Cooking Fundamentals - Essential Kitchen Tools

Welcome back to Cooking Fundamentals! This series has me so excited, and honestly has given me ideas for several more mini series on more specific kitchen topics! I am loving brainstorming useful info I think you guys might appreciate! If you have any more suggestions or things you want to learn more about let me know! 

Today we are going to talk about essential tools for the kitchen. Last week we discussed how to stock your pantry with your essential ingredients, but without the proper tools you may find yourself stuck when it comes to certain recipes! So let's talk tools.

There are very few things in life that you can create that do not require the aid of tools. Designers use online software, carpenters use saws and various tools, and so the story goes. Likewise as home cooks we must have the correct tools in order to create wonderful dishes for those we love. Here are the things I have found to be absolutely necessary, helpful, and fun to have when in the kitchen. 

ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOLS

MUST HAVE TOOLS 

  • Stockpot with a lid - I would say a 2 gallon minimum on this item. You will use this for boiling pasta, making homemade stock, or boiling veggies. I recommend stainless steel, like this one here
  • Large pot with lid - 1 gallon works for this. Perfect for roast, stews, and soups. A heavy bottom is a must so that heat stay consistent and does not burn the contents inside. Enameled cast iron like this or stainless steel like this
  • Saucepans - I would recommend a small and large. I have several of these in both stainless and cast iron. I use them almost every single evening as I make dinner. 1-2 quarts is sufficient. Perfect for cooking grains, sauces, boiled eggs, and many more things. 
  • Medium Skillet with Lid - 8-10 inches is a good size and I would recommend having a couple different kinds, cast iron, stainless and maybe even non stick. Perfect for omelets, eggs...and so on. 
  • Large Skillet with Lid - 12 inches minimum. I would say it is best to have a stainless and cast iron of this size. I have two cast iron skillets this size and two stainless! I use them daily! Perfect for everything from stir frys to breakfast items!
  • Cutting Boards - Must have item to keep your counter-tops  pretty and sanitary! I would recommend having several different boards. Wooden for veggies and such and a plastic one for raw meats. 
  • Knives - I know not everyone (especially not the other newlyweds out there!) can afford a really expensive knife set. So invest in the nicest ones you can afford! The three you should make sure to have no matter what are: 
    • Chef's Knife - This is the knife I use the most. Mine has a 9 inch blade and I use it every day to chop, mince, and slice EVERYTHING!
    • Paring Knife - For peelings,, trimming and precise cuts
    • Serrated Knife - This is best to use for cutting breads, tomatoes and soft veggies and fruits. You want at least an 8 inch blade. 
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Mixing Bowls (Various sizes)
  • Spatula
  • Large Colander - For draining liquids off canned goods and pasta. 
  • Pot Holders -  We don't need anyone to burn themselves now ladies!! 
  • Wooden Spoons of various sizes 
  • Kitchen Towels 
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons - Variety in sizes is key! I have a 1 cup, 2 cup, and would recommend a 4 cup though I do not have this size sadly! 
  • Tongs - For flipping meats, tossing salads, mixing noodles, and grabbing anything else you may need to! 
  • Various Casserole Dishes

HELPFUL TOOLS

  • Zester - I have a microplane zester and find it so handy to use when needing to grate lemon or lime zest into a dish. Sometimes I even grate garlic into a sauce to avoid large chunks of garlic but still build nice flavor. 
  • Whisk - I have a balloon whisk as well as a flat whisk. I use the flat whisk when deglazing and working with sauces
  • Ladle - For soups and broths. 
  • Box Grater - Must have for grating cheese and various veggies
  • Strainer - Different than a colander because it has much smaller holes, like these here
  • Kitchen Scissors - So handy when it comes to opening packages or cutting herbs or baker's twine. 
  • Food Processor or Blender - I love my food processor, you can find it here. I use this for everything from grating cheese, shredding carrots and potatoes to making salsa and homemade pesto! It is a great investment! 
  • Rolling Pin
  • Mixer - Of course I love my beloved Kitchenaid but any mixer or even a hand mixer that gets the job done is fine! 

FUN TO HAVE TOOLS 

  • Brushes - I prefer silicone brushes, like these, but I use these for glazing scones and muffins as well as for brushing marinades on meat and butter on rolls.  
  • Pastry Cutter - I use this for making bread, scones, muffins, shortbread and more! 
  • Bench Scrapper - This is my go to for cleaning up the counter quickly after working with dough. Find one here
  • Skewers - Perfect for a quick kabob to go on the grill
  • Thermometer
  • Salt Cellar - I use salt in everything as my primary seasoning so it is so much easier to have my little porcelain bowl of salt by the stove-top ready when I need it instead of dumping it from a shaker each time. Find one here

So there you have it, my essential tools for cooking! This does not cover anything you would need for baking because I am focusing on cooking! So please note this is not a complete list for those who find they may have the desire to bake from time to time. But all in all if you have these things, or even most of these things in your kitchen right now you are set up for success! Again, like I said last week about stocking your pantry, if you do not have a lot of these things DO NOT GO BUY THEM ALL TODAY! Make a goal to slowly begin adding these things and build your kitchen up to where you want it to be. 

Next week we will be talking about how to build flavor in your dishes. Everything from sauteing and deglazing to spices and herbs! You won't want to miss it! 

WHAT ARE YOUR GO TO KITCHEN TOOLS?