10 Best Kitchen Tools For Home Cooks

super easy

We did more cooking in 2020 than in our collective home-cooking lives. We learned about what’s worth the extra $20, which gadgets are worth investing, and the tools which don’t rectify taking up space in our drawers and cabinets. See which tools we used most of in 2020—and plan to use more of in 2021.

 

1. Mortar & Pestle

Red Pestle grinds and stirs together spices and herbs in a porcelain mortar to crush seasoning into a fine texture

Whole spices are great for preservation, but you’ll need to grind them before use. Using a mortar and pestle gives you more control over your spice grinding, and is a breeze to clean. Try using it to make salt ultra-fine before baking and making a homemade spice blend, like Ranch dressing mix.

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2. Mini Silicone Utensils

Mini silicone kitchen utensils in marble color

Not all tasks require large, full-size utensils. These “mini” silicone utensils are great for small tasks and getting into small spaces, without taking up too much space in storage. Plus, they can handle up to 600º of heat, making them strong and versatile.

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3. Dutch Oven

White Dutch oven enameled cast iron

Enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens can be used for slow cooker meals, on both the stove and inside the oven, and are perfect for one-pot meals. With all of that sourdough everyone’s been baking, we’re utilizing the Dutch oven five days a week.

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4. Chef’s Knife

Large chef's knife on a cutting board next to a ribeye with rosemary

Do not fear a sharp knife; a dull knife is actually much more of a liability than a sharp one. No more slipping while chopping! Having a strong, sharp chef’s knife might be one of the most important tool’s you can keep in the kitchen. And, they don’t have to cost a fortune.

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5. Kitchen Shears

KitchenAid kitchen grade scissors in black

Save time by using kitchen shears. Cutting vegetables, pasta for kids, chicken cutlets, you name it; kitchen shears have the job covered. They’re dishwasher safe, which means you can ensure that they stay clean and sanitary after each use. Plus, they’re under $10!

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6. Cast Iron Skillet

Seasoned, 12 inch cast iron skillet with hand grip

Cast iron is best known for adding iron to food cooked in its pan, but there are so many more perks. They’re extremely durable, free of chemicals, naturally (almost) non-stick, oh—and you barely need to clean them! Cast iron holds heat for longer than most cookware, making it great for hearty dishes. It can also withstand both the stove and the oven. A good cast iron skillet will last you for decades to come.

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7. 9×13 Baking Dish

large ceramic baking dish in blue

From casseroles, to brownies, to bakes, to veggies and chicken, a 9×13 baking dish is the jack-of-all bakeware. Overnight breakfast bakes store easily, ready to be popped into the oven come morning. Prepare, marinate, and roast meats. And, there’s room for plenty of Sunday morning cinnamon rolls in this wide dish.

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8. Microplane

Fine grate microplane with orange handle

Foods that enhance dishes: citrus, parmesan, fresh nutmeg, need I say more? A microplane is the easiest way to get finely grated lime zest, quickly top Bolognese with fresh parmesan cheese, and add ground nutmeg to your next tropical cocktail (for when you feel like you need a tropical vacation).

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9. Food Processor

White KitchenAid food processor

Could there be a better hack than an ultra-quick chop or blending of sauces? A food processor is integral to a busy kitchen, or for the cook who seeks to save time and labor.

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10. Kitchen Scale

Stainless steel kitchen scale

We can’t always rely on measuring cups for precision baking, and with sourdough taking over kitchens this year, it’s handy to keep a kitchen scale in your kitchen drawer. Plus, this one takes AAA batteries which are much easier to replace than trying to track down the right model of scale battery.

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