Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Today’s post was supposed to be a video version of this, but I filmed it and unfortunately, I didn’t program the audio recorder correctly, so the video had no sound.

Total fail. But alas, I wanted to still bring you this content, because I’m always asked, “What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?”

So, bookmark this post and when you’re ready to stock your kitchen for a lifetime of healthy cooking, you’ll be set.

I’ve only been cooking since 2008, the fall of my senior year of college. I became a vegan that August and had to slowly teach myself to cook, because in 2008, in North Carolina, the vegan options were few and far between. Unless I wanted to settle for garden salads and baked potatoes at restaurants, I knew I had to learn to cook.

Thus, from the beginning of my culinary career, I focused on finding creative ways to prepare and cook vegetables. Therefore, I’ve slowly collected kitchen tools that help the healthy cook.

All of the items you see in this post are the actual products I use in my own kitchen!

The Can’t-Live-Withouts

This is my “must-have” list. I use these tools every single day, always. They’re the basics, and I couldn’t prepare 90% of my meals without them.

The Inspiralizer

Well, obviously. This is my branded, designed spiralizer and is exclusive and proprietary to Inspiralized. It’s the best spiralizer out there.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: You can buy it on our siteon Amazon, or on

A Quality Chef’s Knife

A quality Chef’s knife will change the way you cook, no exaggeration. Food preparation will happen more precisely, more quickly, and with more ease. If you’re a beginner cook, this is an investment that will change your game and expedite the process of learning how to cook. It’s like the mascara to my kitchen – I couldn’t go a day without it! I use Wusthof knives, and I love my 6″ Cook’s Knife.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Wusthof: 6″ Cook’s Knife


I have 90235 skillets, but the ones I use the most are my 10″ and 12″ skillets. We received an Analon set for our wedding, and I love it. Because I cook mostly vegetables and not much meat, these non-stick pans are perfect. If you cook a lot of meat, these pans won’t work as well for you.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Analon non-stick 10″ and 12″ pans


Along with my 90235 pans, I also have another 90235 saucepots. Okay, I’m obviously exaggerating, but I have a lot. However, the ones that are crucial are my 2 quart and 4.5 quart. The 2 quart allows you to heat up sauces easily and quickly, while the 4.5 quart allows you to make soups, like my Zucchini Noodle Ramen.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Analon 2-Quart Saucepot and Analon 4.5-quart Saucepot

Cutting boards – veggies & meats

It’s essential to have separate cutting boards for your meats and your veggies to avoid cross-contamination. I’m pretty “pyscho” when it comes to that. I use my plastic, easily-washed cutting boards when I’m handling poultry and meat and then when I’m doing my day-to-day veggie dicing, I use my nice wood cutting board.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: For vegetables (in Medium) and For meats, seafood, & poultry

Vegetable Peeler

How can you spiralize a beet without a peeler? Exactly! A vegetable peeler lets you make ribbon salads and of course, peel vegetables. I’ve been using the same OXO peeler for YEARS and have never had a problem.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: OXO Good Grips Peeler

Spatulas & Spoons

These are absolute musts, I use them for everything, from tossing spiralized veggies to making soups. I have about 15 different types of spatulas and spoons, but the ones I couldn’t live without are a spatula, tongs, and a wooden spoon.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Spatula (I use this one, but I started with this one), Tongs, Wooden Spoon

Food Processor

If you want to make spiralized rice, you need a food processor. If you want to make healthy sauces like homemade pesto, you’ll need a food processor. I honestly mostly use my Mini-Chop and it works just fine. I’ve had it since 2008!

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Cuisinart Mini Chop Food Processor

Cleaning Brush for the Spiralizer

If you try to use a sponge on the blades of any spiralizer, it’ll tear apart your sponge. SO, I’ve found that this OXO Palm Brush is the safest and most effective. This one is great because it comes with a little older, so it fits compactly and cleanly next to your sink.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: OXO Palm Brush with Storage

Measuring Spoons & Cups

Pretty basic, but I figured I’d include this on the list, because some people may not think they’re necessary. If you follow recipes, they’re especially important. If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda person, they may not be necessary. Since I write recipes every day, they’re a must.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Measuring Spoons & Cups set

Baking Sheets/Pans

If you’ve ever made my recipes, you know that I LOVE roasting foods. It’s an easy cleanup and is a good way to avoid frying your foods. I love oven-roasting meats and veggies. Sometimes, I’ll make the entire meal in a sheet pan! There are actually books about that! I use two pans most of the time.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Farberware 3-piece set

Salt and Pepper Grinders

I don’t use fine salt and pepper unless it’s in a soup or baked goods. I always use fresh grinders – the flavor is taken to a new level and it’s a way to use a less processed salt and pepper. Plus, you can have fun with cool salts like pink Himalayan salt!

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get Yours: Salt and Pepper Grinders


Whether you’re rinsing beans (it takes off all that excess sodium) or draining your zucchini noodles, you’re going to need a colander. No way around it!

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: OXO Colander

Mixing Bowls

Being prepared with the right tools can make the difference between a happy cook and one that gives up. Having a proper set of mixing bowls can help you keep your workspace clean and get that recipe coming together quickly.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Mixing bowl set

The Essentials

These are items that I use regularly, but are used for more complex recipes. If you’re a beginner cook and just want what’s absolutely necessary in your kitchen or you don’t cook very much, this list is something to work up to but isn’t necessary at first.


I use my Nutribullet as a blender. I also have a powerful, high-speed blender, but honestly, I’m only really ever making things for 2 or 4 servings at max, so the Nutribullet works for me. I use it to make healthy smoothies, my own sauces and dressings, and sometimes, I’ll use it to chop up nuts. It’s a great investment.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Nutribullet


Whether you’re grating ginger or cheese, you’ll need a quality grater. Grating blocks of cheese is better than buying pre-shredded/grated cheeses (additives are added to the pre-packaged varieties!)

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Box grater

Olive Pourer

I have to say, ever since I bought myself an oil pourer for my olive oil, I use way less of it. When you pour olive oil straight out of the bottle, you can overdo it – it’s easy to see 1 teaspoon turn into a full tablespoon and 1 tablespoon turn into a quarter cup! By having one of these, you’ll be able to moderate your oil use. Plus, it’s pretty and clean!

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Rachael Ray olive pourer

12″ Covered Pot

Especially for those who spiralize sweet potatoes, I really recommend having at least one large covered pot in your arsenal. A covered pot helps you make dishes like tagines, where you can avoid the use of a Dutch oven. It’s great for sweet potatoes because they tend to take up a lot of space once spiralized and if you cover the pot, it slightly steams them as they cook and cooks them more quickly and allows you to use less oil. This is the one I use at home!

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: 12″ Covered Pot


I’ve mentioned wok cooking before – it’s a must if you cook for more than 1-2 people at a time. Whenever I make zucchini noodle stir fries, I grab my wok (so, like, all the time) – you can fit more noodles in because it’s large and wide and the science behind wok cooking is great – it cooks more quickly and develops flavors well. I use this one that’s affordable and environmentally friendly.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Wok

The Greats

These tools are ones that would be “great” to have if it’s in your budget, but if not, you can cook/live without them.

Kitchen Scale

If you’re on a weight loss journey or you like to follow recipes to a T, a kitchen scale is a great investment. I use it a lot to measure out meat portions. This scale is small, compact, and I even keep it displayed on my kitchen shelves – it’s chic!

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Kitchen Scale

Pinch Bowls

If you follow me on Snapchat, you know I love pinch bowls. When you’re measuring out spices, dicing shallots, scallions, or mincing garlic and ginger (or something else small!), pinch bowls are hugely helpful. If you prep properly into the pinch bowls, cooking becomes that much more organized and relaxing.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Colored pinch bowls

Garlic Press

If you dread mincing garlic, get a garlic press – and you’ll never mince garlic again and be so happy you got a press! Sometimes I go through 2 full heads of garlic a week (I know, it’s crazy), so sometimes when I’m minced-out, I grab my press.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: OXO Garlic Press


You may think, “Well, I have a box grater, why do I need a microplane?” Well, microplanes are great to have for quick zesting. You may skip the zest if you have to get out (and clean) your box grater. I use the zester to grate garlic and zest citruses.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Microplane

Slotted Spoon

I almost put this at the top with the spatulas and tongs, but I use a slotted spoon a bit less than the others. Slotted spoons are best for when you’re making soups or cooking different things in batches and want to keep the juices or oil in the pan, but need to transfer your food to a plate. It’s just one of those necessary things.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Slotted Spoon

Julienne Peeler

Some of you may have started julienning veggies before spiralizing! I still use my julienne peeler on veggies that are too small to spiralize, like super thin carrots. A julienne isn’t necessary in your kitchen if you have a spiralizer, but sometimes, it’s great to have on hand for a quick fix or a garnish.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: Julienne Peeler

Slow Cooker

Many of you probably would consider this a “must-have”, but since I don’t use it as much as I should, I’m putting it in the “Greats” list. It’s definitely an investment, but every time I cook with my slow cooker, I say, “Wow! I should totally cook in this more.” It’s just the best – it builds flavors slowly, it’s low-maintenance, and you can literally make anything in it! If you’re a busy person and you come home late during the week, a slow cooker can literally be your healthy savior.

Must Have Kitchen Tools and Gadgets for the Healthy Cook

Get yours: KitchenAid Slow Cooker (the one I use!)

Is there anything you’d add to this list? What are some of your favorite tools?

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  1. As someone who is going to be doing her wedding registry soon, this post is definitely one I need to bookmark :-D I usually use America’s Test kitchen product reviews to help me figure out which brands are best, but it’s great to hear from a fellow healthy home-cook what products she likes best in her kitchen!

    Great post Ali thank you!

    • Yes – and they are all generally affordable! I don’t spend money on fancy cooking tools, because I end up never using them! I included everything I use every day – I literally walked around my kitchen and looked at everything! Glad it’s helpful.

  2. I think a “Misto” sprayer is a must-have. Instead of pouring olive oil, I spray it — I use 1/3 to 1/2 less oil by using my Misto.

    • Gail, do you have any tips for using a Misto? i bought one a while ago but never could get it to work. i pump and pump and only get squirts of air to come out. i’ve cleaned it, taken in apart, made sure to put the seal back in, and even tried to mist water. nothing seems to work. i hate to think i spent money on a faulty gimmick.

      • Hi, Nina,

        I’ve never had any issues with my Misto. I never fill it more than 50% with oil — it needs that empty space so that you can pump it up and compress the air. I once pumped it up as much as possible, then measured the amount of oil in one long continuous spray — it was 1/2 Tbsp, I hope you can get yours working!


  3. I recently purchased an Instant Pot and I totally love it …soups, spaghetti squash, rice, all kinds of beans and lentils and the list goes on .I have not made a cheese cake in it but this apparently is a major favorite of many IP owners. It is definitely my new favorite kitchen aid. Thanks for the list. Do you ever use a Dutch oven?

  4. Sharon Randall :

    Spot on! i kept scrolling down to see if you had a zester on your list–of course you did! I use mine all the time for citrus zest. I would take it on a deserted island!
    P.S. I have been looking for an oil pourer–I put RR’s in my shopping cart, thank you!

  5. Have you ever tried scan pans. Theyre non stock but not teflon coated they are ceramic. Therefore you can use metal utensils without worries!

    I also love garlic roller it peels garlic quick without getting it on your hands!

    I put one of those mini chops on my wedding registry.

    I have two go to mini spatulas i think i purchased them at home goods sicilione and a wooden handle for tiny areas to scrape out defintely comes in handy for small situations!

    I have the spiralizer and your book i just need to take it out more frequent but love the idea of using the brush to clean it!

    Love reading your stuff on here and instagram! You give me more fun ways to cook!

  6. Thank you for such a great post– I already ordered two items off your list!

  7. I like my Cuisinart Smart Sick. It’s great for making dressings and to puree soups. It’s small to store and
    easy to clean. You can get it on Amazon.
    I also have something I bought at a festival to grate garlic. It’s a small hand painted dish that sits on a stand.
    The middle part of the dish is a grater. You grate the garlic and then use the brush to scrape it into your food. It’s so pretty on the countertop and you just rinse it to clean. I used to hate cleaning all those little holes in my other grater.

  8. I so appreciate that these items are real world affordable, not the top of the line trendy stuff of questionable value!

  9. I would agree with all of these items (except the garlic press because I hate cleaning it haha)! Having the right tools makes cooking so much easier and fun!

    xo Annie

  10. I have a thin plastic 2″ square cleaning tool. Each corner has a different radius so it can be used in any pot, casserole dish or bowl to scrape away any food residue. I won it at a baby shower 30 years ago and use it regularly. It is so important to me that once I dug through my compost pile because I couldn’t find it! (It was there.) I have to guard it carefully because guests covet it. There are some on the market now but I haven’t seen one with the 4 different radii.

  11. 1. Pressure cooker (mine is stovetop). I generally cook my own dry beans, rather than buying canned, and at our altitude of 7800′, soaked beans take a long time to become tender; the pressure cooker makes very short work of them.
    2. A Keflex glove for use with the microplane. It saves knuckles, fingertips, and nails.
    3. Spatulas (what I grew up knowing as plate scrapers) to clean every last bit of sauce out of a pot or frosting out of a bowl. The silicone ones are more durable than the old rubber ones.
    4. Knowing that you can neutralize garlic oil on your hands by rubbing a piece of stainless steel on your skin under running cold water (a spoon works, or you can buy one of those cute little stainless steel blocks that look kind of like a bar of hotel soap, as I did before my sister informed me that any stainless steel works). Oh.
    5. Whisks for sauces and a hand-cranked egg beater for little jobs.
    6. Stainless steel fine-mesh strainers.
    7. In the realm of the more expensive: a good stand mixer. I love my Bosch.

    I live in the Colorado mountains, 20 miles from the nearest grocery store , so cooking takes some planning. I make use of a stand-alone freezer for storage and also have an Excalibur dehydrator so I can cook items in bulk and dehydrate them for longer-term storage. It’s a whole different way of life!

    • I love the idea of. Pressure cooker. Everyone has been raving about the 7in 1 instant pot lately. It does everything. I also make my beans from scratch. But i do it the long way… But ur pressure cooker idea makes me want that instant pot even more. (It’s a slow cooker and pressure cooker and yogurt maker and like4 other things in one…Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W

  12. Great choices Ali ,also I will add the hand press lemon, rice cooker ,I love Aroma stainless steel , a can opener, Zylliss is the best, also salad spinner and my favorites Omega vertical juicer and Vitamix ,more then a blender for me !

  13. When I clean my Inspiralizer, with the hand brush the brissels say ouch, yeow, man these spikes are sharp!

  14. Mindy Richmond :

    Can you change the handle for a left handed one? I’ve had my padermo for a few years now and that one does.

    Thank you

  15. I’m going to save up to buy your inspiralizer sometime soon! I love making zoodles with an avocado cream sauce! Watching your ‘what I eat in a day’ videos make me super inspired to spiralize other vegetables!
    Question: Do you have a good recommendation on an oil mist spray? I don’t want to buy trader joes oil spray (they can add up). Thanks!

  16. I’m obsessed with kitchen gadgets. Things that have really made healthy eating easier for me is 1. Dessert bullet- yes u can make banana ice cream in blender. But often it comes out more soupy than anything. I like this because it is safe so kids can make themselves treats. And b. It comes with 2 different attachments and can make banana or fruit ice cream look like it came from Dairy Queen. It’s really the best thing and makes our ice cream exciting.
    2. Ice cream maker- u can throw so many things in here to make ice cream. If u don’t want banana ice cream u can make left ice cream or froze. Yogurt as healthy or unhealthy as you desire.

    2. My Sedona combo dehydrator. – this machine gives u the flexibility of running half the machine and not the whole thing when u dehydrate things. It also has a fast mode (the only mode Excalibur uses). But it also has a raw feature. Fast mode the heat goes in waves. If u set temp for 118degrees it will go up and down. In temperature. Temp will go up past what u set it for and then it will cook off and then up and then cool off. Etc. This is problematic for some raw foodists. But this machine also offers a raw feature where it will never go past the temperature u put it in for. Also… It has a dual temperature control setting. Some things like tomatoes should be dehydrated at a higher temp briefly before temp is lowered to 118 degrees such as tomatoes. Because warm moist air can cause bacteria if he is a high water content food. Anyway. With this thing I can make my son home made fruit leathers apple chips, I can make instant soup mixes, dehydrate lemons for tea. I can make raw breads and wraps from dehydrating vegetable purees. I can dehydrate my garden then run it through food saver. And it can last up to 15 years for long term food storage.

    3. Food saver – u can make ur food last 5 times longer with this thing. Most food lasts for 6 months in freezer. If u vacuums seal it it can last for a few years. If u dehydrate it then vacuumed seal ur talking 12 years. 15 years depending on food. Just store it in a cool dark place like a cellar or basement closet.

    Salad shooter- this thing is so much easier to use than a food processor for rucking vegetables. It is so easy to store and clean. I hate pulling out a big food processor then having to clean it after. I shred things all the time now and mix it with rice or serve it as it is as a side. And my toddler eats his vegetables this way.

  17. What type of milk frother do you use? Saw it in a post somewhere but now can’t find.


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