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10 Essential Kitchen Tools Every Cook Should Have

Setting up a new kitchen? Trying to pare down an overload of gadgets? Check out our guide to what you'll actually use in the kitchen.

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Background of kitchen utensils on wooden kitchen tableDidecs/Shutterstock

Essential kitchen tools

When it comes to kitchen gadgets, I can go a little crazy. Walking down the cooking aisle at a store, specialty tools like avocado peelers, strawberry hullers or a teensy-tiny wooden spoon always call my name. Unfortunately, because I don’t have the space or the budget to indulge in these semi-impractical kitchen tools, I have to streamline my batterie de cuisine to just the essentials. But what about those essentials every cook should have? Whether you’re looking to minimize your kitchen clutter or start stocking your space from scratch, here are the tools every home cook needs. (Other than a knife and cutting board, of course!)

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Bakery And Cooking Tools Silicone on wood tableShutterstock / Noom Kittipong

Silicone spatula

A silicone spatula is crucial for scraping out the food processor or the sides of the mixing bowl, swirling frosting onto a cake or folding egg whites into cake batter. Make sure your spatula is silicone and not rubber, or else it may risk melting under high heat. If you make lots of garlicky things, you may want to have a separate spatula for sweet baking only.

These three-ingredient recipes don’t require a trip to the store!

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ThermoPro TP03A Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer Kitchen Cooking Food Candy Thermometer for BBQ Grill Smoker Deep Fry Oil Thermometervia

Instant-read thermometer

Easily (and quickly) check to see if your meats have cooked enough.

Here’s why an undercooked burger is more dangerous than undercooked steak.

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Shakshuka in a Cast Iron PanOksana Mizina/Shutterstock

Cast-iron skillet

Made with thick, heavy bottoms and sides, cast iron pans can evenly heat to high temperatures and retain heat for a long time. They give a beautiful sear to a steak or scallops. They go right in the oven, so use ’em for making corn bread or cobblers. They’ve got rustic good looks that can go right from stove to tabletop. Last but not least, they’re virtually indestructible! There are very few cast-iron rules to go with your cast-iron pan, but there are some foods it’s best to avoid.

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Brand new enameled cast iron covered dutch oven on a white background.Shutterstock / Arina P Habich

Dutch oven

Ah, the classic Dutch oven, another cast iron essential. Look for a five or six quart if you cook for a small crew, or go big with a seven or eight quart and feed a crowd. This pan can go in the oven or on the stovetop, so you can sear meat and then slowly cook a stew for hours in a low oven. You can also use your Dutch oven as an alternative to a large sauce pan. And you can bake bread with a super crackly crust in your D.O. They’re expensive, so save your pennies and use it every chance you get.

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Italian sausage egg bakeTaste of Home

13 x 9 baking dish

Bake up a hearty casserole or sweet sheet cake with this versatile dish. These come in pretty colours, so find one that matches your dishes; you’ll want to serve right out of it.

Craving cake but don’t have a lot in the pantry? No problem! These easy cake recipes can be made with just a short list of ingredients.

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Preparation milk cocktail, smoothies with an immersion blender.Shutterstock / Spok83

Immersion blender

Once I handled an immersion blender, I kissed my standing blender goodbye. This handheld tool makes it so easy to blend soups, smoothies, and pestos with the push of a button. I find much easier to handle than a traditional blender, and it’s great because it takes up much less space, too.

Check out these brilliant ways to hack your kitchen appliances.

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metallic grater isolated on white backgroundShutterstock / NIKITA TV

Box grater

I find myself reaching for this sturdy shredder at the most unexpected times—whether it’s shredding zucchini for healthy-ish muffins or softening butter extra quick. It might take a little extra elbow grease compared to a food processor, but I love how my box grater doesn’t take up much space.

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Person using a microplane to zest a lemonTaste of Home


My microplane is my go-to tool for when I want my dishes to feel gourmet. It’s a fine grater that’s perfect for adding thin sprinkles of Parmesan over a pasta dish or adding lemon zest to a flaky fish.

Here are more kitchen hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner!

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Shutterstock / OLIVER-stockphoto

Prep bowls

This might sound like a no brainer, but it’s important to have a variety of mixing bowls. Get ones that are metal or glass because they’re less porous than plastic. They won’t pick up stains or odours, either. I have a single large metal mixing bowl for cake mixes, chopping up salads, or oiling down veggies. My smaller bowls hold one to two cups and are the perfect way for me to practice mise en place in the kitchen—staying super organized while I cook.

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egg timer, things to buy at a grocery store that aren't foodStockphotoVideo/Shutterstock


Timing is everything when it comes to cooking! If you’re making multiple items at once, it’s crucial to keep track individual cooking times. Our test kitchen cooks carry timers around their necks, but if you don’t want to buy a timer you can set one on your microwave (or phone).

The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it can also be the most cluttered. Use these clever kitchen organizing ideas to bring order to chaos!

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home