The 18 Most Useful Kitchen Tools To Upgrade Your Cooking Routine

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by Andrea Hannah and Wesley Salazar
Originally Published: 
Amazon / Bustle

Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a full-on foodie, the most useful kitchen tools are an absolute must. There are so many genius new kitchen gadgets and utensils out there that it’s almost too easy to find a kitchen tool that makes your life easier. From cutting boards and blenders to measuring cups and electronic scales, these tools can change your cooking routine for the better.

The key to sorting through them all is to consider the function. For a tool to be truly useful, you want to steer away from single-use objects that literally have one job to do, then clutter up your drawers. So instead, you want to make sure that any helpful kitchen tool you choose is multipurpose and can be used for a variety of dishes.

Another thing to keep in mind is quality. There are so many neat gadgets that claim to cut down on your cooking time, but if they’re made from cheap materials, they’ll actually cost you time (and money) in the long run. As you shop, look for durable kitchen tools and gadgets made from materials like stainless steel, BPA-free plastic, and/or silicone.

If you aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got you. Here’s a roundup of some of the most brilliant kitchen tools on the market.


A Handheld Mincing Tool That Keeps Your Hands Clean

If you love garlic but hate the sticky feeling it leaves behind on your fingers, this garlic twist tool is a game-changer. It’s made from durable, BPA-free plastic and features tiny "mincing teeth" on the edges. To use, just place your garlic cloves into the base, snap on the lid, and twist. It minces your garlic immediately and guides the pieces into two triangles so it’s easy to scoop up. And the best part is you can also use this tool to mince herbs, nuts, and more. And, as with all the tools on this list, this one can be used for multiple purposes. You can grind nuts, peppers, and even herbs.

According to one reviewer: “This product makes mincing garlic super fast easy and mess-free. It takes just a few seconds to mince several cloves once and then it’s easy to pop in the dishwasher when you’ve used your minced garlic. I definitely recommend this if you’re someone who cooks with garlic frequently.”


Editor’s Choice: A Strainer That Attaches To Your Pots

This innovative strainer has changed the cooking game for Jen Fiegel, an editor at Bustle. “I’ve started reaching for this instead of standard strainers,” explains Fiegel. “It easily clips on to most pots so a strainer is one less thing you have to hold on to, and it takes up less space in the dishwasher after.” The clip-on colander is made of heat-resistant silicone and comes in five different colors.

According to one reviewer: “I absolutely LOVE this thing. Super easy to snap on to any size pot and really easy to clean. Much nicer than the hard, bulky strainers and so much smaller to store. 10/10 would definitely recommend.”


A Set Of Collapsible Silicone Funnels To Minimize Spills

Kitchen cleanup just got a whole lot easier with this set of BPA-free silicone funnels. They come in two sizes — one that’s perfect for larger jugs and bottles, and a second that’s great for smaller openings. They’re both made from flexible, food-grade silicone and can be safely heated up to 250 degrees Celsius (458 degrees Fahrenheit). You can even wash these in the dishwasher when you’re finished pouring, and then collapse them into a flat disc that can fit into any drawer.

According to one reviewer: “Sturdy and space saving. Materials easily flow thought the funnels. Easy to clean since they are dishwasher safe. They collapse and nest within each other to save space.”


Editor’s Choice: A Fish Spatula For Lifting & Flipping Ingredients

Ideal for cast iron and stainless steel cookware, this stainless steel fish spatula is a go-to cooking utensil for Ileana Morales Valentine, an editor at Bustle. “This fish spatula is my absolute favorite for lifting food out of pans,” she attests. According to Valentine, what makes it so useful is the flexible slotted blade, which easily slides “under foods like pancakes or seared fish so that they lift easily and in one piece.” The handle is designed to stay cool as you cook, too.

According to one reviewer: “I bought this six years ago, and it is probably the best kitchen utensil I’ve ever bought. It’s thin, sturdy, and the edge is beveled and sharp. As a result, it’s easy to get under almost anything and lift without the tool bending or not supporting.”


A High-Quality Kitchen Knife

This single high-quality knife can cut through literally anything and everything. It’s made from a single piece of high-carbon Japanese steel that’s both stain-resistant and sharp enough to cut through everything from roasts to raw vegetables. It also features an ergonomic handle with finger “touch points” that keep your hands from slipping while you slice. With more than 5,000 Amazon reviewers and a 4.7-star rating, this knife is a great pick for any kitchen.

According to one reviewer: “I grew up with junk knives in the kitchen, and since then I have been looking for knives that are sharp, function well, and are reasonably priced. This one qualifies on all three, and is a pleasure to use. It is my second Mercer knife, and I expect there will be more. Recommend highly as an excellent value.”


A Pair Of Kitchen Shears That Double As Tongs

Chopping up a fresh salad is easier than ever with these toss and chop scissors. At first glance, they look like a regular pair of kitchen scissors, but these scissors feature a sharp, double blade on top and a curved tong on the bottom. To use, just drop your favorite veggies into a bowl and toss with these scissors. They instantly chop your carrots, lettuce, and other vegetables into equal pieces while you mix everything together. Amazon reviewers agree that these scissors are one of the best kitchen gadgets ever.

According to one reviewer: “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this product!!!! Makes an awesome chopped salad. I put all of my salad ingredients into my bowl (black olives, artichoke hearts, marinated red bell pepper, sliced cheese cumber, lettuce) and chop as I turn the bowl. It works beautifully. Nothing is squashed but perfectly chopped like a California chopped salad with a finer mince. Absolute magic.”


A Wide, Flexible Silicone Spatula That Can Pick Up Anything

This BPA-free spatula is wide enough to pick up anything, making it a super useful addition to your kitchen. At its widest, the base is 6 inches long so it can flip even large, fluffy pancakes. It's also made from high-quality, flexible silicone so you can sweep it around the edges of any pan or pot with ease. Plus, it's thin enough to easily slip beneath food, and it's heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to one reviewer: “I purchased this spatula/turner to replace my old plastic one that had melted at the edge. I make pancakes a lot and 9 times out of 10 wrecked them when turning. The first time I made pancakes and used this spatula I was amazed. This one works like a dream. I love the large surface area which allows me to flip pancakes like a pro. The silicone has high heat resistance and is very easy to clean. I am very happy with my purchase.”


An Immersion Blender That Can Blend, Whip & Froth Ingredients

When you need to blend ingredients but you don’t feel like lugging out the full-size blender, turn to this immersion blender. Boasting more than 35,000 ratings on Amazon, this popular kitchen tool has a 500-watt motor and offers nine different speeds. The stainless steel fixed blade cuts through ingredients to whip up everything from peanut butter to smoothies to soups from scratch. It also comes with whisk and frother attachments to add even more versatility.

According to one reviewer: “This is the kitchen tool I never knew I needed. It is extremely well made and excellent quality. It is so easy to use with numerous speed choices and you can easily change the attachments. I made some soup and emulsified it right in the pot instead of having to transfer the soup to another appliance.”


A Pair Of Nonstick Silicone Baking Mats You Can Reuse

Instead of rolling out the aluminum foil every time you bake, snag these silicone mats for flawless, evenly heated treats. They come in a set of two, and each mat fits perfectly on a standard-sized baking sheet (they are each 11.6 by 16.5 inches in size). They’re also made from food-grade silicone that’s oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t have to worry about them melting in the oven. Just drop your cookie dough and crescent rolls directly onto the mat, bake, and slide them right off after they cool. These even come in a few different packs (three-packs and four-packs, as well) in a variety of size options in case you are outfitting different-sized pans.

According to one reviewer: “I’ve used these baking mats several times; in the oven and in the freezer, to keep things from sticking. They’re amazing. Nothing sticks, they cool off within seconds, and they’re a breeze to clean. Just buy them!”


These Measuring Cups, Spoons & Mixing Bowls That Nest Together

For a major space saver, this nesting bowl set comes with nine tools that all snap into each other so storage is easier than ever. And even when they're all hooked into each other, Amazon reviewers love how lightweight and easy to carry they are. The set includes large and small mixing bowls, a large colander, a stainless steel sieve, four measuring cups of different sizes, and a tablespoon.

According to one reviewer: “These are great for prepping food. I love how they nest together and are easily accessible and organized, making food preparations easier. Cleaning them is super easy also. And I love the bright colors!”


A Multi-Cooker That Makes Meal Prep A Breeze

More than 140,000 Amazon reviewers have chimed in about the Instant Pot, and many are massive fans for a ton of reasons. For one, the appliance can cook just about anything — and it does it in half the time of a slow cooker or conventional oven. It’s also super easy to use. Just drop any ingredients you want to use into the pot, snap on the lid, and set the timer. Once this multi-cooker comes to pressure, it only takes a few minutes to make everything from full roasts to hearty stews and soups.

According to one reviewer: “Love this! Definitely recommend it. Saves so much time and hassle compared to normal stove top cooking. Great for all kinds of dishes from rice to curry. Still got lot more recipes to try out though.”


A Set Of Flexible, Dishwasher-Safe Cutting Boards

These BPA-free cutting boards are super flexible, which can make it easier to move around ingredients. And since they’re made of dishwasher-safe plastic, they’re really easy to clean. Each pack comes with three boards — all at a very budget-friendly price.

According to one reviewer: “I lost the cutting mats that came with my Vitamix, and have been at a loss until I found these cutting mats. First, I like the different colors to separate the ones I use for veggies versus meats. I wrote this designation in the upper right corner with a permanent marker. Second, I love that I can fold them to add the cut items to a pot. Third, they are easy to clean. Fourth, they don’t scratch. Oh, and, fifth, they are so reasonably priced. Very happy with this product.”


A Deep Nonstick Pan That Can Hold Plenty Of Food

You won’t regret investing in this nonstick copper pan that’s big enough to hold an entire meal. For one, it’s made from high-quality copper with a stainless steel conduction plate, both of which are natural heat conductors and warm every inch of this pan evenly. This pan is 12 inches wide and over 4 inches deep, so you can cook all your meats, grains, and veggies together without having to dirty multiple pots and pans. Plus, it comes with a sealing lid, which gives you even more cooking options.

According to one reviewer: “Great addition to any kitchen. Very large, cooks even and fast. Plus, food doesnt stick. Amazing so far.”


A Fan-Favorite Kitchen Scale For More Accurate Measurements

A kitchen scale can be a game-changer in the kitchen, especially if you consider yourself a baker. Boasting over 40,000 Amazon ratings, this stainless steel scale has an easy-to-read LCD screen that can measure in ounces, grams, or pounds. The weight capacity is 11 pounds. It runs on two AAA batteries, which come included with your purchase.

According to one reviewer: “This basic digital scale was exactly what I was looking for: easy to use, and at such a reasonable price!”


A Handheld Grater That Can Zest Citrus, Too

You can toss that old box grater for good and invest in this space-saving handheld grater instead. It’s way easier to use — just hang onto the sturdy, ergonomic handle instead of accidentally nicking your knuckles on the blades. This grater also features a sharp, stainless steel blade that won’t rust over time, and it’s not just for grating cheese. Amazon reviewers have used this tool for grating chocolate, nuts, zesting citrus fruits, and more. This handheld grater inspires a ton of strong feelings for over 24,000 Amazon ratings and an overall 4.8 stars.

According to one reviewer: “It might seem silly to some, but I’ve been using a paring knife for years to scrape the rinds of lemons and oranges to produce ‘zest’ for recipes. It seemed a bit silly to need a special kitchen utensil just for that purpose. But after reading a LOT of reviews and ratings of different ‘zesters’, I finally chose the Deiss PRO Lemon Zester. I’m in Heaven! It is effortless and produces perfectly shaved and portioned zest with no pith. Why I didn’t buy one sooner, is a mystery. Every cook & kitchen should have one. Top quality & blade cover, too.”


A Cutting Board That Doubles As A Serving Tray

This sleek bamboo cutting board does double-duty as a serving tray. Unlike simpler designs, this one features three compartments where you can separate ingredients as you cook or display snacks. It also has a groove running around the edge to catch any liquids. It measures 17 by 12.6 inches and comes pre-seasoned with oil. Just make sure to hand wash it to prolong its lifespan.

According to one reviewer: “This was an economical option for me that was big enough to create a beautiful charcuterie board. Is also a quality chopping board. I love it. Instructions were included so I know how to best care for it. Highly recommend.”


A Food Processing System That Does It All

This food processing system makes everything from smoothies to soups in a snap. First up: The blender. The Ninja blender is a super powerful gadget with sharp blades that can chop and grind up literally any ingredients you put inside it. You can also use the same base and the food processor attachment to smooth out and soups. The specially-curved blades can blend dough in 30 seconds or less. Plus, this kid comes with two smoothie cups, and the whole system is easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.

According to one reviewer: “The blender is super efficient and easy to clean. This is the easiest food processor I’ve ever had, also super easy to clean (unlike every other food processor I’ve ever owned). The single serve is perfect for protein drinks (and milk shakes!). We are very happy with this purchase.”


A Can Opener That’s Safe & Easy To Use

This can opener glides so smoothly over aluminum that it's truly a pleasure to use it. It features a large side-wind knob that's super easy to turn, and the soft-grip ergonomic handles ensure that your hand never slips. But the highlight of this opener is the blade. It slices open your lids with a buttery smooth edge that won't cut your fingers, and it even has mini pliers to safely lift the lid. Over 3,900 fans have left reviews on Amazon and given this can opener an average rating of 4.5 stars.

According to one reviewer: “This can opener really works! I have been having a terrible time trying to open certain cans with thin rims using my standard can opener. I found this one that opens the can a different way, by cutting the rim rather than the top of the can. This got around the problem of the cans with thinner rims. It takes a little getting used to, but is worth the learning curve.”

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