Whether you love to cook or prefer to squeak by on Lean Cuisine meals, every kitchen needs certain tools to function properly. And despite what purveyors of the spiralizer or banana hammock might tell you, a kitchen definitely does not need a ton of equipment crowding its counters and cabinets to feed people right!
Curious what the true kitchen essentials really are? Whether you've just moved in and are looking to stock your kitchen or are on a decluttering mission trying to shed what can go, peruse this list of kitchen must-haves for the keepers. These are the secret ingredients that truly earn their place since they make cooking tastier, easier, and more streamlined. If you're missing any, you might want to add them to your own wish list (housewarming gift, anyone?).
No matter what food you're tackling, this set has you covered with an 8-inch chef's knife, 8-inch bread knife, 6-inch utility knife, paring knife, eight steak knives, kitchen shears, and more. A lifetime warranty is included.
2. Cutting boards
These nonslip cutting boards(amazon.com, $11.98) come in three sizes: large (16 inches by 10 inches), medium (13 by 8), and small (10 by 6). Each features a groove on one side for collecting juices from fruits, vegetables, and meats. The other side is flat, offering ample space for chopping. They're dishwasher-safe and made of a nonporous material, so unlike wood or bamboo, these cutting boards won't crack over time. Hopefully you'll like 'em, because you'll have these babies for a long time!
3. Can opener/corkscrew
This 4-in-1 opener (amazon.com, $19.13) can open beer bottles, cans, and even wine, prompting reviewers to applaud its multitasking.
One reviewer noted, "This is great to save space as we all have too many single use items cluttering up our drawers."
But does this tool do all these jobs effectively, or is a jack-of-all-trades a master of none? Luckily Amazon reviews include videos that show this opener in action, noting that you can open cans "without getting any gunk" around the rim and remove lids entirely so you don't have to get out a knife to pop the lid off.
4. Silicone oven mitts
These silicone oven mitts (walmart.com, $15.16) are far safer than their fabric counterparts because they're heat-resistant up to 482 degrees. This means you can pull dishes out of the oven and microwave without fear of frying your hands. They also feature a 100% waterproof exterior so you don't have to worry about steam penetrating them the way you would with cloth mitts. Extra-long, they protect not just your hands but your arms, and can be machine-washed and dried. These are kitchen keepers!
5. Adjustable stainless-steel colander
Drain your pasta or rinse your produce with this adjustable colander(overstock.com, $27.94) that fits right over your sink and shrinks down for easy storage. With rubber handles, it isn't hot to the touch when you pour your steaming dish into a bowl.
Every kitchen needs some good bowls, and if you want a set that withstands all the elements, this Pyrex glass set (amazon.com, $33.85) fits the bill.
These bowls are safe no matter where you stash them—in the oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher. Plus, because the glass is nonporous, it won't absorb food odors, flavors, or stains the way plastic bowls might. Worried about spills? These lids lock so you're safe taking these in for lunch, picnics, or beyond.
8. Stainless-steel cookware set
With so many types of cooktops and ovens out there, it's worth nothing that this Cooks Standard 12-piece, stainless-steel cookware set(overstock.com, $276.49) works on it all. It's induction-compatible and also works on gas, electric, glass, ceramic, and halogen stoves.
So, if you move and find yourself with a new stove, you won't have to worry about replacing this set. And it's built to last.
One reviewer notes that it's "very nice heavy weight construction, with riveted handles, no more tightening screws on loose handles, and the handles stay cool."
9. Blender/food processor
This Ninja Supra Kitchen blender system with food processor(walmart.com, $149) lets you crush everything from ice to whole fruits in seconds. And while some blenders simply chop from the bottom, which can lead to uneven slicing and dicing and ultimately clog the motor, this professional-grade model boasts sharp, stacked blades which, according to one reviewer, "chops from top to bottom and everything in between."
The 1.5 horsepower motor can also mix 2 pounds of bread dough in 30 seconds—and if you're hoping to consume more smoothies, this set comes with two cups with to-go lids so you can take your juices with you.
10. Digital thermometer
Take the guesswork out of preparing meats with this ThermoPro cooking thermometer (amazon.com, $19.99), which will help you ensure your food is cooked to the right temperature whether you're using your smoker, stovetop, or oven.
Its stainless-steel, foldable probe has a high-precision sensor that offers an accurate reading within 3 to 5 seconds—almost half the time as most thermometers—and can also withstand temperatures from 14 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. Last but not least, it's magnetic (so it can stick to your fridge) and customers love that it runs on regular AAA batteries, as opposed to coin or button cell batteries that you may not have on hand.