If you’re stocking a new kitchen or you’re upgrading to better equipment, it’s wise to choose quality products that will do a good job and last a long time. And if they look good while you’re using them, that’s an added bonus.
While not everyone cooks the same foods, and not everyone has the same cooking skills, there are some tools that just about everyone needs in the kitchen, no matter what’s being served. Whether you’re looking for something that stirs, preps, measures, or serves, there are tools that are just right for you.
01 of 19
Best Rubber Spatula: OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set
Three is better than one when it comes to something as useful as spatulas, and this set includes three pieces you’ll reach for over and over. It includes a medium silicone spatula, a silicone spoon spatula and a small silicone spatula.
The medium spatula is designed for stirring, scraping bowls and pots, and pushing batter into the corners of bakeware. The spoon spatula has a shallow bowl that makes it perfect for scooping and transferring ingredients from bowl to pot, while it’s also great stirring. The small spatula is surprisingly useful for stirring small amounts or for scraping the last bits of mayonnaise from the jar.
These are heat resistant to 600 degrees and dishwasher safe. They’re safe for all nonstick cookware and bakeware and won’t discolor, warp, or melt.
Check out our other reviews of the best mixing spatulas available on the market today.
02 of 19
Best Flipping Spatula: OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Flexible Turner
While all-metal turners are still being sold, flexible silicone turners are becoming more popular since they can be used in nonstick pans without worrying about scratching. This large turner can handle a big burger or a pancake with ease and is flexible enough to sneak under cookies, even if they’re a little close together. The handle has the standard OXO soft grip that’s easy to hang onto.
03 of 19
Best Wooden Spoons: Neet Organic Wooden Bamboo Cooking & Serving Utensils
Wooden spoons might seem old-school, but they’re still very useful in the kitchen. The handles won’t get warm while you’re stirring a hot soup, and they’re safe for use in nonstick cookware and bakeware. They look good for kitchen use or for serving, and these are made from eco-friendly bamboo that’s stronger and more durable that spoons made from traditional wood. It’s also bacteria-resistant and resistant to cracking and swelling.
Since wooden utensils are so handy, you’ll probably want more than one piece, and this set has just what you need. It includes a solid spoon, a slotted spoon, a spatula, a curved spatula and a spork, along with a utensil holder to keep them all together on your counter. These should be washed by hand.
04 of 19
Best Can Opener: ZYLISS Lock N' Lift Can Opener
Everyone needs a can opener, because, let’s face it, there’s no other reasonable way to get cans opened in the kitchen. This manual can opener locks easily onto cans of all sizes and the smooth-turning stainless steel cutting mechanism makes fast work of that can of tomato sauce and it won’t rust or corrode.
This can opener is easy to hold onto, with a soft-grip handle. It has a magnet that holds onto the lid and a lever that releases it easily for safe disposal — you never need to touch it! This should not be immersed in water, just wipe clean by hand.
A can opener might be one of those tools that you won’t think much about until you need one, but in the end, you’ll definitely need one. This can opener cuts the can lid without leaving a sharp edge, and the lid gripper hangs onto the lid for safe disposal. The opener can be used either right- or left-handed and it has a soft-grip handle that is designed to be less tiring to hold.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
05 of 19
Best Vegetable Peeler: OXO Good Grips Vegetable Peeler
Having a good peeler makes cooking easier, faster, and much more enjoyable, and this one checks all those boxes. If you do a lot of cooking and peeling, you might want to have two or more of these peelers, so you’ve got an extra when there’s one in the dishwasher or when you have guests who want to help in the kitchen. Some cooks also prefer a y-shaped peeler, which is one of our best slicing tools to buy.
Check out our other reviews of the best vegetable peelers available on the market today.
06 of 19
Best Serving Spoon: Fox Run Large Serving Spoon
This serving spoon has a large, shallow bowl, making it great for serving many different foods, including portions of chicken, shaped pastas, or your favorite mac and cheese. Add a large fork, and you can use it for salad.
The spoon is made from polished stainless steel and looks good alongside almost any flatware set. It’s 9 inches long, so it’s long enough for serving, and also useful in the kitchen. It’s a great idea to have several on hand for serving main dishes and sides.
07 of 19
Best Ladle: Adcraft LIPC-8 8 oz Stainless Steel Deluxe Ladle
Whether you’re serving soup or stew or transferring stock into containers for storage, a ladle is a must-have. This stainless steel ladle has a mirror finish that looks nice enough for table use, while it’s sturdy enough to work in the kitchen. It won’t rust, stain, pit or corrode, so you can use it for everything from tomato sauce to pancake batter to soup to lemonade.
The ladle’s bowl holds 8 ounces, so you can portion exact amounts as you serve, and the ladle is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when dinner is done. A hook on the end of the handle lets you perch the ladle on the edge of a pot or hang it on a rack for storage.
08 of 19
Best Pasta Fork: Norpro 11-Inch Melamine Spaghetti Fork
Serving pasta, and particularly long pasta like spaghetti or angel hair, can be tricky, but a pasta folk makes it much, much easier. This red fork, made from melamine, resists scratches and stains while looking pretty in a bowl of your favorite noodles.
This can be used for hot pasta, cold pasta salads, for serving or for transferring pasta from pot to bowl. It is dishwasher safe, heat resistant and safe for use in nonstick cookware. It should not be used in the microwave.
While you can serve with a single pasta fork, it can be easier to use a pair, so it’s good news that this pasta fork is affordable enough to keep extras on hand for that buffet when several pasta salads are on display.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
09 of 19
Best Whisk: Winco Stainless Steel Piano 10-inch Wire Whip
Even if you have an electric hand mixer, there are a times when a hand whisk is more convenient. This one has a sturdy handle that’s easy to hold, and enough wires to make it efficient. There are larger whisks in the same design, if you work in large bowls often.
10 of 19
Best Grater: Microplane Professional Coarse Grater
Everyone needs a grater, and this one is the perfect coarseness for almost everything you need to grate, from hard cheese to chocolate to potatoes. You can even use it for citrus zest when you don’t require fine threads.
The razor sharp teeth cut effortlessly without tearing or snagging and the large grating area and non-clogging teeth speed the work. The non-slip rubber grip is easy to hold onto and the rubber feet keep the grater stable on your work surface. This grater includes a cover that keeps the teeth safely enclosed during storage. The grater is dishwasher safe, while the cover should be hand-washed. The hanging loop makes it easy to store within reach or tuck in a drawer.
11 of 19
Best Tongs: Dreamfarm Clongs
Tongs have been living in kitchens for a long time, but these finally brought some innovation to the design with a clever bend in the handles that keep the ends of the tongs off your counter. This eliminates cross-contamination from counter to cooking and helps keep the counter clean. That bend also helps the tongs rest securely on the edge of a pan or bowl, so they don’t slip and drown.
The tongs lock with a simple click-lock mechanism, like a retractable pen, so you don’t need to use two hands to lock and unlock the tongs — just tap on the counter one-handed.
There are made from stainless steel with silicone tips that won’t damage nonstick cookware. They’re heat safe to 500 degrees and top rack dishwasher safe.
12 of 19
Best Dry Measuring Cups: Farberware Color Measuring Cups
Bring some brightness to your kitchen with this set of four colorful measuring cups in the sizes you’ll use the most. The set includes 1/4-cup, 1/3-cup, 1/2-cup and 1-cup measures that nest easily for storage. The markings are easy to read but it won’t be long before you instinctively reach for the color that corresponds with the size.
These are made from durable, lightweight plastic that is dishwasher safe.
Buy an extra set to use for scooping and measuring sugar, coffee, flour, or other ingredients that you often use, and leave the cups in the canisters so you’re always ready to make that favorite recipe.
These nest for storage, and have holes in the handles for the included loop to keep them together or hang them separately, if you prefer.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best measuring cups.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
13 of 19
Best Wet Measuring Cups: OXO Measuring Beakers
Each beaker in this set measures a different maximum amount, from one teaspoon to one cup, and they have lines so you can use the cups to measure smaller amounts as well. They nest for very compact storage so they take less space than a single traditional wet measuring cup.
14 of 19
Best Measuring Spoons:1Easylife Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
This set includes all the basic measuring spoons you need, plus some that other sets ignore. It includes 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 3/4 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon. The spoons are made from food-grade stainless steel, so they won’t stain or rust. The narrow shape means you’ll be able to fit them right into a spice jar when you need to.
The end of the handle curls down so it’s even with the base of the spoon, so you can set a filled spoon on the counter and it won’t spill. The handle is designed to be ergonomic to hold. Both American and metric measurement are engraved on the spoon, so they’ll never rub off.
15 of 19
Best Instant-Read Thermometer: Taylor Precision Dual Temperature Thermometer
This two-in-one thermometer measures internal temperatures with a probe and also measures surface temperature using infrared. It can measure up to 626 degrees with the probe, so it can be used for baked goods, meat, or even melted sugar for candy making or simmering oil for frying. The infrared measures from -67 to 482 degrees so you can check the temperature in your freezer and then check the pizza stone in your oven.
The hold setting lets you freeze the last temperature measured, so you can remove your hand from the heat and read the display in comfort. The probe is 5 inches long, so you can reach the center of a roast or dip the probe into a pot. Meanwhile, the step-down tip makes a smaller puncture hole.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best instant-read thermometers.
16 of 19
Best Baster: Tovolo Dripless Baster
When you’re basting a turkey, it’s almost inevitable that the baster will either drip or squirt liquid where you don’t want it to go. This baster is designed to be dripless, so you can actually get the liquid onto the turkey instead of onto the floor or walls of the oven.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
17 of 19
Best Pastry Brush: OXO Good Grips Silicone Pastry Brush
A pastry brush is handy for brushing milk, egg wash, cream, or melted butter on the top of your pie crust, dinner rolls or biscuits. Even if you’re not baking from scratch, that extra touch makes a difference in presentation, and it’s simple to do.
You can also use the brush to remove extra flour from dough or brush crumbs from a cake. The unique bristle design won’t clump and the gaps in the center hold onto liquids better, so you won’t need to dip as often when you’re brushing on that butter.
Made from silicone, the bristles won’t discolor or retain odors, and the tapered outer bristles won’t damage delicate pastries. Since this is heat resistant to 600 degrees, you don’t need to worry about brushing coatings onto a hot pan or using hot liquids for basting.
When you’re done with that pie, you can even use this for brushing barbecue sauce onto your chicken wings. When you’re done, it’s dishwasher safe.
18 of 19
Best Garlic Press: Joseph Joseph Stainless Steel Rocking Garlic Crusher
The rocking design of this garlic crusher makes it easy to use and easy to clean, and it doesn’t take much storage space. Since the pressed garlic comes up through the holes, it’s easy to see how much garlic you’ve crushed. Stainless steel helps remove garlic scent from skin, so hand washing this cleans your hands at the same time.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best garlic presses.
19 of 19
Best Kitchen Shears: AmazonBasics Multifunction Come-Apart Kitchen Shears
Sure, you can use a pair of office scissors in the kitchen to open a bag of rice, but kitchen shears are meant to be used for food. These come apart so you can clean them thoroughly, without worrying about food getting stuck in the hinge. The blades are sharp enough to dismantle a chicken, snip fresh herbs or cut slices from pizza. There is an integrated bottle opener, and you can crack nuts or unscrew bottles in the space between the handles that has grippy metal teeth.
These have ergonomic comfortable grips that work just as well left- or right-handed. When the pieces are apart, you can use the separate pieces for peeling vegetables, scaling fish, and more. They should be washed by hand.
At The Spruce Eats, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your kitchen. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.