Essential Kitchen Tools

From my years in the kitchen as a home cook, I’ve come up with a collection of essential tools I recommend — and why.

Let’s face it: you probably don’t need an avocado slicer.

But what kitchen tools do you NEED if you’re a novice home cook? Apart from fabulous ingredients, you can benefit greatly from basic tools that can help you master virtually any recipe you want to try.  

 You don’t need a state-of-the-art kitchen to take things to the next level. There are a few pieces of equipment that every novice cook should have in their kitchen, no matter your skill level. But what are they? 

From my years in the kitchen as a home cook, I’ve come up with a collection of essential tools I recommend — and why. All can be found on Amazon: 

Mixing Bowls

When it comes to mixing bowls you want a variety of sizes. And you want glass — it’s durable, dishwasher safe and will serve you well for years. Plastic bowls hold odors, are harder to keep clean and can warp, especially if washed in the dishwasher. Here’s an inexpensive, quality set of 10 from Anchor-Hocking that is perfect: 

Glass Mixing Bowl Set 

Strainer

A strainer is perfect for draining pasta, washing fruits and vegetables, and for sorting and lentils and beans. I prefer strainers made from stainless steel and I think it’s a good idea to have a few different sizes. I love this set of 3 at Amazon: 

Stainless Steel Strainer Set 

Knife Set

High-quality knives can last for years. Instead of buying one knife at a time, it’s worth investing in a full set, so you’ll always have the right knife for the job right at your fingertips. The German J Henckels brand is my go-to. They’ve been perfecting the art of cutlery since 1731, so it’s safe to say you’re getting quality and durability. Best of all, the block has built-in slots that sharpen each knife when it’s removed or replaced. Labeled slots guide proper placement so there’s no guessing where each knife goes. You can order here: 
 

J Henckels Self-Sharpening Knife Set 

Cutting Boards

Whether they are wooden, bamboo or plastic is less important than keeping them clean and dry. Personally, I prefer plastic. You can easily throw them in the dishwasher and when needed, further sanitize them with a mixture of a little bleach and water. Use separate boards for meats and produce. Check out this set of 4 plastic cutting boards that I use: 

Cutting Boards Set  

Wooden Spoons

Wooden spoons are best because they don’t transfer heat and they won’t scratch the surface of pans. Plus, they are inexpensive and can be thrown in the dishwasher. Check out this set for less than 10 bucks: 

Wooden Spoon Set 

Tongs

Keep hands safe by using tongs to lift or turn foods over the stove or in an oven. Here’s a set that features silicone tips that won’t scratch or damage non-stick cookware, making them extremely versatile:

Kitchen Tongs Set

Potholders & Mitts

Seems pretty basic, right? I can’t overstate how important it is to have quality, heat proof oven mitts and potholders. This set combines both at a very reasonable price:
 
Pot Holder and Oven Mitt Set

Glass Measuring Cups

Liquid volume measuring cups should be clear. And go for glass — it won’t bend or warp like plastic. Anchor Hocking makes a great, inexpensive set that I use almost every day: 

Glass Measuring Cup Set

Basic Pots & Pans

Ahigh-quality set of pots and pans will serve you well for years. By purchasing a set versus one at a time, you can be assured you’ll have a pot or pan for virtually any recipe. Based on my years of experience with various non-stick finishes, hard anodized is absolutely the way to go. It costs a bit more, but anodized aluminum retains perfect heat and has a much stronger protective layer than the original metal, making it corrosion and scratch resistant, plus it won’t react to acidic foods. My go-to brand for reasonably priced, quality cookware is T Fal. Just remember to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and NEVER metal utensils that can cause damage. Another tip: I hand wash mine. This goes a long way to help preserve the durability of the finish. Here’s a 12-piece set (lids are included in that number, so you get 6 pots and pans and with matching lids):

T Fal Anodized Full Cookware Set

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