You don’t need a gourmet kitchen to become a great at-home chef, but there are some staples that make cooking good food from your own kitchen much easier. You probably know your recipe books by heart, and your pantry is even more familiar, but having the right equipment is essential. Here are six things at-home chefs need in their kitchen.
If you have the budget and space to put a blender, food processor, and stand mixer on your countertops, then go for it. For those that don’t, a hand blender can fill in for all three when it comes to tasks you can’t do by hand. If you can spring for an immersion blender, it’s also an excellent tool for soups and long-simmering sauces.
Home cooks that have been getting by with hand-me-down pots and pans are often shocked by how much easier cooking is with good non-stick cookware. You don’t have to pour oil or butter into the pan to keep food from sticking, and don’t have to worry about that butter burning or over-browning your food. Just be careful not to damage the non-stick coating with metal utensils.
While non-stick cookware is great, sometimes you have to get messy. An iron skillet is best for frying, giving the finished product incomparable flavor. You can also take the skillet directly from the stovetop to the oven. Best of all, your skillet will only get better with age.
Mixing Bowls with Lids
These allow you to prep and store ingredients in advance and to work on different components of an advanced recipe at the same time. Choose glass or stainless steel, which keep longer than plastic and are also necessary when making fresh whipped cream.
If you know the difference between chopping, dicing, and mincing then you know the importance of having a suitable knife for each. Cutting meat and slicing bread also require very different knives. Get a good set with a sharpener to ensure your blades are always at the ready. Many sets also include shears, which are handy for opening bagged ingredients and for cutting fresh herbs. In addition to your knives, be sure your cutting surfaces are durable and able to be well-washed. Not only cutting boards, but many online showroom sites boast durable countertops that can be worked on directly.
Measuring Spoons and Cups
While lots of old school home cooks can eyeball ingredients for their favorite recipes, it’s not something you want to do when trying a new recipe for the first time. You might be surprised by how much better the final product tastes when you get the balance of ingredients just right.
Over time, you are sure to add more kitchen tools to your must-have list, but in the beginning most at-home chefs can cook quite well with these six staples.