The 28 Essential Tools and Gadgets Every Home Cook Needs for 2022

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Cookie scoop and many scoops of cookie dough on parchment on a bright blue baking sheet
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

Last week, we launched our 2022 version of Kitchn Essentials. It’s our annual list of the right kitchen tools for right now. This year, that list includes 115 items across eight different categories (cookware, knives, small appliances, etc.) The biggest category? Tools. Because a home cook is only as good as their tools. (That’s how the saying goes, right?)

We tested, tasted, and debated and, ultimately, came up with 28 gadgets that we think every home cook should have. Let’s take a look.

1 / 28
Best Instant-Read Thermometer
was $109.00

ThermoWorks is a favorite among pro chefs and our editors. The brand recently gave its classic thermometer an upgrade and we've somehow become even more obsessed. Senior Recipe Editor Amelia Rampe calls it "the most accurate thermometer there is," and also recommends their compact ChefAlarm for making candy and caramels and temping her oven. Back to the Thermapen ONE, though, it gives a read-out in just one second and won our Best List testing — by a landslide.

2 / 28
Best Pepper Mill
was $39.95

There are a few key things we look for in a pepper mill. On the list: a wide opening for loading the peppercorns, a durable ceramic grinding mechanism, an easy-to-turn crank, and a catcher for measuring and storing. This incredibly efficient version has yet to let us down. Plus, it's Ina Garten's favorite — and you know Ina knows what's best.

3 / 28
Best Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

These stainless steel mixing bowls are lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, but there's one extra component that takes them to the next level: They come with tight-fitting lids! We love that we can mix up a big grain salad, for example, and then just put a lid on it and pop it in the refrigerator for whenever we get peckish.

4 / 28
Best Spatula
Pattern Brands

We will wax poetic about this spatula to anyone who will listen. "Its perfectly bendy-yet-sturdy head will scrape up every last bit of batter," notes Executive Lifestyle Director, Lisa Freedman. Plus, she adds, it's all one piece, and that makes it oh-so easy to clean. No gunk hiding between the head and the handle!

5 / 28
Best Turner
was $20.00

Made from BPA-free silicone, this sturdy-but-flexible spatula has a smooth, rounded handle that's an absolute pleasure to hold, and a head with rounded edges that ensures no corner of your pan goes untouched. It’s also dishwasher-safe, heat-resistant to high temperatures, and safe to use with any type of pan. In fact, the only downside may be that it tends to sell out often. Buy one now while you can!

6 / 28
Best Fish Spatula

According to Senior Studio Food Editor Jesse Szewczyk, "If you're serious about leveling up your seafood game, this spatula is a must; it's thin, flexible, and perfect for getting underneath delicate fillets." We definitely agree! Jesse is also our resident cookie expert, and he adds that this spatula is great for removing cookies from baking sheets (and flipping grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes!).

7 / 28
Best Ladle
Pattern Brands

What's better than a dishwasher-safe ladle that helps you get every last drop of soup out of the pot? This silicone ladle, which comes in cool colors and has measurement markings on the inside. In all seriousness, if you didn't think it could be fun to use a ladle, you have to try this one. It's super satisfying to see just how much it can get out of your pot. It doesn't leave a drop behind!

8 / 28
Best Wooden Spoon

The problem with most wooden spoons is that they tend to crack or split. This spoon, however, is made from a composite material that's both durable and dishwasher-safe. (It's made of the same material as the wood cutting board from above.) You'll never have to oil it or replace it!

9 / 28
Best Slotted Spoon

"I love how large and sturdy this slotted spoon is," says Senior Food Editor Megan O. Steintrager. "It's perfect for straining sauces and transferring hard-boiled eggs and veggies to an ice bath." She adds that she's had hers for as long as she can remember and it still looks brand new.

10 / 28
Best Silicone-Tipped Tongs

"I can't say it loud enough: A good pair of tongs is one of the most essential kitchen tools," says Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli Foster. We agree — with a caveat. You're going to need two pairs: a silicone version, and a plain ol' stainless steel version. This silicone version is great for using with nonstick pans and also for mixing up salads without bruising your greens.

11 / 28
Best Stainless Steel Tongs

For the second pair of tongs, sometimes basic is best! "These simple, scalloped tongs make it so easy to firmly grip whatever you've got cooking," says Contributor Patty Catalano. They are our go-to for searing steaks and plating pasta. And because they're a bit longer than the silicone ones above, they're essential for grilling outside.

12 / 28
Best Whisk

This little whisk is surprisingly handy for everyday tasks, like whipping up a quick vinaigrette or eggs for two, but it's also capable of handling bigger jobs. Editor-in-Chief Faith Durand wrote an entire book on pudding and swears by this one. "You can always use a smaller whisk for a bigger task, but you can’t ever use a giant whisk in a tiny bowl,” she says.

13 / 28
Best Sauce Whisk
Williams Sonoma

If you've never used a sauce whisk before, this flat whisk will change your life — or, at least, your sauces. It lets you get into the corners of any pot and break up all those bits on the bottom. “You can’t (successfully) make a sauce or gravy without it," says Faith.

14 / 28
Best Citrus Squeezer
Williams Sonoma

"Every other juicer and reamer pales in comparison to this sunny selection," says Patty. "Squeeze every drop from lemons and limes with this juicer using minimal muscle power!" Really, what else is there to say?

15 / 28
Best Bench Scraper

"Between dividing doughs, pushing chopped veggies into the skillet, and cleaning up countertops when dinner's done, this bench scraper does it all!" says Executive Food Director, Nina Elder. She gives it bonus points for the built-in ruler, which comes in handy when trying to make perfectly uniform biscuits, for example.

16 / 28
Best Steamer Basket

Steaming veggies is one of the easiest ways to get more vegetables on your plate. And while your basic no-name steamer basket will get the job done, a passionate set of Kitchn editors advocated for this upgraded version. It has an extendable handle to get it in and out of pots and fits in nearly any pot — including your Instant Pot.

17 / 28
Best Spider

"Spiders are not just for restaurant chefs; they're also super-smart tools for home cooks!" says Kelli. You can use one to transfer pasta directly from the water to the skillet with sauce, to rinse a handful of berries when getting out a colander feels like a little too much, to hard-boil eggs, and to fry just about anything. This is the one that gets our vote.

18 / 28
Best Ice Cream Scoop

There are some great ice cream scoops out there (looking at you, Zeroll), but we ultimately picked this spring-loaded option because it can be used for so many other things — like cookie dough, meatballs, muffin batter, watermelon, and more. We’ve found that the medium size is the most versatile.

19 / 28
Best Liquid Measuring Cups

This classic set of three liquid measuring cups comes with three sizes and covers all your bases. The cups are also microwave-safe and have easy-to-read markings (that stay on, even after years of use). The handles are comfortable to grip, and the curved spouts allow for precise pouring.

20 / 28
Best Dry Measuring Cups

"Measuring cups are a recipe developer's lifeline, and these always have my back," says Senior Contributing Food Editor Sheela Prakash. "They're sturdy, accurate, easy to use, and they're magnetic so they actually stay organized in my drawer." She loves them so much, in fact, she has three sets.

21 / 28
Best Measuring Spoons

There are many measuring spoons out there, but these shockingly sturdy ones have measurements that are permanently stamped into their handles, so they'll never rub off. They also have a removable loop that keeps them together and, with the exception of the tablespoon measurement, will fit into standard-size spice jars.

22 / 28
Best Kitchen Scale

"The easiest, most impactful way to step up your baking game is to invest in a scale," says Jesse. "This is because a cup of flour is wildly inconsistent, which means you could end up with significantly more or less flour than intended." We suggest this one, which costs just $25, takes up hardly any space, and will guarantee your flour is always spot on. It's actually good for more than just baking, too. Wanna know more? Give this a read.

23 / 28
Best Can Opener

When it comes to can openers, we're in favor of something with a bit of heft in your hand and a knob that's easy to turn. This one fits both of those requirements and it's got a built-in magnet, which grabs the lid, and a special release lever, so you never have to get your hands dirty.

24 / 28
Best Salad Spinner

Bigger is better ... if you're talking about salad spinners. And this one is big enough to handle giant batches of lettuce and other greens, as well as heartier produce like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. It's also delicate enough to handle tiny herbs — without any signs of bruising. Plus, the clear bowl is respectable enough to use as a serving bowl.

25 / 28
Best Colander

It may seem like hyperbole to say that this smartly designed colander will change your life, but Amelia swears it will, and here's why: "It has adjustable arms so you can hang the basket over the sink. That means you can have two hands on that heavy pot." It also means your colander won't end up sitting in dirty sink water!

26 / 28
Best Fine Mesh Strainer

You'll want a fine-mesh strainer for things like sifting flour or powdered sugar, straining sauces and gravies, and — this one is important – rinsing your rice. (Please, rinse your rice!) For all of these tasks, we like this dishwasher-safe strainer, which has a little hook that ensures it sturdily rests on any bowl.

27 / 28
Best Hot Pad

Faith and Lisa both rave about this gorgeous oven mitt, which is thin and flexible enough to gently mold to any pan, but strong enough to grab a screaming-hot cast iron skillet from under the broiler. Use one to grab stuff — and as a trivet when putting hot stuff on the table for family-style meals.

28 / 28
Best Oven Mitt
was $40.00

"Pretty pot holders" feels like an oxymoron and yet, allow us to present this snappy set, which comes in cheery colors like Eucalyptus and Blueberry. The protective-yet-flexible silicone mitt portion lets you easily grab onto baking sheets, oven dishes, pie plates, and Dutch oven handles. And the mitts are long enough to cover a large portion of your forearms, protecting you from burns.

How many of these Essentials do you already have? Tell us in the comments below!