A grid image of essential kitchen utensils. There is a frying pan, wooden spoon, whisk, saucepan, scales, chopping board, knife, meauring spoons and cups, peeler, tongs, oven mits and tea towel, colander, grater, spatula, tongs and baking tray

Welcome to the Kitchen: Essential Tools and Gadgets for Beginners

Moving out of home? Renovating? Learning to cook? What do all these things have in common? They may find you wondering what exactly you need to stock your kitchen with, what is essential and what you can leave on the shelf

So let me walk you through my favourite kitchen utensils, what they do and how they will help you approach your favourite recipe or just start cooking with confidence

The top essentials I have in my kitchen:

  1. Chef’s Knife
  2. Cutting Board/s
  3. Measuring cups/spoons
  4. Mixing bowls
  5. Fry pan – non stick vs stainless explained
  6. Saucepan/s
  7. Wooden spoon
  8. Tongs
  9. Peeler
  10. Colander
  11. Baking tray
  12. Can opener
  13. Thick tea towels
  14. Spatula
  15. Grater
  16. Food storage containers

So what are these items and why do I love them?

1. Chef’s Knife

  • Why I love it: Nothing beats a high-quality chef’s knife when you’re wanting to perfect your chopping/slicing and dicing. This is the true work horse in the kitchen
  • How it Helps: A quality knife ensures you are able to maintain a sharp edge, essential for neat and consistent cuts and kitchen safety. Being able to cut easily means you are less likely to slip and injure yourself. More precise cutting also equals even cooking and better presentation

2. Cutting Board

  • Why I love it: Cutting boards provide a steady and durable surface to prepare your ingredients which protects your knife and bench tops
  • How it Helps: Having a sturdy surface allows you to prepare your ingredients safely and efficiently. I have a few chopping boards in rotation when I cook: one for meats or seafood the other for vegetables or fruits. This keeps your ingredients safe, preventing cross contamination when you are learning to prepare multiple elements to a dish. A large chopping board can also allow you to feel more relaxed with a larger surface to prepare on. A hot tip? As you prepare elements of your recipe move them off your board into individual bowls. It helps keep you organised, keeps the space tidy and allows you to keep track of what still needs to be prepared. When its time to cook or add everything together you can bring the bowls together and follow the recipe with ease

3. Measuring Cups and Spoons

  • Importance: These allow you to accurately measure out quantities required in recipes without worry of having it right
  • Why I love it: Having correct, consistent and precise measurements is just one step towards recipe success. Each time you make the recipe, by measuring the same quantities you can ensure the same results. In baking and other technical cooking, precision is essential for success. No one loves spending time cooking for it not to turn out! I like to measure out all my spices/baking ingredients before following recipes so I can concentrate on the steps not stopping and starting measuring. This flow can create a more seamless cook and allow you to truly enjoy the cooking process

4. Mixing Bowls

  • Importance: Another workhorse of the kitchen these hold ingredients, serve certain dishes and mix together elements of recipes
  • Why I love it: Different sized bowls serve different purposes in recipe preparation. Small bowls hold measured ingredients ready to mix together, larger bowls allow you to marinate, mix or store until later. Metal bowls can be sat over boiling water in saucepans for easy melting

5. Frying pan

  • Importance: A good quality, heavy based saucepan is essential for any recipe requiring frying or sauteeing
  • Why I love it: A non-stick pan can be a great starting point for beginner cooks before you start to get used to stainless pans. Less oil can be used, the non stick surface can prevent sticking and it is generally user friendly. Stainless steel saucepans are great for those more confident with how to preheat and use them. They can be used with a variety of utensils, the surface doesn’t break down like non-stick surfaces and they can hold a higher heat. With both pans a heavy even base allows for even distribution and retention of heat

6. Saucepan

  • Importance: If you just want one, a medium-sized saucepan is perfect for boiling, simmering, and making sauces.
  • Why I love it: A saucepans versatility makes it a key tool for preparing a wide range of dishes, from soups to pasta. One pot dishes are easily prepared and served from your saucepan. Smaller saucepans are great for cooking smaller quantities or melting ingredients. Large saucepans are great for bulk prep or cooking for a dinner party but do take up more room in storage. As with the frying pan, a heavy base allows for even and higher retention of heat

7. Wooden Spoon

  • Importance: A wooden spoon is gentle on cookware and ideal for stirring hot dishes
  • Why I love it: A wooden spoon doesn’t scratch non-stick surfaces and can handle high heat. The handle also doesn’t become hot or have any danger of melting when left in a pot. Bonus tip – place it across the top of a pot of boiling water and it will prevent it from spilling over!

8. Tongs

  • Importance: Tongs are indispensable for flipping, turning, and serving food
  • Why I love it: Tongs provide a secure grip and keep your hands safe from heat. They can also serve as a juicer in a pinch! Simple push into the halved citrus with the pointy end and turn and juice. Also, to truly feel like a chef in your kitchen you must click the tongs togther to check their feel. IYKYK

9. Peeler

  • Importance: A good peeler makes quick work of peeling fruits and vegetables.
  • Why I love it: A peeler can be safer and more efficient than a knife to remove skin if you are starting out with your skills. It is also more precise and can create less wastage. A peeler is also great for creating ribbons of foods such as zucchini or cucumber, can peel off citrus zest for garnish or shave parmesan cheese for pasta

10. Colander

  • Importance: A colander is essential for draining pasta, rinsing vegetables, and washing grains
  • Why I love it: A colander makes straining and washing foods quick and easy. Bonus tip – if you strainer is metal, once you have strainer boiled potatoes for mash, place it back on top of the saucepan for 3-4 minutes to allow the heat from the saucepan to dry out the potatoes before you mash them resulting in smoother and fluffier mash

11. Baking Tray

  • Importance: A baking tray is used for baking, roasting, and toasting
  • Why I love it: A baking trays flat surface allows for even cooking and easy cleanup. Line with baking paper for extra insurance for non stick. A durable tray will produce more even results especially with baking

12. Can Opener

  • Importance: A can opener is necessary for opening canned foods
  • Why I love it: A can opener ensures quick and safe opening of cans, reducing the risk of injury. Sometimes you may need to experiment with the best one for your dexterity I personally find I can fight with the ones that sit on top of cans so have an old school one that isn’t very fancy but always opens my cans for me

13. Whisk

  • Importance: A whisk is used for mixing, beating, and whipping ingredients
  • Why I love it : A great whisk incorporates air into mixtures, essential for making sauces, batters, and whipped cream. Hot tip – the finer the metal tines the more air the whisk can incorporate. If you are wanting to whisk delicate ingredients for recipes, look for a whisk with a large balloon end – this will allow you to pick up the mixture and introduce more air easily

14. Oven Mitts or A Thick Tea Towel

  • Importance: Oven mitts protect your hands from burns when handling hot cookware. A tea towel can achieve the same result as long as it is cotton and nice and thick
  • Why I love it: These ensure safety in the kitchen when dealing with hot pots, pans, and baking dishes. Wrap them around the handles of saucepans or frying pans or use to hold the sides of baking dishes/trays. I personally find oven mitts a little cumbersome and tricky and much prefer a good quality tea towel

15. Food Storage Containers

  • Importance: These are great for storing leftovers and prepped ingredients in airtight containers keeps food fresh.
  • Why I love it: If you are able to purchase multi use container – i.e. oven safe glass ones with lids, you can prep food in advance, and place in your cold oven as it preheats to prevent thermal shock and cook without having to transfer to another tray. You can also meal prep for the week in standard containers, freezer leftovers and store food for lunches on the go

16. Grater

  • Importance: A grater is a versatile tool used for shredding cheese, zesting citrus, grating vegetables, and more.
  • Why I love it: A graters multiple grating surfaces allow for different textures making short work of your prep in your favourite recipe

Feeling inspired? Looking for recipes to put your utensils to the tests? Check out my favourite beginner recipes here

Ready to Cook Like a Pro? Join Our Beginner Cooking Classes Today!

Are you excited to start your culinary journey with these essential kitchen tools? Don’t stop here! Take your cooking skills to the next level with our expert-led beginner cooking classes.

Why Join Our Classes?

  • Hands-On Experience: Learn how to use each of these essential tools effectively through practical, hands-on lessons.
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