Chefs' 50 Favorite Kitchen Tools

The country's best chefs tell Food Network Magazine what they can't live without.

1. Panini Press
Panini press but not for Panini—for game hens and more.
Alton Brown
Food Network Star

2. Immersion Blender
"It's great for emulsifying anything, like vinaigrettes, sauces and purees."
Kyle Bailey
Birch & Barley, Washington, D.C.

3. Dehydrator
"After overbuying at the farmers' market, I use a dehydrator to make amazing snacks: dried apples, pears, plums, mangoes, even turkey jerky for the dogs."
Susan Feniger
Border Grill, Los Angeles

4. Spatula
My favorite is and will always be my grandmother’s spatula because holding her spatula is like holding her hand!
Paula Deen
Paula’s Best Dishes

5. Salad Spinner
"Buy whole-leaf lettuce: It's cheaper, yields more and tends to be better and fresher. Take a little extra time to wash it, and make drying it easy on yourself."
Michael Schwartz
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami

6. Bamboo Steamer
"It's an elegant tool for cooking fish and vegetables to perfection."
Tom Douglas
Dahlia Lounge, Seattle

7. Knuckle Pounder
"It makes smashing garlic and tenderizing meat so much fun—in an aggressive, beat-down kind of way."
Nadia G
Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen

8. Peeler
"I use my Kuhn Rikon peeler for anything and everything I peel or shave at home. I couldn't easily live without it."
Bruce Sherman
North Pond, Chicago

9. Champagne Stopper
"Sometimes you just can't finish the bottle, and this will keep it fresh for the next day."
Missy Robbins
A Voce, New York City

11. Shark Skin Grater
"It perfectly grates ginger and garlic like nothing I've used before."
Ken Oringer
Clio and Uni, Boston

12. Mason Shaker
"It's a unique twist on the traditional cocktail shaker—it's great for entertaining."
Aarón Sánchez
Chopped

13. Citrus Press
"We drink only fresh juice in my house—my daughters know how to cut the oranges and extract the juice themselves."
José Andrés
Minibar, Washington, D.C.

14. Carbon Knives
"Stainless-steel knives are hard to keep sharp. Carbon-steel knives get super sharp and hold their edge."
Drew Robinson
Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, multiple locations

15. Vitamix Blender
"I absolutely need my Vitamix for movie-night milkshakes and early-morning juices."
Chris Santos
Chopped

16. Donabe Smoker
"It infuses depths of flavor into meats, fish and vegetables. Smoking with tea leaves is an ancient Chinese technique with wonderfully exotic and fragrant results."
Ming Tsai
Blue Ginger, Wellesley, MA

17. Electric Knife
"I love the way an electric knife can slice up roasts beautifully and easily. I actually still have the same knife my mom used when I was little."
Melissa d'Arabian
Ten Dollar Dinners

18. Spoon
"I like to use a large metal soup spoon for tasting and basting. You can use it to peel ginger, too—it's way better than a peeler."
Seamus Mullen
Tertulia, New York City

19. Stand Mixer
"I can't live without a KitchenAid stand mixer. It makes it so much easier to get the perfect consistency in meringues, creams and dough."
Francois Payard
FP Patisserie, multiple locations

20. Microplane Zester
I can’t live without it. Love the zest of citrus, freshly grated horseradish for a pop, or a rich salty hard cheese.
Michael Symon
Iron Chef America

1. Easier to clean than box graters.
2. Shreds, grates and zests all of these and more, perfectly: garlic, cheese, nutmeg, lemon, lime, orange, ginger, onion.
3. Super sturdy.
4. Various sizes, shapes and gradients to choose.
Sunny Anderson
Cooking for Real

21. Mortar and Pestle
I use it for many of my marinades, aiolis, rubs or pestos. I love it because it brings out all of the natural oils of the ingredients.
Jose Garces
Iron Chef America

I love a mortar and pestle. Grinding toasted spices, mashing garlic cloves, connects me to my ingredients and makes tasty food!
Alex Guarnaschelli
Iron Chef America

22. Mandoline
"I'm neurotic and need precision when slicing. But watch your fingers!"
Spike Mendelsohn
Good Stuff Eatery, multiple locations

23. Aluminum Foil
"I make a boat out of it to smoke delicate fish that normally wouldn't be grillable."
Tim Cushman
O Ya, Boston

24. Serrated Paring Knife
"It's the best all-purpose knife for everything from peeling shallots to coring apples!"
Marc Murphy
Chopped

25. Digital Scale
"It allows you to apply more precision to your recipe measurements."
Nathan Myhrvold
Co-author, Modernist Cuisine at Home

26. Flexible Plastic Cutting Boards
"They're inexpensive, easy to store and easy to clean. You can chop your ingredients and just pick up the entire cutting board, fold it and let everything slide into the pan."
Dale Talde
Talde, Brooklyn

27. Kitchen Shears
"I use them to open food packages, cut twine and make parchment circles for cake baking. They are great for skinning chicken, as well, and the blades come apart for easy cleaning."
Ron Ben-Israel
Sweet Genius

28. Egg Cutter
My favorite kitchen tool is an egg cutter. My daughters love to use it on their soft-boiled eggs!
Geoffrey Zakarian
Chopped

29. SodaStream
"I use it all the time to make sparkling water at home. I love how green it is with its reusable bottles, and I love how much time I save not driving to the store to purchase sparkling water!"
Mary Sue Milliken
Border Grill, Los Angeles

30. Twine
"I like to cook bouquets of vegetables wrapped in twine. I'll wrap leeks around fennel bulbs, tie them up and poach them in vegetable stock."
Michael Solomonov
Zahav, Philadelphia

31. Mezzaluna
"I always thought it was more professional to chop with a knife the way they taught me in culinary school—but when I grew up, I realized that I chop better with a mezzaluna."
Cesare Casella
Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto Il Ristorante, New York City

32. Spice Grinder
"I buy whole-seed spices and grind them fresh. The flavor is so much more pronounced and I love the aroma, especially if they have been toasted first."
Amanda Freitag
Chopped

33. Cleaver
"A cleaver is a real kitchen workhorse: You can slice with it, use a flat side to crush ginger and garlic and transfer chopped food to a pan, and use the blunt back edge to tenderize meat."
Charles Phan
The Slanted Door, San Francisco

34. Japanese Fish Scaler
"It is great for scale removal and does the job without damaging the flesh."
Chris Cosentino
Incanto, San Francisco

35. Food Mill
I love the food mill because it doesn’t turn on—it’s your own elbow grease—stems and seeds stay uptown and big money stuff goes downtown!
Anne Burrell
Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell

36. Charcoal Grill
"I love grilling, and the Weber cooks everything evenly and provides a smoky char on vegetables, skewers, rib-eye...you name it."
David Myers
Hinoki and The Bird, Los Angeles

37. Pepper Grinder
"A beautiful pepper grinder is not only attractive in the kitchen but also the perfect tool for finishing most dishes."
Laurent Tourondel
Arlington Club, New York City

38. Wok
"I believe a wok will help any home cook get exciting new flavors, try new techniques and—in the end—get rave reviews from friends and family."
Wolfgang Puck
Spago, Beverly Hills

39. Silpats
I love, love silpats for crisp kale chips!
Michael Chiarello
Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello

40. Laser Thermometer
"It's neater to work with as far as chocolate is concerned. Using a traditional thermometer that you have to insert into the chocolate gets very messy."
Jacques Torres
Jacques Torres Chocolate, New York City

41. Tupperware Bowls
I like to do my prep work ahead of time, and I’ve got a set of Tupperware bowls in multiple sizes that make it easy to do and come back to later. I use them everytime I cook, which is every day! Mise en place!
Bobby Deen
Not My Mama’s Meals

42. Crock-Pot
"I use it to cook grits and braise meats all the time. It also keeps boiled peanuts warm for snacking."
Sean Brock
Husk, Charleston, SC

43. Oyster Knife
"R. Murphy's oyster knives are less disposable than most oyster knives. They come with different handles and shapes, and they are customizable."
Mike Lata
The Ordinary, Charleston, SC

44. Griddle Pan
I absolutely cannot live without my heavy-bottomed square griddle pan. Perfect for easily flippable over-easy eggs and pancakes. Plus, it fits up to four sandwiches perfectly for a proper butter and griddle. Go bears!
Jeff Mauro
Sandwich King

45. Meat Thermometer
"This is a must for getting the exact temperature of steaks, roasts and pork loins. I also fry a lot of chicken, and I always need to be sure it's cooked right!"
Jeff McInnis
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami

46. Pressure Cooker
"Braised short ribs in 25 minutes? Chicken stock with intense flavor without reduction in 15 minutes? The pressure cooker is a must-have in your home kitchen."
Richard Blais
The Spence, Atlanta

47. Le Creuset
"I adore the colors—and they are great for both stovetop use and cooking in the oven, as they distribute heat well. They get better with age."
April Bloomfield
The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, New York City

48. Cast-Iron Skillet
"It heats food evenly, is easy to clean and maintain, and looks cool in the kitchen. It's the best pan for cooking a steak."
Joey Campanaro
The Little Owl, New York City

49. Melon Baller
"At the restaurant, we use different shapes to make garnishes look sexy!"
Marc Forgione
Iron Chef America

50. Apron
"I love my denim apron. It's designed and crafted so well."
Marcus Samuelsson
Chopped

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