Check Out These 20 Must-Have Tools for Your Kitchen

must-have kitchen toolsCooking is a true pleasure when you have the right equipment.

Here is our top-20 list of kitchen essentials that make cooking more accurate, efficient, and safe.

meat thermometer–A digital thermometer measures the internal temperature of your meat/poultry and eliminates guesswork. Choose instant-read thermometers that have a higher-end range of at least 200°F. Choosing a Thermometer

kitchen knives–Quality knives are a must in the kitchen. Select a 6, 8, or 10-inch chef’s knife for slicing/chopping meat and vegetables, a 3 to 4-inch paring knife for more precise peeling/cutting, and a serrated knife for slicing bread and tomatoes. High-carbon stainless-steel will not stain or rust.

cutting boards–The right cutting board will protect the blades of your knives and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Be sure to have at least two cutting boards, one for raw meat and one for fruits and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.

peeler–Select a vegetable peeler with a wide, durable stainless-steel blade and comfortable handle. Choices include a Y-peeler and swivel peeler. An eyer quickly removes spots and bruises from produce. How Do I Choose the Best Vegetable Peeler?

grater–Grate carrots, lemons, cheese, and so much more. Choose one with multiple grating surfaces (fine, medium, coarse) and a slicing surface. Stainless steel is durable, easy to care for, and dishwasher-safe. The Best Graters and How to Use Them

immersion blender–Use this gadget to emulsify vinaigrettes, sauces, and purees. This handheld devices lets you work right in the prep bowl or cooking pot. Look for one with a push-button control for continuous or pulsed action. The Immersion Blender’s Many Uses in the Kitchen

spatulas–Scrape, scoop, stir, and mix. Rubber spatulas should be long enough to reach deep into bowls and cans and have a sturdy but pliable head. Thin, metal spatulas are necessary for scraping and sliding under food. Sizes and shapes vary widely. The Best Spatula

pots and pans–Start with the basics: 2 and 4-quart saucepans, 8-10-inch skillet, 12-14-inch skillet, and a sauté pan. Choose ones that are heavy enough to sit comfortably balanced on the burner of your stove. Copper and aluminum are both excellent heat conductors. Since they react with many foods, they should be lined with a nonreactive metal, such as tin or stainless steel. Essential Pots and Pans in the Kitchen

cast iron skillet–A cast-iron skillet and Dutch oven will last a lifetime if cared for properly. They efficiently retain heat and can be used either on the stovetop or in the oven to brown and braise meats, make stews, and roast chickens. Lodge Cast Iron Use and Care and Love Your Pan: What to Cook (and What Not to) in a Cast Iron

colander–This simple item is indispensable for draining pastas and rinsing vegetables and fruits. Colanders and Strainers Buying Guide

tongs–Whether you are lifting corn out of boiling water, flipping steaks, or turning bacon, you need a pair of tongs. Choose stainless steel tongs approximately 12 inches long with a locking mechanism for easy storage. Kitchen Tongs

mixing bowls–Look for a set of bowls with high sides that won’t slip, stain, or warp. Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and plastic are all good choices. Mixing Bowls Review

salad spinner–Washing leafy greens is fast and easy with a spinner. Rounded, sloping sides will allow the water to drain to the bottom, and a no-skid base will keep the basket from slipping. The base can often be used as a serving or storage bowl. Salad Spinners

garlic press–This tool is simple and fast: Unpeeled cloves go into the press and fresh minced garlic comes out. Do you really need a garlic press?

whisk–Blend and whip your dressings, batters, and cream. Silicone-coated wire whisks and metal whisks are durable and have more whipping power. Types of Whisks and Their Uses

measuring cups–Select plastic or stainless steel for dry ingredients and glass for liquids. The Best Measuring Cups

rolling pin–Use to roll pie crust and cookie dough into a thin, flat, and uniform thickness. Rolling Pin Reviews

salt and pepper mills/grinders–Choose ones that are comfortable and easy to use. The Best Salt and Pepper Mills for 2015

meat tenderizerPound meat to break up connective tissue (which tenderizes) and to flatten to a uniform thickness (which makes it easier to cook). How Do Meat Tenderizers Work?

oven mitts–Protect your hands, wrists, and arms with thick oven mitts or hot pads. Options include quilted cloth, neoprene, and silicone. Different Types of Oven Mitts

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