Stocking a kitchen with great gadgets and utensils can be really fun, although it can also
be a daunting process. The best way to begin collecting the equipment, utensils and
appliances you need is to look through a list like this one, check off what you need, then
go on a shopping spree.
If you really want to save money, take some time to cruise garage and yard sales. You can
find excellent cooking equipment, utensils, and even appliances for mere pennies if you
are a savvy shopper.
This is the basic list of equipment and utensils for cooking beginners. There may be other
items you want to add later. Shop for quality over quantity, especially at first. I have
several knives I bought 40 years ago that are still going strong.
Feel free to
contact us if you have any questions.
An egg chopper is used to dice hard boiled eggs in the preparation of Egg Salad. You
can also use egg choppers for many other applications such as chopping nuts, carrots
for salad, etc.
You can find choppers like the one I use at Amazon.com:
A knife can be your best friend during food preparation, or it can cause serious injury -
depending on your skill and what you know about knife safety. There are some basic safety
tips and hints about using a knife properly. First of all, buy the best quality knives
that you can afford. Make sure they have no gaps at the joint where the blade and handle
meet, and have a finely ground blade. A good knife should feel heavy and solid. There are
five basic types of kitchen knives:
A chef's knife is usually the largest knife in the kitchen, with a wide blade that is 8"
to 10" long. Choose a knife that feels good and balanced in your hand. The knife should
have a full tang. This means that the blade should go all the way through the handle for
the best wear and stability.
Paring knives are generally 2-1/2-4" in length. The most often used knife in the kitchen.
It is ideal for peeling and coring fruits and vegetables, cutting small objects, slicing,
and other hand tasks. (My family has been known to steal my paring knives for non-cooking
uses! I can always find them in the garage.)
Utility knives are longer than paring knives but smaller than chef's knives, usually
around 5-8" long. They are also called sandwich knives because they are just the right
side for slicing meats and cheeses. I have several utility knives in my kitchen as
Generally 4-5" long, this type of knife has a more flexible blade to curve around meat
Bread knives are usually serrated. Most experts recommend a serrated knife that has
pointed serrations instead of wavy serrations for better control and longer knife life.
I have two bread knives in my kitchen, a long 10" knife that's great for cutting whole
loaves, and a 6" knife perfect for cutting sandwich buns. You must use a sawing motion
when using a serrated knife.
|Measuring Cups and Spoons
Know the difference between liquid and dry measures, and use the appropriate one for
each task. While they hold the same volume, they are used differently. Measurements
are labeled on each measure. Get at least two sets of each, so you're not continually
washing them as you cook.
There are fives types of spoons used in a basic kitchen.
A slotted spoon is an implement used in food preparation. The term can be used to describe
any spoon with slots, holes or other openings in the bowl of the spoon which let liquid
pass through while preserving the larger solids on top. It is similar in function to a
sieve, however a slotted spoon is most typically used to retrieve items from a cooking
liquid while preserving the liquid in the pot.
Wooden spoons are used for mixing ingredients for cooking or baking. Before electric
mixers became common, wooden spoons were often used to cream butter and sugar in recipes
such as shortbread or Victoria sponge cake. They are still used for stirring many
different kinds of food and beverages especially soups and casseroles during preparation,
although they tend to absorb strong smells such as onion and garlic. Some cooks prefer to
use wooden spoons when preparing risotto because they do not transfer heat as much as
metal spoons. Unlike metal spoons, they can also be safely used without scratching the
bottom of the saucepan.
Metal Serving Spoon
These types of spoons are used primarily for serving liquid or semi-liquid foods, such as
soup, stew, or ice cream, and very small or powdery solid items which cannot be easily
lifted with a fork, such as rice, sugar, cereals and green peas.
A ladle is a type of spoon used to serve soup or other liquids. Although designs vary, a
typical ladle has a long handle terminating in a deep bowl, frequently with the bowl
oriented at an angle to the handle to facilitate lifting liquid out of a pot or other
vessel. Ladles are usually made of the same stainless steel alloys as other kitchen
utensils; however, they can be made of aluminium, silver, plastics, melamine resin, wood,
bamboo or other materials.
These types of spoons are used to transfer spaghetti and other types of pasta from the pot
to a plate or platter. Typically they are constructed of plastic.
Electric mixers are kitchen appliances intended for mixing, folding, beating, and whipping
food ingredients. Mixers come in two major variations, hand mixers and stand mixers.
Stand mixers are larger and have more powerful motors than their hand-held counterparts.
They generally have a special bowl that is locked in place while the mixer is operating.
A hand mixer, as the name implies, is a hand-held digging device. It typically consists
of a handle mounted over a large enclosure containing the motor, which drives one or
two beaters. The beaters are immersed in the food to be mixed.
A whisk is a cooking utensil used in food preparation to blend ingredients smooth, or
to incorporate air into a mixture, in a process known as whisking or whipping. Most whisks
consist of a long, narrow handle with a series of wire loops joined at the end. The wires
are usually metal, but some are plastic for use with nonstick cookware. Whisks are
commonly used to whip egg whites into a firm foam to make meringue, or to whip cream into
A spatula, also known as a fish slice in British English, is a kitchen utensil with a long
handle and a broad flat edge, used for lifting fish and fried foods. Though the word
spatula is used in British English, it refers solely to a mixing and spreading implement.
In parts of Canada and the United States, spatulas are sometimes called flippers or
turners. They are used both in the preparation of food, as a flipping implement, and in
the serving of food. Here are a few basic types of spatulas.
|Strainers and Colanders
Strainers come in many shapes and sizes, as you can see in the photo to your right. They
can be used for many different things such as: sifting flour, straining liquids out of
jars or cans, etc.
Collanders are a large scale strainer. They work on the same principle as a strainer,
but they are used for straining larger items such as pastas, etc.
|Pots and Pans
Saucepans are used for boiling, cooking, simmering and melting foods. They come in many
different sizes, but for a basic set I suggest a 2 quart, 4 quart and 8 quart size.
A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It
is typically an 8 to 12 inch (20 to 30 cm) diameter flat pan with flared sides.
The 8" skillet is used for frying, searing, and browning foods smaller foods.
A sauté pan is ideal for sautéing; it has a wide flat base and low sides,
to maximize the surface area available for heating. The low sides allow quick
evaporation and escape of steam. The sides of a sauté pan are rounded, and
flare outward, to allow quick turning of ingredients without a spatula, simply using
pan movement to turn ingredients. Many people mistake a low, straight-sided pan for a
Modern Dutch ovens designed for use on the cooktop or in the oven are typically
smooth-bottomed. Some older styles, such as the unglazed ovens by Lodge®,
CampChef®, and Wagner®, retain the bale handle, while others, such as the
enameled versions by Staub®, Sante®, and le Creuset®, have two loop handles.
Modern ovens may also be made of aluminum or ceramic. Dutch ovens are well suited for
long, slow cooking, such as in making roasts, stews, spaghetti sauce and casseroles.
Roasting Pans are used in conventional gas or electric ovens. They should be large enough
to place a metal roasting rack in the bottom, heavy enough to be used on the stovetop
burner for making gravy and sauces from the drippings, and well made of thick metal with
sturdy handles for maintaining a good grip on the pan to easily control it when filled
with the foods being cooked.
The Roasting Pan should be of a size that allows at least 2 to 3 inches of space around
the foods being cooked and away from the oven walls, so air can circulate effectively.
The size of the item being roasted determines the proper size of the pan to be utilized,
making sure to roast smaller foods in smaller pans. Otherwise, juices from the food will
be dispersed too widely, causing them to evaporate and burn on the bottom of the pan.
Therefore, if it is most often to be used to roast foods such as a whole turkey, make sure
the pan is large enough to hold a 20 to 30 pound bird, which is a Roasting Pan that is 16
to 22 inches in length. Pan sizes will generally range from 14 to 22 inches long, 8 to 14
inches wide and 5 to 6 inches high.
Baking pans are used to hold runny batters, such as cake batter and thick solid masses of
food, such as savory hot dish recipes. The foods are placed in the pan and the baked in
the oven. Baking pans are available in a variety of sizes, materials, surface textures,
For cooking and baking I suggest you have:
- One 9"x13" baking pan
- One 9" square baking pan
- Two cookie sheets
- One 9"x5" loaf pan
- One 12 cup muffin tin
- Two cooling racks
- Two 9" round cake pans
- One 9" pie pan
Other handy items you will need are:
- Can Opener
- Rolling Pin
- Kitchen Timer
- Kitchen Shears
- Meat Tenderizer
- Vegetable Peeler