A well-stocked kitchen goes beyond edible items. After all, you can’t cook up a tasty meal without the proper tools. As you get more comfortable in the kitchen, you will find yourself adding more and more to your cooking arsenal, but here are the basics to get you started. Make sure all of these items are on hand and you will be cooking like a master chef in no time!
There are three basic knives that every cook needs. Shop for a serrated knife, a 9 or 10-inch chef’s knife and a paring knife. This is one area where you should not skimp! Knives are the most important tools in the kitchen. You may have to shell out a bit of dough, but a quality knife should last for many years and is well worth the expense.
#2 Cutting Boards
Once you have your knives, the next logical must-have would be cutting boards. Thankfully, they are fairly inexpensive, but you need to buy at least two — one for produce and cooked foods, and one for raw meats. It does not matter so much if you go with wood or plastic, as long as you clean them well after each use, and replace them when they become excessively worn.
Whether preparing dinner, or whipping up dessert, every cook knows mixing bowls are essential in the kitchen. A good set of stackable bowls of various sizes will save space in your kitchen cabinets. We like the lightness of stainless steel or dishwasher-safe plastic, but glass is also an excellent choice. Or opt for a decorative ceramic set and leave them out on your kitchen counter. It’s not a bad idea, since bowls get tons of use!
#4 Measuring Cups and Spoons
Most recipes call for measuring out herbs, salt and other seasonings using measuring spoons. What would French toast be without a teaspoon of cinnamon, or your favorite turkey tacos without a tablespoon of chili powder? When a recipe requires more than a pinch, measuring cups are the go-to tool for a cup of flour or a ¼ cup of vegetable oil.
#5 Pots and Pans
All cooks need a small and large skillet, a small and large saucepan, and a tall stockpot. Non-stick varieties are great, especially for beginners, but be sure to avoid metal utensils that can damage the non-stick surface. Once you develop your skills in the kitchen, invest in some quality stainless steel cookware as well.
Bakeware must-haves include two cookie sheets, a roasting pan, a pizza pan, a loaf pan, muffin tins, two round cake pans, and square and rectangular glass baking dishes.
Utensils are the hand tools of the trade. Every home chef needs a heat-resistant non-stick spatula and a few wooden spoons with long handles. Plastic and wood are safe to use with all types of cookware including the non-stick variety. Other must-have utensils include a ladle, a wire whisk, a slotted spoon, a vegetable peeler, tongs, a meat mallet, and a rolling pin. You will find yourself reaching for one of these handy tools on almost a daily basis.
Get two — a large colander for draining pasta, and a small or medium colander for rinsing fruits and veggies. Make sure they have a sturdy base and are the right size for your sink.
This handy kitchen gadget tells you whether your meat is safely cooked to the proper temperature.
#10 Electric Appliances
Chances are, you already own a toaster and a microwave. If not, get shopping! If dessert is your thing, an inexpensive electric hand mixer will do the trick. Blenders are another must have — perfect for sauces, creamy soups, and smoothies. And let’s not forget the slow cooker. Also known as a crock-pot, slow cookers are loved by seasoned and novice cooks alike. This electric marvel allows you to simmer a meal at a low temperature for hours until perfectly done— the ultimate tool for people on the go. Toss your ingredients in before work, and come home to a delicious, hot meal! Amazing.
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