When you start cooking, utensils do not seem that much important usually. The good rational thinking like “Well, a stove is a stove, it’s all in how you use it.” is seducing but it’s not that simple.
Kitchen utensils are very important, almost like quality ingredients, as they allow you to make the recipe in perfect conditions just as the original author intended it. If you use poor tools and your recipe goes wrong, it would be almost impossible to know where the problem lies. And for your working comfort, it’s much easier and safer to work with good tools.
On this page you will find information on kitchen utensils you can use when cooking. They are separated into two categories: the “10 essential” ones that I think you must have in your kitchen, and others. For each, there is an explanation for its use, and some buying tips. Each item sends to a dedicated page with a larger description and product references.
Knives have different uses depending on their shape and blades, and they represent your first real investment.
It is almost impossible to cook without a knife. For cutting of course, but also slicing, chopping, etc… A typical knives set include: a chef knife, a slicing knife and a paring knife.
If you intend to buy a knives set:
If you intend to buy some equipment: you need quality knives (you can check some good knives sets here). Typically a set 3 for a start, let’s say “small” (paring knife), “medium” (slicing knife) and “large” (chef knife) stainless steel blade, plastic or wooden handle, not serrated, plus the steel (sharpening tool) to go with them.
For coating food, basting or glaze it with a liquid, water or beaten egg, for example, or to gently remove excess flour or sugar.
Get two brushes: a small one and a bigger with plastic handles, and food quality head that can go in the dishwasher. You can look at this selection of trusted brands.
3. Cutting Board
The cutting board is used to cut safely, using your knife on your work surface. For more informations you can check this trusted brands cutting boards selection.
If you intend to buy a cutting board:
Get a great, no less than 30×40 cm. or 12×15 inches, in food quality plastic. Contrary to common belief, wooden cutting boards are not very good in the kitchen: it is quite impossible to get them completely clean, so germs develop, and when used with a knife sharp, you will end up making sawdust that goes in food you prepare.
4. Palette knife
For moving small objects without breaking them, or turning pastry without making a hole in it. It is also useful in cake decoration to make frosting.
If you intend to buy a palette knife:
Get a set of 2 (small and big) made of stainless steel, with a plastic handle (angled or not). Here a little selection to help you out.
5. Flexible spatula
It is a flexible rubber or plastic spatula, ideal for moving a preparation that could stick to the bottom of the pan, or to completely empty a bowl or pan cleanly without leaving a drop.
If you intend to buy:
Get one with a hard plastic handle that fits nicely in your hand. Ideally, you should have two spatulas, a small and a large one.
For turning something easily during cooking (apple wedges, for example), or remove something from a hot pan, and also to serve spaghetti.
If you intend to buy:
Take a full stainless steel pair of clips.
7. Weighting scales
With it you can weigh everything, even in small amounts (10-20 g, sometimes less). Weighting scales are mandatory in bakery as it is an exact science contrary to other cooking disciplines. You cannot allow yourself any approximation with quantities without ruining your work.
If you intend to buy:
To be accurate it should be an electronic one. The scales from the old mechanical times are innacurate, especially for small amounts. So it is worth investing in an up-to-date model with a “add-and-weigh” facility which will save you a lot of washing up.
8. Vegetable peeler
Very useful for peeling fruits and vegetables, grate chocolate or parmesan.
If you plan to buy a vegetable peeler:
Get one with a stainless steel blade and a plastic handle (some good examples here). Ceramic blades are great but very fragile.
To beat (eggs) or whip (cream) preparations, to mix, and especially to incorporate air, just like beaten egg whites.
Get a quite large stainless steel whisk, with a handle made of stainless steel or plastic. It should feel comfortable in your hand and you should be able to grasp it firmly, otherwise, if the handle is too thin, you wont be able to work easily.
10. Wooden spatula
To mix, stir in a saucepan or a skillet…
If you intend to buy a wooden spatulas set:
You will need several spatulas made of wood or plastic. If they are made of wood, it is worth keeping one for sweet dishes and one for savory preparations, because wooden tools hold the tastes and smell of food.