10 Essential Kitchen Tools to Make Cooking Delectable Dishes Easier

Improve your prowess in the kitchen with these ten essential kitchen tools. Whether you're an accomplished chef or an occasional cook who enjoys dabbling in culinary arts, each of these tools is designed to make your time in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable.

Every chef has his or her "must-haves" in the kitchen, but you may not know what you're missing out on - and if you're not familiar with these essentials, now's the perfect time to get acquainted with tools like trivets, mortar and pestle sets, salt cellars and more.

Copper + Enamel Measuring Spoons

Kitchen Essential #1: Trivets

A trivet, which helps keep countertops and tables safe from hot serving dish scorches, is an indispensable asset in any kitchen. Trivets can feature three legs or knobs on the bottom to keep hot dishes elevated and promote airflow or they can be raised, flat pads; either way, the purpose is to protect your kitchen and dining room surfaces from heat damage.

Kitchen Essential #2: A Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and pestles have been used for eons to crush and grind herbs, spices and other substances into fine powders or pastes. The mortar refers to the bowl, and the pestle is the grinding implement. Sometimes both parts of a mortar and pestle are made from the same materials (like wood, metal, ceramic or hard stone), but that's not always the case.

Kitchen Essential #3: A Salt Cellar

Also called salt boxes, salt cellars are far superior to grinders when it comes to cooking. Professional chefs use salt cellars because they're easier to measure out salt from (have you tried grinding a tablespoon of salt?) and because they enable you to use less salt than you would with a pourer or grinder.

Wood + Copper Salt Cellar

Kitchen Essential #4: Salt and Pepper Grinders

While salt cellars are better for cooking than grinders are, salt and pepper grinders are ideal for serving. You and your guests can easily add the perfect pinch of seasoning to any dish at the dining table with the right tools.

Kitchen Essential #5: Spoon Rests

Spoon rests aren't only for spoons, most can handle all your other kitchen utensils, and are a fundamental part of any kitchen. Spoon rests prevent you from sullying your counters with drips and dribbles from utensils you're going to reuse while you're cooking, and they protect your utensils from picking up other contaminants, as well.

Kitchen Essential #6: Ramekins

In addition to special-occasion serving dishes (like crème brulée), ramekins are perfect for cooking specialty foods. Originally, ramekins were designed to serve foods made with creams and cheeses, but now they're made from stoneware, porcelain or oven-proof glass so chefs can use them for soufflés and other baked dishes.

Kitchen Essential #7: Kettles

A quality kettle is the fastest, easiest way to heat up water in the kitchen, whether you're having afternoon tea or you need to boil water quickly for a specialized drink or dish, like coffee in a French press. You can use the water from an electric kettle to prep for soups, too.

Kitchen Essential #8: A Kitchen Utensil Holder

Utensil holders take away all the work of digging around a silverware drawer and make grabbing the perfect tool easy. You'll save time (and frustration) when you can always find exactly what you need.

Kitchen Essential #9: A Cookbook Stand

Even the best chefs follow recipes, whether they come from a time-worn book passed down over generations or they're on a tablet with a splash-resistant cover. A cookbook stand makes it easy to zero in on ingredients and instructions without smudging, dirtying or soiling your written-down recipes. The best cookbook stands are made from easy-to-clean metal, marble or wood, and they feature an appropriately sized ledge to prop up your book, recipe card, tablet or phone without allowing it to slip.

Kitchen Essential #10: A Culinary Tote Bag

You don't have to confine your cooking skills to your own kitchen if you have a culinary tote bag that allows you to bring your must-have tools elsewhere. You can use culinary tote bags made for utensils, trivets, and mortar and pestles as grocery bags when you need to pick up a few extra ingredients, too, so they pull double-duty when you're on the go.

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