With prices for everything on the rise, families are getting serious about grocery shopping and cooking more at home. We all know that cooking at home is more economical than ordering in, but do you have everything you need to make it happen? If you’re planning on cooking at home more consistently, you’ll want to make sure you have all the essentials before you start.
You might be thinking, “Great, more stuff I need to spend money on?” Don’t worry, the good news is that you don’t need any fancy or expensive cooking appliances to prepare a wide variety of meals. If you have a stove, oven, or both, here are 14 cheap kitchen tools you should consider. Chances are you already have a lot of them in your kitchen — and if you don’t, you can count on Flipp to help you find the best prices.
Stovetop and General Cooking Tools
1. Pots and Pans
Are your pots and pans old and burned? These are the most important cooking tools for everyday stovetop cooking, so if you’re looking to replace your pots and pans, we recommend a sturdy cookware set that includes a variety of shapes and sizes. If you want to buy each one individually, stick to the basics: a frying pan/skillet, a saucepan/pot with a lid, and a sauté pan with a lid.
Flipp tip: If you’re using nonstick pots and pans, handwashing these will help them retain their nonstick coat for longer.
2. Chopping Knife
If you want to cook at home with the purpose of saving money, you will have to do A LOT of chopping and dicing. You could buy a knife set, but truly you only need to invest in at least one really good chef’s knife. 4-inch knives are great for chopping most meats and vegetables: onions, carrots, potatoes, chicken breast, etc… If you’re anticipating having to chop bigger vegetables or cuts of meat, consider a 6 or 8-inch chef’s knife.
3. Cutting Boards
Wood or plastic cutting board? The age-old question is not that easy to answer, and at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. Plastic cutting boards are cheaper and easier to clean and sanitize, as they are dishwasher friendly. On the other hand, wood cutting boards are easier on your knives, helping them last longer. Whatever you decide, we recommend having one cutting board for meats, and another for vegetables.
4. Kitchen Utensil Set
Spatula, spoon, tongs, slotted spoon, whisk, ladle, pasta scoop…so many utensils! If you’re buying your kitchen tools from scratch, buying a kitchen utensil set will be cheaper than buying each tool individually. If you are mostly cooking with non-stick pots and pans, we recommend that you buy plastic or silicone kitchen utensils to minimize scratching and help your pots and pans last longer.
5. Vegetable Peeler
You could technically peel your vegetables with a knife, but who has the time for that? Unless you are very skilled with a knife, a vegetable peeler will save you time on food prep, and probably save you a cut or two. Get yourself a vegetable peeler, you won’t regret it.
6. Measuring Cups and Spoons
Don’t underestimate the power of measuring cups and spoons. If you are following a recipe, you want to make sure you get the best results by using the right amount of ingredients. Trust us when we tell you that a dining spoon is not the same as an actual measuring spoon, and neither is a cup. Make sure you’re using the right amounts by having the proper measuring tools.
7. Kitchen Scale
Another way to measure your ingredients is by weight, and this is especially important for baking. Measuring ingredients by weight is more precise than measuring by volume. That’s why a lot of professional chefs will measure in grams and ounces instead of cups and spoons. Electronic kitchen scales can be found for as little as $20 nowadays, so if you can afford it, a kitchen scale is a worthwhile investment.
8. Meat Thermometer
One way to see if your meat is cooked all the way through is to cut it open, right? But cutting your protein may alter its texture and flavor. That’s where the meat thermometer comes in. The meat thermometer allows you to know when proteins reach the minimum internal temperature for safe consumption. Buy a simple meat thermometer for as little as $8 and start cooking like a pro.
9. Can Opener
A handy tool to have, because if we’re being completely honest, there will be some days where you’ll need to prepare meals from canned ingredients. Canned pantry essentials are cheap and will save you money, so be prepared with a can opener.
Sure, you could drain your pasta using the partly-opened-lid method, but do you really want to risk your precious noodles falling in your kitchen sink? A colander is not only great for draining your pasta, but also for rinsing out canned beans, fruits, and veggies. We love a good multifunctional kitchen tool!
11. Roasting Pan or Baking Dish
Roasting pans have high walls, are usually made of heavy-duty metal, and are great for cooking big cuts of meat or a whole bird. A baking dish also has high walls but can also come in other materials, like glass. They’re great for ‘casserole-style dishes, lasagnas, etc. Think about what types of food you’ll be preparing in the oven and decide if you need a roasting pan, baking dish, or both.
12. Cookie Pan
A cookie pan is not only for cookies! Of course, if you anticipate baking cookies, it’s great to have one, but think about all the possibilities: roasting veggies, heating up ready-made meals, etc.. you don’t want to be caught without one.
13. Oven Mitts
If you have an oven, oven mitts are an essential. No need to explain much here. Stay safe and don’t burn your hands!
14. Bakeware Set
If you consider yourself a baker, invest in a bakeware set that comes with different shapes and sizes of baking essentials: loaf pans, cake pans, muffin tins — everything you need to channel your inner pastry chef.
You don’t need to spend money on fancy kitchen appliances or gadgets. With these affordable cooking tools, you’ll have everything you need to cook at home and save money on food all year long.