Whether you’re setting up your kitchen for the first time or need to replace some worn-out items, keeping your kitchen stocked with the proper tools is the first step to creating a great meal. I get asked all the time what pans and knives I use. So I put together a list of all my favorite tools that I use in my kitchen. Take a look through these recommendations and stock yourself with a chefs favorite kitchen tools so you can feel more confident cooking for yourself and your family.
Essential Kitchen Tools Everyone Must Have
Investing in these kitchen tools will make cooking an enjoyable and easy activity that you’ll look forward to.
These are my favorite peelers by Kuhn Rikon, that I have been using since culinary school. They are easy to hold and peels don’t get stuck in them. They are sturdy enough to peel harder items like winter squash. Just make sure to rinse after each use or hand wash, don’t put them in the dishwasher, the heat will dull the blade. You will never need another peeler! Get the 3 pack and share.
A thermometer makes sense for a Chef to have, but it’s an essential tool for the home cook too. So many people I know are nervous about whether their meat is fully cooked, so I always tell them, get a thermometer and be sure instead of guessing. I always bring this thermometer from Thermapen with me wherever I cook and it’s the one I recommend everyone have. Skip the cheap thermometers and invest in the one that you will never need to throw away. When you’re cooking or grilling meat, it’s always convenient to have a digital thermometer on hand to monitor the internal temperature to make sure the meat is done! It has a large digital screen that’s easy to read, and it provides an accurate reading in just a few seconds. You can’t go wrong with the Thermapen Classic, or the Thermapen One. They usually have a 10% off offer on the website.
Sturdy Frying Pan
The biggest request I get is what kind of pots and pans should people buy. My first choice is always All-Clad. They are superior pans that heat evenly and are extremely durable. You should have a 10 or 12 inch frying pan. I have one of each size. *If you are nervous cooking with an all metal pan instead of non-stick, wondering how you will keep it clean, get some Bar Keepers Friend cleanser and watch these instructions on how to clean anything off your pan with it, even burnt food.
**All-Clad is a superior stainless steel cookware. All-Clad is worth it because the materials and processes they use to make it result in superior cooking performance and durability. The steel exterior enhances durability, while the aluminum core conducts heat fast and evenly. This type of multi-clad construction, which All-Clad invented in the 1970s, results in unmatched cooking performance. In addition to its multi-clad construction, All-Clad makes all of their stainless steel cookware in the U.S.A. with high-grade materials.
Good Set of Matching Nesting Bowls
Have a good set of mixing bowls, I like this nesting set of glass bowls from Luminarc. They tuck away into a shelf easily and don’t take up much space. And when you are chopping vegetables, you will always have a bowl to put them in. I have 2 sets like this.
Slotted Spoon for Cooking Vegetables
I absolutely love this “scoop colander” by Joseph Joseph. It might be my favorite tool to have after my knives and the gravy separator below. It makes blanching vegetables so easy as you can scoop out the cooked vegetable, place it in a colander to drain and then keep blanching more vegetables. No need to dump out all the water. See how to blanch broccoli on this post here.
This tool is not just for Thanksgiving! I use this whenever I braise meat or make chicken stock. It helps to separate out the fat from the good liquid you want to keep. I used to carry this gravy separator around with me to every house I cooked in if I knew I was braising something that day. Once you use it, you will wonder how you lived without one. I have both a 2-cup and a 4-cup at home.
A Good Fish Spatula
Best for flipping fish is this lightweight, and razor-thin spatula, so it can flip eggs, fish, and crepes yet strong enough for heavier food like burgers. It feels so light in your hand and gently picks up anything delicate without tearing it.
High Powered Blender
I purchased my Vitamix blender over 15 years ago and it is still running. That is how durable a Vitamix is, if you are wondering if they are worth the cost. There is usually a deal at Costco on the latest version if you want to check them out there. A Vitamix will pulverize cashews for your dairy-free cashew cream, make incredibly smooth smoothies and create a smooth texture for your soups. See my recipe for a Mexican Cacao Smoothie using my Vitamix on YouTube.
*”The motor of any Vitamix blender has the power and durability to blend (nay, pulverize) the toughest ingredients and manipulate the thickest mixtures to achieve restaurant-quality results.” Check out the Vitamix website for recipe suggestions!
Quarter-Sized Baking Sheets
I don’t like lifting a full-sized baking sheet out of the oven, maybe you don’t either. It’s heavy and sometimes if what I am baking has a lot of liquid (like meatballs), I want to handle a smaller pan so I don’t spill anything. I really like using a smaller baking sheet that fits better to what I am cooking. A quarter sheet is around 13″ x 9″. This size fits a chicken really well for roasting! I own 3 of these. A “Jelly Roll” pan is the next bigger size that is usually 15″x 10″ or 11″, which is great for making chicken kabobs for the grill or making this recipe for Berry Gelatin Squares.
I have a 6 quart and an 8 quart version of this pot by All-Clad. These pots are what I make pasta sauce in, braise short ribs, make large soups, basically do everything in that involves a lot of meat and liquid. Check out this book by Molly Stevens, “All About Braising“, if you want to learn some delicious braising recipes. The Beef Rendang stew on page 291 is incredible!!!
Glass Storage Containers
I have more of these pyrex glass containers than I can count. I use them every day when I am cooking a meal and have leftovers. These also are useful when I batch cook and place the extras in the freezer. If you want to save yourself time in the kitchen, double your recipes when you cook and then have a stash of these in 2-cup and 6-cup sizes so you can put away the extras in the freezer for a quick meal another time. My freezer is full of marinara, chili, stews and soups in these convenient containers. Freezing them in these glass dishes make them very easy to place in the oven later.
Food Vacuum Sealer
This is a tool that I thought about getting for a really long time and put it off because it seemed like a big purchase, AND it is so hard to decide which brand to try. There is usually a well-known vacuum sealer brand at Costo, but I wanted something more durable. I checked out consumer reports and looked at the reviews under the products on Amazon and finally decided on this one from Potane. I have now been using this for over a year and it has become on of my favorite storage tools.
A Good SHARP Knife
If you are in need of a knife, go to your local Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, or perhaps you have a nice kitchen supply store, where you can hold the knives and feel them in your hand. I can make lots of brand recommendations for a “good” knife, but it does matter how they feel in your hand. Some are heavier than others. Email me if you want more info on the brands I use!
More Kitchen Appliances and Tools
There are more tools in my kitchen that I think every kitchen should have. Here is a small list of the basics so you can create a well-stocked kitchen in your home:
- Food processor
- Food scale
- Stick or “Immersion” blender (for when you don’t want to have to dump the entire soup or gravy into a blender)
- Microplane – for grating ginger and lemon zest
- Measuring cups (for dry goods like flour and sugar)
- 2-cup and 4-cup glass liquid measuring cups (for liquid)
- Rubber spatulas (for getting everything out of that glass jar)
- Parchment paper – so your food doesn’t stick and it helps to speed the clean up
- Measuring spoons – I have 2 sets, so when I am measuring liquids and dry, I don’t have to wash them til I am done
- Stretch Tight Plastic Wrap – from Costco, absolutely the best
- Good scissors that are just for food, easier to open things rather than using a knife
- Pressure Cooker like an InstantPot
- Rice Cooker – my favorite is the Zojirushi. A fellow Chef friend swore by her $20 rice cooker she picked up at Walgreen’s. Those just never worked for me and would burn the rice every time. I kept seeing this Zojirushi model at all of my cooking clients’ homes, so I finally got one for myself. I love this thing and the rice comes out perfect every time.
A Well Stocked Kitchen Leads to Better Health
As you embark on this healing diet, your kitchen is going to play a larger role in how you take care of yourself. Yes some of the items above from a chefs favorite kitchen tools, are on the pricy side. Everything I have recommended above are well tested in my home and professional life and stand the test of time. You won’t have to replace them over and over. So make yourself a Christmas or Birthday list if you can’t stock up all at once.
(There are affiliate links above that take you to Amazon and if you purchase through that link I may earn a commission at no cost to you. I only share products that I know and love myself. Every one of these product above are used in my kitchen over and over. )