Beyond the basic pots, pans, bowls, plates, forks, spoons, and knives, every kitchen needs ten essential items to function. Check out our list below, plus suggested options that are sure to help boost your culinary prowess.
- Chef’s knife
The true workhorse of the kitchen, a good chef’s knife is necessary for all the slicing, dicing, and chopping required in prep work. The standard size is 8 inches for ease of movement.
Recommended: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch
A non-stick silicone spatula is what you need to keep things safely moving while cooking. Use it to stir sauces, check the underside of meats, flip pancakes, and scrape your mixing bowls clean.
Recommended: OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set
Another all-important utensil, tongs can do everything on the stove top that the spatula cannot: pick up heavy cuts of meat and move slippery strands of spaghetti out of a pot of boiling water.
Recommended: OXO Good Grips 12″ Tongs with Silicone Heads
- Kitchen Shears
A dedicated pair of sharp shears can help break down a raw chicken, snip delicate herbs, or cut a length of butcher’s twine. An ideal pair can be separated in order to thoroughly clean the blades.
Recommended: Zwilling Twin L 20 Cm Multi-Purpose Shears
Wash and drain with an easy-to-clean colander. Don’t forget to save that pasta water! Stainless steel is best, but enamel ones can pull double-duty as display bowls.
- Vegetable Peeler
Remove potato and apple skins with ease. Turn carrots and zucchinis into tasty ribbons. A Swiss-made, Y-shaped peeler is your go-to.
Recommended: Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler
- Chopping Board
A good chopping board should be large, lightweight, and easily washed. Get two if you have space for it: one dedicated to raw meat and another for everything else.
- Instant-Read Thermometer
Avoid dry, overcooked meat (or worse — undercooked!) with an instant-read thermometer that will tell you when your dish is done.
- Kitchen Scales
Useful for exacting measurements in tricky recipes and general baking, a dependable kitchen scale can also help with portion control. Get one with a slim profile for easy storage.
Recommended: Escali Primo Digital Scale
- Can Opener
There is virtually no (safe) substitute for a can opener. Crack open soups and stews, syrup-soaked fruits, and more with a reliable one. Go electric if you’re feeling fancy.
Recommended: Good Cook Can Opener
Rose Ho | Staff Writer