fbpx

Kitchen Essentials Guide

The Kitchen Essentials Guide

The definitive guide to kitchen cookware, utensils, tools, equipment, appliances and more.

It’s a familiar scene; You have just moved into your dream home, unpack your bags, and walk into an impressive yet empty kitchen. Maybe you’re set to marry the love of your life, and straining to put together a practical wedding gift registry. Perhaps you’re simply taking stock of your current kitchen supplies and trying to figure out what is missing or still needed needed. Either way, stocking your kitchen with the essentials can be a difficult and stressful task. There are just so many items, both obvious and obscure, that can cloud your head when trying to make sense of it all.

Oftentimes people build their kitchen on the fly, purchasing supplies as needed or after a couple of consistently frustrating episodes of trying to prepare something only to realize the proper supplies were lacking. Imagine wanting to cook some pasta, doing all of the preparation only to find that when it comes time to drain the pasta, you still don’t have that colander that you’ve been meaning to purchase. We’ve all been there.

That said, not all kitchenware is created equal. There are certain items you must have, and others that you may like to have. Everyone needs plates; Not everyone needs a meat thermometer. Deciding what kind of kitchen essentials are, well, essential can be trickier. But fret not; we’re here to help. Here’s our definitive list of the basics that every kitchen needs to be fully functional, as well as just about everything else.

Prep Tools & Essentials

Cutting Board

Unless you want your tabletops to look like something out of a slasher film, a cutting board is a must have kitchen item. From slicing breads to paring meats and cheeses, cutting boards are essential buffers. They come in a dizzying array of styles and and materials, but can be purchased cheaply and generally cleaned easily.

Best

John Boos Block Maple Wood

Balanced

SkyLight Cutting Board

Budget

HOMWE Cutting Board

Chefs Knife

No chef, amateur or professional, is at home in their kitchen without a sharp and well made Chef’s knife. They’re one of the most important investments you can make in your kitchen. A proper chef’s knife can be used in the general utility of almost every aspect of cooking and preparation. Trying to slice something with a dull or poorly made knife will drive any cook crazy. One of the best investments you can make in your kitchen is a Chef’s Knife, and while they can sometimes skew towards a more expensive item, trust us when we say it’s worth it.

Best

Mac Professional Knife

Balanced

Global Chefs Knife

Budget

Victoronix Chefs Knife

Nonstick Pan

If you’re preparing or cooking something in a nonstick pan, you’re committing kitchen malpractice. Traditional frying pans can be a nightmare to clean, even with the help of a dishwasher, and nothing can make your kitchen cleanup more tedious then spending 20 minutes trying to scrape some encrusted burnt cheese off a pan. Cooking can be a messy endeavor, but nonstick pans can go a long way. The slippery coating on the pans means that food slides off rather than sticks on. While many models will claim to be machine washable, we would recommend steering clear from the dishwasher and instead giving the pan a good soak. The sealant that makes non-stick pans so special can wear down and come off more quickly when washed in a machine.

Best

All Clad Non Stick Pans

Balanced

T-Fal Nonstick

Budget

Amazon Basics Pan

Dry Measuring Cups

Whether you’re prepping a meal from scratch or simply trying to appropriately size out your pet’s breakfast, dry measuring cups are a must have for the kitchen. Dry measuring cups refer to units for “dry” ingredients (think flour or spices rather than measuring out liquids). Precise measurements require reliable tools, and a set of measuring cups can go a long way towards making your life in the kitchen easier. A set generally comes in 4 different sizes ranging from a 1/4 to a full cup, although some sets come with more, and others include measuring spoons as well. Purchasing a reliable set of measuring cups is an investment that should last your kitchen a life time.

Best

Simply Gourmet Cups

Balanced

Laxinis Steel Cups

Budget

Stainless Steel Cups

Can Opener

A can opener may not be vital for every day use, but it certainly is essential when the need arises and a layer of tin needs to easily pulled back. Save yourself from frustrating episodes of trying to improvise with forks and knives, haphazardly trying to pierce through sturdy metals. Your hands don’t need accidental scars, and no one needs blood in the cranberry sauce. Throw your can opener in a kitchen drawer, always readily available when needed.

Best

Cusianart Automated Opener

Balanced

Kukn Rikon Opener

Budget

Good Cook Opener

Spatula

Spatula’s are essential whether you’re flipping burgers on the grill or pressing down a grilled cheese sandwich on a cast iron skillet for that extra crisp. When cooking over a burner or a searing hot appliance, Spatula’s help keep you away from the flame and are multi-faceted enough to turn, flip, prod, spread or mix during food preparation. While they come in all sorts of materials, we recommend nabbing a metallic or heat resistant silicone that are sturdy simple to clean.

Victorinox Wood Turner

Flexible Silicon Spatula

Chef Craft Turner

Tongs

A dependable pair of tongs goes a long way, whether you’re trying to secure a better grip on a slippery food object over the grill, or removing boiled items from a scalding pot. You’ll want to make sure that the tongs that you get can stand the test of time; metal or silicone coated tongs can help reduce the wear and tear that working over sustained heat can cause. At the same time, tongs should be versatile; they’re just as useful for tossing a fresh salad as they are being used over a searing hot burner.

Rosle Tongs

Oxo Good Grips

Grill Tongs

Colander

If you’re planning on enjoying some pasta for dinner, or perhaps ready to clean a freshly plucked batch of vegetables from the garden, a Colander is a vital kitchen tool to use. These strainers help drain water while leaving the desired food item behind, so you don’t have to fret about creating a kitchen mess. Colanders can be made of plastic or steel, and are generally durable and easy to clean. They can come in various sizes, and some even come with attachments that allow the colander to fasten to the sink, helping to create a hands free experience.

Precision Steel Colander

Bellemain Colander

ExcelSteel Colander

Whisk

Whether you’re a master baker starting a cake from scratch, or a hopeless amateur cook trying to scramble some eggs for breakfast, one thing is for sure; a whisk is one of the most helpful and readily used utensils found in the kitchen. Trust us; don’t waste time trying to whip up ingredients using a fork. If you’re planning on cooking or baking from scratch or just throwing together a quick salad dressing or sauce, a whisk is simply a must have item. Whisks are very lightweight and can come be made with a few different materials, but for our money we prefer stainless steel. It’s easier to clean and super light weight!

Endurance Spring Whisk

Amazon Basic Whisk

Good Cook Whisk

Scissors

A pair of scissors might seem to make for an odd fit in the kitchen, but that is certainly not the case. A good pair of Sheers can go a long way; From cutting through poultry and fish to cutting up vegetables. Sheers can help lend power and control when trying to cut up unyielding produce that you can’t always find with a knife. They can also help slice open packaging cleanly. Most models also have detachable components so that they can be cleaned efficiently and thoroughly.

Heavy Duty Sheers

Turata Sheers

Mighty Sharp Sheers

Baking Sheet

Don’t let the name fool you: A baking sheet is a sturdy, oven safe, shallow, rectangular pan that is ideal for baking or roasting food. They are ideal for baking breads and sweets, and are also very effective for baking chicken or fish for a healthy meal. Baking Sheets are made from metal, predominantly from aluminum or stainless steel. The edges of the pan are generally raised, to help provide a grip when removing an item from the oven so that your baked goods don’t spill on the floor when baking is completed.

While baking sheets are easy to clean, and if you snag a pan with aluminum or stainless steel, entirely safe to throw in the dishwasher.

Wild One Baking Sheet

Nordic Ware Half Sheet

New Star Sheet Pan

Spice Rack

Here at Kitchen Season, we love to be organized. Nothing drives us crazier then opening up a cabinet, rummaging through clutter to find a certain spice, only to helplessly realize that we can’t find it. A spice rack goes a long way towards organizing your kitchen, and since spices tend to last such a long time, once you purchase a rack you can pretty much set it and forget it. Spice racks come in a variety of sizes and appearances; some are easy to hide away behind cabinets, while others make for eye catching decorative pieces that can be displayed out in the open. Regardless of your preferences, if you spend time cooking, make sure you save time by having all the spices that you need organized in a rack.

Three Tier Spice Rack

Revolving Spice Rack

Criss Cross Spice Rack

Serving Board

If you’re into entertaining and hosting dinner parties, or if you simply can’t get enough of munching on cheese and crackers, a serving board is a great investment. Restaurants and catered events often serve finger foods on these boards, as they’re sturdy, steady, and easily transportable. Outside of their function, serving boards also serve as an aesthetic addition to any dinner.

They are made with a wide variety of materials, from ceramic to slate, and often times are incredibly unique and diverse in their designs. We have found that nothing beats the visual appeal of a wooden serving board. However, tip to the wise: Wooden serving boards should NEVER be cleaned in a dishwasher. We recommend washing by hand with dish soap and letting air dry. Also, if you tend to use your serving board often, try coating it with a few strokes of mineral oil every couple of months.

Walnut Wood Board

Lipper Wood Board

Bamboo Board Set

Pot Holders

Anyone who has accidentally touched a searing pan or the interior of an operating oven will agree that pot holders are essential kitchen items. Pot holders allow you to remove items and pans from high heat areas without burning yourself, while also providing a convenient surface area for cooling that won’t warp or ruin your surfaces. Pot holders are generally made with a cotton or polyester fabric, and sometimes can be found in a silicon mold as well. You don’t need to go crazy buying up Pot Holders; we recommend just one or two for the kitchen, and they tend to last a life time.

Cuisinart Pot Holders

Kitchen Aid Pot Holders

Cotton Terry Pot Holder

Sponge

Even if you enjoy the benefits of a dishwasher, no kitchen or cleanup is complete without having a good spongy at the ready. While you may feel confident that your dishwasher can tackle the mess left on your silverware and dinnerware, grime has a way of creeping up in the corners and crevices of every kitchen. And nothing helps combat filth like a sponge.

While sponges are easy to clean, don’t forget to replace them often. Old and dirty sponges can be a cesspool for the filth that they are designed to combat against, and as a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to have some fresh, unopened packs of sponges below your sink, ready when needed.

Look for sponges with a coarse bottom that will eliminate grime without tarnishing your tableware.

Microbial Sponge

NanoSponge

Melamine Sponge

Serving Platter

When sitting down at the table for a family dinner, make sure that you have a large round platter for serving purposes. While large round platters offer value in helping to transport foods, we love the visual aesthetic that it lends to a dinner or party. Make sure to grab a platter that is machine washable. Most platters can be made with a wide variety of different materials like plastic, porcelain, or even glass, and are finished with straight lines or in some cases unique designs. We love using dinnerware that comes in a glossy, white coloration. The clean, minimal aesthetic is perfect for showcasing food!

Mikasa Serving Plate

Sophie Conran Platter

Geometric Serving Dish

Napkins

Most everyone would agree that disposable napkins are staples of the kitchen, but for anyone who plans to hosts guests over for dinner, a nice set of napkins made from cloth go a long way. Dinner napkins can help putting the finishing touches on a party, or simply formalize a holiday gathering or event. White and gray napkins are a timeless addition to a table setting, and can compliment the colors of any dinnerware set that you may own. Dinner napkins can last a life time, and are machine washable.

Lace Dinner Napkin

Hotel Napkins

Simple Dinner Napkin

Kitchen Towel

A trusty kitchen towel is a practical addition to any kitchen. Kitchen towels won’t replace the need to keep paper towels as well, but are frequently used on their own. They can help quickly clean up messes, create a buffer between hot items and devices, and to wipe off your hands when in a cooking pinch. While they are generally durable and have a long kitchen life-span, be mindful to frequently wash your dish towels, as repeated use can make them unsanitary over time. As such, we recommend a light, cotton dish towel to withstand repeated washings.

Zeppoli Classic White

Flour Sack Towels

Bar Mops

Cast Iron Skillet

When something works well for thousands of years, generally it’s a good idea to leave it unchanged. Enter the cast iron skillet. Humans have been cooking with cast iron forever, and they are incredibly efficient at preparing your food. Cast Iron gets extremely hot, so searing steaks and meats is an easy joy when using a skillet. Additionally, most modern day skillets are coated with non-stick sealants, so they’re not a nightmare to clean. A well maintained cast iron skillet can last you a lifetime, and while they’re not always cheap, it pays to spring for quality. They’re also versatile; just as useful on a stovetop, in the oven, or even on a grill.

To clean, avoid the dishwasher. Instead, use the sink to wash under warm water. A sponge and some dish soap will go a long way towards making your skillet spotless.

Lodge 2 Loop

Lodge Preseasoned

Amazon Basic Skillet

Spoons

While probably needless to say, we’ll go ahead and say it anyway; you can’t have a complete dinner set without an appropriate collection of spoons. The spoons that you’ll find on your table come in varying sizes and serve a variety of functions. Serving spoons are generally the largest, used to serve and scoop food from one plate to another. Table spoons, slightly smaller in size, are used also used for serving, and also for eating soup and other liquid items. Desert spoons and tea spoons are smaller in size, and thus are used for smaller endeavors, like enjoying an ice cream Sunday and mixing a cup of tea. Don’t feel that you need to have a large collection of each type of spoon; you can casually use Serving and Table spoons for almost any purpose.

Make sure that your spoons are made of stainless steel or other durable material; you will most likely be using them a lot, and as such need to ensure that they are difficult to tarnish. Try to ensure that you have double the amount of spoons (and all table utensils) as you do members of your family. That way you can reasonably expect to be prepared for other dinner guests.

Artaste Spoon

Hiware Spoon

Winco Spoon

Cheese Knives

Nothing upgrades a party quite like a charcuterie board, and nothing makes serving cheese easier than a proper Cheese knife. With textures ranging from soft (think brie), to hard (a parmesan), it is essential that you have the proper tools to cut yourself and your guests a suitable hunk of cheese. Standard kitchen knives just won’t do. A cheese knife not only helps suitably cut through cheeses, it also helps keep the clean up process simple, so you won’t have wayward crumbs flying everywhere while trying to stab into a brick of cheese with a butter knife.

A variety of knives exist to help cut and slice through cheese, and it’s never been easier to purchase an adequate set all in one. Make sure that the set you land on is dishwasher safe; it can be a pain to manually clean a set of knives once a soft cheese has set.

Linzom Cheese Knives

Bosca Knives

Basic Cheese Knives

Cookware & Bakeware

Water Pitcher

When sitting down to a nice meal, nobody wants to have to constantly excuse themselves to go and refill their water glass. That’s what makes a water pitcher such an essential kitchen item, they can help keep you properly hydrated throughout your dinner. A standard pitcher should hold about 2 pints of liquid, or the equivalent to 8 cups. Pitchers can be made from a variety of materials, from plastic to glass to crystal. While a water pitcher isn’t an item that we break out for every meal, it certainly comes in handy when hosting a party or more formal dinner event.

These days you can even find pitchers that filter water or allow the infusion of ingredients like lemon or flower petals.

Lenox Tuscany Classic

Mikasa Pitcher

Home Essentials Pitcher

Serving bowls serve many functions in the kitchen, and as such, it is vital to have a good set to assist you with a variety of tasks. From preparation to presentation and everything in between, a good serving bowl goes a long way. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a quality serving bowl is only a necessity when entertains or hosting guests. Serving bowls come in handy when transporting food from the kitchen to the table, and from the table to the plate, and also when reheating or storing left over food or ingredients. You can even use them to mix ingredients or drinks. The versatility of the bowl is key.

Be sure to grab a bowl that is microwavable, and as always, dishwasher safe. Porcelain and glass are usually great bets to meet the criteria above.

Porcelain Serving Bowl

Dowan Serving Bowl

Square Serving Bowl

Butter Knife

Ah, the butter knife. Our old kitchen friend. While the primary function of a butter knife is to slice and smear butter (well, duh!) butter knives can be found performing any knife function, even the ones in which they are woefully unequipped to handle (like sawing steak). We like to think that a kitchen without a proper set of butter knives isn’t a kitchen at all. The butter knife is the most utilized piece of cutlery you can have in your kitchen, and no table setting is complete without them.

These knives are generally non-serrated and dull around the blade, yet still has a pointy enough tip to pierce through certain foods. They are commonly made of stainless steel and easy to wash, either by dishwasher or by hand. We recommend having at least double the amount of butter knives to household members. That way you have extras for dinner guests and parties, you’re covered.

Stainless Steel Knife

Oneida Flight Knives

New Stark Knives

Knife Sharpener

If you spend a lot of time, or even a moderate amount of time cooking, it’s a given that you’ll be using a variety of knives and blades daily. Over time, and with repeated use, the blades and edges on knives tend to ultimately become dull and lose their general effectiveness. The good news is that it’s quite easy to restore the trademark sharpness of any knife. The bad news is that most people do not have the means to do so in their own homes, and thus are forced to endure a blade that has lost it’s edge.

While certain stores have days where they allow you to bring in a knife for sharpening, it is quite a hassle to to transport cumbersome and dangerous objects out of the home. And seeing how knives can be quite expensive, it makes little sense to dispose of them and purchase a new set.

Enter the knife sharpener. While there are manual ways to restore the edge on your blades using sharpening stones, honing steel, and the like, these days it has never been easier to quickly and effectively tune up your favorite knife. Instead, all in one knife sharpeners allow you to cut out the multi step process and prove a one stop shop for a quick and effective blade tune up.

Chef’s Choice Sharpener

Pronto Pro Sharpener

Noble Home Chef

Cooking Tools & Utentsils

Sauce Pan

You don’t need to be an expert chef to get great use out of a sauce pan. While they are absolutely essential if you plan on making sauces or soups, sauce pans come in handy when simply reheating left overs or just preparing a bowl of Kraft Mac and cheese.

Sauce pans can come in a variety of sizes, and we recommend having a few different types. Sizes can range from holding a single quart of liquid to a few quarts as a time. Most pans will also come with a fitted lid to ensure that you can entrap heat while boiling and steaming. Since boiling liquids can make for a messy cleanup, and so it is essential to find a sauce pan that is easy to clean.

We love pans that come with non-stick properties or that are made from stainless steel. These are easy to soak and clean. Also be sure to grab a pan that isn’t too heavy or cumbersome; it is essential to be able to easily and neatly pour the contents of a pan without having to worry about any splatters.

All Clad Pot

Cuisinart Pot

Chef’s Classic Pot

Drinking Glasses

You can never have enough drinking glasses, that’s just a fact. We’re even in the school of (completely unscientific and unproven) thought that certain glasses can make your drinks colder, and taste better. So stop sipping directly from that carton of milk; instead invest in a practical and eye catching set of glasses that provide a pleasant drinking experience and can serve your family for years.

Drinking glasses can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are small glasses that are appropriate for a splash of orange juice in the morning, to larger ones that hold up to a 16 (or more) ounces of liquid. If you can, try to accrue a varied mix. We think it’s important to have a few complete sets, as different situations and events can require different glasses. Unless you repeatedly drop or crack your glasses, they should last you a long while. Try to have at least double the amount of glasses as people per household. That way you’re covered with fresh glasses when running the dishwasher, or for unexpected guests and large parties.

Libbey Polaris Glasses

Walnut Wood Board

Classic Glass Set

Coffee Mugs

If you or a member of your family enjoy coffee, tea, or any other heated beverage, a proper set of coffee mugs is vital in keeping your drink of choice warm. Most mugs are made from a ceramic property that helps insulate your drink, but you can also find eye catching mugs made from steel, glass or other materials. A set of 4 mugs to start should do just fine. It’s entirely possible that throughout time you will collect coffee cups of varying types and designs, but to start make sure you have at least one mug per member of your family.

Additionally, while coffee mugs excel at keeping your drink warm, a new type of coffee mug has emerged that aims to keep your beverage hot indefinitely. Temperature controlled ceramic mugs from Ember sit atop an electronic tray that emits heat, so you don’t have to worry about hurrying to finish your morning cup before it gets cold. While they can be slightly pricy, if you’re a big coffee or tea drinker, it’s worth it.

Ember Coffee Mug

Libbey Crystal Mug

Artisan Coffee Mug

Wine Glasses

When enjoying a nice glass of wine after a long day at work, it’s imperative to use a wine glass. Look, we’ve all been forced to endure using a solo cup or mug in the past for wine, but that doesn’t mean that we have to. When you’re looking to stock a kitchen, ensure that you have the proper glassware. Wine glasses help ensure that the aromatic and taste sensory properties of the bottle you’re having are properly enjoyed. Wine glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with a specific and unique function depending on what kind of wine you plan to enjoy. Go to a fancy restaurant and you’ll find the tables set with a few different wine glasses.

While it certainly helps to own a variety of glasses for their different functions, don’t be ashamed to start with a standard set that you can enjoy your wine from. A passionate wine aficionado or aspiring Somali may find distinct glasses a necessity, but if you’re like us and just want to kick back with a glass of red or white, you don’t need to go too crazy with the specifics.

Keep in mind that while most wine glasses are dishwasher safe, their delicate stems and thin interiors can make them easy to shatter upon washing. Make sure that if you plan on using a dishwasher to clean, that you also have the proper attachments that help keep them fastened in place so that they don’t shatter. Also – if you purchase a set of crystal wine glasses, avoid the dishwasher entirely. They’re simply too delicate and likely expensive to risk breaking.

Zalto Universal Glass

Crystal Wine Glasses

Paksh Novelty Glasses

Champagne Flutes

You may not find yourself breaking out champaign flutes often, but when the proper celebratory moment arrives and a bottle of bubbly is popped, it is best to enjoy with the proper glassware. Champagne flutes are often very delicate, with slender stemware and an elongated bowl to help aerate the bubbles.

Since champaign is usually enjoyed as a treat rather than a daily drink, it pays to invest in a set of flutes that are visually appealing. That clock hitting at midnight on New Years, the huge job promotion, all of life’s exciting moments that are worth celebrating deserve a proper cheers with some champagne. Ensure that the flutes you have match the special occasion. They come in a variety of eye catching designs, but similar to wine glasses, champagne flutes are extremely delicate. As such, avoid using a dishwasher to clean, even with the appropriate attachments.

Elixir Champagne Glasses

Lenox Tuscany Flutes

Svalka Champagne Flutes

Whiskey Glasses

If you are trying to keep a well stocked bar or cabinet, whiskey glasses are simply an essential glass that can be used for a myriad of different drinks. Nothing elevates a scotch or bourbon quite like a beautiful whiskey tumbler. Half the fun of enjoying a glass of whiskey is in the aesthetics, and nothing elevates the mood like swirling around your amber liquid in a well made glass. Whiskey tumblers can be made in a variety of materials and designs, but our favorites are produced from crystal or glass for a sophisticated look and feel. They are generally designed to hold about 7 to 12 fluid ounces, either neat or on the rocks.

There is such a wide variety of designs to choose from in a set of whiskey glasses that it can get over whelming. But fear not – it is hard to go wrong. Glass tumblers are often well made and durable, always up for a spin in the dishwasher without you having to worry about breakage or machine degradation. Crystal glasses can be more prone to chips and breaks. As such, we recommend washing by hand. Just remember – crystal tends to be quite expensive. We recommend possessing at least 2 proper whiskey tumblers in your collection. No one likes to enjoy a glass alone!

Juice Glasses

If you have ever ordered a glass of juice at a diner or breakfast spot, chances are that it’s come in a juice glass. These glasses are generally on the smaller side and as the name implies, are designed to hold a juice. A serving of juice is generally considered to be around 4 fluid ounces, so the majority of true juice glasses are around that size although they can be found to hold up to 8 ounces. Regardless of your size preference, we recommend keeping a set of 4 “true” juice glasses.

While these pint-sized glasses might seem excessive compared to all of the other glassware that you’re likely to own, we think that they are a kitchen staple of huge importance. Nothing is more satisfying in the morning be it for breakfast or on the go before work than a sip of refreshing juice. Their diminutive size make them a breeze to clean either by hand or in the dishwasher, and their specialized use means that while they may not be needed for every day use, a proper breakfast can be served when you have them at your disposal.

Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and Pestle has been a staple in the kitchen dating all the way back to 35000 BC – for good reason! These utensils are essential when cooking from scratch, allowing the chef to grind, mince, or crush various ingredients into powders and pastes with supreme ease. In fact, this kitchen essential is so efficient that it has changed very little in the thousands of years since it was introduced to cooking. While electronic models have since been created and allow for automatic use, the manual model is more than sufficient for most kitchens and chef’s.

The mortar is a bowl that is generally made from a rough material – think ceramic, heavy rock, or coarse wood that holds all of the the ingredients, while the pestle is a mini club that crushes and mashes everything together. Due to the materials that they are made from, a Mortar and Pestle may be one of the heavier items found in the kitchen. Also due to the materials, they can sometimes prove challenging to clean. That being said, most mortar and pestles can be quite affordable and extremely durable, meaning that you will enjoy it in the kitchen for years to come.

Basting Brush

Any cook who has ever prepared a turkey for thanksgiving or is versed in the world of pastries will agree: a basting brush is an essential kitchen product. Also known as a pastry brush, these little hand held products assist in glazing the food of your choice in butter, oil, or an egg wash, or to help spread around a marinate and roasted food in stock or juices. When it comes to glazing poultry or coating your scones in melted butter, nothing is more effective to use than a basting brush.

Traditionally the brush end of these handheld kitchen are made with bristles that are almost identical to that of a paintbrush. This allows you to “paint” on the finish of your choosing and to ensure a proper coating. These types of brushes can be difficult to clean, and thus we recommend a solid hand cleaning immediately after each use. In today’s kitchen, you can also find many basting brushes produced of silicone. This makes them dishwasher safe for washing, a huge plus. In addition to the ease of cleaning, these brushes stand the test of time. Couple that with a relatively modest price tag, and a basting brush stands firm as a utensil that is mandatory to have on hand in the kitchen.

Mixing Spoon

Here at kitchen season, we love to stir the pot, and nothing gets that done quite like a well made mixing spoon. These utensils are beloved in the kitchen for their unique ability to aid in the cooking and baking process for a variety of different foods, from soups and pastas to home made dough and cakes. Also known as cooking spoons, these spoons are generally long handled utensils that are often made of wood or other durable materials like silicone or rubber. It’s important to ensure that the mixing spoon of your choice is properly heat resistant as chances are that it will spend a ton of time submerged in boiling water, or scraping scalding sauce out of a hot pan.

Mixing spoons are generally around 12 inches, long enough to ensure that they can properly reach the bottom of deep pots and bowls and to keep hands away from highly heated surfaces. These utensils are also amongst the cheapest products that you can get for the kitchen. Due to the friendly price point and it’s versatile usage, there is simply no excuse to not have one in the kitchen.

Salt & Pepper Grinder

Adding a touch of fresh salt and pepper can help elevate the taste of any dish. While standard salt and pepper shakers are sufficient, it helps to have a grinder handy to add a dash of each element, unprocessed, in its purest form. The simplest way to purchase these grinders is in a set, and chances are that even though you’ll be using them often, it can take a long while to run low and have to refill either grinder. Salt & Pepper grinders are also a surefire way to help control the amount of sodium or spice that you’re adding to a meal as well.

These kitchen musts can be found at almost any online retailer or brick and mortar kitchen store, and are available in a wide range of materials. We love to use grinders with glass properties, allowing you to see the amount and color of the product within. Salt & Pepper grinders in that vein can also help add a visual touch to the kitchen counter or table, another big plus in our books. Prices for salt & pepper grinders can vary to fit any budget or visual preference, but the impressive durability and functionality ensures that they will be kitchen staples for years to come.

Potato Masher

A handy tool to have tucked away in a utensil drawer, a potato masher helps alleviate some of the headaches that come with preparing vegetables and foods like peas, apples, pumpkins, and of course…potatoes! These tools help to make thick sauces and mashed vegetables by breaking down softly textured foods. While automatic mashers and mixing products are available and certainly helpful, manual potato mashers ensure that homemade mashed potatoes and apple sauce are light and fluffy by breaking down less starch while preserving a creamy and desirable texture.

Potato mashers can be bulky and sometimes prove challenging to clean. Keep an eye out for stainless steel models that can be run through a dishwasher. But when it comes time to whip together a bowl of mashed potatoes for a dinner party, you’ll be thankful to own a potato masher.

Pie Server

When it comes to pie, attempting to dissect and serve with a simple fork and knife just won’t do. Pie servers are essential for divvying up everyone’s favorite holiday desert with ease, but also help cut up cakes, quiches, and other meals served in a dish. Pie servers are affordable, and due to their generally sporadic usage do not exhibit quick wear and tear like other utensils.

Kitchen Funnel

While perhaps a less famous iteration of a device used on college campuses around the country, a kitchen funnel is a helpful kitchen tool in it’s own right. Transmitting liquid from one container to another can be a messy affair, especially when trying to navigate the narrow holes of bottles and containers. Enter the kitchen funnel – a tool ideal for transferring liquids and dry ingredients in a clean and simple manner.

Kitchen funnels are available in various sizes ensure a seamless transfer to containers large and small. Oftentimes they can be purchased in sets for extremely reasonable pricing. Funnels can be found to be made from stainless steel, plastic, silicone, and other durable materials. Since they will be coming in contact with liquids, it is essential to ensure that the funnel of your choosing is dishwasher safe. They should be cleaned after each use.

Sieve

Also known as a sift or a mesh strainer, sieves are essential in the kitchen to help “sift” liquids from solid foods, or to combine and “mesh” together dry ingredients like flour or baking powder. Similar to the colander but much more versatile, sieves tend to have finer holes that allow liquids to pass through while maintaining the desired, and smaller, particles. Most sieves are made with fine plastic or wire, and come in handy when baking or making broths and soups, or when trying to separate seeds and other small items from fruits and vegetables.
Sieves are versatile tools and despite the fine mesh characteristics have proven quite durable over time, and thus dish washer safe. Whether you’re making fresh juice or simply trying to drain a pot of pasta, a sieve is essential for helping to make the process that much easier.

Liquid Measuring Cup

Not all measuring cups are created equal, and so it is quite important to ensure that your kitchen is stocked with both liquid and dry measuring cups. Liquid measuring cups excel at giving you an accurate reading for the volume of liquid you are adding to a dish (surprise, surprise!), that could be a struggle to accurately read while using dry measuring cups. These liquid measuring cups are often made of glass or plastic to allow see-through comparison, which is extremely helpful for accurate reading purposes. The glass and plastic component also make them a breeze to clean, either by hand or dishwasher.

They also come with handles to make adding the measured liquid to the next phase of your cooking prep as seamless as possible. Most liquid measuring cups allow you to break down the volume of liquid in a variety of ways, from designations ranging from cup sizes, to milliliters, to quarts.

Spaghetti Spoon

Anyone who has spent time in the kitchen cooking pasta can attest to the helpfulness of a spaghetti spoons. These kitchen spoons are generally made from rubber or silicone, and excel at scooping and serving a portion of pasta. The material that makes up the product is important; since you will likely be using the spoon to dig around heavy sauces, it is essential to have a utensil that is simple to clean. The end of the spoon is generally flayed to help keep slippery spaghetti in place while you ladle it into each dish.

But where lies the real genius of a spaghetti spoon, you wonder? The hole in the middle of the spoon is designed to measure out a perfect serving of pasta. Pretty neat, right? Simply take a handful of uncooked spaghetti and place through the hole in the spoon. Whatever fits through the spoon is a perfect portion!

Slotted Spoon

Slotted spoons are fantastic utensils to keep handy in the kitchen. As the name implies, these spoons come with slots or holes on the face of the spoon designed to let liquids pass through while upholding solid foods or materials. These spoons help cut down on the risk of burning your skin with scalding waterSlotted spoons are used in a variety of cooking prep work, and anyone who has made a stew or a roast can attest to the value these products provide in the kitchen.

Sizes of slotted spoons can vary depending on the manufacturer and model, but it is important to secure a spoon with a long enough handle to dip down to the bottom of any deep pot or bowl. Oftentimes slotted spoons are made from stainless steel or rubber, a perfect option when considering the type of tasks it will be used in, and the ease of cleaning that they provide.

Thermometer

Ask any backyard grill master or kitchen roast expert and everyone will agree; a kitchen thermometer is paramount to properly cooking a piece of meat properly. These products are designed to get a read on the internal temperature of cooked meat, ensuring perfection each and every time. Undercooked and raw meat can get people sick, while overcooked can leave a meal lacking flavor. These meat thermometers are available in quick read digital models or inserts that you can leave in a roast during the entirety of the cooking process.

These kitchen thermometers are super easy to clean. Simply take out the metal insert and gently wash by hand. The lifespan of the digital thermometer is also incredibly long, so you will hardly have to worry about replacing it. Whether you’re preparing a Thanksgiving Turkey or simply grilling a few steaks for the family, kitchen thermometers guarantee consistency each and every time.

Box Grater

Box graters are an indispensable tool that can be to grate or zest various food products. While they might be most famous for providing a snowy coating of parmesan cheese over a steaming bowl of pasta, these tools are multi faceted. Box graters generally have multiple sides with grates and holes of varying sizes, allowing the ability to choose between different levels of thickness when grating or peeling food. These kitchen products are ideal for use with cheese or potatoes, citrus, or harder vegetables like garlic and roots.

Breaking up hard food items can be strenuous. But the box grater makes this process simple and quick. These products are generally made from stainless steel and are easy to cleanse and maintain. Skip the pre shredded containers of cheese and produce, and instead grab a box grater to keep things fresh.

Zester

Similar to a box grater but more specialized, a zester helps you get the zest and essence from fruits and vegetables. These tools come in a couple of varieties, but the essence of them is the same: to extract the favored flavor and tang to add to dishes and drinks. While these kitchen products are specialized, they certainly are quite handy. These items generally retail for extremely cheap prices, and are sure to help elevate any flavor profile.

Ice Cream Scoop

Deliver a perfect serving of everyone’s favorite frozen desert, every time. These kitchen utensils provide an easy and effective way to scoop ice cream from a pint or tub, and help keep things sanitary in the kitchen. Here at Kitchen Season, we’re certainly guilty of digging right into a pint of ice cream, using nothing but a spoon to go to town. These scoops delivers about a half cup of ice cream, and while they are mostly uniform in their design, there are slight modifications.

Ice Cream Scoops can also be used in some unconventional ways. Ensure consistent and uniform serving of mashed or whipped foods, or use to measure out batter while baking. Ice cream scoops are usually made from stainless steel or hard plastic, and as such are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

Pizza Cutter

Attempting to cut through a hot pizza with a knife simply won’t do. Chances are the cheese will splay, the crust won’t puncture, and you’ll be left with burned fingers and an unidentifiable, steaming heap of food. The solution is a pizza cutter. These utensils aren’t just suited for pizzerias. Instead, these products allow you to seamlessly divvy up pizza with ease. Whether you’re whipping up a pie from scratch or heating up a frozen pizza in the microwave or oven, these pizza cutters help make life easy.

The handheld device utilizes a rolling, wheel shaped blade that cuts through messy cheeses and sauce no matter the heat of the pie. These blades are most commonly made with stainless steel. For pizza chef’s and general enthusiasts, a pizza cutter is a handy utensil that no kitchen should be without.

Ladle

These specialized spoons come with a long handle and deep bowl, ideal for serving and pouring soups, stews, sauces, punch and other liquids. Keep the mess and spillage to a minimum with these nifty utensils that should be in every kitchen. A typical ladle will hold a half cup of liquid, perfect for portion control purposes.

Ladles can be made from a ton of different materials, with metal, plastic, and wood constituting some of the most popular options today. Keep in mind that cleaning, maintenance, and longevity will vary depending on the material. For that reason, we recommend stainless steel ladles, which are sturdy and exceedingly easy to wash.

Oven Mitts

When working around a hot oven or any other heat generating appliance, it is imperative to have a trusty pair of oven mitts handy. These insulated gloves help keep hands from being burned when removing or transporting scalding items around the kitchen. Oven mitts allow for a certain level of control as well, so there should be no spillage or mishandling of hot dishes.

Oven Mitts can be found made from cotton, although it is exceedingly popular to find silicon varieties. Depending on the material, you should be able to toss your pair of mitts into the drying machine OR dishwasher. These kitchen products deal with extreme heat and thus should be durable. While they are generally cheap, make sure that spring for quality when finding the right pair for the kitchen.