’re cutting, similar to a wood cutting board.  The down fall is that they will warp over time if exposed to hot temperatures.  To solve this issue, I like to get a thick board that is a 1″ thick.  Tip: you can go to your local commercial restaurant supply and you can order this cutting board to any size you like.  You will have this cutting board for a decade. Don’t buy the thin cutting boards at your local retailers. I personally use a 24″ x 18″ size cutting board.  I’m on year 14 with mine. 
  • Pepper mill- the pepper mill is one of the most used tools in the kitchen, or should be.  Many cooks don’t realize the huge difference between already ground purchased pepper and fresh ground pepper from a pepper mill.  You can taste the difference. The biggest thing I look for in a good pepper mill is that it has good working parts and is sturdy.  A good pepper mill should last you decades. 
  • Pots & Pans– a set of quality pots & pans will serve you well.  They don’t need to be the most expensive nor do you want them to be the cheapest.  These are the different sizes I would recommend to get started and that will handle anything you want to do in the kitchen: 

4qt.     Sauce Pan

2qt.     Sauce Pan

8qt.     Rondoux (shallow stock pot)

12qt.   Stock Pot

12″      Skillet

12″      Skillet, (nonstick/inexpensive)  Just like my pairing knife and vegetable peeler, I buy inexpensive non stick pans that I will use for six months to a year and throw-out and purchase a new one. 

6″        Skillet, (nonstick/inexpensive)

   Roasting Pan

  • Mixing Bowls- Good quality stainless steel bowls you will use everyday in your kitchen.  You will need a family of different size bowls that are usually sold as a bundle. I personally like the bowls that the bottoms are coated with a non slip surface, which comes in handy.
  • Tongs, Rubber Spatula, Ladles, Spoons, Wooden Spoons, Whisks- These hand utensils will be used often. My suggestion is to buy 2 or 3 of each.  This is very helpful in order not to have to clean that rubber spatula every time you need one with one or two recipes. 
  • Salad Spinner- I believe this simple kitchen tool is under utilized in home kitchens. The spinner can be used for so much more then just cleaning/drying wet greens.   It is also great for drying mushrooms.  You can use the salad spinner for any vegetable that you would submerge in water in order to clean it from any natural dirt. 
  • Grill Pan- A grill pan is a great alternative to not having a grill.  You will be able to get thosevsought after grill marks and seared flavor.  
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons- Measuring cups and spoons are a must for baking. 
  • Storage Containers- Hard reusable plastic containers are very helpful with storing different components of a recipe or for leftovers.  The suggestion I would have is not to heat the food in these containers.  In doing so, experts say, the plastic toxins can leach-out into the food.  However, if never heated, the leaching won’t occur.  
  • Box Grater/Microplane- These are great tools for the kitchen.  I like to use a lot of citrus zest in my cooking.  There is such a nice flavor and is not as sharp when using citrus juice.  However, you really need to be careful of not digging too deep into the white pith, which brings bitterness.
  • Thermometer- when cooking larger cuts of meat, a thermometer is your X-ray to see what’s going on within that cut of meat.  

With this list of kitchen tools, utensils, and/or equipment, you will be ready to prepare most anything in your home kitchen. It really doesn’t take that much to cook Real Food For Real Life.  

If you are looking for additional information with any of these particular kitchen tools, check out my additional comments and others who have used them at Everything For The Kitchen.  And, don’t forget to read my previous post about Excessive Kitchen Gadgets

I always welcome your comments or questions.  If you are interested in recieving notifications of future posts, just subscribe to the right.




About Chef Darren

I am simply a guy who loves the journey food takes us. I just happen to do it for a living. I write about my experiences with food as it surrounds all of us daily.

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