Selecting kitchen essentials may initially sound more challenging than it actually is. And with pretty much every kitchen item being branded as a ‘must-have’ essential, and with more brands than you can name and endorsement after endorsement from celebrity chefs and cooking shows, how can one even know what truly makes an ‘essential’ anymore? To help you out, we’ve tasked our decorators to dish their go-to kitchen essentials for your home.
Trying to prepare food without a good-quality chef’s knife is difficult. Chopping and cutting is much easier with a high-quality knife, and you will be surprised at how much more efficiently preparing food is with one of these in your kitchen essentials set.
They stay sharper for longer and you can do so much with them. They’re real workhorses and are surprisingly flexible and will last for a lifetime.
If you are going to invest in a high-quality chef’s knife, then you will need a knife steel to sharpen it. Keeping your knife sharp is the best way to prolong its life and keep it chopping well. Investing in a good quality steel will help you sharpen your knife more easily and will ensure you don’t ruin it.
SMALL PARING KNIFE
A small paring knife will do everything a larger chef’s knife can’t do. They are great for peeling vegetables, for slicing softer fruit and vegetables, and better for more intricate work. You’d be lost without one of these in your kitchen – one of the most vital small kitchen essentials.
There’s no other way to easily slice bread than with a bread knife, making it another must for your kitchen essentials. Bread knives with thin blades do the best job on a loaf of bread and are easier to handle than heavier knives with thicker blades.
Swivel peelers make peeling so much easier and less clumsy – they save you time and are easy to handle and get acquainted with. If you’ve been using an old-fashioned peeler, a swivel peeler will be a revelation and is definitely one of the more modern essentials for the kitchen.
A good potato masher can be hard to come by; you may be surprised at how much they vary in quality. You want a sturdy masher, that will make light work of your mashing potatoes.
Every kitchen essentials list needs a whisk – a rubber handled balloon whisk is perfect for whisking requirements. They are comfortable to hold and will make lighter work out of creating sauces and dressings in a way that a fork can’t, and you’ll be able to whip up desserts with ease.
A pair of tongs are a life-saver when it comes to essentials for the kitchen. Gone are the days of flipping things over with a fork. Invest in a pair of tongs made from silicone so you can use them with non-stick trays and pans. Tongs are perfect for serving spaghetti as well, if you don’t have a spaghetti server.
Metal turners may look the part and look wonderful hanging with the rest of your set, but a plastic turner will come into its own as one of your essentials for the kitchen. They can be used on non-stick pans and are also more flexible than their metal counterparts.
Perfect for stirring and scraping down the sides of bowls and containers, silicon spatulas help you waste less food, are easy to clean, and are perfect for all pots, pans and bowls. They are also more hygienic than wooden spoons, too.
Chopping everything on a work surface isn’t always practical, or hygienic. Chopping boards are easy to keep clean and they protect your surface from damage and staining. Plus, you can flip them over for a clean cutting surface as you work in the kitchen preparing food – an obvious addition to your kitchen essentials set.
A good can opener will last you a lifetime, but it can be hard to find a decent one. Take time looking at reviews before you buy one, as they vary hugely in effectiveness and quality – the most expensive isn’t always the best.
Invest in a can opener that comes equipped with a jar opener too, so you won’t have to struggle. A good can opener should top your list of small kitchen essentials.
Measuring cups should be part of your kitchen essentials as cup measurements are used in loads of recipes and can be handy for scooping all sorts of things. If you don’t have much space in your kitchen, go for measuring cups that stack into one another to save space.
A set of measuring spoons will come into their own as part of your kitchen essentials – choose a set which has at least 4 spoons in it (ranging from ¼ of a teaspoon to a tablespoon) as you’ll use them all the time when cooking.
A glass measuring jug with imperial and metric measurements is a must-have addition to your list of essentials. They don’t cost much either, making them both useful and cheap kitchen essentials.
Traditional kitchen scales are a fail-safe option. It can be tempting to go for high tech, electronic versions of these kitchen essentials, but if you want your scale to last you a lifetime, then a traditional set of kitchen scales is perfect.
You don’t have to replace batteries and there are no electronic parts and digital displays to go wrong.
GLASS MIXING BOWLS
A set of glass mixing bowls (we’d recommend a set of 3 at least) are definitely essentials for a kitchen. Having multiple mixing bowls is really handy – you’ll be surprised at how often you need more than one.
They can be neatly stacked to save space, and glass is perfect for microwaving, while ensuring the contents of your bowl are well-mixed, too.
A good sieve can be used to sieve things like flour and can be used in place of a colander to drain vegetables. Choose a well-made sieve with medium-sized mesh to get the most use out of it (this is one of those cheap kitchen essentials that you will use way more than you think).
A good grater makes a big difference with your kitchen essentials. You want a sturdy grater with at least 4 different grating options on, and classic ones are the best.
Stronger than scissors, kitchen shears will help you save time in the kitchen, and they are a flexible tool as well. You can use them for cutting meat, herbs and for chopping the stems off of flowers – you will get a lot of use out of a good pair of shears. Good shears come at a price, however, so be aware that they aren’t cheap kitchen essentials.
Baking trays should be part of your kitchen essentials set. You don’t have to spend big on baking trays, but a set of 3 non-stick baking trays, in varying sizes, will be sure to see you right.