When it comes to kitchen essentials, cookware is at the top of the list. Check out our ultimate cookware buying guide for everything you need to know
You may dream of one day whipping up a flurry of delectable dishes like Chef Wan. Top chefs seem to have every tool of the trade available on their shows. However, it may surprise you to learn that you don’t need a pro set up to get started.
When buying cookware, it may tempt you to invest in a super-luxe, 120-piece set. By doing so, you can go from zero to gourmet with the click of a button.
You can even choose a set that matches your stovetop perfectly. What’s more, they’ll most likely all fit together neatly for storage.
However, it isn’t necessary to buy a mega-cookware set. By focusing on a few essentials, you can find the right cookware to start honing or improving your culinary skills.
Keep reading for the ultimate guide to kitchen essentials.
Kitchen Essentials: The Basic Set-Up
You’ll never find the perfect one-size-fits-all cookware set. Firstly, you’ll most likely already have a few pieces in your collection.
Resultantly, you’ll end up buying unneeded duplicates. Also, if you purchase a cookware set with too many pieces, a lot of them will go on used. You’ll probably spend more time dusting them.
Besides, everyone’s cookware collection has unique quirks. Over time, you’ll find that you tend to lean on certain pieces compared to others.
A better alternative is to get what you need—when you need it. Still, there are some essentials that you absolutely cannot do without.
Here are a few pieces that you’ll want in your kitchen and links to show you where to buy cookware.
12 Inch Skillet
A 12 Inch Skillet is relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, the big skillet is a kitchen staple. You might find that this kitchen essential is the first thing you feel inclined to grab if there’s a fire.
A cast-iron skillet is nearly indestructible. It’s also spacious. You can even use it for shallow frying.
Today, most cast-iron skillets come preseasoned. You can’t toss them in the dishwasher when you’re done preparing a meal. However, you don’t have to baby them either.
Dutch ovens are big and beautiful. If you invest in the right Dutch oven, you can make it a family heirloom.
They’re great for braises and stews. You can also use them for cooking up great big batches of lentils.
However, Dutch ovens aren’t as tough as cast-iron skillets. In other words, no metal utensils and no dishwasher for your Dutch oven.
All-Clad Steel Pan
An all-clad steel pan is a versatile kitchen tool. However, you may not see it recommended often.
Nevertheless, you’ll learn to love it. In time, you’ll find that it’s a jack of all trades.
For example, you can use it for sautéing. Its high walls are great for keeping grease from splattering everywhere. You can also use it as a wok, albeit one with a flat bottom.
In all clad steel pan has the versatility of a skillet without the weight. You can also use it as a saucepan. Sometimes, you can cheat and use it in the oven as a smaller Dutch oven.
Cast-Iron Combo Cooker
Who doesn’t love bread? If you find baking delightful, you’ll want to give this pan a try.
A cast-iron combo cooker is inexpensive. Still, it will last a lifetime. Also, it’s nice-looking (in its own way).
The cast-iron combo cooker is a favorite of Francisco MiGoya—the author of the definitive guide to bread making. It’s his favorite way to make homemade loaves. It can also double as a skillet as well as a Dutch oven when needed.
A stainless-steel stockpot is a home kitchen must. You could get away with boiling spaghetti water in your Dutch oven.
Still, what home feels right without a big pasta pot? Besides, a Dutch oven is overkill for spaghetti.
The trusty stockpot is great for making mashed potatoes. It’s also good for making sous vide dinners.
You can also use your stockpot for staples, such as corn. You can even use it for cooking our crustacean friend the lobster.
Furthermore, you don’t have to break the bank for this time-tested kitchen workhorse. A good stockpot only costs around $50. Accordingly, it’s the right choice for any kitchen.
A 12-inch professional nonstick fry pan is a necessary evil unless you enjoy spending more time doing dishes than you do cooking and eating. Nonstick pans are affordable and highly functional.
Unfortunately, nonstick surfaces wear down over the years. Resultantly, we’ve become accustomed to simply tossing them and getting a new one every so often.
However, they’re indispensable for delicate items such as eggs and fish. These foodstuffs tend to stick.
Size is a personal preference when it comes to your nonstick pan. If you’re single, you can get away with a 9-inch pan. However, if you’re preparing a dish such as eggs for two or more people, you’ll want to go for the 12-inch version.
Small Round Fry Pan
You might feel ripped off because you wanted to learn the best cookware set for your kitchen. Instead, you just found out that you only need a few key pieces. However, you can quench your desire for culinary perfection with a little kitchen experimentation.
With this in mind, you might want to consider a 9-inch round carbon-steel fry pan. With ample seasoning, a carbon-steel pan comes close to the nonstick experience.
At the same time, they excel at searing. However, they’re lighter than cast iron pans. With the right carbon-steel fry pan, you might give Chef Wan a run for his money.
However, carbon steel fry pans are fussy. They’re so nonstick that you could rub the seasoning right off during cleaning. However, one carbon steel fry pan is much more cost-effective compared to purchasing a full commercial kitchen setup that you’ll never use.
Tooling Up Your Kitchen
Unless you plan to cook your food with your bare fingers, you’ll need a few kitchen supplies. Before you can start making basic dishes, you’ll need the right tools for the job.
The right tools can make you feel confident in the kitchen. More importantly, they can set you up for culinary success.
Kitchen tools make cooking and baking a little easier—and less stressful. These tools include everything from storage to utensils.
Here, however, we’ll take a look at a few essential kitchen tools. They’ll make your time in the kitchen much easier.
We all wish we were born with a silver spoon. In the real world, however, you’ll get much more use out of a wooden spoon. It won’t melt like plastic, and it won’t scrape up your nonstick pan like metal.
Metal and Silicone-Tipped Tongs
You can use silicone-tipped tongs for nearly anything. You’ll want to keep them near your stove whenever you’re cooking.
You’ll also want a metal set of tongs. They’re great for handling very hot items or tasks that require extra power behind your grip.
Kitchen shears are good for more than cutting open snack bags. For example, you can use them to snip herbs and cut through shrimp shells. Also, they make trimming chicken fat a breeze.
An electric can opener is an option. However, if you’ve ever wrestled to open a sealed can, the benefits are obvious. You’ll want to choose a can opener that doesn’t leave sharp edges.
A scraper spatula is a must-have for cooking or baking. You can use it for doughs or batters, but they’re also great for getting the last little bits out of pots and pans.
It’s vitally important to keep your knives sharp. However, manual knife sharpening can prove intimidating. A pull-through knife sharpener can take the guesswork out of keeping your kitchen blades in pristine condition.
Digital Kitchen Thermometer
Whether you’re a kitchen vet or a beginner, a digital thermometer is great to have. A thermometer is the best way to tell if food is fully cooked and safe.
You want a cutting board that is nonporous and heat resistant. A nonporous cutting board is easy to clean thoroughly—a big plus after cutting raw meat. By choosing a heat-resistant cutting board, it can double as a place to rest hot food items or cookware in a pinch.
You may not think that a set of mixing bowls isn’t a big deal—until you need more than one or two high-sided bowls to make something. A good mixing bowl set nests together for easy storage.
The right kitchen setup will give you added peace of mind. Once you find your groove in the kitchen, you’ll find that there are some kitchen essentials that you will never again want to live without.
Explore Your Taste Buds!
Now you know more about kitchen essentials. These cooking staples can make your life easier. What’s more, they’re flexible items that will give you plenty of use.
With the right culinary tools, the possibilities are endless. What’s more, you’ll find that they enable you to expand your skillset in the kitchen.
If you enjoy cooking (or eating), it helps to expand your horizons by learning new recipes and techniques. At Food Porn, you can do just that.
Check out our food and beverage section for great culinary ideas.
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