The 10 Essential Kitchen Gadgets

Whether you're stocking a kitchen for the first time (finally kicking your grown kid out of the house? good for you!) or simply taking stock of what you already have, we've put together a list of the 10 essential gadgets that no kitchen should lack.

While most of the 100 commenters disagreed with us on our list of 10 useless kitchen gadgets, the common thread between all of those gadgets was that they served only one purpose and were primarily of use to only a niche group. But the essentials in any kitchen should be multi-purpose and should -- depending on how often you cook -- get almost daily use.

We aren't saying that these are the only utensils you'll ever need in a kitchen, but they're your core group. No kitchen should be without them, and you can build your army of gadgets from this foundation. Below are our essential items that we can't live without. What are yours?

10. Cutting Boards

Well, you can't exactly cut things without one, unless you go the college route and use a paper towel on top of your counter. And we really don't recommend that -- it's both unsanitary and slightly dangerous. Invest in a nice cutting board and you can not only use it for its intended purpose, you can also use it as a nice serving piece at parties, at the dinner table or when you're serving an indoor picnic of cheese and fruit to your honey.

9. Mixing and Prep Bowls

The best route here is to purchase an all-in-one set of bowls that serve many purposes: mixing bowls, mise en place bowls, prep bowls and serving bowls. The way to do that is to find a set of glass bowls in various sizes like this 10-pack from Williams-Sonoma -- and not a few random plastic or melamine bowls that you don't want company seeing. We purchased these years ago and they have never ceased to be useful. You can microwave them, they stack easily for storage and they even look gorgeous on the dining table.

8. Whisk

You could purchase a wooden spoon, a mixing spatula or any number of other utensils, but the whisk can't be beaten for its versatility. You can use it in pretty much all of the same mixing applications as you would a spoon, but a spoon won't whip cream, beat eggs or incorporate air into your ingredients. Only a whisk will. But the traditional teardrop shaped whisk can be a little cumbersome in tight spaces, which is why we suggest an elongated French whisk. You'd be surprised at how many tasks this little piece of wire can accomplish.

The 10 Essential Kitchen Gadgets

7. Spatula

Not a mixing spatula (also obnoxiously called a spoonula), but one you use in your pan. Stores sell all manner of differently shaped spatulas for your various culinary needs: omelette spatulas, fish spatulas, cookie spatulas, kitten spatulas. But you really need to start with just one, and make it a good one. A spatula with a sturdy yet flexible nylon head can be used for almost any application, whether you're flipping burgers or pancakes, or slipping snickerdoodles off a baking sheet.

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