18 Kitchen Tools to Help You Make Healthy Meals at Home

It is hard to do any project without the right tools, and cooking is no different. Here is a list of basic kitchen tools that can help you successfully and safely cook healthy, tasty meals at home. To help you stick to your budget, build up your supply of kitchen tools over time instead of buying them all at once. Also, look for sets of cooking supplies instead of buying each tool separately. Sometimes you can find many tools at once for less money than if you bought them separately.

  1. Stockpot. Pots have many uses, from boiling pasta, potatoes, or chicken to making soups, stews, and broths.
  2. Saucepan. Saucepans cook liquids or things with liquids in them, like soups or stews, pasta and beans. Think of it as a smaller version of a stockpot; you can do the same things in both, it just depends on how much of something you are cooking. 
  3. Skillet. Skillets, also called frying pans, can be used to make eggs, meats, vegetables, and sauces.
  4. Sheet pan. Sheet pans can be used to bake cookies but also to roast vegetables, bake meats, and toast nuts. The rimmed sides help keep any liquids or juices from spilling into your oven.
  5. Glass baking dish. Glass baking dishes have many purposes but are probably most popular for baking casseroles. Many recipes call for 9×13 inch dishes, but 8×8 inch dishes are common, too, and can fit in a microwave. 
  6. Knives. You will need good, sharp knives to help you cook most meals. Remember, a sharp knife is a safe knife. You can often find sets of these three knives for an affordable price.
    1. If you can only get one knife, make it a chef’s knife. This type of knife can be used to cut up almost everything. From preparing meats to chopping vegetables, this knife will probably meet whatever need you may have. 
    2. Paring knives are used to cut up small fruits, remove seeds from vegetables, or other small cutting jobs.
    3. Serrated knives have jagged teeth that help you cut through bread and some types of softer vegetables. 
  7. Cutting board. Cutting boards protect your countertops from getting scratched by a knife. Having a few color-coded cutting boards can be helpful in preventing cross-contamination while cooking.
  8. Measuring utensils. Not all recipes call for “1 can” this or “1 container” that. Many recipes call for certain amounts of ingredients – that’s where measuring utensils come in. 
    1. Liquid measuring cups measure larger amounts of fluids, like milk, water, broth, and juice. A 1- or 2-cup liquid measuring cup is good to have at home. 
    2. Dry measuring cups measure larger amounts of dry ingredients – like flour and sugar – and semi-solids – like yogurt and peanut butter. They come in sets of 4 with measurements in ¼ cup, 1/3 cup, ½ cup, and 1 cup. 
    3. Measuring spoons measure small amounts of both liquid and dry ingredients, like herbs and spices or condiments. They often come in a set of 4 with measurements in ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon.
  9. Vegetable/potato brush. This kitchen tool helps scrub off any dirt that may be on the outside of firm fruits or vegetables. Using a vegetable brush to clean your produce can help remove harmful bacteria that could make you sick. 
  10. Whisk. Whisks are useful in whipping eggs or cream and mixing liquids together. 
  11. Spatulas. There are different types of spatulas, but these 2 are very helpful. Flipping or turning spatulas help you turn pancakes or meats in your skillets. Rubber or silicone spatulas are excellent scrapers to help reduce food waste and good spreaders.
  12. Wooden/plastic spoons. Wooden or plastic cooking spoons are a must for cooking anything in a pot, saucepan, or skillet. Choosing wood or plastic instead of metal will protect your cookware from getting scratched and help them last longer. Pro tip: You can often find packs of cooking spoons for an affordable price. Sometimes these packs have other kitchen utensils, like spatulas, whisks, and pasta forks.
  13. Peeler. While you do not have to peel many fruits or vegetables, you may need to on some occasions for certain recipes. A peeler removes the outer layer of fruits or vegetables to reveal the inside flesh. Depending on the type of peeler, you might be able to use a peeler to make large shreds or ribbons of different vegetables to add extra visual texture to salads and other dishes. You might also be able to shave cheeses.
  14. Can opener. Plenty of healthy foods and ingredients come in cans, and not all of them have pop-tops for easy opening. Can openers help you get into the can, so you can use the food for a healthy meal for your family. Make sure to clean your can opener after each use because they get dirty, too!
  15. Potholder/oven mitt. This kitchen tool is important to protect your hands from getting burned. 
  16. Colander/strainer. Colanders or strainers help you remove liquid from items, like draining pasta from pasta water or rinsing the bean sauce from canned beans. They are also good for rinsing dried items before cooking them, like rice, quinoa, and lentils.
  17. Food thermometer. One way to make sure your food is safe to eat is to bring it up to the correct temperature, and the only way to know that for sure is if you have a food thermometer. Stick a food thermometer in your meats, poultry, and casseroles to make sure it is hot enough to kill bacteria that could make you sick. 
  18. Prep bowls. Prep bowls help keep all your ingredients organized and gives you something to mix your ingredients in. Some prep bowls come with lids so you can store leftover ingredients as well.