Whether you’re new to cooking and looking to purchase your first utensils, or if you are here in need of a reminder of the basics, I’m here to share why you need these essentials in your kitchen and how to get the best use of them! These 7 gadgets are my go-to’s to create successful recipes!
Whisk Me Away
We’re starting out with a utensil that I feel is often overlooked from first time buyers. I, myself, used to just whisk everything with a fork. But when using thick, sticky ingredients like honey or molasses, the fork cannot produce the same results that a whisk can.
Did you know there is a proven method for the most effective way to use your whisk? Most of us would say that a stirring motion or beating motion would do just fine. And that is true! But I’m here to let you in on a little secret.
If you are making your own salad dressing with oils or whipping your own cream, move your whisk side-to-side in a swift, repetitive motion to get faster and longer lasting results. This motion allows the ingredients to emulsify and will not separate as quickly after settling. Your whipped cream will also form to perfect peaks much faster! No more whisking for 10 minutes straight.
Want to look like a pro to impress your friends and family? Turn the bowl as you whisk your mixture to show off your new skills!
Now to choose your whisk. There are a few types of whisks out there, but the balloon whisk is going to give you more multi-use out of your tool. With your new balloon whisk, you can whisk (side-to-side of course), mix and sift!
As for how much to spend on your first whisk, I suggest staying away from the lower end products, but you certainly don’t need a $40 whisk from William Sonoma just yet. I bought my first whisk from Walmart for less than a dollar and it rusted after my first use. And I held onto that whisk longer than I’m proud to admit.
You can find a trusty $10 whisk that will bring you joy and last you much longer from any supermarket or kitchen store. I recommend finding one with a silicone handle for a better grip while you whisk away!
Don’t Flip Out
It’s just a spatula. This essential utensil is every beginner’s reliable tool. Spatulas are for lifting, flipping or spreading.
There are also many types of spatulas. Some are specific for fish, some for grilling and more. What we’re going to focus on are Flippers (also known as Turners).
When you pick up your spatula you are more than likely cooking something you will need to flip over like eggs, burgers or stir-fry. Hence, the creative name. Flipper spatulas have a high heat resistance depending on the material. Buying a budget friendly spatula made of silicone or plastic will do just fine! You can find a decent one for under $3 at most stores. Just remember to not to leave it on your skillet or near the burner, or you won’t have much of a spatula left!
As a well seasoned home cook, I prefer to use a metal spatula as it lasts much longer. Some people stray away from metal utensils because it will scratch your pans. Scratches to me are just proof of a well-loved home.
Stir Things Up
My cooking spoon is the utensil I reach for most often and is a huge essential in my book. Cooking spoons come in all shapes, sizes and material. You can use them for stirring, serving, transferring food and more!
I’ve gone through plastic, silicone and metal cooking spoons, and each type thoroughly fulfilled their duty. But my favorite are wooden cooking spoons. Along with metal, they last a long time and keep well, but wooden cooking spoons do not scratch your pots and pans!
There are a fair share of cooking spoons in my kitchen, but my most favorite are my odd shaped ones! I own a pair that have a trapezoid shaped head and a long thin handle. I grab these almost every time and prefer them because they give me more control in my cooking.
A single wooden spoon has a wide cost range. You can find them for under $2 and as high as $40 in most popular stores. Want to support a small business? Check out Etsy! They have a wide array of styles and sizes. If you’re looking to splurge, they have amazing handmade utensils. These can cost up to $500+ for a single spoon and even $1000+ for a set.
Since wooden spoons will last you a while, I wouldn’t feel too guilty about purchasing a decent priced one. Venture out to a kitchen store for your cooking spoons if you can, but don’t be too distracted by all the wonderful accessories you’ve yet to use!
Let’s Tong About It
I often cook with tofu. And if you’ve ever dabbled in the tofuverse, you know that to get it good and browned you need a decent amount of oil in a skillet, or have time and patience for the oven. Keep your spatulas and spoons in the utensil holder, this is where your tongs come out to play.
This essential utensil is necessary to keep your hands and arms burn free! When frying things in oil, tongs will become your best friend. They’re also handy for when adding high moisture items into a hot pan. I’m sure your spatula and cooking spoon could handle the job, but your hands and arms will thank you for using a set of tongs!
Tongs are also useful for when dealing with hot pots of water. Use them to stir and separate your noodles and also to pick up your boiled potatoes once they are done!
You can find a trusty pair of tongs for around $10-$15. I highly recommend purchasing a longer pair, as I find the shorter pair for my style of cooking, are quite useless. I use a pair with silicone tips that are well-loved. Using silicone means overtime, it will start to flake off and peel away from the heat, but that just means you have an excuse to go shopping!
A good swivel peeler is something I slept on for a long time. I had a fear of slicing the skin right off my finger, but looking back, I’m not sure why it caused me so much anxiety.
Believe me when I tell you, you will want to add this essential to your kitchen drawers.
A swivel peeler does just what it’s name says. A peeler that swivels. The first vegetable that comes to mind when I grab my peeler are carrots. Peeling your carrots is certainly not a requirement before cooking them. So long as you wash and scrub them enough to remove the dirt and debris, but who has time for that when you can quickly peel them!
You can also peel your potatoes if you’re not a fan of the skin. This is what used to terrify me in my younger years, so I just got used to the skin.
You can even use it to peel fruit! Though if you do, you’ll miss out on the nutrients the skin holds.
Like most blade tools in the kitchen, the more you spend on the product the better your results will be from the blade. I wouldn’t suggest going crazy with this purchase though. A good $5-$8 peeler will do the trick!
Can I Be Open With You?
This kitchen essential is simple but necessary. It’s the can opener.
I grew up using an electric can opener, but now-a-days I just use the simple, classic version. 2019 blew a lot of people’s mind when a video went viral on how to use your can opener the “safe way”. I don’t know about you, but I grew up putting the blade directly on top to puncture the can and then rotate the handle to open it. But did you know you can also place the blade on the side just under the lip of the can to safely open it? This way you avoid the sharp, jagged top when opening the can using the blade-on-top method.
And that’s that! Nothing fancy about this gadget, but definitely an essential in my book.
I use Good Cook safe can opener from target that is priced at $10.
If you’ve never tried opening a can the safe way, I recommend giving this a go to avoid anymore finger injuries!
Graters Gonna Grate
Finally, and possibly the most versatile kitchen essential, the grater. Graters come in a lot of shapes and sizes.
You’ve got your coarse graters, medium graters, two and four sided graters, zesters and more!
To get the best bang for your buck, I suggest investing in a 4 sided grater. This is a great (pun intended) utensil to whip out when cooking stir-fry, making salads or most popularly, shredding cheese.
I make a lot of chickpea salad to snack on at home and this is the perfect tool for my produce. It easily shreds carrots, celery, cabbage and much more. Want to get those thin slices for cucumbers or radishes on your salad? Use the side of your grater that has the single, wide blade to smoothly and swiftly create those perfect toppings!
My favorite part about my 4 sided grater is it doesn’t take up much space. Get multi-use from just one tool vs losing counter space with different sized handheld graters.
You can find a 4 sided grater at any grocery or kitchen store. Much like the swivel peeler, the more you spend on your grater the better the blades. But starting out you don’t need to spend more than $15.
Target has some uniquely shaped ones all under $14.99!
Starter Essentials You Need, Indeed
I hope you’re excited to start your cooking journey if you’ve come here as a beginner. Or, if you stopped for a refresher, possibly you learned something new! These essential tools will kick start your home chef journey and are guaranteed to help you create successful and delicious meals.
Be brave in trying new things and always cook with love!
Until next time,
Haley | Founder of Haley’s Kitchen