Cooking Utensils and Equipment

Having adequate cooking utensils and equipment certainly makes cooking much easier but most of us cannot afford to start out with everything. As you probably know, I started my cooking with only minimal items and I know many today cannot afford everything.  I often tell that when I started out, it was with a bowl and only a couple of pans. I used a teacup for a measuring cup and silverware spoons as measuring spoons. This is how my mother taught me. I believe I learned so much better because I had to be able to “judge” more by looks and feel.


Today, we have many people who are trying to learn how to cook and just do not have all the cooking utensils and equipment that we would like. Do not let that stop you! I do suggest to everyone who are beginning to cook to ask friends and relatives if they have any extras. This is not only for your small utensils but also bowls, pans, spoons etc. When you cook, you can never have enough. Many older people, who no longer cook big meals, would like to give theirs away if someone would pick them up.


Yard sales are another place you can find cooking utensils and equipment with low prices. Every yard sale that I have stopped by has had lots of items for the kitchen. If you cannot afford to buy these items, just start as I did and add to your utensils along the way. The main thing is just to get started learning how to cook; this alone will save you money.


The following list of cooking utensils and equipment is a guide to a well equipped kitchen. You may want to revise the list to your own needs. As you cook, you will run across other equipment, which you will think will be useful to you and want to add to your kitchen. Some equipment may double for different jobs. If you purchase good quality products, they will usually last longer and be worth the additional expense. Buy a few at a time, as you need for doing your recipes.

COOKING UTENSILS AND EQUIPMENT A-E

A lot of people love an APPLE CORER; no matter how many apples I use, I always do it by hand. I guess I never got into the habit of using an apple corer.

I do not use my BALL CUTTERS too often; occasionally in the summer for melon balls. You may choose to use one more frequently.

A BASTER is a very convenient gadget to add to your kitchen collection. It has a bulb which sucks up marinade or other liquid so it makes basting while roasting or baking very easy.

All sizes and shapes of BISCUIT AND COOKIE CUTTERS come in so handy for garnishes, pie crust trims, all kinds of decorating as well as cookies. Years ago, I started out with only one round biscuit/ donut cutter.

BLENDER is convenient for some jobs especially if you do not do a lot of cooking; this is a personal opinion.

You might think you will never use a BOTTLE OPENER AND CORKSCREW but I use both quite often. If you cook with wine you will need a corkscrew.  I use a bottle opener almost every day on the lids of my canning jars.

BOTTLE or WINE STOPPERS are important to keep on hand if you cook with wines. These expensive ingredients often come with corks in the bottles. While removing these corks, sometimes they will break apart. It is necessary to replace these corks to seal the bottles tightly to save the content.

I know many people who use a BREAD MAKER all the time. I make my bread by hand but I do know this item does a wonderful job in mixing and baking many types of bread. This might be something you want to try.

Of all the cooking utensils and equipment, I think BUFFET WARMERS are a luxury item that I cannot do without. They are very convenient to have if you ever have guests, especially doing buffet meals. I have always kept two in storage because they allow you to place the food on the serving table without worrying about it getting too cold.

You cannot have enough BRUSHES in the kitchen; brushes for utensil scrubbing, vegetables, jars, bottles, pastry, tiny ones for decorating tips and other small items and I keep plenty of new paint brushes in multiple sizes (I actually prefer the paint brushes in the disposable type.)

Different sizes of CAKE SPATULAS are a necessary item if you make and frost many cakes. The various sizes serve different purposes. For example, the long one is very helpful in achieving an even and smooth top.

I never found it necessary to purchase a CAKE TESTER which I include in my list of cooking utensils and equipment. I simply use toothpicks and discard after using. (NOTE: When I was young, Mom used a straw from the broom. She taught me to pull one out of the broom, wash and dry it thoroughly before using. It works great!)

A hot water bath CANNER makes canning fruits and tomatoes fast and easy. This also makes an extra large pot to use for other cooking.

A CANNING JAR HOLDER is a great item when canning. By strongly gripping hot jars from the canner, it saves many burned fingers.

If you are going to be canning, you will need to have lots of CANNING JARS from this list of cooking utensils and equipment. Having these jars around will not just be for canning but for numerous uses. They come in handy if I want to give a neighbor some homemade soup or for conveniently storing smaller quantities of ingredients like baking soda.

There are numerous uses for CHEESECLOTH in the kitchen. Keep some on hand; you will be happy you did.

CHOPPING BOARDS are a necessity in the kitchen; several are preferable if you do a lot of cooking. If you are cooking a large meal, you might use one to cut meat or poultry; it needs thorough washing before cutting your salad vegetable. Having extras saves time.

A COFFEE GRINDER is a necessity if you like to make coffee with freshly ground beans. You will also find it very useful to grind may other ingredients.

COFFEE MAKERS are available in all types and sizes; from 1 cup and up. If you entertain coffee drinkers, you will want to have one in your kitchen. I have always had an 8 cup percolator for every day and one which makes 100 cups for when we had company.

I rarely use my COOLING RACK simply because it is not large enough for the quantity which I cook and I do not have the space now for what I need. I do not find this to be a necessity but you may.

CRINKLE CUTTER comes in handy if you like to add garnishes; good for cutting cucumbers, carrots, squash, etc.

DECORATING SET is nice to have if you like to “fancy up” your cooking, even a little for your family. There are many different sets; pick one which appeals to your style.

DOUBLE BOILER is convenient to have. I have used a smaller pan inside a larger one and it worked. With a double boiler the bottom one will hold the top one above the water so you do not have to hold it up. The top pan is usually used for cooking heavy sauces so they do not stick.

A set of DRY MEASURING CUPS (1/2, 1/3, ¼ and 1 cup sizes) allows for accurate measurement of dry ingredients by being able to level the top off with a knife.

An EGG POACHER makes this job easier. It depends on how you like your poached eggs, but a poacher makes the eggs without all the water. Actually, the eggs are like boiling the eggs in the shell so they are left with no water on them. This is what I like but some people, like my dad, would not like a poacher because of this.

EGG SHAPERS are nice when cooking eggs for sandwiches; they shape the egg nicely and evenly round. However nice, these are not a necessity.

I feel an EGG SLICER is nice but not a necessity. I have one but do not use it too often.

Many cannot do without an ELECTRIC CAN OPENER in their kitchen; I have had a problem with these going bad. I keep and prefer many different hand non electric models in my kitchen.

COOKING UTENSILS AND EQUIPMENT F-J

I have included FANCY VEGETABLE CUTTERS in my list of cooking utensils and equipment. These are nice but quite often you can use small cookie cutters if they are sturdy.

FLOUR SIFTERS are a necessity in the kitchen.  I keep several on hand; different sizes are convenient. Occasionally one might break but also you may want to sift different ingredients at the same time - such as flour, confectionery sugar and cocoa.

I have several FOOD CHOPPERS but have never found them to work as well (or hold up) as my food processor. 

I have had a FOOD GRINDER since I was married starting with a non electric one. This one still works great but they also are available in electric and I have one attached to my large mixer. All these are good; this is a necessary item in my kitchen.

I love my FOOD PROCESSOR; it has so many uses. I almost never use a blender since I went to the processor.

All kinds of FOOD WRAPS are of utmost importance in my kitchen so I have listed these with cooking utensils and equipment. I always keep jumbo rolls of plastic wrap which I use every day. I also could not be without foil and freezer food bags; sizes for quarts, gallons and 2 gallons. I keep plenty of parchment paper and wax paper; most of the time I will choose the parchment but sometimes I find wax paper works better for certain projects. NOTE: What is Parchment paper? I love Parchment Paper; it is a little stiffer than wax paper and can be used to line cake pans and has many other uses. It is grease resistant and peels right off the cake after baking.

FREEZER is a necessity for me to have in my kitchen because I do so much cooking. If you have a family, I suggest the investment in one. You can buy food on sale and in bulk which saves a lot of money. Freezers are available in upright, chest and commercial styles and in many sizes. 

FREEZER TAPE comes in handy for long term meat storage. Usually when purchasing bulk meats, it will come in plastic wrap. I like to double wrap it in freezer paper and taped to keep it fresh longer.

FUNNELS in a variety of sizes are very convenient for the kitchen; they save a lot of messes.

I could not live without a good GARLIC PRESS. I use mine every day but I have broken so many to find the one I now use. Most are put together “poorly” and will not hold up under heavy use.

GLASS MEASURING CUPS are great for liquids; it is harder to spill liquids for these. I like having sizes in 2 quarts, 4 cups, 2 cups and 1 cup.

A GRAIN MILL is a necessity if you like grinding fresh grain and it can be much cheaper to buy in bulk and grind your own. These come in many sizes, types and in many different prices.

I use my GRATER/ SHREDDER all the time; I could not be without it.

GRIDDLE is nice if you want to grill several sandwiches at a time or cook a lot of pancakes at once. Otherwise you can do most of these things in a skillet. Although I do not consider this to be a necessity, I do think it is convenient to have.

I could not be without a HAND MEAT TENDERIZER. Look for a heavy duty one because they take a lot of abuse. I use mine to pound chicken breast to obtain and even fillet, to pound pork tenderloin for sandwiches and for tenderizing certain beef steaks.

I use a HAND MIXER quite often because of the convenience which it offers. It can be used at the stove, sink, table etc because it is so easy to move.

HEAVY SKILLET is a must in the kitchen; I love iron skillets; one of mine is over 50 years old. It has been used almost every day and still as good as new.

There is a big difference in JUICER brands; the one I have removes all the juice leaving only dry pulp. I could not be without it.

COOKING UTENSILS AND EQUIPMENT K-P

I have included a KITCHEN CLOCK AND MINUTE TIMER with cooking utensils and equipment because they are necessary items in the kitchen. The timer will prevent many “burns” for you; a few minutes pass very quickly when you are busy.

I keep 2 KITCHEN SCALES on hand; one little one at my fingertips which weighs up to 16 ounces and another one which weighs up to 5 pounds. These I consider a necessity in the kitchen.

There are so many uses for KITCHEN SHEARS. I pick them up to use almost every day of cooking.

KITCHEN STRING or BUTCHER TWINE is handy for so many things in the kitchen and is a necessity for me. I use string for tying stuffed roast, turkey, chicken, bouquet of garni and many other ideas. I even use it to measure “hard to measure” foods. For example, I will wrap the string around an item and then lay the string out on a yardstick to get the right measurement.

You may wonder why I have included KITCHEN TOWELS with cooking utensils and equipment but having a lot of clean towels at all times is a necessity in the kitchen. I like to use ones which are white so they can be bleached in washing. Sam’s and Costco is a good place to buy these.

KNIVES; a good set of sharp knives with sharpener is absolutely necessary in the kitchen for any kind of cooking. Check out brands before buying; you want heavy well constructed one which sharpen easily and stay sharp. You also need bread knives for cutting fresh baked breads and for cutting sponge cakes.

I have found so many uses for my LARGE LIFTERS. Although I purchased two for lifting cakes, I use them for lifting many different foods; definitely a valuable item to have.

You will need several LARGE MIXING SPOONS; a necessity for cooking in large pots and mixing in large bowls.

Every kitchen needs LARGER POTS (with lids) which holds at least 4 to 6 quarts. If you do a lot of cooking, you will need even larger ones.  I have quite a few holding up to about 18 quarts which I use for soups, stock and for canning.

Having a hand LEMON SQUEEZER at my fingertips is a necessity. I use this all day long to squeeze juice for my drinking water and also for my recipes. It seems that I add lemon juice to almost everything I make.

LONG HANDLES FORKS are needed for lifting hams and other heavy roasting meats and of course, for cooking out.

MARKERS FOR CHEESE and APPETIZERS come in handy for serving cheese and appetizers for parties. When you write the names on these foods, no questions need to be asked. I am sure you could find many more uses.

A set of MEASURING SPOONS (1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon) allows for accurate measuring by leveling the top. Ingredients like baking soda, baking powder and others need to be accurately measured; if a little off, it could change the recipe.

I always keep MEASURING STICKS (12 inch ruler to 36 inch yard stick) conveniently located in the kitchen. It is amazing how often I measure food. I almost always measure the height of my cakes. I measure items which must be refrigerated to see if I have enough room.

MICROWAVE OVENS are very popular in almost every kitchen. They are convenient for thawing foods, reheating and quick cooking. Some people have even learned how to do gourmet cooking in them.

Cooks love a MICROWAVE POTATO BAG once they have used one. Potatoes bake faster and more evenly.

As I already said above, I prefer NON ELECTRIC CAN OPENERS to electric; I have many different styles in my kitchen.

NUTCRACKER is a necessity if you like freshly cracked nuts. I only use mine at the holidays but use it a lot at that time.

I do not consider a NUTMEG GRATER to be a necessary item. Although I have one, I never use it; I chop nutmeg with a knife.

OMELET/ CREPE SKILLETS make it easier to cook crepes and omelets if you make these recipes often. They make them more uniform and nice to serve.

Some type of OVEN is important on the list of cooking utensils and equipment if you do a lot of cooking, especially baking. It should be wide enough to hold your baking trays. Many people love their “convection” oven but I stick with the “old fashioned” traditional ovens. This is a matter of personal opinion as long as it holds the accurate temperature.

I often wonder what I did before I bought a PASTRY BLENDER; I never thought I needed one but now I use it all the time.

A PASTRY CUTTER has many uses if you do a lot of cooking. When making pies, it makes very neat cutting and helps for making decorative pie crust.

I never adjusted to using a PASTRY BOARD; I like more room so I wash and sterilize my counter top and use it.

A PIE LIFTER is necessary for cutting and lifting pieces of pie from the plate so it makes a pretty presentation when serving.

For me a PIZZA CUTTER is a necessary item on my list of cooking utensils and equipment. You could use a knife for pizza but I use my cutter not just for pizza it has many uses in the kitchen; great for cutting various dough recipes, cutting thin breads like my altar bread recipe and crackers.

PIZZA OVENS are a luxury item in the kitchen unless you have a pizza business. These allow for a nice crisp crust for the pizza and a quick cooking time.

A hand POTATO MASHER/ RICER can be purchased in several styles; they can be made with heavy wires or a solid bottom with holes. All have handles on them. I use mine mainly for mashing potatoes before beating with an electric mixer.

It took me years to get use to using a POTATO and VEGETABLE PEELER; I always used a paring knife. When I realized how much of the potato and other vegetables that a peeler saved, I began using one all the time. Now I cannot use a knife and find it a necessary item to save waste.

I have included on my list of cooking utensils and equipment POTHOLDERS as a necessity but I use kitchen towels. I buy the white bulk towels which are a little smaller and I prefer to use these for hot pots. NOTE: Whatever you use, make sure they are DRY, wet cloth will cause you to burn your hands.

Trussing Needle

I cooked most of my life without having POULTRY PINS AND A TRUSSING NEEDLE; only on occasion do I now use my trussing needle.

Not only is a PRESSURE COOKER/ CANNER is a necessity for canning all kinds of vegetables, meats and other food, it is also very convenient for cooking tough meats into tender delicious meals.

I have included a PROOFER on my list of cooking utensils and equipment because it is a great piece of equipment to have if you make a lot of breads and other yeast recipes. It will cut down the rising time of these recipes allowing for them to be completed faster.

COOKING UTENSILS AND EQUIPMENT Q-S

A good RANGE is a serious investment if you do a lot of cooking. I would say NO to a glass top and even to the regular electric range. Neither one of these hold up well when using heavy pots and pans. Unless you are purchasing a commercial range, I would suggest a gas range because of the sturdy burner guards to support the cooking pots.

REFRIGERATOR (or cooler): is necessary in every kitchen; today one is usually included in every home you buy. If you need to purchase a new one, they come in all sizes. Check out the models and makers carefully. The internet is a convenient way to do this; read the comments by purchasers.

You may find a RICE COOKER to be an absolute necessity so I put it on my list of cooking utensils and equipment. This is especially true for some cooks who serve a lot of rice, especially in Asian recipes. I have always cooked my rice in a regular kitchen pan.

ROASTING PANS WITH RACK AND LIDS are available in many sizes. I started years ago with one; it was large enough to hold a turkey. I found that most smaller items can be roasted in my iron skillet; if I wanted it covered I used foil.

ROLLING PINS are available in many sizes and made from different materials. Marble keeps the dough colder but mine all broke. I keep several of different sizes that are made of wood. These work fine for me and have lasted for many years.

I do not use my ROTARY HAND BEATER too often but keep it on hand and necessary for when the power goes out.

RUBBER SCRAPERS are on my list of cooking utensils and equipment. They come in various sizes and are convenient for the kitchen. I did not have these when I was young and did not know what I was missing. Now I use many every single day. 

Having several sizes of SAUCEPANS with lids make cooking much more convenient. My smallest size is 4 cups/ 1 quart; I also have several 2 and 3 quart sizes.  

SCOOPS FOR FLOUR AND SUGAR; these can be any kind of odds and ends. I have several which were given to me and some old plastic measuring cups. 

I started off my cooking with one SET OF BOWLS. This worked when I was young but I quickly needed to add more and several of each size. PICTURED BELOW

SHALLOW BAKING DISHES OR CASSEROLE DISHES are useful when cooking. One smaller one (1 1/2 to 2 quart) might come in handy but most recipes will need one that is 9X13 inches. (This is the size of cake pan which is important to have so it could serve a dual purpose.)

SIEVE usually has a wide top going down to a point. It has small holes in it for the purpose of pressing ingredients through it to separate larger particles. It is often used in canning jams, jellies and sauces.

I keep on hand quite a few SLOTTED OR WIRE SPOONS. These are necessary for lifting food particles from broth or grease. I use them also simply for stirring along with my solid spoons. 

Some kitchens have SMALL OVENS or TOASTER OVENS. This could be the only kind to fit into the kitchen so simply plan to do the baking in small pans. The main thing is keeping an accurate temperature

SOUP LADLES are a must if you cook any soup, chili, beans or stews. They are available in many different types. I prefer the ones which are all one piece verses the ones where the handle and ladle are attached. The attached version will eventually come apart.

A stainless steel SOUP OR STOCK POT with a lid is included on the list of necessary cooking utensils and equipment if you cook large quantity recipes of soup or if you do any canning.

SPATULAS of various style and sizes are convenient for cooking. Solid ones are good for lifting thinks like soft cooked eggs and ones with holes will let excess grease drip off. I like the heavy commercial type because of the sturdiness and life span where the thinner ones get bent out of shape.

SPICE BAGS are convenient to have in the kitchen for occasional use. They are cheap and one small package will probable last you forever. If you do not have them you can use cheesecloth.

Keeping a SPOON HOLDER on your stove when cooking will save a lot of mess. For the stove, make sure it is heat resistant or the heat might break it or cause a plastic one to melt.

Have you ever used SPROUTING LIDS? These are great; just screw these on wide mouth canning jars and grow your own sprouts in a few days. So delicious, convenient and much cheaper than buying sprouts.

Some cooks may not find a STAND MIXER an important part of cooking utensils and equipment. If you do a lot of baking, especially cakes you will find one very helpful. My sister, Gloria always claimed this is why my cakes turned out better than hers.

A set of STEEL SKEWERS is a necessity if you like outdoor cooking. They are also great for indoor cooking; thread small pieces of meat and other foods on them and place under the broiler.

Reusable STORAGE BOWLS with lids will save you a lot of money in wrapping if you cook much and keep your leftovers fresher. I like all sizes from very tiny to larger ones.

Some of you might have a STOVE TOP RANGE and have separate ovens. Again, the burners need to be sturdy to hold up the large pots if you do a lot of cooking. I have found that replacing these burners can get quite expensive and sometimes it is not just the burners.

STRAINERS/COLANDERS of various sizes and styles are important for cooking. I regularly use small ones for straining tea leaves to very large ones for washing salad greens. I have about ten and cannot say I use one size more than the others.

COOKING UTENSILS AND EQUIPMENT T-Z

A TEA INFUSER is nice if you have tea drinking guests who like a specialty brewed cup of tea.  I never use one because I brew large pots of spice tea to drink all day long.

I never had a TEAPOT until I started drinking tea every day. Now I have 2 and find so many uses for them aside from brewing my pots of tea.

All kinds of THERMOMETERS are part of my cooking utensils and equipment because they are very important to have in the kitchen (oven, candy, deep frying, refrigerator, meat). It is also important to check the temperatures of your refrigerator and oven periodically with those thermometers.

TOASTER is a kitchen necessity; not just for breakfast but for a quick snacks anytime and also for quick breadcrumbs. There are many sizes (2, 4, 6 and 8 slices at a time) and styles; make sure you get one to fit your needs.

TONGS are one of my favorite kitchen utensils; I have several sizes and use them every time I cook anything.

I could never have enough TRIVETS; I save pieces of wood to also use for setting hot dishes and pots on.

I do not find VEGETABLE STEAMERS a necessity on the list of cooking utensils and equipment for me. These are used mostly for health reasons and I do not use one very often. It allows you to cook fresh vegetables without losing nutrients. You could achieve similar results by placing vegetables in a little boiling water for a short time on the stove top.

WHISKS come in various sizes; these are useful when blending things like eggs and cream before adding to other ingredients.

I use WOODEN SPOONS mainly for candy. If you are not a candy maker, I do not find this to be a necessity.

A ZESTER is convenient for orange and lemon peels. It is also great for making decorative vegetables like cucumbers and other appetizers. For me is not a necessary item but one I use occasionally.

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