If you’ve ever finished a Top Chef episode and thought, “I could do that,” this list is for you. To master the fundamental cooking techniques, you need to have all the essentials at your fingertips. While we can’t guarantee Bravo stardom, the following need-to-have kitchen tools just might elevate your chef status in the house.
1. Kuhn Rikon Colori Paring Knife ($10): A fave among food bloggers and food industry professionals, this knife is a steal for the price. It’s easy to clean, comes with a cover that stays in place, and the blade remains sharp for years.
2. Target x Brit + Co Wood Burned Cutting Board ($25): Every chef needs a cutting board, but why buy an ordinary one when you can put your creative stamp on it? Not to get all braggy or anything, but the cutting board in the Brit + Co collection for Target is personalized AND a fun DIY.
3. Williams Sonoma Stainless-Steel Prep Bowls With Lids ($40 / set of four): The secret to cooking like a top chef is to have all your ingredients prepped and waiting *before* you begin cooking. With these nifty little bowls at the ready, you can set up your mis en place like a pro.
4. Sur La Table Flex-Core Silicone Spatula Spoon With Wood Handle ($10): You’ll find yourself reaching for these spatulas with the flexible heads time and again. They’re essential for everything from scraping mixing bowls to stirring sauces to plating Insta-worthy presentations.
5. Microplane Rasp Grater ($15): Every cook needs a microplane on hand for zesting citrus fruits and grating things like garlic, ginger, and hard cheeses. This is the one the pros prefer, because of the razor sharp teeth and the comfortable grip.
6. Sur La Table Stainless Steel Balloon Whisk ($8): If you’ve been *getting by* whipping things up with a fork, it’s time to up your game. A good whisk aerates as you stir, making it an essential tool for whipping up egg whites and omelettes, batters and meringues, and cream sauces and gravy.
7. Oxo Softworks Citrus Squeezer ($16): Cooking with *fresh* citrus juices instead of store-bought bottled brands is what separates the true chef from the amateurs. This citrus juicer has a padded, contoured handle that fits your hand like a glove so you can squeeze out every zesty drop.
8. T-Fal Silicone Basting Brush ($5): A must-have utensil for oiling grilled veggies, basting meats, and applying sauces to pizza crusts and glazes to pastries, a basting brush like this one can be your BFF in the kitchen. Always look for ones with silicone bristles, because they’re heat-resistant and dishwasher safe.
9. Sur La Table Silicone-Tipped Stainless Steel Locking Tongs ($10): Tongs are great when you’re tossing salads, flipping steaks, and lifting foods from boiling water. The silicone ends are great for gripping — and like all good eye-candy, they come in a rainbow of colors to coordinate with your kitchen decor.
10. Reston Lloyd Enamel/Steel Colander ($19): You need at least one *standing* colander to place in the sink when it takes both hands to lift and drain a pot. This cheerful yellow one is both practical and pretty.
11. Sur La Table Stainless Steel Tools With Caddy ($110, set of seven): Spoons, ladles, spatulas, and flippers are so essential when you’re moving food around, and it’s almost always cheaper to purchase in sets. This set is on sale right now for $40, making each piece less than $6 each — and that’s a real bargain.
12. KitchenAid Mini Food Processor ($40): Everyone HEARTS the big free-standing mixers, and they certainly have their place. But you’ll find yourself reaching time and again for the lightweight mini-chop that makes clean-up a breeze.
13. Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender ($35): Immersion blenders are great for mashing vegetables and pureeing hot soups right in the pot. It’s a must-have gadget for Paleo, Whole30, and clean-eaters who want to make your own mayo in one minute or less.
14. Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker ($100): On a quest for a well-stocked kitchen, you’ll need a slow cooker or crock pot and a pressure cooker — here’s the dif. You may also find yourself wanting a rice cooker and a yogurt maker. Or start smart with the Instant Pot, which is all these things in one.
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