Whether you’re a gourmet foodie whose cooking has family and friends lining up or you’re a take-out titan who only cooks for special occasions, the frustration is the same when you find yourself without a needed kitchen utensil. While this may seem like a simple remedy, think carefully before buying just anything. Going to the dollar store or grocery store is a bad idea because whatever you buy will break within a short time. Meanwhile, don’t clutter your drawers with useless stuff you buy on a whim. There are thousands of different kitchen utensils out there, the majority of which you will likely never use.
What about the ones you will use?
Let’s make it easy for you. We spoke with professionals to create a list of 21 essential kitchen utensils that you should never be without.
The Essential List
- Can Opener – When all else fails, don’t order fast junk food. You’ll do better to open some cans. Therefore you’ll need a quality, ergonomically designed can opener that’s easy to use and does not need physical force. An electric can opener is useless when the power goes out, which is exactly the time when you’ll need a can opener.
- Knives – Chef’s, paring, bread and carving. They must be sharp. But not all knives are created equal - you get what you pay for.
- Honing Steel – We said your knives must be sharp.
- Large, Non-stick Frying Pan – Ensure it has some weight and a non-stick surface that won’t flake off into your food.
- Saucepans – The workhorses of your cooking. Solidly constructed stainless steel ones with a little ‘heft’ are way better than anything coated.
- Baking Sheets – Multi-functional, these are great for oven baking everything from potatoes to cookies to pizzas.
- Peeler – Sure, you could use a knife, but then you’d likely have to add Band-Aids to this list. Again, quality is key.
- Ladle – Perfect for sauces, soups, and transferring liquids easily. Stainless steel is always better than plastic.
- Tongs – Turn meats and vegetables without getting burnt or flinging food. Ensure they have some length, are well balanced, and include heat-resistant handles.
- Whisk – For stirring sauces, beating eggs and thickening gravy.
- Grater – Either a round, freestanding grater or a flat version. Whatever feels and works best for your style.
- Kitchen Shears – Knives are for cutting food, not opening packages or severing ties. Don’t ruin your regular scissors, either.
- Measuring Cups – If you ever plan on following a recipe, these are a must.
- Measuring Spoons - Please see above.
- Pepper Mill – Few things add to a meal like fresh ground pepper, and even fewer things look as good in your kitchen.
- Colander – Whether you’re preparing a salad or draining your pasta, a colander will always help keep the food where it belongs while the water drains.
- Wooden Spoon - Unlike metal, wood doesn’t conduct heat. Perfect for stirring baking mixtures, sauces and soups.
- Offset Spatula – It’s long and thin. A baker can’t do without a metal (not silicone) one of these for scraping out containers, scrambling eggs, flipping, pressing and serving.
- Scale – Ensure perfect proportions every time. Again, you get what you pay for here.
- Thick Wooden Chopping Board – From prep work to serving, few meals can make it to table without one of these. Say no to plastic.
- Rolling Pin – Roll out dough and also flatten meat.
That’s pretty much what you need to be a gourmet. Sure, you can buy extra gadgets, but we consider these your essential kitchen utensils. Make sure you always buy the best quality and you’ll be set to dazzle your family, your friends, and your taste buds.
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