My kitchen may be small, but my obsession with kitchen tools and equipment is definitely not. Over the years, I’ve purchased many different tools and equipment for my plant-based kitchen, and this is a list of my top 20 favorites I can’t live without (and a few more just for fun).
Prefer to jump around? Use the table of contents below.
1. High Speed Blender/Vitamix
What I use– Vitamix 5300
I never thought I could love a blender as much as I love my Vitamix. Of all the kitchen tools and equipment I own, this is my favorite and most used.
The Vitamix is the Muhammad Ali of blenders. You can make purees, dips, smoothies, shakes, sauces, nut butters, hummus, dressings and more. It’s a serious powerhouse and can handle almost anything you throw at it, literally.
Also, Breville is another great brand and while I haven’t used them myself, I’ve heard great things about their blenders as well.
2. Food Processor
What I use– Cuisinart Food Processor
I use my food processor all the time. I recently upgraded my older version to the one above and I’m so happy I did.
Readers often ask if they need both a food processor AND a blender, and what’s the difference?
For me, a blender is best used for smooth, liquid mixtures. The surface area is not very big, so if you try to blend something thick, it may get stuck, and you’ll have to stop, scrape down the sides, and blend again and again to get it to blend. And you also run the risk of blowing out the motor if you are trying to blend without enough liquid.
A food processor has more surface area so for thicker recipes, such as my Cinnamon Almond Date Bites, it will work WAY better in a food processor, as there is more room at the base for the ingredients to move around. In general, it works with dry ingredients better, AND you can also use it (with attachments) for cutting, chopping, slicing, etc.
Pro tip: I would recommend changing the food processor blades (or sharpening them) every so often. If planning to replace, you can usually find the blades sold separately, and it will make your old food processor work like new again.
3. Hand Blender/Immersion Blender
What I use- Kitchenaid 3 Speed Hand Blender
This Kitchenaid 3-Speed Hand Blender is an item that I didn’t know I was missing until I had it in my hands. Now I can’t imagine NOT having this beautiful piece of machinery.
This is the perfect solution to chopping onions or vegetables (if you don’t feel like using your food processor). I love how easy it is to use, and to clean. Just be careful with the sharp blade!
Or (my favorite), use the immersion blender attachment (pictured on the left hand side above) to puree soups, etc. And of course, it also comes with an electric whisk, for blending.
4. Instant Pot
What I use- Instant Pot Lux 8-Quart
The Instant Pot is a hot item, and for good reason. You can use this one piece of equipment as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, or to sauté your veggies and more. I actually have a 6 quart, an 8 quart AND a 3 quart.
The 3-quart is (surprisingly) my favorite, as it’s SO easy to move around and store in my kitchen. And since it’s just two people in our household, the size is great. But if you have more than two people, I’d recommend a 6-quart at minimum.
To steam veggies, I use this Vegetable Steamer Basket inside of my IP which is super handy!
5. Kitchenaid Mixer
What I use: Kitchenaid Mixer (w/ tilt head)
The Kitchenaid mixer is a true staple and a design piece for your kitchen.
I originally bought the teal mixer, but when I redid my kitchen, it no longer matched. =( So since these mixers are super pricy, I opted to paint my Kitchenaid instead (if you’re wondering, I went with “matte black” and love it!). So if you don’t quite have the funds to buy one yet, I recommend finding a refurbished one (maybe in an ugly color) and repainting it.
Besides using these mixers as kitchen decor, you can also use for cookies, cakes, baking tasks, making dough, etc. They also come with an array of attachments, from a spiralizer, pasta noodle maker, ice cream maker and more.
If you love baking, a mixer is a must-have. If, however, you occasionally make a batch of cookies or a cake, it’s definitely not a necessity but can make your life easier.
6. Air Fryer
What I use- Ninja Air Fryer
I use my air fryer to cook roasted veggies, french fries, frozen foods, reheat pizza, you name it. While I wouldn’t say this is a “must-have” per se, it IS very helpful, but it also depends on what kinds of food you eat. If you eat ALL whole foods, you might not use it that much. And it’s a big piece of equipment so it does take up quite a bit of space.
In that case, you may want to opt for this in-oven air fryer instead. Not only is it an amazing price, but it also is more compact and you can pack it away with your baking sheets/cutting boards. I used that for years before investing in an air fryer.
7. Measuring Cups
I have quite a few measuring cups in my kitchen, including 6 glass measuring cups of different sizes for liquids, and stainless steel measuring cups for dry ingredients.
If you don’t have space, these collapsible measuring cups are great for dry goods. Because they are collapsible, they are easy to store hanging on hooks in a cabinet or flat in a drawer.
8. Measuring Spoons
What I use– OXO Good Grips Measuring Spoons
Like measuring cups, I’m always finding myself looking for more measuring spoons. I have 3-4 sets that I use pretty consistently, but I really love these measuring spoons from OXO the best.
I’ve found these also fit well when scooping directly into my spice bottles, while some of my other measuring spoons do not.
What I use– Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Santoku Knife
I have a lot of knives, but I thought I would highlight my absolute favorite knife in this list…my Kyocera Santoku knife. I just LOVE the size (5 1/2 inches is perfect for me) and it works for 95% of my cutting needs. But note that the feel/comfortability of kitchen knives may be different for everyone, so it’s best to try them out and see what size works for you.
Note: This Santoku knife is ceramic so it’s a bit fragile. I accidentally clipped the hole at the end of my cutting board with the knife and it broke a big piece off. Luckily Kyocera was kind enough to send me a brand new knife, no questions asked. But now I’m a bit more careful with this fragile, but powerful, knife.
10. Cutting Boards
What I use– Farberware 3-piece cutting board (and many more I usually find at Home Goods).
I have a variety of cutting boards in my kitchen. Some are basic, some are boring, some are pretty with chevron patterns, but they all basically do the same job. Get one. Or 10 like me.
11. Cookie Scooper
What I use– OXO cookie scooper
It’s not too often that I make cookies. Not because I don’t love them, but because I don’t trust myself to not eat the entire batch in one sitting. But when I do make them, I absolutely love to use this cookie scooper to properly measure each yummy cookie-to-be.
You can buy these in a variety of sizes, but I use the medium size the most. These are a must-have for me because they make cookies look perfect and what’s better than a perfectly shaped cookie?
What I use– Jumbo Wok, 14 inch
If you like Asian food, a wok will probably be one of your favorite pans to use. Because of its curved shape, the wok has different temperatures which lends to more even cooking throughout. This works well when stir frying veggies, tofu, etc, such as in this Vegetable Pancit or Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry.
And it’s not just a great tool for Asian cooking, but any time you are sautéing or combining ingredients and want it to cook evenly, such as in this Tofu Sweet Potato Bowl w/ Tahini Sauce.
13. Panini Press/Griddle
What I use– Cuisinart Griddler
If you want to seriously level up your sandwich game, this griddle/panini press is a good start. You can make all sorts of delicious plant-based panini sandwiches (with those fancy “grill lines”), but you can also use it for many other foods.
Try veggie burgers, burritos, pancakes, etc. and it also comes with a separate attachment for waffles. It’s also easy to clean with removable grill plates.
14. Lemon/Lime Zester
What I use– OXO Zester
Not only do I use this zester to zest a lemon or lime; I also use it to mince garlic; and it works like a charm! It’s one of my most used tools.
You can also get a box-style grater/zester…Cuisinart Boxed Grater.
What I use– Kitchenaid Spiralizer Attachment
I really love this spiralizer attachment, which fits right onto the end of my Kitchenaid mixer. I use it to make zucchini noodles and mix them in with spaghetti noodles, but it will also core, peel and slice your apples (a game changer for making apple pie). And it’s just fun to use.
If you don’t have a Kitchenaid mixer, you can also use a standalone spiralizer, which works great too.
16. Mandoline Slicer
What I use– OXO Mandoline Slicer
The mandoline is key for peeling potatoes and that’s primarily what I use it for. Have you ever tried making scalloped potatoes by hand? Don’t. Get a mandoline.
What I use– OXO Good Grips Peeler
I use this peeler to peel ginger, potatoes, mangoes, you name it. Just be careful of the blade. For some reason, people tend to forget that a peeler has an actual sharp blade on it.
18. Crock Pot/Slow Cooker
What I use- Crock Pot Slow Cooker
A dinner that cooks itself? Is this even possible? Why yes, yes it is, IF you have a slow cooker. Ok maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but if you don’t have a slow cooker and you are lazy with dinner like I sometimes am, this is a serious must.
You can also use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker but I still love having this slow cooker as a standalone. First, an Instant Pot will not give you the same amazing food smell throughout your house like a slow cooker will, and it’s also nice to have BOTH when you want to use your Instant Pot and slow cooker at the same time.
19. Lemon Squeezer
What I use- Lemon Squeezer
The lemon squeezer is another necessity in my kitchen, since many recipes call for lemon or lime juice, and FRESH is always best. This one in particular is great because the little holes keep out the seeds, and it’s powerful enough to get out every last drop.
A whisk is also important to have on hand. I recommend having a large whisk, for larger amounts of liquid, such as an 11 inch, AND a smaller 9-inch whisk for whisking sauces in small bowls.
Check out my 9-inch whisk in action in this recipe for Sweet and Spicy BBQ sauce.
Bonus Kitchen Tools and Equipment
Ok so it was really difficult to list only 20 kitchen tools and equipment, so I thought I’d add a few others worth mentioning:
- electric wine opener– even though it didn’t make the ‘must-have’ list, this may actually be my favorite item in my kitchen. Every time I use it, I feel really fancy, and it also makes a great housewarming gift!
- cookware set– pots and pans (a necessity)- I have this Anolon set and love it.
- various sizes of bowls (a necessity)– I have these OXO stainless steel bowls AND these OXO mixing bowls.
- wooden spoons and other large cutlery (a necessity)
- masher– great for mashing potatoes of course, but also handy for smashing up chickpeas for a “No-Tuna Salad“.
- Rubbermaid storage containers (they won’t leak!)
- pizza cutter
- fine mesh strainer (super helpful for rinsing quinoa and more)
- colander/strainer (you can get collapsable for easier storage)
- kitchen scale
- pepper mill
- kitchen scissors (great for cutting herbs)
How many of these kitchen tools and equipment do you have in your kitchen? Any other favorites? Comment below! =)