Kitchen Tools and Equipment for The Beginner Cook
Watch any late night TV and you will quickly see that there are tons of kitchen gadgets available. From pasta pots to slicer/dicers, this constant search for the ideal kitchen tool has been part of our culture and the source of amusement for years.
The fact is that tooling up your kitchen can be as easy or as complicated as you desire.
But what do you really need to get started?
For the beginner cook we like simple, versatile tools that are the staple of any kitchen. Getting started as a new cook can be a lot of fun with just a few pieces of the right equipment.
Here is our Kitchen Tools & Equipment Recommendations for the Beginner Cook:
Knives are the backbone of any kitchen and they are used to chop, cut and prepare food for cooking. Get some good ones, they will last longer and perform much better. We recommend high carbon stainless steel knives. For your first set of knives, please consider buying quality knifes. Read more about why you need quality knives here.
- A good Chef Knife – 8 or 10″
- A serrated knife
- (2) paring knifes – 3 or 4 “
Blenders are useful for making creamed soups and sauces. They are easy to clean because you can pop them right in the dish washer without a problem. You can even make delicious milk shakes in your blender!
Casserole Dish –
Typically a good glass dish that goes from the oven to the table. The 9×13-inch rectangular casserole dish is the most commonly used dish in casserole type cooking. You should be able to buy a nice glass dish for around $15.00 and it will last forever. The 9 x 3 inch casserole holds 3 quarts. The next size available would be the 9 x 9 and the 8 x 8″.
What better way is there to drain pasta? We use ours to clean all of our vegetables as well. Go for a sturdy plastic one. They last longer and are, in our opinion, easier to clean.
This is a must have to make healthy and delicious dinner. Start dinner in the morning, and you come home to a healthy home-cooked meal. The crockpots today are amazing and they do much of the thinking for us. Buy a decent programmable crockpot and you will fall in love with dinner.
Cutting Boards –
Now that you have the knives, make sure you have a good cutting board available. We have used both the traditional wooden board as well as the synthetic composition models. Both have their advantages and that is why we have both. The wooden board is great for slicing bread and making sandwiches. The synthetic is used for chopping onions and raw meats, because it cleans up better.
Frying Pan –
A good quality frying pan to sear your meat quickly, make sunny side up eggs, cook sausage patties, or a batch of fried chicken.
We have the four-sided version that offers different degrees of “grate”. We also suggest looking for one that is large enough that you won’t be barking your knuckles on it. Those little ones are a little more difficult to control.
Hand-Held Electric Mixer –
A hand-held electric mixer comes in handy with all those Thanksgiving mashed potatoes!
Ice Cream Scoop –
All kitchens need an ice cream scoop to make perfect meatballs.
Immersion Blender –
Every beginner kitchen needs an immersion blender. This is something that we use often so purchase a good one and you will be glad you did. Everything from the best mashed potatoes, creamed soups, and even delicious homemade mayonnaise.
Kitchen Timer –
A kitchen timer is a must for the beginner cook. It’s so easy to lose track of the time when you are just starting off to cook.
Kitchen Towels and Dish Rags –
This item is often left off the list of most “beginners kitchen equipment” lists due to it’s not really equipment. However, these are very important items for the beginner cook to have. Pick out ones that you like and feel really good for your hands and fingers. Once again, invest in a few quality items and you will have them a very long time.
Steamer Basket –
No kitchen should be without a nice metal steamer basket. A steamer basket is simple to use and even easier to clean. Steaming vegetables (and potatoes!) is one of the healthiest way to eat our veggies. When you are done just rinse or toss in the dish washer.
Measuring tools –
Make sure that you have accurate, easy to read measuring cups and measuring spoons. Always have a few sets so you are not continuously washing while cooking. We like the Pyrex glass measuring cups. They are not only easy to read, but you can use them in the microwave when need be.
We also have the plastic measuring cups. These are a little more difficult to read, but this drawback can be remedied by running a black magic marker over the most common measurements (3/4 cup, ½ cup). Have plenty of measuring spoons on hand also. Toss one set in the dishwasher and you will always have a spare set to work with.
Meat Tenderizer –
You and definitely use a heavy can to tenderize meats, but at some point you will want to buy a quality meat tenderizer for your kitchen. Buy a nice heavy metal one that you can just toss in the dish washer.
Mixing Bowls –
Get yourself some good heavy ones and in various sizes. We think you should have at least four to work with. That way when you are in the heat of making your dinners you won’t have to stop to clean a bowl to finish your job.
Mixing Spoons –
Yes the old fashion wooden spoons are the best. They last forever and because they are wooden they are neutral with acidic foods. Another advantage is that the old wooden spoon makes a great pointer when you are lecturing your children! My mother perfected this technique!
Non-Electric Can Opener –
A non-electric can opener that you can grab in a hurry and then throw in the dishwasher when you’re done. These are also nice if you need to pack one to go at the last minute.
Sharp Paring Knife –
This is something you just can’t live without and you will find yourself always reaching for you favorite paring knife. Buy one that fits nicely in your hand and feels comfortable. Pairing knife should be small with a small handle that fits perfectly in your hand.
Potato Peeler –
A quality potato peeler is a must-have for any kitchen. Don’t skimp in this area and you will be glad you didn’t when you are peeling that bushel of potatoes on thanksgiving. A good potato peeler is also handy for peeling an array of vegetables. A potato peeler can make ribbons from vegetables and also be used to spiral noodles.
Pots and Pans –
A good quality 12″ skillet with a lid. 1,2,4, and 8 quart saucepan with lids. A 6″ non-stick skillet, a 9 x 5 loaf pan, and two metal cookie sheets. One perfect soup pot.Soup pots are used often for making homemade soup and it’s much easier to make if you have the correct pot.
Get a couple of these, especially if you are cooking on many different surfaces. Use a plastic one on your non-stick, Teflon surfaces in order to protect them. Get a sturdy metal one; large enough to flip pancakes for your metal skillets and make sure you have a special one available for the outdoor grill.
A definite workhorse in any kitchen. Tongs can be used to serve pasta, mix salads, grab corn on the cob or flip burgers on the grill. Get a metal variety with the locking feature. They are easier to store and will last a long, long time. You should only have to buy a couple of these in a lifetime.
Nothing makes you feel more like a pro than the use of a whisk! Get one that is comfortable for you and use it to whip-up everything from eggs to exotic sauces. Get them in different sizes and different colors! We still prefer the metal whisk, but pick what’s best for you.