It might happen slowly at first: A new, delicious chicken breast recipe requires a proper roasting pan and carefully measured ingredients.
kitchen tools also calls for minced, diced, and julienned add-ins. (Come again?) Or it could happen all at once: Mom drops by for a surprise visit and the only things on hand are plastic cups and a jar of peanut butter.
Maybe it’s time to stop using cookbooks as coasters and instead turn to their intended purpose—which means new cooking supplies (and kitchen skills) are in order. Whether living and cooking solo for the first time or in need of a kitchen overhaul, we’ve picked the best (and most necessary) tools to wine, dine, and entertain like a pro.
Healthy Kitchen Essentials: Prep Work
1. Chef’s Knife One of the most versatile knives available, a chef’s knife allows you to chop, slice, mince, and more without switching tools. You’ll be like a kitchen Karate Kid! Tip: Look for a stainless steel variety to keep away rust.
Price range: $19.99-$99.99 Editors’ pick: Forschner by Victorinox Chef’s Knife, $39.95
2. Cutting Board The workhorse of every kitchen, there are few dinners where cutting and chopping isn’t involved—making the cutting board your new best friend. While plastic ones are inexpensive and easy to come by, wooden versions tend to be more sanitary since they lack grooves for germs to hang out in. They also help keep your knives in tip-top shape , dinnerware .
Price range: $3.99-$129.00 Editors’ pick: Kobi Michigan Maple Butcher Block Cutting Board, $44.99
3. Measuring Cups and Spoons Did Mary Poppins mean a teaspoon of sugar or a tablespoon? Either way, having measuring tools on hand is essential for following almost any recipe—or even just portioning out serving sizes. Who knew a cup of cereal was so small?!
Price range: $2.99-$39.99 Editors’ pick: Prepworks from Progressive International Ultimate 19-Piece Measuring Cup and Spoon Set, $13.37
4. Kitchen Shears This underrated tool will quickly become a favorite. Used for everything from chopping herbs and vegetables to slicing dried fruit and even meat, they make every kitchen task that much easier. Plus, who needs regular scissors when you have kitchen shears?
Price range: $2.99-$24.99 Editors’ pick: Crate and Barrel Kitchen Shears, $9.95
5. Colander Though it’s possible to drain pasta using a pot lid, the result isn’t always pretty—think pasta escaping and lids slipping. Instead, use a colander, which drains water like a pro. Bonus: Colanders make it super simple to wash fruits and veggies. Buh-bye soggy pasta; hello clean produce!
Price range: $0.99-$39.99 Editors’ pick: Cook Pro Stainless Steel Colander, $12.68
6. Can Opener There are few things worse than reaching for a can of pumpkin and realizing there’s no way to open it. (Or soup, coconut milk, beans, or anything else deliciously canned.) Though many goods have pop-tops these days, it’s always better to prepared.
Price range: $1.49-$29.99 Editors’ pick: Amco Houseworks Swing A Way Portable Can Opener, $14.68
7. Mixing Bowls Think mixing bowls are just for baking? Think again. Use them to marinate meat, dress veggies with sauce or seasoning, and make salad dressings and dips (give one of these a whirl!). Tip: Skip glass bowls that chip easily and opt for lightweight stainless steel versions.
Price range: $5.99-39.99 Editors’ pick: Pyrex Smart Essentials Mixing Bowl Set 8 piece, $23.99
8. Blender These master mixers are used to whip up smoothies, mixed drinks, soups, nut butters, sauces, and oh-so-much more. And they can do it all in a matter of seconds. How’s that for an all-in-one appliance?
Price range: $19.99-$409 Editors’ pick: Vitamix S30 Personal Blender
9. Grater The most common use of graters is shredding cheese (quesadilla, anyone?). But they’re also wonderful for cookware , zesting citrus fruit and shredding chocolate and vegetables like potatoes and zucchini. How else did you think hash browns came to be?
Price range: $0.99-$49.99 Editors’ pick: CHEFS 6-sided Stainless Steel Box Grater, $19.95
10. Whisk This funny-looking tool has many more uses than beating eggs and making whipped cream. It’s also great for mixing vinaigrettes, combining dry ingredients for baking, removing lumps from sauces and gravies, and standing in for a microphone during impromptu dance parties. (Trust us on that one.)
Price range: $0.99-$34.99 Editors’ pick: Baker's Secret Silicone Whisk, $6.49