7 Kitchen Investments Every Home Cook Needs

When it comes to kitchen investments, sometimes the tiniest things make the biggest difference. There are tons of articles about starting your kitchen and necessities to cook everything you could ever want, but these items seem to slip under the radar. Whether people consider them intuitive choices, not everyone knows the reason. We've broken down these investments into an itemized list (where each costs less than $40!) and why you need each thing.

While talk of upgrading a kitchen normally turns to trading that hand mixer for a stand mixer, these are the seven kitchen investments that you might have missed.

1. Silicone oven mitts


Sure, you can buy any ol' oven mitt and make sure you have three extra dishcloths around when it comes time to pull that cast iron skillet out of the oven, or you can buck up and buy a quality pair of oven mitts that will protect your hands against the hottest cast iron skillets and flaming hot grills.

That's where silicone oven mitts come in - the heat-resistant material not only protects your fingertips, but also helps you get a stronger grip on those hot pans and baking sheets. For only $9.99, on special sale from $39.99, you can't beat the deal.

2. Fish spatula


Don't fret the name - the fish spatula is so versatile, it's amazing that they're still just calling it a fish spatula. The metal, flexible bed is designed so functionally you can use it for: deep frying, cutting brownies out of a pan, stir frying vegetables, flipping pancakes, lifting crepes, and for, of course, fish.

Also, the metal bed is perfect for scraping up bits from your cast iron because we all know that plastic and wooden utensils just don't cut it. For $5.95, you'll be glad you dropped this in your Amazon cart.

3. Deep skillet


Have you been eying those one-pot wonder pastas and dreaming of whipping up your own? A deep, wide skillet is your friend. I've never quite understood the purpose of a shallow skillet, especially since I use my cast iron for everything from eggs to thick cuts of steak.

Dishes like stir fries, one-pot pastas with lighter sauces, stovetop crisps and crumbles, and almost every single chicken dish can be accomplished in a deep skillet. So skip the shallows, and upgrade.

For $49 and free shipping, this Pioneer Woman skillet is worth it.

4. Offset spatula


This isn't so much of a spatula as it is a multi-tool that will never leave your side in the kitchen. Seriously.

Forget the bulky plastic spatula, this offset spatula is perfect for: spreading batter to the each edge of the pan and smoothing it out afterwards, spreading condiments on sandwiches, smoothing out a layer of sauce for lasagna, separating a sheet pan cake along the sides of the pan, and frosting cupcakes with a flick of the wrist.

You can choose from three main sizes: 4-inch, 7-inch, and 9-inch, though I prefer the 4-inch and it's only $5.68.

5. Garlic press


The secret is out - I use my garlic press every day and I am proud of it. There are two camps when it comes to presses: those who swear by it, and those who absolutely hate it. And will tell you so. I am here to tell you why a garlic press is a must-have in your kitchen drawer.

This may depend on how much your household loves garlic, but in almost every dish I make, at least three cloves of garlic go right into the sauté pan. And you know what takes time I often don't want to spend? Mincing that garlic. Just pop, peel, and press.

And for those nay-sayers who fret about cleaning it? You should have a toothbrush in your kitchen cleaning arsenal anyways for tight spots in dishes - use it. This high end garlic press is stainless steel and only $15.88.

6. Four-sided box grater


A microplane is fantastic for an awful lot of things, but a box grater is even greater (couldn't help it...). Have you ever noticed how much smoother freshly grated cheese melts? After getting a box grater in my kitchen, I never bought pre-shredded cheese again. There's something about the way fresh cheese melts in a pot of pasta or on top of lasagna that makes it incredibly worth it.

A four-sided grater in particular gives you the only options you will ever need when it comes to grating or shredding. This $11.97 grater has 633 customer reviews and an average of 5 stars of 5, so that tells you something.

7. One cookbook you trust completely


Cookbooks are conversations between the chef and the home cook, and that relationship should be the foundation of your meal plans each week. Eventually you'll be able to quote those recipes by heart, and when you do, you can switch out that trusty companion for a new friend.

Personally, Food52's Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook not only teaches you inherent skills, but it doesn't insult your intelligence in the cooking process. You instinctively know flavors - you've been eating for years, haven't you? Trust yourself, and this cookbook will change the way you cook every single night.

For $17.19, it'll become the most used cookbook in your kitchen easily.

Read More: These Fun Placemats Are Kid-Tested, Mom-Approved to Keep Dinner on the Table

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