Kitchen Basics: The 12 Must-Have Cooking Tools

Jul 12, 2012
Veronica Brandy

After my article on what kitchen knives you need to get started cooking, many of you have asked for clarification on must-have kitchen tools in general. To avoid frustration in the kitchen, it true that it takes a minimum to have the right kitchen tools at hand.

These are 12 must-have kitchen tools that we cannot do anything without. They’re in no particular order need because you really need them all.

 

1.     Mixing bowls:

Mixing bowls: 3 sizes for a start, I mean small, medium, and large. Choose them preferably made of stainless steel—the most basic and functional—and this is one thing that’s practical to buy in a set. (Stainless steel even looks okay on the table, but if you want nice-looking serving bowls, buy them separately.)

 

2.     Cutting boards:

Cutting boards: One is enough if it’s a big one, but I prefer having a few of different sizes so at least one is always dry. Wood or plastic, it’s up to your choice. Wooden ones can be sanded clean; plastic can go in the dish- washer. To keep cutting boards from sliding around on the countertop while you work, lay a damp towel underneath.

3.     Colanders and strainers:

Colanders and strainers: The family of bowl or basket-like devices with holes for draining. You need a colander immediately, and soon you will want at least one fine-mesh strainer to strain fine
foods or use for pressing and mashing purées. The chinese strainer is perfect to filter stocks and broths.

 

4.     Spoons and spatulas:

Wooden and stainless spoons and spatulas: Keep these in a pottery crock or an old coffee can right by the stove: a few wooden spoons, a couple of wide and narrow spatulas (one flexible metal if possible), a ladle, and at least one slotted spoon. If you have nonstick pans, you may need some plastic or silicone utensils; otherwise wood and stainless steel will do.

5.     Tongs:

Tongs: The best item for turning most foods. Get spring-loaded rather than scissorlike or tension kinds.

6.     Pot holders 

Pot holders (or mitts) and kitchen towels: It doesn’t matter what they look like; what’s important is that they protect your hands from heat.

7.     Measuring cups— measuring spoons—liquid and dry measure: 

best measuring cup and spoons setMeasuring cups—liquid and dry—and measuring spoons: It sounds silly, but you really shouldn’t use liquid and dry measuring utensils interchangeably. The first you pour from (it looks like a pitcher with writing on it), and the second you level off with the back of a knife. A 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup is a good place to start; buy a 4-cup as second item if possible. Dry-measure cups and measuring spoons generally come in sets.

They’re relatively inexpensive, so if you can, get everything by two so one is always likely to be clean. Check some good products here.

8.     Cheese grater:

best microplane graterCheese grater: An old-fashioned box grater is fine, but get stainless steel if you can afford it or you’ll be willing to throw out cheaper models at the first sign of rust. The new ultra-sharp hand-held Microplanes are very good and easy to use.

9.     Timer: 

Timer: You probably have one on your microwave or oven, in which case you just saved ten bucks!

10.     Instant-read thermometer:

Very handy for making sure foods are done. I absolutely depend on one when baking bread. It’s also the foolproof way to check for doneness in large cuts of meat and whole chickens. Here’s a large selection of popular instant-read thermometers.

11.     Salad spinner:

oxo good grips salad spinnerSalad spinner: Not only the best way to wash salads, but a good vessel for storing washed salads in the fridge, which prolongs their life by days.

12.     Vegetable peeler:

The easiest way to deal with carrots, potatoes, and more. Sharpness and the handle grip are more important than the shape, though I lean toward for the U-shaped ones. Those with a ceramic blade are relatively expensive ($12 or so) but work perfectly. Here’s a selection of good vegetable peelers.

 

Read also: Pear Puff Pastry Tarts Recipe

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