Top 10 Must-have Cooking Tools



A chef's knife is ideal for slicing vegetables and so much more.
A chef's knife is ideal for slicing vegetables and so much more.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

A knife is the most basic and most versatile of all cooking utensils. How else can you cut up meat, dice an onion or slice a piece of cheese? With all the tasks knives do, it's no wonder you can buy sets containing five to 15 styles.

Most cooks seem to agree that if you had to survive in the kitchen with just a single knife, a good chef's knife is the ideal choice. The chef's knife is the most versatile, all-purpose kitchen cutting tool. It's used mostly for chopping, but comes in handy with other tasks. Its medium size gives you good leverage and easy grip for efficient chopping, slicing and dicing, and the long, tapered blade (usually around 8 inches or 20 centimeters) makes it easy to rock while you cut.

Other good knives to keep on hand are a paring knife and a serrated bread knife. A paring knife is excellent for smaller precision tasks, like de-veining a chicken breast or, as its name suggests, paring the skin off of fruit. A serrated bread knife is also handy and will make slicing that freshly baked loaf of French bread so much easier.

For more on food and related topics, take a look at the links we've cooked up below.

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  • Bittman, Mark. "Ever so humble, cast iron outshines the fancy pans." The New York Times. Dec. 7, 2005. (Feb. 9, 2009)
  • Busy Meals. "Do You Need a Food Strainer, A Colander, or Both?" June 4, 2010. (Jan. 9, 2012)
  • Gartland, Ashley Griffin. "Down to the Wire." Culinate. Oct. 10, 2007. (Jan. 10, 2012)
  • Gold, Amanda. "Kitchen essentials." San Francisco Gate. Aug. 27, 2008. (Feb. 9, 2009)
  • Kinzler, Alex. "10 Essential Cooking Utensils Every Kitchen Should Have." Maria Shriver. (Jan. 5, 2012)
  • Kitchen Hacker, The. "Whistle While You Whisk." March 30, 2011. (Jan. 9, 2012)
  • Rappaport, Andrea. "Cooking tools and equipment." (Feb. 9, 2009)
  • Reluctant Gourmet. "Dry Measuring Cups vs Liquid Measuring Cups." May 15, 2008. (Jan. 10, 2012)
  • Reluctant Gourmet. "Wooden Spoons - Why Chefs Recommend Cooking With Them." (Jan. 5, 2012)
  • United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. "Kitchen Thermometers." June 9, 2011. (Jan. 12, 2012)
  • Ward, Chad. "Knife Maintenance and Sharpening." eGullet Culinary Institute. Aug. 13, 2003. (Feb. 20, 2009).


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