20 Chef’s Favorite Tools Under $20

TAOP Staff

Sometimes it’s the simplest, most inexpensive thing in the kitchen that chef’s use most while they’re cooking. Here’s our list of 20 essential kitchen tools loved and cherished by chefs all over that you can get for under $20.



Microplane Classic Grater & Zester, $12

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Originally created as a smoothing tool for woodworkers, the Microplane grater has since become an indispensable tool for chefs.

“The Microplane grater is, for me, the best and simplest piece of kitchen gadgetry. You can now get them with all sorts of blades an graters, and they’re great for everything from cheese and veg to truffles and frozen flavoured ice.” – Tom Aikens (The Guardian)

“A microplane is a pretty indispensable tool in the kitchen – we use it for everything from zesting citrus to grating nuts into a snow-like powder.” – Wylie Dufresne (Yahoo!)


Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, $16

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The more you use it the better it gets.


“I can’t imagine my life without these pans. I store them in my oven, as the more you use them the better they get. My grandmother was obsessed with collecting cast iron and now I’ve started a collection of my own. The Lodge ones are fantastic because they come pre-seasoned and ready to go.” – Sean Brock (Gear Patrol)



OXO Cake Tester, $3

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Multipurpose tool that can be used for checking doneness all the way to plating sauce designs.

“I use it to test the temperature of everything. It’s an essential tool every single day and really inexpensive.” – Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, NoMad (GQ)

“A cake tester is a great, multipurpose precision tool that allows you to check the internal temperature of proteins, gauge the texture of vegetables as they are cooking, and, if it’s your thing, check if your cake is done. An added bonus: it may be one of the least expensive tools you can equip your kitchen with.” – Matthew Rudofker, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (Gear Patrol)


Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, $20

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The original non-stick baking mat – durable, nonstaining, non-stick, evenly distributes temperature, and easy to clean.



OXO Cookie Scoop, $14

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For portion control.

“It’s a dome on a handle with a windshield-wiper blade built on the inside. It’s ideal for portioning out stiff batters of cake or cookie dough. Being a perfectionist, it’s the perfect tool to repetitiously dish exact amounts to create identical sized cupcakes, muffins, or cookies. And with the handy blade there for release, you can do this fast and efficiently, meeting yet another pastry-chef goal. Dishers come in a variety of sizes to meet all portioning needs!” – Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry Arts at International Culinary Center (Gear Patrol)


Silicone Spatula, $10

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Heat resistant to 600ºF.



OXO 2-Piece Bowl Scraper Set, $10

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Cover every inch of the bowl and waste nothing.


Ateco Natural Wood Offset Spatula, $7

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Incredibly versatile & inexpensive.


“Generally only four to five inches long, this handy tool is the sixth finger every pastry chef wishes he or she had. Fumbling hands can crush or mark a finished product. With a small offset, you can pick up small elements from underneath and provide a safe transfer from one place to another without disrupting the sides or top. And even if you do get those small nicks on a soft surface like frosting or mousse, they can be eliminated by a gentle graze by the metal side.” – Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry Arts at International Culinary Center (Gear Patrol)



Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler, $7

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A popular chef’s favorite for peeling made quick and easy.


Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon, $12

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The perfect spoon for plating sauces.



Ateco Stainless Steel Round Forms, $8

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Making plating more efficient and professional.


Mortar & Pestle, $15

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The best tool for anything that needs crushing or grinding.


“The kitchen gadgets I use everyday at home are a mortar and pestle…” – Grant Achatz, Alinea (Wall Street Journal)



Fine Tip Offset Tweezer, $12

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For plating and handling delicate foods.


Paring Knife, $12

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Ideal for prepping fruits, vegetables, and so much more.



Digital Kitchen Scale, $18

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For the absolute precise measurement of ingredients.

“Ditch cups and tablespoons. Instead, embrace the metric system when cooking. It’s all about grams and ounces when it comes to cooking. You will have far more precision in your cooking. Trust me.” – Matthew Rudofker, Momofuku Säam Bar (Gear Patrol)


Scraper & Chopper, $10

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A quick and tidy way to sweep trimmings off cutting boards & cut and section dough.



Flat Whisk, $16

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Designed to be used in a hot pan, a flat whisk is ideal for whisking together a roux or gravy and reaches every inch and corner of the pan.


Mini Glass Prep Bowls, $16

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For all your mise en place needs.



Stainless Steel Tongs, $13

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From grabbing hot pans to lifting and moving ingredients – these are hands you can count on.


Storage Containers, $13

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Perfect for storing sauces or ingredients.