Did you know that Americans spent almost $3,500 on food away from home in 2018?
Overall, the entire country spent $1.71 trillion that year on food alone. And spending on food away-from-home was 4.4% more than for food at home.
Being pricier than homemade meals isn't the only reason to start using your kitchen more. Home-cooked meals are also healthier, as you can choose what exactly goes into your dishes. You also get to skip large restaurant meal portions, which can lead to overeating.
But to enjoy all these benefits of home-cooked meals, you first need to invest in the right kitchen tools.
Don't worry, as you don't need the fancy stuff that Hollywood chefs use. However, there are at least 10 (affordable) tools that every beginner chef needs.
Ready to learn more about these kitchen essentials? Then keep reading, as this list rounds them all up.
1. Chef's Knife
Did you know that the first-ever knife dates back to 2.5 million years ago?
That makes knives much older than stoves, the earliest of which only dates back to ancient times. This makes sense, as one could eat food untouched by fire but would still need a cutting tool to prepare it.
That said, a chef's knife is no doubt the only kitchen tool you'd need every single time you whip something up. It's indispensable for meal preparation, as every good food starts with properly-cut ingredients.
A good chef's knife is one with a handle that fits your dominant hand like a glove. You should be able to firmly grasp it without too much force, and you should feel comfortable while doing so. Also, keep in mind that the harder the knife's steel is, the sharper but more delicate it is.
2. Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel, depending on the grade, has fair to outstanding corrosion resistance. Moreover, it boasts high strength and hardness, while still being easy to fabricate. Some stainless steel tools also have finishes that help reduce bacterial attachment.
This makes stainless steel pots and pans some of the most essential kitchen tools to have. At the very least, you should have a frying pan, saucepan, sauté pan, and a stockpot.
You can get these cooking tools all at the same time if you go for one of the top stainless sets according to this site. These sets already include the pots and pans you're most likely to use every time you whip something up.
3. Food Processor
Food processors make slicing, chopping, dicing, shredding, and grinding food a lot faster. They come with various blade attachments, but the main one is the S-shaped blade known as "Sabatier".
Aside from faster cutting, a food processor is also key to emulsifying liquids. There's also an attachment for puréeing sauces and soups. Others are for beating batter and making doughs and crusts for bread, pies, and pizza.
4. Kitchen Thermometer
Every year, an estimated 48 million Americans get sick due to foodborne diseases. Many of these ailments arise from improper food preparation and incorrectly-cooked food.
This is enough reason to get a kitchen thermometer for accurate temperature readings. It tells you once the inside of your roast is no longer a bloody mess and is cooked to perfection. In short, you'll know that your food is now safe to eat.
Besides, you'll need a thermometer if you'd like to hone your sugar syrup making skills.
Did you know that the type of cut used and the size of chopped pieces can affect the flavors of an ingredient? Or that the surface area of cut vegetables can alter their flavor? Simply put, how you chop up your ingredients can make or break your dish!
That's why you need a mandoline in your life, which allows you to cut various items in uniform pieces.
The "Japanese" mandoline has a single straight blade that you can adjust the slicing width of. Others come with attachments to make crinkle cuts, waffle cuts, dices, and juliennes.
6. Measuring Spoons and Cups
Many recipes call for a "dash" or a "sprinkle", but you can't use the same for some ingredients, like yeast or baking soda. Too little or too much can ruin an otherwise excellent dough and either deflate or make it bitter.
Many recipes that have sauces, soups, and liquids also need accurate measurements. The same goes for flour, rice, and other starchy ingredients. Not meeting the exact measurements can turn your dishes into a gooey or splashy mess.
This is why measuring spoons and cups are some of the first kitchen essentials you should get. Go for the stainless steel ones, as well as a large heat-proof measuring glass cup. You'd need the latter when making stuff like sugar syrups or pastry creams.
7. Kitchen Scale
Many recipes, such as those for bread and pastries, come out better when you weigh the ingredients. Meaning, you'd use weight instead of volume (which is what measuring cups follow).
This is important especially in baking, where a slight weight gap can ruin the recipe. All-purpose flour, for instance, is at least two tablespoons heavier than cake flour. If you use a cup of APF to substitute a cup of cake flour, your cake would end up too dense.
So, get a kitchen scale, to ensure that you always have a perfect amount of each ingredient.
8. Electric Stand Mixer
Kneading dough by hand is no doubt satisfying, but not everyone has the muscle strength to do so. Making homemade mayo, whipped cream, or meringue by hand would also take forever.
An electric stand mixer with various attachments resolves this issue. Plus, it requires a lot less time to knead the perfect dough and the smoothest cake batters.
9. Colanders and Sieves
Both are strainers, but colanders are mostly for discarding excess or unneeded liquids. Think pasta, noodles, and salad greens -- you'd need to separate or remove excess water from them.
Whereas sieves (or sifts) are for separating wanted from unwanted elements. They also characterize an ingredient's particle size distribution for easier, more effective mixing.
Either way, these two are crucial kitchen utensils that will let you avoid soggy, goopy messes. Sifting flours, sugars, and leavening agents also help to evenly spread them.
10. A Set of Hand Cooking Tools
You'd need spoons, flippers, tongs, and ladles to handle the food during and after cooking. For spoons, get at least the metal and the wooden kinds. You should also get at least one of each of the standard, rubber-ended, and BBQ tongs.
To make shopping for these cooking tools easier, consider getting them in a set. Many manufacturers offer multi-tool sets that already include all these basic cooking tools.
Whip Up Gastronomic Delights Now with these Essential Kitchen Tools
There you have it, your ultimate guide on the must-have kitchen tools that you should start using ASAP. With these, you're more than likely to whip up meals that will delight every taster's taste buds.
So, what are you waiting for? Equip your kitchen with these food-making gear now! The sooner you invest in these tools, the sooner you can create gastronomic delights.
Ready for more pro tips that’ll help make you a better chef than even Gordon Ramsey could be proud of? Then be sure to bookmark our site's For the Home Section so you can keep coming back for more guides like this!