This post contains a lot of links. Many. All useful, mostly cheap, and in my opinion the most essential, highest quality kitchen tools everyone should own. Through years of trial and error, these are the things I own and use on a very regular basis. No bullshit. No gimmicky appliances that get used once and take up precious space. No fancy one-trick appliances or utensils. These are my bare necessities to make mother nature’s recipes. Truth be told, if I ever had to sell everything I own, what I’d be left with a handful of clothes, my musical instruments, and my kitchen stuff. Bulky, replaceable and stupid to carry around, I still wouldn’t part with any of it.
Before we get into it, let me be clear. I scoured the internet for a decent one-page, not double-click to see a gallery of images, list of the absolute essential tools every kitchen should have. I could not find one and I was disappointed. A lot of websites did list a few good tools, but there were always gimmicky items peppered throughout. You’d see a good cheap knife, a set of metal tongs, then a butter warmer. Stupid. So, I’ve created this list as a bare bones resource. Also a couple of the items I’ve listed can be used for more than one job, without having to buy a separate object. These are things I use every day in my kitchen. And in terms of what they cost me, ranging from cheap to not so effing cheap at all, I feel they have all appreciated in value because of how often I use each one. They are all well worked-in baseball gloves to me. That’s why I could never part with any of them, and that’s why I’m sharing them today.
Okay so, my name is Kinger and I’m addicted to online shopping . It’s true; and anyone who knows me well knows this well about me. While I am admittedly a junkie, I’m still a smart one. I pride myself on buying the best stuff, especially when it comes to cooking tools. I read updated reviews, scroll through consumer comments, and compare prices and models. I pause cooking shows and see what toys a chef has to work with. I do some digging. So with hand on my heart, and zero shame, let me declare this: I FRICKING LOVE Amazon and eBay. Think less of me and ditch me way down in the weeds, I’ll still crawl my way back to that lovely river of delivery goodies.
By far the most important item in any kitchen is a knife. There are thousands to choose from, ranging from cheap to dear. And what I’ve found in most people’s kitchens is that they don’t have a good knife. I think a lot of that has to do with the price tag on many of the more famous brands out there. It can be a little daunting with so much to choose from. This is NOT an over-priced knife. Go into any butcher shop or look deep into the guts of a restaurant kitchen and you’ll see one hanging on the wall. It’s as cheap as can be, and it’s been ranked as one of the best chef’s knives since the internet came out, even. Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s
Okay so this is the best thing I’ve ever bought. It was too expensive in local shops here at the time. Everybody needs a good pot, and I think that pot should last a lifetime and be seasoned over time with all the love you’re going to create with it. At the time, I was also started to bake a lot of rustic breads, and I needed a pot that could take high oven temperatures when it wasn’t busy making 5 hour delicious curries. This is the king of the pots, in my books. It roasts, braises, stews, and bakes. It’s heavy-ass lid almost makes it behave like a pressure cooker, trapping in moisture. And if you don’t care about the color, I think the red or orange ones are the cheapest. Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cerise (Cherry Red)
Note, if you want to do any heavy baking though, you’ll need to upgrade and buy this cheap extra knob to withstand greater temperatures. Le Creuset Stainless Steel Large Replacement Knob
I’ve burned my life into countless pairs of shitty oven mitts. The quilted ducky and bunny prints singed by extreme heats, rendered useless time and time again. These are the best oven mitts on the market. They can withstand up to 400 degrees C, and they’re spacious and comfortable. Be sure to buy 2! I was under the impression they were sold as a pair, and so I spent the week dicking around with 1 mitt, while I waited for the other to arrive in the mail. OXO Good Grips Silicone Oven Mitt – Black
I do a lot of baking with large amounts of heavy dough, and after reading many reviews, this scale was the one I chose. It’s quite small-looking, but it can hold 13 pounds. It runs on a battery, and can stowed away nicely. It was also very reasonable, price-wise. Escali V136 Pana Large Volume Measuring Scale, 13 Lb/6 Kg
When the voices in my head woke me up one morning and told me it was time to buy a food processor, I first visited the local department stores. I knew a powerful motor coupled with an adequate bowl capacity were most important. Personally, I’m a fan of Cuisinart, but in Taiwan I couldn’t find anything that could hold more than 3-cups! That’s ridiculous. So, Amazon it was. I make a lot of sauces and soups, so I needed a larger model. It even does a good job mixing dough I know 11 cups sounds like a lot, but with anything like a pot, pressure cooker, or food processor, it’s always good to have more than you might ever need. Cuisinart DLC-8SY Pro Custom 11-Cup Food Processor, White
Something I can’t live without now that I have it is my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I was in the market for a new rice cooker, dabbling with idea of also getting a cheap yogurt maker, and I found Instant Pot. An incredible, easy to use electric machine that does all of that, in one machine. I use it every week, and it’s literally 7 appliances in one inexpensive model. Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
You’ll find that the silicon sealing rings are pretty tough to get cooking odors out of, so it’s good to get a couple extra. They’re cheap and totally worth it. Genuine Instant Pot Sealing Ring 2-Pack – 6 Quart Red/Blue
The workhorse of all cookbooks. I use it as a reference constantly. Nuff said. Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition (Irma Rombauer) – Hardcover
While I’m generally a cast-iron guy, it’s pretty good to have a stainless steel frying pan that doesn’t weigh a ton and can still go under the oven broiler. Also, it doesn’t cost a pretty penny, like some frying pans do. Cuisinart MCP22-30HN MultiClad Pro Stainless 12-Inch Skillet with Helper
Any adult kitchen should have a good cooking thermometer. Sure, you can get the old school analog jobby for super cheap–they work fine, but I splurged the hundred bucks and went digital because it’s nice to have an instant temperature read. Waterproof and durable, this is a very often used item in my kitchen. Thermapen Mk4 (Red) Professional Thermocouple Cooking Thermometer
Finally, get a decent apron. Something made of thick cloth that doesn’t fly around in the wind, or burn easily. I was lucky to receive this as a birthday gift one year, and if it were to magically disappear, I’d instantly buy the exact same one. Williams Sonoma Classic Apron, Grey
There ya have it, folks. Essentials on a single page. Aside from the pot, everything is modestly priced. They’re all excellent items that will last a long time–maybe even a lifetime. I made a point of not listing a whole bunch of accessory utensils such as micro-planers, spatulas, measuring cups, or even a decent knife honer or sharpener. A lot of these things can be bought cheap in your local stores. It’s not essential to own one made by the fanciest brand out there. Happy cooking, and please feel free to add to the list if I’ve left anything out.
This makes me hungry… and a little shoppy: