My list of handy ‘next level’ kitchen tools so you’re not caught without “the right tool for the right job.”
There’s an old saying about using “the right tool for the right job.” It isn’t just about odd jobs around the house – it’s about EVERY job – the right tool makes whatever the job is so much easier and that includes the tools in your kitchen. When it comes to making sure you have the right tools, there’s no difference between fixing a leaky faucet and cooking up a lovely dinner for guests.
This is my list of handy ‘next level’ kitchen tools. None of these ideas are expensive – almost all are under $35. But having these tools around the kitchen could make all the difference between a fun cooking adventure or enduring what could become an unnecessarily difficult kitchen experience.
My goal is to help you avoid the situation where you’ve already started a recipe and suddenly you realize that the simple task of grating Parmesan cheese is not going as planned. Or, you need the wine opened for your pot roast and that old handy wine opener (the one you’ve had since college) suddenly jams. Some of these items you know you’ve talked about replacing the last time you reached for them. A few of them you don’t think about until the day you need them.
This is why I urge all cooks, whether you’re a new or inexperienced cook or are very comfortable in the kitchen, to be proactive about all your tools. You don’t know the pain until the simple tool you need is either missing or broken!
Here’s the easy part about all of this—it doesn’t take much to upgrade the standard tools in your kitchen—you just have to remember to do it. And, I’m here to help:
A good citrus squeezer. Seriously, this is the one everyone forgets. Remember, you just can’t get as much juice out of the lemon or lime using only your hands.
A two-step Waiter’s Corkscrew. This is a pro tool, used by waiters everywhere and will make getting the bottle of wine open that much easier.
A good quality microplane. You’ll never have to mince garlic or ginger with a knife ever again. And, this tool is perfect for Parmesan cheese!
A sturdy dough or bench scraper. Bakers use it to scrape the dough off the counter, but here’s the thing—it’s actually perfect for transferring chopped anything (meat or veggie) into pots and pans without picking up the cutting board.
An insert rack for your pan. If you ever plan to fry anything and want to keep it crispy, get a cooling rack that fits your sheet pan. Air can flow underneath your fried items and keep them crispy – they don’t sit in the oil from the fryer.
A set of nesting mixing bowls. Stainless or glass, because everyone needs mixing bowls, right?
A cast iron skillet – 10-12”. This will become your favorite skillet in the kitchen. Nothing sears meats better and it can go from stovetop into the oven with no worries.
REAL kitchen shears. Not scissors you also use for cutting paper. You want shears that can cut through chicken bones AND that sheet pan pizza you just made. Important feature—make sure you get the ones you can easily take apart for thorough cleaning.
A serrated bread knife. The thing is, this is not just for bread but also any hard-skinned vegetables like Squash – AND tomatoes (perfect for any thin-skinned soft fruit because it won’t tear the skin!)
A paring knife. Small and sharp, for the little cutting jobs that require precision.
A fish spatula. Characterized by the extra-long part that does the scraping or picking up. Usually made of thin stainless steel. This one is not only for fish but for just about anything that needs a little extra flexibility to pick up the food in one piece.
A stainless ladle. This is for that pot of chili you’re going to make on Sunday or the favorite soup for dinner.
Watch my video to see these tools and get the feel of the way they work. And remember—maybe you already have some of these tools. But, check them out and make sure they’re ready for your next cooking adventure.