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My Must-Have Kitchen Tools

collage of essential kitchen tools

There’s no less than 1,593,462 kitchen tools and gadgets out there, with hundreds more coming out every day. How to navigate through them all?  What are the essential, must have kitchen tools?

Do you really need a brussel sprout tool, or will a regular old knife work? Does a kale stripper really save you all that much time?

And most importantly, do people really get so bored with their eggs that they purchase tools to make their eggs square or to eat them on a stick?

I like to think of myself as a fairly practical person, who likes to maximize efficiency in the kitchen. Tools that cook one egg at a time do not fit into this category, so sadly, I am not the proud owner of a Rollie.

I do, however, use the following  must have kitchen tools on a weekly (if not daily) basis:

Must Have Kitchen Tool #1: Nordic Ware Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet

 I use these baking sheets for everything. They’re a bit more than the cheap ones you buy that get all nasty, but they can stand up to anything.

You can scrub them clean without fear of any coating coming off, and they don’t bend and warp like the cheap ones do. I’ve had mine for over 3 years now, and they’re still in great condition.

I line them with parchment paper and cook everything from fish to chicken to vegetables to cookies on them.

*Be careful not to buy the full sheet – the key word here is “commercial.” It won’t fit in your oven unless your oven is commercial sized. The half sheet is regular-people oven sized.

Must Have Kitchen Tool #2: KitchenAid Stand Mixer

 I know. This is one of those appliances that you hem and haw about. “It’s so expensive.”  “It’s going to take up so much room on my countertop.”  “It’s going to collect dust and I’m never actually going to use it.”

I’m here to tell you, only two of those three statements are true. And I can promise, you will get your money’s worth.

I use my KitchenAid mixer all of the time, and I don’t even think I use it to it’s full potential – there’s tons of attachments and add-ons that you can buy to make it do all sorts of crazy things.

Even just with the basics, I use it to mix baked goods, shred cooked chicken, and more. If you’ve ever owned a hand mixer, just think about how tired your shoulder gets holding that thing up.

Once you have this, your shoulder can take a vacay while the mixer does all the work in half the time.

Must Have Kitchen Tool #3 :Cuisinart Food Processor

I know, another $$ doozie. Again, I know it seems like a lot, but I use this thing constantly.

I never had one until a few years ago, and now that I have it I don’t know how I lived without it.

Making a dip? Food processor. Making a sauce? Food processor. Making date bars? Food processor.

I use it to make my Cumin-Lime Dip, my Nutty Espresso Bars, my Sweet & Spicy Bars, and literally any other sauce or dip in the kitchen. And no, your blender won’t work the same way.

Trust me, I’ve tried.

Must Have Kitchen Tool #4: Cusinart Smart Stick Hand Blender

Yes, you really need a separate hand blender! Really.

It doesn’t take up that much room, it’s easy to wash, and it will save you hours upon hours of your life by not having to blend your hot soup in small batches or by pouring your oil into your mayo in a small trickle.

The magic of the stick blender – stick it in, turn it on, job done. Use it to make Curried Sweet Potato Soup and Five Minute Mayo.

Must Have Kitchen Tool #5: Cast Iron Skillet

We have a few of these, in varying sizes. The big one stays on the stove, partly because it’s heavy and I’m too lazy to pull it in and out of the cabinet all the time, but mostly because we use it every single day.

This is the original non-stick pan, friends. None of that crazy Teflon coated stuff that chips off in your food. Toxic or not, who wants their food seasoned with a dash of Teflon? Not me.

Once this puppy cools, we toss in a bit of salt as an abrasive, grab a damp paper towel, and scrub it clean. Give it a good rinse and a new coat of oil if it looks like it needs it, and it’s ready to go for its next task.

*A word of caution – the cast iron skillet gets crazy-hot, particularly when using it on a gas stove. Be sure you’re cooking with an oil that can stand up to high heat temperatures, and if it says medium-high, start with medium, then turn it up bit by bit to avoid smoking out the whole house. 

Must Have Kitchen Tool #6: 6″ Chef’s Knife

Ours is a Shun. We got it as a wedding present, and I use it daily. That being said, you don’t need a Shun to reap the benefits of the 6″ chef’s knife.

You could go for this one by J.A. Henckels or this one by Calphalon, which are both at more reasonable entry level price points. As long as you keep it sharp, it will serve you well.

For me, the 6″ knife is the best go-to option around. It’s versatile and is great for meat as well as veggies, rough chopping as well as dicing, and is all around the most useful knife in the kitchen.

Must Have Kitchen Tool #7: Veggetti Spiralizer

Yes, it’s a real thing, and no, I’m not joking. It’s like a pencil sharpener for your vegetables. Zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots…you can turn them into “noodles.”

It makes cooking way more fun, it makes eating way more fun, and its fun fun to say. And make immature jokes about. Worth the entertainment value alone!

Must Have Kitchen Tool #8: Clean Cuisine Gloves

I’m definitely not saving the earth here by using these. That being said, they’re so handy when working with oil or raw meat.

I use them when I’m mixing up any of my meat recipes like my Quick & Easy Taco Meat, Quick & Easy Breakfast Sausage, Spicy Chorizo, or battering and frying my Nashville Style Hot Chicken.

When you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, washing your hands ten times while prepping food can get tedious and dry you out. I use these gloves to protect my hands and make prep work a little bit easier.

What are your must have kitchen tools? Share them in the comments below!

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