10 Essential Kitchen Tools for Your First Place

So you’re on your own now and the kitchen is looking as bare as the pizza box from last night’s marathon move-in session. You need to get it supplied fast, but what do you really need? After working for years in restaurants, and cooking thousands of meals on a budget, I’ve compiled my list of the ten most essential tools for your kitchen. Read on to learn what you need, and why. When you’re finished here, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to gather all the essential tools for your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Chef Knife

Every competent cook will tell you that the chef is only as good as his knives. This is easily the most important, and most expensive, tool on our list. I can’t stress enough the importance of quality here, as this tool will be used just about every time you prepare anything more complex than oatmeal. If you have to cut corners on supplies, do it on another item. Get the best quality blade you can afford. Better yet, if the money allows buy a good knife block.


From flipping hotdogs on the grill to turning baked chicken breasts in the oven, these versatile wonders are like an extension of your hand. They are the single easiest way to flip almost anything with enough density to withstand the pressure of being pinched and lifted. A well supplied kitchen wont be without one . Buy a sturdy pair made to take a beating, like the kind used for outdoor grilling and this tool may well outlast your kitchen.

Wooden Spoons

Grandma’s favorite paddle is also one of the most useful items in any kitchen. This tool is invaluable for stirring sauces and soups. It can pinch hit for a whisk, chop and stir like a spatula, and serve pasta in a bind. And the best part, they are dirt cheap and sturdy enough for everyday use.


Ever trier to flip an over easy egg with a fork? I have, and let me tell you it isn’t pretty. A good quality spatula is worth its weight in gold in the kitchen. From flipping to chopping and everywhere in between, this powerhouse tool is a must have.

Rubber Scraper

A bakers best friend, these little gems are often overlooked when talking kitchen tools. But baking a cake, mixing up bread dough, or slathering icing on cupcakes is a real drag without one. Buy a quality scraper, preferably with a one piece design and heavy duty rubber end.

Balloon Whisk

When it comes to mixing just about anything, a whisk is the first tool that comes to mind. It’ll make the fluffiest scrambled eggs, aerate the lightest pizza dough, and blend the best brownies the kitchen has to offer. Again go for a sturdy construction, preferably bonded on the balloon end. A thicker wired whisk will both last longer and be easier to use.

Measuring Cups/Spoons

Though you may be used to a pinch of this and a handful of that, eventually you are going to want to be able to get exact amounts of ingredients into your mixing bowl. I personally recommend a metal set, and like the nesting type that sit inside one another to save space. A cost effective kitchen tool, these are only going to set you back a few dollars.

Vegetable Peeler

Nothing beats fresh veggies in a salad, soup, or stew. And nothing makes prepping them easier than a peeler. It also works great for shredding salad compliments. Another cheaper tool, these can be picked up for under five dollars.

All Purpose Grater

A good box grater will suit many jobs. It can cut potatoes for chips, shred cheese for pizzas, grate vegetables for salads, and so much more. Go for the all metal box type with multiple varied grating surfaces.

Can Opener

Though you can certainly buy an electric model, I don’t consider it worth either the money or the space. A manual unit works as well, if not better, for a fraction of the price. These are rather cheap, but beware buying too flimsy a pair. Look for wider handles and sturdy construction.

Though some may disagree with my choices, these are the items that I find to be the most essential kitchen tools. The whole set can be acquired for a reasonable price and should last many years if cared for properly. I hope this helped you supply your kitchen with the essentials, happy cooking.