When it comes to tools in the kitchen I’m kind of a minimalist. I’m not the type of person that needs a tool designed to cut every single piece of fruit perfectly or some gadget to make the perfect crepe or omelet.

I do however want to highlight the kitchen tools I love. These are the tools, utensils, and devices that I really like and probably wouldn’t want to live without. I am an Amazon affiliate so I do earn as small commission for anything you buy from the following links, but this won’t cost you anything.


Cast Iron Skillet

I bought my cast iron skillet to make a German Pancake several years ago. I needed a pan that I would be able to put into a 500F oven. There was no way I was going to put my non-stick frying pan into the oven because it had a plastic handle that I was sure would melt. What I like about the cast iron skillet is that it holds the heat very well (because it’s so thick). The omelets I make in my cast iron skillet turn out really good because I can get a very even heat in the pan. For me I can make an omelet easier in my cast iron skillet than I can in my non-stick pan. Another thing I like is if I’m cooking a piece of meat or potatoes I can cook them on the stove top to get a nice sear, then finish them off in the oven.


Bundt Cake Pan

This is my Bavarian bundt cake pan, the one I use when I want to make the most beautiful bundt cakes! It’s made of cast aluminum for even heating and has a non stick fluted exterior. One of the things I like about the cakes made from this pan is that the fluted edges of the cake do a good job of holding a glaze drizzled on top. Besides the fact that the cake looks beautiful!


Crock Pot

I know I talk about how much I love my slow cooker a lot and honestly it’s one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I bought my first slow cooker when I was nineteen years old. I had my own apartment and I had very little money. My coworkers explained to me how I can buy some vegetables and a piece or two of chicken, put it together into the slow cooker and have a warm home cooked meal when I got home. What I remember most was walking into my apartment that smelled like someone spent hours cooking something delicious.

My wife uses the slow cooker often when she has to work. Then we can both come home in the evening and dinner is ready. Not just any dinner, but something delicious. I also use it during the week for dinner, but they’re other uses for it. For instance I’ve used it to make Homemade Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve used it on the weekend to make a dessert like rice pudding, but I use it most often to make a nice Sunday dinner. There are a lot of times when I’ll spend ten to fifteen minutes putting dinner together into the crock pot during the morning so we can go to the pool, or a bike ride, visit some parks, then I don’t have to worry about cutting the time short with my family.

This is the slow cooker that I use and I really love it. This one is much nicer than the old ones with the glass lid and the mechanical switch. It has a six quart capacity with a programmable timer from 30 minutes to 20 hours so I can set it for high or low heat for a certain time, then it will operate in a mode where it will just keep the food warm. This is nice because when I was single I would worry about the food getting overcooked if I had to stay at work longer than I planned.

One thing I really like about this slow cooker is the lid which locks into place and has a gasket to seal the food inside. This is really nice if you’re making something to bring to a party so there’s no worrying about the lid coming off in the car and food spilling all over your trunk. This is what sold me on this slow cooker.

CLICK HERE for more of my slow cooker recipes.


Cutting Board

This is one of the cutting boards I use and my favorite by far. I’ve used a few different kinds of cutting boards, but I like this one the best. It’s a decent size and I like the soft rubber material. The rubber grips my counter so it doesn’t slip around, even when it gets wet, like when I’m cutting a watermelon. If I’m using this cutting board, and I need a clean surface I can just flip it over and use the other side. I would never do that with chicken though. I think I go a little overboard when I cut raw chicken because I always clean my entire area to prevent any cross contamination.

We’ve had a couple wooden cutting boards, but they either ended up getting ruined in the dishwasher or breaking in half. Having a cutting board that’s dishwasher safe is very important to me. That’s another reason I like this cutting board. The other cutting board we have is made from glass. It may look pretty, but I just don’t like the feel of cutting into something onto a glass cutting board. The noise a knife going across the glass cutting board is kind of like nails on a chalk board.


Kitchen Chopper

This is my kitchen chopper that I use whenever I have to chop nuts, herbs, chocolate, and sometimes even fruit and vegetables. This chopper comes apart easily and is dishwasher safe. One thing I really like about this chopper is the soft rubber base. When one of my kids is using the chopper (too hard) it doesn’t do any damage to the counter. This brings me to one of my biggest reasons for recommending this product. My kids use this kitchen chopper and I’m always telling them they don’t have to slam the handle down so hard, but it has never broken. Like most of the products I endorse, this one is kid tested.


Waffle Iron

This is my waffle iron, the Oster Flip Belgian waffle Maker. One of the reasons my waffles always turn out good is there’s an indicator light to let you know when the waffle is done cooking, along with an adjustment dial for the cooking time. The iron itself has a one and a half inch Belgian surface that’s nonstick. There’s also a removable plate under the iron itself to catch any batter that overflows from the waffle iron.

Joy of Cooking

This is Joy of Cooking, a cookbook I would highly recommend. This book has more than just recipes, but information on the food itself and the techniques used in the recipes. It’s more of a cooking encyclopedia with over 4500 recipes that are easy to follow. If you’re just learning to cook, then this is a must. I reference my copy of Joy of Cooking all the time.


The Flavor Bible

The Flavor Bible is a book I have in my kitchen that I reference all the time. Here is how the book works; there’s a listing of just about any ingredient that you could possibly cook with along with what other foods and spices would taste good with that particular food. Now say for instance you’ve got this ingredient that you’ve never tasted before. Well this book will tell you the flavor, if it’s sweet, salty, bitter. If it’s a fruit or vegetable you can find out the seasonal peaks. Then it will list all the other ingredients and spices that taste really good with this ingredient and also ingredients to avoid. There are even techniques on how to cook this ingredient.

This book has really allowed me to get creative in the kitchen and play with different flavors and spices. If I’ve got a bunch of apples, but I want to do more than just eat them, I can look up apples and see they pair very well with cinnamon, cream and ice cream, allspice, nutmeg, raisins, butter, and both white and brown sugar. That sounds really good. Now I can also see that apples can be baked, caramelized, deep fried, or grilled. Now I’ve really got some ideas for the apples.

But maybe I wanted to make something savory with the apples, maybe for a nice dinner. I can see that apples go together with beef, chicken, duck, pork, onions, along with spices like basil, cumin, parsley. There’s a lot of options, way more than I listed here. Under apples I counted a little over one-hundred ingredients.

I think this book is a must have in your kitchen and I highly recommend it.


Piping Starter Kit

You’ve probably seen me using a piping bag in some of my recipes. I’ve taken the first three Wilton’s cake decorating classes so I’ve got a lot of piping tips and other cake decorating tools. The way I first got started though was by purchasing this starter kit. This kit comes with some piping bags and four piping tips. There’s a lot you can do with just the four tips in this kit, such as rosettes, stars, drop flowers, zigzags, pull-out stars, lettering, and even filling the inside of cupcakes. If you don’t know what all of those patterns are, that’s okay because this kit comes with instructions too.

When I first bought this kit I set up all four piping tips with a piping bag and filled them all with frosting. My family and I sat down together and had a great time piping frosting onto dinner plates. When we squeezed all of the frosting out of the piping bags we just scooped it back into the bags and started over. We had a really fun time playing with the different tips, seeing what king of pattern they make, squeezing out stars trying to get some consistency.


Chef’s Knife Set

This is the chef’s knife set that I use and what I recommend. As far as Chef’s knifes go they can get kind of expensive, but this one is not. This knife not only comes with a vegetable paring knife (that I also use all the time), but a pair of scissors. I use the scissors for making my S’mores Cup dessert and for trimming skin off chicken. The scissors are really sharp!

Pastry Blender

If you don’t have a pastry blender I would recommend getting one. This tool will make it easy to combine cold butter into a flour mixture, which is important when making pastry dough. I use mine a lot when I make Homemade Pie Crust and Homemade Pop Tarts. This is the one I have. Not only is it very inexpensive, but durable as well. It has lasted over fourteen years.


Pampered Chef Server

So you’ve already made some delicious recipes from my my website or you’re going to make them soon. Are you going to bring them to work or a party? Because I know you want to show off the food you made. Either way you’re going to need something to bring it in right?

I recommend, the Pampered Chef Chillzanne Rectangle Server. I’ve had one for years and I always use it for bringing food like this to parties or work. It comes with an insert and removable dividers. The insert will keep your food cold if you store it in the freezer beforehand. A nice thing about the insert is that one side is flat and the other side has cut outs specifically made for deviled eggs.


Muffin Pan

If you’re going to bake cupcakes or muffins you’ve got to have a good muffin pan. The nicer of my two muffin pans is a Wilton Muffin Pan with a cover. The pan has a cover that snaps into place so you can bring cupcakes or muffins to work, a party or even to a cake decorating class. The pan itself is made from a non-stick material and I’ve never had a problem with anything sticking inside the cups of the pan. Coming from someone who bakes a dozen muffins each week this is a good muffin pan.


Garlic Press

You’ve probably noticed that in a lot of my recipes I use fresh garlic. The way I incorporate the fresh garlic cloves is by using a garlic press. I have two garlic presses in my kitchen and this one is my favorite. The reason I like this one so much is because it’s made of stainless steel with soft non-slip handles, and I know I’m not going to break it. I also like this one because it’s easy to clean.

I mentioned that I have two garlic presses in my kitchen and the Good Cook Touch Garlic Press was half the price of my other one that I have broken. This is one of my essential tools in the kitchen and this is the one I recommend.


Digital Kitchen Thermometer

I use this thermometer when cooking chicken, pork, beef, or any other meat. I even use it when I’m roasting a turkey on Christmas, and for heating up oil for frying. This is the thermometer I use and I’m really happy with it. I’ve used thermometers for years and I like the digital display much more than a dial with the tiny little lines.

I always had a hard time looking at the little lines, and by the time I was able to read it the temperature changed. Another thing I like about this thermometer is that there is a hold button, so I can press that button then pull the thermometer out to look at it without the reading changing. This thermometer is worth the small investment.

Blender

This is the blender I have, the Black and Decker BL2500S. It has twelve speeds, and an outer shell of stainless steel. I’ve had a couple blenders in the past, but they weren’t as nice as this one. Black and Decker is a trusted name for tools and it has definitely held up. I use it to make Italian Ice, crepe pancake batter, pâté and for making pesto. Then my kids started making smoothies. I was certain it was going to get broken, but this blender has passed the ultimate test, the kid test. The kids break everything else in the house, but not the blender.

Mandolin

This is my mandolin and I really like having it. I use it to slice not only apples, but cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, and anything else I want sliced thin. This mandolin comes with a julienne blade for cutting French fries, and a wavy blade to make fancy potato chips. Then of course there’s an adjustment so I can make my slices any of the four settings, 1.5mm, 3mm, 4.5mm and 6mm.

The blades all store inside the body of the mandolin that opens up, but also locks in a closed position for storage. Of course this is also dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to clean and it has a soft non-slip handle. If you want to slice apples, or any other vegetable like these fast and have the slices consistent, then the mandolin is the only way to go.

Electric Griddle

This is the electric griddle that I have and I would recommend it to anyone looking for one. My wife and I got it as a wedding shower gift almost fourteen years ago (that’s why it’s a different color than the griddle you may see in pictures) and it works as good today as it did back then. This skillet provides an even temperature on a flat surface that I use to make pancakes, French toast, grilled cheese, quesadillas, and I’ve even used it to cook eggs over easy.

I can honestly say that I probably wouldn’t be as successful with pancakes if I was using a pan on the stove top, especially when I’ve used a squirt bottle to make pancakes in the shape of hearts or other designs. Besides, with this griddle I’ve got enough room to cook eight pancakes at a time.