In this post, I’m sharing the 10 most important, and frequently used products in my kitchen. These are all products I own and love, with the exception of two which are currently on my wishlist.
1. Nonstick cookware
Pots and pans are obviously a necessity for cooking. But what you might not think about are the reasons to choose either nonstick, stainless steel, or some other material. When my husband and I got married, we registered for a stainless steel set, which we were blessed to receive as a wedding gift. We thought that it was a good idea because stainless steel is more durable and we expected it to last forever. Well, it very well may last forever, but that doesn’t actually sound appealing since I discovered how difficult it is to cook with! Everything sticks, and you have to cook with a lot of oil and high heat to help reduce the sticking. When we switched to nonstick, I discovered how easy and wonderful it is to be able to cook potatoes and eggs and meat and anything really, all without sticking! Cleanup is super easy, too. This set in particular is really well made, looks nice, and comes with a reasonable price tag. We have the dutch oven that matches this set (but doesn’t come with it), and I plan to buy this set for my family (really myself, haha) for Christmas.
2. Silicone utensils
When you have nonstick cookware, you want to avoid metal cooking utensils. This set of silicone utensils are my favorite to use. That spatula spoon is the best! And the ladle is so much easier to use than a hard plastic one because you can really “scrape” the bottom of the pot and scoop up whatever you’re ladling. This set is a great price for five utensils, and it comes in red, gray, or teal.
3. A thin turner
The only thing I don’t like about silicone utensils is that they are chunky. The spatula is good for flipping things in the oven or flipping meat, but it’s really too thick to handle pancakes well. That’s why I bought this, and it works perfectly for flipping more fragile foods.
4. A good knife set
We have this set, minus the smaller santoku knife, which didn’t come with our set (purchased elsewhere, before I discovered the joy of Amazon.) These knives are sharp, durable, look nice, and come with a knife block for storage. We hand wash ours rather than tossing them in the dishwasher, and as a result they have held up very well. I don’t see us needing to replace them for many years, if ever.
5. Measuring cups
These measuring cups are great because they have little magnets in the handles which keep them together and organized in the drawer. They’re metal, meaning more durable than plastic, and they have the measurement markings etched into the handles. I bought these to replace my plastic measuring cups when the ink smudged away after a couple of years going through the dishwasher. These have held up much better.
6. Measuring spoons
And of course, if you want your measuring spoons to match your measuring cups, then you should get these too! Did I mention how cool those magnets are? My measuring spoons are always neatly stacked in the drawer, and it takes almost no effort to keep them that way. It makes it easier to find exactly the spoon I need without digging around.
7. Measuring cups
These glass measuring cups are awesome for when you need to measure larger amounts of things, or when you’re measuring liquids and you don’t want to spill. I use the largest one for making pancakes, and it’s super easy to pour the batter onto the griddle with the built in spout. The smallest one comes in handy for making buttermilk, to add to the pancakes, too. (I do cook things other than pancakes, by the way, even though this post is oddly pancake-centered.)
8. Cutting boards
I currently have a mismatched set of cutting boards, two of which are on their last legs. I’d really like to replace them with these! While bamboo was appealing to me when I was first starting out building my own kitchen tool set, I have now learned that plastic is preferable. Bamboo doesn’t hold up in the dishwasher very well, and it can’t be sanitized as thoroughly as plastic. On the other hand, a cutting board made of cheap plastic isn’t going to hold up very well either. These ones have great reviews, so I’m hoping they’re durable and well-made. I also highly recommend a set of cutting boards with nonslip feet (like these), because it can be difficult to cut on a board that’s slipping around the counter!
9. Rice cooker
I have no idea why it took me so long to buy a rice cooker. For years I struggled to make the perfect rice in a pot. Why, oh why? Rice cookers are awesome, and this one does its job well and has a great price. I use mine about once a week! If you take a minute to get your rice started earlier in the day, it saves time when you need to cook dinner. This one has a “keep warm” function, so I can make the rice hours ahead of time. It’s also nonstick, which makes it ridiculously easy to clean.
10. Food thermometer
If you cook meat, then investing in a food thermometer is a must (and it’s really not much of an investment)! Checking that your meat is cooked to the proper temperature prevents food poisoning, and it’s quick and easy to do. I always check my meat, ever since the Westropp hamburger fiasco of 2014. (What, you haven’t heard of this historical event? How strange.) Seriously though, a food thermometer is a must. It’s also important for making yogurt at home, if that’s something you’re interested in.
So there you have it! I’ve given you a glimpse into my kitchen, and the tools I use most.
What about you? What are your favorite kitchen essentials?