Common Kitchen Tools & Utensils

Equipping your first kitchen is a daunting task, and the variety of cooking tools and utensils available is overwhelming. The kitchen tools you choose will depend upon a variety of factors, including your budget, the size of your kitchen, how often you cook and your cooking skill. However, a few basic kitchen tools are necessary for general cooking.

Pots and Pans

A cutting board and a set of kitchen knives are basic tools needed in most home kitchens.

Pots and pans are essential for cooking and baking.  They come in a variety of shapes, styles and materials.

For-low fat cooking, choose nonstick cookware, which allows you to cook with less oil.  Stainless steel is also available.

Purchase skillets, sauce pans in varying sizes and a stock pot for cooking pasta, soups and stews Bakeware is made from a variety of materials, including aluminum and glass.  Bakeware comes in all sizes and shapes, from round to square to rectangular, and is sold based on the measurement of the pan or the amount of food the pan will hold.

Sheet pans, pizza pans, loaf pans and muffin tins are types of baking pans you may need in your kitchen. 

Bowls and Colanders

All kitchens benefit from having mixing bowls in various sizes for baking and cooking.  Bowls are available in metal, glass and plastic.

Colanders are used to drain pasta or to clean vegetables and are made of wire or plastic. 


Measuring cups and spoons are necessities for the home cook.  Measuring cups may come in a set, with each cup holding a different measurement.

Alternatively, you can buy single measuring cups, often glass, in 1- or 2-cup sizes, with markings designating the different measurements.  Separate cups are useful for scooping dry ingredients, while single cups with a pouring spout simplify measuring liquid ingredients Measuring spoon sets usually comprise several spoons ranging in size from 1/8 tsp.

to 1 tbsp.  These spoons are often held together on a ring.

Cutting Boards and Knives

Cutting boards are essential for cutting meats, vegetables and breads without harming your kitchen counters.  To prevent cross-contamination, purchase a few cutting boards and designate one to be used for meat and poultry Knives cut meat, vegetables, breads and any food that needs cutting.

Knives come in a wide variety of styles based on how they are to be used.  A chef's knife, which you can buy in large or small sizes, is able to cut most foods and is a cost-effective choice for the beginning cook.

But a mini-chef's knife if you aren't comfortable with a large one. 

Spoons, Tongs and Other Utensils

Choose spoons, spatulas and tongs depending upon the type of pots and pans you have.  Manufacturers of pans with a nonstick coating recommend that you use utensils made of wood, as hard plastics or metals scratch a nonstick surface.

It is best to collect a variety of types of utensils.  Include large spoons for stirring, slotted spoons and deep ladles to dip out soups and stews.

A whisk makes it simple to mix wet ingredients or prepare scrambled eggs.  In addition, purchase at least one spatula.

A pasta fork is useful for dipping out pasta without making a mess.  Tongs make it simple to move meat and other food items.

You might also purchase a potato masher, meat fork and cheese grater for some of your recipes. 

Can and Jar Openers

A can opener is necessary for opening cans of vegetables, fruit or broth.  Can openers come in manual and automatic.

Jar openers come in a variety of sizes and styles, and make opening tight jars of spaghetti sauce, olives and other ingredients simple.  Jar openers and electric can openers are very helpful for anyone with arthritis or other hand and wrist conditions.

About the Author

Based in the southeastern United States, Annabelle Brown began writing in 2000. She specializes in health, nutrition, education and pets. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Tech and is pursuing a Master of Science in English from Radford University and a Master of Education at Wright State University.

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