“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” - Julia Child
The average Brit spends a paltry 6 hours a week in their kitchen cooking, doing the dishes, tidying up, etc. You might be wondering how much it would all cost to get some kitchen accessories and gadgets, start spending more time in the kitchen and start making meals for your friends and family.
In this article, we're going to look at the kitchen tools, cookware, and utensils that you have to have in your kitchen cupboards.
How Expensive are Utensils?
To become a great chef, you don’t need an arsenal of kitchen utensils! You’ll soon see that most dishes require a basic set of utensils and a kitchen with a hob and/or an oven. But first, let’s talk about preparing dishes rather than cooking them. When it comes to utensils, there are three main ones that you should get so you can prepare fruits, vegetables, and meat:
- A peeler
- A paring knife
- A chopping board
And that’s it...
With these three things, you can already do tonnes of things in the kitchen.
You can get these things in both specialised stores and department stores.
For a decent stainless steel or ceramic peeler, you’ll pay between £5 and £10. We’d advise against getting the cheapest ones as they don’t tend to last. Check that the handle is solid and that the parts aren't likely to break easily.
A vegetable peeler is usually shaped a little differently and made from stainless steel. You can find them for less than £5. However, you should always check them out and see which you prefer. I, personally, just can’t get away with a vegetable peeler as it takes me too long and I end up peeling more of my hands than the vegetables.
A good knife should be able to cut any fruit, vegetable, or meat with ease. If you’re making chips, you might want to get a chipper to cut potatoes in uniform pieces. However, you’ll be able to do that with a good knife, too. You can end up paying around £20 for a decent sized quality knife. Don’t forget to get knife sharpeners so that your knives are always ready to go. Modern sharpeners can cost around £15.
You can get glass, slate, plastic, or wooden chopping boards. The cost varies in terms of the material and size and a modern cutting board can cost between £7 and £13.
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How Much Should you Pay for Cooking Equipment?
While you won’t probably need a professional fryer, saucepan, or a chafing dish, you should get a few basic utensils to help you make your dishes. We're going to assume that you already have cutlery, a microwave, an oven, and a hob.
When it comes to utensils, there are two types of people:
- Those who buy cheap utensils and replace them regularly.
- Those who pay more but don’t replace them as often.
How Much Does a Saucepan Cost?
When you live alone, you should be able to get away with just one big saucepan and one small saucepan so that you can heat two things at once.
The price of a saucepan varies depending on:
- The size
- The coating
- The brand
Department stores and supermarkets often have a lot of basic cooking utensils like pans and saucepans. Keep an eye out for offers.
A 20cm diameter saucepan ranges between £15 and £30. The lower end will get you a basic saucepan while the higher end will pay for a more resistant coating.
How Much Does a Good Frying Pan Cost?
It’s difficult to cook meat or vegetables without a good frying pan. Just like with saucepans, the price varies in terms of the size, coating, and brand.
A 28cm diameter frying pan can cost between £15 and £40. Again, the lower end will get you a basic frying pan while the higher end will pay for a more resistant coating. The mid-range frying pans are usually stainless steel or ceramic. You can also get a lot out of a wok.
NB: Make sure you check that your frying pan will work on your hob: gas, induction, or ceramic.
How Much Do Wooden Utensils Cost?
To increase your pans’ lifespan, you should opt for wooden utensils. A spoon and a spatula should be enough to get started. You can normally get a set of them for around £5.
How Much Do Covers Cost?
In order to stew dishes and keep them from spitting all over your kitchen countertop, you should get covers for your pots and pans.
You just need to choose a cover that’s the same size as your pans. You can get glass or aluminium lids and covers and some can even be used for various diameters. You can save money by buying pans that come with their own lids which usually works out cheaper than buying them separately.
How Much Does a Strainer Cost?
You can get plastic and stainless steel strainers with large holes.
Think about this for a second: You’ve just about to make some spaghetti bolognese. After you’ve cooked the pasta, you’re about to strain it but the holes on your strainer are too large.
Now you’re picking bits of spaghetti out of the sink. This is why you should opt for strainers with small holes since you can use them for everything: pasta, rice, stock, sauce, etc.
This usually can work out between £5 and £10 depending on what you go for.
How Much Does a Gratin Dish Cost?
If you have an oven, you have to get a gratin dish. You can do pasta bakes, lasagnas, roasted vegetables, or gratins. Ovenware and bakeware are usually made out of glass (and not plastic, for obvious reasons), though you can get stainless steel dishes, too.
Depending on the size and material, gratin dishes and trays cost between £5 and £20. Just make sure it’s not too big for your oven!
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Of course, while not essential, you can also get waffle irons, rice cookers, blenders, shakers, containers, thermometers (if you cook a lot of meat), and serveware for when you're entertaining guests.
How Much Do Baking Accessories Cost?
In addition to cooking accessories, there are also baking accessories. If you prefer the idea of torching a crème brûlée to seasoning a savoury dish with a pepper grinder, these are the utensils you’ll need.
A Measuring Glass
Baking is all about precision and that means you’ll have to measure out the qualities from your cookbook!
You should opt for a glass measuring cup over plastic because it remains odourless and is easier to clean. A measuring glass can be used for measuring sugar, flour, and liquids and costs around £5.
These things can save lives!
Not sure about you, but when I make a cake, I always put my mixing bowl onto my scales and hit the “tare” button before I put any flour in. I hit “tare” before I add the sugar and mix. It also means you’ll be left with fewer dishes to wash at the end.
A set of electronic kitchen scales can cost you between £15 and £30 depending on the model.
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How can you mix pancake batter without a whisk?
While you could always use a fork, it’s far easier with a utensil that’s actually designed for it. A stainless steel whisk will last you longer and costs between £5 and £10.
A Salad Bowl/Mixing Bowl
If you want to cook in a water bath (bain-marie) or just mix a few ingredients together, salad and mixing bowls are very useful.
It’s great for making ice cream, toppings, mixing crème pâtissière. A 26cm diameter plastic, metal, or glass salad/mixing bowl costs between £5 and £20.
A Cake Tin
If you want to make cakes, pies, or tarts, a glass or metal cake tin is essential. This usually can work out between £5 and £15 depending on what you go for. Some even have a removable bottom so it’s easier to get the cake out.
In addition to these items, you might also want to buy kitchenware based on the kinds of dishes you'll be making. You might need a cookie cutter, an ice cream scoop, tongs, or a cooling rack in your pantry if you're baking absolutely tonnes of stuff!
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Even when it comes to cooking utensils, you’ll see there are a few words you mightn’t be sure of.
This is a cake tin with high sides. You can use it for things like tarte tatin.
This is a device that mixes ingredients by cutting them up. As its name suggests, you hold it with your hands and plunge it into your ingredients to create soups, purée, or compote.
Now join the discussion: is it expensive to learn how to cook?
And if you want to know how to use the above utensils, look for cooking classes.