If you love to cook, you probably already know that part of the success of your final product is having the tools you need to do the job. Having essential kitchen tools creates a functional space where you can bake, stir fry, sautee, or whatever your dish calls for. 

But what are the essential kitchen tools? We looked at the items a professional chef uses to create our list. Granted, as a “chef” in your home, you don’t need everything an industrial kitchen needs. So, we have pared it down a bit. Securing these tools will assist you in preparing your meals easily. Rest assured that these tools are basics and won’t break the bank!

Essential Kitchen Tools: Cookware

Stock Pot

A 12-quart stock pot is helpful when you are cooking bigger batches of soups, stews, and pasta. The larger base ensures even heating so your food cooks evenly.

Non-Stick Frying Pan

Every home needs a non-stick pan for preparing breakfast because eggs and pancakes are best made on a non-stick surface. It’s versatile in that you can sear meats, saute vegetables such as sauteed spinach, and make sauces in this pan. Be sure to use non-abrasive tools on the surface so as not to scratch the non-stick coating. Having a couple of different sizes allows you to cook more than one thing at a time!

essential kitchen tools


A 4-quart saucepan is great for cooking something with liquids such as pasta, beans, vegetables, and simmering sauces. It is easy to handle and is handy whether you are cooking for one person or four. Either non-stick or stainless steel works fine. If seafood pasta is on your list of favorite meals, you’ll want a saucepan that’s large enough to boil water for your noodles.

Sheet Pan

Sheet pans are what you need for roasting vegetables, baking meats, toasting nuts, and baking cookies. Sheet pan dinners are popular because everything is cooked at the same time on the pan, making it an easy and hands-off weeknight meal.

Glass Baking Dish

Glass baking dishes are perfect for casseroles, egg dishes, and enchiladas cooked in the oven. An 8-inch baking dish fits into a microwave when you need to pre-cook or fully cook vegetables and your oven and cooktop are occupied.

Essential Kitchen Tools: Utensils


Knives are essential kitchen tools. If you are on a budget and only have money for one knife, get a chef’s knife. You will find that you use this knife 90% of your prepping time. Alternatively, you can rent housewares from a reputable, local company if you want a diverse selection of knives at your disposal. For example, each knife serves a different purpose. A serrated knife slices through tomatoes and bread easily and a pairing knife is used for smaller jobs such as coring tomatoes and peeling potatoes.

Measuring Spoons

Measuring spoons are used for more than just baking. Whenever you need exact measurements, you need a measuring spoon (for instance, when you are measuring spices and dried herbs).

Measuring Cups

If you are a baker, you absolutely must have a set of measuring cups, but they are also helpful for cooking every day. A 4-piece set is great for measuring dried ingredients and small amounts of liquid. A 1-quart or 2-cup glass measuring cup is convenient and efficient for measuring liquids. These can serve a dual purpose by being large enough to make sauces and vinaigrettes in the cups and then pouring them into whatever you are cooking.

Wooden Spoons

Using wooden spoons protects your cooking surfaces and they will last a very long time. Get a set that has a variety of sizes and types.


This tool may be called a fish-turner, but it can be used for many other cooking jobs apart from cooking fish. The wider base is perfect for flipping burgers, over-easy eggs, pancakes, and fish. It has a thin, beveled edge that is easy to slide beneath the foods you are flipping and the slots allow grease to drain.


It’s so much easier to peel potatoes with a sharp peeler than a knife. Use a peeler to remove the peels of vegetables, make veggie ribbons, or shave off cheese.


While forks are handy, a whisk is quicker and more efficient for emulsifying ingredients like vinegars and oils. Beating eggs or egg whites needs a whisk. You’ll find that you can use a whisk frequently in your kitchen.


You will find having a set of tongs to be essential for flipping big pieces of food and moving food around in a frying pan or on a sheet pan.

Essential Kitchen Tools: Other/Miscellaneous

A Cutting Board

A cutting board is an important tool to have when you are prepping–cutting vegetables and slicing meat. A good grippy cutting board protects your fingers during the prep work. It is good to have several cutting boards in different sizes to prevent cross-contamination. Plastic cutting boards can be put in the dishwasher to fully disinfect them.

A Colander

You will find that you grab a colander throughout your cooking to strain foods such as draining pasta or rinsing vegetables. You may also want to have a strainer with smaller, fine holes or mesh for catching small solids.

Prep Bowls

Prep bowls in different sizes help you organize ingredients as you cook. You can find these as glass, stainless steel, and collapsible plastic depending on the space you have for storage.

Can Opener

Many cans have tab openers now but you will still need a can opener for canned beans and vegetables that make cooking quicker. When you need a can opener, nothing else does the job!

Immersion/Stick Blender

An immersion blender suffices for a big blender when you are making pureed soups, single smoothies, creamy vinaigrettes, and dressings. Perhaps it’s not one of your essential kitchen tools, but it is so much easier than using a large blender–easy to use and clean.

A Salad Spinner

A salad spinner may not seem like one of the essential kitchen tools but, if you are making a large salad, you will find it to be indispensable. When your lettuce is wet, salad dressings don’t adhere well and your tacos and sandwiches will be soggy. A salad spinner gets rid of water in seconds! You can also use it to dry fresh herbs.

Get Your Kitchen in Top Shape with Essential Kitchen Tools

If you have the “cooking bug,” use our list above to fully outfit your kitchen so you are ready to tackle any dish. And, on your nights off, head over to NC Seafood Restaurant in Raleigh to experience the delectable dishes we offer. Our fried seafood will surely satisfy your tastebuds, and you may just get inspiration from your meal!

Order from our seafood menu online and sign up for our monthly newsletter below.

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