Chef's Knives - essential kitchen tools

14 Essential Kitchen Tools for Wholesome Cooking

Chef's Knives - essential kitchen tools

Dedicating time to sourcing, preparing and eating fresh food is fundamental to health and wellness. These days, we’re so lucky. We have year long access to quality ingredients, and there’s a fantastic range of equipment and appliances that make cooking easy, efficient and fun. Following is a list of what we consider to be the most essential kitchen tools. They’re not expensive, but they’ve proved to be worth their weight in gold.  If any of them broke, we’d replace them immediately.

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Woman preparing food, looking up.

14 Essential Kitchen Tools for the Health Promoting Kitchen

1. The Instant Pot: Many Functions in One

The Instant Pot is the Best. Thing. Ever. It’s the easiest and most efficient way to make excellent Bone Broth at home. It’s brilliant for soups, stews and steamed vegetables. It makes perfect rice and perfect yogurt. You can use it for sauteèing and for slow cooking. It’s so good that I’ve dedicated a whole post to it, and the Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook is a best-selling, award winning compilation. No health promoting kitchen should be without one. In my opinion, for it’s life-changing and health-enhancing capacity, ti tops the list of essential kitchen tools.

Buy an Instant Pot.

2. Food Processor

Excellent for chopping vegetables, making burgers and baked goods, whipping cream and beating egg-whites…

I suggest buying a powerful food processor to which you can add various parts, such as a blender. Investing in a good quality brand means that you’ll be able to buy replacements for parts which may consume through use.

Being in Europe, we have a Kenwood Chef Multipro which came with a High Power blender (indispensable for making Paleo Ice Cream.) It was no problem to order a new lid for the processor when the old one became cracked from use and from having been dropped too many times on the floor!

If I was in the United States, I’d choose the Ninja as it tops the reviews and comes with a good variety of parts.

Buy a Food Processor with Blender Attachment

Food Processor filled with ingredients for a smoothie.

3. High Power Blender

See Number 2 above, and if possible, make it a part of your Food Processor.

Essential for smoothies and for making Ice Cream. The important thing is that your blender is powerful, otherwise you’ll never achieve the necessary emulsion when you want to make Dairy Free Ice Cream. My in-laws have the exact same Ice Cream Machine that we have, but they can’t get the ice cream to set because their blender isn’t powerful enough to bind the molecules.

Buy a Blender

4. Immersion Blender

No household should be without an immersion blender for blending soups and sauces, for pureèing vegetables and, most importantly, for making homemade Mayonnaise. It’s a basic instrument so I imagine even a cheap one will do, but better brands seem to last longer.

We have a Braun, with no added attachments. But if I was going to buy another one today, I’d choose one with a whisker for whipping cream.

Buy an Immersion Blender

5. Electric Spice Grinder

It might seem strange, but this is one of my most used kitchen appliances. If you’re familiar with my recipes, you’ll know how often I use it for grinding almonds and seeds to make gluten free baked goods. Sure, you can buy almond flour, but you’ll pay more. Much cheaper to grind them yourself. And essential for making my wonderful All Purpose Spice Mix.

Buy an Electric Spice Grinder

6. Ice Cream Machine

Of all the essential kitchen tools, an Ice Cream Machine must be the most decadent. We’re in Italy, the home of divine gelato. But it has to be said: Being so used to the real flavours of fresh ingredients, we prefer our homemade ice cream to any of the crafted gelato‘s that we can buy. When we make our own, we’re not left with a weird film in our mouths, presumably an after effect of emulsifiers. The ingredients are simple coconut milk, a banana, honey and fresh fruit or cacao. We’re never, ever disappointed. Note: as mentioned above, you need a high powered blender to get the molecules to bind.

Make sure you have enough space in your freezer for the freezer bowl!

Buy an Ice Cream Machine

7. Measuring Jugs, Cups and Spoons

Yes. You need them. Especially for making baked goods, which is all about the chemistry between fats, liquids and flours. But even apart from baked goods, you really do need to measure the ingredients when following recipes. There are so many lovely measuring tools to choose from! I love the classic pyrex pouring jugs and the Oxo range.

Buy Measuring Jugs

Buy Measuring Cups

Buy Measuring Spoons

Buy OXO for the brilliant design!

Cast iron skillet filled with vegetables.

8. Digital Scales

Digital scales are an absolute must for cooking in the global world. Some countries work with grams and kilo’s. Others use ounces and pounds. With digital scales, you’re able to choose the relevant system with the press of a button. And, as per measuring jugs, cups and spoons, sometimes you really do need to be precise.

Buy Digital Scales

9. Chef’s Knives

You absolutely must have a couple of good quality chef’s knives – and learn how to use them. I would only buy a knife online if I’d had the opportunity to try it in my hand in a real life situation. You want a chef’s knife with a good weight that feels comfortable to you. It must be suitable for chopping big things like pumpkins and large pieces of meat.  And you want a good paring knife for smaller foods like fruit. Both must be kept sharp. Invest in the best you can.

Buy Good Knives

10. Cast Iron Skillet

The more I use my cast iron pan, the more I love it. Everyone seems to say the same. They seem to get better the more you use them. I use an enamelled cast iron skillet that I bought from Ikea. The enamel on the inside is black and matt, so it looks like “raw” cast iron, but it means that I don’t have to oil it when washed. Many people love the raw deal. You want a cast iron skillet in addition to a couple of non-stick frypans. Because the non-stick varieties are inherently toxic, use them only when you need to. For the rest, and for when you’re cooking with a lot of liquid and fat, use the cast iron. If I had more room in my kitchen, I’d also buy enamelled cast iron casseroles.

Buy an Enamelled Cast Iron Skillet

11. Fine Vegetable Peeler

A vegetable peeler may seem like a no brainer, but what I mean by a “fine” vegetable peeler is one that is able to remove the rind of lemon without a trace of the white pith. This is on my list of essential kitchen tools because orange and lemon rind adds so much character to both sweet and savoury foods. I love the Victorinox Swiss Army Peeler. I have the orange one.

Buy a Fine Vegetable Peeler

Food containers on the beach.

12. Rubber Spatula

This will either be obvious, or it’ll be a revelation. I’m amazed at how many people don’t have rubber spatula’s in their kitchen. They’re essential for cleaning around the edges of your food processor or saucepans, for transferring the mix from your blender to the ice cream machine, and just for any situation where you don’t want to waste a drop. We’ll use a rubber spatula for finishing off our bowl of soup.

Buy Rubber Spatulas

13. Lunch Boxes and Containers

Healthy food choices means preparing lunches and snacks at home, and taking them with you wherever you go. Bento Boxes are great because they come with dividers and accesories. And for winter, a wide-necked thermos for a soup of stew can be a life-saver.

Organization is optimized when you have vegetables and salads in the fridge, already washed, peeled and chopped. And you need various shapes and sizes of containers for storing leftovers. Glass containers are great  because they help reduce the amount of plastic in the world and in your life.

Buy a Bento Lunch Box

Buy a Wide Necked Thermos

Buy Food Containers

Online recipe

14. Ipad or Tablet

An Ipad or Tablet isn’t indispensable, but if you’re in the habit of following recipes, downloading E-books and consulting how-to videos, then an Ipad or tablet is much easier to view than a smartphone or pc. The screen size is optimal. Well worth it if you spend a lot of time online. You can pick up renewed versions for good prices.

Buy an Ipad or Tablet

I hope this list of essential kitchen tools helps with your organisation and your inspiration.

Truly, investing in the right equipment is going to do more than just save you time and expense in the kitchen. It will add spontaniety and creativity to your cooking, and it will add years of health onto your life.

Once again, thanks so much for shopping through the affiliate links here. It’s much appreciated!


Knives Photo by Danilo Rios on Unsplash | Woman cooking Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash | Food Processor Photo by Nature Zen on Unsplash | Measuring cups and jugs Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash | Cast Iron Skillet Photo by James Kern on Unsplash |   | Food Containers on the Beach Photo by Sandra Harris on Unsplash | Recipe on Ipad Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Angelina Brazzale

Angelina Brazzale is the founding creative director of Empress and Sister. Like her chart ruler, Mercury, she travels between worlds. She has degrees in English Literature and in Fine Arts, Ceramics. She's a Primary Health Coach, having reversed autoimmune disease through the protocols of ancestral health. She spent over 10 years teaching yoga and meditation. She reads Tarot, writes and makes art, and is sensitive to the energy in crystals and trees. Visit her Page in the Empress and Sister Collective for information, products and services.

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