Martha's Must-Have Kitchen Tools Are the Essentials Every Home Cook Needs

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David M. Russell

Success in the kitchen is about more than just skill. Having the right tools on hand will not only make your life easier, but they'll also help save time and improve the flavor, texture, and presentation of the food you are preparing. With that being said, you don't need to buy every tool available. Figure out what you need and what works best for you, so that your kitchen is stocked with everything you need and nothing you don't. This is especially key if you have a small kitchen or limited storage space. Before buying a new kitchen tool or appliance, check to see if something you already own can be used to do the same thing. Like Martha, we're big fans of multi-tasking tools and not so enamored with single use gadgets.

Still need help getting started? Who better to ask than Martha! In the following slides, you'll find tried-and-true basics that our founder considers the basics and that are good for pretty much every home cook to have on hand. Think of this collection as a starting point to curating an assortment of kitchen tools that serves your needs and cooking style. If your budget allows, we recommend investing in quality tools from the start. While they might cost a bit more money now, those tools will see you through many recipes. What's more, you'll find that better quality tools don't need to be replaced as frequently. Stainless steel measuring cups with quantities etched in (so they don't rub off or fade over time) and heat-resistant silicone spatulas (for flipping eggs on nonstick pans without scratching the nonstick coating) are two good examples.

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Wooden Spoons


The most essential tool for mixing everything in the kitchen—from sauces to soups to salads—is the wooden spoon. You'll need more than one ,and it's best to opt for a few different sizes that you can use for a variety of different cooking jobs. Wooden spoons with angled bottoms are great for getting at a pan's edges when making custards and thick sauces.

Shop Now: Five Two Wooden Spoons, from $25,

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Measuring Tools

martha stewart collection stainless steel measuring spoons and cups
Courtesy of Macy's

Essential in every kitchen are liquid measuring cups (choose transparent glass with clearly marked lines and spouts) for measuring and pouring liquid ingredients; dry measuring cups (for accuracy in cooking, especially baking, choose a graduated stainless-steel long-handled set); and measuring spoons for small amounts of both dry and liquid ingredients.

Shop Now: Martha Stewart Collection Measuring Cups, $34,; Martha Stewart Collection Measuring Spoons, $19,

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metal colander with pasta
Jose Manuel Picayo Rivera

A colander is a metal, plastic, or porcelain enamel perforated bowl for draining and rinsing pasta or cooked vegetables. The holes are larger than those in a strainer and may form a decorative pattern. Most have a base or feet and two looped handles. They come in several sizes; select more than one if you do a lot of cooking. You could also use graduated footed strainers for many of the same tasks.

Shop Now: All-Clad Stainless Steel Colander, $79.95,

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Martha Stewart Collection Balloon Whisk

For beating egg whites, smoothing sauces, and sifting dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, use a whisk. Look for a balloon whisk with fine spokes that wiggle when you shake the handle; the best ones are stainless steel and weighted for strength and comfort.

Shop Now: Martha Stewart Collection Balloon Whisk, $22,

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Cutting Boards

wood cutting board
Bryan Gardner

They are essential for chopping and all manner of food preparation. Use wood chopping boards for fruit and vegetables; plastic for raw meat and fish; and a separate board for garlic and onions (to keep their flavors from seeping into other foods). Ideally, you should have one or two larger boards with plenty of room to work on and one or two small boards for slicing fruits or vegetables one at a time.

Shop Now: Five Two Bamboo Double Sided Cutting Boards, From $29-$119,

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four sided metal box grater

Use an all-purpose four-sided box grater for grating cheese and slicing and shredding vegetables. A handheld grater is convenient for table use and we love the Microplane for grating citrus zest, fresh ginger, and chocolate.

Shop Now: Cuisinart Box Grater, $12.99,

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Get It Right Premium Silicone Spatula
Courtesy of Amazon

The spatula is a very handy, versatile tool. Silicone spatulas are great for folding cake batters or transferring them from bowl to baking pan. These are heatproof up to 800 degrees, won't impart flavors from other foods, and are safe to use on nonstick pots and pans. A set of three (1-, 2-, and 3-inch) heat-proof silicone spatulas is ideal. The most useful metal spatulas are wide-offset stainless steel, for flipping pancakes or patties; long-offset, for spreading batters in pans; and long flat, for icing cakes. Other helpful tools include a fish spatula, with a flexible slotted blade, and a wedge-shaped cake server.

Shop Now: GIR Silicone Mini Flipper, $10.95,

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metal sieve with powder sugar

Use a sieve to remove lumps from dry ingredients such as flour or confectioners' sugar, and to strain certain soups or sauces is what you need. Look for sturdy mesh that won't stretch or bend and choose sieves in several sizes (like the set below) and look for levels of coarseness (fine, medium, and coarse).

Shop Now: Cuisinart Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers, Set of 3, $12.99,

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12 inch kitchen tongs

Select 12-inch tongs for myriad kitchen tasks such as turning meat when browning or roasting, lifting vegetables out of hot water, and grilling. Look for heavy-duty, professional-grade tongs; a long-lasting spring allows for easy storage.

Shop Now: Oxo Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs, $14.99,

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Melon Baller

OXO Good Grips Melon Baller
Courtesy of OXO

Sure, a melon baller is useful for making spheres of ripe cantaloupe or honeydew, but that's not all you can use yours for. It's also useful for carving the core from a halved apple or pear, stemming a tomato, or picking the seeds from a watermelon.

Shop Now: Oxo Good Grips Melon Baller, $10.99,

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macys mandoline gadget

One of Martha's favorite tools, you'll use your own mandoline for quickly slicing vegetables paper thin; the blade also adjusts to create julienned vegetables or the waffle pattern on gaufrette potatoes.

Shop Now: Mueller Austria Multi Blade Adjustable Mandoline, $29.97,

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Ice-Cream Scoop

metal ice cream scoop

For more than just making perfect scoops of ice cream, these come in varying sizes and are ideal for measuring equal amounts of cookie doughs and other batters. Look for one that is mechanical, and dip it in warm water between scoops to help it release more easily.

Shop Now: Oxo Cookie Scoop Set, $28.95,

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Oxo thre-in-one kitchen timer
Courtesy of Oxo

You'll need a timer for monitoring cooking time. It's a good idea to invest in one even if your oven has a built-in timer. Some models, the triple timer shown here, allow for multitasking.

Shop Now: Oxo Good Grips Triple Timer, $24.95,

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