The Essential Cooking Tools We Swear By (And You Should, Too)

Not long ago, we talked about 10 essential kitchen tools every starter kitchen needs. That list included tools and utensils that we use in an everyday setting, but what about more advanced cooking tools? Now that we have taken care of the basics, let's journey further than the chef's knife, measuring spoons, a bread knife, wood cutting board, and vegetable peeler can take you!

This list includes cooking tools and kitchen equipment that I use every day, as well as appliances I might only use once a month. They may not be essential on a daily basis, but they sure do make life easier when you do need them.

Storage Containers

So you might not consider a storage container a cooking tool, but that doesn't make it any less essential to this list. For a long time, I got away with using plastic wrap and aluminum foil to preserve my leftovers and kitchen scraps.

Once I went in for a good set of storage containers, it was a game changer!


I absolutely love this Snapware 18-Piece Total Food Solution Food Storage Set for only $19.47. They're microwave- and dishwasher-safe, so I can take my leftovers straight from the fridge to the microwave and chuck them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.


If you prefer glass storage, this 18-piece set is oven-safe, in addition to dishwasher-, freezer-, and microwave-safe. Rubbermaid is always a great brand name to try, but there are just as many quality brands out there that are comparable, if not better.

The lids are high-quality and produce an airtight seal, preserving your food much longer than my plastic wrap method. Find them for $39.99.

Pots and Pans

A high-quality set of pots and pans can make a difference in your cooking game, but there are a lot of options to consider.

Should you choose non-stick, Teflon coating? All-clad stainless steel or steel with copper bottoms? Cast iron pans or enameled cast iron like Le Creuset?


If you're buying your first set of pots and pans, our recommendation is to purchase an all-purpose set like the Vremi 15 Piece Nonstick Cookware Set.

For $48.99 with Prime shipping, you will receive everything you need, from two non-stick egg pans to a large pot capable of boiling pasta to cooking utensils. Granted, they might not be the most high quality kitchen utensils, but they'll get the job done in the meantime.


For an upgrade, the 10-Piece Calphalon Classic Stainless Cookware will take your cooking to the next level.

While $181.50 with Prime shipping may seem like a lot, but these pots and pans should last forever. They're fully stainless steel with no non-stick coating to scratch or wear down.


Now that you have the basic pots and pans out of the way, we move on to the next essential cooking tool: the Dutch oven. This large, heavy pot is great for making soups, stocks, stews, and the best chili in the neighborhood.

They cook with the heating power of cast iron, but benefit from easy-to-clean enameled coating. You can buy an expensive Le Creuset, but the Lodge Enameled 6-quart Dutch Oven is a great value at $48.99 with Prime shipping.


A cast iron skillet is a must-have in my kitchen. I use it for everything from baking cornbread to making breakfast hash.

This $12.65 Lodge 10.25-inch Cast Iron Skillet is a good all-purpose size, and it comes pre-seasoned so you don't have to worry about making it nonstick.

Baking Dishes

From baking sheets to casserole dishes, these cooking tools will make your life easier.


I use sheet pans for everything from roasting vegetables to preparing skewers for the grill. They also double as cookie sheets, so you can use them to bake any number of pastries.

I like this $22.95 Checkered Chef Half Sheet Pan and Rack Set because it comes with the cookie rack, which can be used to let those cookies cool. The rack is oven-safe, so you can also use it to roast sausages for full convection action.


Pyrex is the gold standard for casserole dishes and makes the best quality glass dishes on the market.

For $16.99 with Prime shipping, Pyrex sells two sizes of Glass Oblong Baking Dishes. They're perfect for making macaroni and cheese or lasagna, and the shape makes it easy to cut out serving portions.


A pizza stone might seem like a next level kitchen tool, but you don't have to make from-scratch pizzas to enjoy one. They're perfect for heating up leftover slices of pizza, and they make a great cooking surface for baking pita bread.

I keep my pizza stone in the oven all the time, so it's easy to store and even easier to preheat. For $37.99, you'll end up using it a lot more than you think.

Kitchen Gadgets

This category is pretty broad, but there are some pretty essential cooking tools that qualify as "gadgets." I'm going to focus on the items that I use at least once a month here.


Even if you don't bake, it's totally worth it to get a KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer.

Available in the color of your choice for $279 with Prime shipping, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer is a go-to tool for making cookies and cakes, kneading pasta and bread, and it opens the door for using the attachments to make ice cream, spiralize vegetables, roll and cut pasta, or grind and stuff sausage.



A food processor is a great cooking tool that will cut down your prep time, so put down the paring knife and get ready to chop!

If you're looking to do small jobs like make salad dressing, mince garlic, or a batch of pesto, this KitchenAid Mini Food Processor will do the trick. It's available in a variety of colors for $35.56 with Prime shipping.


For more heavy-duty tasks like making a large batch of hummus or turning bread into breadcrumbs, the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is the best bang for the buck at $36.95 with Prime shipping.

It also comes with some attachment blades for grating cheese and slicing vegetables.


When it comes to blenders, the Vitamix is the king. Its high-speed setting will actually cook soup! As a pro chef, I couldn't live without this blender. I threw away my juicer long ago and started using the Vitamix to make my morning smoothies.

The drawback: It isn't cheap. Worth it, yes, but at $414.99 with Prime shipping, this might be your Christmas and birthday presents rolled into one!


If you're not interested in taking out a second mortgage for a blender, the Ninja Professional Blender is a high-quality item that comes a close second to the power of the Vitamix and has a comfier price point of $84.82 with Prime shipping.

Now that your new kitchen if fully stocked, let us know what we missed! What other cooking tools do you use that you can't live without?