Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top 15 Kitchen Tool Favorites

So...since we both spend approximately a third of our life in the kitchen, we thought maybe it'd be fun to do a kitchen roundup, and blog about our favorite kitchen tools, both small and large. It's certainly the case that cooking from scratch can take up a goodly portion of a life, and while neither of us has a problem with that, it's indisputable that having the right tools can really make all the difference. Fortunately, a good many of the "right tools" are both small and affordable, although a few big dollar ones can really be pretty great too. They're what all those anniversaries and birthdays are for! Besides, if the dear hubby can insist that he needs the right tools for doing things out in the shop...that absolutely applies to having the right tools to make the food that fills his stomach! Or anybody else's, for that matter.  :-)

Top 10 [Small] Kitchen Tools

1. Stainless steel ball whisk. This tool is fabulous. The open end makes it way easier to clean, and the flat plane on the bottom makes it much easier to reach into the corners of saucepans. It also comes with silicon balls, for folks with non-stick pans.

2. Egg timer. I don't know if anyone else gets frustrated at trying to get timing for hard boiled eggs right, but I do. This little gem has totally fixed that problem for me. It turns purple at the rate that an egg cooks, so you just pull the eggs out when it reaches purple at the level of cooked that you prefer (soft, medium, hard).

3. Rocking garlic press. I have bought press after press, even spending over $30 on the last one, figuring that maybe more money meant more quality and I'd like it more. Nope. I finally came across this one on Amazon and ordered it on the spot- it's perfect. It cleans out super easily, which was always my problem with more traditional presses; even the ones with a little tool to press out the schmutz didn't work super well. This does. Bonus: it comes in a variety of colors.
4. And in the same vein, a garlic peeler! This little thing works incredibly easily, and between this and the rocking garlic press, I use fresh garlic a lot more than I used to-- which is good, since I grow it. Who'da thunk a rubber manicotti could be so useful?

 5. These little suckers come in a variety of colors, shapes, and materials, but this is the one I own and like best. I have a plastic one too, but it's hard to beat stainless steel in most tools, either for looks or functionality. You can use it for a lot of stuff, but my favorite use for it is for cleaning up after making any kind of dough on the counter...I don't exaggerate when I say that having this little gadget makes clean up so much easier that I'm much more willing to make biscuits or pie crusts.

Kara: I've got a collection of similar ones as well...we used them when I worked at a grocery store bakery where we used them for smoothing out frosting on cakes (ever try doing that with just a spatula? It's tough), scraping frosting off counters, etc. When I knew I would be leaving there shortly, I ordered my own from our supplier, and haven't regretted it since. Even the plastic ones are good for quite a bit!

 6. Both of us have these and we're huge fans. They're a little pricey, and we'll admit we choked when we bought them, but they're awesome. They come with more than the standard 4 or 5 measurements: 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, and 1. If you cook from scratch much, having all of these options available will be invaluable; the one you need might be in the dishwasher, but there's lots of other ones left to choose from.

Kara: I love the 2/3 and 3/4 options, just because it bugged me to have to use two cups (or worse, the same one twice) to make one measurement. I'm the worst kind of lazy. Another huge bonus was that they don't tend to be nearly as flimsy as the plastic ones I used before. Talk about a pain in the tookus.

 7. Speaking of measuring, here are the coordinating measuring spoons that we got, as well. They have a ton of measurements on them, just like the cups: 1/8 t., 1/4 t., 1/2 t., 3/4 t., 1 t., and 1 T. Their narrow rectangular shape is perfect for reaching into spice containers from Tupperware and various other sources.

 8. Salad shooter. I have yet to ever use this thing for making a salad, but I use it for just about everything else. Kara uses her KitchenAid for shredding cheese, but I use this sucker. I also use it for shredding frozen butter to make biscuits. And it's great for slicing potatoes thin for making scalloped potatoes or potato chips. It earns its keep and pays itself off super quickly.

9. Rubbermaid Easy-Find Lid Food Storage set. Kara uses this set and Kirstyn uses the glass Gladware series. Stackable, easy to find lids, uniform food storage...it all adds up to much less frustration in the kitchen when all the food storage stacks together and fits well in the fridge- as well as the over-crowded cupboards.


10. Spatulas. These come in a variety of shapes, strengths, and materials, but they're crucial. I'm always shocked reading an older book when they're cleaning out a bowl with a wooden spoon- talk about frustrating and wasted food! Also check out the stiff Vitamix spatulas that are a constant tool in my repertoire, and I have three of them since one is always in the dishwasher. They're stiff, but bendy, so I push them down the side and under things to loosen them from pans, or they can serve double purpose as a stiff stirrer and rubber scraper...pretty much fabulous.

Top 5 [Large] Kitchen Tools

1. This pressure canner is simple, cheap, and works great. It's also huge, so you can double stack pints in it and save on time. Bonus: it's tall enough to use as a water bath canner and save on storage space. It can also double as a stockpot, so you can make bone broth in it, unless you prefer to use a crockpot, in which case I recommend...

 2. ...this roaster. It's big and you can roast a turkey in it (I know this from experience) or you can make a three-chicken batch of bone broth.

 3. Everybody loves their mixer, whether it's a Bosch or a KitchenAid, but we both have a KitchenAid and refuse to give them up. I (Kirstyn) use mine primarily for bread products, and Kara uses hers for more of a variety of things. The attachments that you can buy with it are pretty stellar too--that's what Kara uses for shredding cheese. They also sell parts that slice things like (but not limited to) carrots or cucumbers, which makes salads or soups or any number of things a whole lot easier. They come in a million colors, and I'd recommend getting the 6 or 7 quart bowl...I don't even have kids yet and I can't figure out how people make do with the smaller ones.

 4. Not every kitchen needs a dehydrator, but they're fun and can give you a lot more options if you're trying to make more and more things from scratch. If your household hunts, you can make jerky (we did and it went over very well). If you follow Nourishing Traditions guidelines, you'll use it for dehydrating sprouted nuts and grains. If you're a mom trying to come up with healthy alternatives to storebought snacks, you'll make fruit leather and dried fruit. If you're an avid gardener you might use it to dehydrate produce for winter storage, whether in the form of tomatoes or minced onion. There's a world of options. I chose and love this particular model for a couple reasons. It's pricier than your most basic model, but it also has more options that make it more versatile, such as a temperature choice and a timer. My favorite feature is its shape, which makes it much more store-able than a round one, which tends to be the norm. The other popular square dehydrator on the market is quite a bit more expensive.

 5. Dutch oven. Both of us have one of these, and we're quite fond of them. I (Kirstyn) use mine for a variety of things, from searing roasts to sauteing veggies before making soup. You can bake bread in them, but you can do a pot roast just as easily. They're heavy duty and great for just about anything. Kara loves hers for chili, as you can make a huge batch and not worry about getting other dishes dirty as you're browning hamburger and whatnot. As we're coming into chili weather, hers is going to be seeing a lot more use soon!

If you're interested in seeing other kitchen favorites (wonderful in their place, but not quite as high-use as the above items), please visit our Amazon store. We make a small commission off any purchases you make and it helps to balance the time that goes into this blog- which is really a lot more than we expected it to be.  :-D

Meanwhile, what are your favorite kitchen tools? We're always open (perhaps too much so) to new toys for the kitchen.  :-D

This post is hosted by the Unprocessed Fridays blog hop of Girl Meets Nourishment. Each of the above product links are affiliate links. 


  1. I can see them from my phone and the computer...??

  2. I cant see any pics from my computer...

  3. I have measuring cups and spoons like these and I LOVE them. I like the shape of the measuring spoons and how they fit into most spice jars/lids. And my kitchen aid mixer, can't say enough good about it! Couldn't do without it!