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Saturday, December 7, 2019
The Culinary Cook Articles Ultimate 90+ Essential Kitchen Tools List: Comprehensive Guide

Ultimate 90+ Essential Kitchen Tools List: Comprehensive Guide

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The Definitive Essential Kitchen Tools List

There are rarely absolutes when we are talking about the culinary arts. But there are two that have held true. A cook is only as good as the ingredients they use, and a cook is only as good as the tools they use. Ensuring you have the entire essential kitchen tools is an important step in any cooks life.
 
We are going to explore many of these tools and discuss their uses. If this is your first time visiting us at The Culinary Cook, first of all, welcome 🙂 we are glad to have you here. Secondly, our mission is to bring quality content to our readers. I have over 20 years of experience working in kitchens and resorts. As a result, you will see some professional equipment and tools recommended. Most of the time, you can opt for what I would call the “consumer version”, which works completely fine. But if you are anything like me, and you prefer the top-notch commercial grade or high-end consumer products, they are listed here.
 
A reminder that we use affiliate links for our products listed. Using the links does not cost you anything and the proceeds go towards supporting more content.

Restauranteur or Amateur

I have helped open up several restaurants and set up kitchen tools and kitchen equipment. It does not matter if you are a restauranteur or if you are a home cook. If you are looking to pick up extra tools to help bolster your set up, all these listed products are essential kitchen tools.
 
Some good rules of thumb before we get started with our essential kitchen tools list. If you are in a professional cooking setting, do your best not to cut too many corners. There are some things you can’t opt out of such as stand mixers, saute pans, chef knives, etc.
 
If you are a chef at home, keep in mind that top quality products last a lifetime. Buy it once.

Set Standards for Your Essential Kitchen Tools and Equipment

Well-designed tools and equipment have characteristics that you want to look for that aid in overall efficiency. These are some great guidelines to follow when selecting your kitchen tools and equipment.

  1. Equipment must be easily cleaned
  2. Anything that contacts food must be nontoxic, nonabsorbent, corrosion resistant and nonreactive
  3. All food contact surfaces should be smooth to avoid bacterial growth

Essential Kitchen Tools Starters

Hand tools are designed to aid in cutting, shaping, moving or combining foods. They have almost zero moving parts. Knives are the most important hand tool you can buy. Others are metal or rubber spatulas, spoons, whisks, and tongs. They are essential kitchen tools nonetheless and every kitchen must have a variation of each.

Perforated Spoon

Serving spoon that allows for liquid to pass through.

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Plain Spoon

Serving spoon.


Slotted Spoon

Allows more liquid to pass through than the perforated spoon.


Vegetable Peeler

Used to peel vegetables and to ribbon cut vegetables.

 

 

 

 


Balloon Whisk

Incorporates air quickly into a food.


French Whisk

Much more slender, a French Whisk is used to mix products quickly.


Rubber Spatula

There are two types of rubber spatulas. The white handled spatula is for low heat, and the red handled spatula is for high heat. Many restaurants stock the high heat spatula exclusively, but it is a bit more rigid.

 

 

 

 

 


Wood Spatula

Used instead of a metal spatula. Retains its stiffness as opposed to a rubber spatula and does not scratch non-stick or aluminum surfaces.


Grill Spatula

Used on a flat top grill for managing food. The common ‘burger flipper’ tool.


Melon Baller

The melon baller (and opposite Parisienne scoop) is used to scoop and ball products such as fruits and vegetables.


Zester

zesting fruit skins is an important procedure when infusing essences into recipes, especially in baking.


Table Mounted Can Opener

You will find one of these in almost every kitchen. Not difficult to operate. If you are a new kitchen, you need one of these. If you are a home chef, you can go for a smaller option.


Straight Tongs

Second to the chef knife for importance in the kitchen. If you are using non-stick, be sure to get silicone versions to save your cookware. Always have a few on hand as you will use some for raw foods as well as cooked.


Metal Mallet

Tenderizes and flattens meats.


Chef’s Fork

A versatile tool to use when carving or retrieving food from grill or flat top.


Palette Knife

Used in baking for icing cakes to produce a smooth finish.


Kitchen Knives

A good chef knife begins with a single piece of metal, stamped, cut, or best of all forged and temperated into a blade. Listed here are the materials typically used with most kitchen knives. The most essential kitchen tool is arguably the knife selection available. This is where many cooks and chefs invest the most into, as they are used daily.

Carbon Steel

An alloy of carbon and iron. This was traditionally used for blades as it was soft enough to be sharpened easily. It corrodes and loses color easily, especially with acidic foods. These types are not recommended for restaurants and require great care.

Stainless Steel

This blade will not rust, corrode or discolor. It is extremely durable, but it is much more difficult to sharpen. Once an edge is properly established, it keeps much longer.

High Carbon Stainless Steel

This knife contains the best feature sof the carbon steel and stainless steel varieties. It neither corrodes or discolors, and can be easily sharpened as a carbon steel knife. It is now the most frequent metal used for knives.

Ceramic Knives

Ceramic called zirconium oxide are what make blades that are extremely sharp. This makes them very easy to clean. It is rust proof and nonreactive. With proper care, ceramic blades will remain sharp for years. When sharpening is required, it has to be done professionally. The sharpening uses special diamond wheels. The materials involved and tariffs make this knife expensive. Although ceramic knives are durable it does not have the flexibility of steel. These means do not use on hard surfaces to crush garlic for example.

Essential Kitchen Knives

Chef’s Knife

Your most important tool in the kitchen, and one you should not cheap out on. We recommend a Wusthoff 8″ for a good German steel knife, but others such as Shun, Henckels, Global, Caphalon, and Victorinox are good options as well.


Utility Knife

Used when needing more precision or working in a smaller space.


Boning Knife

Used for deboning poultry and fish. Flexible but strong blade. Highly recommended to use and get to know this knife.


Paring Knife

To be used sans thumb and with four fingers for peeling or carving fruit and vegetables.


Tourne Knife

Used to create a turning cut, or tourner (French). Specialized tool for advanced cooks.

Cleaver

Used to cut through bone and meats. Not used much in the kitchens outside breaking down full carcasses.


Slicer

Used to slice finished meats cleanly and with precision. Kept extremely sharp.

 

 

 

 

 


Butcher Knife

Used to slice through meats effectively from larger cuts and smaller bone.


Oyster and Clam Knives

Cleans and shucks.


Sharpening Stone

Homemade solution for honing and sharpening your own blades.


Steel

Hones and maintains edges.


Measuring & Portioning Tools

In order to be as accurate as possible, owning the proper measuring tools is a vital component of your kitchen tool essentials. These come in many variations including temperature, time, volume, and weight.

Weight

Weight is a preferred method for scaling recipes as it provides a consistent measurement. This is especially important when dealing with recipe formulas (high end baker’s recipes). Many recipes call for volume measurements, which for practical purposes is just fine. It is always important to keep a weighted scale in your kitchen.

Baker’s Scale (Balance Scale)

Rarely used anymore outside old school bakers, this is a weighted scale that will not change over time and provides the most consistent measurements.


Portion Scale

Used primarily to portion out food product before serving and not as a recipe scale. Some restaurants portion out everything to maintain food costs, and some don’t.


Digital Scale (Electronic Scale)

The most common weight scale. Uses digital readouts and can handle large weights, but can erode in accuracy over time.


Volume

Volume measurements are designed for liquids primarily, but can be used for dry goods as well.

Dry Measuring Cups


Liquid Measuring Cups

For greater liquid measurements over a cup, using liquid measuring cups is important. Glass isn’t used in commercial kitchens so you will see many plastic measuring cups instead.


Measuring Spoon Sets

Small scale liquid measurements.


Ladles

Portion control for liquids and used in commercial setting for ensuring accurate volume when serving soups or sauces.


Portion Scoops

Quick volume portion scoops for measuring soft malleable products such as ice cream, muffin batter or mashed potatoes.


Temperature

Temperature is an important measurement and is vital in any kitchen to have a variety of options. Many chefs keep their own personal instant-read thermometers on their coats for easy access.

Instant-Read Thermometers

Simple probe thermometers that give instant digital read outs.

Infrared Thermometers

Not practical in every day kitchens, but can be used to quickly judge a surfaces temperature (such as deep fry oil temp, flat top temp, grill temp, etc).


Candy Thermometers

High-temperature thermometers are useful when cooking with sugar as sugar has several states that can change quickly.


Time

Time management is an important skill that all cooks must develop and there is nothing wrong with ensuring that you have the proper tool available to assist in that ability.

Kitchen Timers

Simple analog timers designed to be used quickly and effectively.


Digital Timers

Some chefs have multiple timers to keep them on track.


Cookware

Cookware includes sauteing pans and stockpots used on the stovetop as well as roasting pans, hotel pans, and specialty molds for inside the oven. Select your kitchen cookware based on its size, shape, ability to conduct heat evenly and quality of construction.

Types of Cookware Materials

Copper

The biggest benefits of copper cookware is that it is an excellent conductor. It heats rapidly and cools quickly. Copper cookware is unsurpassed when you are cooking sugar and fruit mixtures. The biggest downside of copper cookware is that it is very expensive. It is also quite heavy. If you are a restauranteur who is cooking with sugars or desserts, copper cookware may be a good investment. If you are a home cook looking for cookware that has great longevity and doesn’t mind the cost, copper cookware is a good investment.
 
Because copper reacts with some foods, it typically has a tin lining which is soft and can easily be scratched. Copper is a malleable metal and requires great care. Because of these deficiencies in copper cookware, you will find products layered. This is done between stainless steel or aluminum on the bottom of pots and pans.

Aluminum

In commercial kitchens, aluminum is the most widely used metal used. It is lightweight and conducts heat the best beside copper. It is also fairly inexpensive. Aluminum is a soft metal and it is important that it handled properly to avoid dents. Avoid using aluminum cookware with acidic foods as the metal reacts chemically with many foods. Light-colored foods such as soups or sauces could be discolored when cooked in aluminum. This can happen especially if aluminum stirred with a metal whisk or spoon.
 
Anodized aluminum has a hard, dark, corrosion-resistant surface. This helps prevent sticking and discoloration.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel conducts and retains heat poorly. It is a hard, durable metal which makes up for some of its shortcomings. Stainless steel is great for holding foods and for low-temperature cooking. This helps where hot spots or scorching are not problems. Many essential kitchen tools guides include stainless steel pots and pans. Stainless steel pots and pans can be had with aluminum or copper bonded bottoms or with an aluminum layered core. Such cookware gives the rapid, uniform heat conductivity of copper and aluminum. It also gives the strength and durability of stainless steel.

Cast Iron

Cast-iron cookware distributes heat evenly and holds high temperatures very well. Use it often in griddles and large skillets. Although inexpensive, cast iron is heavy and brittle. If using in a commercial kitchen, keep it properly conditioned and dry to prevent rust.

Glass

Glass retains heat well but conducts heat poorly. It does not react with foods. Tempered glass is suitable for microwave cooking, as long as it does not have any metal on it. If you are in a commercial kitchen, you will want to avoid glass. These are not an essential kitchen tool as much as they are essential for a home chef. Thorough cleaning and total shut down occurs if glass breaks in a commercial kitchen.

Ceramics

Use ceramics, including earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. Using them primarily for baking dishes, casseroles, and baking stones. This is because they conduct heat uniformly and hold temperatures well. Ceramics are nonreactive, inexpensive and suitable for microwave use. Cermicas are easily chipped or cracked and should not be used over direct flame. Quick temperature changes can cause the ceramic cookware to crack or shatter.

Plastic

Plastic containers are used frequently for food storage or service. They cannot be used for heating or cooking, except in a microwave oven.

Enamelware

Do not use pans lined with enamel for commercial cooking. In many areas, their use in commercial kitchens is prohibited by law. The enamel can chip or crack easily, providing areas for bacteria to grow. Also, chemicals used to bond the enamel to the cookware can cause food poisoning if ingested.

Non-stick Coatings

Without affecting a metal’s ability to conduct heat, a plastic known as Teflon and Silverstone may be applied to many types of cookware. It provides a slippery, nonreactive finish that prevents food from sticking and allows the use of less fat in cooking.

Do not use non-stick cookware on high heat and be mindful not to use metal utensils as it can scratch or chip the coating.

Essential Kitchen Tools: Pots and Pans

Pots

 

Stock Pot


Sauce Pot


Sautoir


Rondeau or Brazier


Saucepan


Pans

 

Saute Pan


Fry Pan


Cast-iron Skillet


Woks


Crepe Pan


Griddle


Hotel Pans


Baking Sheets

 

Roasting Pans


Cake Pan


Muffin Pan


Cheesecake Pan


Essential Kitchen Tools: Strainers and Sieves

Used in almost every high-end recipe involving soups and sauces. Strainers and sieves provide an essential role as a tool in the kitchen. Many restaurants have several strainers on hand and readily available and it is advisable that any home setups have proper strainers and sieves.

Conical Strainer


Etamine (eh-ta-meen)


Skimmer


Spider


Mesh Strainer


Colander


Drum Sieve


Cheesecloth


Food Mill


Flour Sifter


Processing Equipment

Processing equipment includes both electrical and nonelectrical devices that slive, chop, puree, grind or mix foods. These devices are designed for precision and are time savers. A commercial kitchen will spend heavy on high-quality commercial versions of this equipment. Home chefs would be served for decades with such products if under proper care.

Slicer


Mandoline


Food Chopper or Buffalo Chopper


Food Processor


Blender


Immersion Blender


Heavy Duty Blender


Stand Mixer


Juicer


Heavy Equipment

Most heavy equipment is purchased and installed during the construction of a kitchen and with proper care can last many years. They can sometimes be leased or purchased used to save money. There are always home versions of the heavy equipment and they tend to be fairly cheap and inexpensive.

Stove Tops

Griddle


Induction Cooktop


Stack Ovens

Flat Top


Combitherm Oven


Rotisserie


Microwave Oven


Skillet

Gas Grill

Steamers

Deep Fryer

Refrigerators

Dishwashers

 

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The Culinary Cook

Professional Chef & Blogger

With 15 years of experience working in restaurants, resorts, and a fully Red Seal Certified chef, The Culinary Cook shares tips, tricks, and recipes for everyone to enjoy.

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