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Home / Tips and Tricks / 8 Essential Kitchen Tools Under $ 20, and How to Use Them

8 Essential Kitchen Tools Under $ 20, and How to Use Them


Sarah Tew / CNET

More cooking during quarantine and locking? Me too. Like so many of you, I embrace cooking as a homework project ̵

1; and one with the added bonus of filling my stomach and intensifying my technique.

The parade of meals has also given me a renewed appreciation for the kitchen tools I already own and love, items that go beyond the more obvious wooden spoon, measuring cups and microwave. These are all products that I own and use in real life. They are inexpensive to purchase, versatile and easy to include in your cooking routine.

Here are the tools I never want to be without, and how they improve my kitchen.

Xujia via Amazon

The wide, saucer-shaped bowl, long handle and pleasant weight make these beautiful long-handled spoons perfect for almost anything – eating soup, curries, rice dishes, yogurt from the spoon spoon, actually scoop everything out of a bathtub.

My Korean friend called them "jjigae spoons" to refer to the correct utensil for eating a category of stews. In my family, they are known as & # 39; life-changing spoons & # 39; and that's how I first convinced my family to adopt them. We still call them that. For example: & # 39; Can you please set the table with the life-changing spoons? & # 39; I almost never use "regular" spoons again, unless all jjigae spoons are dirty and I don't feel like washing one.

You can buy long-handled spoons online or in many Asian markets. My personal preference is to get a set of round handles, not the thin ones with the flat ends. Prices vary, but they're not expensive anyway – say $ 16 for a pack of 5 good quality spoons.


Bench scrapers, also known as dough or dough scrapers or cutters, are usually used to pry dough from a work surface, but I use mine several times a day to scrape or lift items off my cutting board to a pan or bowl. I used the side of whatever knife I had in my hand, but this tool scoops more diced onions at once and is safer anyway.

I have also used straight-sided bench scrapers, but the offset design is much easier to slide under a pile of chopped food. It is equally adept at the intended purpose of working with bread and dough. This Tovolo bench scraper is the one I use and costs about $ 10.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

My friend bought a nice new dishwasher with built-in wine holders and gave me three purple silicone tubes that help keep your wine glasses safe in the machine. & # 39; Here you love wine, & # 39; she said. & # 39; You should use these. & # 39;

She was right. They may look messy, but they probably saved my wine glasses more than once. You fit one end with a grip around your inverted glassware and slide the other end, a hollow tube, over a pin on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. A thread that runs two-thirds the length of the attachment stock structure.

If a glass feels extra shaky in the center of the bottom rack, I have been known to snap two of these silicone holders on for extra stability, one on each side. I hand washed my wine glasses and still managed to break one here or there. Not anymore. It costs about $ 12 for a set of eight. I put them in the dishwasher every week for almost two years.

Lifver Home via Amazon

Small bowls are hardly interesting or new, and I have plenty, especially fluted and ribbed ramekins. But these beautiful dip bowls, especially this design, have made cooking and serving food a pleasure. I just love them. They are convenient enough for daily preparation and beautiful enough to serve.

You can put a surprising amount of food into the cavity, such as lemon zest, wasabi, or even finely grated cheese. They cost $ 18 for a set of eight 3-ounce bowls.

How to use them:

  • Spoon support
  • Used tea bag holder
  • Salt pig
  • Egg holder
  • Cooking bowl for small things like garlic, shallots, ginger
  • Prepare bowl for small amounts of spice mix (it flows very easy in the pan, without residue)
  • Garnish server
  • Server for individual desserts, such as chocolate squares, a brownie or a small scoop of ice cream
  • Sugar for coffee or tea after dinner
  • Ring clerk (especially when you are working with slimy or sticky food)

Rich Brown / CNET

I never heard of a pan or pot scraper until my colleague Rich Brown sang his praises. I have an extensive and finely tuned method for steaming and scraping stuck crud from pots, pans and baking tins. But I started getting a lot of time back when I started using this $ 5 tool – or $ 8 for two. . Still expect a little sponge, but usually to wipe away any loose and leftover stuff. I was amazed at how my Lodge pot scraper erases the scum that builds up in a ring around the pan, say the remains of diminished marinara.

It cuts through residue faster and more efficiently than a hard plastic spatula and will not gobble up the scrubby side of a sponge with cheese, egg or starch. I recommend keeping it visible on your sink, near your sponges and dish soap. I initially put it in a drawer and forgot about it, but now it's top of mind.

Endurance via Amazon

I love a small saucepan for so many reasons, including baking perfectly round eggs one by one and reducing broth and sauces. Melting butter and making small amounts of caramel or warm milk and cream is also great in a small pan, especially if you're trying to prevent a small amount of liquid from evaporating too quickly.

I bought a measuring cup pan "similar to this, with a long handle, and I like it, although it is not as thick as some of my other kitchen pots. I would also like to consider a butter melting pot for butter, sauces , heating up milk and cooking some eggs, but for that I currently use a small milk froth, meant for espresso, whatever pan you get, it should cost between $ 15 and $ 25 and be all metal (unless you melted plastic on your hob).

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Elegantly sloping pasta, reaching for top shelf items, lemons juice and even blinds cleaning. Costing about $ 15, a 9-inch or 12-inch silicone-tipped tongs has become a reliable kitchen companion that does much more than just browning vegetables and meat.

Prep Solutions via Amazon

My father endearingly called this "rubber fingers". This set of two – one with a pointed end (shown) and one that looks more like a subtle scoop cost me $ 4 and is great for scraping, scooping, and pushing down all types of food. Think about the last bit of stickiness from the jar, or get every little bit of beaten egg from a small bowl. I still use larger spatulas for bigger pots and pans, but these nonstick minis are great and fit very well in drawer dividers. They are also machine washable.

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