What essential kitchen tools and gadgets do you need to set up your kitchen or step up your cooking game? I’ve always been told, “a cook’s most valuable tool in the kitchen is their hands.” This is 100% correct. Sometimes, even the fanciest kitchen gadget can’t replace getting your hands dirty. But, there are some simple kitchen gadgets that can make even the most novice cook look like a professional. Stocking your kitchen with the right gadgets can make cooking easier and faster. And let’s be honest, getting dinner on the table as fast as possible is essential after a long day. Whether you are a veteran in the kitchen or looking to break into the cooking scene, these gadgets are a must!

Our Dietitian-approved Essential Kitchen Tools

1. Salad Spinner

I think salad is one of the easiest veggies to prepare to serve with lunch or dinner. A salad spinner helps make sure that your lettuce is properly dried after you wash it, because who likes soggy lettuce? Plus, buying a head of lettuce at the beginning of the week, washing it, and  bagging it is much cheaper than buying the pre-cut and washed packets. Check out this salad spinner* that we love!

2. Storage Containers

Storage containers are SO helpful in the kitchen. If you plan on meal prepping, use storage containers to pack up your portions for the week. You can also pre-chop veggies and other ingredients and store them in your storage containers. That makes throwing dinner together a breeze!

For more tips on cooking food ahead, take a look at this blog: 4 Tips For Healthy Eating During A Busy Week

Feeling full, but still have food on your plate? Use pyrex storage containers* to pack up your leftovers!

3. Chef’s Knife

A good set of knives can make the difference between a kitchen dream and kitchen disaster. If there is one knife to invest in, it is a chef’s knife. It makes chopping a breeze, slicing a snap, and will get used over and over again. We love the Wusthof classic chef’s knife* to make meal prep easier! Make sure you get your knives sharpened every 6-12 months!

4. Blender/ Food Processor

You know they’re great for making smoothies, but they are also great time savers when it comes to chopping vegetables, soups,  homemade dips such as hummus and guacamole, or whipping up homemade dressings with your own ingredients. A high powered blender like a Vitamix* is worth the investment! For quick/easy jobs, an immersion blender* is a great option and is easier to clean up.

5. Meat Thermometer

This takes the guess work out of cooking meat. By using a meat thermometer, you can make sure you are cooking your meats safely without overcooking. No one likes a dry chicken breast! You don’t need anything fancy, a simple mechanical thermometer* will do the trick!

6. Saute Pan/Wok

One of the quickest forms of cooking is stir fry. It is an easy way to combine proteins, grains and vegetables all in one dish. Use a wok like this* or deep sauce pan to make mixing easier.

Our popular Beef Lo Mein is a great example of an easy stir-fry recipe.

Beef Lo Mein

7. Sheet Pan/ Cookie Sheet

balsamic chicken and veggies

Sheet pans* can be used for just about everything from baking to roasting vegetables and warming up leftovers in the oven.

Here are some of our favorite sheet pan recipes in this blog: 8 Sheet Pan Dinners for an Easy Meal

8. Mason Jars

These double as storage containers and can add some decoration to your kitchen. Store spices, grains, coffee and so much more! Date and label the bottom and arrange on open shelves. You can also use mason jars to store salads and vegetables in your fridge. Ever heard of a mason jar salad? These jars* are perfect for those beautiful (and functional) layered salads! We also have a blog on recipes using mason jars. Take a look at: 4 Steps to an Easy Meal Prep Sunday

9. Indoor Grill or Grill Pan

Indoor grills* are great for quick grilling inside during the winter, or in a dorm or apartment. You can make burgers, sausages, chicken or vegetables. You can even make paninis with them!

10. Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Don’t you wish that dinner would cook itself sometimes? Well it can with a slow cooker*. Throw ingredients in, turn it on, and forget about it! Need some inspiration? Take a look at our pinterest boards.

Want to save time? The Instant Pot* will get the job done but in a fraction of the time! We had to include our favorite Instant Pot meal recipe: Sweet and Spicy Honey Sesame Chicken

Want more about kitchen tools and gadgets? Watch Kaitlin discuss it here!

YouTube video

Recipes using Essential Kitchen Tools

honey sesame chicken

Our recipe database includes our own tried and true recipes and is searchable based on cooking method so you can easily find recipes to match your kitchen tools!

What kitchen gadgets can you not live without? Let us know in the comments below! Do you need help learning how to cook healthy dishes? Make an appointment with one of our nutrition professionals by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499. 

Klara Knezevic is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Maryland. She has over a decade of experience in the nutrition field and currently serves as the CEO and co-owner of Rebecca Bitzer and Associates, one of the largest nutrition private practices in the country. Klara is passionate about sharing practical nutrition tips to help you feel confident in the choices that you make. Coauthor of Cooking with Food Sensitivities Survival Guide and Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating.