Those who have been around the cooking block a few times may want to expand their repertoire and try more advanced cooking techniques. Like with any other endeavor, success requires the right tools.
After covering the most essential cooking tools on our Basics List, we want to move on to additional cooking equipment that can be added to your cupboards when you get a holiday bonus or stockpile the extra cash you keep finding in your pants pocket after they’ve gone through the washer.
Our Advanced Kitchen Essentials Checklist will help novice chefs graduate to more advanced meals and cooking options with just a few more tools and appliances at their disposal.
With these 25 kitchen items for advanced cooking, you’ll be able to expand your cooking skills and impress your relatives at the next family gathering.
1. CAST IRON SKILLET
A skillet is one of our most used tools in the kitchen, and this workhorse will last you a lifetime. It retains heat incredibly well and can go from stovetop to oven. Do everything from searing and roasting meats, scrambling eggs, sauteing vegetables, to baking frittatas in it!
Stir-frying is one of our go-to quick cooking methods, and a wok really makes a difference! You can learn more about stir-frying with our Guide to Stir-Frying, but basically, the tall sides of a wok really let you toss ingredients around without them falling out. A non-stick wok is perfect for any home cook, although we love this carbon steel one, too!
3. SAUTE PAN
The high walls of this pan make it great for sauteing anything – hence, the name – and they’re especially great for tossing pastas together. A nonstick saute pan is always easy to use, but there are also stainless steel options available.
4. GRILL PAN
Now you can celebrate the summer grill season all year long! While a grill pan is still not the same thing as an actual grill, it makes for easier clean-up, and you can grill regardless of the weather. If you get a larger size that can fit over two stovetop burners, you’ll be able to grill proteins and veggies at the same time.
5. DUTCH OVEN
A Dutch oven is a lot heavier and more expensive than a stock pot, which is a multi-purpose tool that we recommend for a basic kitchen. However, the thick walls of a Dutch oven and shorter height make them perfect for braising meats in the oven or even baking bread! Also, the tight-fitting lid keeps your soups warm.
6. RECTANGULAR BAKER
In our list of Basic Kitchen Tools, we recommended a glass baking dish. However, this ceramic baking dish looks a lot more presentable and still does everything a glass baker does. This means you can take your casserole out of the oven and straight to the dining table without any additional dishes to clean!
7. COOLING RACKS
These racks can be used for more than just cooling cookies. If you place a cooling rack on a sheet pan, you can bake and roast meatballs and proteins right on them! All the fat drips below and you’re left with a tender piece of meat.
8. FOOD PROCESSOR
A food processor does so many things, and it can save you a ton of time chopping! You can make homemade pestos, pie crusts, and veggie fritters. It also has a prep blade that grates cheese, carrots, potatoes, and whatever else you want to shred like magic. See this in action with our videos on how to grate carrots and how to shred root vegetables.
While an immersion blender from our Basic Cooking Tools List can puree like no one’s business and takes up less space, a stand blender has more power to get soups, smoothies, and sauces even smoother and creamier. You’ll have to blend soups by batches, but the quickness and smoothness is totally worth it. If you can swing it, the Vitamix is a powerful blender that is super professional and really gets things silky smooth!
10. SLOW COOKER
Think magic only exists in Harry Potter? Then you have clearly never met a slow cooker. Just throw your ingredients in, turn it on, and hours later, you have delicious soups, chilis, tender pulled meats, gourmet oatmeals, and even traditional casserole dishes. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be wondering why you’ve been cooking like a Muggle all these years.
11. RICE COOKER
We have no problems with cooking rice in a pot on the stovetop, but a rice cooker makes things so much easier and never ruins the rice because it forgets to keep an eye on it! It’s also not limited to rice – you can cook a variety of whole grains in this cooker; just follow the ratios on our How to Cook Whole Grains in a Rice Cooker chart.
12. INSTANT POT
Okay, truthfully we were a little skeptical about this tool, but once we got one for ourselves, we discovered how easy and awesome it is! It is like a pressure cooker or a slow cooker, but it is also a rice cooker and yogurt maker; it sautes and steams, and is basically a one-stop multipurpose pot. It’s great if you don’t have much time to cook. And if it sounds too complicated? We got you covered with our Instant Pot Guide, which also contains our favorite IP recipes to get you started!
13. MICROWAVE OVEN
We are all about the microwave, as it helps us easily reheat leftovers. But, what you may not know is that it can also be used as a cooking tool, too! Check out our favorite Broccoli with Lemon & Garlic recipe that is all about the microwave.
14. TOASTER OVEN
If you’re cooking for just 1 or 2 people, you may not want to fire up an entire oven. A toaster oven comes in handy for those instances. It saves energy, doesn’t take nearly as long to preheat, and keeps your house cooler in the summer months.
Tools and Utensils
15. PAN SCRAPERS
Every cook deals with gunk stuck on pans. Whenever we use a grill pan, bake cupcakes, or use the cooling rack method talked about above, goo is guaranteed to abound. Luckily, pan scrapers are inexpensive and make cleaning a breeze without bringing back your tendinitis.
16. SILICONE BRUSH
Having a brush handy makes it easy to evenly brush oils or melted butter on ingredients, grill pans, or sheet pans. It’s also perfect for brushing egg wash over pastries to get that nice brown glaze. The silicone prevents odor and clumping and makes for easy clean up.
Spatulas find more use with baking, but they are still useful for cooking and scraping up the last of any sauce or batter. Their smooth edges are easy on pans, and you can use them to stir ingredients around. Getting a set with a variety of spatula sizes will allow you to use them for different cooking and baking needs.
18. MEAT THERMOMETER
Never worry about under- or over-cooked meat again! A meat thermometer will wipe up any uncertainty and also make sure you are cooking meats to perfection. Pair this with our Meat Temperature Guide, so you know exactly what temperature to cook meats.
19. MEAT TENDERIZER
If you have a rolling pin, it will do the trick of flattening pieces of meat. But if you’re looking for a more professional tool, a meat tenderizer does the job best. It has a smooth side, which is great for pounding meat to thin pieces (like for stuffed chicken breasts), and the side with small pyramids tenderizes tough cuts of meat by breaking up the fibers and making it less chewy.
19. VERSATILE LID
Not all of your pans will come with lids. Luckily, this versatile tool can be matched with just about any size pan you have for all those times you need to cover and simmer a dish.
Light mesh strainers are perfect for all your small- to mid-size draining jobs. A can of beans? Defrosting shrimp? Place them in here and run water over them. If you often fish ingredients like veggies out of boiling water or fried food out of hot oil, a scoop strainer (also called a “spider”) is the tool for you!
23. BOX GRATER
While a microplane from our Basic Cooking Tools List does a great job of grating hard cheeses, a box grater is more efficient for shredding bigger pieces and a wider variety of cheeses. It also has 4 different sides, which lets you either grate big shreds, small shreds, fine pieces, or shaved portions. A box grater can also be used for vegetables to make veggie fritters!
24. JULIENNE PEELER
Vegetable noodles are a unique way to enjoy veggies, and a julienne peeler is the cheaper, more compact version of a spiralizer! Using a regular peeler will give you wide, flat ribbons, but the serrated edge of a julienne peeler makes thinner, longer strips quickly.
24. CITRUS SQUEEZER
Squeezing citrus with your hands is easy enough, but this tool really gets the juice out of citrus fruits without any worry of seeds falling into your dish or stings on those fingernails you bit … uh, we mean cut … too short.
25. MAGNETIC KNIFE RACK
Your knives are your most important tool in the kitchen, so they should be taken care of! Leaving them in drawers not only dulls and chips knives, it’s also unsafe. A magnetic knife strip keeps your knives in good condition, your kitchen organized, and it’s also easily accessible when it comes time to cook. For something a little more budget-friendly, check out this knife block here.
25 Advanced Cooking Tools
Expand your cooking skills with the help of these 25 essential kitchen tools that will upgrade your kitchen and your cooking.
A little note:
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