If you want to be able to make quick healthy meals at home it’s important to have the right tools. Without these essential kitchen tools you’re simply not going to be able to cook quickly and some tasks may even be impossible without the right gadgets. Here’s a list of the basic cooking tools that will make it possible for you to cook quicker and healthier. Most of these items can be picked up in any super market and those you can’t find can be ordered online. These are all essential tools every kitchen should have especially if you want to be able to finish your meals quickly.
Electric kitchen tools
The majority of the items from this list can be purchased quite cheap. The only bigger investment is for electric kitchenware. Even those can be purchased in the cheaper range if you’re buying a lesser known brand. Without these kitchen items some tasks in the kitchen can become hard long work, which makes cooking no fun. A food processor, blender and kettle will make it possible to make quick healthy meals for your whole family and friends to enjoy.
This is a must if you want to make your cooking easy and quick. It will take over all the tedious tasks of dicing, slicing, chopping, shredding, kneading, mixing and will significantly speed up the time you need to prepare a meal. When choosing a food processor look to get one with a powerful motor that can chop even the hardest veggies.
A blender will help to liquidize food. Whereas a food processor chops solid to semi solid food products. A powerful blender is great for making shakes, smoothies, nut milk like e.g. almond milk, creamy soups and basically anything that needs to be pureed.
Why do you need both a blender and a stick blender? Often it’s easier, quicker and less messy if you puree your food directly in the same pot as you cooked it. The stick blender allows you to go to the food where it is cooked and prepared instead of putting everything in a blender, which can get messy. If you don’t have the money, you can use the classic blender for everything but this little appliance will make your life easier.
The kettle will minimize the time you need to cook noodles, pasta, soups – basically anything that needs to be cooked. Instead of waiting for the water to boil, simply add hot steaming water from the kettle and you’ve saved yourself valuable time.
An electronic scale will help you weigh exact portions of different foods. In some recipes it’s alright to add ingredients roughly by your own assessment, but sometimes it’s important to use the exact measures. Measuring can be the difference between a successful meal and a total catastrophe.
Get a timer to be reminded to check if your food is finished. You don’t want your food to get burned after all the effort you put into preparing it.
Essential kitchen tools for food preparation
For preparing meals you’ll need a set of good knives that are sharp and cut easily even through the toughest fruits and vegetables like pineapple or celery. If you don’t have really sharp knives you’ll start avoiding the fruits and vegetables that are hard to cut. Get a chef’s knife, paring knife for peeling and a bread knife.
Plastic chopping board
Get at least two chopping boards in different colors and use them for meat preparation. This way meat cutting will be hygienic without cross contamination. Get separate boards for red meat and chicken. Plastic boards are best cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher. Change them frequently as soon as they show lots of deep cuts , where bacteria can live in.
They are essential in every kitchen. Mixing bowls are used for washing, mixing, kneading, draining, making dips and sauces, marinating, … Get several of them in different sizes. Get plastic or even better lightweight stainless steel mixing bowls.
Measuring spoons and cups
Many recipes call for cups and spoons. To get them right every time and to make measuring quick without a scale, invest in a set of measuring spoons and cups. Get a set of spoons with tablespoon and teaspoon measures – a typical set of measures contains-1 tablespoon (15 ml), 1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml), 1 teaspoon (5 ml), 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml), 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) and 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml). Buy another set of cup measures ( 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/8 cup) as well. You can buy cheap plastic ones or stainless steal ones that will last you a lifetime.
For larger measures get a 4 cup measuring cup. It is especially handy for liquids that need to be measured.
Pestle & mortar
Fresh spices will give a fresh taste that can transform any meal. A pestle and mortar allow you to free tastes in herbs and seeds, mix their essential oils and get amazing flavors. You can use it for spices, marinates, pesto, dressings, flavored oil, … To get those mega flavors out of spices you need a heavy, robust pestle and mortar that won’t break under pounding and grinding. Here are tips on how to use this little tool.
A vegetable peeler will save you tons of time. Don’t get any of those complicated special peeler gadgets that make more of a mess in the kitchen than they really help. Buy a simple handheld vegetable peeler. Decide if you want the vertical or the horizontal one. The horizontal one can help you to cut slices of vegetables like zucchinis or eggplant in addition to peeling. The vertical one, on the other hand, is easier to hold while peeling since your holding it like a knife.
You can grate food with the food processor but sometimes you’ll need to grate food directly into a meal or need just a small amount of food grated and don’t want to wash the whole food processor because of a little bit of food. That’s when a handheld boxed grater gets into play.
You simply need a can opener for all those cans that still don’t have any opening mechanism.
For pastries and baking a rolling pin is a must. Get a simple long wooden rolling pin that will help you complete all tasks.
Skewers are great for making interesting quick meat and veggie sticks. They can be used for barbecuing or in a grill pan at home, even for roasting in the oven. Get simple, cheap longer wooden skewers.
Essential kitchen tools for healthy cooking
The best ones are cast iron grill pans because they retain heat at high temperatures much better than other materials. This will give you the typical grill marks you’re looking for from this pan. When buying look out for the pan to be seasoned and square shaped to get the biggest cooking surface.
You need several ovenproof frying pans about the size of 8,10 and 12 inch. Choose cast iron or stainless steel since there has been found evidence that other materials are toxic and contaminate food that is cooked in them.
Get two to three lidded pots about the size of 6, 8 and 10 inches. Choose stainless steel pots because stainless steel is inert and doesn’t react with food. Avoild enamel, aluminium or copper.
Get a big high-sided roasting tray. The size depends on your oven but 9×13 inches is a good size. Stainless steal or ceramic is a good choice of materials.
Get one large baking tray and two smaller ones. Put some parchment paper on them before putting food. That way you’ll have less to clean.
Use parchment paper to protect your trays from getting dirty. This way you don’t have to clean anything. Just through the paper away.
This is a real helper in the kitchen. It can be used during food preparation, for food storage and for cooking. Just put aluminium foil over roasting trays and pans if you don’t have a lid and it will keep the heat inside. You can also use it for making little pockets in which you put meat, fish and vegetables to be baked in the oven with all their juices left inside.
Steaming is a very healthy cooking method and can be done with a collapsible stainless steel steamer insert for your pots. The collapsible design makes it easy to fit into any of your pots and can be used while you’re making soup or cooking something else.
You need one high-sided pot for stocks, curries, soups, … You can put in large chunks of meat and vegetables in such a pot. Stainless steel is a good material
Essential extra kitchen tools
An oil mister is nothing else than a spray bottle with oil. This is an essential health tool to keep your fat intake low. You can’t overdose oil with an oil mister and it comes handy for coating your pan before frying or putting some oil into salads.
A set of sieves will make it possible for you to sieve flour, filter soups and stocks, sift any dry materials like cocoa or skim food. It’s simply something every kitchen needs.
Putting marinates on meat and vegetables with basting brushes is going to give mega flavor to your meals. Get the silicone ones because the classic pastry brushes are hard to clean when oil gets into them.
Garlic is a very healthy ingredient that can be chopped, sliced, crushed and even minced with a zester. To make this job easier, faster and less smelly for you get a garlic press. A quality garlic press is not expensive and will last you for years.
Tongs make turning meat and fish in the pan or on the grill an easy task without getting burned. A pair of stainless steel tongs will do the job just fine.
Turners are great for flipping food without making it fall apart. Choose a flexible turner that can resist high temperatures.
Wooden spoons are great for preparing food and stirring during cooking. Wood is a great material that won’t leek substances into your food and is easily maintained.
They are very handy when you need to drain food directly from the pot. As a kitchen basic, slotted spoons are also used for mixing, blending and serving food.
These spatulas will make it easy to mix food and scrape it off the edges of kitchen ware. Silicone spatulas are very flexible and will do the best job.
The potato masher can be used for a variety of tasks including making mashed potatoes and other vegetable mashes, guacamole, bean dips and more. Get a stainless steel masher with round wholes that prevent lumps.
Quickly and easily zest fruits including lemons, limes and oranges to release amazing flavors into your meals. A zester makes it possible to easily grate hard cheese, chocolate, coconut, ginger, onions and much more directly into meals while cooking.
A pair of scissors will make it easy to cut through packaging as well as through ingredients if needed. Get a pair of sharp strong kitchen scissors that can cut trough herbs as well as smaller bones.
Get a stainless steel whisk to quickly mix batter by hand.
Food storage containers
Purchase a set of storage containers to be able to store prepared and cooked food in the fridge. They will make your food last longer, so you’ll have less food to waste. Use inexpensive plastic storage containers with lids and change them from time to time. If you can spend more consider getting a few glass storage containers.
Plastic freezer bags can be used for different tasks in the kitchen. You can use them for storing, freezing, marinating , nut crushing, breading, seasoning…Get a bunch of self sealing plastic bags to use whenever you need them.
You’ll need glass bottles to store homemade nut milk, juices, flavored water, milk and yogurt shakes, … Get two bottles that can be stored in the fridge.
Get a large sized cooling rack that can accommodate lots of food.
Get a mill for spices that can be crushed like pepper, curry, salt, cumin. Freshly milled spices have a much stronger flavor that gives a rich note to cooked meals.
Although you can squeeze lemons, limes and oranges with your hands a lemon juicer will help you get rid of the tedious seeds. Get a plastic or even better a glass citrus juicer to avoid damage from citric acid.
The items from the above list can all be used for multiple purposes in the kitchen and are essential if you want to save time while cooking. As you all know there are still many other kitchen gadgets out there. Tools that are not essential but are nice to have in your healthy kitchen include:
Additional nice to have kitchen tools
You can clean a pineapple with a knife but it is a tedious task that can take quite a bit of time. A pineapple slicercan do this job in seconds instead of you. The downside is that you have to buy pineapples that will fit the pineapple corer in width or you’ll end up with a lot of unused pineapple.
Apple slicer/ divider
You can slice apple and pears with a knife but an apple slicer will do it even faster.
A stir fry is best when it’s done in a wok. The deep sides and shape are also ideal for meals that need to be prepared in their own juices.
Ice cream molds
These are very handy when you want to make dessert from leftover fruit. Just mix up some yogurt and fruit and freeze in ice cream pop molds.
All the meals made in a slow cooker can be made in pots and casseroles. A slow cooker is convenient if you want to have a prepared warm meal waiting for you when you come home and don’t want to cook.
It is used to be sure if your meat has reached the right temperature to be safe to eat. No need to squeeze all the juices out of the meat to see if it’s ready, just get a meat thermometer.
Juicers are a bit annoying to clean and maintain but do a great job of making fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
A salad spinner can make your greens last much longer in the fridge. It allows you to wash and prepare leafy green vegetables in advance and have them ready whenever you need them. Arugula, spinach, frisee, endive, lettuce, romaine, cabbage, broad-leafed herbs, and cress are some of the vegetables that can be dried in a simple salad spinner.
The above listed kitchen tools will make it possible for you to cook quick, healthy meals with no fuss. Which kitchen tool is essential for you and saves you the most time while cooking?
My First Ever Digital Kitchen Scale, Vela Blender red, Stickblender, Kettles, Pyrex Cookie Sheet, Pyrex 12-Cup Muffin Pan, Nested Pyrex Bowls, Measuring spoons, 2-Cup-Measuring-Cup, Cutting Board, Epicurean Recycled Plastic Cutting Board, Stelton knives, Kyocera Ceramic Peelers, Box grater, Garlic press, Spatulas, Fine Grater, Storage container, Gallon Ziploc box” by JamieS93, Fletchers Mill, Meat Thermometer, SYSTEM DESIGN: Reinhold Weiss, image, Slow CookerMeat Thermometer, SYSTEM DESIGN: Reinhold Weiss, image, Slow Cooker, Food processor © Philips;