Having proper cooking gear should never be underestimated. Well-functioning equipment makes us more comfortable and efficient, and less frustrated in the kitchen – and that’s worth a lot.
As someone who’s cooked nearly every day since I was 12, I’ve experimented with a lotta stuff. Despite how many specialized, one-trick gadgets there are at Bed Bath & Beyond (spoiler alert: you don’t need an avocado slicer), a functional kitchen actually needs very little. Here, you’ll find the tools I truly can’t live without.
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This may come as a surprise, but you only need one knife. One sharp, sturdy, pro chef’s knife – not a small flimsy one you get on sale at Marshalls, not a bulky set that collects dust on your counter. A plant-based kitchen goes through a lot of chopped vegetables, so a good knife is the best investment you can make.
There’s nothing more frustrating (not to mention, dangerous) than a small flimsy cutting board that slides around when you’re chopping. Choose one that’s large enough for your hands to comfortably rest on as you chop, with rubber edges that prevent slipping.
You don’t need a lot of skillets. I recommend just 2: a large and a small one. Make your life easier and avoid heavy-duty scrubbing by investing in good-quality non-stick skillets. (Caraway is a great brand if you’re looking for style and function. Get 10% off their entire store with my affiliate link.)
As with skillets, you don’t need many. I suggest a large one (for pasta and broth), a medium (for everything else), and a small (for oatmeal, etc.)
As someone who’s lived in 8 different rental apartments and cooked on-site for various events, I’ve learned that turning the dial to 375ºF doesn’t always guarantee a 375ºF oven. Using an oven thermometer lets you be sure every time and make adjustments as needed.
Although I don’t typically cook fish, this is the best spatula for flipping everything (pancakes, veggie burgers, tofu, etc.).
There are no words to describe how much I love this thing! It’s perfect for scraping (as in cake batter from a bowl to a cake pan), folding (combining wet ingredients into dry ones, like for pancakes), and stirring stuff in skillets, too (it’s heat-proof).
Sure, you can juice lemons by squeezing them with your hands or turning them on a fork, but this brilliant tool is 100% more efficient.
Quart and pint containers (the kind takeout arrives in) are the only tupperware I use. They’re stackable, easy to store, and you can use them in the pantry, fridge, or freezer. Plus, the lids always match and are virtually leak-proof.
Indispensable for smoothies (the best way to get multiple servings of fruit + veg in one sitting), creamy dressings, and all types of sauces.