Joni Sare, cooking instructor

10 Must-Have Simple Kitchen Tools


Best Kitchen Tools Ever!

Can you name my 10 favorite tools? Learn what they are, what they do and how I rated them.

Whether you are an expert or a beginner cook, having the right tools for the job is imperative. I’ve rated these simple but unique tools that will bring functionality and flair to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These gadgets will take care of those annoying kitchen tasks that slow you down.

No matter if you are looking to execute fast cooking or create a gourmet multi-step recipe, I’ve got you covered by putting these 10 best helpers in your hands.

Need gift ideas?

Are you shopping for someone who spends more time in the kitchen these days?

Give your friends, family and coworkers the gift of time with these time-saving tools.

No need to
look further,
here are my

10 Must-Have
Simple Kitchen Helpers

My #10 pick is the:


Coming in at #2:

Kitchen Shears!

Do you agree with my #1 pick?

Share your #1 in the comments, below

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#10 — Metal Duster/Strainer

Put a final touch on your dessert or soup with this dusting device. For desserts, you’ll garnish with powdered chocolate and powdered sugar. For soups it could be powdered cinnamon or my favorite — powdered toasted coriander seeds. It’s actually built to use as a strainer, so it’s multi-functional! Keep it handy to use it more often. How do you use your duster? Let us know in the comments, below.

#9 — Saltbox

It’s not essential, but a saltbox is certainly functional. And not to mention, beautiful. Olive wood seems to be the most common wood used for salt boxes. I have two different styles and the one of the right, in the image below, gets tipsy when the top half is swinging open, so I recommend the one of the left. You can see I use it for two types of salt: Himalayan Pink Salt and Kosher Salt. Many people put salt and black pepper in it. Do you have a salt box? …is it wood? …metal? …ceramic?

#8 — Onion Holder/Guide

No, this is not a hair pick. This “Onion Holder” is used as a guide to evenly slice:

  • onion rings
  • lemon wheels
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers

But the way I use it (99% of the time) is to dice onions. Here’s a worthy video to see it in action. This is a worthy tool to have so it’s part of my 10 best kitchen tools ever, but I prefer that you upgrade your knife skills so that you get the other top-rated items. Who would rate this gadget at Number 1??


#7 — Crinkle Cutter (Wavy Slicer)

Improve the look of your meals by adding a wavy look to your veggies, fruit and cheese. We eat first with our eyes so different shapes, colors and sizes are part of the appearance. See my blog post: How to make a meal look appealing. Turn your veggies into a fun food for the kids to eat such as carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini. Have you made your own wavy-cut sweet potato fries?

#6 — Zester

Topping most meals with freshly grated lemon or lime zest not only adds a burst of flavor but the color and feathery texture will enhance the look of your meal. After 10 years of use, lots of use, my fine-grade zester was dull and I needed to buy a new one. America’s Test Kitchen, my favorite source for tested products, gives these worthy tips

One thing to note — be careful to buy the right version as these come in different “grades” such as fine, medium and course. Get the fine grade for zesting and making garlic and ginger paste. The medium grade will grab pith, which is too bitter to enjoy. Get the medium grade to make minced ginger and garlic. The course grade is used for grating hard cheese.

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Disclaimer: by clicking the above link you’ll support me through an affiliate marketing program with Amazon. THANK YOU! This is done by placing a cookie on your browser to track the sales.


#5 — Julienne Peeler

Zoodles and Carroodles are showing up everywhere. Skip buying them pre-made and make your own at home with this hand-held device. No need to buy a small appliance that takes up space on your counter — unless you want to make a large amount or want different widths and styles. If so, go for this tabletop spiralizer with seven blades. In my Thai class, you’ll use half Zoodles and Carroodles and half rice noodles in the Pad Thai for more nutrition! How do you use your spiralized veggies? Comment below!


#4 — Mini Rubber Spatulas

These 8-inch little rubber spatulas are so cute and so underrated! No joke – they go in and out of my dishwasher more than the 11-inch normal-sized rubber spatulas. Once you have them you’ll wonder how you got along without them. Do you have these? If so, share with us how you use’m. 

#3 — Garlic Press

Too many garlic bulbs ended up in the trash before buying this tool. If that happens in your household then this is for you! To remove the paper coating, I do the smash technique. Then slice off the hard root end and press away. To clean it, I use a “dentures” toothbrush — that stays at the sink along with my scrubbing net and other cleaners.


#2 — Kitchen Shears/Scissors

These multi-use kitchen shears (4 functions!) stays in the kitchen and only used for food items. “Poultry Scissors” The blades are sharp and strong enough to cut small chicken bones. No shears are created equal tho, their price can go up to nearly $100 for quality metal, comfort, strength, functionality, and lifetime warranties. Make your selection based on price point and their features, which one will do the most work for you. My $10 version has lasted over 10 years and has had maaaaany trips to the dishwasher — resulting from cutting meats, opening food packages, snipping herbs, cutting pizzas, and cutting canned whole tomatoes in the can. Kids who are not comfortable using a chef’s knife can use the scissors instead.



#1 — Food Scraper

Introducing your new best friend. It’s so versatile that you’ll continuously think of new ways to use it. It’s also known as a “bench scraper,” “dough or pastry scraper” and “chop’n scoop“. Not only is it a must-have item for pastry chefs but many celebrity chefs also claim it as one of their favorite kitchen tools.  

Here are some of its many uses:

  • Transfer small-diced onions from the cutting board to the skillet.
  • Cut and scrape sticky dough off the counter.
  • Chop veggies: lettuce to potatoes to cabbage. 
  • Chop nuts.
  • Chop mushrooms.
  • Cut brownies and cakes.
  • Transfer delicate pastries.
  • Stir food in a flat-bottom skillet.
  • Remove and scoop up crumbs from the dining table.
  • Keep work station clean.
  • Spread and smooth out frosting on a cake.

Another version is called a “bowl scraper“. It’s plastic with a rounded edge so its shape and flexibility can scrape out bowls.

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Disclaimer: by clicking the above link you’ll support me through an affiliate marketing program with Amazon. THANK YOU! This is done by placing a cookie on your browser to track the sales.

Comment below on your favorite one!

Which ones do you have?

Which ones will you buy?

If you've cooked with me, which ones did you use and for what dish?

24 thoughts on “10 Must-Have Simple Kitchen Tools”

  1. “Thank you for this wonderful blog post! As someone who loves spending time in the kitchen, I’m always excited to discover new and innovative gadgets that can make cooking even more enjoyable and efficient. Your recommendations are spot-on, and I appreciate how you provided a detailed explanation of each gadget’s features and benefits. The accompanying photos and personal anecdotes gave the post a delightful touch. I can’t wait to try out some of these gadgets in my own kitchen! Keep up the great work, and I’ll definitely be back for more inspiration from your blog.”

  2. I would put scissors as number 1. Think about all the packages it helps open! I really appreciated the onion holder. Such a nifty tool. Also loved using the crinkle cutter in your class! Gives it the restaurant asthetic. Joni’s class definitely gives you the ideas for what to add to your kitchen.

    1. Yes – scissors are underrated. I probably use 2 every day. Showing FUNCTIONAL gadgets during my class is part of my fun. It’s the little things like these tools that make cooking easier and more enjoyable.

  3. I’m curious why “sharp chef knife” and “cutting board” didn’t make the list. Maybe those belong on a different list?

    The thinner chinese cleaver is often used the same way as the “food scraper”. Look up “Kan Yan” videos on youtube.

      1. I hear you, Grant. A sharp chef knife and quality cutting board definitely need to be on a list. Soon, this coming week, I’ll share a list of “Essential Kitchen Tools.” You’ll see these two items on that list.

        YES – the Chinese cleaver is well built for the task of a food scraper. Martin Yan is a master with it! Check out his video: how to cut a bell pepper. He slices the bell pepper into thin sheets — such precision! …and a sharp knife.

  4. I was just saying how important the right kitchen gadgets are, especially with all the time spent creating in the kitchen these days. I have a few of these but really would love a scraper and a julienne peeler and others.
    I use my Vitamix daily and my long, flexible jar spatula is my current fave!

    1. LOVE the long flex jar spatula, that’s a good one to mention. The Vitamix will go on a list coming up for “must-have small appliances.” The julienne peeler is incredibly handy. But skip the flimsy ones and get a sturdy-made version. The one shown in the pic has lasted 5 or 6 years and still holding up. It’s from a 3-pack, the other two have different style blades. I have a counter-top spiralizer and will use it when I have a big job to do.

  5. I didn’t know I needed the crinkle cutter until I took Chef Joni’s cooking class. Such a cool tool, not only to use but to also add variety and texture to my dishes. Awesome gift guide!

    1. Ah yes – you were enthralled with the crinkle cutter. Such a simple – and so worthy — tool! What veggies have you been cutting with it? Check out videos on YouTube for “using the crinkle cutter,” there are many ideas.

  6. I love the items on the list. The Crinkle cutter is the only one I don’t have and will be my next purchase. I may just add it to my Santa list.

    1. You’ll love the wavy blade… for veggies, fruits and fancy cuts to waffles or sandwiches. Kids like to use it and dig the shape it makes.

  7. Spiralizer zucchini noodler peeler. I have a cheap one from an event. Even though it’s hard to clean and the head pops off, it still makes zucchini noodles, etc., which seem to taste so much better than sliced zucchini. And perhaps the salt box. I grew up with one and my friend has a tiny one with a tiny spoon on her table.

  8. Great list, Joni. My favorite is the scraper because it does so many kitchen tricks! Next faves are my zester and garlic press. Your toothbrush tip is brilliant – why didn’t I think of that?!
    Each of these will make great stocking stuffers, or the whole set as a house/kitchen warming gift. : )
    Now, I’m off to find some mini spatulas…
    Thanks, Joni!

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