Essential Kitchen Equipment

With the number of kitchen tools and gadgets on the market, which items do you find absolutely essential? It is a common question asked by people setting up their kitchens for the very first time, as well as expert cooks looking to do away with any excessive clutter in the kitchen. Buying the right equipment can be a challenge, and if you listen to the wrong advice you may end up with many pretty ‘must-haves’ that you really don’t need.

On the other hand, you can also find people like acclaimed chef, Alton Brown, very helpfully telling you that the 5 essential pieces of cooking equipment are a table, light, fire, a knife and a favourite item like a spoon. So how do you actually arrive at a practical list of absolute must-haves for your kitchen? The truth is that this list will vary from person to person depending on who’s cooking, who they are cooking for and the types of food cooked on a regular basis. However, apart from preferences in number, size and material, most lists will look more or less the same. As long as you have a good list to begin with, you can make minor tweaks to come up with your very own list of essential kitchen equipment.

15 Must-Have Kitchen Equipment

Here is a list of fifteen items that any cooking mom will agree are an absolute essential in an average kitchen. And before you ask about brand or quality, take it from us that the best place to look for cost-effective kitchen items is a restaurant supply store. If it can be used to cook for hundreds of people every day, it most certainly can be used wonderfully well in your home kitchen!

  1. Wooden spoon: This will be used for scraping, scooping, mixing, sautéing, pouring and a whole lot more!
  2. Chef’s knife: The importance of a good, sharp kitchen knife that you’re comfortable with cannot be emphasized enough. With all the cutting that you do on a regular basis, this can dictate how you feel about adding a few chopped ingredients to your recipe.
  3. Tongs: Good, sturdy tongs make many cooking processes a lot more easy. You will find yourself using them while baking chicken, grilling vegetables, or lifting fish from a pot of boiling water.
  4. Sheet pan: Whether you’re baking cookies or chicken, a sheet pan is the perfect item to use in the oven.
  5. Cutting board: This one’s a no-brainer! You’ll need a clean flat surface to take care of any chopping that your recipe might require.
  6. Can opener: Any type will do, but one with a handle that is easy to grip and a knob that is easy to turn will certainly ease your task for you!
  7. Vegetable Peeler: The Y-shaped ones are the easiest to use, and allow you to peel large quantities of fruits and vegetables without straining your wrists.
  8. Colander: Used to strain rice, vegetables, pasta, peas and just about anything else. One with a stand will allow the food to drain better.
  9. Saucepan: Smaller ones can be used for boiling vegetables, cooking pasta, and, of course, making sauces. Larger ones can be used to make soups or prepare stock.
  10. Skillet: You can use this for any type of cooking that does not require high sides (this may not be appropriate for tossing vegetables or sloshing liquid), from making pancakes to stir-frying vegetables. Some people may prefer to have a separate sauté pan for cooking meat or similar items.
  11. Dutch oven: This heavy cast iron pot is useful for cooking in large quantities, and is used to braise meats, make stews and even bake bread!
  12. Whisk: Whipping cream, beating eggs, or mixing batter, a good durable whip with thin wires will help you get the right texture.
  13. Spatula: You may opt for a heat-resistant rubber spatula for flexibility or a thin-edged metal spatula to go under items like pancakes. Many people will probably buy both kinds, and then a few more in other shapes and sizes!
  14. Grater or food processor: This depends entirely on how much grating you will be doing, and how much (or little) you like grating things yourself. If you’re buying a grater, make sure to buy one with multiple grating surfaces for coarse grating, fine grating, slices, etc.
  15. Instant-read thermometer: Some may debate the usefulness of this particular item, but you will find plenty who swear by it! A thermometer will let you know for sure when your meat or baked item is done!

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