Are you opening a bar or restaurant? Do you need a housewarming gift for your BFF? Maybe you want to put together a gift basket for your favorite chef. Whatever the case, you should know the names and uses of different cooking utensils.  

Let’s put aside cookware and appliances for a moment so we can focus on the small utensils. From A to Z, here is a list of essential kitchen items for foodies, bartenders, and chefs!

Apple Corer

apple corer

You’ll get perfect apple slices every time if you use an apple slicer (corer). Push down at the top to remove the core, and you can then enjoy 8 perfectly shaped apple slices. This is a kitchen must-have for anyone focused on a healthy diet, but it’s also great for restaurants that want to offer better kid’s meals.

Apron

apron

Kiss the chef because they look great in an apron! These kitchen essentials are great for cooks and bakers since they protect clothes from stains or burns. Some aprons even have pockets to store kitchen utensils. Give out a custom apron as a gift! You can print it with a name, monogram, or funny quote.

Bag Clip

bag clip

Say “goodbye” to stale potato chips forever! Bag clips are overlooked kitchen utensils, but they help keep your food fresh. Clip one to the top of an open bag so no air or particles get inside. If you’re buying chip clips in bulk for a free giveaway, be sure to pick a unique shape like houses, stars, baseballs, or paw prints.

Basting Brush

basting brush

Whether it’s for ribs at a barbecue or a Thanksgiving turkey, you should have at least one basting brush in your kitchen at home. You can use these cooking utensils to brush sauces, glazes, or butter on desserts or meat dishes. They may be cheap gifts for chefs and foodies, but they’ll definitely come in handy!

Boning Knife

boning knife

Every good chef has a cutlery set on their kitchen counter! For the pros, this may include a boning knife, which is used to cut through ligaments and connective tissue in meat. These knives are great kitchen gifts for those who love steak or chicken.

Bottle Opener

bottle opener

Pop the top on beer or soda using a bottle opener! You simply wedge the open area under a bottle cap and pull up to remove. Give bottle openers out to anyone who has a bar. They’re also wonderful party favors for tailgates!

Bread Knife

bread knife

As the name suggests, you use a bread knife (serrated knife) to cut bread. The serrated blade is particularly great for Italian bread if you’re slicing it up to serve alongside a pasta dish. You won’t have to worry about any crumbles, which results in a dish worthy of an Instagram share!

Butter Knife

butter knife

Spread jelly, pesto, ranch, and margarine using a butter knife! The flat blade is designed to dig into jars, so you can create an even coat on bread or wraps. Give these kitchen essentials to a new homeowner as part of a utensil set that also includes a spoon and fork.

Cake Server

cake server

Do you want to have your cake and eat it, too? Be sure to have a cake server in your kitchen! The flat blade easily slides underneath a cake or pie slice, so you can transfer it over to a plate. Personalized cake servers are awesome for bakeries and are also handy for weddings and birthday parties.

Can Opener

can opener

Picture this: You’re making a burrito bowl at home instead of going to Chipotle. All the ingredients are ready, and just when you go to add the corn and black beans, you realize you can’t open the can. Bummer! Avoid this mishap by having a can opener at home, or giving one as a gift to all the chefs on your list.

Chef’s Knife

chef's knife

A chef’s knife is useful for food preparation as it has a stainless steel blade that’s about 8 inches in length. Whether it’s for mincing garlic or chopping up beef, every chef should have at least one of these knives in their kitchen. Engrave the blade with a heartfelt message if you want to give a chef’s knife as a gift!

Chopsticks

chopsticks

Chopsticks have been used in East Asia for centuries, and today, they’re very popular for Chinese and Thai food. You hold these wood or bamboo sticks with your dominant hand, allowing you to pick up small pieces of food like rice, noodles, and wontons. If you manage a restaurant that serves Asian cuisine, you should have plenty of reusable chopsticks to go with your takeout orders.

Cleaver

cleaver

Pound, mince, dice, and slice using a cleaver, which is a piece of cutlery with a thick blade. These kitchen knives are great for preparing appetizers, such as cheese, meat, olives, and fruit, for a wedding or party. Some cleavers even come part of personalized cheese boards if you want an excellent gift for the holidays.

Colander

colander

After boiling pasta or cooking ground beef, you may need to use a colander to drain the excess liquid. This kitchen essential, which is also known as a strainer, can be stored in the same area as your pots and pans. It may not be as fancy as other kitchen items, but it’s definitely worth having for anyone who loves to cook!

Condiment Bottle

condiment bottles

Are you having a barbecue? Condiment bottles can be used to equally disperse ketchup, mustard, BBQ, ranch, and other sauces and dressings. Place a set on each table, and refill when necessary. You can even customize the bottles with the name of the condiment inside to avoid confusion.

cookie cutters

Sometimes cookies look almost too pretty to eat! Cookie cutters can be used to shape the dough into anything you can imagine – Christmas trees for the holidays, pumpkins for Halloween, dog bones for animal shelter fundraisers, stars for a school bake sale…you name it! Those who love to bake will especially appreciate cookie cutters!

cookie jars

Whether you prefer chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or peanut butter, you can put all of your favorites in a cookie jar. These are wonderful kitchen gifts for just about everyone, especially those with a sweet tooth. A cookie jar printed with a cartoon character or with the family surname is way more special than a cookie jar than something plain and simple.

Corkscrew

corkscrew

Nothing is better than a glass of wine after a long day. Open the bottle using a corkscrew, which is a pocket-sized kitchen tool. The screw pokes the cork at the top, twisting into it as you turn the handle. Pull up carefully and enjoy your drink!

Corn Cob Holder

corn cob holders

Corn on the cob is delicious, but it’s also really messy. Protect your hands from getting buttery by using corn cob holders. These mini cooking utensils stick into the sides of the corn, so you don’t have to make direct contact with the food. They’re must-haves at barbecues, picnics, and Fourth of July parties.

Cutting Board

cutting board

Next time you need to chop up onions, peppers, or any other food, be sure to use a cutting board. These kitchen utensils don’t take up a lot of room, so it’s worth having a set with different sizes. If you’re getting a cutting board as a gift, bamboo or marble are excellent choices since they look more sophisticated than plastic.

Dessert Plate

dessert plate

Dessert plates are small plates that can be used for cake at a birthday party, pie at a Thanksgiving dinner, or snacks at a family reunion. They’re either reusable or disposable and come in squares or circles. You can find many colors and decorative styles for any occasion, whether it’s an anniversary party or class reunion.

Dinner Bowl

dinner bowl

Soup, ice cream, rice, grapes, and many other foods can be served in dinner bowls. Ceramic is best for bowls since it can be reheated in a microwave without becoming brittle. However, you can also buy plastic or metal bowls for your kitchen.

Dinner Plate

dinner plate

Back in the 90’s, McDonald’s used to sell promotional plates decorated with their mascots. You don’t have to eat off a clown’s face today, but it is a good idea to have a set of 8 to 12 dinner plates in your kitchen at home. Choose either round or square plates, and make sure they’re large enough for your main dish and a side.

Food Thermometer

food thermometer

Undercooked meat may contain salmonella or E. Coli. Ingesting bacteria can cause you to get sick, so for that reason you should always check the temperature of meat using a food thermometer. Are you moving into a new home? Shop for a thermometer when you’re getting other kitchen essentials.

Fork

fork

In the Medieval Era, people used their hands to eat every meal. Nowadays we use a fork! This kitchen utensil is great for pasta, baked chicken, steamed veggies, and salad. If you want to give out a great gift to friends and family, you can’t go wrong with a utensil set that includes forks, knives, and spoons.

Grater

grater

Let’s get cheesy! Run a grater over a block of cheese to create shreds, which can go on top of salads or pasta dishes. You can also use this cooking utensil to grate peppers, carrots, zucchini, and even chocolate! A grater might seem like a random gift, but it’s definitely one of those items you’ll be happy to have in your kitchen!

Grilling Spatula

grilling spatula

Flip those burgers using a grilling spatula! These cooking utensils often come in a BBQ set, along with other tools like tongs and large forks. A personalized grilling spatula is a special Father’s Day gift. You can also raffle one off at a company cookout.

Hot Dog Basket

hot dog basket

Hot dog baskets are essential at picnics since they can be used to serve both burgers and weenies. Each basket is made from plastic and comes in bright yellow or red. You also usually line them with plaid waxed paper to cut down on the mess at a summer picnic or barbecue.

Ice Cream Scooper

ice cream scooper

We all scream for ice cream! If you’re having an ice cream social, arm your volunteers with their own ice cream scooper. These giant spoons belong on every list of kitchen items and should definitely be on site at ice cream parlors and summer festivals.

Jar Scraper

jar scrapers

Why should the jam or peanut butter at the bottom of the jar go to waste? Dig it out using a jar scraper! These slim spatulas are designed to fit into tight areas, so you can get every morsel out of a jar. These kitchen utensils are insanely useful to have in bakeries, restaurants, and of course, at home.

Juicer

juicer

Squeeze a lemon, lime, tomato, or orange using a juicer. This kitchen must-have is also a great way to make your own almond milk, sorbet, salsa, and cocktails. Do you have leftover pulp? Bake it into muffins, cupcakes, or quiches!

Kitchen Towel

kitchen towel

Always wash your hands before preparing a meal, and dry them off using a kitchen towel. You’ll find a ton of decorative options, and even special ones for Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Keep a kitchen towel draped on the handle of your oven, dishwasher, or refrigerator.

Ladle

ladle

A ladle is a giant spoon that can be used to serve soup, chili, gravy, stew, or gumbo. Cafeterias can use these kitchen utensils to keep the line moving. You also want to make sure you have a ladle at home in the winter, so you can enjoy all those delicious hot comfort foods (with a side of cornbread, of course).

Mason Jar

mason jar

Mason jars are must-haves in any kitchen! You can use them to store ingredients or dried foods like pasta, rice, and nuts. They’re also great substitutes for drinking glasses. Be sure to have plenty of mason jars at your wedding since they can be used as centerpieces, décor, and favors. This glassware is also great for gifts and product packaging.

Measuring Cup

measuring cup

Baking is all about precision, which is why measuring cups are handy to have in your kitchen. Use them for getting the right amount of flour, sugar, and butter when baking. You can also use them when boiling a certain amount of water for a meal.

Measuring Spoon

measuring spoons

Do you have a bake sale coming up? Are you a popular bakery in a downtown area? You need measuring spoons in your kitchen. Scoop them into baking powder or baking soda, so you don’t end up with a batter explosion! They can also be used to measure sugar, olive oil, spices, and many other ingredients.

Meat Mallet

meat mallet

Use a meat mallet to pound down on beef or steak. This cooking utensil makes meat more tender, but it can also be used to crush garlic, smash potatoes, or chop chocolate, cookies, or peppermints for desserts. Any five-star restaurant should have a meat mallet in their kitchen.

Napkin

napkins

You should always have a bunch of paper napkins in your kitchen! They may not be the most fancy thing on a list of kitchen items, but they’re definitely some of the most useful. Buy them in bulk if you’re hosting a banquet, wedding, or dinner party.

Oven Mitt

oven mitt

Are you looking for unique kitchen gifts? Chefs and bakers will love a pair of personalized oven mitts or pot holders. Slip these cooking gloves onto your hands before you take baking sheets or pans out of the oven. Some people even hang them on their kitchen walls as home décor! 

Paring Knife

paring knife

A paring knife is used to chop fruits and vegetables. Pick it up, remove the sheath, and use the sharp blade to slice ingredients to add to your salads. Paring knives belong in every kitchen, so give them out as prizes at a baby shower, or just order a bunch for your friends as holiday gifts.

Peeler

peeler

Everyone needs a peeler in their kitchen! Push the blade into the food, and pull down to remove the skin on the outside. You need to use this cooking tool for cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, and carrots, but it can also be used to create shreds of cheese, apples, and chocolate.

Pizza Cutter

pizza cutter

Pizza cutters are a must at pizzerias and Italian restaurants, but they can also be used to cut flatbreads and even quesadillas. Do you need a new idea for family dinner at home? Set up a “build your own pizza” station with the works: cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, onion, etc. Lay out a few pizza cutters so everyone ca take charge of their own meal!

Plastic Spatula

plastic spatula

Whether you’re making an omelet for breakfast or a grilled cheese for lunch, you’ll need a good plastic spatula in your kitchen. Plastic spatulas are perfect moving gifts since they’re cheap, but they’re pretty much essential cooking utensils for everyone.

Popcorn Bucket

popcorn bucket

Movie nights aren’t complete without popcorn! Fill up custom popcorn buckets before the start of the film, and sell them in a concession stand to all your visitors. You can also use popcorn buckets at home, so you have something for your snacks while watching Netflix.

Potato Masher

potato masher

Mash up potatoes for a big family dinner, or create your own apple sauce for your kid’s lunch. All you need is a good potato masher for the job! These overlooked cooking utensils are a lot more efficient than a fork, especially if you’re putting together a big meal.

Prep Bowl

prep bowl

Store lettuce, chopped veggies, grapes, and other foods in sealed bowls. Leave them in your fridge and meal prep will be so much easier! You can also use prep bowls for baking – one for dry ingredients and one for wet ingredients. These bowls are essential for anyone who loves spending time in the kitchen.

Reusable Straw

reusable straw

By sipping from a reusable straw, you’ll help cut down on paper and plastic waste. Put them in reusable plastic cups to sell at fairs, theme parks, or restaurants. You can also order personalized straws and tie them to bottled drinks if you need party or wedding favors.

Rolling Pin

rolling pin

If you ever watch a retro cartoon, you may see a female character hitting her husband with a rolling pin. Thankfully, these cooking items are used less violently in the real world! You can use a rolling pin to flatten dough for cookies, pancakes, or homemade pizzas.

Salad Plate

salad plate

If you like your greens, be sure to add a salad plate to your wish list. The rim is curved up, which helps keep lettuce, spinach, kale, or arugula on the plate. Salad plates are useful dishware for sit-down restaurants and anyone focused on healthy eating.

Salt & Pepper Shaker

salt and pepper shaker

Not to be confused with awesome hip hop duo, salt and pepper shakers (also known as mills or grinders) are kitchen items that are filled with spices. You twist the bottom to season dishes with salt, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices. Some shakers have holes on the top to be tipped over the food.

Shaker Bottle

shaker bottle

On busy mornings when you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast, whip up an energy-boosting protein shake in a shaker bottle! Think of it as a mini blender that you can bring with you on the go. Shaker bottles are used to not only make protein drinks, but also other tasty treats like cocktails, smoothies, and even crepes and pancakes.

Shears

shears

Some of our favorite foods are in packaging that’s almost impossible to open. Open them using kitchen shears! These large scissors are also used to snip herbs, or cut apart chicken or bacon into smaller pieces. Chefs also use these cooking utensils to create small bread slices or pitas for appetizers.

Silicone Spatula

silicone spatula

Spread icing on top of cakes, tarts, cookies, and other desserts using a silicone spatula. You can also use these kitchen utensils on hot pans to make scrambled eggs, mac ‘n’ cheese, casseroles, and other dishes. Silicone is a good choice since the heat won’t cause the utensil head to become brittle or warped.

Snack Tray

snack tray

Feast your eyes on snack trays – a must for tailgates, fancy banquets, and holiday parties. This spacious dishware is used for small appetizers like chips, BBQ meatballs, and cheese and crackers. Some snack trays even have a little space for dips!

Spoon

spoon

Forky may have stolen the show in Toy Story 4, but don’t forget to show some love for spoons! You need to use this piece of silverware with soups and creamy bowls of ice cream. They usually come in a set with forks and knives.

Stirring Spoon

stirring spoon

A small spoon won’t really do much for stirring up food in a boiling pot. For that, you need a stirring spoon instead, which is made from wood or plastic and sometimes has slots on the head. You can also use stirring spoons to transfer food from a slow cooker onto dinner plates.

Steak Knife

steak knives

Everybody enjoys a different cut of steak, whether it’s a filet or New York strip. Be sure to have many different steak knives in your kitchen! If you manage a steakhouse, they belong on every table for your diners. A custom steak knife set is also a great gift for foodies.

Storage Container

food storage container

Alarmingly, people in the United States throw away more than $161 billion worth of food every year. Food storage containers are a great way to reduce all that waste since you can put leftovers inside. They’re also useful for those with nutrition goals as they come in handy for meal prep.

Taco Holder

taco holder

Here’s a kitchen item you didn’t know you wanted! Taco holders keep the meat, cheese, peppers, onions, and cilantro inside of the shell. You can use them instead of plates at a Mexican restaurant, or when you’re having “Taco Tuesday” for dinner at home.

Tongs

tongs

Sisqo should have sang “let me see that tong” in his hit song from 1999! These kitchen utensils are insanely useful, especially when it comes to grilling or serving salad. Make sure you have a set in your kitchen!

Whisk

whisk

Whisks come in handy for baking as well as for cooking eggs, whip cream, gravy, and other foods. You don’t want to always plug in an automatic mixer, so whisks are handy to have around for quick meals. Bundle them together with other kitchen utensils like spatulas and wooden spoons. Tie with a bow, and you’ve gotexcellent gifts for any occasion.

Whiskey Cubes

whiskey cubes

Do you like your whiskey on the rocks? Use a set of reusable ice cubes! You keep these unique kitchen items in the freezer until you’re in the mood for a cool drink. Customize a set if you have someone on your list who really loves their alcohol!

Wine Stopper

wine stopper

As much as you would enjoy it, sometimes you can’t drink an entire bottle of wine. Keep dust and particles out of the bottle by replacing the cork with a wine stopper. You can find a ton of cute shapes and can even personalize them with a custom message.

Wooden Fork

wooden fork

Are you having a buffet at your wedding? Wooden forks have rustic charm and can be used for serving salad and mixed vegetables. Even if you’re not getting hitched, these cooking utensils should still be on your list of must-haves!

Wooden Spatula

wooden spatula

Many chefs believe wooden spatulas are best for cooking since they make stirring easier and don’t get hot. Plus, they don’t become brittle like plastic spatulas. Grab a few for your kitchen at home!

Wooden Spoon

wooden spoon

If you’re already cooking with wooden spatulas, you should probably also add wooden spoons to your list of kitchen items. You can use these instead of plastic or metal for stirring extremely hot foods in a boiling pot on the stove. Bye, bye, burns!

Zester

zester

Similar to a grater, a zester is used to zest lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits. You use one to add garnishes or flavor to cocktails and desserts. Bars and bakeries should definitely have these cooking utensils in their arsenals!

Essential Drinkware for Any Kitchen

You’ve crossed off every item off your kitchen essentials list! Now it’s time to fill up your cabinets with the following drinkware:

coffee mugs

Coffee Mugs

Wake up on the right side of the bed with a cabinet full of coffee mugs. You can really never have too many, and with photo mugs, mugs with movie quotes, mugs with monograms, and other options, they’re great gifts for everyone.

pint glass

Pint Glasses

Every kitchen, whether it’s a restaurant or yours at home, should have an assortment of pint glasses. You can use them for any drink, and they’re usually dishwasher-safe. 16 oz. pint glasses are the standard size, but you can get smaller or larger glasses if that works better for you.

reusable plastic cup

Reusable Plastic Cups

Kids are clumsy so glassware might not be best for them. Serve their milk, juice, or water in plastic cups instead. This drinkware is also great for outdoor use, whether it’s at a baseball game or at a birthday party in the park. You don’t have to worry about the cups tipping over and breaking.

margarita glass

Margarita Glasses

Jimmy Buffett isn’t the only one who lives visiting Margaritaville! A Mexican restaurant should have custom margarita glasses for their frozen cocktails. They’re also awesome gifts for milestone birthdays and bachelorette parties.

travel mug

Travel Mugs

Sometimes you have to take your coffee on the road. Pour it into a travel mug, which comes with an airtight lid and often fits right in the cupholder. You can also find mugs with handles, which makes it easier on those days when your hands are full.

water bottle

Water Bottles

Drink more water throughout the day by filling up a water bottle. Reusable water bottles are better for the environment than disposable ones, so you’ll also be doing your part for a greener world! You can also give water bottles as gifts to athletes, bikers, students, or travelers.

wine glass

Wine Glasses

Do you need a gift for a wine lover? Fill up a basket with corkscrews, wine stoppers, and of course, custom wine glasses. Stemless wine glasses are very popular right now if you want to stay on trend. Be sure to also have a few wine glasses in your own home, especially if you host book clubs or frequent get-togethers.

whiskey glass

Whiskey Glasses

There are a variety of bar glasses you can add to your list, but the whiskey glass is one of the most useful. You can use it for not only whiskey, bourbon, and scotch, but also non-alcoholic drinks like water and soda.

koozie

Koozies

Koozies are cheap favors for weddings and excellent giveaways for concerts and other live events. These foam or neoprene sleeves fit over cans and bottles, keeping the drink inside cold and protecting your hands from condensation.

Final Thoughts

You’ve now got a complete list of kitchen must-haves! Personalize them with a name or design, and give them out as gifts to your friends and family. These cooking utensils are also excellent wedding favors!

And while you’re at it, double check that you have all of these kitchen items in your own home! You’ll want to have everything you need to try new recipes and cook up a healthy meal. Who knows? You might just get your own cooking show on the Food Network!

References

Loh, A. (2021, February 3). 15 Must-Have Kitchen Tools. Retrieved from, https://www.eatingwell.com/article/50233/must-have-kitchen-tools/

Stone, A. (2021, September 21). 18 Things Professional Chefs Say You Must Have in Your Kitchen. Retrieved from, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/94002/18-things-professional-chefs-say-you-must-have-your-kitchen

Mealime. Kitchen Essentials List: 71 of the Best Kitchen Cookware, Utensils, Tools, & More. Retrieved from, https://www.mealime.com/kitchen-essentials-list

Jernigan, A. (2021, August 29). The 53 Kitchen Essentials for Your Brand New Apartment. Retrieved from, https://www.thehome.blog/apartments/kitchen-essentials-new-apartment

Made-in. (2021, January 13). What is a Chef’s Knife Used For? Retrieved from, https://madeincookware.com/blogs/what-is-a-chefs-knife-used-for

Pizzimenti, A. 9 Things You Didn’t Know Your Juicer Could Do. Retrieved from, https://spoonuniversity.com/how-to/things-you-di

Jampel, S. (2020, January 3). A Meat Mallet Belongs in Your Kitchen, Even If You Never Eat Meat. Retrieved from, https://www.bonappetit.com/story/you-need-a-meat-mallet

Barrett, T. (2012, August 30). 11 Reasons Kitchen Sears Are the Most Important Tool in Your Arsenal. Retrieved from, https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/cooking-tips/article/11-reasons-why-kitchen-shears-are-the-most-important-tool-in-your-arsenal

Pollick, M. What Are the Benefits of a Silicone Spatula? Retrieved from, https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/cooking-tips/article/11-reasons-why-kitchen-shears-are-the-most-important-tool-in-your-arsenal

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