This Essential Kitchen Tools post contains affiliate links.
Over on Instagram a little while ago, I told y’all more recipes are coming your way and I asked if you preferred meals to impress or quick and dirty dishes. Overwhelmingly, you responded quick and dirty. Admittedly, that’s not my specialty. Cooking is an indulgence for me. I love spending time in the kitchen, and the truth is, I rarely make the same dish twice. I’m of the so much to cook, so little time philosophy. But I realize I’m a weirdo. And I want people to enjoy cooking as much, or even half as much (I really, really love it) as I do. And to help with that, today I’m sharing the essential kitchen tools I can’t live without. These are all things the novice chef can use and benefit from and things I wish someone had told me to buy when I was a beginner cook. And the best part is, they’re all affordable.
You might be thinking, Oh, she loves cooking, so she’s going to have all these super fancy, hard-to-use gadgets, but I promise that’s not the case. In fact, I don’t think anything on the list costs more than $50 and most items are less than $15, but they all make life much more pleasant at dinner making time. So, without further ado, 5 Kitchen tools I can’t live without and if you try them, you probably won’t be able to either.
5 Essential Kitchen Tools for cooking with ease
Seriously, if you don’t own a cast iron skillet, you need to fix that. I use my cast iron all the time. It’s great for searing and then transferring to the oven. It’s the most important tool in my kitchen and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re scared about maintenance, don’t be. Clean up is simple.
How to clean a cast-iron skillet
- Scrub it (sans soap). I use a little kosher salt if something is really stuck on.
- Dry it. (Actually dry it. Don’t leave it on a drying rack. Moisture is the enemy of the cast iron skillet.)
- Put a drop of oil in the pan, heat it up, let it cool and put it away. Easy breezy.
Here’s the thing. I actually almost always prefer roughly chopped garlic, but sometimes, ain’t nobody got time for that. And since I put garlic in everything, the press saves some time. Speaking of chopping…
Notice I didn’t say you need a fancy schmancy top of the line chef’s knife. You just need a decent one. I learned this lesson the hard way. Using a chef’s knife as opposed to some random knife from the drawer will save you tons of time chopping. I’m not the quickest at prep, but I halved the time I spent chopping veggies when I made the switch. I was using an itty bitty knife to chop everything – garlic, onions, bell peppers, you name it – I didn’t know how much time I was costing myself. So one day, I picked up a knife from HEB. Seriously. A random grocery store chef’s knife. It’s less than $10. I’ve probably had it for almost 2 years, and I’m just now thinking of replacing it. It’s literally the only knife I use. No knife block needed. This is the knife I’ve been using for the last two years that is now starting to show some wear. HEB is the only place I’ve found that sells it and I know not all of y’all have an HEB around, so the knife linked is the one that I just bought over the weekend and absolutely love. It’s even better than the $8 HEB knife and I expect my prep to get even faster!
Ok, ok. So this isn’t exactly a kitchen necessity, but I love drinking a glass of prosecco while I cook and I need to keep my bottle fresh for next time. I’ve had this champagne stopper for 3 years (I checked my Amazon history) and it’s amazing. I’ve even left an open bottle sealed with the stopper while I left on a week’s vacation and the bottle was still perfectly bubbly when I got back.
I suspect the already avid cooks and chefs of the world aren’t reading this. You might not like cooking that much and do it out of necessity rather than for love of the spatula. Listening to an audiobook while you’re bopping along in the kitchen can make you dread dinner prep a whole lot less. Or if you prefer podcasts, check out my posts here and here for recommendations.
So there you have it. I know this list is short and sweet, but that’s the whole point. This isn’t Masterchef, it’s real life. And you just don’t need a lemon zester, folks! A few completely affordable kitchen tools will make your days in the kitchen so much easier!
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