The other day, as I was stirring the sauce for my turkey blanquette, I was thinking how glad I am I bought these wooden spoons. Such an inexpensive buy, and so incredibly helpful! I don’t think I could ever cook again without these spoons. I use them all the time for literally everything! This gave me the idea of writing a post on kitchen must-haves. You can spend a lot of money on kitchen gadgets that you barely use, while there are some kitchen tools that aren’t expensive that you use all the time! For those of you who don’t know what to get and don’t want to spend a fortune on things you don’t really need, this article is for you! These kitchen must-haves are all you really need for French cooking and baking!
These are the top 15 kitchen utensils I use all the time and are absolute must-haves in my kitchen!
1. A Kitchen Scale
Every recipe requires measuring ingredients. A kitchen scale allows you to weigh pretty much anything you need to weigh, and it lets you choose the measurement unit you want to use. So you can weigh in grams or ounces! So convenient for French cooking and baking! All you need is a basic kitchen scale, which is quite inexpensive.
2. A Measuring Cup
I am not talking about these sets that come with various cups of various sizes, I am talking about one single measuring cup that does it all. I use mine all the time. It is so helpful and totally inexpensive. For French cooking and baking, I recommend this one that measures in all units, including grams and cups:
3. A Mixing Bowl
Notice all these recipes that tell you to mix ingredients in a big bowl?! You need one and a good one, that you can wash in your dishwasher. I have this one. Love it and use it all the time!
4. Dishes that go in the microwave, the oven, AND THE DISHWASHER!
This is a must. You want a set of versatile dishes that are dishwasher-safe (because who wants to spend their time doing dishes?), that can be used in the oven, the microwave, the fridge, the freezer, everywhere!! I love these from the Pyrex brand:
5. A Good Skillet
Obviously a must-have. I cook so many things in the skillet: chicken, fish…etc. You need a good non-stick one. Love the T‑fal brand. I had mine for many years and it is still in perfect shape! Well worth it!
6. Pots and strainers
This is another obvious one, you probably already have those in your kitchens. I will say though, that I find it very helpful to have various sizes of pots and strainers. For example, I find small pots to really be best when making sauces.
Also, I love my tiny strainers for sprinkling powdered sugar over cakes:
7. A Good Non-Stick Cake Pan
If you are going to bake, you obviously need this. The cake pan I use the most is this incredibly convenient springform pan. Absolutely love the easy-release feature, that makes getting the cake out of the pan super easy!
8. A Tart Pan
This is a must have for French cooking and baking. Quiches, sweet and savory tarts are a staple of French cuisine. You want a pan with a removable bottom, which makes it super easy to get the tart out. Like this one:
9. A Rolling Pin
Because tarts are such a staple of French cuisine, I use my rolling pin all the time. I like the wooden ones with handles on the side best.
10. A Food Processor That Does it All
A food processor that does it all is so helpful! My kitchen processor slices, shreds, chops, purées, emulsifies, and even kneads! So I can even use it to make brioche! Instead of having multiple utensils that do all these things, it is so much better to just have one good food processor that does everything you will ever need. Such a great investment! This is the one I have:
11. Wooden spoons
As I stated earlier, I use my wooden spoons all the time. Whenever a recipe calls for stirring or mixing anything, I find that my wooden spoons do the best job. A great inexpensive buy!
12. A Good Vegetable Peeler
This is another obvious one. Cooking and baking requires a lot of peeling of vegetables and fruits. A vegetable peeler that gets the job done easily and quickly is a must-have. The OXO brand makes the best vegetable peelers.
13. A Cutting Board
Where do you cut everything? On a cutting board. This is an obvious one, but worth mentioning, if you don’t already have one.
A must-have for baking. Most cakes require whisking eggs so you need a whisker. An electric one will make your life much easier as it gets the job done quickly and easily.
15. A Dutch Oven
This is not a must-have for everything you cook, but in French cooking, so many dishes require a dutch oven, I feel it is a must-have when cooking French. There are some very expensive beautiful dutch ovens (think Le Creuset), but all you need is one that gets the job done. I have this one, which is reasonably priced and does everything I need it to do:
Voilà! These are my top 15 kitchen must-haves! Other kitchen tools are great to have too, but these items are all you really need!