17 Affordable Essential Kitchen Tools

Think you need fancy expensive tools to cook a great dinner? Nope! Here are 17 essential kitchen tools that won’t break your budget!

17 Essential Kitchen Tools That Won't Break Your Budget
17 Essential Kitchen Tools That Won’t Break Your Budget
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It’s no secret that I love to cook. I think the reason that some people shy away from it is that they don’t have the proper tools which makes the job hard and the outcome uncertain.

But let’s say that you decide to give it a go. If you watch cooking shows or hit up a kitchen supply store, it’s likely that you’ll be presented with a plethora of great gadgets for every purpose under the sun. They’re all sleek, clever and cute items that insist you NEED them in your kitchen.

Anybody want to shell out $20 (each) for a butter warming knife, cheese gun or garlic roaster? $30 for a breakfast sandwich maker? How about $15 for some finger tongs so you don’t have to actually touch the food you’re eating? (No, I’m not kidding.  I even posted some of the crazier ones I came across!)

This just makes me chuckle. I have a kitchen full of very basic and inexpensive tools that I use all the time so stash your credit card for just a sec while I show how economical it can be to outfit your kitchen with my list of 17 essential kitchen tools that won’t break your budget.

Take Time To Appreciate The Little Things

These are the true unsung heroes of the kitchen! Every single one is under $30 (most are under $15) and they make everything run more smoothly.

                                        Linden Sweden Original Jonas Vegetable Peeler
Original Jonas Vegetable Peeler
Original Jonas Vegetable Peeler

Call me crazy but this is my favorite vegetable peeler. It’s simple and basic but has many uses. Peeling fruits and vegetables, of course, but also use it to shave chocolate, Parmesan or soap, peel the zest off citrus fruits and de-string celery.

Any peeler can do all that but the reason I stick with this particular style is that of the pointy end. Use it to dig out potato eyes and bruised spots or hull strawberries. After cutting the top off a pepper, you can easily slide the end of this peeler inside to remove the seeds and pith while leaving the pepper intact, which is especially useful for smaller peppers such as jalapeño.

                                        MSC Joie Slicey, Egg Slicer
MSC Joie Slicey, Egg Slicer
MSC Joie Slicey, Egg Slicer

I know a lot of you will disagree with me about this one. I’ve even seen plenty of articles that mock this item as a waste of money and space but I do not care. Trying to hang onto that slippery egg to cut it into any sort of uniform shape adds unnecessary stress to my life.

With this handy-dandy egg cutter, you just pop it on and lower the lid, using the stainless steel wires to cut through the hard-boiled egg. A quick 90° rotation and one more snap of the cover will give you perfect, tiny, egg squares that you can simply dump into the bowl straight from the cutter. And it just rinses clean.

Joie Roundy Silicone Egg Ring

Jo!e Roundy Egg Ring
Jo!e Roundy Egg Ring

I love egg sandwiches and make them in dozens of combinations. These little egg rings make perfect egg rounds to fit on an English muffin, bagel or biscuit.

The silicone design makes a tight seal to the pan to prevent leakage and will not scratch. When the egg is cooked, you can pick the ring up by its little head without the fear of heat transference.

And it matches my egg slicer. That counts as coordinating my kitchen, right?

                                               Sunrise Kitchen Supply 5″ x 1.75″ Pastry and Cake Ring

Stainless Steel Round Cake & Pastry Ring
Stainless Steel Round Cake & Pastry Ring

Despite the name, I don’t ever use these to make cakes or pastries (although you certainly could!) I use them for making sandwich rolls from homemade bread dough.

I originally got them to make brioche rolls (which has thinner dough and actually does need a mold) but now I use them for shaping whatever breads I make. The rolls come out perfectly shaped and in matching portions, which is something I’m never able to achieve when shaping rolls by hand.

I did learn that the rings should be greased well before each use (I use cooking spray) to avoid sticking. I portion my dough out into 8 rings per loaf-sized dough ball on the final rise but you could make more or fewer rolls as you see fit. When they’re done baking, I simply use kitchen tongs to lift the rings off the (perfectly shaped and totally even) rolls.

These rings are also a perfect size for cutting dough to line a standard muffin tin. This comes in handy when making recipes like Mini Pork Pies or Chicken Pot Pie.

                                                     Homwe Silicone Oven Mitts and Potholders

Silicone Oven Mitts and Pot Holders
Silicone Oven Mitts and Pot Holders

These are far superior to quilted oven mitts or potholders. They can withstand much higher heat without it penetrating through to your hands and they don’t wear thin as the quilted ones do. You can use either the mitt or potholder to protect countertops when setting down hot items.

I do have one caveat, however. There’s definitely a learning curve as these do not flex or mold to surfaces as well as cloth. I recommend a practice run before attempting to pull a hot pan out of the oven!

              Original Popco Silicone Tipped Tongs

Original Popco Tongs
Original Popco Tongs

I have this exact set and I love them! These tongs are made from 1mm stainless steel which makes them sturdy without being too cumbersome. They have a unique pull ring on the top to ensure that your tongs will never be locked closed when you want them opened and vice versa. The best part is the silicone tips and grips which provide a non-slip surface for your fingers and the item you’re picking up. whether it be a delicate wonton or one of the heavy gauge steel molds I mentioned above.

3-Piece Grater Set
3-Piece Grater Set

  Farberware Colourworks 3-Piece Grater Set

This colorful grater set makes short work of anything you have to grate. I find that the 13” length makes it easy to use when grating or zesting. It comes with 3 separate graters (held together with a silicone band) which will ensure you have the right size for any job!

Prepworks Adjust-A-Slice Mandoline

Adjust-A-Slice Mandoline
Adjust-A-Slice Mandoline

Use this once and you’ll never look back! It makes prep work ridiculously easy and mess-free. It has three thicknesses for perfectly even and precise slices every time!

The non-skid base and ridges allow you to put this right on top of a bowl or (cool) pan and drop all the ingredients right where they need to be.

Non-slip Silicone Pastry Mat

Non-slip Silicone Pastry Mat
Non-slip Silicone Pastry Mat

This just makes my life easier. I like the fact that it contains the mess when I’m working with dough (just pick it up and dump the “remains” in the trash!).

It’s easy to peel your pastry off, takes the guesswork out of measuring it to fit in a pan and cleans up easily.

Because it’s silicone, it also doubles as a baking sheet and oven liner which is a great way to reduce one-use items such as parchment paper and aluminum foil. It won’t be long before you recoup your cost by reducing your purchase of throw-away kitchen lining products!

                                 Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board

Organic Bamboo Cutting Board
Organic Bamboo Cutting Board

I love this gigantic 18” x 12” board because it’s big enough for any job. It’s easier on your knives than plastic and, because bamboo is a grass, it’s more sustainable than wood.

 

Feel The Power!

Time to get plugged in with some awesome electric appliances. Again, I’ve listed the less expensive, basic models here but they do the job as advertised!

       Black and Decker Mini Food Chopper

Mini Food Chopper
Mini Food Chopper

This gem is great for chopping just about anything. I’ve had mine for well over 20 years (yes, this exact brand) and I use it all the time.

It’s especially handy chopping onions into little tiny pieces to hide in food, (don’t tell my kids ;-)) but it can also be used for any vegetable, nuts, salsa, salad dressing, herbs, bread or cracker crumbs.

The pulsing action gives you plenty of control while the bi-level stainless steel blades stay sharp, providing long-lasting performance.

                                                 BLACK+DECKER PowerCrush Multi-Function Blender with 6-Cup Glass Jar

PowerCrush Multi-Function Blender
PowerCrush Multi-Function Blender

I know there are fancier models out there but I have this basic blender in my kitchen.

There’s a very real possibility that I just don’t know what I’m missing but this baby has always done everything I’ve asked of it. Smoothies, salad dressings, sauces, shredding cooked meat, ricing cauliflower and broccoli.

I like the glass jar because it won’t get scratched or hold flavors.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

KitchenAid Mixer
KitchenAid Mixer

I finally got a KitchenAid Mixer when a total stranger gave it to me at his company Christmas party. (He had won it) While I’d love to give this a rom-com ending and say we lived happily ever after, it ain’t true. I never saw him again. I’m happy to report, however, that my KitchenAid and I have never had a cross word between us!

I love this thing so much I could write a whole article about it. Oh, wait…I did!! Take a gander at this to find out why I would never use another mixer.

                                             Aroma 8 Cup Rice Cooker

Aroma 8 Cup Rice Cooker
Aroma 8 Cup Rice Cooker

Yes, it cooks rice. But if you mix some cubed meat and chopped-up veggies in with the rice and water, you have a delicious one-pot meal in less than 30 minutes!

Suspend food in the steamer rack to cook separately (with or without rice on the bottom). It will even keep your meal warm until you’re ready to eat.

It makes oatmeal, mac and cheese, soups, chili and stewed fruit. You can even use it to bake bread and cakes. An important feature to me is that it’s compact, easy to use and easy to clean.

Thermometers

I’ve saved the most important for last. What good is having all the above-mentioned tools if your food is not cooked to perfection?  If you want to know when something is done, a thermometer will never do you wrong.

I think we all know that meat and poultry should be cooked to a certain temperature but when was the last time you took that leftover lasagna out of the microwave and sat down to have a good nosh only to find out it was still cold in the middle? A perfectly heated (or reheated) food should read 160℉ so next time stick a thermometer in it!

What about baked goods? Sure you can jiggle your puddings and poke your cake but did you know that you can have a better gauge by using a thermometer? Bread comes out of the oven at 190℉, while cake prefers to be around 205℉.

Bonus? Every single one of these thermometers is under $10.

                                        Taylor Precision Products Instant Read Analog Food/Meat Pocket Size Thermometer

Pocket Thermometer
Pocket Thermometer

This is a nice, light thermometer that can be used to monitor smaller or more delicate items such as bread, cake or meatballs.

It’s dishwasher safe and the stainless steel construction ensures that it will last for years to come. It can even be calibrated!

I’ve used this kind of thermometer in an industrial setting so I know that it will hold up for years!

                                            SINARDO Large Face Roasting Meat Thermometer

Oxo Large Face Roasting Meat Thermometer
Oxo Large Face Roasting Meat Thermometer

I like this one for larger items as well as meat and poultry.

I like that the recommended temperatures are right on the face and a moveable target temperature indicator can be placed at the desired temperature so I can easily know when the item is ready to be removed from the oven.

I will caution you to hand wash this particular thermometer.  I have not had good luck with putting these in the dishwasher as the steam penetrates the housing and the resulting condensation makes the face hard to read.

                                       Rubbermaid Commercial Products Stainless Steel Instant Read Oven/Grill/Smoker Monitoring Thermometer

Oven/Grill/Smoker Monitoring Thermometer
Oven/Grill/Smoker Monitoring Thermometer

I hate it when the bottoms of my biscuits burn before the tops brown!  Since I’ve placed one of these in my oven to make sure the temp is accurate, it’s never happened again.

 

 

Let The Adventure Begin!

While I know you’re going to want to get busy outfitting your kitchen,  I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that I use every single one of these items on a daily basis so I can vouch for how valuable they are.

What’s your favorite unsung kitchen hero?  Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

 

Review: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Mixer

I LOVE my KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer  The sleek design and durability have made this mixer a kitchen status symbol.

I’m going to tell you the truth…I LOVE my KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer.  I have the Empire Red model pictured above. I’ve had it for a number of years now and I use it constantly.

The sleek design, the pop of color and durability have made this mixer a kitchen status symbol, displayed proudly on valuable counter space even in small apartments, rather than stored away in a cabinet.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer in Cobalt Blue
KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in Cobalt Blue

This brand is so iconic that Julia Child’s blue KitchenAid is in “her” kitchen recreated by The Smithsonian Institute for the National Museum of American History.

Despite its pretty face, this thing is a workhorse. Throughout its 100 year history, the KitchenAid has proven to be a piece of culinary equipment that is incredibly strong and reliable. It has been a trusted brand name with some of the highest customer ratings for any product sold online.

In addition to the stellar reputation and high demand, the pricing of their mixer product line remains affordable and accessible to virtually any home chef, as well as the professional chefs, bakers and foodies who have invested in a KitchenAid appliance.

The History of Kitchenaid Mixers

The Hobart
The Hobart

The history of KitchenAid Mixers began with a company called The Hobart Electric Manufacturing Company.

Hobart was founded in 1897 by Clarence Charles Hobart out of Troy Ohio. They specialized in creating powered food production machines for the foodservice industry.

In 1914 Herbert Johnston, an engineer working for the Hobart Corporation came up with the concept of an industrial-size electric free-standing mixer for the foodservice industry.

The original 80-quart mixer was called The Hobart and proudly served on U.S.Navy battleships in World War I.

Original KitchenAid Model
Original KitchenAid Model

In 1918 The Hobart Corporation began testing a new brand new product – A smaller version of The Hobart, intended for home use.  The KitchenAid trademark was registered with the U.S. Patent Office in 1919.

That same year, the mixer that will win the “Oldest Running Hobart Mixer Contest” in 1990 is built and sold to Von Hatten’s Bakery in Fort Smith, AR.

The home models were pricey at $189.00 (the equivalent of $2,800 when adjusted for inflation) and heavy (65 pounds!).  Many stores wouldn’t stock them because of the price so Hobart sold them door to door, using a mostly female workforce.

Updated 1955 KitchenAid Model
Updated 1955 KitchenAid Model

The brand struggled to catch on due to the high cost and stiff competition. The current silhouette was introduced in the 1930s by an industrial designer named Egmont Arens and when eye-popping colors were introduced in 1955, the brand took off.  The rest, as they say, is history.

My Glorious KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Mixer

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer in Empire Red
KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in Empire Red

The wonderful thing about the Artisan KitchenAid Mixer is its versatility.  It comes with a flat beater paddle, dough hook, wire whip, splash shield, and a stainless steel bowl..  It has 10 speeds and a tilt-head design that allows for easy access to the bowl.

The Flat Beater Handle

  • This is the primary multi-purpose beater and should be used for heavy mixtures such as:
    • KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Flat Beater
      KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Flat Beater

      Cakes

    • Frostings
    • Cookies
    • Meatloaf
    • Mashed potatoes
    • Shredding cooked chicken, pork or beef

The Wire Whip

  • The Wire Whip is meant primarily for incorporating air into:
    • KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Wire Whip
      KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Wire Whip

      Eggs

    • Egg whites
    • Whipping cream
    • Some candies
    • Angel food cake
    • Mayonnaise
    • Making butter

The Dough Hook

  • The dough hook is used for kneading yeast dough such as:
    • KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Dough Hook
      KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Dough Hook

      Bread

    • Coffeecakes
    • Pizza dough
    • Buns
    • Pasta dough

These are only a few examples of the usefulness of this mixer. All the ways to use these included attachments are limited only by your imagination.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Mixer Attachments

Did someone say attachments?  Ohhhhhh, my! This is where things really heat up.

These 14 attachments will make you rethink the way you cook.

KitchenAid Pasta Maker
KitchenAid Pasta Maker

You’ll be able to grind your own meat and poultry to ensure that you get the quality and fat content you desire. 

Pasta making will be a one-stop project! 

Vegetables?  Slice ’em, dice ’em, grate ’em, spiralize ’em, noodle ’em or puree ’em — any way you want.  (Did I just hear you humming the tune to “Any Way You Want It”?)

KitchenAid Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment, White
KitchenAid Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment, White

Oh, and don’t forget to make some ice cream for dessert!

These attachments will fit any KitchenAid Mixer, no matter the model or when it was manufactured.  It will fit your mixer, your neighbors’ mixer (yeah, you better hide ’em), they’ll even fit the mixer Grandma left you in her will.  KitchenAid actually GUARANTEES it!

Mixer Attachments:

 Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment

KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder Attachment
KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder Attachment

Metal Food Grinder Attachment

Pasta Roller and Cutter Attachment

KitchenAid Pasta-Extruder Attachment

Ravioli Maker Attachment

KitchenAid Ravioli Maker
KitchenAid Ravioli Maker

7 Blade Spiralizer with Peel, Core and Slice

Citrus Juicer Attachment

All Metal Grain Mill

Masticating Juicer and Sauce Attachment

KitchenAid Masticating Juicer and Sauce Attachment
KitchenAid Masticating Juicer and Sauce Attachment

Sifter + Scale Attachment

Food Processor Attachment and Dicing Kit Attachment

Vegetable Sheet Cutter Attachment

Tilt Head Flex Edge Beater

But, wait!  There’s more!  After you’ve picked out your perfect set of attachments, let’s look into their assortment of mixing bowls.

Your KitchenAid is a thing of beauty, a sleek, shining piece of art on your countertop but now you can make it even more alluring with a decorative mixing bowl!

The ceramic bowls are titanium reinforced to resist chipping, cracking, crazing and staining, and are guaranteed with a 5-year no-chip limited warranty.  They’re freezer, microwave, dishwasher and oven (up to 475°F) -safe.

The glass bowls are freezer, dishwasher and microwave friendly (although they may break more easily than the ceramic style).  Both styles fit the locking mechanism of any of the tilt-head models.

Mixer Bowls:


Clear Glass Bowl with Measurement Markings and Lid

KitchenAid Quilted Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
KitchenAid Quilted Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

Ice Cream Maker

Hammered Glass Mixing Bowl with Lid

Quilted Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

Ceramic Mixing Bowl: Ink Watercolor

Ceramic Mixing Bowl: Confetti Sprinkle

Ceramic Mixing Bowl: Mermaid Lace White

Ceramic Mixing Bowl: White Chocolate

The KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer is a true classic.  Its original design was so well done it has needed very few alterations since it first entered the market. They come in a full range of attractive colors and possess accessibility that anyone can handle.

From the young, eager chefs just entering the kitchen to professional chefs who want a quality product, these mixers are quintessential examples of an industrial-grade machine disguised in a pretty color. This wide appeal is what helps make KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixers stand out among other mixing appliances.

All my best,

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

This post contains affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.
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