The Best Kitchen Tools I Can’t Live Without

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I’m excited to share with you my favorite kitchen tools. When I say favorite, I mean the ones I can’t live without. These are the best kitchen tools I would reorder if they disappeared.  

Best Kitchen Tools

You may not need every one of these, but if you spend any time in the kitchen, which during a pandemic I’m sure you do, there are certain tools your kitchen has to have. 

First of all, there are way too many frivolous, trendy kitchen tools and small appliances that I find are a waste of time. I will speak about these at the end of this, and I think you will be shocked to find out what I chose to ditch. 

My Food View

After 1400 recipes at Spinach Tiger, I’ve learned to keep it simple and approachable.

My food view: It’s important for me to describe this to you. I am practical and don’t like a ton of clutter either on the counters or in my pantry. I choose to keep minimum spices to save space. I stick to mostly Mediterranean and Italian dishes. I make very few Asian and Mexican dishes, but keep enough spices for tacos, enchiladas and the occasional stir fry. I stay in my own wheelhouse for the most part and this ensures that I’m using fresh spices that I can find.

I run a bakery, and on baking days I have no time or energy. A lot of the meals I cook are made in under 30 minutes, but most importantly, with a minimum of prep time. This means that I have three choices. Long slow cooking or fast sautè or pan fry and go.

These are the actual tools I use. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

Imperative Budget Friendly Kitchen Tools

Chef’s Knife/Pairing Knife

Take good care of  your knives. Wash and dry by hand, not the dishwasher. Sharpen after use. As you cook more, you may want to invest in a more expensive chef’s knife. If you can only buy one knife, buy a chef’s knife. Only cut on a wood surface. NEVER cut on granite or marble, as you will ruin your knife.

Knife Sharpener

Meat Thermometer

This is an absolute MUST. Did you know that cake is done at 210 degrees F. I usually take mine out at 207 F. Did you know that sour dough bread (which is tricky to know when it’s done) should be 208 degrees F. Did you know that butter should be between 69 and 70 degrees F. to be soft enough to make buttercream. This is why I have two. One for meat. One for baking.

Oversized Spatula from OXO

You will thank me for this, and once you use this over-sized spatula, you will wonder how you lived without it.

Order the OXO Egg Beater (4.5 Stars) with this order for the perfect scrambled eggs.

Air tight Guacamole Keeper that does more than keep guacamole. It really works!

If you order ONE THING from this page, get this. This is perfect for your leftovers, sauces, guacamole, etc. because it will air tight your food. I use it for fruit sauces for my bakery so I don’t have to freeze. If you make guacamole, it will stay fresh and you’ll be amazed.

Bread Knife

Why do you need a bread knife? You need serrated edge to truly cut bread properly. 

Large Acacia Cutting Board

Keep your board in good shape with this mineral oil. You can also use avocado oil. Put a small amount on paper towel and rub board. I have many boards and I wash them all with soap and water and dry immediately. I never put in dish washer. If you like to throw everything in dish washer, use these boards instead.

Never ever ever try to cut anything on granite or hard surface. You will ruin your knives.

USA Pans: My Favorite Brand

USA Pans are a Bundy family company which has proudly manufactured high quality bakeware made in the USA. They do not warp, and in my opinion the best sheet pans, cake pans that you can purchase. 

USA Half Sheet Pan 17. 5 x 13.5

You will use this pan over and over for sheet pan meals and more. You will want the quarter sheet pan also. 

Order these parchment sheets for the half sheet pan. 

USA Quarter Sheet Pan 

USA pans are more expensive than many other pans, BUT SO WORTH IT. I stand by these pans with my reputation. Wash by hand only. 

Order these parchment sheets for the quarter sheet pan.

 

Spring Levered Ice Cream Scoop (also a Food Scoop) This is the one with the spring that works amazing for filling cupcake liners and meatballs. I own three of these because we use these in the bakery.  

Kitchen Pots and Pans  

You MUST have a dutch oven. I love my Le Creuset pots. They are worth the money because you will have them for a lifetime and they hold up better than the knock offs, but you can use less expensive pots.

Why do you want an enameled dutch oven? It goes from stovetop to oven and looks good on the table. You can brown your meat in it and cook a stew. You will use this pot a lot! the 5 1/2 quart suits my needs for most recipes. I do have a 7 quart also. 

  Le Creuset 5 1/2 Quart Dutch Oven $359.95

Lodge 7.5  Quart Dutch Oven  

I also own a 7.5 quart lodge. This is a great price and a beauty.

ALL CLAD Cookware

I’m not really a fan of cookware sets, but if you are and only want to purchase from one company I love All-Clad.

I inherited waterless cookware that is now 60 years old and I just replaced the handles. However, I have two All Clad Frying pans and if I needed a set,  I  would recommend this all-clad set. While this seems like a large investment, you will have these pans forever, if you take care of them. Cheap pots and pans make cooking a real challenge. 

The ten inch frying pan is the one I use the most and have had it for years.

Cast Iron Pans Affordable, Functional

12 Inch Lodge Cast Iron Frying Pan (Has 5 Stars)

I couldn’t live without the cast iron frying pan. I own 13 cast iron pans. You read that right.

Cast Iron Griddle for pancakes, grilled cheese and tortillas. 

Stainless Bowls with Lids (Five Stars) for everything.

OXO Salad Spinner (Five Stars) Wet lettuce makes a terrible salad.

Kitchen Shears (Five Stars)

Mason Jars for EVERYTHING

I store rice, nuts, chocolate chips, sourdough starter, etc.

I bake in the mini jars.

More Expensive Kitchen Items

These are pricey but very worth the investment if you can afford it. These are a long term investment you will have for years.

Vitamix

Kitchen Aid Mixer $259

The advantage to the Kitchen Aid is all the attachments you can buy to turn it into a true workhorse.

If  You Bake, Buy These

Let me tell you about USA Pans. They are pricey. They are worth it. They are made of aluminized steel in the United States, are of rigid no warp construction, and good enough to be used professionally. 

USA  Pans are the only pans I use in my bakery.

USA 8 inch Cake Pans

USA Muffin Cupcake Pan

USA Cookie Sheet

Cookie Cooling Rack Doubles as Roaster Rack

Pre-Cut Parchment Paper

Textured Disposable Piping Bags are easiest to use. 

Since I discovered these bags, I can’t use anything else.

Most Used Piping Tips

This is a beautiful set of piping tips.

The top of the cake: 3 M Large Tip, and round tip inside layers.

Black and Decker Hand Mixer (8 colors to choose)

Mesh Strainers (Sift Flour, Sieve)

You absolutely must sift your flour, confectioner’s sugar and your cocoa when baking or making frosting.  

Confectioner’s Wand

This is a must for muffins, cakes when you don’t want a lot of icing. Just sprinkle confectioner’s sugar. Also great for sprinkling cocoa powder on tiramisu

I honestly don’t know how I lived without this for dusting cakes and cookies evenly.

Staying Organized in the Kitchen

Food Storage Containers for Dry Goods (flour, sugar)

I have these in 7 quart. You can buy them in 4 quart. 

I haven’t found any containers that work better. Beware of cheap containers where the lids don’t fit right. I made that mistake at a national chain decor store. 

Cabinet Space Saver

Cutting Board/Baking Pan Organizer for Pantry

I have three of these in my pantry. They hold my many cutting boards and baking pans and a real problem solver.

Last but not least, these pot mits. Not only do they work, but they last and they are so cute.

The Kitchen Tools I Got Rid of in My Kitchen

This will shock you, but I sold my instant pot and air fryer

If you love your instant pot, that fine, but I’m saying this because I want to be honest and let people know you don’t have to follow trends or fill your kitchen with gadgets because everyone else has them.

So tell me what have you gotten rid of and what is your most important kitchen tool?

 

 

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