You asked for it, and here it is! If you’ve already stocked up on Kitchen Essentials Part One, tackled a few different weeknight menus, and are feeling confident in the kitchen, you might be wondering what other fun tools and gadgets you can add to your cabinets to expand your culinary horizons. Look no further—in this second round-up of kitchen essentials, we’re taking a look at a few more items you’ll want to add to your kitchen if you’re serious about becoming a chef (or at least telling your friends you’re one). From homemade hummus, to smoothies, to casseroles, these pieces will make it easy to chop, blend, and stir, without breaking the bank (or your wrist).
Digital scale: For the baker, a digital scale is indispensable. Forget messily measuring ingredients with all those teaspoon and cup measures. With a scale, you can add your ingredients all into one bowl by weight, which is faster, easier, and more exact.
Peeler: Peel apples, carrots, cucumbers, beets—basically anything you can think of!
Citrus reamer or juicer: A citrus juicer allows you to extract every last bit of liquid from lemons, limes and oranges. A handheld one is less messy, but pretty glass versions can make a great kitchen accessory!
Pepper mill: Store bought ground pepper has probably been sitting around for ages, and it typically tastes pretty flat. Invest in a pepper mill, then buy whole peppercorns from your grocery store. The difference between pre-ground pepper and freshly ground black pepper will astound you.
Salad spinner: You’ll be able to wash and dry lettuce without the wet mess! Some varieties of salad spinners even allow you to store the greens in the bowl without having them wilt.
Stainless steel sauté or frying pan: Though expensive, purchasing a well made stainless steel pan will be an investment you won’t regret, especially if you’re going to cook at home a lot. Either a frying pan or a sauté pan are good bets here; the sloped sides of the frying pan will promote evaporation of liquids and can help you flip foods over; the straight sides of the sauté pan are great to retain liquid, making them perfect for stove top braises, sauces and risotto! Be sure to always wash your stainless steel cookware by hand.
Muffin tin: You’ll need this to make a batch of muffins for breakfast, or cupcakes for a party!
Set of baking dishes: Look for an 8×8 or 9×9, and a lasagna baking dish (usually around 13″x10″). With a set of these, you can bake a batch of brownies, whip up a casserole, or create any number of baked pasta dishes (mac and cheese, anyone?)
Meat thermometer: “Is this meat cooked through?” You’ll never have to wonder (or cut into meat to check) again.
Grill pan: If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill (or if you experience exceptionally cold winters) an indoor grill pan is a must have. You can grill steaks, chicken, or even veggies on it. Just be sure you have a good ventilation system over your stove
Spider: A spider is perfect for draining large quantities of product from a liquid when you don’t want to use your colander. I use mine for removing pasta or vegetables from water, and it’s a must have if you are deep frying foods. The long handle ensures you won’t burn yourself!
Small food processor: A worthwhile investment if you can swing it, a smaller food processor (no need to splurge on a 14 cup behemoth!) is a must have if you want to make pureed dips and sauces. Think pesto, hummus, bean dips, and fresh salsa! You can also use your food processor to quickly chop nuts or whip up a batch of your favorite vinaigrette for salad.
Blender: If you want to jump on the green smoothie train, definitely think about getting a blender! You can also use your blender to puree soups, make salad dressing, and if you get one with enough power, they can even make peanut butter for you.
Slicer or mandoline: Simple ceramic slicers allow you to get paper thin slices of lemon, cucumber, potato — pretty much anything! A mandoline, which is more expensive, typically comes with attachments to create items like waffle or ruffled potatoes.
Kitchen shears: A pair of kitchen shears (or scissors) that you leave only in the kitchen will help you cut open food packaging and snip herbs with ease.
Click here to download or print the Kitchen Essentials Part 2 checklist in The Handbook!
You’ll also find the list for Part 1!