The 16 Best Kitchen Tools of 2023

We asked chefs about the one tool that's most essential in their home kitchens.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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Garlic presses, apple corers, silicone tongs, vegetable peelers: With so many kitchen tools available, it's hard to know which ones are worth investing in, without over-running your pantry cabinet with unused machines and gadgets. That's why we tapped a panel of chefs to help us compile this list of must-have kitchen tools that are most essential in their homes.

From the tried-and-true chef's knife and a heavy-weight sauce spoon to a durable grinder for fresh-made spices, and even a French press or espresso machine to keep you powered through the day, read on for the must-have kitchen tools our chefs and experts recommend.

Our Top Picks

Vitamix One

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Vitamix.

A quality blender is what separates beginner cooks from seasoned home chefs, says Eric Hoff of Shula's Steak House. "If you're trying to upgrade your kitchen, you need to invest in a Vitamix, not just any old blender. This Vitamix makes cooking a breeze: You can make the silkiest soups and sauces in seconds, as well as velvety smooth dressings and emulsions like a pro. I have tried countless blenders, and nothing comes close to the performance and power of a Vitamix. With blenders, you truly get what you pay for, and I can almost guarantee that if you walk into any professional kitchen, they are bound to have Vitamix."

Adds James Beard Award winner Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo: "A strong, quality blender to make salsas, adobos, and moles is essential. I prefer one like this with different speeds and pulses. This way, I have the power to control and achieve the desired texture."

Price at time of publish: $247

Mac Knife Professional 8-Inch Hollow Edge Chef Knife

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Every kitchen should be equipped with a chef's knife, thanks to its versatility in various cooking tasks. "Whether slicing, dicing, chopping, butchering, or engaging in delicate knife work, a great chef's knife is a must. You want one that's weighted, balanced, and comfortable in your hand, especially when you're prepping in large quantities," says Adam Rzeczkowski of Gila River. Our in-house testers recently named the Mac Knife Professional 8-Inch Hollow Edge Chef Knife one of the best options, featuring an extra-sharp blade, slip-free handle, durable construction, and reliable performance.

Price at time of publish: $144

OXO Chef's Steel Mandoline

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Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams Sonoma.

If you're tired of slicing every fruit and vegetable by hand, this mandoline from OXO allows even the most inexperienced home cooks to quickly and efficiently slice ingredients into various shapes and sizes. This particular tool includes 21 settings, including julienne strips, plus a convenient food holder for leftover scraps. "Most chefs are territorial about their expensive knives and preserving sharp edges on them. However, a Japanese mandoline is a high-quality, affordable tool that makes the quick work of fancy cuts possible without unsheathing your favorite knives. Even the inexperienced chef can produce perfect, precise cuts with this accessible tool," says Michael Ferraro of Tavistock Restaurant Collection.

Fernando Navas of Balvanera agrees: "It's super light, precise, easy to work with. It's also very sharp — you can use it on anything."

Price at time of publish: $98

Related: The 18 Best Kitchen Tools Under $20

Cuisinart Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams Sonoma and Best Buy.

Few things can transform a recipe like freshly ground spices. Though time can be saved with pre-ground alternatives, fresh spices are worth it for the flavor. If you use an electric grinder, you can save yourself the headache of pounding spices by hand. This Cuisinart grinder is a favorite among our kitchen pros, including Hari Nayak of Sona New York. This tool allows users to crush their favorite spices with ease and efficiency. "The flavors are richer and enhance my cooking. Toasting and grinding spices in small batches retain the freshness and bold flavor notes — and it makes a world of difference to the final dish."

Price at time of publish: $40

Lomi Smart Waste Kitchen Composter

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Lomi.

Amanda Wilson of Tortazo is a big fan of composting, encouraging anyone who regularly cooks at home to invest in their own machine. She prefers the Lomi Smart Waste Kitchen Composter for its ease of use, especially for first-time composters. It helps that it's sleek and low-maintenance and looks stylish on a countertop. "The Lomi is great for small spaces (like NYC apartments), where it can be difficult to find convenient ways to compost your food scraps. This composter makes composting odorless, too, and the best part is the compost makes perfect soil for your house plants."

Price at time of publish: $500

Hotec Premium Stainless Steel Locking Kitchen Tongs with Silicone Tips

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

From the kitchen to the barbecue, no cooking setup is complete without a durable set of tongs. Our experts prefer the lightweight Hotec Premium Stainless Steel Tongs, which are heat-, rust-, and corrosion-resistant and won't scratch up your favorite pans or dinnerware. The handle is comfortable to grip, layered with easy-to-clean silicone. "Tongs are invaluable in the kitchen for so many things. I love to use them to plate pasta, turn a steak, toss a salad, and I've even been known to use tongs to grab a wine glass from a high shelf," says Craig Stoll of Delfina.

Price at time of publish: $11

OXO Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Every cook needs a cutting board that's durable enough to withstand daily use and keep messes at bay. Daniel Kim, of Ten Homakase, swears by the OXO Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board. "These professional boards are designed to absorb shock, reduce the energy needed to chop and slice, and keep ingredients in place because of the no-slip service." This particular model also includes a non-porous surface to resist odors and avoid dulling knife blades and an integrated drip-catcher with easy-pour corners to minimize messes.

Price at time of publish: $33

Bodum Chambord French Press

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Target.

For F&W Best New Chef alum Nina Compton, waking up and making the perfect cup of coffee sets the tone for the day. In her home, she prepares her coffee using a traditional French press. "I pour coffee into my favorite mug from my mom and put on some good tunes. Nothing is better!" One of the most popular French presses on the market right now, the Bodum Chambord French Press can brew in just four minutes, extracting the maximum amount of flavor from your favorite blend for a clean, smooth cup of coffee. For convenience, this French press features a splash-resistant lid, plus all included parts are dishwasher-safe.

Price at time of publish: $55

Peugeot Paris u'Select 9-Inch Pepper Mill

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams Sonoma.

Most chefs wax poetic on the importance of fresh-ground black pepper versus pre-ground packaged peppercorn. "The difference in flavor is night and day," says Pawan Pinisetti of Sérêvène. "A Peugeot pepper mill is a requirement in my world. It's probably one of the most iconic French brands to make pepper mills — and most chefs consider it their best friend. This tool is functional and will last forever if you take care of it." Our pros agree, ranking this pepper mill as the best overall option, thanks to its professional quality, maximum control, and iconic design.

Price at time of publish: $54

Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

Similar to the chef's knife, a large sauce spoon is one of the most versatile tools a home chef can have. "It's the tool of all trades: Spoons can be used to sauce plates, turn meats, baste, and in a pinch, you can even peel fruits and vegetables with it. Don't get stuck in the kitchen without one," said Victor King of The Essential. He recommends the Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon by JB Prince, which features an easy-to-grip handle and heavyweight steel, giving you more control during use.

Price at time of publish: $20

Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

Not only is a vacuum sealer good for extending the life of leftovers (typically three to five extra days), but it also allows you to portion items and freeze them. Our kitchen testers recommend the Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer, which seamlessly preserves all sorts of foods, including delicate items like raspberries and baked goods, without crushing them. This machine is also more affordable than many similar options and demonstrates consistent, reliable results after every use.

Price at time of publish: $135

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma.

The one tool Timon Balloo can't live without may surprise you: It's his Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine. "Whether it's to jump-start the day, take a minute and Zen out to froth milk, or just quickly dispense some hot boiling water for our noodles, we love this machine," he says. He's not the only one: Our kitchen experts agree that the Breville is the best overall espresso machine. Beyond brewing consistent, balanced espresso, this machine includes various customizable features to help you perfect your coffee-making skills. Highlights include both numerous automatic and manual brewing options, as well as an integrated frother for milk-foam milk texturing, dose-control grinding, and an integrated tamper.

Price at time of publish: $750

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams Sonoma and OXO.

F&W Best New Chef alum Brad Kilgore of Arlo can't function in his kitchen without a food scale. "We measure every single ingredient that goes into our recipes to the gram, sometimes half of a gram. This gives us the consistency everyone expects, and if there is something that is a bit off, we can detect it and fix it before it hits the plate."

Connor Underwood of Milo + Olive agrees, adding that the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale is a favorite among industry pros because it's large and easy to clean, and it features a screen that pops out so you can still read it when a plate or bowl is in the way. "Using a kitchen scale makes my drawers cleaner and saves me a bunch of time from cleaning a sink full of measuring cups. My recipes are easier to navigate, and although you will likely spend some time converting your old recipes from cups to grams, your dishwasher, brain, and the next person making the recipe will thank you."

Price at time of publish: $56

Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream Maker

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart.

The Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream Maker is capable of much more than whipping together your favorite gelato or smoothie. That's why John Rivers, of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, recommends every home cook invest in one. "It's my kitchen sink for minimizing food waste. From over-ripe fruit to half-eaten candy bars, everything works when you're creating unique flavor concoctions." With a dual-drive motor and seven one-touch functions, this machine allows you to customize your desired flavor and texture as it shaves, churns, and spins ingredients in no time. It also includes a re-spin function for an even creamier, softer result.

Price at time of publish: $230

ThermoPro Digital Meat Thermometer

must-Have Kitchen Tools Chef
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Home Depot.

There's nothing worse than a dry, overcooked piece of meat. The solution? A trusty meat thermometer, says Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery. "I am partial to ThermoPro, because they last a lifetime. It will keep you on point with your meats and poultry, so you never serve up a piece of leather again." This reliable, waterproof digital sensor can retrieve readings in just three to four seconds, with an average accuracy of 0.9 degrees. It also works as a baking thermometer and includes added features like a rotating display, a convenient backlight, and a durable, easy-to-clean exterior.

Price at time of publish: $25

Helen's Asian Kitchen Stainless Steel Spider Strainer

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Courtesy of Amazon

If you enjoy cooking, Sophina Uong of Mister Mao says this stainless steel spider strainer is a must-have tool, perfect for draining, frying, and cooking in deep liquids. Lightweight and durable, the strainer features a bamboo handle that prevents heat transfer, no matter how hot the liquid is, while the mesh basket helps prevent splashes. "It's a round strainer and skimmer that is great to plunk food in and out of boiling water or hot oil. Use it for spaghetti, gnocchi, and anything you're deep frying."

Price at time of publish: $9

Our Expertise

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is an acclaimed food writer with nearly a decade of experience. She has written for Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, and more. For this piece, she consulted more than 15 chefs and researched dozens of products to discover the best, most essential, and most versatile tools for home cooks.

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