I never really pictured myself falling as in love with cooking as I have. Something about it fulfills my instinct to nourish others, especially my family, in the most literal sense. It doesn’t mean I’m always singing merrily as I prepare dinner with tired kids at my feet, but with the girls out of the toughest of the toddler phases, my joy in the kitchen is back in full force and growing. Over the past eight years of cooking for my family, I’ve come across a few basic kitchen tools that I believe every home cook needs. These items make cooking easier, more efficient, and therefore, more enjoyable. Come on into my kitchen and let me show you the items I can’t live without!
Manual Citrus Press
I use my citrus squeezer every single day. It’s made of metal, not plastic, which not only makes it durable but also powerful with little effort. It is able to extract a maximum amount of juice from lemons and limes, and even small oranges. I use it to squeeze lemons on avocado toast and in water, limes for finishing touches on Mexican or Indian dishes (or margaritas…), and it’s a great kitchen tool for the girls to play around with too.
Not only is this frother ideal for mixing cream into coffee, it also works well to blend apple cider vinegar in with honey, lemon, and hot water. We use it for hot chocolate, hot toddies, and any other drink that needs a good whisking. We have the cheap Ikea version ($2, I believe), but it’s on its last legs and when it goes I will be purchasing this powerful milk frother with a wider whisk.
Quality Glass Mixing Bowls
I had my eye on these for months at Sur La Table. I don’t know why I waited so long, but it certainly made the heart grow fonder because now I LOVE my glass mixing bowls. They are durable, simple in design, and work beautifully for all the sourdough bread I make. I love that they look so pretty that they can double for a serving dish for salads and pilafs.
A Good Vegetable Peeler and Garlic Press
I don’t buy baby carrots. I’ve tried because I know they are convenient, but they taste like watered down nothings to me, so I always buy the big ones. Because of that, a good peeler with an easy grip handle is necessary to not only make peeling efficient, but easy for kids to do (it’s always Hailey’s task).
As for garlic presses, I’ve owned both the squeeze kind and the press/mincer. If you go squeeze, I highly recommend a heavy duty press because they are actually easier to use. I usually use my mincer garlic press because I find it easy to use and clean, plus the girls love using it to see what other things they can “squish” with it (like avocado, beans, or bananas!).
A Kitchen Scale
I never pictured myself using one of these, but I now use my electric kitchen scale on a weekly basis to bake sourdough bread. I do not consider myself a baker because the exact science stuff isn’t my jam, but I’m wondering now if I should give more baking recipes that offer gram measurements a try because I’ve realized just how much more precise weight is for baking over the typical cups measurement. Who else owns a kitchen scale? What do you use it for?
A High-Speed Blender
Despite not being a huge smoothie-maker, my Blendtec Designer Series with the WildSide Jar is still on my must have list. I use it for easily blending together cashew creams, sauces for grain bowls, our weekly ginger turmeric tonic, nut milks occasionally, and more. Maybe I’ll hop on the smoothie train once the weather warms up!
If you are a greens eater, this is a non-negotiable. The clam shells full of pre-washed baby greens are great, but when growing things in the garden (I have high hopes for a successful garden this year!) or buying leafy vegetables from the farmers market, it is incredibly helpful to have a salad spinner to speed up the washing and drying process. Plus, it’s another great task for toddlers who want to help in the kitchen!
A Kitchen Scraper
Possibly the best bang for your buck in the use:cost ratio. This scraper might just be my favorite kitchen item. It’s a godsend for cleaning up flour, scraping play-doh off tables, cutting dough, forming granola bars, slicing brownies- you get the picture.
Though I’ve streamlined and organized my kitchen and am not looking to add much more to it, there are a couple items that are on my to-buy list because I’ve had my eye on them for so long and I really think I’d use them regularly:
- Salad Chopper : I’ve seen Katy and Julie, among others, absolutely rave about this product. Since we are entering the season of salads, I’m ready to hop on board the chopped salad train.
- Rice Cooker with Porridge Setting : I know so many of you have encouraged me to get the InstantPot, but I’ve looked into in depth and I really want this rice cooker instead. I have an electric pressure cooker but rarely use it, but I adore my little rice cooker and am ready to upgrade.
- Knife Sharpener : Having a quality knife makes a HUGE difference in cooking enjoyment and a knife sharpener is an inexpensive way to get the most out of your knife. We’ve used one for years, and I’m ready to snag another.
I’d love to hear your favorite kitchen must-haves items!
Which kitchen tools make your life easier?