8 Secretly Multipurpose Kitchen Tools Chefs Swear By
Make mealtime easier.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:58 AM
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A lot of single-use kitchen gadgets really aren’t worth your time (looking at you, banana holder), but many of them can do way more than just one thing. Sure, a dough scraper may seem like it’s only good for scraping dough, but it can turn your cooking game up a notch if you know how to use it. In fact, many of these tools are so indispensable, even professional chefs don’t know what they’d do without them.
The next time you’re staring down an aisle of seemingly useless cooking gadgets (or sitting through another infomercial), steer clear of all the pointless egg cutters and butter dispensers and go for one of these eight pro-approved options instead. Things like fish spatulas and Turkish coffee warmers may not appear to be capable of a lot, but they’ll make your life in the kitchen easier than you could have ever imagined.
Outside of my knife, the kitchen tool I can’t do without is definitely a microplane. They’re extraordinarily versatile! I use one for zesting citrus, grating garlic for marinades and rubs, and grating fluffy mounds of cheese—at least one of these makes it into almost every recipe I cook. —Lena Ciardullo, executive chef of Marta, Cafe Marchio, and Vini e Fritti
2. Rubber spatula
A rubber spatula is the best kitchen tool and I use it for everything—scraping every last bit of food out of bowls and deli containers, scrambling eggs, and mixing sauces and desserts. There are also heat-tolerant ones that are great for making sauces, soups, and chili. I also use them to scoop things into pastry bags. —Amanda Wilson, chef and head of culinary operations at Daily Provisions
3. Dough scraper
As a pastry chef, one of my most essential, versatile items is my dough scraper, which, as the name suggests, scrapes and divides dough. But beyond that, it helps clear a flat surface, chop ingredients, frost a cake with straight sides, and so much more. —Kelly Fields, chef and owner of Willa Jean
4. Fish spatula
We love a fish spatula! It’s a good size for fish, eggs, pancakes, veggie burgers. The shape is more versatile than your typical egg or pancake spatula. —Hannah and Marian Cheng, founders of Mimi Cheng’s
5. Turkish coffee warmer
I love my Turkish coffee warmer! It was a recommendation from chef Reem Assil. I don’t actually use it to make coffee. I use it to heat up water for tea, temper spices to put on top of dal, warm a sauce or a small amount of leftovers, and toast breadcrumbs to put on top of pasta. In general, I am such a fan of small cookware! Most of the time I am just cooking for myself, and I don’t have a ton of room in my cabinets. —Priya Krishna, author of the cookbook Indian-ish
6. Straight tweezers
My favorite-ever kitchen tool is my pair of JB Prince 10-inch straight tweezers—it serves so many purposes! It’s great for plating a dish, flipping food in a sauté pan or on the grill, picking an eggshell out of your batter, and, best of all, eating things. It can be used just like an easy pair of chopsticks to shovel snacks into your mouth, but can also be delicate and precise enough to plate intricate dishes. It fits in my hand comfortably and feels like an extension of my fingers. I can’t live without it. —Colleen Dalton, executive chef of Yves
7. Offset spatula
A small offset spatula is normally used for frosting and smoothing cakes. I swear by mine because you can use it for so many other things: getting cakes out of pans, leveling off when measuring, and evening out batter before baking. At one of my restaurants, I had one that no one else in the kitchen was allowed to touch because I didn’t want any kind of ding or bend in it. —Lady Ashton, pastry chef at Society Cafe
A pair of tongs is the tool that everyone uses for turning meat on the grill or moving things around a skillet. But did you know that it’s also great for grabbing things off the top shelf if you’re too short (or were blessed with T.rex arms)…and for pinching people who are sticking their fingers in your mise en place. The noble tongs is one of the most underrated tools in the kitchen, so be sure to take full advantage of this underdog. —Farideh Sadeghin, culinary director of Munchies
See more kitchen hacks: This Humble Spoon Will Make You a Better Cook, Says a Michelin-Starred Chef Half Baked Harvest’s Tieghan Gerard Tells Us Her Trader Joe’s Must-Haves The Best Cutting Boards on the Block