Whether you cook for necessity or enjoyment, your time in the kitchen should be stress-free and rewarding. Regardless if your dishes are feasted upon by a table of children or just yourself after a hard day of work, you need an arsenal of equipment to cook your meals. These are the less-obvious but valuable tools that professional chefs recommend having on hand.
Whether your collection of pots and pans is a mixture of various items you acquired over the years or a nice matching set you received as a wedding present, you should always have one particular pan in your pantry: a deep, non-stick pan. Brittany Burke of online food magazine Kitchn says that having a non-stick pan is essential for properly cooking eggs. Plus, a deep non-stick pan can also function like a wok and become your go-to pan for cooking stir-fries.
Not many home chefs utilize their blender as much as they should, and that’s because they don’t have a blender that’s as effective as it should be. You can obtain a cheap blender for a couple bucks, but Culinary Institute of America Culinary Arts Instructor Lance Nitahara suggested in an interview with Mental Floss that saving up for a higher-end blender is well-worth the money.
Not only will cheap blenders break with frequent use, they also can’t do the amount of tasks a professional-grade blender can, especially one that can double as a food processor with interchangeable jar sizes and blades.
They’re all the rage currently, and there’s a reason pressure cookers have so many fans: they’re so useful. Nitahara acknowledges that while it’s crucial to safely, properly operate a pressure cooker to avoid potentially dangerous consequences, proper usage of a pressure cooker can revolutionize your time in the kitchen. Dishes that would take you an hour to cook and come out dry and chewy will now be ready in less than a half hour, flavorful and juicy.
Not every essential kitchen gadget has to cost as much as a brand-new appliance. You can get a lot of use out of a quality pair of kitchen shears, recommends Nicole Doster of Taste of Home. You can use them for anything, from cutting open packages to snipping vegetables to trimming up meat. It’s like using two knives at once.
Speaking of knives, one quality chef’s knife can replace an entire block of standard cooking knives that you infrequently use. Doster ranks it as one of her top tools, saying “A good knife is a chef’s best friend. This is one of the few things that you’ll thank yourself for investing in … Choose a knife that you feel comfortable handling. It should feel balanced in your hand, easy to hold and control, not too heavy, but definitely not flimsy.”
Another affordable tool you’ll get a lot of use out of — especially if you cook with that non-stick pan a lot — is a silicone spatula. Doster also recommends having at least one of these heat-resistant spatulas for cooking, and if you do a lot of baking, have a separate spatula so to keep the flavors separated.
Determining if meat is done cooking is crucial for more than just ensuring it’s not left in the oven for too long. Undercooked meat can lead to numerous health problems. Take the guesswork out of cooking meat with an instant digital thermometer. It’s a quick, reliable way to test internal temperature to avoid under- or overcooking that high-quality cut of meat you purchased.
These are only a handful of the tools that chefs recommend having in your kitchen. Depending on what type of cooking you tend to do more often — whether you prefer stovetop, oven or another method — there is plenty of other useful equipment out there that will revolutionize your cooking experience.