Below are a few of my favorite or “most used” kitchen tools.
I use some of these either daily or at least several times a week. They might seem basic, but they are very useful!
Measuring Kitchen Tools
1. Kitchen Scale: By far, my favorite and most used kitchen tool! I use it several times throughout the day. Weighing ingredients, especially when baking, gives you accurate and consistent results. It doesn’t have to be expensive–this one was about $12 when I purchased it. Some cooks and bakers don’t measure and just “eyeball” ingredients. I am not one of those people! I’m all about precision, which actually helps when developing recipes.
2. Mini Calculator: I use this so often I had to buy a second one! I’m always adjusting amounts and measurements in recipes, but I’m also a busy mom with constant interruptions, so I can’t rely on my mental math skills. This ensures I don’t make major mistakes when doubling or halving a recipe, or when formulating a new one.
3. Instant Read Thermometer: I’m terrible at gauging when meat is properly cooked, especially chicken which should be about 165°F. A thermometer helps to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked. But I also use it to check the temperature of:
- Water before adding yeast. This ensures it’s warm enough to activate the yeast but not so hot it will kill it. Check the package of your yeast to see the right temp. I use Red Star Yeast, and though I prefer a temp ranging from about 109°-112°F, here’s what they recommend.
- Baked breads. Ideal temp when baked properly should be about 190°F. This prevents the bread from being over-baked and drying out. Check here for more info.
- Cheesecakes or pumpkin pie. The temperatures when done should be around 150°F or 170°-180°F respectively. You’ll know when your cheesecake or pumpkin pie is over-baked when it starts to crack, meaning the eggs are overcooked. Read here.
4. Silicone/Rubber Spatulas: I use these daily! I’m not one for waste, so I love using these spoons to scrape up every last bit of:
- batter from a bowl
- smoothies from a blender
- peanut or almond butter
- jam or mayo from hard-to-reach corners of a jar
- or use for spreading chocolate sauce on crepes and frosting on cakes
5. Silicone Baking Cups: Silicone is very flexible, and can withstand baking and freezing. In addition to baking with them, silicone cups are great for freezing liquids and purees, because once frozen, the food easily pops out.
- Small Cups (1/4 cup): Great for baking muffins, brownies, tarts, cheesecakes. Great for freezing lemon juice, heavy cream, coconut milk, or minced herbs.
- Large Cups (1/2 cup): Great for baking meat pies, fruit pies, or mini cakes. Great for freezing pasta sauces, curry sauces, or pureed fruits and vegetables.
Cutting Kitchen Tools
6. Microplane Grater/Zester: I use my grater or zester several times a week. It’s “great” for grating so many things:
7. Garlic Press: Garlic isn’t that hard to crush or mince, but this handy tool makes the job so much easier! Want to know how I always have “fresh” garlic on hand? I buy a huge bag of peeled garlic from Costco, and keep it in my freezer.
When I need some, I grab a handful of cloves and let them thaw for 1-2 minutes. Then I press away! When it’s time to clean the press, I make sure to rub my fingers along the stainless steel handles which helps get rid of the garlic smell!
8. Immersion/Handheld Blender: Sure a regular blender is great, but having an immersion blender helps when you only want to blend a small amount. Or if you want to blend something while it is still hot. Here’s what I use mine for:
- To make smooth soups or curries.
- To puree onions and tomatoes for sauces.
- To puree bananas and eggs for muffins and cookies.
- To puree fruits for desserts or ice cream.
9. Dough Scraper/Cutter: If you like to bake, this is a great tool! Here’s how I use it:
- To scrape up sticky dough from a cutting board or countertop. Doing this makes it easier to knead the dough without having to add more flour.
- To cut out biscuits or rolls.
- To divide pie, pastry, or bread doughs.
- To scrape ingredients into bowls, pots, or pans.
- To measure the length of bread or pastries by using the small ruler engraved on the scraper
10. Parchment Paper: Mainly used for lining sheets and pans for baking, did you know this versatile paper can be used in many other ways?
- When making homemade pizza, place the dough on parchment instead of directly on the pizza peel. This makes it easier to slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone and keeps the stone from getting stained.
- Make fish en papillote by placing some fish and tender veggies on parchment paper and sealing the edges, creating little pouches. Then bake!
- After cutting out parchment rounds for cakes, save the scraps and use when freezing desserts or lunch meats. Layer the scraps between ham or turkey so you can easily pull them apart when frozen. Or layer them between brownies and cookies so they don’t stick to each other.
- Finally, as long as it’s clean, parchment paper can be reused several times. When it is time to toss it, throw it in your compost heap. Very eco-friendly!