35 Kitchen Gadgets Everyone Needs, According to Our Test Kitchen

Be ready for any recipe with our quintessential kitchen tool guide where we’ll share which tools you actually need—and which ones you’ll reach for most often.

There's nothing worse than getting started on a recipe and realizing halfway through that you don't have all the essential kitchen tools to make it. Not to worry, we're here to get your kitchen equipped with all the necessities to make sure you can properly blend, measure, chop, grate, and mix every ingredient in your pantry. Use this guide of basic kitchen gadgets and tools to help you get your cupboards in order. While there are a few kitchen tools on this list that you can get by without (i.e. you can still make meringue without an egg separator), having these basics on hand will make cooking and baking easier.

Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets to Have on Hand

This is our Test Kitchen's list of the most useful kitchen tools they find essential to accomplishing recipes at home.


If you're a big smoothie drinker, you'll definitely need a blender in one of your cupboards. It can also be helpful to blend soups and sauces to make them smooth.

Buy It: Ninja Professional Blender ($120, Target)

Bottle/Can Opener

You'll need a can opener to open most canned foods in the pantry, so make sure you keep this kitchen tool in a handy spot.

Buy It: KitchenAid Can Opener ($12, Walmart)


Use this perforated bowl-shape utensil to wash produce or to drain liquids from solid food. When solids are very fine, use a sieve (more on this below).

Buy It: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Colander ($20, Bed Bath & Beyond)


Wine drinkers can't go without one of these handy kitchen tools. Many models are available, so choose the type you're comfortable with.

Buy It: Houdini Winged Corkscrew ($15, Target)

Cutting Boards

Stock up on two that are easy to tell apart, and reserve one solely for raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish, and the other for ready-to-eat foods like fruits and veggies.

Egg Separator

This easy kitchen gadget is used to separate egg yolks from whites. It is not safe to separate eggs by passing the yolk from shell to shell (bacteria from the shell can easily be transferred to the eggs if you use this method).

Buy It: OXO Egg Separator ($8, Amazon)

person beating butter for cake
Kritsada Panichgul

Electric Mixer

Use for mixing wet and dry ingredients together, especially in baking. You can use a handheld electric mixer, or buy a standalone countertop mixer if you consider yourself more of a baker than a chef.

Buy It: Hamilton Beach Electric Hand Mixer ($27, Amazon) or Hamilton Beach Electric Stand Mixer ($120, Amazon)

Food Processor

You can get by without having this kitchen gadget, but it can make a lot of tasks much easier. Use it to crush cookies or crackers into crumbs, make sauces like pesto, grind nuts, chop veggies, and more.

Buy It: Hamilton Beach Food Processor ($45, Walmart)

Fork, Long-Handled

Use when carving or moving large pieces of food, such as roasts.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Fork ($11, Bed Bath & Beyond)


This kitchen tool avoids spills when pouring ingredients from one container to another. It's especially handy when canning produce or homemade jams.

Buy It: Stainless Steel Funnels ($13, Crate & Barrel)

Shredding zucchini on grater
Kritsada Panichgul


This tool generally has a metal surface punched with sharp-edged holes or slits that are used to break foods into smaller pieces. Graters come in many shapes and sizes. Tools with larger holes are sometimes called shredders, while those with the largest holes are sometimes called slicers. The size of the holes or slits determines what task the grater is best suited for. Smaller holes or slits will break food into finer pieces. Box graters have different-size holes or slits on each side.

Buy It: Cuisinart Boxed Grater ($13, Amazon)

Kitchen Shears

Use this must-have kitchen gadget for snipping fresh herbs, kitchen string, or even breaking down a whole chicken.

Buy It: KitchenAid Utility Shears ($9, Target)


A good set of knives is crucial for any kitchen because you'll use them for just about everything. To learn more about the different types of kitchen knives and which ones you can't live without, check out our guide to knife basics.

Buy It: Henkels Knife Set ($120, Amazon)


Soup fans will definitely need this kitchen tool around to fill their bowl. In a pinch, substitute a heatproof cup.

Buy It: Faberware Ladle ($4, Walmart)

Measuring Cups and Spoons

You'll need these for most recipes (make sure you have both wet and dry measuring cups in your drawers). For more information, check out our guide to measuring ingredients (yes, there's a right way).

Buy It: FAVIA Measuring Cup Set ($18, Amazon)

Meat Mallet

No one likes cutting into a tough cut of meat, and there's no kitchen tool out there that'll tenderize your steaks and chicken breasts better than a meat mallet. A mallet is also a handy tool to pound things like chicken to thinner thickness for faster cooking.

Meat Thermometer

When you're cooking meat, having a food thermometer on hand is a must to ensure meat is cooked to a safe temperature.

Buy It: ThermoPro Digital Instant Read Thermometer ($11, Target)

Mixing Bowls

For most cooks, a set of four mixing bowls in the following sizes will suffice: small (1 quart), medium (1½ quarts), large (2½ quarts), and extra-large (4 quarts or more).

Buy It: Mixing Bowl Set with Lids ($38, Amazon)

person using pastry blender on flour and butter in bowl
Blaine Moats

Pastry Blender

For cutting fat (such as shortening) into flour to make piecrust, pastries, biscuits, etc. If you don't have one, cut in the fat using two knives in a crisscross motion.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Dough Blender ($15, Amazon)

Pastry Brush

Often used for brushing glazes over baked goods; also useful for greasing pans.

Buy It: Walnut Pastry Brush ($15, Williams Sonoma)

Rolling Pin

This essential kitchen tool gets your cookie dough, pastry, and more rolled evenly. If you don't have one, use a clean, heavy bottle with smooth sides.

Rubber Scrapers

Also known as rubber spatulas, these essential kitchen utensils are used for scraping batter from a bowl and for folding ingredients together.

Buy It: U-Taste Spatula Set ($15, Amazon)

red spatula in fine-mesh sieve over bowl
Blaine Moats


Stock up on one large and one small, and use these circular wire-mesh utensils to separate small particles from large ones (think removing seeds from a raspberry sauce). This basic kitchen tool is also called a strainer.

Buy It: Cuisinart Mesh Strainers ($13, Bed Bath & Beyond)


If you don't have one, pour flour or powdered sugar into a sieve set over a bowl, then stir it to force the grains through the holes.

Buy It: Bellemain Flour Sifter ($17, Amazon)


These thin, pointed sticks are made of metal or wood and are used to hold pieces of meat, fruit, and vegetables in place. To use wooden skewers for grilling or broiling, be sure to first soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.

Buy It: Mainstays Metal Skewers ($3, Walmart)

Slotted Spoon

A long-handled slotted spoon is useful for removing solids from liquid mixtures.

Buy It: Chef Craft Slotted Spoon ($5, Amazon)


These flat utensils can be made of metal, rubber, plastic, and wood. A turner-type spatula is used for flipping foods (hello, pancakes!); a narrow, flexible, metal spatula works well for spreading. For rubber or plastic spatulas, see Rubber scrapers, above. When using a spatula for cooking on the range top, make sure the one you use is heatproof.

Spoon, Large Long-Handled

Long-handled spoons are handy when stirring large volumes such as soup in a large pot.

Buy It: OXO Silicone Spoon ($17, Bed Bath & Beyond)

Steamer Basket

Placing food in this cooking tool helps quickly steam your produce (or yummy soup dumplings) without them getting wet or mushy.

Buy It: Norpro Steamer Basket ($13, Walmart)


Tongs are a necessary food tool for lifting and turning foods, especially on the grill or in a skillet. You can also use tongs to avoid touching raw meat with your hands, to turn foods while they're cooking, to serve salads, and more.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Tongs ($16, Bed Bath & Beyond)

Vegetable Brush

Useful for scrubbing fruits and vegetables when skins will not be removed.

Buy It: OXO Veggie Brush ($8, Target)

Peeling Asparagus stalks
Jason Donnelly

Vegetable Peeler

Essential for peeling vegetables; in a pinch, peel skins with a paring knife.

Buy It: Spring Chef Vegetable Peeler ($9, Amazon)

Wire Cooling Rack

Allows air to circulate around baked goods to cool them quickly and keep them from getting soggy.

Buy It: Cooling Rack ($12, Crate & Barrel)

Wire Whisks

These kitchen tools are perfect for beating ingredients such as eggs. They can also help smooth out lumpy sauces.

Buy It: Simply Essential Whisk Set ($6, Bed Bath & Beyond)

Wooden Spoons

Sturdy tools for stirring thick dough and batter. Also useful for stirring mixtures while they heat, as wooden handles stay cool longer than metal handles.

Buy It: Bamboo Wooden Spoons Set ($10, Amazon)

If you're new to working with some of these kitchen gadgets, get started with our best cooking tips and tricks as well as essential cooking basics for working in the kitchen by our Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen.

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