Foodie Friday Kondos Your Kitchen: The Only Cooking Tools You Need

Now that I’m giving heavy thought to what will go where in my kitchen, I’ve discovered there are so, so many tools in my kitchen that I just don’t use. I plan to do a ‘kitchen audit’ and get rid of items that are at this point just clutter. To that end, here’s a list of what tools I plan to keep.

I’m not talking appliances here (oven, mixers, etc.), just the day-to-day things you use to cook and store food. There is seriously nothing in the kitchen that drives me nuttier than a single-use tool. Like, you do not need little forks shaped like corn to stick into the ends of your corn to eat corn a few times a year (if you even remember to use them at all).

As a natural cheapskate, the lesson has been long and slow for me to learn that it’s better to buy a quality product ONCE and keep it forever, rather than buy something crummy and keep having to replace it. The Le Cruset I inherited from my mom, given to her as a wedding present in 1970 is still going strong – I use it regularly. Quality kitchen tools are no joke – they’re built to last.

One thing to note – maintenance is key. That Le Cruset has lasted because two generations have been careful not to use metal spoons or spatulas in it, which would crack the enamel. My knives are on point (ha) because I get them sharpened regularly.

Okay, here is my list …

Pots and Pans:

  1. Cast Iron Skillet. So versatile, I use it every day.
  2. Dutch Oven. I know it shouldn’t matter but it does –there are so many beautiful colors to choose from! I’d say go bigger than 5 quarts. I will admit I love the retro look of the classic Dansk piece above, though, if you want a smaller version.
  3. Set of stainless cookware, ideally fry pan, sauté pan, saucepan and stockpot that are heavy duty quality.
  4. Steamer insert. No need for a separate steamer pan.

Spoons, Scoops and Spatulas:

  1. Metal spatula. The only tool to use with your cast iron skillet and stainless fry pan. Never, ever on enamel, though!
  2. Angled wood scraper spoon and scooper spoon set. This honestly has maybe too many spoons, but is nice because of the price and that it’s an all-wood set.
  3. Spoontula – a spatula and a spoon in one! Incredibly versatile.
  4. Ladel, because soup needs scooping.
  5. Pasta scoop (very useful if you make as much pasta as I do).
  6. Whisk.
  7. Tongs.
  8. Scraper spatula set.

Measuring and Storage:

  1. Dry measure cups and spoons.
  2. Pyrex measuring cups, a four cup size  and one cup size.
  3. Set of Pyrex bowls with lids – I adore these because they work for both prep and storage!
  4. Pyrex storage set. I use these constantly. I love that they’re clear so you can see what leftovers you have. I like that the lids are different colors for different sizes. They also look good to serve in. Win-win!

Prep and Press:

  1. Mortar and pestle.
  2. Garlic press.
  3. Lemon juicer.
  4. Dishwasher safe cutting boards.
  5. Wood carving cutting board with grease catcher.


  1. Sheet pan.
  2. Roasting pan with insert rack.
  3. Basic baking set with muffin tin, pie plate and baking pan.


  1. Fine mesh sieve.
  2. Colander.
  3. Salad spinner.


  1. Peeler.
  2. Good set of knives. You can spend an arm and a leg on these if you want – there’s such range out there. I think Shun is beautiful and love my knives of theirs, but there’s plenty of variation on this front so shop around! A pairing, utility and chef’s knife set is a great place to start!  Look for a tang running the full length of the handle and for steel blades. Don’t forget a bread knife
  3. Microplane.
  4. Box grater.
  5. Kitchen shears.
  6. Can opener.
  7. Corkscrew.

Miscellaneous stuff I use a lot:

  1. Wine saver.
  2. Mandoline.
  3. Instant read thermometer.
  4. Silicone oven mitts – I love mine!

Oh my gosh, looking at this list I have so many things to get rid of! Oven mitts I haven’t used in years because they just don’t function well, rickety corkscrews, even knives I don’t think I’ve used one time. Maybe down the line I’ll be able to do a post on what I toss in my kitchen audit!