When there are thousands and thousands of utensils on the market, though, each one touted as “the new revolution in kitchenware,” it becomes important to find some universal staples that you can reach for whenever you need something done. With that in mind, here are our top ten kitchen tools that you can use in most every cooking situation!
Whether it’s for frying meats, sauteing veggies, or heating up leftovers, a pan (and especially a good-size, non-stick one) can be an invaluable asset to almost every kind of “normal” standard cooking. When equipped with this piece of kitchenware, you’ll find yourself able to cook most anything, be it poultry, greens, or sauces.
In today’s world of high-tech mixers, old fashioned stirring is honestly underrated. When it comes to this field, a wooden spoon is your best bet. It won’t damage pots and non-stick pans like a metal or hard plastic one might. Just make sure to keep it clean and to buy one that’s the right size and shape for you.
You’ll want a medium-size pot that’ll be good for pasta, veggies, and (of course), sauces. An accompanying lid will let you boil and steam the food you cook. They’re also very good for slow-cooking foods like stews or soups!
These are great for cutting bread, but just as handy if you need to cut cooked meat or baked goods. Make sure not to go too big, but don’t go too small, either. A knife a little bigger than “regular” steak knives is probably best. Try to keep it clean and accessible, but out of the reach of children or pets.
One of these is necessary for cutting veggies, potatoes, or other firm (but not easily serrated) ingredients. If you’re using one to cut more than one food in a single sitting, wipe it down with a damp cloth in between ingredients. The lack of teeth means an easier, simpler cleaning process!
A good mixing bowl is a staple for everything from baking cookies or brownies to mixing salads or pastas. Don’t go too big or too small; make sure it’s big enough to hold all of your recipes’ ingredients, but small enough so that you can easily store it. Err toward bigness, though; better that it’s too big than to overflow it regularly!
These handy tools just come without saying. You’ll want to get a consistent, medium-sized cup over a large one, unless you plan to get a complete set. If you can only pick one of dry or liquid measurements, go with liquid. One cup of liquid is equal to one cup of solid ingredient, and the liquid measurements are often more precise, with a more transfer/pouring-friendly design to boot. These measuring cups will be best for your baking needs, but liquids especially need to be measured out all the time for normal cooking.
A good, double-layered baking tray is good for heating up any frozen foods, baking bread or other goodies, or roasting/broiling that chicken or beef that you’re cooking up. It can also be useful on the grill if you don’t want sear marks on the food you’re cooking.
Always keep one of these on hand for scraping out trays, pans, pots for the last dregs of sauce or batter. Keep it clean even before it goes in the sink (using the same method as with the chopping knife) and be efficient with your food. A rubber spatula (or ‘spatch, as my family always called them) is always great for making sure that ingredients are sufficiently mixed and not catching on sides of bowls. It’s sometimes better for mixing than a wooden spoon if you need to “fold” ingredients in instead of just mixing them (baking lovers take note!).
The last piece on our list isn’t really a “kitchen utensil,” but it’s good to have one handy in case of spills, damp surfaces, and general cleaning emergencies. Remember that a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen; it’s a place you want to cook. As a chef in a Disney movie once commanded, “Keep your work area clean.” With one of these, you can easily wipe up any messes before you’re done cooking. If you don’t want or have over mitts, you can even use the towel to take trays and hot pans away from the stove and oven!
So what tools have you found most useful in your kitchen? Do you have any suggestions to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!