I started cooking in the kitchen at a very young age, and as my love of cooking grew I discovered there are some must have kitchen tools that make preparing a meal much easier. When I was little I would bake cookies with my grandma and mom, which started my love of baking and cooking. I knew then that I needed a bowl, a baking sheet, measuring cups and spoons, and an electric mixer. Things were pretty simple then, and things are pretty simple now too. Only a few of these must have kitchen tools are fancy, most of them are essential tools that any cook or baker would find necessary to have in their kitchen.
1. Knives and Cutting Board
A set of knives and a cutting board are two of the most essential must have kitchen tools. Without either of these it is very hard to do much in the kitchen. I actually know a lot about knives and cutting boards from the summer I spent selling Cutco knives to earn extra money in college. What I learned from that experience, aside from the fact that I am not a salesperson, is that a good set of knives will make preparing meals go much quicker. I am not suggesting that you go out and buy an expensive set of knives, but having a sharp chef’s knife, serrated knife, and paring knife is necessary. To go along with your knives you also need a cutting board. You want to make sure that you have a wood or synthetic cutting board, not glass or marble. I almost cringe when I see people cut on glass or marble because it dulls the blade instantly, which makes your set of knives useless until you get around to sharpening them.
2. Pots and Pans
To be able to cook you need to have a set of pots and pans. Fortunately, you can get a decent set for relatively little money. I would recommend at least having a saucepan, a medium sized pan, and a stockpot. It is amazing what you can do with just those three things. Actually, aside from a steamer basket I don’t think I use any other pots in my kitchen. Of course, I do use a pan as well. If you don’t already have a pan, try to stay away from nonstick pans. The Teflon is very toxic and there are great alternatives now, like Orgreenic. I must confess I have an Orgreenic pan, and it is the only pan I use. Literally, nothing sticks to it. My omelets always turn out!
3. Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
I know there are cooks who rarely measure and their food always comes out wonderful, but I am not one of those cooks. I always measure. I think I learned measuring from baking. When you bake you have to measure, or you risk ruining your recipe. Measuring cups and spoons are very cheap, but very necessary for baking. I have both dry measuring cups and wet measuring cups in my kitchen, and use them every day. I also use my measuring spoons every day. I find when I don’t measure even my stews and soups just don’t come out quite right, which is why I highly suggest having measuring cups and spoons.
4. Electric Beaters
Electric beaters were my favorite kitchen tool to use when I was little. They were also the only kitchen tool I was allowed to use until I was old enough to use a knife. I just love the way they will make egg whites into meringue in no time. Your electric beaters don’t need to be fancy. I'm pretty sure the beaters I have right now are as old as I am, but they still work. They still mash potatoes, mix batter, and beat egg whites, which is all I really need them to do.
Although a blender isn’t absolutely necessary, it will make your life so much easier in the kitchen. Blenders do much more than blend smoothies. I use my blender to puree soups, make oat flour, and mix batter. Of course, they can also be used to make cocktails and milk shakes. If you don’t have a blender, you can get an inexpensive blender at Walmart or Target. The less expensive blenders won’t be able to do as much, but they will be able to do the basic things I just mentioned.
6. Food Processor
I didn’t have a food processor for years, but when I got one I realized what I had been missing. They are great for making pesto, mixing dough, chopping nuts, shredding vegetables, and pureeing. I even used my food processor to make nut butter once! It worked, but I wouldn’t recommend it because the motor gets hot. I use my food processor several times a week and just love how much easier it makes cooking.
7. Baking Sheets and Pans
If you are going to do any baking, you will need baking sheets and dishes. I have never had a kitchen that does not at least have a baking sheet, a bread pan, a cake pan, and a muffin pan. I realize not everyone loves to bake as much as I do, but you don’t have to reserve your oven for baked goods. Baking pans are great for roasting vegetables, and of course a bread pan can always be used to make meat loaf. What I love about baking sheets and pans is even inexpensive ones do a great job. These are not kitchen tools that need to cost a lot of money, and they have so many uses.
I think everyone needs to have a kitchen that has all the tools needed to prepare wonderful meals. Basic and simple tools will allow you to do so much in the kitchen. Just think back to what I needed to make cookies with my grandma. It wasn’t much, but the result was scrumptious. What kitchen tools do you consider to be essential?