Say Goodbye to Overstuffed Drawers & Hello to This 6-Tool Kitchen Capsule

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Tight on space in the kitchen? Your storage problem might actually be a “stuff” problem. It’s all too easy to overfill your kitchen drawers and countertop crocks with pretty uni-tasking tools when you’re walking down the aisles of Barrel, Barn & Beyond with a gift card (or worse — a registry gun) burning a hole in your pocket.

If your drawers are overflowing, you ought to commit to a resolution this year of clearing out the piles of single-purpose gadgets and investing in a well-designed set of kitchen tools that can handle it all. Here’s your game plan.

The Only 6 Kitchen Tools You Need

Why six? Well that’s what Eunice Byun, Co-founder of Material kitchenware, recommends. Material crafted a kitchen tool set they dubbed The Fundamentals, and it’s just six pieces. Eunice and the team at Material believe these six things (wherever you buy them) are truly all you need.

(Image credit: Material)

“As we started to put pen to paper on our designs, we knew that creating tools with multiple functions and purposes would be critical,” Eunice told Apartment Therapy. “What many home cooks today don’t realize is that a core set of well-designed kitchen tools can allow you to achieve almost any dish.”

So here it is: A complete six-tool kitchen tool capsule that can handle anything you throw at it — and below each is a list of uni-taskers you can feel good about sending out to a donation center right now. Doesn’t that extra drawer space feel better than owning a strawberry corer?

1. Tongs

Grab a stainless steel pair that can stand up to hot temps at the grill and still look good at the table. You’ll get more use out of a pair that has a slightly rounded, spoon-shaped head.

Use them to: Pull out or rotate a pan in the oven like professional chefs do.
Goodbye: Oven mitts, at least sometimes

Editor’s note: Tongs can be useful for adjustments and moving small, light pans. But for heavy and very hot pans, oven mitts are the safest option.

Use them to: Pull noodles straight from the boiling pot to the sauce.
Goodbye: Colander

Use them to: Baste meat in the pan by using the bowl-shaped head.
Goodbye: Another dirty spoon

(Image credit: Williams Sonoma)

2. A Chef’s Knife

An 8-inch chef’s knife will be a workhorse in the kitchen, but it can also be used in unexpected ways.

Use it to: Smash garlic cloves by hitting them with the side of the knife.
Goodbye: Garlic press

Use it to: Chip off pieces of ice for a cocktail by using the back edge of the blade.
Goodbye: Ice mallet

3. Paring Knife

One big knife. One small knife. That’s usually all that most people need.

Use it to: Handle all your small cuts.
Goodbye: Strawberry corer, avocado slicer and apple corer

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Wood Spoon

A wood spoon plays nice with all the surfaces in your kitchen — from non stick and cast iron to stainless steel. One with an angled head can get into every nook and cranny of a pan.

Use it to: Hang freshly made pasta to drape and dry over the handle.
Goodbye: Pasta drying rack

Use it to: Test when cooking oil is hot enough to fry in by sticking the head of the wooden spoon in the pan to see when bubbles start to form around it.
Goodbye: Frying thermometer

5. Metal Spoon

A heavy metal spoon with a known measure (Material’s metal spoon bowl holds exactly a quarter cup of liquid) can really multi-task for you.

Use it to: Quickly measure liquids, if you know exactly how much your spoon holds
Goodbye: Another dirty measuring cup

Use it to: Flatten and tenderize meat with the back of a heavy spoon.
Goodbye: Meat tenderizer

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Slotted Spatula

Get yourself one good, solid spatula to rule (and replace) them all.

Use it to: Blanch vegetables and transfer things from boiling water to an ice bath.
Goodbye: Colander

Use it to: Fry and remove things in a shallow pan of oil.
Goodbye: Mesh skimmer