Essential Kitchen Tools & Sets

Essential Kitchen Tools & Sets: 6 Experts Pick Their Favorites

Using the best tools in the kitchen can make a day and night difference. They can reduce prep time and make cooking more enjoyable. We’re always on the lookout for a cutting edge in the kitchen. No pun intended.

So we asked a few of our expert podcast guests what their favorite kitchen tool is. We asked them a simple question:

What is the one tool you can’t live without?

Here’s what they said:

1. Microplane Zester, Kitchen Shears

“I love my Microplane Zester. I zest lemons, grate ginger and garlic, and finely shred hard cheese with this tool. There is nothing else like it. A close second is my pair of Kitchen Shears – I snip herbs, open packages, trim chicken, and many other tasks with the shears. A pair that comes apart for easy cleaning is a feature I look for when buying a pair.” – Maggie Green, The Green Apron Company

2. Santoku Knife, Bamboo Cutting Board

“That’s a tough question. That’s like asking which of your kids do you like best! I’d have to say if I must choose, it would be either my santoku knife or my bamboo cutting board. I use both constantly and am very happy with them.” – Monica Ricci, Professional Organizer

3. Ziploc Bags

“I would have to go with the humble “baggie,” as we call it in our house. You might know it by the name Ziploc bags, though the generic ones also work quite well, and they come in all shapes and sizes. This small, inexpensive tool is there for me every step of the way: when I’m pounding my chicken breasts, flouring my meat for stew, marinating for the grill, or freezing meats in individual portions for the ability to thaw out a burger in no time. But my little helper is also a friend to vegetables! I like to process my favorite “trio” – onions, celery, and carrots – in large batches and freeze them in ½ cup portions (in the baggies, of course) for easy soup and stew assembly at least once a week. Gallon size baggies keep my pre-washed lettuce crisp so that I can make a salad for dinner in the time that it takes my children to set the table. And don’t forget what a friend they are to leftovers … they take up less space in the fridge, don’t require lids that get lost, and can be sent in school lunches without fear. Now they make giant versions, so my baggie obsession could be carried to other parts of the house. I wonder how Monica Ricci feels about them?” – Natalee Ziebro, Parent Coach

4. Waffle Iron

“My waffle iron. Wendy and I got it for our wedding and it sat in deep storage for years until I became the Waffle Daddy on the weekends. I’m fairly ordinary with using a spatula for omelets or a wok for stir-fry, but I can make some fairly creative waffles with fruit or chocolate chips. Even when I screw up the batter, my kids appreciate the “big squares” that come out right with my little Italian iron.” – Gregory Keer, The Family Man Online

5. Vicky & Jen’s Picks

“I have the same pair of kitchen shears I got when Jeff and I got married seven years ago. I use them every day for almost everything: opening bags, trimming meat, cutting pizza.” – Jen

“I ditto Chef Maggie Green. My kitchen shears and Microplane zester get more use than any other tool in my kitchen, but if I had to pick a third favorite, it would be a simple box of wax paper. I use it as a work surface to grate cheese, season meat or temporarily lay chopped ingredients. I use it as a layer between leftover pizza or to keep re-heats from splattering in the microwave. I love it because it’s quick, easy, sanitary and disposable! It saves me from washing another plate or getting the counter messy.” – Vicky

In our interview with Chef Harvey Golden, he said that the basic wooden spoon was his number one favorite kitchen tool.

We’d love to learn even more ways to keep it simple in one of most frequently used rooms in the house! So tell us, what is the most useful kitchen gadget you own?