It seems like cooking brands come out with a new gadget every day. From avocado savers to cups made for cookie-dunking, it can be hard to tell what really works – or what you really need.
While a seasoned chef may need slightly different items than a novice cook, there are certain tools we all find ourselves reaching for day in and day out. With these essential utensils in your batterie de cuisine, there’s very little you can’t make. Whether you’re looking to de-clutter your kitchen or are stocking your space from scratch, here are the tools every home cook should have.
- Cast iron skillet. One skillet will do the work for ten regular pans. A cast iron skillet will last virtually forever, given that it’s properly cared for. A real workhorse in the kitchen, cast iron can be used for sautéing, pan-frying, searing, baking, braising, broiling, roasting, and even more cooking techniques.
- Chef’s knife. A good knife is a chef’s best friend. Choose a knife that you feel comfortable handling. It should feel balanced in your hand, and light, yet sturdy.
- A silicone spatula. Switch out your plastic spatula for the silicone version. This material can withstand high temperatures without melting but maintains the right amount of give.
- Kitchen shears. These stainless steel scissors are super useful for cutting dough, snipping stems and trimming the fat off of meat.
- Mixing bowls. This may sound obvious, but it’s important to have a variety of mixing bowls. Look for ones that are metal and glass because they’re less porous than plastic and won’t pick up stains or odors. You can also find bowls with small lips – perfect for pouring batter.
- A microplane. A little garnish goes a long way, and there’s no better tool for fine grating than a microplane.
- Nonstick skillet. These versatile pans are lightweight and easy to clean. Look for one that’s made with a ceramic coating and heat-resistant handle.
- Pots and saucepans. Bring pasta, potatoes, or broth to a boil in a large pot, or simmer smaller foods in a saucepan. Remember to buy pots that come with a matching lid!
- Colander. Drain pasta, veggies, and other boiled foods. Get a metal or ceramic colander, as both are sturdier than plastic.
- Tongs. The grill master’s original companion, tongs allow you to pick up food from a safe distance. Most tongs are precise enough to pick up vegetables and come with a lock to keep them closed when not in use.
- Sheet Pan. The sheet pan is the champion of baked goods and one-dish dinners alike.
- Wooden cutting board. Wood is durable, easy to clean, and will prevent your knives from dulling quickly.
- Kitchen timer. Few things are more nostalgic than an original egg timer. Stay on schedule with a timer you can stick to the counter, fridge, or microwave.
There are thousands of cooking utensils to choose from and try, but every cook should have this list of staples in their collection. Ready to put your new tools to the test? Ask Chef Lynn Michelle about her private chef services or at-home cooking classes … and see how these simple kitchen tools can make some true culinary magic .