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What Basic Kitchen Tools Should I Have?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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Many people just moving into their own places for the first time, or newlyweds setting up a kitchen, may be overwhelmed by the array of kitchen tools available. It seems that there is a tool for almost any job, and picking the right ones seems impossible. Does the person rely on the kinds of spatulas Mom always used, or should he or she think about something new? Some kitchen tools are indispensable, and should be purchased first. Then, the person can go ahead and look for interesting gadgets.

Quality and multipurpose use are a couple of things to keep in mind when purchasing kitchen tools. A good example is measuring cups. Measures for dry and wet materials are different. A cook has two options: either buy a set of dry measuring cups, and a liquid measure, or buy a measuring cup that is marked for both dry and wet measures. However, a cook should always have a 2-cup liquid measure in a microwave-safe material. This will come in handy for numerous uses in the kitchen.

A cook should also have two or three different sizes of spatulas around, and a set of rubber or silicon scrapers. Wooden spoons are also a necessity in a well-stocked kitchen. They can be used with any cooking surface and are non-reactive, which means they can be used for stirring any food, no matter its composition. They are absolutely necessary for making a roux or candy.

A set of basic kitchen tools should also include a cutting board. The debate still rages over whether plastic or wood is the best material, but both are good if kept properly cleaned and stored. It all depends on the cook's preference.

The discussion of cutting boards inevitably leads to talking about kitchen knives. A bride, for instance, can register for that US$500 cutlery set she's been drooling over, but someone looking for basic kitchen tools may want to start a bit smaller. A cook should have a minimum of three knives: a 7-inch butcher/chef's knife; a 4-inch utility knife and a paring knife. These, along with a set of steak knives, should meet most cooking needs.

A beginning cook should also have a grater, a soup ladle, two or three serving spoons, one slotted, and a set of mixing bowls. Don't forget a can opener that will open bottles, as well, along with a balloon whisk. An electric hand mixer is also one of the basic kitchen tools. With a little thought and some common sense, anyone can stock up on basic kitchen tools without sacrificing quality or breaking the budget.

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Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at DelightedCooking. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By GlassAxe — On Feb 03, 2011

@ Babalaas- In my opinion, the best kitchen tools are a grill brush, a spatula, a meat grinder, and a bottle opener. There is nothing quite like a great burger and an ice-cold beer.

By Babalaas — On Feb 01, 2011

@ highlighter- I would like to add that a cook is only as good as his or her cookware. A good set of pots and pans is key, even if those pots and pans are a mismatch set form a discount retailer. A properly equipped kitchen will have at the very least a stockpot, small and medium saucepan, two skillets, and a pasta strainer. Stainless steel is the best and most durable, and they don't always need to be expensive.

For bake ware, you should have at least a square casserole pan, a rectangle lasagna pan, a cookie sheet, and a loaf pan. Ideally, you should have a mixture of both glass and metal pans. If you have these essential kitchen tools and some utensils, you can cook almost anything.

By highlighter — On Jan 30, 2011

This was a very informative article, but I would argue that a boning knife is a more important tool for the kitchen than a utility knife. Not only should a good knife set have an assortment of blade sizes, it should also have an assortment of flexible versus stiff blades. Boning knives are very useful for cutting and trimming meat, and offer better precision and sharpness than a chef or utility knife. This is just my opinion, but I was a professional line cook and sous chef in mostly fine dining establishments for ten years.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at DelightedCooking...
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