10 Kitchen Tools That Are Both Essential and Inexpensive

10 Kitchen Tools That Are Both Essential and Inexpensive

Kelli Foster
Mar 20, 2015
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

It's easy to swoon over beautiful yet pricey kitchen tools, like pretty colored stand mixers, Vitamix blenders, and Dutch ovens. But, when it comes to essential, can't-live-without kitchen tools, all of our favorites are totally inexpensive.

All of these tools are seriously useful, and come in handy on a daily basis. And, what makes them even better is that they don't cost hundreds of dollars, but tens of dollars — or in some case, just a few.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

1. A good vegetable peeler

After working with a horribly dull peeler for way too long, I spent $4 on a Kuhn Rikon Swiss peeler. It's small and lightweight, yet it's lasted years and I'm convinced there's nothing it can't handle.

2. Tongs

Easily one of my most-used (and favorite) tools in the kitchen. Tongs come in handy for everything — prep, cooking, and even serving. I use them so much that I have three pairs.

3. Wooden spoons

Wooden spoons are another mainstay in my kitchen. They come in handy so often. They're also inexpensive, so it's worth stocking up on a bunch of them.

Contributor, Lisa, seconds their usefulness: "You don't know how much you love those things until you can't find them in Vietnam!"

4. Microplane

When I bought my Microplane, I never imagined how much I'd use it (all the time!). Michelle feels the exact same way: "I invested $40 in it 10 years ago, and it's never let me down, and I use it every day for everything —garlic, ginger, lemon, chocolate, spices, you name it!"

5. Fine mesh strainer

Copy Editor Lauren relies on her mesh strainer big time. It's perfect for rinsing grains and lentils, sifting powdered sugar, straining homemade nut milks, and so much more.

6. Whisks

I like keeping a few different sized whisks handy. Sometimes my tiny whisk is exactly what I need, and other times a balloon whisk is the tool to get the job done.

Above all, Anjali loves her small Oxo whisk. She even wrote a special ode to her favorite kitchen tool.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

7. Silicon spatulas

How did I ever scrape the contents of bowls and jars free before silicon spatulas? I use mine daily. This is another tool I recommend having in multiple sizes.

8. Instant-read thermometer

If you feel timid about cooking meat (and even if you don't!), this little tool is your ticket to well-cooked steak, roast chicken, and pork chops every time.

9. Fish spatula

Don't let the name fool you, this handy tool isn't just used for fish. Both longer and wider than a regular spatula, it makes flipping everything from pancakes to meat and fish a whole lot easier.

10. Kitchen shears

You can spend some big bucks on fancy kitchen shears, but you don't have to. I picked up a super cheap pair of shears in my 20's when I was stocking my first kitchen. I bought them thinking that I'd get a really nice pair down the line. Well, 10 years later I'm still using that cheap pair.

What are your favorite or most-used inexpensive kitchen tools?

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