Cooking at home doesn’t necessitate spending hundreds of dollars on fancy tools, but which affordable tools do people use most or get the most excited about? That’s what one home chef asks others in an online cooking forum, and fellow food lovers are happy to celebrate their favorite inexpensive kitchen helpers.
1. Cast Iron Pans
Multiple people swear by their cast iron pans. One person goes so far as to say they use theirs for “everything but boiling rice.” Others have some concerns about keeping the pans clean, given their reputation as difficult to maintain, but a cast iron defender says that it mostly just boils down to making sure they don’t stay wet for long.
2. Stainless Steel Bowls
Several cooks take the opportunity to gush over their stainless steel mixing bowls that cost less than $10 in most places. They can be used for making sauces and herb mixtures and are incredibly easy to clean, no matter what sticky and oily ingredients you use.
Many thrifty amateur chefs love their Mandoline slicers, which vary in price from $10 for smaller models to hundreds for industrial sizes. But even the smallest version of these slicers can help save huge amounts of time in the kitchen by quickly slicing whatever you need when compared to using a knife.
4. Vegetable Peeler
Another tool that can be bought cheaply and saves time compared to knives, vegetable peelers make it easy and quick to shave the skins off all kinds of fruits and veggies. There are even different kinds of peelers to help with different skins. Cucumbers and carrots aren’t the same as eggplants and mangos, but there’s a peeler for everything.
The most agreed-upon kitchen lifesavers are kitchen scissors. One home chef says they have multiple pairs, so they always have a set ready to go on whatever they need, whether cutting pieces of herbs, veggies, or even pizza.
6. 1/8th Sheet Pan
One very enthusiastic cook makes a strong case for the usefulness of a 1/8th sheet pan. Of course, it can be used as a sheet pan for a small side. But it’s also perfect for holding utensils while you’re cooking, using as a plate if you need one quickly, or, as they joke, “throwing at your roommate to keep out of the kitchen.”
Tongs are a favorite for many people. Not only because of their versatility, as one person says, with tongs, “you can stir, turn, flip, insert, remove,” but also for their help reaching things just a little too far away on a shelf. And there’s always the fun of “clacking them twice like you’re a crab person.”
8. Rice Cooker
Like Mandoline slicers, rice cookers can range in cost from less than $20 to hundreds of dollars. But no matter how much you pay for a rice cooker, it’s a convenient tool that saves time and effort by taking a key component of many meals off the cook’s plate, metaphorically, of course.
9. Wooden Spoons
While some cooking tools run the gamut of pricing, wooden spoons are usually $8 at the most and can be as cheap as $2. But their cost belies their greatness. They’re made for stirring and scooping, but what makes them perfect kitchen tools is that they don’t scrape up pots and pans and can withstand incredible heat without transferring that heat to your hand or melting like some low-quality plastic kitchen tools.
10. Potato Masher
Potato mashers may have “potato” in their name, but they can be used for much more than mashed potatoes. One mashing fan says they use their metal potato masher for everything, “any kind of fruit for compote and jams. Avocado for sandwich spread or guac. Whole tomatoes for sauces and salsas. Cooked beans for dips and spreads.”
AUTHOR: Kyle Logan