Essential Kitchen Tools

Most kitchen tools are gimmicks that you don’t need to make great food. It can be tough to navigate what tools are actually useful and which are taking up precious space in your kitchen. Here are some tools that I have in my kitchen that can be found in restaurant kitchens and will make your time cooking more productive and less stressful.

1. Kitchen Scale

Escali Primo Digital Kitchen Scale

If you didn’t already buy one during the sourdough baking phase of the pandemic, you need one. It helps ensure accuracy and consistency when following recipes. Great for weighing ingredients and making pour over coffee.

2. Microplane

Microplane® Premium Series Zester/Grater in Grey

Great for grating garlic or ginger into paste, zesting citrus, and grating hard cheeses. A staple in every restaurant kitchen and hopefully in yours.

3. Garlic Peeler

Sur La Table Garlic Peeler

I try to never purchase products that have a singular use. This is one of my exceptions. Put a clove of garlic in and rub your hands together with this in between like you’re trying to start a fire with sticks and you’ll have perfectly peeled garlic. So satisfying and so easy you won’t ever need to buy pre-minced jarred garlic.

4. Extra Large Mixing Bowls

Choice 13 Qt. Standard Weight Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

The entry level station in restaurant kitchens is the cold station. It’s where all of the salads and cold appetizers are prepared. Working the cold station I quickly learned that my bowl needs to be at least twice as big as the salad being tossed. These bowls might be a pain to store in your kitchen, but they’ll save a world of pain when cooking, especially if you’re cooking for more than two people.

5. Stainless Steel Pans

Stainless Steel Frypan 2pk – Made By Design™

Anthony Bourdain said about choosing pans, if you hit someone over the head with a pan and you’re not sure if the person’s head or the pan will be more dented, you need new pans. If you’re worried about any of your pans in that scenario, I recommend replacing them with these. You won’t need to worry about these denting and you won’t find better quality for this price either.

6. Y-Shaped Vegetable Peeler

Original Swiss Peeler

Some of my earliest memories in the kitchen are attempting to peel a bag of potatoes with a dull straight peeler, having to use so much force to get through the skin of the potatoes that I ended up peeling my hand instead. These Y-shaped peelers are the standard in restaurants because they’re razor sharp and much more ergonomic than straight peelers.

7. Rug Non-Slip Pad

Mainstays Non-Skid Rug Pad

The pro tip is to put a damp towel underneath a cutting board to keep it from sliding around the countertop while using it. But that means you end up using a towel that you didn’t need to. The pro’s pro tip is using a non-slip pad. Cut one of these down to the size of your cutting board and you’ll never need to use a towel underneath your cutting board again.

8. Silicone Baking Mats

Real Simple® Professional Silicone Baking Mat

In an attempt to reduce waste and single-use products, Hannah bought silicon baking mats and they’ve been a real game changer. Cleanup after baking or roasting veggies is so much easier after using these. Most silicone mats have a max temperature somewhere between 440° and 480° so be mindful of what temperature your oven is when using these.

9. Stainless Steel Jigger

OXO 2 oz. (1/4 Cup) Stainless Steel Angled Measuring Cup / Jigger

I originally bought one of these miniature measuring cups for cocktails, which it’s great for, but I quickly realized how helpful these are for cooking. When following a recipe that calls for few tablespoons of several liquids, it’s to dump them into of these and into a bowl. It’s also much easier to handle than measuring spoons.

10. Squeeze Bottles

7-pack Plastic Condiment Squeeze Bottles – 16 Ounce with Red Tip Cap

I admit I have way more squeeze bottles than I need but they’re just so useful. I keep two next to my stove at all times: one with a neutral oil for cooking and one with olive oil for finishing. There’s a section in my fridge dedicated to squeeze bottles too, full of syrups for cocktails and seltzer water, salad dressings, sauces, and condiments I’ve made.


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