Updated: Oct 25
A starter-kit of kitchen tools for newbie cooks with recommendations!
Feel free to download my Killer Free Guide or read the post below!
R.I.P. to the dull knives you’ve been using in your periodic cooking endeavors. You need two knives for cooking that are the workhorses of the kitchen, a solid Chef Knife, and a Paring knife. Struggling with a dull poorly constructed knife makes cooking less enjoyable and harder than it needs to be. A dull knife requires you to use more force increasing the possibility, and probability, of slicing your fingers instead of the onions. You’ll be crying for a different reason if you’re not careful. I speak from experience.
2. Parchment Paper
Kings and Queens, you’ll be thanking me once you learn how useful this stuff is. I love cooking and hate doing dishes. Anytime I roast anything in the oven on a baking sheet, I put parchment paper down first. It makes for much easier cleanup. Additional uses include lining cake pans, covering countertops, rolling dough on, and using it as a lid to counter liquid evaporation when braising meats. It's called cartouche and I just learned it!
3. Cookware Set
When putting this list together I tried to be cognizant of price points but, in this case, you are going to have to spend some money. It will be well worth it though. I spent many years kicking the can down the road and not investing in my own cookware. One day I woke up, felt rich, and sprung for this Cuisinart set. I view this set as an intro to cookware. These will be excellent for a period but depending on the type of cooking you enjoy doing and how many people you typically cook for, you’ll probably end up buying individual pieces in addition to this set. This set will get you familiar with the different types of cookware, and what they are best used for. When you go to purchase individual pieces, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.
4. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Stainless steel mixing bowls. Rule number 1 of my kitchen, we do not use glass mixing bowls. They are too heavy to hold with one hand and mix, scrape, or pour with the other hand. There will be a time and place to add glass mixing bowls to your arsenal, that time is not now though. Additionally, the less breakable glass around the kitchen the better, for health and safety reasons. As with all items on this list, the bowls will be very versatile. Just don't try to microwave them.
5. Cutting Boards
You'll need two types of boards, a wooden board and a rubber one. I prefer to use rubber cutting boards for raw meat and fish, and wood cutting board for everything else. Wooden cutting boards absorb and retain food odors. If you slice raw onion on a wooden board, clean it, dry it, and then slice a mango in the same spot, you're going to have mango slices with a hint of onion. Not the ideal flavor combo. I'm far less concerned about cross-contamination on rubber cutting boards than wooden ones.
Yes, there is a difference between liquid measurements and dry measurements. Therefore, you'll need this liquid measuring cup and these stainless steel measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients. Ingredients such as flour, vegetables, berries, and nuts should be measured in the dry ingredient measuring cups. While liquids such as oil, yogurt, water, broth, etc... should be measured in liquid measuring cups. If you try to shortcut this, it will matter, especially when baking.
It absolutely blows my mind that people do not have thermometers in their kitchens. "Hey Randall, how long should I cook the chicken for?" "Until it's 165 degrees." (friend stares blankly because they have no thermometer to tell the temperature) The more you cook, the better you'll get at figuring out how long it takes to cook something without a thermometer handy. It's like developing a sixth sense. Until then stick with this basic instant-read thermometer.
You'll need 6 basic utensils starting out. Save the fish spatula and citrus squeezer for later. You will need a serrated peeler (serrated is the best multipurpose peeler), tongs, whisk (in a pinch, use a fork), wooden spoon(s) (more economical to buy the set), heat resistant spatula (not all kitchen utensils are heat resistant), and an egg flipper (I just call it a spatula). Quality is better than quantity when it comes to kitchen equipment. I'd recommend spending more money on one quality heat-resistant spatula, than a bucket full of non-heat-resistant spatulas.
A good starter dish for every new cook to leaner is a basic pasta dish. You can start by dumping a box of pasta in boiling water, warming a jar of sauce, and calling it a day. Then as your skills improve you can sauté veggies and maybe brown some meat for the sauce as well to elevate the dish. You'll be using a colander to drain your pasta. You'll also be using this to wash vegetables, drain excess fat off meats, draining canned food, you can even use this to steam vegetables with some ingenuity.
10. Baking Sheet
As I created this list, I had two main criteria, necessity, and versatility. All items on the list make the cut, but none are more versatile than a simple baking sheet. You’ll be using this to roast meats, and vegetables, bake cookies, pastries, and re-heating leftovers. Pro-tip, start cooking your bacon in the oven and start doing it on this wire rack. Cooking it on the wire rack, promotes airflow, and even cooking for crispy delicious bacon without the stovetop splatters.
There you have it! There you have it, your 10 essential kitchen tools for newbies! Have some fun with what you buy! You’re also cultivating your kitchen aesthetic, just like cooking it’s a way to express yourself. Any questions about getting going? Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!