Beginner Cooking: 10 Kitchen Essentials Needed To Get The Job Done

If you’ve ever found yourself in a kitchen with no idea what the difference is between a whisk and tongs, then this is the perfect article for you. Today we’re talking about the most basic utensils you absolutely must have in order to be successful in the kitchen. Let’s get started!


1. Vegetable Peeler

How can you be expected to eat your veggie servings without a vegetable peeler in your kitchen? The vegetable peeler is particularly useful for root vegetables and tubers, which tend to have a thin layer of skin that can be removed prior to consumption. While peeling itself is easy, the act can be rather finicky.

2. Can Opener

Entire aisles of the grocery store are occupied by fruits, vegetables, and legumes packaged in sealed cans. If you choose to buy these items, you must own a can opener in order to cook them. Handheld openers can be purchased fairly inexpensively, or you can go super high tech with a electrical opener.

3. Heat-Resistant Spatula

Spatulas are great utensils to have on hand as they can be used for so many different things like mixing and scraping. The advantage of a heat resistant spatula is it can be used when cooking on the stovetop without worry of melting your utensil. Investing in heat resistant materials pays off, especially as your cooking skills advance.

4. Whisk

Whisks aren’t just for making whip cream. Much like spatulas, the whisk has multiple applications when it comes to cooking. It’s a utensil commonly used to mix ingredients, both wet and dry, so go after some eggs, homemade salad dressing, or pancake batter!

5. Steamer Basket

Primarily used to cook vegetables, a steamer basket is placed in a covered saucepan with a small amount of water at the bottom. Use of a steamer basket can be a great alternative to sautéing, roasting, or boiling in terms of nutrition as little to no fat is required for cooking. The gentle mode of heating also protects nutrient quality in the food.

6. Tongs

Tongs are useful both inside the kitchen and out! They come in handy when tossing salads or grilling outside as they provide a precise way of rotating, lifting, or turning food.

7. Timer

Likely any recipe you use will require you to bake, stir, or cool for a specified amount of time, thus a kitchen timer is absolutely necessary. Actually utilizing this utensil can prevent your dishes or desserts from overcooking or burning.

8. Measuring Cups/ Teaspoons

While culinary experts may be able to cook based on sight or smell, measuring cups and teaspoons really are crucial for those just learning to cook. Cooking is most definitely a science requiring specific ratios of various ingredients, making this utensil a kitchen essential.

9. Flipper/ Turner

Yet another utensil that functions in the kitchen as well as outside, a flipper/ turner can be used when cooking grilled meats. The flipper/ turner aids in placing food items onto hot surfaces in addition to turning them while cooking. You may also use this utensil to serve up main dishes or dessert as its sharp edge and flat surface is great for dividing portions.

10. Corkscrew/ Bottle Opener

The function of this utensil is pretty obvious. Most simply it may be used to access adult beverages without much other preparation necessary. But as your cooking skills advance you may attempt to incorporate some red or white wine into your recipes, in which case this utensil will come in handy.

What is your must-have kitchen essential?

Let us know in the comments below!

Photo credit: roseannadana

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Carly Sippel is a registered yoga teacher, certified life coach, and nutrition nut. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Dietetics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She turns her passion into practice, promoting healthy bodies in both her personal and professional life.