My friend Tanya wrote a post called 5 ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR BEGINNER BAKERS.  I enjoyed the post though I only bake two things really well:  Zucchini Bread and Gingerbread.  Tanya, on the other hand, is an amazing baker.

I love cooking and I think I hold my own (much more than with baking).  Tanya’s post got me thinking, what are my 5 essential kitchen tools for cooking great meals.  Here they are:  

Cast Iron Skillet

I have had my cast iron skillet for about 25 years and it just gets better with age.  Its my workhorse in the kitchen and comes into play in many meals I prepare.  Invest some money in a cast iron skillet – it is worth every penny.  Make sure you keep it well seasoned and also dry.  Treat it with love and it will give you love back.

iron skillet


Seasoning collection

A robust collection of good spices and seasoning makes a world of difference to a meal. I grow and dry my own spices as much as possible.  I have a perennial rosemary bush behind my house, grow my own parsley and many other herbs.  I dry and grind my own peppers.



But not everyone is that invested in growing, so find a shop that sells quality spices and seasoning.  I have some base spices that are musts for me (cloves, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, and Old Bay seasoning).  I have a minimum 4 different kinds of salt (iodized table salt, non-iodized jarring salt, Himalaya salt, and sea salt).  Figure out your tastes and start building (or growing) your collection.

drying spices
Drying some peppers, Italian parsley, and rosemary

My Knives

This should come as no surprise.  Good knives are critical, and as you see I do not stick with one brand.  It depends on the purpose of the knife.


Charcoal grill

Grilled vegetables, meats, birds, fish, seafood, and even fruit is wonderful (and healthy).  Grilling on charcoal makes it amazing.  A gas grill has no place in my life.  The excuse that charcoal takes too long is ridiculous.  If you do it right, you can have a great fire in 15 minutes.  I fire up my charcoal grill year round, even when there is snow on the ground.

Weber Grill
Old Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill – I’ve had this guy for a bunch of years.


Mason Jars

Everything is better in glass.  I am slowly disposing of any plastic Tupperware containers and only using glass, in particular mason jars.  They are cheap, versatile, and more sustainable than plastic.

bread and butter pickles
Mason jars with homemade pickles in them.  They are equally great for storing leftovers.

What are the essentials in your kitchen? Let me know in comments.