Whether you love cooking or just want to give a nice gift to your mother or your friend who likes to cook, having the proper kitchen tools is necessary in order to seamlessly execute your meals. That’s why I put together a list of absolute kitchen essentials, from stock pots to the Ring Master scrubber.
1. Stock Pots
Broth or stock is important in making complex recipes because it provides the very foundation of the meal. Without stock pots, we cannot take that basic step and choosing the wrong stock pot can effect the quality of the meal. When buying cookware like stock pots, I always check the material, efficiency, and compatibility with different stoves.
All-Clad or Multiclad Stock Pots
The material is the first thing to consider. Is it safe to use on a dishwasher or in an oven? If you’re like me who use stock pots daily but doesn’t want to spend half an hour washing them, dishwasher-safe pots are the best choice.
Look for multiclad pots that you can use for cooking stocks and soups, tomato sauce, and crab boils as well as braising meats. With stainless steel exterior and an aluminum core, multiclad stock pots make your cooking faster and cleaning easier. Heat is absorbed by the inner layer, the aluminum core, and evenly distributed for quick and even cooking. The outer metal makes it easy for you to clean the pot.
Versatile Stock Pots
Your stove or cooktop is also something to consider when choosing stock pots. If you can use your stock pot on both gas and electric stove, then that’s good. Oven and broiler-safe stock pots are also available.
Safety Is a Priority
Safety in cooking is always a priority, so always look for nontoxic cookware. Make sure it’s free of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PTFE makes durable pans, while PFOA makes them stain-resistant. However, when these chemical components get heated, they might get mixed with food.
2. Cast-Iron Skillet
Cast-iron skillets have become popular even before the 1950s because of their durability and reliability. The use of cast-iron was reintroduced by celebrity chefs through cooking shows as one of the traditional cooking methods.
What Makes a Good Cast-Iron Skillet?
Aside from its durability, it needs to have good heat retention and a glass-like finish. A handle which gives that comfortable grip is also nice to have.
Good heat retention helps you fry food evenly and faster without having to move the pan or constantly manage the heat. Because it holds and distributes heat so well, cast-iron skillets are ideal on many forms of cooking, including slow-cooking, roasting, searing, stir-frying, and baking.
The Best Pan for a Good Sear
While a classic cast-iron skillet is good enough, I prefer enameled cast-iron skillets like this Staub Frying Pan or this Le Creuset’s signature skillet with a shock-resistant exterior. As a material, cast-iron is already durable. However, an enamel finish eliminates the need for traditional seasoning and maintenance of raw cast iron.
What’s seasoning? It’s fat polymerization: oil plus high heat. It transforms the surface of the pan and leaves a thin, non-stick film that chemically bonds with the iron surface. And you don’t have to do this when you use an enamel-coated cast-iron skillet.
If these are out of your price range, Lodge is great alternative. Although it is unseasoned you can season it yourself over time, and if taken care of properly, will also last a lifetime.
3. Baking Sheet
A baking sheet comes in many names like sheet pan, baking tray, or jelly roll pan. A flat and rectangular aluminum or stainless steel pan commonly used in ovens, it is perfect for baking pastries. You can also use it when reheating pizza or bread. Its flat surface is also good for seasoning meat, fish, and veggies.
What to Look for in Baking Sheets
When buying baking sheets, my choice is aluminum. They are long lasting and versatile. I always try to steer away from non stick. If you are into baking pastries that require a non stick surface, simply buy a silpat to cover your aluminum sheet pan. My reasoning for this is that some manufacturers use potentially hazardous materials to make nonstick coating, so I always make sure that the bakeware I buy is PFOA and PTFE free.
4. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
A mixing bowl is a deep bowl best for mixing ingredients for cakes and pastries, tossing salads, and even washing vegetables. It can be made of ceramic, glass, or plastic, but I prefer stainless steel mixing bowls.
Why I Love Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls?
A stainless steel mixing bowl is durable, unlike glass. It is lightweight unlike ceramic, yet sturdy.
Meant for daily use, it should be dishwasher safe. Freezer-safe mixing bowls are a wise choice. Now, you no longer need separate containers for storing and mixing.
5. Rubber Spatula
Without spatulas, mixing and flipping food or ingredients will probably be hard. Metal spatulas are great for cooking fish and meat, but if you make breakfast often as most do, you’ll need a rubber spatula to make a proper omelette or sunny side up egg. I prefer rubber spatulas that are heatproof, flexible, and nontoxic so I can use them on all kinds of cookware, including nonstick pans.
Not Your Ordinary Spatula
Flexibility and safety go hand in hand when it comes to rubber cooking tools. If you can find a food-grade silicone spatula that can be used up to 500° F, grab it. If you do a lot of mixing, scooping, and scraping in the kitchen, then you may want to choose an innovative heat-resistant silicone spatula over the traditional broad and flat type.
6. Paring Knife
There are different types of knives, and I think the paring knife is essential. Small and meant for peeling fruits and vegetables, it is perfect for cleaning shrimps and artichokes.
Good Kitchen Tools Aren’t Always Expensive
If you want an inexpensive paring knife that you can use for years, buy one with a stainless steel blade like this classic 3.25 inch paring knife.
If you are willing to spend a bit more, paring knives made in Japan are a great choice. We all know and love Japan for its san mai, a modern metal blade work.
Pay attention to the handle’s design. You’d want a paring knife that can give a perfect balance for effortless cutting and a comfortable grip to prevent the knife from slipping.
7. 8- to 10-Inch Chef’s Knife
The chef’s knife, also known as a cook’s knife, was originally for slicing and disjointing large cuts of beef. However, modern chef’s knives are now multi-purpose. It can now be used for mincing and chopping vegetables.
Invest in Good Knives, You’ll Never Regret It
Just like a paring knife, a chef’s knife that’s made from high carbon stainless steel with a full tang and riveted handle is the best choice.
Miyabi Koh Rocking Santoku is my personal favorite. It’s made from advanced FC61 fine carbide stainless steel, which means its corrosion and chip resistant. Although expensive, it is made of high carbon stainless steel and offers remarkable durability, sharpness, and cutting performance. In addition, its blade is Friodur, the first of its kind to have all the qualities of a cooking blade-like stain and corrosion resistance, flexibility and good edge retention so that the knife can keep its sharpness for a long time.
If Miyabi is beyond your budget, there are good alternatives. Swiss and German stainless steel chef knives are also known for their durability.
8. Food Processor
A food processor can help you with a lot of tasks in the kitchen. Unlike blender, it doesn’t require liquid to properly blend food, and it can do a lot more than just blending: chop, slice, and dice.
A Good Electric Food Processor Is:
- Easy to use, clean, and store
I would consider food processors as easy to use if they have one-touch pads. For busy cooks, easy-to-clean kitchen tools are heaven sent so always check if the blades are dishwasher-safe and other parts can be cleaned in a breeze. If you have limited storage space, an easy-to-store food processor would make a lot of difference between messy and clean countertops.
Multifunctionality depends on the blades. Interchangeable blades let you crush ice, chop veggies into salsa, extract the nutrients from high-speed blending, or mix dough and batter.
For less than $70, you can purchase a food processor to help you with everyday food prep tasks. But if you want a more powerful unit with more slicing options, Cuisinart DLC-2009CHBMY Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor is a good investment.
9. Mesh Strainer and Colander
When cooking, there are times that you need to separate solids from liquids. To do this, you need a mesh strainer or colander.
A mesh strainer is used to separate small and lightweight solids like flour, confectioner’s sugar and purifying stocks, while colanders are for bigger and heavier solids such as cleaning and rinsing fruits and vegetables.
Wash Your Ingredients Quickly
I suggest looking for these qualities when buying a mesh strainer or colander: durable, convenient to use and inexpensive.
Stainless steel is the best material because it’s durable and rust-free. For convenience, look for Kitchenaid colanders or mesh strainers. Choose based on your daily needs. Are you a professional cook? Do you cook just for your family? Pick the right size, but I suggest buying one that has as many perforations as possible.
10. Splatter Screen
Splatter screen or guard is a circular cover used to prevent hot oil from splattering. It helps avoid skin burns or stain on your stovetop or countertop. It can be made of metal mesh or silicone.
That Thing Some People Think They Don’t Need
Like most kitchen tools I buy, I prefer stainless steel splatter screens because they’re more durable and they’re rust-resistant. And when buying a splatter guard, remember that the larger, the better. Look for one that’s at least 13 inches in diameter, slightly larger than the size of most pots and frying pans. A single-layer screen is better in my opinion because it is easier to clean than double-layered screens.
11. Measuring Spoons
Measuring spoons and cups are used to measure not only liquid but also solid ingredients. If you plan on baking or making desserts at home, you will need them, without a doubt. They help us ensure precise and consistent measurements. They are usually made of metal, plastic, ceramic or stone.
12. Ring Master Scrubber
After all the cooking, it is time to clean and this Ring Master will help you do that quickly and efficiently. You may need to scrape stuck food from your baking sheets, cutting boards, cast iron pots and pans. The Ring Master scrubber will make this job a lot easier. Another great thing about the Ring Master is that it will never rust and helps minimize sponge usage. You know when you just take out a new sponge and don’t want to immediately get gunk all over it? Just use the Ring Master on it first and you may not even need to use the sponge at all. I have had mine for over five years and it still looks brand new. You won’t have to keep replacing it unlike scouring pads, so it’s also a more environmentally friendly option and you’ll cut down your annual spending on sponges, rags, etc. If you like to go camping and cook while you camp, it’s an excellent tool to easily clean off your grill or pan.
Many Cooks Are in Love With It
You can use it on all types of pots and pans, except the ones with nonstick coating. .This heavy-duty stainless steel material is the best choice for keeping cast iron skillets clean and gunk-free. Apart from cast iron cooking utensils, this scrubber is also perfect for metal mixing bowls, baking trays, plates, cutting boards, grills, and utensils.
For less than $20, it is a great investment because you don’t have to replace it often, if ever. Mine has been in use for five years, and it still looks brand new.
The Final Word
The best kitchens aren’t built overnight, but you have to start somewhere, and I hope this list can help you have build the foundation for your dream kitchen. Quality makes a big difference. Complete your cooking arsenal or make your friend smile with some of these kitchen essentials. They will surely make preparing Achaar Gosht or any dish more enjoyable and so much easier.