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10 Essential Kitchen Tools For Graduates

Whether you've just graduated or moved into a new place, you’ll soon discover that you need more than just your can opener to make a home-cooked meal. If that’s you, or someone you love, here are ten essential kitchen tools that are worth the investment.

1. An 8” Chef’s Knife

A good 8" chef's knife will cost upwards of $40, but it will last you for years. Respect your knife, always wash it by hand and don’t ever use it to pry open your iPhone.

Chef's Knife

Photo by Vicky McDonald

2. Polypropylene Chopping Boards

Polypropylene chopping boards require less upkeep than wooden ones, and are dishwasher safe. It’s a good idea to buy a few, and in different colors for raw meat, cooked meat, and strong smelling foods.

3. Microplane

This kitchen tool is like a ninja – microplanes can zest lemons, finely grate garlic, and shred cheese in seconds. Word of warning, it can also shred your fingernails if you use it at ninja speed.

4. Silicone Spatula

A silicone spatula is heat resistant, and is great for cooking as well as baking. They prevent waste, as you can scrape out every last bit with this silicone wonder tool.

Silicone Spatula

Photo by Vicky McDonald

5. Kitchen Tongs

Tongs are like your metal appendages in the kitchen. They can be used to flip hot foods, toss stir-fries and generally prevent you burning your fingers. My favorite are silicone tipped tongs with a locking mechanism for easier storage.

6. An Old Fashioned Wooden Pepper Mill

A decent pepper mill with carbon steel grinding mechanisms work best and will probably outlast your iPhone.

7. Meat Thermometer

A meat thermometer takes the guess work out of cooking, and bonus, you won’t poison your friends.

Meat Thermometer

Photo by Vicky McDonald

8. Set of Metal Mixing Bowls

A set of metal mixing bowls with a nonstick bottom are best and very sturdy when mixing large amounts of food.

9. A Set of Pots and Pans

Buying a set of pots and pans is generally better value than buying individual ones. If you’re a novice cook, hard-anodized aluminum is a good choice as it heats evenly, preventing burning. Ensure the set has a skillet, one medium saucepan (2 or 3 quarts) and one large saucepan (4 or 5 quarts).

set of pots and pans

Photo via Meredith Brand Licensing

10. A Heavy Duty Roasting Pan

A large stainless steel or anodized aluminum roasting pan is just what you need to cook your large joints of meat or tray of vegetables.


About Vicky McDonald

Always looking for more cheese! I love to bake, potter about the garden, and drink lemony gin & tonics in the sun. I also blog at