The Beginner’s List of Kitchen Utensils

Not everyone is focused on cooking from an early age. I didn’t have much interest in cooking as I was growing up. I knew how to make pizza bread like my dad did, and I knew how to add the right combination of food coloring to make mac and cheese gray (so my sister would get grossed out and I would have more to myself).

If you’re recently on your own and trying to set up the needs of your kitchen, this is for you. Today we’ll be looking at kitchen utensil basics.

history of kitchen utensils

Use of utensils can be traced back to ancient Greeks and Romans. I’d imagine that using utensils was common earlier in time than that. I’m no historian, but whenever the SECOND attempt at soup was made is when I picture the golden era of stirring spoons starting. I say “second” because I imagine the first attempt at soup being stirred by hand. OUCH!

The important thing to note is that utensils have been around a while.

list of kitchen tools

So, let’s jump right into it. Here are nine utensils that you should have in your kitchen. Get these nine, and you should be set for most cooking scenarios.


Just like the ancient peoples in my imaginary soup scenario, the spoon is a useful tool for stirring hot food in a pot. It is one of the top two on my personal list of kitchen equipment because of how much I use it. It is a multi-purpose tool that can be used for many different foods.

Slotted Spoon

What? Another spoon? Why?

Slotted spoons come in very handy when it comes to cooking something solid in liquid where you don’t necessarily want to eat the liquid. For example, poaching an egg. As the egg floats there in the hot water, simply grab your slotted spoon and scoop it out. The egg stays in the spoon, the water goes through the slot, everyone wins.


The ladle is for when you definitely want the liquid you’re cooking. Soups and sauces. Yes, you could use your spoon, but the ladle will generally hold more liquid than the spoon, and the angle of the handle is designed for ease of pouring.


The whisk is for whipping and beating food. I probably use mine most for beating eggs before scrambling them. If you cook mostly dinner recipes without many ingredients, you might not think you’ll need one of these. They come in very handy for baking recipes, so definitely keep one on hand so you’re not caught of guard.


Another basic that is good to have on hand. Great for getting meats out of the pan and onto the plate. I really don’t use this one all that much because regular dining forks do the trick as well. But, I don’t eat a lot of meat. If you’re a steak person, you might find having one of these in your collection very useful. Also very handy to have in tandem with a spatula so you can perform a controlled flip.

Pasta Fork

Among the more specific and unique kitchen utensils is the pasta fork. This could also be seen as a pasta spoon. If you cook any type of long noodle pasta (not as wide as lasagna) you’ll want one of these in your cooking arsenal. Most are designed to gently entangle the pasta, while at the same time having a hole or slots to strain liquids.


Number one on my list of kitchen utensils! Eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken, anything that needs to be flipped during cooking. This is the one utensil that everyone should be familiar with, not just because it is commonly used, but because the name is ridiculous.

Slotted Spatula

Similar to the use of the slotted spoon, the slotted spatula is there to lift solid food out of liquid. The difference being size and weight. With the poached egg we mentioned earlier, there is chance it would be at least partially floating in the water. Maybe you have a heavier or larger piece of pork or chicken that you’ve cooked in a sauce for flavor, but you don’t want the meat drenched in sauce on the plate. Slotted spatula will lift and drain!


Tongs are very handy for many things. Any food you feel like grabbing, tongs are there. Flipping bacon or sausages are what I use mine for. Can you tell I like breakfast?

modern kitchen utensils

In this day and age, utensils are made from many different materials. Wood, metal, plastic, silicone…the options are out there. The best kitchen utensils for you depends partially on your cookware, and partially on your personal tastes and preferences.

If you have Teflon nonstick pots and pans you’re going to want to stay away from stainless steel kitchen tools. The tough and durable stainless steel can scratch your Teflon quite easily.

Plastic utensils are going to be the cheapest. Bamboo cooking utensils are very earth friendly since bamboo is a fast growing renewable resource. Silicone cooking utensils are best used with Teflon so they don’t scratch each other up.

If you’re definitely thinking about your kitchen in terms of maintaining a theme or aesthetic feel, there are some fun options out there. Rosle has a great line of stainless steel utensils. Plus, they design kitchen utensil racks for hanging their Rosle kitchen tools on.

You may have had a general idea of what utensils to get, hopefully now you know specifically what to get and why you would even need it. Get your kitchen started and GET COOKING!