10 Essential Kitchen Tools

Every cook has a different set of priorities

Kitchen tools

Everyone has their kitchen quirks and necessities. To visualize your own essentials, imagine your way through a typical day in the kitchen. What can you not do without?

To organize your kitchen better, decide what your essentials are and place them where you can use them easily. As for the extraneous items that are rarely or never used, put them in storage elsewhere or free up precious storage space and get rid of them entirely.

Another approach to kitchen essentials is by way of your favorite recipes. This is particularly helpful if you tend to make the same dozen family favorites with just the occasional experiment. If you make beef stew two or three times a month from October to March, your Dutch oven is obviously used regularly. Put it and your oft used tools for stew making in the most convenient storage locations.

The following table represents the top ten kitchen essentials for a variety of different family types as offered to us by real live human beings. Obviously, each cook has different priorities, and yours will probably be different. Nevertheless, consider this a snapshot of potential gift giving possibilities for Christmas or birthdays—it's a little insight into what is commonly needed and what isn't.

First Apartment Quasi-helpless bachelor Family Mom Downsizing Couple Seasoned Single
Microwave Rice cooker
Dutch oven - cast iron Electric kettle - good for coffee, tea, ramen, whatever. Much safer than the microwave, or stove top kettle. Cast-iron Dutch oven
Water pitcher filtration system Sauce pan
Baking stones with handles Good Knives - Chef's, paring, bread. Maybe a tomato knife. Good knives: 8-inch chef's knife and 3 1/2 inch paring knife min. A serrated knife is good, too.
Rice cooker Fry pan
Good quality knives Enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, so it can go into the dishwasher, no worries about the seasoning. Plastic cutting sheets, at least 3
Hot water kettle, electric Blender
Stainless steel pots & pans Pots - 4 qt, 2-2.5 qt, 8-12 qt stockpot Cooking spoons: 1 wooden and 1 metal slotted
Coffee grinder & French press Pepper mill
Silicone spatulas and scrapers Skillets - 8 and 12 inch. Maybe a no stick egg pan - 6 inch Silicone spatula/scrapers: 2
Toaster Big mixing bowl
Microwave Cutting boards - flexible ones for veggies! French press & coffee grinder
Mugs Salad spinner Toaster oven Set of nesting measuring cups, dry and liq, measuring spoons. 8" omelette pan and a large cast iron fry pan
Insulated beverage container   Rolling pin - also good for crushing nuts Pepper mill. Pepper mill
Plastic storage containers   Mixing bowls Colanders. One small - for cans of beans and tomatoes. One large for pasta 12 qt. stock pot, 2 qt. sauce pan w/ lids
Medium pot w/ lid   Cookbooks - including a vintage binder cookbook with handwritten family recipes Set of mixing bowls. At least 3. Tea kettle - must have a good whistle
Medium fry pan   Tea kettle   Mortar & pestle
Big bowl   Measuring cups   A wooden salad bowl and a large ceramic mixing bowl

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