Whether you spend your time in the kitchen feeding your sourdough starter or simply pouring a bowl of cereal, there’s one thing we can all agree on: You need certain tools no matter what skill level you have. Fortunately for home cooks everywhere, we rounded up our 13 must-have kitchen tools with a little help from PureWow’s food editors. *Adds to cart*
13 Essential Kitchen Tools Every Home Cook Needs
1. Cooking Utensils
First things first, you can’t cook much of anything without the right utensils. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner, opt for a set that includes everything you’ll need from a classic spatula to a meat tenderizer. This set even comes with a handy canister that holds them all together.
2. 9x13” Rectangular Baking Dish
This is an ideal size to make lasagna, casseroles or ooey-gooey brownies. Our personal favorite is the Pyrex Deep rectangular baking dish because it’s specifically designed to fit more layers, so it’s great for those recipes that need more room. Plus, the tempered glass means that it can go directly into a preheated oven and it heats evenly for more consistent results. It also comes with a handy lid so you can store leftovers or transport dishes with no mess.
3. Small Glass Bakeware Set
This Pyrex Littles 5-piece set is great for petite treats or meals-for-one. True to its name, these bakeware dishes are small enough to fit into convection countertop ovens and even toaster ovens. We love using them for meal prepping since they’re the best size for single servings.
4. Bench Scraper
This tool is an absolute must for PureWow food editor Katherine Gillen because “it's great for baking, but also handy for transferring chopped veggies from the cutting board to the skillet and cleaning little bits off your work surface.” If there’s one thing we’ve learned from any cooking show, it’s the importance of a clean workspace and a bench scraper will help you do just that.
5. Silicone Spatula
We know we mentioned cooking utensils above, but it’s worth giving this GIR spatula its own praise. Not only is it loved by Gillen, but PureWow executive editor Candace Davison and recipes editor Erin McDowell, hold it close to their hearts as well. The silicone can withstand the heat and is nonstick, which makes it super easy to clean. We won’t lie, it also feels really good in your hand.
$18 at Amazon
6. All-in-one Pan
Our readers and editors love the Our Place Always Pan because it replaces eight traditional pieces of cookware: fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula and spoon rest. Phew, got all that? As if that isn’t enough, the nonstick ceramic coating is non-toxic unlike many other similar pans. PureWow food editor Taryn Pire says, “I gave in and got one, and it's honestly worth the hype.”
7. Mesh Strainers
Unlike a traditional colander, you can use mesh strainers in a whole bunch of ways. “I use them to clean fruit, defrost shrimp, drain pasta, rinse rice, sift flour, etc. They come in handy more than you'd expect,” says Pire. Buy them in a set rather than individually so that you get a range of sizes.
8. Hand Mixer
If you don’t want to spend the money on a stand mixer, or you simply don’t have the space, invest in hand mixer instead. Whether you’re making homemade whipped cream or sweet Italian meringue, your arms will thank you.
Buy It ($50)
9. Cast Iron Skillet
No matter what level of skill you’re working with in the kitchen, a cast iron skillet should most definitely be in your arsenal. Why? It can be used to whip up just about any meal, can withstand the heat of an oven and gets so much better with age. Once you buy one, chances are you’ll have it for life (as long as you take proper care of it).
10. Dual-sided Peeler
“I love having a dual-sided peeler, since the serrated edge is great for peeling soft-skinned produce without the blade slipping. This one also has a paring knife inside, which is kind of cool and comes in handy,” says Davison. We particularly love the fact that it juliennes our veggies for us. It doesn’t hurt that it happens to be cute, too.
11. Magnetic Measuring Spoons
Davison also swears by magnetic measuring spoons because they nest inside each other and take up less space. Plus, since they all stick together, you won’t have to worry about losing one from the group. Use the round end for measuring liquids and the more narrow, oval end for dipping into spice jars.
$6 at Amazon
12. Small Dutch Oven
Usually, when most people invest in a Dutch oven, they buy a larger size to make batch meals or feed a crowd. But Gillen suggests trying a 3.75-quart size, which is a great when cooking for two to three people and it’s much easier to store (and lift) than its 13-quart counterpart.
Because sometimes you just need a little bit of inspo. We’re fans of Cannelle et Vanille, which features 100 recipes for every meal and mood, including caramelized onion and fennel biscuits, soft-cooked eggs with dukkah and bitter greens and braised chicken with apples and cider—all gluten-free, of course.