I’ve always wanted Salted Mint to be more than a blog that just gave you recipes every week. It needs to be a resource that you feel has your back in the kitchen and helps you be a better more relaxed cook. So, I’ve created an Essential Kitchen Guide to kitchen equipment that will see you through any and every recipe.
I’ve cooked in so many different style kitchens throughout in my career. From having everything money could buy, to having to make the best of a bad situation. And I can honestly tell you, that it’s just about having some basic quality equipment that you can use over and over. This guide is exhaustive. Pick and choose the items on here that you would love to have and the things that you desperately need. I will preface by stating that I own everything on this list and could not run my kitchen without all these items. They all get weekly use. And they definitely stand up to the rigours of my busy kitchen.
Having the right kitchen tools makes cooking so much easier and more enjoyable. The right equipment can mean the difference between “meh!” and “ah!” results. But sometimes it’s a bit difficult to know exactly what you need and what you don’t. It’s not necessary to spend a small fortune on kitchen equipment all at once. But rather buy quality items over time and build up your kitchen as you go.
- Dutch Oven– A Dutch oven is a sturdy pot that you will get a lifetime of use out of. It’s perfect for soups, stews, sauces and braises. You can even bake bread in it. And it’s can go from the stove top, to the oven to the table. I couldn’t be without mine.
Blender– Blenders are perfect for smoothies with frozen fruit, blending chunky soups and sauces and even making your own salad dressings. If you buy a good quality make you will get a lifetime of use out of it.
3. Baking Trays/ Sheet Pans– Baking trays are one of the single most important investments for your kitchen. They will probably one of your most used pieces of kitchen equipment. From roasting vegetables, baking cookies and the all important sheet pan dinner, baking trays are worth their weight in gold. This is where you will really notice the difference in a quality product. Spending a little extra here for a quality tray will ensure that you don’t have problems with warped sheet pans and uneven cooking.
- Stainless Steel Pan Set– A quality set of pans can and should be an investment, but they will last you a lifetime. Look for pans that feel sturdy, but are light enough to manoeuver easily. Be sure to buy stainless steel and steer clear of aluminium because there’s a potential for a chemical reaction with food.
Cast Iron Skillet– Cast iron skillets are maybe not a necessity, but if you get one, you will wonder what you ever did before. They are so great for a one pan dinner that you can make on the stove top then pop right in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. They hold heat incredibly well and are so versatile. Searing steaks, sautéing vegetables and baking a frittata are made effortless with this pan.
Hand Blender/ Immersion Blender/ Stick Blender– If you don’t want to the bulk and the heavy duty performance of a counter top blender, then a stick blender is the one for you. They are so easy and light weight. Purée soups right in the pan and pop the blade off the wash. They’ll fit easily in a drawer so don’t take up real estate on your counter. Perfect for small kitchen living.
Non Stick Frying Pans– Everyone needs at least one good quality non stick frying pan. From pancakes to eggs to cooking fish. Non stick is a must. But be sure to use non-abrasive sponges on this delicate surface.
Cooling Racks– For so much more than just cooling cookies. You can put a cooling rack over a baking tray and roast meats and veggies. It’s also perfect for glazing cakes, letting excess icing drip down into a piece of paper.
Food Processor– A good food processor will be like having an extra person in your kitchen chopping, dicing and slicing like a pro. You can make pastry and pesto. Grate cheese and shred cabbage. It’s a multi purpose tool that will be a huge time saver.
Crock Pot/ Slow Cooker– A slow cooker is like having magic in your kitchen. Toss all your ingredients in and set it. Hours later you’ve got tender slow cooked meats, casseroles and delicious soups. If you live in a cold weather climate, you need a slow cooker.
Colander/ Strainer– A non nonsense way to drain pasta and potatoes.
Lasagna/ Baking/ Casserole Dish– Not only perfect for oven to table lasagna and pasta bakes, but also perfect for fruit crumbles and chicken pot pies.
- Silpat/ Non Stick Baking Mat– These non stick mats may not be a necessity, but they will save a lot of waste in your kitchen. They’re perfect for lining any kind of tray rather than using disposable paper.
Dry Measuring Cups and Spoons– If you do any kind of baking you’ll definitely be needing these. They’re perfect dipping right into the tub for measuring flour, sugar and baking powder. Find a set that has 6 different measurements rather than one that only has 4. It’ll make your life so much easier.
Heavy Roasting Pan– I wouldn’t dream of roasting a chicken or a turkey without one of these pans. They ensure crisp golden skin and lots of juices for making gravy.
Non Stick Wok– 15 minute dinners are a dream in a non stick wok. If you are determined to become a master of the speedy dinner, you need one of these.
Liquid Measuring Jugs– Perfect for measuring liquids for all your recipes. But, they’re also great for making sauces and dressings right in them, to save on washing.
Light Weight Plastic Chopping Board– This board has the perfect grippy back that will make sure it stays put while you’re chopping away. Plastic boards can be put in the dishwasher for full disinfecting.
Kitchen Knives– If taken care of, a high quality knife set will last you a life time. A small set like these Henckels will be all you need. Be sure to wash with warm soapy water and wash and dry right away. Don’t put high quality knives in the dishwasher. No matter what it says on the packaging.
Grill Pan– Too cold outside to barbeque. No problem. A good quality grill pan will create char marks and give a gorgeous smokey flavour to all your food, without having to brave the snow.
Fine Mesh Strainers– Perfect for smaller jobs. Draining a tin of beans or sifting flour.
Mixing Bowls– Stainless steel bowls in every size will be a kitchen saviour. Use stainless rather than glass as they are so much more lightweight.
- Potato Peeler– I can’t recommend this style of peeler enough. Sometimes called a speed peeler, it does what it says. Being a lefty, this style was a revelation for me. They’re sharp, speedy, safe and cheap.
Whisks– Whip cream, make sauces and emulsify vinaigrettes.
Stand Mixer– Possibly not a necessity, but a fabulous investment in your equipment portfolio. Kneading bread, making cookies and cakes and even shredding chicken are a few of the jobs this mixer can do with minimal effort. A stand mixer will also last you a lifetime.
Wooden Utensils– Perfect for tossing salads, mixing soups and flipping omelettes. They’ll last forever.
Spiralizer– Another possible “nice to have” piece of equipment. Spiralize sweet potatoes to make noodles or regular potatoes to make the crispiest fries you’ve ever had.
Silicone Spatulas– Heat proof and flexible these are perfect for getting every last drop of sauce from a pan or icing from a bowl. The fact that these silicone spatulas don’t have any seams means that they are super hygienic and can be tossed in the dish washer.
Fish Turner– A turning spatula with a very thin surface. Perfect for fish and pancakes and anything else that needs flipping.
Tongs– Come in handy when a spatula just won’t do. Perfect for when you need to move ingredients around but don’t want to shake the pan, or flip it over.
Can Opener– A good sharp one is the perfect thing to tackle any can.
Microplanes– Probably one of the most versatile tools out there. Skip the box grater and get this duo for course and fine grating. Grate garlic and ginger and zest lemons for your recipes. Grate cheese for the perfect texture and even grate chocolate over a cake to make it look super elegant.
Rolling Pin– Obviously, perfect for rolling out dough. But also perfect to use to pound out and flatten chicken and streak when wrapped in cling film.
This is a pretty exhaustive list and pretty much everything that you need to make almost any and every recipe you can think of.