7 Affordable Kitchen Tools Under $30 a Chef Always Buys from Amazon

published Feb 5, 2023
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Credit: Carina Romano

Chefs… they’re just like us! (Minus the culinary school degrees, the years hunched over a salad station delicately placing nearly-translucent radish slices, the unpaid stages, the scars from knife nicks and oven burns…) I can barely crack an egg with two hands without littering my boxed brownie mix with shell, so when it comes to cooking and baking necessities, I’m the furthest thing from an expert. And as someone who can barely find her way around a kitchen, I certainly can’t navigate a professional-quality cookware supply store.

Thankfully, you don’t need to fill your cart at high-end kitchenware retailers to score the tools you need to craft delicious meals at home. Plenty of chef-approved kitchen tools are available right on Amazon! Below, expert chefs recommend their seven favorite affordable kitchen tools, all available on Amazon, and all under $30.

1 / 7

One of my favorite wedding registry items were our beautiful Crate & Barrel kitchen towels… which lasted about 30 seconds before self-destructing. In the kitchen, some splurges or aesthetic choices just aren’t worth it. According to Nebraska-based private chef and consultant Costa Lapaseotes, kitchen towels aren’t for decoration — they’re for work. “[Microfiber towels] aren't exactly display pieces, but once you start using them, they will replace everything — oven mitts, trivets, dish racks, dish towels, hand towels, even paper towels,” he says.

And at $16 for a 12 pack, I can see how these might be a game changer not just for food prep, but for everything. “In restaurant kitchens, these things are like gold. Keep a stack at close reach next time you cook and you'll immediately see why,” says Lapaseotes. Yes, chef!

2 / 7
was $12.99

I’m constantly mesmerized by the slicing and dicing that my favorite celebrity chefs showcase on “Chopped” and “Iron Chef.” And even though I’ve taken a knife skills class, I’m still extremely blade-shy. Thankfully, Chef Jacquelyn Lord, owner of The Dinner Bell in Chicago, has a solution. “This glove is great for beginners and pros alike. It's the perfect gift for someone just learning knife skills, and it is a finger-saver when it comes to using a mandoline!” she says.

3 / 7
was $35.99

For whatever you’re roasting, from chicken to fish to veggies, upgrading from just a sheet pan to a higher-quality pan with a roasting rack will make a huge difference. “The uncoated racks can withstand high temperatures, and combined with the low sides of the pan they allow more air circulation than deep roasting pans,” says Lapaseotes. Personally, I’ve always avoided investing in a roasting rack because it seemed fancy, ambitious, and frankly, expensive. But according to Lapaseotes, there’s a good reason that affordable options work just as well as pricier racks. “While anything that goes on top of the stove benefits from the heat conducting properties of a thick bottom and multi-clad walls, ovens use radiant heat — making the quality of the vessel of much less consequence,” he explains.

4 / 7
was $13.99

One of the reasons I prefer cooking to baking is that baking is a straight-up science. And readers, I did not perform well in science classes. If you just want to be sure to get that French pastry recipe right, a food scale is a must. “One of the most common mistakes people make in the kitchen is using the same measuring cups for liquids and dry ingredients. You need to start weighing your dry ingredients, and a simple kitchen scale is the secret to better baked goods,” says Lord. Adding this to my cart for more precise flour measurements.

5 / 7
was $23.99

In my kitchen, I don’t prepare chicken. Period. I just can’t handle raw chicken at any stage of the cooking process — especially when I’m ready to eat, slice into my entree, and see pink. Lord’s recommendation eliminates not only unsafe food, but also additional time spent checking the dish while it’s cooking. “A thermometer is so important in the kitchen. This one allows you to keep track of your cooking food without having to open the oven or stab your proteins multiple times. Set it and forget it!” says Lord.

6 / 7
was $20.00

Chefs generally agree that one place to splurge in the kitchen is on a solid chef’s knife. Thankfully, a knife steel is an affordable investment that will help prolong the life of your knife. “A couple strokes every other time you use the knife will maintain the edge, keeping it MUCH sharper MUCH longer. Plus it looks and sounds badass,” says Lapaseotes. Spoken like a true Bourdain-disciple.

7 / 7

For kitchen supplies, there are times to spend and times to save. Lapaseotes recommends “[opting] for commercial grade or even secondhand pieces” when the higher price tag doesn’t translate to higher quality. “I've never felt like silicon-based bowls provided the stability they advertise, I've never felt that plastics give the durability of steel, and while ceramic bowls are wonderful in both regards their weight makes pouring and, frankly, dishes, a chore. This set is perfectly illustrative of what I look for,” he says.

This no-frills mixing bowl (which comes in smaller sizes as well, perfect for home cooks who aren’t regularly preparing big batches) fits the bill. “The wide lip gives you plenty to hold onto in recipes that call for vigorous whisking, and cleaning stainless steel is a breeze. Plastic always ends up with deep gouges where bacteria can hide under caked on food,” says Lapaseotes. Eliminating the risk of bacterial buildup is always a plus. And stainless steel is built to last, making this bowl a savvy investment for your kitchen.