Are you looking for some new tools to spice up your cooking skills? Or maybe you want to create a healthier lifestyle? Whatever your reason for wanting to cook better, these essential kitchen items will help you get started.
There’s no doubt that cooking at home is easier than ordering out. And even though it takes time and effort, homemade meals are much cheaper than restaurant food. Plus, they taste better and are often healthier. Whether you’re looking to start cooking from scratch or you already enjoy preparing delicious meals, here are 20 essentials you’ll need to get started.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line equipment to cook great food. In fact, many basic pieces of kitchenware can be found in most homes. However, if you’d like to make things easy when shopping, consider investing in a few high-quality tools. Here are the basics:
2. Knife set
A good knife set should include both serrated and straight knives. The former makes cutting through tough foods more efficient while the latter works well for slicing vegetables. A sharpening stone is also helpful for maintaining the edge of your blades. If you prefer wooden handles, look for ones with smooth edges so they won’t cut.
3. A cutting board
It is an indispensable tool for any chef. It keeps raw meat and other perishable foods separate from cooked ingredients which helps prevent cross-contamination. Look for one made of wood, plastic or stainless steel. You may also want to invest in a pair of tongs to move around hot pans without burning yourself.
4. Vegetable peeler
Peeling fresh produce is tedious work. Luckily, there are now many vegetable peelers available on the market that allow you to easily remove the skin of fruits and veggies. Choose one with adjustable settings to accommodate different types of produce.
5. Garlic press
This simple gadget allows you to squeeze garlic effortlessly into recipes. Simply place the head of garlic onto a flat surface, hold down using the lever and let the weight do the rest.
6. Mixing bowls
Whether you’re making soup or salad dressing, mixing bowls come in handy. They keep ingredients separated and ensure all ingredients reach the same temperature. Invest in several sizes depending on how big of batches you plan to prepare.
7. Baking dishes
Bakeware comes in various shapes and sizes but the best option for beginners is likely a 9×13 baking dish. For smaller amounts, choose a glass casserole dish as it heats quickly and evenly.
Saucepans come in two varieties – stock pots and standard saucepans. Stock pots are ideal for heating large quantities of liquids while standard saucepans are used for small batches. When choosing either type, opt for heavy-duty materials such as stainless steel to avoid warped pans.
9. Roasting pan
Roasting pans come in many sizes and designs. The key thing to remember is that their size depends on what you’re going to roast. Larger roasters are preferable for larger cuts of meat while shallow fry pans are perfect for frying small items.
10. Meat thermometer
Meat thermometers are inexpensive and important tools for any cook. Inserted deep into the thickest part of the meat, they measure its internal temperature. This way, you will know whether or not it’s safe to eat.
11. Slotted spoon
Slotted spoons are essential for removing foods from boiling water or sauces. Use them to fish out pasta, chicken breasts, or roasted potatoes.
Tongs help you turn over and move delicate items on the stovetop. Make sure you get ones with long handles which offer better leverage.
Colanders are useful for draining pasta, rinsing rice, and sifting flour. Invest in a couple of mesh colanders to have at home and one non-slip silicone strainer to take along on trips.
14. Oven mitts
Oven mitts not only protect your hands from splatters but also double up as serving pieces when cooking.
Chopsticks make food prep easier as it reduces the need to touch your cutting board. If you find picking them up awkward, invest in a set of kitchen utensils designed specifically for this purpose.
When you don’t have the patience to wash and dry every piece of produce before chopping it, a sieve is an answer. Sieves are similar to during cooking but can also double up as serving pieces when done. To make this happen, cut off both ends of the gloves. Fold each glove lengthwise so that the seam runs vertically. Cut slits across these vertical seams to create little tabs. Flatten the tabs out so they lie flat against the palm. Now you have oven mitts!
A whisk is an excellent addition to your kitchen arsenal. Whether you’re whipping cream or egg whites for meringue, whisking is a quick and easy way to combine different ingredients.
18. Handheld mixer
Handheld mixers are versatile kitchen tools that can whip eggs, aerate batters and provide light kneading.
Zesters look like tiny vegetable peelers and come in several styles, including box zesters and handheld versions. They allow you to remove just the outer layer of citrus peels without damaging the inner white pith.
Graters can be used to shred cheese, grate vegetables, and add crunch to salads. A Microplane grater is the easiest to use because of its fine holes.
There are more than enough kitchen gadgets available today, all promising to simplify your life. However, the best kitchen gadget should satisfy multiple needs, rather than being limited to one function. If it does, then you won’t have to purchase another tool for years.