Some might quibble about the whisk. Yes, you can live without it, but if you want whipped cream or fluffy pancakes or even just really good scrambled eggs, a whisk is the best. I have this one and love it.
- Our pick: OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk, $10 at Amazon
AMAZON GIR Ultimate Spatula $13 BUY NOW
Here’s a small splurge on our list: the best spatula of all time. The GIR spatula is more expensive than some other options but it’s so well-made. And because it’s silicone it won’t melt, so you can use it in hot pans and for flipping meat in the oven.
- Our pick:GIR Ultimate Spatula, $13
AMAZON EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener $12 BUY NOW
Every kitchen needs one.
- Our pick:EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener, $12
AMAZON Taylor Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer $6 BUY NOW
Here’s a pick we included specifically because this is a list for first-time kitchen folks. Experienced cooks might not bother to take the temperature of a chicken breast or pork chop, knowing from long experience how to tell when meat is done. But a newer cook may find the peace of mind (and properly done meat) worth the tiny investment.
- Our pick: Taylor Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer, $6
Utensils Total: $52
(Image credit: Faith Durand)
Last but not least, kitchen linens make up an important part of the daily kitchen experience. Leave the pretty tea towels for other shopping trips; these two picks are designed to work hard. AMAZON Full Circle Tidy 100% Organic Cotton Dish Cloths $7 for three BUY NOW
Not just for drying dishes (although they should be able to do that well). Towels are used for covering bread dough, sweeping flour off a countertop, and as makeshift trivets and hot pads. I have these towels and they’re durable, absorbent, and large.
- Our pick: Full Circle Tidy 100% Organic Cotton Dish Cloths, $7 for three
AMAZON Ritz Royale Pot Holders $12 for two BUY NOW
Another pick that’s especially important for the new cook. Battle-hardened cooks might be more cavalier about their fingertips and pull sheets pans out of the oven with the tip of their towel. But new cooks (and clumsy cooks, like me!) should be more careful. These potholders are good value and highly rated by Cook’s Illustrated.