As a professional chef, I can't live without my kitchen tools and gadgets. They make all the difference when preparing meals. In fact, they help me in the amount of time it takes to prep and cook, how well dishes turn out, and how fast cleanup goes afterward.
Because there's such a variety of kitchen tools to choose from, it can be hard to know what's really worth your time. Therefore, I've curated a list of the best kitchen tools and gadgets out there to make your life easier. Whether you're shopping for a friend who's striving to be the next Ina Garten, or you're an avid home cook who's looking to level up their kitchen game, let this list be your go-to guide this year.
No more using paper towels to hand-dry your lettuce leaves (hello, salad spinner!). Similarly, you can cut down the cleaning time for your one-pot soup recipe, thanks to an immersion blender. Scroll through these picks and get prepared to have more fun cooking in the kitchen!
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Basic Kitchen Tools
Why you need them: A good set of knives are essential kitchen tools. They make chopping and slicing easier and safer and allow you to have better control when dealing with intricate cutting. This 15-piece knife block set includes a paring knife, a serrated knife, a santoku knife, as well as a chef's knife. Take good care of your knives, and you'll have a reliable kitchen companion for many years.
Get a set from Amazon for $139.99.
2. Wooden cutting board
Why you need it: A wooden board is durable and easy on your knives. Bamboo, on the other hand, is really dulling for your knife! Additionally, a wooden cutting board also serves as a built-in serving platter, extra counter space when placed over the sink, and it looks really good. A 1-inch thick board is built for longevity. Moreover, it makes for an attractive yet practical holiday gift!
Get one from Amazon for $39.99.
3. Stainless steel mixing bowls
Why you need them: Stainless steel bowls are easy to handle and won't break, making them an excellent choice for most mixing tasks. For one thing, you can use them in a double boiler setup. Furthermore, they also come with lids which means you can easily use them for storage in the fridge or freezer.
Get a set from Amazon for $21.16.
4. Fine-mesh strainer
Why you need it: Fine-mesh strainers are great for rinsing fine grains like quinoa. They're also good for rinsing rice, washing small quantities of herbs or vegetables, sifting powdered sugar or flour, and straining sauces or blended purées. I recommend a set of stainless steel fine-mesh strainers that are sturdy with long handles.
Get a set from Amazon for $16.90.
Why you need it: Draining pasta or canned foods and rinsing vegetables is made much easier with a colander. As a matter of fact, it can even double as a steamer basket or be used for blanching veggies. This stainless steel version has wide-grip handles and a solid resting base.
Get one from Amazon for $10.99.
6. Wooden cooking spoons
Why you need them: Wooden cooking spoons are gentle on pans and won't scratch the surface of your cast iron skillet. Wood is also naturally antibacterial. Moreover, wood is an inert material and won't react with the acid in foods. Say goodbye to metallic tasting tomato sauce! This multipurpose set includes mixing spoons and three kinds of spatulas.
Get a set from Amazon for $11.99.
7. Stainless steel cooking spoon
Why you need it: Metal spoons are easier to clean than their wooden counterparts. They are thin and sturdy, making them better for sliding under a heavy piece of cooked quash. In fact, if you're tossing a pan of roasted vegetables and want to scrape bits off the bottom, having a metal spoon helps.
Get one from Amazon for $9.99.
8. Silicone spatula
Why you need it: Baking is an excellent time to break out one of my favorite silicone kitchen tools. A silicone spatula is handy for folding together baking ingredients, scraping out the batter from a mixing bowl, or thinly spreading frosting. In addition, it's easy to throw in the dishwasher and less likely to absorb smells or colors. And I love to get every last drop of food out of a pot, so spatulas help with that.
Get a set from Amazon for $19.65.
9. Soup ladle
Why you need it: If you regularly cook stews, soups, chili, or anything that involves broth, then you need a soup ladle. It's great for serving punch or pouring stock into jars. As a matter of fact, you can also use it to portion soup into meal prep containers. I prefer one that has a double-sided pour spout.
Get one from Amazon for $10.99.
10. Measuring cups for dry ingredients
Why you need them: Liquid and dry measuring cups may have the same volume but each is designed to accurately measure their respective ingredients. Measuring cups for dry ingredients are made to fill to the brim with the dry ingredient and level without packing (unless it's sugar).
Get a set from Amazon for $19.99.
11. Measuring cup for liquid ingredients
Why you need it: A liquid measuring cup is designed so that the measurement is below the top of the cup. Consequently, you can fill it to the correct measure and pour out the ingredient without spilling. For baking, wet ingredients need to measured using this instead of a dry ingredient measuring cup.
Get a set from Amazon for $31.90.
12. Measuring spoons
Why you need them: Measuring ingredients correctly is vital to successful cooking and baking. For example, some foods can be greatly affected by too much or little of certain ingredients. A set of measuring spoons is one of those kitchen measuring tools used for both wet and dry measures.
Get a set from Amazon for $10.14.
13. Garlic press
Why you need it: If you don't like mincing garlic by hand, try a garlic press. It produces uniformly minced garlic with one squeeze. It's also convenient for those times when you need to crush a lot of garlic at once.
Get one from Amazon for $16.95.
14. Citrus reamer
Why you need it: A citrus reamer is a simple, handheld juicer that works well to get the most juice from both large and small citrus fruits. This wooden one is compact and doesn't react with the acid in the fruits. Its handle is comfortable to grip, and the tips and ridges are sharp enough to juice without straining your wrists.
Get one from Amazon for $6.99.
Why you need it: Whether you're making a roux, gravy, or a sauce, a whisk is very handy for mixing liquid substances and smoothing lumps from mixtures. I recommend having a three-piece set with different sizes to allow you to mix everything from a large bowl of pancake batter to a small batch of vinaigrette.
Get a set from Amazon for $10.99.
16. Microplane zester/grater
Why you need it: Grating Parmesan cheese, zesting citrus fruits, shaving chocolate, shredding coconut...a microplane zester/grater does it all! The blades are super-sharp and spaced close together, making for a finer grate/zest. In addition, it's compact if space is an issue in your kitchen. It might seem unnecessary to have a microplane, but once you've tasted fresh lemon zest in your recipes you'll never go without it!
Get one from Amazon for $18.95.
17. Vegetable peeler
Why you need it: A vegetable peeler is a kitchen workhorse that can make meal prep easier. A well-designed peeler should not cut too deep. Equally important, it should be easy to maneuver around large surfaces of an apple as well as small corners of a ginger root. Even if you're a fan of using unpeeled fruits and vegetables, there will be times when you just need one of these.
Get one from Amazon for $9.99.
18. Can opener
Why you need it: Though cans with peel-off lids are pretty standard these days, sometimes the ring snaps off, leaving you digging around for a can opener. This can opener has an easy-to-turn knob to make opening cans an easy task, as well as a built-in bottle opener. I'm not a big canned goods user myself but there are always times that I need one. Hello coconut milk and pumpkin puree!
Get one from Amazon for $13.99.
19. Parchment paper
Why you need it: Lining a baking sheet with parchment paper when making cookies makes cleanup a breeze and it can prevent them from cracking or breaking. Another great use of parchment paper is to roll out your dough between two sheets to more easily maneuver the dough. Make a packet when roasting vegetables or even fruits to keep in the moisture and build flavor. I prefer the unbleached variety to avoid bleach potentially leaching into my food.
Get a box from Amazon for $12.99.
20. Glass food storage containers
Why you need them: Glass food storage containers are perfect for meal prep and make it easy to see what's stored inside. In fact, they are stain-resistant and don't retain odors. I use them ALL THE TIME. I recommend getting a set that's oven-proof so you can use them from oven to fridge and easily reheat leftovers. The oven-proof ones tend to also be dishwasher and freezer-friendly. Locking lids are great because they won't end up with ripped corners like the silicone ones.
Get a set from Amazon for $29.99.
21. Silicone pastry brush
Why you need it: A silicone pastry brush is great for applying oil to a baking dish or spreading a glaze on pastries. It's also great for coating bread with oil or melted butter for crostini-type foods. When used as a basting brush, it's handy for applying barbecue sauce to veggie kebabs on the grill or portobello burgers in the oven.
Get a set from Amazon for $10.95.
Why you need them: Tongs are an everyday kitchen tool with many uses. Use a pair to grip, lift, flip, and move food. They're great for tossing salads and cooking pasta. If you're in a pinch, use tongs to squeeze the juice out of lemons. There are varieties with non-detachable silicone heads that won't scratch or damage your cookware.
Get a set from Amazon for $9.99.
23. High-speed blender
Why you need it: Getting a high-speed blender is an investment, but there's so much that you can do with it. You can make green juices, smoothies, nut butter, frozen fruit sorbet, nut milks, spreads and dips, frozen drinks and desserts, purées, and soups. A high-speed blender can help with food prep by chopping, creaming, grinding, and even kneading dough. You can even freshly grind your own flours using this attachment. Some swear by it for both the flavor and nutrition of the resulting flour.
Get a Vitamix blender from Amazon for $449.95.
24. Immersion blender
Why you need it: An immersion blender is great for small or last-minute blending tasks. It allows you to blend soups, stews, and sauces right in the pot without having to transfer back and forth to a blender or food processor. This Mueller Austria immersion blender comes with whisk and milk frother attachments. I prefer the stainless steel attachment rather than the plastic one since I often used it with hot soup.
Get one from Amazon for $32.97.
25. Bullet blender
Why you need it: If your budget is tight and your kitchen space is small, a bullet blender is the compact yet versatile kitchen gadget that you need. Not only can you use it to make smoothies, juices, and shakes, but you can also use it to grind oats, nuts, seeds, and coffee. I LOVE the easy cleanup.
Get a Nutribullet blender from Amazon for $49.88.
26. Spice grinder
Why you need it: If you've only ever used pre-ground spices, you owe it to yourself (and your cooking!) to try grinding your own. To put it differently, toasting and blitzing whole spices right before using them unlocks a depth and complexity of flavor that can't compare with powder from a jar. I love to use mine to grind my own flax seeds into flax meal.
Get one from Amazon for $32.95.
27. Slow cooker
Why you need it: A slow cooker brings out the flavor in foods through long, low-temperature cooking. It's excellent for making one-pot meals, soups, stews, beans, and casseroles. With this kitchen gadget, you can prep your ingredients in the morning, put them in the slow cooker and set it to cook on low all day. Your meal will be ready to eat at night.
Get a Crock-Pot from Amazon for $34.99.
28. Electric pressure cooker
Why you need it: An electric pressure cooker automatically regulates heat and pressure while cooking and doesn't have a hissing, rattling valve on top like its stovetop counterpart. In addition, they combine a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and many other cooking functions in one handy kitchen tool. Plus an Instant Pot will dramatically cut down on your cooking time! It's no wonder why these have become so popular these days.
Get an Instant Pot Ultra from Amazon for $119.95.
29. Stovetop pressure cooker
Why you need it: A pressure cooker cooks meals in a fraction of the time it takes on a stove, oven, or in a slow cooker. The pressure forces liquid into tough proteins, beans, and starches, which results in tender and soft food with better texture and flavor. The quick cooking time means you retain more vitamins and minerals in every bite. Don't be intimidated. Once you get the knack of it, they are easy to use.
Get one from Amazon for $49.90.
Why you need it: A spiralizer is the best kitchen tool for more inventive cooking. You can turn vegetables and fruits into noodles and make creative dishes while sneaking more vitamins and minerals into your diet. Hello zoodles! For anyone carb-sensitive looking for a grain-free pasta alternative, it's a must.
Get one from Amazon for $22.97.
31. Hand mixer
Why you need it: A hand mixer lets you mix at the stovetop, sink, or counter using a separate bowl or pot. It's best for light-duty mixing, like making cake batter or cookie dough. You can also use it to mash potatoes, and whip coconut cream and aquafaba in minutes.
Get one from Amazon for $79.95.
32. Food processor
Why you need it: A food processor is like a powerful knife that makes quick work of chopping and grinding all sorts of different ingredients. Whether you're slicing onions or shredding cabbage for slaw, this kitchen tool is as multi-functional as it gets. You can even knead bread dough and make your own hummus. I like to make pie dough using a food processor. It will give you perfect results in seconds!
Get one from Amazon for $44.99.
33. Stainless steel frying pan
Why you need it: Also called a skillet, a frying pan is perfect for stir-frying and quick cooking techniques where the ingredients move around a lot in the pan. At the same time, a stainless steel pan distributes heat evenly, prevents food from sticking, and won't react with acidic ingredients like tomatoes or vinegar.
Get one from Amazon for $39.99.
34. Cast-iron frying pan
Why you need it: Not all pans can claim to go from stovetop to oven, but a cast-iron frying pan does precisely that. You can use it like a roasting pan, a skillet, or a wok. Bake garlic knots and even make a pizza or apple tart in your pan. In addition, it's also excellent at retaining heat which means you can use it to keep food warm before serving.
Get one from Amazon for $34.49.
35. Cast-iron griddle
Why you need it: The smooth, even-heating surface of a cast-iron griddle is great for making pancakes, charring veggies as well as toasting thick slabs of bread for crostini. It's also great for cooking homemade tortillas, making grilled cheese sandwiches, and can even act as a pizza stone. Unlike the skillet version, a griddle has low sides. This makes it easy to get in there to flip a pancake.
Get one from Amazon for $17.90.
36. Stainless steel baking sheet
Why you need it: A baking sheet or a sheet pan can tackle everything from baking cookies, pastries, and bread to making healthy sheet pan dinners. The sheet has a shallow outer rim around all four sides to keep juices and other liquids from being lost. Stainless steel is a good choice because it heats quickly and evenly.
Get a set from Amazon for $33.99.
37. Baking dish
Why you need it: A baking or casserole dish is perfect for making casseroles, lasagnas, roasting vegetables, and even baking bread puddings and cobblers. It can go directly from the oven to the dining table to the refrigerator (with leftovers) without skipping a beat.
Get a ceramic baking dish from Amazon for $25.99.
Why you need it: A saucepan is great for cooking anything that requires a lot of liquid. This includes blanching, stewing, simmering, making soups and sauces. It's smaller than a stockpot or a Dutch oven but is deeper and usually less wide than a frying pan. It's a standard piece of cookware every home cook needs.
Get a stainless steel saucepan from Amazon for $64.54.
Why you need it: If you need something larger than a saucepan, a stockpot should be your go-to kitchen tool. It's built for long simmers and perfect for making large quantities of soup, stock, stews, or chili. You can also use it to steam a large quantity of corn on the cob, applesauce, or stewed tomatoes in preparation for canning tomato sauce.
Get a stainless steel stockpot from Amazon for $40.75.
40. Steamer basket
Why you need it: Steaming allows food to retain more of its original nutrients in the cooking process. It's considered a healthy cooking process because the food is not cooked with oil. A steamer basket can handle anything from dumplings to wedges of hearty squash. I even steam slices of sourdough bread to make them soft and digestible. There are stainless steamer baskets and bamboo steamer baskets, so it's a personal choice which type you prefer.
Get a stainless steel steamer basket from Amazon for $19.95.
Get a bamboo steamer basket from Amazon for $32.95.
41. Cake pan
Why you need it: If you want to bake a cake, you're going to need cake pans. A good cake pan conducts heat to the batter steadily so that the cake rises more levelly. Additionally, it should also be light enough to keep the crust delicate and thin. I prefer to use stainless steel cake pans as a healthy alternative to non-stick or aluminum bakeware.
Get a set of baking pans from Amazon for $14.99.
42. Muffin pan
Why you need it: You can use a muffin pan for much more than baking muffins and cupcakes. You can also use it to make mini cheesecakes, mini lentil loaves, quiches, or breakfast cups. A muffin pan is also great for making no-bake chocolate peanut butter cups. Just like the cake pans, stainless steel is the best. You'll never have to replace it as they last forever!
Get one from Amazon for $24.99.
43. Loaf pan
Why you need it: If your bread tends to over-brown or your pound cake always sticks to the pan, it might be time to get a loaf pan. Also called a bread pan, this kitchen tool is not just for banana bread. For example, you can make your granola bars in a loaf pan. In fact, you can also use it to make a lentil loaf or a pot pie.
Get a glass loaf pan from Amazon for $9.99.
44. Pie dish
Why you need it: If you want to make any kind of pie, you need a pie dish. The dish is perfect for pies, quiches, and pot pie baking. Because it heats slowly, the gradual heat is ideal for evenly cooking the pie, including the bottom of the crust, the filling, and the edges. In addition, a fluted rim allows you to crimp the edges of your crust with ease.
Get a ceramic pie dish from Amazon for $19.99.
45. Tart pan
Why you need it: A tart pan gives your tarts or quiches those clean, sharp edges that make the dish look crisp and professional. A good tart pan has a removable bottom, allowing you to remove the baked goods with ease without marring the crust.
Get one from Amazon for $16.34.
Other Useful Tools
46. Sharpening stone
Why you need it: Kitchen cutting tools, especially knives, need to be sharpened regularly. Believe it or not, a dull knife is more dangerous to use than a sharp knife. A sharpening stone is a tried-and-true method for honing a knife. It's reliable, durable, and produces a flawlessly sharp blade when executed correctly.
Get a two-sided sharpening stone from Amazon for $17.64.
47. Sharpening steel
Why you need it: A sharpening steel should go hand-in-hand with a sharpening stone. After sharpening your knife with a sharpening stone, use a sharpening steel to hone the edge and keep it straight. It's great for keeping a sharp knife sharp (it's more or less useless on a blade that's already dull).
Get one from Amazon for $13.99.
Why you need it: There are many uses for cheesecloth beyond cheesemaking. Use it to strain your homemade cold brew or vegetable stock. It's also great for adding dusted sugar or cocoa to finish off your cake or cookies. Place your herbs in a cut piece of cheesecloth and tie the top in twine. Drop the herb sachet into your soup or stew for added flavor.
Get some from Amazon for $12.95.
49. Mason jars
Why you need them: Though they've gained popularity as drinking glasses, there are many other ways to use mason jars in the kitchen. For example, you can use them to preserve foods for up to a year. For meal prep, you can pre-portion your eats for the week and store them in mason jars. Pour leftover wine into a mason jar and then store it in the fridge to keep it fresh for longer.
Get a set from Amazon for $20.49.
50. Nut milk bag
Why you need it: If you regularly make your own nut milk, you definitely need a nut milk bag. Apart from straining homemade almond milk, a nut bag can also strain the pulp out of freshly made juice, act like a coffee filter, and make yogurt. Just be sure to wash it regularly to keep it at its best, and replace it when it starts to get funky looking.
Get one from Amazon for $13.97.
Bonus Kitchen Tools And Gadgets
51. Kid-safe knives
Why you need them: Giving children a knife of any kind seems dangerous. Yet you want to teach them confidence in the kitchen and keep them busy while you cook. This three-piece knife set has serrated nylon blades with blunt tips. They allow little chefs to help with the cutting soft fruits and veggies while keeping their hands and fingers safe.
Get a set from Amazon for $14.19.
52. Vintage-style apron
Why you might want one: Vintage-style aprons are fun, flirty, and functional. Keep your clothes clean of cooking debris and dust while looking cute!
Get a polka dot apron from Amazon for $15.99.
So, in summary, I hope you enjoyed this chef-curated list of kitchen tools and kitchen gadgets. The right kitchen tools can make your cooking experience so much easier, and more fun. Now you know about important cooking tools that can help you cook healthy meals faster and more efficiently.
I hope this makes a positive difference for you, and wish you many happy meal prepping experiences!
Be sure to comment below what your favorite cooking tool is. I'd love to know.
And by the way, a personal chef can also help to set up your kitchen for you. If that's something you would find helpful, be sure to read our post on how to hire a personal chef.