The Almost Essentials: 5 Second-Tier Kitchen Tools We Love

If we were stranded on a culinary desert island and could only have a few kitchen tools with us, there would be obvious frontrunners. But although we could make do with a good knife and cast iron skillet for just about everything, that doesn't mean there aren't a few extras we'd like to have too. They might not be your Grandma's wooden spoon or your favorite balloon whisk, but these five second-tier tools aren't far behind!

1. Can Opener: Sure you could probably hack into a can with a knife, but a good can opener that will see you through large can and small is hard to come by. Here's a basic favorite for many and don't forget to check out which brand readers prefer in this post.

2. Bottle Opener: There are as many different bottle openers as there are pairs of socks in the world and all that matters is that you find one that you like. Here are a few that are fun and functional while these are a little more glamorous. (And of course don't forget that many can openers also open bottles.)

3. Fine Mesh Sieve/Strainer: Long ago I did away with sifters in my kitchen as my mesh sieves work perfectly for draining fried foods from oil and sifting my pastry fixin's together. Not sure what the difference between that and a few other look-alike items in the kitchen? Read up on strainers, colanders, and the chinois here!

4. Tongs: Although tongs and spatulas battle it out for best grilling tool we use them for far more than outdoor cooking in our kitchen. We have four pairs and use them more than almost any other kitchen tool we own!

5. Handheld Mandoline: Even if larger models are available for when you're doing lots of prep work, this small handheld kitchen staple gets a workout during many meals in our house. We prefer the kind with a handle, though this model sits across a bowl and works just as nicely. Not only do they slice, but they can also act as a peeler too!

What tools do you have in your own kitchen that come in second — just barely! — to your first tier of tools? Do you have a passion for your peeler? Do you salivate for your slotted spoon? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Related: 5 Tools & Gadgets We Tried (and Mostly Loved) This Year

(Images: Emma Christensen, Fred and Friends, Faith Durand, Macy's, Amazon)

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Sarah Trover has lived all across the Midwest and currently calls the hot dog-laden city of Chicago home. She rides scooters and seeks out kitchens that make the best pie.

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