Your kitchen cabinets could hold so much more than you think
Since the world is full of thousands of different foods, it makes complete sense that there are some utensils that are unique to certain cultures. Just as you are unlikely to find an electric stand mixer in Vietnam, where baked cakes are not as common as they are in the United States (and where electricity is fickle), you probably won’t see a jaffle iron in America. Don’t know what that is? Keep reading. Here are nine kitchen utensils you won’t find in America.
9 Kitchen Utensils and Gadgets You Won’t Find in America
Since the world is full of thousands of different foods, it makes complete sense that there are some utensils that are unique to certain cultures. Just as you are unlikely to find an electric stand mixer in Vietnam, where baked cakes are not as common as they are in the United States (and where electricity is fickle), you probably won’t see a jaffle iron in America. Here are nine kitchen utensils you won’t find in America.
Æbleskiver Pan (Denmark)
Æbleskivers are Danish apple pancakes that are somewhere between a pancake and a popover; they are popular enough to warrant their own special pan. Æbleskiver pans are usually cast-iron, and their good heat retention lets the æbleskivers become soft on the outside and airy on the inside, like a doughnut that sits less heavily in your stomach.
This small pot — it could fit in the palm of your hand — is used to make Turkish coffee. Attached to a long handle, the best cezves are made of copper, as copper conducts heat very well. The smallness of the pot lets the finely ground coffee, sugar, and cold water combine at their own pace — you should never stir or try to somehow modify this process, or your coffee will become muddy-tasting.
Escargot Tong (France)
Since escargots are drenched in garlic butter and are thus very slippery, it is almost impossible (and highly gauche) to hold the shell in your hand as you poke your fork into it to find the silky meat. That’s where the escargot tong comes in. Use it to achieve a tight grip on the shell with your non-dominant hand so you can get a good view of where you need to poke before you get in there with your fork.
Jaffle Iron (South Africa)
Grilled cheese lovers and camping enthusiasts, pay attention. A jaffle iron lets you prepare your sandwich over a fire, which gives your bread a fragrant, charred taste that pairs excellently with freshly melted cheese. Just put your prepared but unheated sandwich on one side of the press and fold the other side over it before holding it over a fire. Stop just when you see the cheese rimming the iron start to bubble. In India, jaffle irons have ridges crossing the inside that split the square sandwich into four small triangular pieces.
Masala Dabba (India)
Instead of keeping all your spices in their individual containers, you could just empty those bottles and put your spices in a “masala dabba,” or spice box. These circular, stainless steel boxes are made of two tiers of several smaller circular compartments. There’s so much to love about masala dabba. They are very portable — take them along if you’re cooking at someone else’s house and are worried they won’t have the spices to which you are most partial. They fit easily into drawers. They let you smell the full scent of your spices before you add them to your food, which is one of life’s small pleasures. And they seem rather steely and utilitarian on the outside, but open the lid and you’ll encounter a beautiful, colorful vision.
Potato Chip Grabber (Japan)
Love potato chips but hate how oily they make your fingers? Japan has a solution. Potato chip grabbers are sort of like those back scratchers, but click a button and the fingers grasp items like potato chips or popcorn. Think about how much easier your life would be if you could eat potato chips on the subway without having to worry about unsanitary hands (though you would have to worry about how ridiculous you’d look).
Raclette Grill (Switzerland)
Raclette grills are not just useful: they’re also a great appliance to gather around in a social setting. You’ll feel like you’re having an indoor campfire. A two-tiered grill, the top part is for grilling vegetables and meats, while the bottom is for shallow, individual pans where you melt delicious raclette cheese. Pull the pans out by their handles when you’re ready to dip your meats and vegetables.
Move over, spork. The splayd combines a spoon, fork, and knife. Rather than the rounded bowl you would see on a spork, a splayd has semi-sharp geometric edges that easily cut foods that aren’t too hard, like the crust of a tart. When eating foods with a lot of sauce, you’ll love that you can pack in flavor by scooping up extra sauce with the spoon portion.
Wok Brush (China)
So simple, yet so useful, a wok brush is a broom-like brush made of bamboo that cleans wok (and other) pans in detail, getting into the small crevices that your sponge might miss. It’s like a whisk that you can clean with. It’s so simple and organic, but gets rid of the most stubborn stains.
These Are the Best, Most-Useful Kitchen Utensils
Stocking a new kitchen can be daunting. Which tools should you get? Which ones should you save on and which are worth the splurge? (Our advice to you: Skip the fancy, expensive utensil sets. They often come with unnecessary tools. You don't need three sizes of spatulas and a pizza cutter that you may or may not use once every two years.) Instead, heed our concise and specific list below of the most-useful kitchen utensils to buy (not included: all of the knives you should own).
Buy a locking pair, which will fit neatly into your kitchen drawer or utensil crock. Tongs are great for flipping heavy pieces of meat or tossing salad. When you wield a pair to stir pasta, you never have to worry about noodles sticking to the bottom of the pan. And you can use them twirl and elegantly plate your noodles. Plus, tongs are useful for removing baked potatoes from the oven, flipping roasted veggies or even scooping out an avocado.
Large Metal Spoon
Trust us, there are myriad uses for a large metal spoon, such as basting steak in a big wave of butter or dolloping out a big helping of mashed potatoes to go with.
This is imperative for lifting foods out of liquid — think: fried food out of oil or veggies out of blanching water. They’re also great for removing greasy foods like bacon out of the skillet to allow extra fat to drain away.
Two words: scrambled eggs. Opt for a large balloon whisk, which will powerfully whip your creations, whether you’re whipping cream for fresh berries, aerating pancake batter or stirring cheese sauce for mac and cheese.
There’s nothing quite like a rubber spatula when it comes to neatly scraping batters out from bowls. It’s also great for nonstick skillets because it won’t scratch the surface. At the end of the day, if you own a rubber spatula, you don’t really need to double up on a wooden spoon. They’re both effective ways to stir.
Thin Metal Spatula
Sometimes called a fish spatula, thin andflexible metal spatulas are invaluable for flipping delicate foods like scallops, or getting underneath foods that are stuck (like a batch of brownies).
For starters, a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors is useful for opening up packages of food or cutting parchment paper. You can also use them in cooking, like clipping the wings off a chicken or removing its backbone.
Kitchen Gadgets For A High Tech Kitchen
The cool kitchen gadgets are the ones that make your life easier, and just look plain awesome. Spiralizer 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer is the kitchen staple for anyone trying the paleo diet, or going gluten free—you can craft pasta out of zucchini, turn your vegetables and raws into brand new creations. For an extremely low cost, you get five different blade options, and endless recipes you twist out. Worried about just how low-cost it is? Spiralizer gives you a hassle-free, no questions asked lifetime replacement warranty. With a deal like that, you can’t afford not to dive in headfirst. You may also like some of these best salad dressing containers from our list, so check them out.
Nespresso became the Keurig of the espresso world. Pixie’s going to hold up to ten Nespresso pods, which operate in the same way as a K-cups. You’re not restricted to using the miniature espresso measurement cup included with the machine, either. The drip pan and spout are far enough apart to accommodate tall 16-ounce glasses. (I mean, that’s a lot of espresso, but we won’t judge). Ever used an espresso machine before? Then you know how it has to load pressure and heat with this model, you wait a whopping thirty seconds, and you’re good to go. Bold, hot espresso in no time.
To go with your new Nespresso Pixie: why not make it a latte? Whether you’re going hot or iced you’ll be able to froth your milk frother with the flick of a switch. It doesn’t take long to froth, and holds 8.25oz of milk (with room for the froth, that is). Epica Automatic Milk Frother is an essential kitchen gadget piece crated with stainless steel and comes ready right out of the package. No need to fiddle with an instruction manual simply plug, and play.
Darth Vader Toaster is a kitchen gadget that speaks for itself. If you haven’t seen the original trilogy, you’ll be lacking a deep appreciation for including Star Wars in your everyday meal. Brand the name and logo onto your toast while Darth Vader uses the dark side to give you the perfect crisp. (Some say that the adjustable thermostat is to thank, but we know it’s really Vader’s doing). Officially licensed, this toaster comes with a completely removable crumb tray for easy cleaning. A great gift for foodies in your life.
Okay, so KLEMOO 48-Needle Meat Tenderizer looks a little medieval, but it turns your cheap cuts into succulent and mouth-watering steaks in no time flat. 48 needles, crafted of stainless steel, plunge down into your cuts and tenderize every impact area all at the same time. You’ll never need another meat tenderizer. Mallets don’t really do the trick they turn your food to mush if you’re not careful. This lasts a lifetime and does a far better job than any method used prior. It pays for itself after the first three steaks buy chuck, and taste filet mignon. Be sure to also check out our list of the top meat cleavers for more great items like this.
If you’re a fan of using fresh herbs in your recipes (and who isn’t?) you’ll be doing double somersault backflips for this nifty little money saver. If you’ve ever tossed out herbs after they’ve turned, you’ve thought about how expensive those little stalks of leaves were. Herb Saver fits right inside of your fridge and holds your herbs for up to three times longer. It’s completely BPA-free, and dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to worry about anything being absorbed by your herbs. (The flavor also leaves when you wash it, so your rosemary won’t smell and taste like thyme from the previous batch.)
If you want fine-cut spices (especially if you buy cinnamon sticks) or the perfect coffee grinds, you can get them all in the same device. KRUPS came out with the solution to all of our kitchen-based problems with one simple tool. This 200-watt motor is perfect for high volumes of coffee as if it were nothing. Get enough grinds for 12 cups of coffee in a single batch, or grind grains and herbs—it’s good for everything.
Ever wanted to smoke your meats and other foods, but you don’t have a smoker? More than that, who has the time to actually wait for their meats to smoke? This handheld smoker is essential for those who want that beautiful smoky taste, but live in an apartment, or somewhere that they don’t even allow grills. PolyScience Smoking Gun produces cold smoke—yes, that’s a thing now—so you don’t have to worry about excessive heat or outputting too much. This kitchen gadget model comes with two packs of branded wood chips to get you started.
Philips isn’t just America’s favorite brand of mid-grade small appliances, they’re Italy’s number one choice for pasta makers. Not only does this beautiful Pasta Maker give you a pound of pasta in about fifteen minutes, but it also comes with four separate shaping blades for spaghetti, lasagna, fettuccini, and penne. Cleanup’s a breeze, and it comes with a packet with a bunch of different pasta recipes. The possibilities for Sunday night dinner are endless.
We didn’t think it was possible, but until you try this fantastic kitchen gadget, you won’t believe it. Pop Pizzazz Countertop Roasting Oven on top of your counter, and get ready to enjoy amazing pizza. The top piece rotates around the edge of the roasting plate, giving you the even crisp around the pizza that you’ve been wanting. It’s also the perfect alternative to microwave for reheating wings and leftovers without drying them out. Our handy guide to smart kitchen gadgets features more great products like this.
Come on, it’s always exciting when a new kitchen gadget for the kitchen doesn’t require electricity in the slightest. Use the SodaStream C02 bottles to carbonate your favorite brand of water, and while you’re at it, why not toss in a little bit of flavor? The number of creations at your disposal are endless with the included recipe book. Apart from that, the BPA-free, all-inclusive bottle comes with a twist cap to prevent carbonation from leaving the bottle, so you can store them for later. Find more great products like this by checking out our soda makers review.
We don’t all have the time (or the cash) to go through the breakfast drive-thru every day. Instead, use inexpensive ingredients at home and make your own breakfast sandwiches with Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. In four steps, you’ll be able to enjoy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on English muffins or bagels. You can mix and match and make some of the most delicious alternatives to spending your money on fast food breakfast. Your waistline will thank you in the end, too. Our selection of the best panini presses offers more great breakfast options like this.
It’s a downright awful idea to chop your vegetables and your raws on the same cutting board. Salter Chopping Board Set is designed for different foods, such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, or whatever else you can designate the use for. These won’t absorb any bacteria or juices from your preferred foods, so long as you don’t scratch them up beyond repair. If you could, we’d applaud you since these are extremely durable. BPA-free and ready to ride in your dishwasher, these cutting boards will be your only chopping blocks for years to come.
Nobody can properly mix up a salad. You get one bite with too much parm, another with heavy vinaigrette, and it’s just a hodgepodge. With Oxo Stainless Steel Salad Spinner (with counter grips along the bottom), you get to toss all the components of your salad inside, and use the push-button to spin everything around. The interior comes with an integrated cullender to drain unnecessary amounts of dressing. Hey, we’ve all done that before—now you can make the perfect salad, every single time, without fail.
When you go for a thermometer, you always get the runaround: this one’s for candy, this one’s for meat, this one-stop it! You don’t need a dozen thermometers for those possible occasions. AMIR gives you an all-in-one option that promises what the packaging says. It goes from -58F to over 500F, so even if you’re broiling French onion soup (I don’t know why you’d want to temp it but to each their own), you’d be able to pop in the thermometer, and not risk compromising the piece.
We all remember the infomercials. NutriBullet became one of the most sought-after kitchen gadgets for guys in numerous countries because it made things simple. We don’t want to spend a lifetime in the kitchen for healthy solutions. If you’re big on your health, and your time is short, the NutriBullet gives you all the highlights, without all the filler. Bottled options from the grocer are expensive and unnecessary (not to mention the lies on the packaging), but with the NutriBullet, your protein shakes and Mean Green’s are only made of what you put into them, giving you’re the perfect pre and post-workout drink.
How many times have you been trying to look at a recipe in the kitchen on your iPad, and you keep getting foodstuffs on it, or worse (I’m not saying I’ve dropped mine into a vat of Italian spaghetti sauce, but I’m not saying I didn’t). The HoverBar holder has the solution by holding your iPad while you watch the video, or read from popular recipe sites. Clamp it onto your counter or a cabinet door, and you’re good to go.
The ultimate of all cooking gadgets for men—we want to enjoy scotch while we sear up this steak, okay? It’s been a rough day. Without watering down your top-shelf liquor, chill them with an ice ball. The surface of each individual ice cube melts into your drink, diluting it within minutes. With an ice ball, the surface slowly melts since there’s more concentrated cold inside, chilling your drinks with ease. Flamen Easy Ice Ball Maker is BPA-free, and dishwasher safe.
We’ve all seen them on crazy restaurants on Food Network, but you can actually make them at home. Cheddar cheese-stuffed burgers, mushrooms, and swiss, whatever you want. Grillaholics Stuffed Burger Press is an essential kitchen gadget for anyone who enjoys putting a twist on classics, and entertainers who are looking to surprise their guests. This is dishwasher safe, BPA-free, and comes with a lifetime warranty. No questions asked, just return it and get a new one (not that you’ll need to).
We all have those cheap knockoffs in our kitchen drawer. Those knives that don’t really make the cut (pun intended). With Premium Class set of five stainless steel knives, complete on an acrylic rack, you’ll be able to slice and dice without worrying if your plastic handle is going to release the blade, or if it’s going to rust in the dishwasher. It’s an eye-catching piece that’s certain to set the tone for how much of a boss chef you are in your own kitchen.
NerdChef Steel Stone is the essential plate for anyone looking to cook pizza at home. Ditch the ceramic, and get on with your pizza-loving life. This has twenty times the conductivity of any ceramic pizza dish, giving you a faster crisp on the bottom, and a more thorough cook all throughout. It comes preseasoned with flaxseed oil and is guaranteed to be unbreakable. (I mean, it’s a solid plate of stainless steel. Kudos to you if you find a way to break it.)
We all want a cooler way to shred meats. Want that perfect steak and cheese? Don’t pay an absurd amount for pre-shredded meat, just grab a cheap cut and do it on your own. You’ll be tenderizing the meat as you go, giving you the most inexpensive sub you’ve ever had. (Seriously, those things get to be expensive.) As they say, “We know Bear Paws Shredder Claws will make your barbeque epic.”
11 Kitchen Tools You Don't Really Need
Save money (and cabinet space!) by discovering new uses for your old standbys.
These days, it seems like every recipe requires its own special pot, pan or gadget. But do you really need a panini press, mandoline or other expensive gadget just to try out a new dish? Not only does it make you hesitant to experiment in the kitchen, it can also get pretty costly. Tired of shelling out on kitchen equipment&mdashhowever handy it may be&mdashwe turned to Kate Merker, food & nutrition director for Woman's Day, and Cynthia B. Keller, a chef instructor at Culinary Institute of America, for advice on how to use what you already have in your cabinets to achieve what one of these specialty cooking tools can do. The results: A win-win for your pocket book and dinner table.
Griddles are great for pancakes and fried eggs because they have a big, flat surface to cook on. However, their size (which ranges from 20"x10" to 23"x17") make them a beast when it comes to counter space and storage. But a cast iron skillet with a flat bottom will do the trick since it doesn't warp when you put it on the stove, and you'll get a relatively even heat conduction, according to Keller. Plus, she adds, "If well-conditioned, they become naturally non-stick." In a pinch, a sauté pan would also work, she says, but they are prone to getting a hump in the middle, which will cause uneven shapes and heating.
A steamer is a terrific way to cook vegetables without adding fat, but there's no need to add one to your already-crammed cupboard. Instead, simply place a wire mesh strainer or metal colander directly inside your cooking pot filled with water. If your lid won't fit after placing either inside, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top and seal it around the pot. Note: Be sure the strainer or colander is heat-safe or made with stainless steel (it should be clearly labeled). If you're not sure what the material is, you should avoid using a strainer or colander for this type of preparation because it may contain lead solder, which can leech into your food.
It only takes one mess to learn that, if a recipe calls for a funnel, you should use it. The trouble is, you never know exactly what size you'll need and storing larger diameter funnels is a pain. Fortunately, it's a breeze to construct a makeshift one. For wet ingredients, trim off the bottom section of an empty plastic soda bottle (about 3 inches down from where the neck slopes) and turn it upside down. This will work for practically anything except when you're home canning jellies or jams, as the high temperature can cause the plastic to warm and become misshapen. For dry ingredients, create a simple cone shape from parchment or wax paper, holding it in place or taping the sides.
When a recipe calls for fresh-squeezed juice, forget a reamer or handheld juicer&mdashsimply use a large pair of tongs (about 6- to 8-in long). Place a halved citrus fruit into the V-shape near the hinge along the top of the tongs and squeeze the handles together.
A mandoline will give you precision when slicing fruits and vegetables&mdashbut it's expensive and can be dangerous if you don't know how to handle it properly. Instead, use a vegetable peeler. It may not be as quick or uniform in slicing, but you can still achieve paper-thin slices and long curls of vegetables or fruit peels. For maximum efficacy and control, find one with a handle that comfortably fits your hand, and (carefully) slice towards the body.
If you like chicken rollups and veal scaloppini, a mallet is a must&mdashbut instead of keeping this Medieval-looking device around just to occasionally pound out some meat, go for a small sauté pan instead. Sandwich the meat between two layers of plastic cling wrap and have at it with your makeshift mallet. Keller likes to use an 8- or 9-in pan, because it has "a nice, broad flat surface and hits the meat evenly." You could also use the sides of a heavy can wrapped in plastic, but a sauté pan will be easier to handle.
A sauté pan won't give you those signature grill lines, but it will provide all the toasty, gooey sandwiches you can handle&mdashwithout spending $40+ on a bulky, one-use gadget. Start with a sauté pan that's clean and not made of copper (which oxidizes). Put your panini in it and place a heavy cast iron skillet on top in order to press the sandwich down flip your sandwich over once the bread is toasted. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, place a sauté pan on top, weighing it down with three or four large cans (around 28 oz) of soup or vegetables. Another option is to place an aluminum foil-covered brick on top of the panini in lieu of another pan.
Unless you're piping an intricate design or delicate embellishments, skip the pastry bag (which is a bear to clean) and opt for a zip-top plastic bag that you can toss when done. Small sandwich bags break easily, so it's best to use a gallon-size, heavy-duty freezer-safe bag. Like you would a pastry bag, add the frosting or filling (about halfway up or less), press it down gently into one bottom corner and twist the leftover bag at top to close it off. Snip the corner off as desired (the higher up you cut, the bigger the line will be) and pipe away.
Great as it may be for cooking fowl, the roasting rack doesn't get much play beyond Thanksgiving. Skip the hassle (and cost) by creating a small ring or S-shape "snake" out of rolled foil that's about 1/2-in thick. Place it in an aluminum roaster pan and then set your bird on top of it. For an even easier option, layer chopped onions, carrots and celery on the bottom of a pan, about 1/2- to 1-in deep, and set your bird on top. It's just enough room to let the air circulate&mdashwith the added benefit of roasted vegetables for later.
Unlike some other items on the list, a rolling pin isn't usually pricey. But it does take up space and, unless you love to bake, it's seldom used. In its place, wrap a wine bottle (full or empty) with plastic cling wrap and work away as you would with a pin. The wrap will keep it from sticking and prevents a full-bottle from getting messy. If you're working with dough for pie or shortbread cookies, ensure it stays cool by using a full bottle that's been chilling in the fridge for a bit.
A wok retains heat well and provides a lot of surface area for quick-cooking meats and veggies. However, its 14" diameter makes storage a challenge while the bowl shape limits its usage. A large sauté pan works just as well for stir-fries and can be used for many other types of dishes. Keller advises picking up one that has a clad bottom and good weight to it, which will "hold the heat nice and high, and disperse it evenly." Avoid lightweight, non-stick pans, which won't conduct heat well enough.
The 30 Best Kitchen Essentials on Amazon With Insanely Good Reviews
The kitchen can be overwhelming. There are so many little (and big!) things we need to stock it that we often end up buying whatever we spot first at our nearest convenience store, which isn&rsquot always the highest quality. That&rsquos why we searched high and low on Amazon to find the very best kitchen essentials for you.
We rounded up everything: knives, dish towels, whisks, coffee machines, measuring cups, dish racks, cooking utensils&mdashyou name it, we found it. It&rsquos time to replace those &ldquoeh, these will hold me over for now&rdquo items you quickly threw into your shopping cart the day before you moved in, and replace them with these raved-about kitchen must-haves. While you&rsquore at it, check out a few of our editors&rsquo all-time favorite kitchen gadgets that have stood the test of time, including waffle makers and grapefruit spoons. (Spoiler: They&rsquore all from Amazon.)
13 Tools Our Test Kitchen Staffers Can't Live Without
These are the kitchen tools Food Network test kitchen staffers have fallen head-over-heels in love with.
Photo by: Peter Stark/Getty Images
As members of the Food Network culinary team, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen, both at home and at work. Like an invaluable coworker, we’ve all got our go to kitchen tools that we wouldn’t want to cook without. Like a true love story, everyone has their “meet cute” moment and has a list of reasons why won’t break up with this tool. Some of our team are so committed that they have more than one back-up on hand, so they’re never without it — a bold move in our tiny New York kitchens. Here are the tools we swear by, and think you will too.
OXO Silicone Turner
I discovered the OXO Silicone Flexible Turner while running a recreational cooking school. This tool was everything I’d ever wanted. The turner-end of the spatula has a flexible metal core that is still rigid enough to lift a burger patty or scrape a pan, and thin enough to wriggle under any cookie or pancake. You don’t have to worry about damaging your pan because the surface is completely encased in a high-heat resistant silicone.
I've gone all-in on this spatula — I own three. We also have a bunch in the test kitchen, and when I travel to film a cooking show I make sure we have a couple there too. Too much you say? Wait till you try it.
— Michelle Warner, Food Stylist
OXO Citrus Juicer with Built-In Measuring Cup and Strainer
I add a splash of citrus to finish off at least one dish a day, which means that I always had some combination of a reamer, a strainer, and lemon seeds in my sink, along with a slightly squeezed lemon half in the fridge.
This juicer has streamlined the whole process! I first discovered it after I kept seeing it pop up when my favorite food personalities made cooking videos. It eliminates all the other tools and gives me a place to keep the juice that I don’t use. Plus, now that I have decided that I am also a mixologist (thanks, quarantine), I use this to measure the citrus for my cocktails. Everyone wins.
I should probably buy a couple more just in case (though I will say, it is surprisingly sturdy). I can’t go back to the slightly squeezed lemon halves in my fridge. I’ve seen the other side. I won’t go back.
— Larisa Alvarez, Managing Culinary Producer
Small Offset Spatula
I first discovered the small offset spatula in culinary school when we entered the pastry portion of my program. However, I quickly realized that this tiny tool is incredibly useful in savory cooking as well. Once I started working at a restaurant at the end of school I immediately purchased one of my own it’s been true love ever since.
It’s obviously great for frosting a cake or easing a pastry from its baking dish. However, I also love using my offset spatula for shmearing soft goat cheese on a crostini and flipping small ingredients, like tofu in a frying pan. It’s flexible for sliding under delicate pastry dough, but sturdy enough to slice through chilled butter. I guarantee you’ll find uses for this tool in many different aspects of cooking.
I actually own at least three now, so I’m good to go if one of them walks away.
— Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer
Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers
The first time I met this magical peeler was in culinary school. My chef instructor was using it during a demo in a knife skills class and it was as if he was on an infomercial. Right after that class, I picked one up and never looked at another peeler again!
The swiss peeler allows full control of how thin or thick you want your peel to be from a fruit or vegetable. When making a curl of citrus zest I am able to easily remove it without too much pith, which can be quite bitter. I can peel a potato with one swift motion. Last but not least, I can use this to create thin ribbons for a quick and easy salad with a carrot and zucchini!
This love is true I always purchase a three pack so I have two for backup. Also, I have gifted one to every member of my family so they too can understand the wonders of this peeler. Plus when I cook in their home, I have one handy!
— Vivian Chan, Culinary Producer
I grew up in a household where everyone used chopsticks to eat. As I grew older, I saw my mom cooking with them almost exclusively. They are so versatile, you can whisk, stir, flip, hold anything! We never even had tongs in my house because these were all we needed.
As a food stylist, I love to use them on photo shoots to style food. They are great when trying into reach into a tight shot and adjust a plate to look it’s best.
They're pretty easy so find, so you never are at risk of being without them.
— Jackie Park, Food Stylist
OXO Stainless Steel Tongs
I’m sure I used tongs growing up on our home grill, but it wasn’t until culinary school and then working the line in restaurants that I fully understood why a good pair of tongs reign supreme.
A good pair feel like an extension of your hand. You can easily grab hot pans from the stovetop or oven, turn vegetables or meat on the grill, toss and serve pasta and (my favorite as someone who is 5’3”) grab things off a high shelf.
But not all tongs are created equal. These OXO tongs lock and unlock confidently and smoothly, and open wide enough to grab large items. The rubber lining on the side of the tongs are comfortable and prevent hand fatigue as you use them. The stainless steel tips are also great for grabbing small items, like a single stalk of asparagus, or large items like a whole chicken. I even have used them instead of a spoon to stir in a large pot.
— Melissa Gaman, Recipe Developer, Food Network
OXO Mini Softworks Whisk
I came across this mini whisk in the kitchen of the family I worked as a private chef for. I found myself using it so much that I ended up going out and buying my own to add to my tool kit.
It’s great when you need to mix things of small quantity, like a sauce or a vinaigrette. A lot of times I like to make a dressing directly into a measuring cup or mason jar and a regular whisk or rubber spatula is just too big. I also use it when I make a stovetop sauce or even a ganache because its easy to handle and is small enough to get in all the nooks and crannies of a pan or bowl. And lastly, its small to store and can be cleaned with the rest of the silverware in the dishwasher. No fuss!
I can’t live without it! I own at least three. That way if one is in the dishwasher, I have a clean one on-hand ready to use!
— Jessica Widmer, Recipe Tester
OXO Mini Tongs
Before culinary school, I only ever used the large grill tongs outside in the summer months, on the grill. During culinary school, I was introduced to using the small OXO metal tongs. I use them for moving and flipping meat whilst searing, frying, boiling, braising and grilling! It is a true extension of your hands.
If and when my trusty tongs ever break or malfunction, I have two more backups in my kitchen tool drawer!
— Matthew Skrincosky, Food Stylist
I first discovered the fish spatula when I started working in restaurants in the late 1990s — basically forever ago. The combination of being incredibly thin with a slight curve at the tip makes it so easy to slide the spatula under so many things for flipping not just fish. I also use it for pancakes, burgers, frying eggs. It’s wide, but not too wide, so it is also easy to maneuver around a crowded pan and for dislodging things like roasted potatoes or removing cookies from a baking sheet, the possibilities are endless. Don’t get caught up in the fish part of the fish spatula. Super versatile!
— Steve Jackson, Food Network Magazine Test Kitchen Director
I met this amazing tool at my first restaurant job. I worked pastry, but figured out early on that after their knives, all the line cooks prized their Peltex fish spatulas, even the guys who didn't cook fish.
I don't cook a lot of fish, so don’t be mislead by the name. This tool is the perfect trifecta of skinny and flexible and sharp. That means it's perfect for sliding under EVERYTHING you are frying, sauteeing, roasting on a sheet-pan: If your latkes need to be removed, those wide holes will let the oil pass through, or if your roasted vegetables are sticking to the pan a bit, the sharp front edge helps you chip of the sticky part, then continue to slide under, lift and flip or toss while draining the aforementioned fat.
I love that it’s small and lightweight with a short handle which makes it is easy to maneuver and gives you a lot of control without choking up. You can also get the right angle to flip a burger or piece of fish in a little high-sided pan. And yet. the spatula part is long enough for perfect lifting and turning longer fish fillets.
This tool is everything and more to me. I've owned my fish spatula for 10 years . Even now as I reflect I can’t believe I don’t have a back-up and I will be purchasing a second immediately.
— Miriam Garron, Senior Director, Food Network Kitchen (The Place Not the App)
Rhoda Boone, Food Director: Rimmed Baking Sheet
Quite simply, you can't have a sheet pan dinner without a rimmed baking sheet. But rimmed baking sheets can also be used to roast whole chickens and turkeys or make a batch of Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. For Rhoda, it has to a be a restaurant-quality half sheet, and it has to be well-seasoned.
TrueCraftware Aluminium Commercial Baker's Half-Sheet Pan, $11 at Amazon.com.
It's the only pan Rhoda needs—and the only one she wants.
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Ali Nardi
Best Cookie Spatula: OXO Good Grips Silicone Cookie Spatula
If you make cookies, you absolutely need this spatula. The design is perfect for sneaking under baked cookies on the cookie sheet, even when the cookies have spread or are close to the edges of the pan. If you’re making bar cookies, this is ideal for getting those brownies or lemon bars out of the pan, too.
The soft silicone edge won’t damage nonstick surfaces or gouge baking mats, yet it’s thin enough to slide easily under the cookie while the rigid center keeps the cookie flat, so it won’t crack or break. The cookies slide easily off of the nonstick surface of the spatula.
You can also use this to transfer unbaked cookie dough to your baking sheet, and the rounded edge of the spatula can be used to scrape dough from spoons or the corners of a mixing bowl.
When you’re done baking, you can use the spatula for savory foods like small burgers or pancakes. Since it's heat resistant to 600 degrees, you can safely use it in very hot pans, and the spatula is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
25 Kitchen Gadgets So Genius, You'll Wonder How You Ever Lived Without Them
If you've ever been cooking and thought, "I wish there was something to help me with this," well, the good news is that it probably already exists. Thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to find useful kitchen gadgets you never knew existed before. The hard part is searching for the best choices out there, but not to worry, because we're here to help.
Ahead, we curated a list of the hottest tools out there right now to make your life easier. From popular air fryers to digital measuring cups and fun mini rice cookers, no doubt you'll want them all. Keep reading to shop and snag a few.
Our Favorite Kitchen Tools That Helped Us Cook Our Way Through 2020
In 2020, it's safe to say that we all found ourselves spending more time cooking than ever before. We may not want to admit how many batches of Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies we baked or how many recipes didn't turn out just the way we planned, but we can all agree that, as this year comes to an end, our cooking skills are the best they've ever been. We also learned which essential cooking tools deserve to take up some of the coveted space in our kitchen cabinets. These are the tools and gadgets that helped our editors enjoy their time in the kitchen a little more by making cooking and cleaning a breeze.