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Kitchen Utensils Every Cook Should Have or Request as a Gift

Updated on April 11, 2018
Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren brings you rare or fun recipes and news of funky, out-of-the-way places to dine or buy treats. She is a teacher, mom, and foodie.

Basic Kitchen Utensils

You can do a lot with a pot, a frying pan, and a colander.
You can do a lot with a pot, a frying pan, and a colander. | Source

If a fire destroyed my kitchen, here are the first items I would wish to replace. A lot of extras can fancy up one’s meal preparation, but these basic eight will get any cooking job done.

List of 8 Essential Cooking Utensils

The List

  • Quality cutting knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Microwave/Conventional oven- capable casserole dish with lid
  • One big pot with lid
  • One frying pan with lid
  • Colander (metal)
  • Grater
  • Large stirring spoon and a turner/flipper

Quality Cutting Knife

I fought the idea that “you get what you pay for” in the kitchen knife department for a long time. However, I finally needed to concede it is true. Between using bargain-store steak knives to try to chop crunchy vegetables and fruit and then buying a Cutco knife to support the seller (someone from my place of worship), I learned the difference between tearing at food and cutting it. All you NEED is one knife. Sure, they make all sorts of specialty ones, but just get a basic mid-sized knife. This should be possible for under $150 USD. Then, care for it and it will not let you down.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

If you are going to follow recipes from your computer or food network television programs or even passed down from your family, most give specific amounts of the ingredients to be used. Don’t fake it. Just buy the tools and use them. These can be gotten very inexpensively.

Casserole Dish with Lid which works for Microwave and Conventional Ovens

Most of the computer-using world is also a microwave oven using world. I love the way vegetables can be steamed in a microwave. Also, microwaves are grand for melting or softening butter and reheating casserole dishes. Therefore, it behooves one to own a proper receptacle for the microwave. The lid is for steaming, since there is a concern these days about using plastic wrap and having some chemicals leach into the food. The reason it should also work inside a conventional oven is because you may want to make those baked beans or chicken casserole the old-fashioned way. Choose the largest size that will fit in your microwave oven.

Cutco Spatula Spreader KNIFE

Cutco Classic Dark Brown Model 1768 Spatula Spreader
Cutco Classic Dark Brown Model 1768 Spatula Spreader
If I could have ONLY ONE of my Cutco knives, this is the one I'd choose. It not only cuts like a fiend, but the wide blade allows you to lift the chopped veggies or whatever into the pot, the bowl, the destination.

One Big Pot with Lid

How big is big? This depends on the size of your stove burners and the number of people you will want to be able to serve on a semi-regular basis. For the sort of entertaining I like to do, a 5-quart pot is too small. However, it may be perfect for you. Picture a gathering for which you want to make a nice pot of chili or soup. Then, shop for the pot that would be adequate for your imaginary group. Make sure it has a lid for the same steaming need described above.

One Frying Pan with Lid

Once again, the size depends on the considerations of burner bigness and how many people will be served. My largest stove burner is about 9 inches in diameter, but a 9-inch pan looks so puny. I can go only a little larger, though, because what is the usefulness of a frying pan that is not receiving heat? For a frying pan, the lid serves to not only retain heat, but also to prevent splatters and grease burns.


Colanders are fabulous. They can hold produce fresh from your own garden and hold those fruit and veggies for rinsing. Salad greens, potatoes, strawberries, apples – you name it and a first rinse is very easy with a colander. Also, they are great for draining food cooked in water. Picture the huge pot of pasta. When the pasta is done, you pour it all into a colander in the sink made of metal or any substance which can withstand boiling water. Then pour the drained noodles into the serving bowl. Easy peasy, as my niece would say.


For your fresh cheese coatings on a hot dish or finely chopped veggies or fruit for a salad, this is the basic tool. You do not need a fancy electric spinning food processor.

Long Large Stirring Spoon and a Turner/Flipper

You won’t get far with your pot and pan, if you can’t stir or turn the food that is in it. One or two spoons and flippers will suffice.

Bon Appetit

Do not sweat having fancy kitchen apparatuses. These utensils are the essentials. Enjoy your cooking!

© 2012 Maren Elizabeth Morgan


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      DDE, I confess that I do not often buy a loaf of bakery bread. I buy thew pre-sliced loaves made from large companies which are available in our grocerry markets. So, those of you who enjoy fresh loaves of bread - please add the bread knife to the list! :-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      8 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A list of the most important utensils what about a bread knife?

      Thanks for this often I am missing one of the other


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