8 Must-Have Kitchen Items
These are the must-have kitchen items that I think are essential for every home cook. It’s a follow-up to my 10 Essential Kitchen Tools list I wrote three years ago. This post contains affiliate links that help support my blog, but please be assured that these are all items I personally have and use in my kitchen on a daily basis.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #1:
Spring-loaded kitchen tongs are an essential tool for a number of cooking tasks. From flipping steaks to tossing salads to carefully placing items into a hot stew, tongs are one of the items I use most when I cook. I prefer metal tongs without silicone tips because I find them to be sturdier. I like two sizes because sometimes its nice to have your hands a bit further from the heat.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #2:
Silicone Baking Mats
I don’t do a lot of baking, but I do a lot of roasting on my rimmed baking sheets and these silicone baking mats are great for easy clean-up. Truth be told, I didn’t have them for years, because I told myself I didn’t mind scrubbing my rimmed metal baking sheets every time I used them (WHY?!). But once I was gifted these, I never looked back. They are totally non-stick, made from a safe non-reactive material, and have held up great. No more scrubbing the pans! Just scrape leftover food bits off these silicone baking mats and wash with soap and water to clean. Easy peasy!
Must-Have Kitchen Item #3:
While the obvious use for a cooking thermometer is checking the temperature of meats, I use it for so much more. Before owning a Thermapen, I struggled along with a $15 thermometer I picked up at the grocery store which only worked about half the time. With this thermometer, there’s no more guessing if the chicken is done. My finished dishes improved dramatically when I finally invested and I haven’t looked back. Tip: They have great holiday deals so get on their newsletter list ASAP.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #4:
10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
My favorite thing about my cast iron skillet is that it goes from stove top to oven effortlessly. Not to mention that it’s naturally non-stick too! If you already have other similar sized pans, the value in the cast-iron skillet is its potentially larger size. Get a 10 or 12-inch and you’ll be set.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #5:
Like the Thermapen, a fish spatula is good for so much more than just fish. With a slightly curved design and beveled edge great for gently lifting fish out of a pan or off a hot grill, it’s also a terrific scraping tool. Thing of it as the best spatula you’ll ever own. I love its flexibility too.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #6:
Glass Storage Containers
I use glass storage containers for my leftovers. I prefer them because it reduces my family’s exposure to the chemicals that leach out of plastic into food. Glass is also extremely durable (besides the occasionally dropping), and holds up great in the dishwasher. I prefer the flatter non-circular types pictured for cooking large batches of food to have during the week, but also have a set that has a variety of shapes and sizes with snapping lids.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #7:
Oh classic microplane, how I love thee. I use it for so much, but mainly for garlic, citrus zest, and ginger. For some recipes like this one, it means I don’t have to get out a cutting board, dinner is prepared in one bowl, and clean-up is a snap. Pro-tip: wash your microplane right after using it so small bits don’t dry and get stuck on.
Must-Have Kitchen Item #8:
Ready-Made Spice Blends
This is an admittedly shameless plug for my spice blend business, but I created these spice blends because it’s what I wish I’d had at home when I was cooking! Ready-made spice blends are a great way to bring new flavors in a quick and easy way to your regular weeknight dishes. Look for blends without added salt and sugar (like those from Spice Club), so you can add the amount you wish.
If you’re looking for other gift ideas for the kitchen, be sure to check out my 10 Essential Kitchen Tools post for more ideas.