My Top 12 Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essentials

I got the idea for this post after a recent phone conversation with a friend who is also an avid home cook like myself. If you cook often, then most likely there are certain essential go-to tools that you always reach for. I like tools that make life easier and improve efficiency. As with everything else in life, my approach in the kitchen is about quality over quantity because you can't go wrong with high performance tools that you get a lot of use from and well made tools that are built to last are worth the investment. Functional basics like knives and cookware should be the focus and I would actually recommend against specialty tools or appliances unless you will be using them regularly otherwise it's just a waste of money and space.

1. Scanpan Nonstick CTX Wok

I make a lot of stir fries and sautés and this is my go to wok. I've had a number of them and this one is by far the best one I've ever used. Made sustainably of 100% recycled aluminum, it is built to last and distributes heat evenly. The ceramic titanium PFOA-free non-stick interior is safe, cooks well with very little oil and cleans easily. This was my first Scanpan. I have been happily using it regularly for 4 years now and it's still like new. My only gripe would be that it's a tad heavy but I guess I can get a workout in while cooking. It is suitable for induction and gas ranges. Non-stick pans are very useful but it's best to avoid ones that are coated in polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), aka Teflon as they may pose a health risk since they can release toxic fumes at high temperatures.

2. Global Classic Chef’s Knife

A high quality chef’s knife is a must because it's all purpose and you can pretty much get by with just this one knife. You really don't need a bunch of knives. I swear by this Global G2 8-Inch Chef's Knife which I bought after Anthony Bourdain recommended it in Kitchen Confidential. I remember purchasing it for $80 and thinking it was cool looking and expensive but that $80 turned out to be money well spent since I've had it for about 15 years now and I use this same knife for almost everything. The cost per use is practically negligible at this point. It is razor sharp, ergonomic, versatile and easy to maintain. I get it professionally sharpened every few years but other than that I just sharpen it at home once a month with a manual sharpener and I use a honing rod regularly to condition the blade. The only other knife I own is a paring knife and I also have a pair of kitchen shears which are quite useful for food prep. I used to use a Chinese cleaver but I gave it away because it was a PITA.

3. Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage

I love these sturdy containers which feature a space saving design and airtight locks. They look great and I use them for everything for storing leftovers and sauces to cut up vegetables and fruit. The best part is that they are leak proof and are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.

4. Scanpan CTX 4qt Covered Sauce Pan

This sauce pan is in heavy rotation as I use it to make soups, stews, congee and noodles. It heats up quickly and evenly and features the same recycled aluminum core with ceramic titanium PFOA-free non-stick interior surface as my wok. The glass window on the lid is helpful to see how my cooking is going. It was a little expensive but I believe that good cookware is worth the investment especially if it lasts for a long time. I plan on replacing all my cookware with this brand eventually.

5. OXO Small Salad Spinner

Even when I buy pre-washed salad mixes, I always give them a good wash because you just can't be too safe. I have a salad spinner because I like salad greens to be clean and crisp. And when I clean and run my lettuce through my spinner, it gets them nice and dry so they can keep in the refrigerator even if I don't use them up right away. This salad spinner is engaged with the press of a button on the top making it so simple to operate and it has a brake and locking mechanism for storage. I also like how the strainer basket doubles as a colander and the bowl can also be used for serving. 

6. KitchenAid Classic Blender Spatula

This silicon spatula is designed to be used with blenders but I also use it for cooking, stirring and scraping. The narrow design allows it to reach deep so I can get the most out of my sauces and whatever I'm making or using. Have I mentioned that I don't like waste.

7. Handheld Citrus Reamer

I start each morning with a glass of water and a mug of lemon water. It has incredible benefits. I also use lemons and limes in a good number of recipes as well as make my own lemonade. That's where this citrus reamer comes in to make sure that I get every last bit of juice out of my fruit. 

8. Benriner Mandoline Slicer

I'm all about efficiency and tools that can elevate my efficiency in the kitchen and that's what this mandoline is for. There is a little bit of a learning curve to using this but if you follow their instructions, you will get super thin slices and perfect juliennes with little effort. My favorite use for it is shredding cabbage and doing it with this is just so much quicker than with my knife.

9. KitchenAid Contour Silver 5-Cup Mini Food Processor

I actually upgraded from the 3-cup version of this mini food processor to the larger size earlier this year and I wish I didn't wait so long. I use it for a variety of purposes like batch mincing garlic and onions, finely chopping vegetables for dumplings, grating potatoes for pancakes, chopping nuts and whipping up sauces, dips and dressings. It's so handy and makes life so much easier while also saving me time.  This was such a lifesaver when I was dealing with neck/shoulder pain. The bowl, blade, and lid are all dishwasher-safe but most of the time I just end up cleaning them in the sink.

10. Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender

I replaced my old Kitchenaid blender with this Vitamix a few years ago and I fell in love with it the first time I used it because it was so powerful and quiet. I use it mainly for my breakfast smoothies and it's also very handy for soups, summer treats and most recently hummus which blends up in a flash.

11. Zojirushi 3 Cup Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer

We are an Asian household so a rice cooker is a must! I love this rice cooker because it makes it so simple and foolproof to cook a variety of rice and grains and I can easily make steel cut oatmeal in it as well. It doesn't make congee like our old one but I prefer  to cook that on the stove anyway. I really want to try making fluffy Japanese cheese cake in it.

12. Cosori Air Fryer

I started out with an entry level air fryer which I got on sale and found it so useful that I made the switch to this larger capacity digital model. I'm loving it's versatility and ease of use. Besides air frying, I use it for roasting, baking, toasting, etc. This is especially great during the summer since I can make entire meals in this without heating up the entire kitchen and clean up is a cinch. I use it the most for quickly roasting vegetables but I've cooked chicken and fish in it and also make my own tortilla chips. I love that I'm constantly discovering new things I can make in it.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the 8 Items I Always Have In My Pantry. What are some of your kitchen essentials?

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Evi Erlinda said...

These kitchenware items are so appealing! I like to use mandoline slicer and food processor, with them my cooking process is faster and fun!

Paola Lauretano said...

Such an interesting selection, so many useful items here!
Kisses, Paola.


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Hena Tayeb said...

Great picks. I'm usually too lazy to take my mandolin out unless I need a large amount of something sliced I usually just do it my self.

Emmylou said...

Oh my gosh! I have the Global G-4, chingu! I bought it for $99 on sale at Williams Sonoma about 10 years ago, and remembering what a good deal that was. Love that thing so much and I think I even did a blog post about it:D Great minds think alike:D
And I really must get an air fryer soon....

Corinne said...

The long spatula looks life-changing haha! I think the thing I couldn't live without the most would be some tongs!

Corinne x

R's Rue said...

I need that pan. Thank you for sharing.

The Exclusive Beauty Diary said...

These kitchen deices would like amazing in my kitchen. Thank you so much for sharing.

New Post -

Jackie Harrison said...

They all makes your life simpler in the kitchen. Have a great week.

Paola Lauretano said...

Have a lovely day darling!

Kisses, Paola.


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Steph-G said...

Ive been cooking a lot since quarantine and I now appreciate the value of good kitchen tools and appliances. Great post! Maybe you would wanna check out my latest post


Dressed With Soul said...

Oh, super equipment! My most important essentials in the kitchen are a good knife and a cutting board :) But I see I can improve what I have :)
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

FashionRadi said...

I'm not the biggest cook but these kitchen essential would definitely make cooking a bit easier and faster.

Mica said...

I cook because I have to, not because I particularly enjoy it, haha! So I don't have a lot of gadgets in my kitchen but I do have very similar glass containers - they are the best and definitely an essential! We use ours for a lot of different uses too!

Hope that you are having a good week! :)

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