Must-Have Kitchen Tools and Equipment
Which kitchen tools and equipment are important to you?
If I had more space in my home, I would probably fill it with more kitchen tools and equipment. I'm a self-proclaimed cooking gadget junkie. If there is a new toy for the kitchen, I probably want it. However, I find myself returning to the same few pieces of equipment when I actually start to cook.
Whether you are just starting out and stocking your new kitchen, or you are a seasoned home cook looking for some new ideas, there is an item on this list that is right for your home. These are my choices for must-have kitchen tools and equipment.
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OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Stainless-Steel Mixing Bowl Set
To start with the most basic must-have kitchen tools and equipment, I always recommend a good set of mixing bowls. Look for something sturdy and dishwasher safe, so they last and are easy to clean. I recommend this set of bowls by OXO Good Grips because they also have a non-skid bottom. This helps keep your bowls sturdy on the counter when you are mixing.
I also like this set because they are nice looking. Many of my mixing bowls end up doubling as serving bowls (less to clean up that way!) so having something relatively attractive is an added bonus.
Silicone is a great material for kitchen tools because it can withstand extremely high heat (up to 600 degrees). It is nonpourous and dishwasher safe, making it easy to deal with and safe for any kitchen. Spatulas and scrapers are extremely useful in the kitchen and have replaced wooden spoons for almost any use in my house.
I like these spatulas because I like products by OXO Good Grips. Everything they make is sturdy and long-lasting, which are two of my biggest criteria when looking for new kitchen gadgets. I hate replacing broken tools! This set also comes with three different sizes and shapes. They are some of the most common types of silicone spatulas, so it is a great introductory set to figure out which ones you like best!
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Whisk
Sometimes, I'm surprised at how often I use my whisks. They are one of those useful kitchen tools that many people forget about. They are necessary for most sauces and gravies, and I regularly find mine coming out of the drawer.
I'd recommend starting with this 9-inch whisk, because it is a good all-purpose size. However, I have three whisks that I use regularly. One 9-inch, an 11-inch balloon whisk, and a super-small version. Larger whisks are great when you are working on a stock pot full of food, while a smaller size will fit better into the corners of a small sauce pan.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
I love these adjustable measuring cups and spoons. I had a classic set of measuring spoons, but was constantly losing the one that I needed in my drawers of gadgets. With an adjustable measuring spoon, you only need one or two to cover almost any amount you need.
Casabella Orange Pot Holder/Trivet
Do you have aging cloth pot holders in your house that are starting to develop holes in the lining? I can't tell you how many times I have nearly dropped something hot when my pot holders just didn't cut it. So, I started replacing them with a silicone variety. These are great for the same reasons that the silicone spatulas are wonderful - they resist heat and are easy to clean.
I like the Casabella set because they can easily double as trivets. In my kitchen, I prefer that most equipment can do multiple jobs. I don't have enough storage space for uni-taskers!
8-Inch Chef's Knife
Knives are one of the cornerstones of any kitchen. If you are only going to add one great knife to your collection, look for an 8-inch chef's knife. This size is one of my must-have kitchen tools because of its versatility. It is large enough that it can handle most jobs in the average kitchen.
Just remember, a great knife will only stay great if you keep it sharpened! When you are buying a new knife set, consider looking at sharpeners as well. They are another great piece of equipment to have.
Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer
I love my Taylor probe thermometer. I think I cook more roasts and whole birds just so I have more excuses to use it. If you regularly cook large cuts of meat, a thermometer is a must-have kitchen tool. The beauty of a probe thermometer instead of a traditional meat thermometer is that you can leave it in while the food is cooking. This one has an alarm that you can set to go off when the meat hits a certain temperature, so you will never overcook or undercook your food.
I've found this thermometer to be accurate and easy to use. It has a home on my counter, so I can use the base as a regular kitchen timer when I don't need the probe.
Personally, I love a Crock Pot that is simple. All you need is the different temperature settings. This one keeps it clean with one knob that changes the temperature to warm, low, or high. Toss your ingredients into the slow cooker and leave it alone!
Cuisinart TOB-155 Toaster Oven, Stainless and Black
Do you live somewhere that gets hot in the summer? You may want to consider a toaster oven. For me, it has become one of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment. I lived alone for years, which made a small oven convenient when I was cooking dinner for one. I just purchased this model to replace an older Cuisinart toaster oven I had (it still worked, but had taken a beating from moving so many times and developed a crack in the exterior plastic). This new stainless and black version is beautiful, but maintains the features I loved so much.
It comes with a roasting rack and toaster oven-sized sheet pan to cook on. While I was initially skeptical at Cuisinart's claims that you could cook a whole chicken or a 12-inch pizza in this oven, I now believe it. The sheet pan is huge. I can regularly make dinner for two without having to turn on the oven. This is a real perk when the temperature starts passing 90!
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
One reason I love this mixer is because of all the attachments that you can use to expand the mixer. For instance, I have the ice cream maker attachment, which means I don't need to own a stand-alone ice cream maker. The KitchenAid also has a good meat grinder and pasta maker.
Is there something in your kitchen that you can't live without? Share your favorite kitchen tools and equipment here!