Basic Kitchen Equipment and Tools Every Cook Should Have

assorted cooking pots and pans hangs over black cast iron stove

In this article, we will discuss what basic kitchen equipment and tools you should have. Cooking is a skill that not everyone has the time or patience to learn how to do well. This is why basic tools are so important for those who want to cook at home but don’t know where to start.

What are the basic kitchen tools and equipment used in cooking?

A chef’s knife – You don’t need an expensive knife to cook. There is such a thing as too cheap – and yes, it can make a difference! You should fork out for a good one that will stand up to your blades being sharpened regularly.

 A heavy, wooden cutting board – If you are cooking for a meat-eater, make sure to get two cutting boards–one for raw meats and one for vegetables.

A food processor – Items that allow us to make our own freshly made hummus or pesto–such as devices for making sourdough breads, grinders, and mortar-and-pestle sets–are essential in our book.

A skillet – A cast iron pan is a must-have for any kitchen, and it’s important to remember not to wash it with soap.

A stockpot – Hey, you’re going to need a pasta maker at some point right?

stainless steel cooking pot with lid

Whisk – You can choose any shape or size of whisk, but use a mid-sized one that is comfortable in your hand. It should be used to mix dry ingredients together before baking, mixed eggs for an egg frittata, or emulsify some vinaigrette.

An immersion blender – This little handheld blender is the perfect appliance to puree soup or vegetables without taking up precious counter space.

Measuring cups and spoons – Even if you’re one of those improvisational cooks that relies heavily on guesses.

Kitchen shears – Super basic yet very useful are kitchen shears. You’ll use them to open plastic packaging, snip away herb stems and trim the fat from meat on a rare occasion when you need to cut up a whole chicken or trim off excess “lid crusts”. I recommend purchasing ones that can be taken apart for easy cleaning

Wire-mesh colanders – Dishwasher safe cooking 101: Get a colander that doubles as a sieve to make the job easier.

A Silpat baking mat – Wonderfully designed with parchment paper in mind, these mats are a great tool for baking and rolling out dough. Line your baking sheets for easy clean up or set them on the counter to prevent flour from flying everywhere!

Digital instant-read thermometer – The most reliable way to know if your meat is ready is to take its temperature.

A box grater – All cooks need cheese, lemon zest, and nutmeg.

person grating cheese

Nonstick Skillet – This is lightweight pans and nonstick cookware. Make sure the nonstick is made of ceramic coating, not PFOAs that may be harmful to your health and the environment.

Silicone Spatula – A silicone spatula is essential for scraping the food processor or the sides of your mixing bowl, swirled frosting onto a cake or folding egg whites into cake batter. If you make lots of garlicky things, you may want to have a separate spatula that’s only used for sweet baking and not touching any savory items.

Prep Bowls – Mixing bowls come in many different sizes. My favorite are large, heavy-duty metal or glass bowls to prevent picking up stains and odors. I also have smaller 1-2 cup size for mise en place prep when cooking.

When cooking well-balanced meals at home can be a challenge for even the most experienced cook, imagine how hard it is to taste good food when you don’t have essential kitchenware or tools.

Now that I have my own family, and can’t eat microwaved mac and cheese every day, my goal is to learn how to cook for myself. I had to quickly acquire some basic kitchen tools — that is, all the items I didn’t already have.

The kitchen is one of the most important places in a home, as this is where we prepare our food. Knowing how to cook can be an empowering skill that will make you feel more connected with your family and able to enjoy simple pleasures when it comes to dinner time or any meal for that matter.

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