Top 10 Kitchen Utensils and Tools Every Home Chef Needs
I will never forget the day that I moved out of my childhood family home and into a shared apartment with my then boyfriend (and now husband). The realization that kitchens do not come fully stocked with everything needed to cook a meal hit me like a ton of bricks. You mean I have to go to the store and spend my own money to buy a can opener? It did not seem fair to my younger self, and now that I am a grown woman with a rowdy family of my own, I have learned a few tricks and things along the way that I hope can help others out.
So, what does the home chef really need in the kitchen to create a decent meal? Keep reading to see my top 10 kitchen utensils that every home chef needs.
For the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on kitchen utensils as small handheld tools that are used for food prep in the kitchen. They are designed and created to make the home chef’s life easier. Use this list as a gift guide resource for your favorite home chef!
Spoons, Whisk, Tongs, and Spatulas
I quickly learned how essential a whisk was to have in my own kitchen when I went to bake my first cake. Have you ever tried mixing a cake by hand? Talk about an unwelcome wrist workout. Whisks, large spoons, tongs and spatulas are very inexpensive and often sold in sets.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that I did not see the importance of a rice cooker until recently. I relied on wobbly pot lids that did not fit my pans correctly to cook my rice. Unfortunately, every single batch of rice I ever cooked up until I got my first proper rice cooker came out sticky, thick and disgusting. My family hated every meal I made with rice. Now, thanks to our rice cooker, they love those dishes. Rice cookers are inexpensive and small enough to store anywhere and will help you, the home chef, create perfectly cooked rice every time.
3 Sharp Knives
Every kitchen and home chef needs a few good knives: a chef’s knife, a bread knife and a paring knife. You will use the chef’s knife for the majority of your cutting and chopping, it really is the universal kitchen knife. You’ll use the jagged bread knife for cutting bread and you’ll use a paring knife for slicing and mincing fruit, herbs and vegetables (where and when a chef’s knife is just too large to use). Please trust me when I say that it is important to buy high quality knives because they are very sharp and sturdy.
Who doesn’t love cheese? However, did you know that cheese graters need to be upgraded at least once a year because they become too dull and are impossible to sharpen? I can think of little worse than a dull cheese grater that makes grating cheese harder than it needs to be. Go ahead and take this as a sign to pick up a new cheese grater when you’re at the store.
Precut Parchment Paper for Baking Sheets
Go ahead and indulge me on this one. Before I discovered precut parchment paper that was the exact size of a baking sheet, I struggled with rolling out the paper, measuring it and cutting it. And it always came out cut at a useless sharp angle. I definitely recommend springing for the precut parchment sheets, your next batch of chocolate chip cookies will thank you.
Take the guesswork out of grilling, roasting and baking large pieces of protein for good with a meat thermometer. Either a digital thermometer or a dial thermometer will work to help you know when your protein is cooked enough and safe for eating. These kitchen utensils are especially useful on important food-focused holidays like Thanksgiving.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Every home chef should have dry measuring cups, a liquid measuring cup and measuring spoons. You can hardly do anything in the kitchen without them. Do you know the difference between dry measuring cups and a liquid measuring cup and why you need both of them? Dry measuring cups are usually stored on a ring and stacked together, while liquid measuring cups are typically made of thick glass with a handle and spout. Each type of measuring cup does its job to correctly measure its ingredients.
Every home chef should have a minimum of three cutting boards. One for red meat, one for chicken and another for fruit and vegetables. No cross-contamination will happen in your kitchen!
Having one sturdy colander in your kitchen will help you to strain pasta, rinse fruit and vegetables and can even serve as an extra bowl for holding freshly peeled vegetables like potatoes before you pop them into boiling water.
No kitchen utensils list would be complete without a can opener. There is simply no other way to open cans without the risk of slicing your fingers off than by using a can opener. I have already vowed to buy each of my kids a can opener as a housewarming gift.
Honorable mentions: Jar opening rubber pads (never struggle to open a jar of pickles again!), peeler (apple or veggie), microplane zester (great for lemon and limes).
Check out Zulily’s Kitchen and Dining section to pick up these kitchen utensils to make your next kitchen cooking adventure a fun one!