DESPITE WHAT SOME INFORMERCIALS might have you believe, you don't need every gadget under the sun in order to make weeknight cooking easier. In fact, all you need are a few trustworthy tools that will help you get the job done well and fast. Our test cooks spend a lot of time in the kitchen developing recipes, so we went straight to them to find out what their go-to tools are. Here are the seven kitchen tools our test cooks rely on at work and at home, and what you should look for when you’re stocking your own kitchen.
Thermometers take the guesswork out of knowing when foods are done. In the test kitchen, this is vital for ensuring success—especially when we’re working on more than one recipe at once. If you want to stock your kitchen well, invest in an instant-read thermometer, an oven thermometer, and a clip-on probe thermometer for cooking meat, deep-frying, and candy-making.
Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4
Knowledge is power, especially in the kitchen. We love this precise, quick-reacting instant-read thermometer because more control means less stress and better results.
We use a chef's knife for just about everything, from breaking down tough squash to butterflying a roast. A sharp, comfortable chef's knife is the most important tool in your kitchen, and using it properly is essential. So before cutting into anything, make sure your knife is sharp. A sharp knife is a fast knife, and a dull knife is an accident waiting to happen.
Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 8" Chef's Knife
Our top chef’s knife is something you’ll still be grateful you got twenty years from now. How do we know? We’ve tested chef knives over the past 20 years and this is our top-performing blade, every time.
We love a bench scraper in the test kitchen for cutting clean edges into baked goods, but we also use it for a variety of other kitchen tasks. It’s a great tool for cleaning up your station, and gathering and transporting ingredients easily to a pan.
Although they're not a necessity, we like to keep a few squeeze bottles on hand. They’re perfect to use for oils bought in a bulk. Pour some oil into a squeeze bottle and refill them to your liking. We do this in the test kitchen with our winning olive oil, California Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Squeeze bottles are especially great for recipes that call for slowly drizzling oil into a vinaigrette, because they make it easy to control the flow and speed of the oil. Many of our test cooks use this handy appliance at home to store and serve sauces neatly—making beautiful designs on plates to impress guests for get togethers.
A heatproof silicone spatula is one of the busiest tools in our kitchen and can’t be beat for certain tasks. It’s very durable—withstanding high heat in a skillet or oven. Our winning spatula, Rubbermaid 13.5” High-Heat Scraper, even has a clean-rest feature that keeps the blade from touching countertops, reducing the possibility for cross-contamination.
Rubbermaid 13.5” High-Heat Scraper
This model may feel oversized, but the long handle offers good leverage in deep bowls and pots. In the test kitchen, we love that we can open the oven and grab this handy device to easily stir something around if needed.
Freeze-Tite Clear High Cling Freezer Wrap
At an unusual 15 inches wide, this plastic wrap is the only consumer-grade product that we’ve found that can cover our large cutting board with a single sheet. It’s great for smaller jobs too.
Tongs have so many uses in the kitchen: handling and frying tortillas, rotating and transferring a roast, stirring and portioning angel hair pasta, dredging and frying chicken-fried steaks, and lots more. This tools grip comes in handy for grabbing and transferring just about everything.
TIP: If you ever find yourself without a bottle opener, open a bottle by sandwiching the cap between the handles and gently pulling to pop it off.
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs
Tongs look simple, and they should be. This model is comfortable to use, not only because of the silicone-padded handle but also because the tension doesn’t strain our hands or wrists.
Many of our test cooks are working on more than one recipe at a time and as we know, timing is everything with recipes. That’s why we rely on our trusty kitchen timer in the test kitchen. With our winning kitchen timer, OXO Good Grips Triple Timer, we’re able to track the time of up to three different things at once and easily tell them apart with individual unique alarm sounds.
OXO Good Grips Triple Timer
Save yourself unnecessary stress while cooking with this winning kitchen timer. It’s great for timing long events—just type in the time the recipe calls for and move onto the next thing without any worry.
What’s your go-to tool you use often in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for some new gadgets to add to your personal collection, browse our newest kitchen equipment reviews. And for more articles on our test cook's favorites check out the articles below: