The 5 Things Everyone Should Have in Their Knife Drawer

published May 20, 2020
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Even if you store your knives lined up on a magnetic knife strip (our favorite option!) or in a knife block (not our favorite option!), chances are you still have a knife drawer of some sorts. (Note: You should not store your knives all willy-nilly like in the photo above. That’s a good way to stab yourself and ruin your knives!) This is the drawer where you keep, what we like to call, Other Sharp Things. Maybe you’ve got some cheese knives in there? And some metal skewers? And your sharpener? Those three things are all nice to have, but these are the five things we think are must-haves.

1. Shears

We say there are three knives every home cook needs: a chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. The fourth thing on that list would be a good pair of kitchen shears. You can use them to break down a chicken, cut up a pizza, chop up canned tomatoes, and more. We love these because they come apart easily for cleaning but not so easily that they’ll break open when you’re in the middle of using them.

Buy: Wüsthof Kitchen Shears, $20

2. A Zester and Coarse Grater

Our editors are universally in love with their Microplane zesters. “If you think they’re a superfluous tool, you haven’t used one to flurry through lemon zest or turn a wedge of cheese into perfect Parmesan snow,” said Grace Elkus, deputy food editor, when we were making our list of the essential kitchen tools for 2020. Beyond a zester, everyone also needs a coarse grater for mac and cheese, meatballs (the onions!), carrot cake, and more.

Buy: Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester Grater, $13
Buy: OXO Good Grips Etched Coarse Grater, $13

3. A garlic press

If you’ve been on the fence about getting a garlic press, then you need to read this story. Go ahead, we can wait! Not only does a garlic press make quick work of mincing garlic, it also churns out pieces that are sharper and spicier than what you’d get when you chop it up by hand. We love this OXO one because it’s easy on the hands and comes clean with just a quick rinse under the sink and stint in the dishwasher.

4. Mandoline

No matter how good you are with a chef’s knife, you still need a mandoline. (How else are you gonna slice perfect, paper-thin slices or shave cabbage into delicate threads?) This Japanese Benriner mandoline gets our vote when it comes to slicing, julienning, and shredding even the hardest vegetables with ease. We prefer it to bulky (and way more expensive) French mandolines for its ability to fit in any kitchen drawer and still slice big batches of vegetables faster than a food processor. Be careful, though, because of all the things in this drawer, this will likely be the sharpest.

Buy: Benriner Mandoline Slicer, $39

5. Corn on the Cob Holders

Corn season is coming! And as silly as they seem, corn on the cob holders really do make a difference. (As anyone who’s ever burned their thumbs on a too-hot ear will tell you.) We love these because they lock together during storage and you won’t accidentally take a prick under your fingernail when you go to set the patio table.

Buy: OXO Good Grips Interlocking Corn Holders, $10

What Other Sharp Things do you have in your knife drawer?