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5 Kitchen Essentials under $25

Hi friends! I hope everyone is having a completely fabulous holiday season so far. Can you believe there are only 10 more days until Christmas? I cannot wait! Kevin has been teasing me for weeks about my gift. I have been racking my brain, but I have no clue what he got me!

While I ponder on that, let me share with you this quick round-up of a few of my favorite kitchen items. They make my life so much easier! I consider these an absolute requirement in my kitchen. I could not live, I could not breathe, I could not cook without them. Well I could. But I wouldn’t like it. They’re so cherished, if any of these five items ever broke, I would immediately run right out and buy a new one. Pronto. These would make a great last-minute gift or stocking stuffer for anyone who cooks – especially anyone who could use a few time-savers in the kitchen!

The BEST Pepper Grinder EVER

1. Gravity Powered Pepper Mill

I just love this thing. All you do is turn it upside down, and it immediately starts grinding pepper. Having freshly ground black pepper is now just as easy and readily available as the “black dust in a can” variety. It’s so quick and easy to use. You don’t have to strain your arm to twist a mill or tie up both hands while doing so. With this you can keep one hand free for stirring while adding pepper to sauces or dishes. It has 10 different grind levels and would also work great with sea salt. LOVE it!

Best Beater Blade for Kitchenaid Mixers

2. Scraper Beater Blade for Kitchenaid Mixers

I would definitely consider this an essential accessory for my Kitchenaid mixer. It scrapes the bowl down as you beat. Perfect for cookie & cake batters, frostings, and especially recipes that cream butter & sugar. No more having to stop, scrape the bowl down yourself, and dirty up a spatula. I’m all for less dishes to wash!

Cut Resistant Glove

3. Cut-Resistant Glove

I love using a mandolin slicer for vegetables. Makes dicing carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, zucchini and more an absolute breeze. I can assure you I would eat way less vegetables if dicing them weren’t so easy. But there’s no way I would consider using a mandolin without a cut-resistant glove. With this glove there’s no need to use the awkward protective shield / handle device that comes with mandolins. You can simply hold the vegetable yourself and slice it without fear of losing a finger tip. This glove works. Trust me.

Large Pampered Chef Scoop for Cupcakes & Muffins

4. Pampered Chef Scoops for Cookies & Cupcakes

Quick and easy tip here. I love using these scoops from Pampered Chef for producing perfectly portioned cupcakes, muffins and cookies. The large scoop (approximately 3 tablespoons) is just the right size for cupcakes & muffin tins. One scoop will easily ensure even distribution into each liner. The medium scoop (approximately 2 tablespoons) is just the right size for cookies, truffles, and even cake pops. Tie a bow around around one of these scoops and stick it in your favorite cookie & cupcake lovers stocking this year!

Digital Food Scale

5. Digital Scale

This food scale is definitely one of the most-used items in my entire kitchen. I love the large, easy-to-read display, the 4 measuring unit options, and the “zero” feature (zero out the weight of a bowl, etc). Besides weighing ingredients, (like flour, for baking) I mostly use it when I don’t want to dirty up a measuring cup. Need a cup of sour cream? Mayonnaise? Peanut Butter? Spaghetti sauce? No need to dirty up a measuring cup. Just pour or scoop 8 oz directly into the bowl. I use it to weigh pasta (2 oz per person) to ensure an exact serving amount – there’s never too much or too little. Love this little tool!

Okay, let’s dish.
What kitchen utensils are an absolute must in your kitchen?

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66 Responses
  1. Chris

    I have all 3 size scoops and use them all the time. I love my pampered chef stones. I use them for cookies, pizza, nuggets, bread, nothing sticks. I love my PC microcooker. My kids even use it to make noodles in the microwave. Those flexible cutting boards are great and the price doesn’t get much better than 2 for a dollar at dollar tree. My Kitchenaid food processor and mixer are used almost every day. And a great whisk is a must.

  2. Kathie Jo

    I love my Hinkle knives, they are truly a cut above the rest..lol!! OK, so even I can admit that was a cheesy line..sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I see a few other votes for the Kitchen Aide mixer. My only suggestion on those is be sure to get a color you really love, because this is a tool that will definately last you the rest of your life. My husband bought mine for me roughly 20 years ago and it still works like a champ. These things aside I have to say I love to use my crockpot! I have two of them and plan on getting a third. I work 12 hour shifts and would like to get one that has a set and forget timer. I could go on and on with other tools I love to use, but these are in my top three!!

  3. Gigikay

    Was reading your post when one of my kids called and said what do you want for Christmas. A scrapper beater!!!! ( I have had the cookies scoop, really 2 of them for over 6 years) Christmas morning that sweet tool was mine. Used it several times and love it!!!!! Love my scoops too. Thanks for the great information.

  4. James

    The Pampered Chef Chopper – the one you push down on and the Z blade comes out and chops, then it turns 1/4 turn, then it cuts a different section of the food (nuts, chocolate, whatever) with each push and it has the ability to do small batches and the food doesn’t fly all around the kitchen!

  5. Jen Graham

    OMword Thank you for posting about the Scraper Beater Blade for Kitchenaid Mixers. I ordered one for myself and I am going to get it before Christmas. Whoot!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Cast Iron skillet. It fantastic.Oh and I love the scooper too. I use them EVERY time I make cookies.

  6. Virginia Smith

    pampered chef garlic press, my favorite tool and my favorite gift! I can’t live without it for adding fresh garlic to a homemade vinaigrette, meats, roasted vegetables…quick and easy way without peeling to add garlic.

  7. Ashley

    i definitely need to invest in one of those scraper blades for my kitchen aid. i was in bed bath & beyond the other day doing some christmas shopping and i wanted to get one for myself so badly! who needs spatulas anymore? ;)

  8. Meredith

    GOOD KNIVES! My MIL has the WORST knives, and I just hate having to do any kind of cutting or chopping at her house. We have the basic “My First Henkels” knife block, plus some add-ons (LOVE my santoku), and I could not trade them for anything! I love kitchen gadgets, so I could go on and on… :)

  9. Shannon

    I love these, especially the scale. I’d say my Pampered Chef can opener, because it leaves smooth ridges that won’t cut you. I love it!

    I’d love it if you’d come by and enter my giveaway: livingwiththelowrys.blogspot.com.

  10. Amanda

    Wow I’ve never heard of those gloves. Thanks for the tip, so getting a pair!

    As a cake baker and decorator, I can’t live without my Bake Even strips. You can have a yummy cake but without these strips, you’re doomed! =] I have at least a dozen in different sizes. I can’t wait for a tiny one for my smaller circle pans. The Bake Even strips and my Perfection Strips for cookie dough make my life so much easier! (hmm…just noticed the word “strips” in both LOL)

  11. Holly

    Holy cow, you just made my day! That kitchenaid scraper…it’s one of those things you think of in your head and wish it were real….now I know it is! My world is suddenly brighter!

    The glove for veggies! HOLY COW! I would totally eat more veggies, and cut them way faster, if I wasn’t afraid of slicing off parts of my hand…I mean I’ve done it before and it’s not fun! That makes me SO happy. I grate carrots and end up with a stub of veggie that I can’t grate for fear of mixing in skin!

    I’m ridiculously happy right now.

    I have the scoop and the scale, and yes, those are such wonderful tools! I use the scale every day, and the scoop makes cookies and batter in general so much easier! I even got my mother-in-law hooked on the small scoop!

  12. Sarah

    I’ve got to agree with the Pampered Chef scoop! I use it for everything! Also, I love my Pampered Chef Chopper–I use it almost everyday I think! Whenever something needs to be chopped, diced, or crushed, my chopper comes out!

  13. Lisa S.

    Thanks for the recommendations! Think I’ll get 2 pepper mills — one for pepper and one for salt! My other favorite kitchen item is my Pampered Chef garlic press. Easy to use, and skins the garlic at the same time.
    Happy cooking! :)

  14. jahree

    Oh to have a peppermill do that!! I buy the ones at the grocery store already filled and they keep breaking!!! Before i get all the pepper out!!!!!
    jahree

  15. Courtney

    Wow Amanda I am SO happy you posted this! I am newly engaged and looking for kitchen items to register for. I just graduated college (this last weekend – YAY!) and I am totally clueless when it comes to things that I need! I know the stores have lists of what to register for but the lists are so generic – these items look great! I love to cook and bake but I’m just getting into it so your blog is a HUGE help to me!! You’re so inspirational :) If you have any other suggestions for what to register for (especially baking dishes – types and brands and such) please let me know!!

  16. Kelly

    Oh my— I LOVE my scraper blade for my mixer. It’s AWESOME. The second I saw it in the Sur La Table catalog, I knew I absolutely had to have it. It makes things so much easier…

  17. Jessica

    I love my many many many Pampered Chef products especially the scoops. I have all three sizes and use them for everything from cupcakes and cookies to meatballs! Love them! I also have the new PC Mandoline with the safety feature so you can’t cut yourself, but I love your glove idea too! The PC Mix-n-Chop is perfect for cooking ground meats and also for “chunky” potatoes. Mmmm!!! AND for those I need a homecooked meal in minutes nights I use my PC Deep Covered Baker. I’m someone who used to only thing microwaves were for melting chocolate, softening butter and heating up my tea….but…this product has changed my way of thinking. There are a lot of microwave recipes for those weeknights when drive-thru seems like your only option. I love love love it for saving me from having to do that.

    BUT enough about Pampered Chef…I have to say my favorite utensils are my digital thermometer because I’m a freak about having my meat be the right temp, but still tender and juicy. :) I also love my mini microplane for fresh ginger, garlic, and nutmeg! And my larger microplane for hard cheeses. GREAT products!

  18. HeatherB

    Great list – gives me some Christmas ideas for family that already has just about everything! Thanks Amanda!

    My 3 kitchen essentials:

    – our stainless steel hand blender. The half with the blade pops off at the press of a buttons for easy cleaning. It doesn’t break if I accidentally dropped it (that’s what killed my previous one which was plastic). This is perfect for mixing up from-scratch Caesar salad dressing.

    – sea salt table grinder (mine’s not as fancy as your pepper mill, might have to check that out)

    – coffee bean grinder — the smell of freshly ground coffee beans – yummy!

  19. Trish1

    My boyfriend got me the scraper beater blade for Hanukkah this year and I FLIPPED OUT. I was that excited about it! People who own Kitchenaid stand mixers shouldn’t live a day without it :-)

  20. Deirdre

    Dittos on a food scale. I originally bought it for measuring portions for dieting, but I use it all the time in cooking. Recipes so often will say 8 oz pasta, or something similar, and I was always guessing from what was left in the box. My scale is an Oxo and works great.
    Also on my list:
    * Zyliss garlic press and vegetable peeler (love Zyliss stuff)
    * Zyliss red silicone spoon/spatula–I use it as both a scraper, and as a spoon for stirring. Has a high heat tolerance.
    * 10 inch chef’s knife–favorite is a cheap one that Cook’s Illustrated reviewed last year, made by Victorinox with a “fibrox” handle–less than $30!

  21. Debbie Moon

    THE ONE thing I can’t live without in my kitchen is the Pampered Chef Mix-N-Chop. It is $10.50 and an awesome gift!! I Use it chop and mix..well everything! From perfect chopped hamburger for pasta sauce, to shredding chicken for chicken tacos to mashing banannas for bread.
    It will not scratch and cleans up easy…
    I also love the bamboo colletction of bowls and platters from Pampered Chef..but the chopper tops the list!!
    http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=15658&words=mix n chop

  22. Bobbie H

    I am in love with my pampered chef scooper best thing to make cookies, ever! I have not see that beater blade with the scraper on it, that is awesome, I need one of those I think :)

  23. J. Warwick

    Great Post and Great Essentials! I Love the pampered chef scoop! My mom has one of those in every size imaginable. I just did a post on gift ideas the other day and found some really unique kitchen things like a straining ladle and elevated utensils ( so when you put your spatula, spoon, etc on the counter the serving part of the utensil won’t touch the counter, I posted a picture so you can see what I am talking about). I love finding new gadgets that make time in the kitchen more enjoyable! Once again, Great Post!

  24. Kaylene

    I just went to immediately add that scraper beater blade to my amazon wish list. Brilliant!

    On my list that wasn’t on yours:

    1. pampered chef can opener that does away with sharp can edges
    2. pastry mat for a surface to roll out doughs and crusts that even has guidelines to show how big to roll out your pie crusts. Perfect for this time of year!
    3. a french press for amazing coffee :)
    4. the oxo measuring cup that you can see the measurements without having to bend down and get it on eye-level
    5. large electric griddle. So great for large breakfasts. I can put everything I’m making all up there at the same time and have it all ready within minutes!

    1. Amanda

      I have been wanting some of those measuring cups! Your pastry mat reminded me of my flexible cutting mats… I LOVE those things, use them all the time! Should’ve added those to the list… I am always remembering “one more thing” as soon as I publish a post. Snort!

  25. AshleyD

    It sounds silly, but my husband got me a pretty red Kitchen Aid electric can opener a couple years ago and I can’t live w/o it, especially now since I have arthritis, haha!

  26. teresa

    I do believe I need them all!
    For sure I need those scoops.
    Any suggestions for what to use for mini cupcakes!
    I hope you know this is one of my very favorite blogs!
    Enjoy the SEASON Amanda!
    Hugs!
    Teresa
    xo

  27. Sharon Kay

    I have the Kitchenaid mixer beater you mention here … mine SQUEAKS I guess because of the tight fit in the bowl … but it DOES do it’s job … I absolutely LOVE it!! I bought mine through MarBeck Appliances locally.

    I wondered about the Pampered Chef cookie scoop on whether the dough just stuck to the scoop or if it really worked … guess I will have to put that on my list!

    Thanks for your informative blog … we really love it!

    1. Lisa

      Sharon – maybe you need to adjust the height of the bowl? There’s a screw underneath the beater head, on the part of the mixer between the base and the top. (I am NOT describing this well.)

      That raises/lowers the mixer so you can adjust for different blades. This is just something that over time usually loosens, so KA provides a way to tighten it at home.

  28. Christy D

    Hand mixer and the george foreman probably get more use than anything else. Oh! And the knock off magic bullet blender I got! I love that thing!!

  29. Heather (Heather's Dish)

    i use my food processor more than i should probably admit, but i’ve always wanted one of those scoops for consistent muffins :)

  30. Heather @ Sweet Sins 2 Share

    Watch out on the kitchen aid scraper beater… I had one from Sur La Tab (an amazing store for people who love to cook!) and I was making cookie dough and it snapped! On the first use! And I was not over doing it in my opnion (I have put my mixer and other attachments through much worse!) Who knows maybe it was my bad luck,but if you do buy it keep the recipet incase you end up like me with a snapped beater!

  31. Marywithgarden

    My kitchen essentials are my food processor. My last one was a Black and Decker that lasted 24 years. I wouldn’t want to be without my marble rolling pin, my hand whisks, my knives and their sharpener. I know this one is not a utensil in the strictest sense of the word, but I consider Joy of Cooking to be a must have. I would be lost without my pepper grinder, and yours looks so fabulous!

  32. Elizabeth

    So useful! Thanks! It would be so much easier for my cookie business not having to stop and scrape the bowl every time! I have the scoop too! Too cool, so easy.

  33. Alicia-Berlynn Designs

    OMG! you just changed my life with the Scraper Beater Blade for Kitchenaid Mixers!! I am ordering right now! THANK YOU!

  34. Trish

    I LOVE the scale and I actually put a “digital scale” on my wish list for Christmas. So this email couldn’t be more timely – and it comes in red to match my red Kitchen Aid Mixer that I couldn’t live without.

  35. Kathy Martin

    Thanks for the post and ideas! I need a cookie dough scoop. I went to William Sonoma to get one and it cost $25. I thought that was a bit expensive so I checked Target, but they didn’t have one. This Pampered Chef one is stainless and $10 cheaper than William Sonoma! Love that! I also LOVE the Kitchenaid mixer attachment idea! I always have to stop the mixer and clean the sides of the bowl! Nice to have it done in one step and only one utensil to clean! I didn’t want to have to buy these items at two different places and pay shipping twice so I looked on Amazon for the cookie scoop as well and they have one that looks identical to the Pampered Chef cookie scoop…also stainless and the same size. Free shipping for both on Amazon! Pass it on! :)

  36. Sandy Young

    My absolute tool in the kitchen is my husband. If he didn’t cook I would be eating cold cereal every night for dinner.
    I love you blog.

  37. Ginger

    Thanks Amanda – I’ve been wondering where to find the scoops! I love my Kitchenaid stand mixer, the Cuisinart food processor, and also I have a really good Kitchenaid brand pizza cutter that I use on way more than just pizza!

  38. Elizabeth Rhyneer

    These are all great but I love the Kitchen Aid scraper beater. Thought of this before they invented it – and now it’s a requirement. The glove looks interesting too. Good ideas… thanks

  39. Betty R

    The scoops from Pampered Chef are DEFINITELY a must have! I love mine. I’m addicted to Pampered Chef products especially their stones. I can’t live without my stones. As for a untensil? Hmm I love my Pampered Chef Garlic Slicer. We love fresh garlic and the slicer makes beautifully paper thin slivers. I even put baby carrots in mine and slice them for salads since my guys aren’t huge fans of carrot chunks. This way I’m getting them to eat more veggies. :)

    1. Chelsi

      That isn’t a kitchen Utensil… but a cusinart chopper would be, or it takes the place of quite a few utensils!!

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. Meet our Boston Terriers. Take a tour of our house. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.

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