8 must-have kitchen utensils for under $ 20 and how to use them



Sarah Tew / CNET

Cooking more during quarantine and confinement? I also. Like many of you, I am hugging the kitchen like a completing project at home – and one with the additional advantage of filling my belly and intensifying my technique.

The food parade has also given me a new appreciation for the cooking tools I already own and love, items beyond the most obvious wooden spoon, measuring cups, and microplanes. These are all the products that I really own and use in real life. They are cheap to buy, versatile, and easy to incorporate into your cooking routine.

Here are the tools I never want to be without and how they improve my kitchen.

Xujia through Amazon

The wide, saucer-shaped bowl, long handle, and nice weight make these beautiful long-handled spoons perfect for just about everything – eating soup, curries, rice dishes, scooping yogurt out of the tub. anything out of any bathtub, really.

My Korean friend called them “jjigae spoons” to refer to the proper utensil for eating a category of stew. In my family, they are known as “life-changing spoons,” and that’s how I convinced my family to adopt them. It is what we still call them today. For example, “Can you please set the table with life-changing spoons?” I hardly ever use “normal” spoons anymore, unless all the jjigae spoons are dirty and I don’t feel like washing one.

You can buy long-handled spoons online or in many Asian markets. My personal preference is to get a set with round handles, not the thin type with flat ends. Prices vary, but are not expensive in any way: Let’s say $ 16 for a good quality 5-spoon pack.


Bench scrapers, also known as pastry scrapers or cutters or pastry cutters, are generally used to remove dough from a work surface, but I use mine several times a day to scrape or lift items off my cutting board to a skillet or bowl. I used to use the side of any knife in my hand, but this tool shovels more chopped onions at once and is safer anyway.

I’ve also used straight-sided bench scrapers, but the offset design is much easier to slide under a pile of chopped food. He is equally adept at his purpose of working with bread dough and pastry. This Tovolo bench scraper is the one I use and costs around $ 10.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

My friend bought a new fancy dishwasher with built-in wine holders and gave me three purple silicone tubes that help keep your wine glasses safe in the machine. “Here, you like wine,” he said. “You should use these.”

She was right. They may seem lackluster, but they’ve probably saved my wine glasses more than once. You wrap one grip end around your upturned cups and slide the other end, a hollow tube, over a peg in the bottom rack of your dishwasher. A cable that runs two-thirds the length of the accessory supply frame.

If a glass feels more wobbly in the center of the bottom rack, I am known for holding two of these silicone mounts for added stability, one on each side. I used to hand wash my wine glasses and still managed to break one here or there. No longer. It costs around $ 12 for a set of eight. I have put them in the dishwasher weekly for almost two years.

Lifver Home through Amazon

Small bowls are not interesting or new, and I have many, especially corrugated and corrugated molds. But these wonderful bowls, specifically this design, have made cooking and serving food more delicious. I just love you. They are useful enough for daily preparation and pretty enough to serve.

You can mount a surprising amount of food in the hole, like lemon zest, wasabi, or even grated cheese. They cost $ 18 for a set of eight 3-ounce bowls.

This is how I use them:

  • Rest spoon
  • Used tea bag holder
  • Salt pig
  • Egg holder
  • Preparation bowl for small things like garlic, shallots, ginger
  • Prep bowl for small amounts of spice mix (flows to pan very easily, leaving no residue)
  • Garrison Server
  • Server for individual desserts, such as chocolate squares, a brownie, or a small scoop of ice cream.
  • Sugar for coffee or tea after dinner.
  • Valet ring (especially when taking off to work with slimy or sticky food)

Rich Brown / CNET

I had never heard of a pot or pan scraper until my colleague Rich Brown sang his praises. I have an elaborate and finely tuned method of steaming and scraping up stuck garbage from pots, pans, and baking utensils. But I started making up a lot of time once I started using this $ 5 tool, or $ 8 for two.

Fits in the palm of your hand and easily scrapes away dirt with its flat, curved edges, which can also better reach corners. I’m still waiting for some sponge work, but mostly to clean up loose and leftover things. I was amazed at the way my Lodge Pot Scraper destroys the slag that accumulates in a ring around the pan, say leftovers from reduced marinara.

It cuts waste faster and more efficiently than a hard plastic spatula and doesn’t mess up the scrubbed side of a sponge with cheese, eggs, or starch build-up. I recommend keeping it visible in your sink, near your sponges and dish soap. Initially I put it in a drawer and forgot, but now it’s the most important thing.

Resistance through Amazon

I love a small saucepan for many reasons, like frying perfectly round eggs one at a time and reducing the broth and sauces. Melting the butter and making small amounts of caramel or hot milk and cream are also great in a small skillet, especially if you’re trying to prevent a small amount of liquid from evaporating too quickly.

I bought a “mug measuring cup” that looks a lot like this, with a long handle, and I like it, although it’s not as thick as some of my other cooking pots. I’d also happily consider a butter melting pot for butter, sauces, warm milk, and boiling eggs, but currently I’m using a small milk foam jug for that, intended for espresso. Any frying pan you get should cost between $ 15 and $ 25, and it should be all metal (unless you want melted plastic on the stove).

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Drain pasta gracefully, search for items on the top shelf, squeeze lemons, and even clean window blinds. A pair of 9-inch or 12-inch silicone-tipped tongs cost around $ 15 and has become a faithful kitchen companion that does much more than simply flip golden vegetables and meat.

Preparation solutions through Amazon

My father referred to them as “rubber fingers”. This set of two – one with a pointy end (pictured) and one that looks more like a subtle ball – cost me $ 4 and is awesome for scraping, picking up and pushing all kinds of food. Think about the last bit of something sticky in the jar, or taking a little beaten egg out of a small bowl. I still use bigger spatulas for bigger pots and pans, but these non-stick minis are great and fit nicely on the drawer dividers. They are also machine washable.