Essential Kitchen Tools under $20

A lot of kitchen items cost an arm and a leg- Cutco Knives, Kitchen Aid Standing Mixers and Cuisinart Food Processors. While all these high-end items are essential to my kitchen, there are also some very affordable workhorses, that I couldn’t live without. So here’s my list of inexpensive, but essential, kitchen tools. All are under $20.

  1. Kitchen Shears

Absolutely my #1 pick for an inexpensive kitchen tool. Kitchen scissors can open packages, snip herbs, cut off fat from meat and spatchcock a chicken. They are indispensable and I use mine every day. Find Kitchen Aid Shears on Amazon for $8.99.

Kitchen Shears

2. Nutmeg Grater

My kids used to love freshly grated nutmeg in their egg nog during the Holidays. I have taken to grating nutmeg into milk for my coffee every morning; it always feels like a treat. This grater also works for cinnamon sticks. Find Norpro on Amazon for $5.99.

Nutmeg- it’s not just for Egg Nog!

3. Coffee Frother

Right after I heat my milk up with the fresh nutmeg, I use my coffee frother to whip it into a creamy, frothy topping. It almost feels like I’m at a fancy Italian coffee shop, as I sip away. Find on Amazon for $10.97. It’s worth every penny!

Coffee frother. Be a barista in your own kitchen.

4. A Peeler

This one is from 0X0 Good Grips and I love it! A good peeler makes the world of difference when peeling and makes it almost fun (almost) to peel carrots. Find the OXO Good Grips on Amazon for $11.99.

5) Garlic Smasher

I use this wooden device to separate the garlic cloves from its skin. You could use the bottom of a glass, but with marble countertops, this is dangerous. This one is the Canterbury Crack and Peel Garlic Popper + Herb Crusher. Made in the USA and goes for $15.99 on Amazon. Don’t put wood in the dishwasher! Wash by hand.

Made in the USA!

6) Garlic Press

I do sometimes chop garlic finely by hand, but this garlic press, by Zyliss, is the one I normally turn to to get the job done quickly. As you can see, it’s well used. I think I’ve had this for more than 15 years! It is for sale on Amazon for $17.00.

7) Mini Whisk

Of course a whisk is essentially for whipping up souffles, cream and other items, both dry and wet. I find a mini whisk comes in very handy for whisking together many things and there’s less clean up. A 2-piece set retails on Amazon for $11.56.

8) Lemon/Lime Squeezer

I have a lime squeezer down in the Keys (hello Margaritas!) and a lemon squeezer in Miami. They really do allow you to get a lot more juice out of the citrus, especially if you the citrus is squeezed when they are room temp! I was using it the wrong way, initially. You place the cut half side into the rounded bottom and squeeze. Imusa brand is $5.99 on Amazon.

9) Mini Cutting Board

I got this one online, but the one I had before was from Target. This mini size is perfect for slicing lemons, limes or mincing herbs. It costs $8.28 on Amazon.

Mini cutting board perfect for a bar area.

10) Tongs

Tongs are essential in so many day-to-day cooking tasks, from removing something hot (like pasta) out of a pan or pot and grabbing items, like bacon out of the grease, or for flipping fish or chicken cutlets. A Gorilla Grip 2 piece set of tongs is $11.49 on Amazon.

The ever mighty tongs.

11) A Microplaner

This super-sharp, stainless steel and dishwasher-safe Microplaner works great at zesting citrus and grating hard cheeses, like Parmesan. $15.99 on Amazon.


12) A Ricer

This makes making Mashed Potatoes without lumps a breeze. Cook peeled potatoes until tender, drain and put the potatoes in the ricer and squeeze for perfectly fluffy potatoes. It comes with two different size inserts and can also mash fruit, vegetables and make baby food. This is the most expensive kitchen tool in the bunch. Most are more than $20, but I found one on Amazon for $17.99. I don’t use this tool as often as most, but when making mashed potatoes, it really comes in handy.

13) Silicone Pastry Brushes

This is essential for spreading oil in a frying pan, brushing rolls with butter or brushing bar-b-que sauce onto ribs or chicken. A 2-piece set sells for $6.95 on Amazon.

Silicone Brush.

A word about Amazon. I listed all the products by the prices I found on Amazon, simply because it was easy to research, but obviously items can be found at many local stores, like Target or Walmart, or even your grocery store. When buying on Amazon, I’ve had success buying the items marked “Amazon’s Choice”.

Having the right kitchen tools can be life-changing. And with these suggestions, all less than $20, it won’t cost much to change your life! Life is expensive. Your kitchen tools don’t have to be.

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Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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