These are the ten kitchen tools you can't live without. Okay, that I can't live without. I use most of these on a daily basis and can't imagine cooking without them! These are not gadgets -- just basic, durable tools that are not expensive or fancy.
This list of my essential kitchen tools has stayed the same for over a decade.
Truthfully, there are more than ten things I couldn't live without in my kitchen -- however, these are the most important.
Now, could I really not live without them? Yes, of course I'd continue breathing if someone took away my cast iron skillet! Would I be sad without it? Very sad!
You'll notice none of these items are "fancy," or "gadget-y." They're all simple, strong, durable, highly functional tools.
I'm almost as passionate about my need for these items as I am about incredibly delicious food. In my kitchen, the magic couldn't happen without them!
Ten Kitchen Tools I Can't Live Without
1. Cast Iron Skillet. I have a 10-inch and a 12-inch. I use one or both of these skillets at least once, if not twice a day. They're great for searing meat, making quesadillas, making stews and stir fries, baking breads, satuéing burgers, and more. Really, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. This pan sears and caramelizes like no other. My cast iron skillet only gets a washing if it must. Otherwise it lives on the front left burner of my stove, slightly oiled, waiting for action at all times.
2. Kitchen Tongs. Bacon anyone? And how else would I turn roasting vegetables, steak on the grill, or searing scallops?
3. Glass Mixing Bowls. I think I have at least two of every size. I use these all the time for prep, mixing, marinating, and even serving.
4. Sheet Pans. These are the best! I use them for prepping, roasting, baking pizza crust, baking cookies, and the list goes on -- a lot longer.
5. Wooden Spatula. I'd be hard pressed to enjoy making a stir-fry without this! It's the perfect deglazing tool!
6. Cookie Scoops. It shapes all of my cookies, meatballs, crab cakes, risotto cakes, and so on.
7. Microplane Grater-Zester. This cool tool finely grates zest, garlic, chocolate, cheese, and my favorite . . . fresh ginger.
8. Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups. Since I'm recipe testing all the time, and want to make sure I give you excellent instructions, I use all of these all the time! If you're a baker, they're absolutely essential, since baking is more of a science, than "a little of this, a little of that."
9. Chef's Knife. It's crucial. It's almost never dry, I use it so often. I'm partial to Wusthof, and I love the round, smooth handle. Try a few, to see what feels best in your hand. It's simply a matter of taste and most importantly, comfort. I'm short and little, so 6 or 8-inches is perfect for me. Are you tall? Maybe go with the 10-inch. Just ask the folks at the store what's best for you.
10. Paring Knife. My paring knife is 4-inches, which is perfect, and it has very different uses than a Chef's knife, so both (among a few others) are very important to have.
So while these are 10 Kitchen Tools I Couldn't Live Without, there are many more kitchen tools I love and use quite often -- a serrated knife, a whisk, and my cutting boards are right up there, too. In fact, I probably use my cutting board several times a day! Should've made the cut. (Pun intended.) 😉
And for fun, here is my Gift Guide for Foodies and Cooks -- it's full of awesome unique items you'll love.
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I have to agree - though I would definitely add the whisk to mine!!
Not only is your list and my list of tools the same, but I have the EXACT same striped tablecloth you used as background. I mean EXACT. That is so weird. GREG
Greg, I'm very happy to hear that you and I have the same list (& tablecloth). I feel somehow validated in my good taste! Really! xo
Thanks Valen! I'd love to get a few good knives and never know which ones. Do you like the hollow edge? Found this... http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof-grand-prix-ii/hollow-edge-chefs-knife-p110480
Is this the one you are talking about??
Thanks a bunch!
yes, jayme, this the one i use & love! if you're interested in hollow, they're nice b/c they are quite light weight. 🙂
I have everything on your list, except the cast iron skillet. I've been told that they ruin glass top stoves. Do you know if this is the case?
Hi Adria, I've never worked with cast iron on a glass stove top, but I've heard that it can be risky in terms of scratching the surface. I think you can smooth down the bottom of a cast iron skillet with a file or sand paper. Your best best is enameled cast iron, like Le Creuset, which is fantastic, too! 🙂
I'll look into splurging on 1 Le Creuset skillet 🙂 Thanks!
I have almost all of your gadgets except for the cookie scoops . When I am in Germany visiting family I often have to cook with few gadgets . Most of all I miss my spices .
Thanks for checking out my list. 🙂 I would really miss my spices too!
I need to get some cookie scoops :-))
You do! Thanks for checking out my list. 😀
I have to agree with everything on this list. All of them are essential, and totally agree that the knife is all about the feel in the hand!
Thanks for checking out the list, James.
David @ Spiced
I love that this list hasn't changed in years! I have to agree with you, though. Each of the items on this list would be in our top tier as well. And I'm also partial to Wusthof knives...I love the way they feel in my hand! Thanks for sharing, Valentina!
Thanks for looking at my list -- I should probably do part 2 sometime because I keep thinking of more things I use every day. 🙂
My list is almost identical - but I don't think I could limit it to 10 - a heatproof spatula, and my lemon/lime hand juicer get a daily workout as well!!!
Ah yes, my heatproof spatula! It's up there too.:-)
Our kitchens probably look a lot alike (still). GREG
Great minds think alike. 😉
There seems to be a lot of general agreement here. I would also write a very similar list (minus the scoops) as a few others have done, but I also use whisks all the time and my steamer baskets, both Chinese bamboo and modern flower-shaped metal, are in use almost every day . . . the healthiest way to prepare food in my book and also essential for all the Chinese dishes I love.
Thank you for checking out my list, Eha. I'm thinking now I must do a part 2! I love that you use your steamers all the time. I do love my bamboo steamer. I used to make salmon in it, wrapped in cabbage. I should do that again. 🙂
I couldn't agree with you more!
Valentina, I think you nailed the basics of a kitchen just fine. As with you, I find great comfort in my well used (old) kitchen things. My chefs' knife date back many years but as advertised they still hold an edge. Oh, the handle to my filet knife is cracked, but it still works fine. My favorite cast iron fry pan was my great-grandmothers and was said to have burned down a cabin from a bacon grease fire. After my cooking days are over, it'll have a new home with my son. Great post and hang on to those kitchen joys, especially those cast iron pans.
Oh wow, that's a fantastic story about your cast iron pan. Well, good and bad -- nobody wants a house to burn down! Though to have the pan that survived is pretty cool, and I love that it belonged to your great-grandmother. I have a few kitchen pots from my grandmother, that my mom used for years too. I love them all and they bring me joy when I cook with them. 🙂
Great post! I was going to add a whisk, for sure. I'm intrigued by your wooden spatula! Thanks!
Yes, a whisk! That'll go on part two. 😉 Thanks for visiting.
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
What a great selection! I especially love my cast iron pan and dutch oven. Also, my food processor and immersion blender. Some tools really help out, don't they?? And you really gotta love a cast iron pan...take care of it and it lasts forever! Hope your week is going great, Valentina 🙂
Thanks for checking out the list, Dawn. Should I do a "part two" everything you named shall be on it! 🙂
I agree with your list Valentina - I must admit to being a bit of a 'Kitchen Utensil Junkie'! A few others which I use often are a slotted spoon, a medium sized strainer and a meat probe. I am lucky to have my Great-grandmothers very large pudding bowl which I use to make my bread dough - where as not essential, like Ron said, it's a kitchen joy!!
I love kitchen joy! Wonderful to have something from family from long ago. And yes, strainers! Use them so often, too. Thank you for checking out my list and for the visit. 🙂
Awesome collection. I need to get some cookie scoops
I use them all the time. Thanks for checking out my essentials! 🙂
A wooden spatula is a perfect spoon. It's just strong enough and Eco friendly. This list is useful for the kitchen. Thank you for sharing this.
Thanks so much for checking out my list, Anna. I do love those wooden spatulas! 🙂 ~Valentina
It is amazing tips an list. Thank you for the post.
Thanks so much, Donna! 🙂 ~Valentina
When you say the cast iron pans don’t get washed often, what does that mean exactly? I want to take the leap and get my first one some time this year, but I hear conflicting things about how hard or easy they are to maintain. Do you just rinse them out after cooking to get the food out, instead of scrub them clean?
Hi Bethany! 🙂 I guess it means a few things . . . If I'm just left with an oiled surface from stir-frying vegetables, for example, I don't even rinse it. I just leave it on the stove for the next use, which in my case is later the same day or the next day. (Sometimes I use a paper towel to wipe it clean.) I think it's okay to do this for even a few days unless meat, fish, or poultry has been cooked in it. Generally though, I just use hot water and a gentle scrub brush if necessary. Some never use soap in a cast iron skillet because it can strip the seasoning off your pan. A small amount of soap is okay, and I would say I do this about every 5th time I use it. I hope this helps. And I hope all is well. As always, so nice to hear from you. 🙂 ~Valentina