Creating delicious, enjoyable meals at home starts with the right kitchen utensils. The good news is that you don’t even have to own fancy equipment— you just need to stock up on the basics.
Must-Have Kitchen Utensils
To make your kitchen an enjoyable, easy place for you to work in, make sure your tools and ingredients are handy, your sink is cleared out and your work surfaces are clean. Like any good workspace, your kitchen needs good tools.
Here is a list of items that you need to have a fully-functioning kitchen, from utensils to appliances.
You don’t have to invest in a full set right away, no matter how nice a butcher block full of knives would look on your counter. You can easily start off with three: a serrated knife, a 9- to 10-inch chef’s knife, and a paring knife. Remember: knives should feel natural in your hand so be sure to hold one before buying it. Get the best ones you can get for your budget and it should last you many years.
Nonstick skillets are great tools whether you’re a newbie in the kitchen or advanced. To start, you’ll want both small and large nonstick skillets. Just take care not to use metal utensils on nonstick surfaces; they are likely to scratch and damage them. You also might want to get small and large stainless steel skillets, as well as small and large sauce pans and a stockpot.
Here’s a quick guide on the different kinds of pots and pans and when to use them:
- Small pan – About 8 inches in diameter; used for 1-2 servings of protein
- Medium pan – About 10 inches in diameter; used for around 3 servings of protein
- Large pan – About 12 inches in diameter; for dishes with plenty of ingredients
- Ovenproof pans – A stainless steel pot or pan that can withstand the heat of an oven; for dishes that begin on the stove and finish up in the oven
- High-sided pan – For dishes that start out as a simple saute then gets more ingredients or sauce added to it
- Small pot – About 6 inches in diameter and able to contain 1.5–2 quarts
- Medium pot – About 8 inches in diameter; can carry anywhere from 3–4 quarts of liquid
- Large pot – Generally 12 inches in diameter; can be used for cooking pasta
- Cutting Boards
You read that right— you’re going to need more than one cutting board. Two cutting boards are ideal: one for raw proteins and one for cooked foods and produce. This is to avoid cross-contamination when cooking. Cutting boards that are made of polyethylene plastic are inexpensive, durable and easy to clean.
A strainer is one utensil you would tend to forget until the exact moment you need it, like when you suddenly have to drain pasta. Start off with the fine mesh kind as the smaller openings give them a wider range of uses.
- Measuring Spoons & Cups
It’s good to invest in one full set of measuring spoons, plus two sets of measuring cups. One set is for measuring liquids, which usually have handles and pour spouts. The other set should be used for measuring dry ingredients that can be leveled off at the top.
Some tools you need to have handy include:
- Heat-resistant nonstick spatulas
- Vegetable peeler
- Rolling pin
- Meat mallet
- Slotted spoon for draining
- Wire whisk
- Wooden spoons
With these basic tools in your arsenal, you’re ready to whip up magic in the kitchen!