Some kitchen tools that seem unnecessary are actually life-changing. As a passionate home cook, I value free counter space and organized cupboards in my kitchen, which sometimes means I choose to keep it manageable with single-use tools and simple devices. However, many people who cook from home find these kitchen tools and devices crucial.
1. Wood Spoon
A wood spoon is a must. You can use it to stir anything and it doesn't melt or scratch your expensive pans.
2. Glass Jars
Use them for meal prep, to store leftover soups, and more. Since many jars are made for canning and food storage, they will last a long time — more than the average plastic food storage containers.
3. Meat Thermometer
Listen to me; you need a meat thermometer. Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you need a meat thermometer. I always thought it was unnecessary or indicated I wasn’t a good enough cook to know when meat is done, but it’s such an essential item, and there is no shame in it. And using it regularly helps you gauge meat temperatures better in general!
I have beef with mandolins, as I am one of many folks who have lost significant skin to these sharp and devilish little tools. Also called a microplane, these help slice things super thin, like potatoes and carrots. But be careful, as they can be dangerous.
5. Cut Proof Glove or Hand Guard
This is my personal addition to the list. If you get a mandolin, you need to get a cut-proof glove or mandolin hand guard that will prevent you from losing a figure to the greedy mouth of the mandolin. Whatever it costs, it’s less than a trip to the hospital to save your thumb, so buy one.
6. Immersion Blender
I’m obsessed with my immersion blender. It’s so easy to use and makes everything supremely creamy and smooth, from sauces to soups to smoothies. They usually come with a few extensions you can play around with and are essential for anyone who cooks regularly.
7. Biscuit Cutter
This specific comment was tailored for me. I love making biscuits, cookies, and the like, but mine are always depressingly distorted and not in a charming rustic way. Don’t be like me; get a biscuit cutter so your food can be symmetrical and pretty.
8. Stand Mixer
Unlike a biscuit cutter, a stand mixer has a hefty price tag, so this “essential” can be a little inaccessible. However, everyone I know and everyone online swears by their beloved Kitchen Aid, so it’s worth pinching pennies for a little while to add it to your countertop.
9. Mixer Attachments
Along with your beautiful new mixer, get some diverse attachments. Most stand mixers come with a few attachments, but the options are endless, including meat grinders, dough hooks, spiralizers, pasta rollers, ravioli makers, ice cream churners, and more. A few funky attachments make your stand mixer even more useful.
10. Mortar and Pestle
I need one of these, mainly because I’m always pathetically crushing coriander with the bottom of cans. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend got the hint, and it’ll be in my kitchen by my next birthday, but if you don’t have one, it’s time to get one. If you make heavily spiced food as I do, such as Indian curries, a mortar and pestle are critical to getting those bold flavors.
11. Slotted Fish Spatula
I didn’t know I needed one of these until now. One online home cook said a slotted spatula was never on their radar until a friend gifted them one. They say they haven't gone back! Sounds like I’m adding a fish spatula to my next Amazon order.
I can attest to the essentialness of a funnel. Whether pouring used oil into a container or refilling your spice jars, a funnel saves you from wasting a ton of product and making a massive mess in your kitchen. I recommend getting an affordable set of plastic funnels in all different sizes.
13. Kitchen Shears
One home cook wrote on a forum advocating for kitchen shears, saying they are great for cutting garnishes, flatbread, pizzas, meats, and more. Cutting pizza with scissors gives me an icky feeling, but they do sound useful!
14. Tofu Press
I felt so called out by a comment one home cook left, saying they used to waste a ton of paper towels while making tofu. Now that they have a press, they said they'll never go back! Now I’m ashamed of my pathetic tofu pressing method and will be ordering a press with my tail between my legs.
15. Cookie Scoop
This one coincides with my need for a biscuit cutter. I always think, “I’ll just do it with my hands!” That was fine when I was broke in college, but it’s time to grow up and get a cookie scoop. They’re for so much more than cookies, as you can use them to make falafel, meatballs, fillings for pierogies, other dumpling fillings, and more.
16. Knife Sharpener
I always thought sharpeners were for fancy chefs, but everyone should have one. My boyfriend bought me the cheapest knife sharpener ever, which changed my life. A couple of swipes through the sharpener, and I’m slicing tomatoes like a magical ninja. Also, dull knives are a massive kitchen hazard, so invest in a sharpener.
17. Cherry Pitter
I’m struggling to see why a cherry/olive pitter is such an essential, but an overwhelming number of home cooks online swear they’re life-changing. Maybe I don’t eat enough olives or cherries for this to be crucial, but people say they’re super handy and fun to use!
18. Air Fryer
Okay, I get it; air fryers are magical machines. The obsession with air fryers is tiresome, but I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted buying one. I’ve lived with an air fryer and found it to be an attack on my precious counter space, but most people say they’ll live and die by their air fryer.
Unlike air fryers, tongs are a simple and affordable addition to your kitchen that makes a huge difference. If you don’t have tongs, you need a pair. However, I recommend stocking up on tongs because I use them almost every day, and having multiple pairs means you can toss them in the dishwasher.
20. Vacuum Sealer
This kitchen tool seems like a niche item, but some home cooks say it’s a must-have for people who cook regularly. They can be useful for marinating meat, storing food, and even sous-viding food! They’re a bit of an investment but apparently worth it if you’re an avid cook.
21. Digital Scale
A digital scale is essential for anyone who loves to bake. While measuring cups seem perfectly fine, weighing ingredients for baked goods ensures perfect and consistent results. I’m not the most talented baker, but the digital scales simplify everything.
I never knew I needed kitchen pliers, but one online cook made a passionate case, saying pliers can easily remove tendons from chicken, bones from fish, and pits from fruit. I’m convinced.
23. Pizza Cutter
Even if you don’t make pizza at home often, a pizza cutter is super useful. It’s great for cutting dough into strips or slicing through, chopping lettuce into ribbons, cutting herbs, and more. Whether you make pizza from scratch, microwave frozen pizzas, or order from Domino’s, a pizza cutter ensures your pizza is always perfectly sliced.
24. Pizza Stone
If you do make pizza often, a pizza stone will light up your world. They deliver even heat to the dough, so the pizza is always beautifully cooked. But they can also make roasted veggies, cookies, bread, chicken, and much more!
25. Milk Frother
Few things are as yummy and delightful as a frothy latte from a coffee shop, but you can achieve this foamy texture at home with a milk frother. You can froth milk, coffee, chai, matcha, and many other drinks. If you have an immersion blender, look for a frothing attachment.
26. Dough Cutter
A dough cutter or bench scrape can be useful for more than making pies and croissants. These broad metal tools are excellent for scooping veggies, clearing cutting boards, roughly chopping food, and more. It seems like a tool reserved for the pros, but it’s more versatile than many realize.
27. Oil Dispensers
One of the best kitchen purchases I ever made was my oil dispensers. I buy oil in bulk, and they can’t sit on my counters, but hauling them out of the pantry for a drizzle is annoying. Oil dispensers are convenient and look attractive on your counter, so I highly recommend them for anyone who cooks with oil.
Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.
If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.
She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.