Even for seasoned pros, cooking at home can sometimes be a bit of a bummer. It’s much more frustrating, however, when you don’t feel confident in the kitchen or feel as though you’ve set yourself up for success. Having the right tools and equipment can make it a little easier and less stressful. From cookware to utensils to food storage, here are some of the kitchen essentials that will make cooking at home way easier.
A good wooden spoon is an absolute essential in my mind. It won't melt accidentally like a plastic spoon and won't scrape up the bottom of your pans like a metal one. That being said, there are still some specifications, if you ask me. It can't be too shallow or you won't be able to lift anything with it, but you don't want one that's too deep either. You'll reach for it again and again.
I use tongs for just about everything. I always prefer them to a spatula (though you can't use them for absolutely everything) and they're never far from the stove when I'm cooking. I have two metal-tipped sets, but the silicone is even better—it'll give you a little extra peace of mind that you're not scratching your pan while trying to flip or stir.
These little hand-held juicers are the best and easiest way to add citrus juice to pretty much anything you're making, from salad dressings to cakes to sauces to cocktails. Simply cut in half, place the fruit cut side down in the juicer, and squeeze. As a former coworker once told me, the orange one is great to start with because it will also work perfectly with lemons and limes.
Sharp knives are so, so, so important, but sharpening your knives at home can be sort of intimidating if you don't feel like you know what you're doing. These pull-through knife sharpeners can take some of the guesswork out of the sharpening process, ensuring that your chef knives are as sharp as they need to be.
Whether you're an experienced home cook or not, a digital thermometer is a great thing to have on hand. The best way to determine if things are fully and safely cooked is to take the temperature of the food. This thermometer makes it simple.
OK, so if you're not a regular baker, you may not feel like you *need* a food scale, but let me tell you, they really do come in handy. If you've hopped on the bread-baking train, you know how easy it makes things. Weighing ingredients gives you a more accurate measurement, so if you're able to follow a recipe that goes by weight rather than volume, it's a good way to go.
These boards are non-porous and heat resistant to 350 degrees, which means they're a great addition to your kitchen. You can set warm things on them without worrying about damage, can feel confident that your board is getting clean after cutting raw meat, and even pop it in the dishwasher to get that thorough clean.
Everyone needs a good colander. From washing berries and other fruits and vegetables to draining pasta and beans, it can really be a useful tool to have around. This one is a fine enough mesh that nothing will sneak through and also sits over your sink for ease of use.
If you've never had the distinctly frustrating experience of trying to make something that requires multiple bowls when you don't *have* multiple bowls, well, then, you know essential mixing bowls can be. These nest into each other, which makes storage a snap.
I will never again be able to live without a batter bowl. These little guys are so incredibly useful. They're easy to pour from, which makes them great for batters (of course), but also all kinds of things that require pouring. I use mine all the time and I think it makes cooking so much easier (and cleaner).
A cast iron skillet is an absolute essential. They go from stovetop to oven seamlessly and, as long as you take care of it, cook and bake things like a dream. You'll get so much use out of it. Sauté vegetables, sear fish or meat, bake a giant cookie, the possibilities are endless.
Glass storage containers are great because they allow you to easily see the contents of your containers *and* they're dishwasher-safe. I live on leftovers, so glass storage containers are in my regular rotation. Easy to use, easy to clean, win-win.