What are the Best Kitchen Tools?
It’s so easy to go overboard buying gadgets and tools for your kitchen. But in reality, I consistently reach for a relatively few tools day-in and day-out. Here’s my curated list of the best kitchen tools that you need to make cooking easier. This is my tiny tools edition which encompasses anything that can easily fit into a small drawer!
Besides my trusty chef’s knife, tongs top my list of the best kitchen tools. In reality, I own about 10 pairs of tongs (three of those live in our camper!) Tongs are true multitaskers: you can stir, grab, flip, and serve with a pair of tongs. When we are camping, a long pair of tongs helps us tend the fire. Sometimes, when I can’t reach something high on a shelf, my trusty tongs help me!
I like having three whisks on hand. I like a fairly tiny whisk for whisking together small batches of sauces and spice mixes. A medium whisk for every day whisking of larger sauces and dry ingredients when baking.
And finally a larger balloon whisk to whisk up whipped cream and egg whites. The balloon-style whisk allows for more air to be whipped into the liquids making it quicker and easier to hand whisk proteins (egg whites) and fats (whipping cream) into foams.
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There are three key spatulas I use most. First, a silicone spatula for stirring and scraping bowls used mostly in baking, but I often use a silicone spatula in lieu of a wooden spoon when stirring soups and sauces on the stove.
I like my thin, metal fish spatula for flipping and turning items like eggs, pancakes, and roasting meats. I like this because the spatula is fairly long and thin allowing me to get under food and flip it without tearing it.
Finally, an offset spatula is clutch for spreading batters into pans and icing cakes.
I swear by having three dishers in my drawer: small, medium, and large. Dishers allow me to portion cookie dough and batter perfectly. A small disher gives me the option to make a batch of cookies feed more people which is especially helpful around the holidays or when I had an office full of co-workers to bake for.
A medium scoop is perfect for doling out meatballs easily, quickly, equally-sized, and mess-free. Want one of those monster cookies you see at bakeries, you’ll want that large scoop; a large disher is also great for portioning cupcake batter!
Honestly, if you have tongs and silicone spatulas, a wooden spoon isn’t so necessary. But! I just like the feel of stirring a large pot of soup or sauce with a wooden spoon. There’s something comforting and zen about it; wooden spoons are cheap and, also, won’t scratch non-stick surfaces. It’s worth picking up a few.
Microplane Grater/Citrus Zester
I have two of these, one for home and one for camping (or should I say glamping!) These little graters are awesome for making light work out of zesting citrus, grating hard cheeses like Parmesan, and mincing items like garlic and ginger in a flash (you’ll never hand mince garlic again!)
And if you’ve got whole nutmegs (which last forever) in your pantry, you can use a microplane to grate fresh nutmeg into your baked goods and béchamels. It’s pretty much THE tool for adding big punches of flavor from small-sized ingredients.
This might seem like a ridiculous tool, but I use it all of the time. It’s a champ at cutting vegetables into long thin strips; and honestly, I mostly use this for carrots in salads and slaws. We eat a lot of both and I like the texture of julienned carrots in these dishes. But you can also use one of these peelers to make zoodles–and vegetable noodles of all kinds–without purchasing an expensive and bulky gadget!
I use two kitchen thermometers regularly. First, the fairly basic probe meat thermometer; this was standard issue in my culinary school kit and I continue to use one in my kitchen all of the time. The best way to know when meat–or even breads and cakes–are done is to temp it! I also like an infrared thermometer specifically for temping hot oil when I’m frying; using one also makes me feel like I’m starring in a sci-fi movie!
Silicone Pastry Brush
These pastry brushes are awesome for brushing glazes and sauces on everything from meats to cakes. They are also helpful for coating pans with butter or olive oil evenly to prevent sticking while cooking. I like silicone brushes because they clean-up super easily and are totally dishwasher safe.
So there you have it, my list of the best small kitchen tools that help me cook delicious things every day. And while I certainly have many more kitchen tools in my cabinets, drawers, and closets, these are the tools that I’d keep if I decided to become a minimalist; and it’s a great list for anyone starting to stock their kitchen or building their wedding registry.
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