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25 Chef-Approved Kitchen Tools Under $25

Slice, dice and serve like a commercial chef on a budget.


Bob Kramer knives are undeniably great. But a knife that costs thousands of dollars is out of reach for most of us. Luckily, in the cooking world, expensive cooking tools aren’t necessary for high-level cooking. In our chef-approved kitchen gear series, we ask chefs what their favorite tools are. Their picks range from a $1 kitchen towels to a $1,200 Big Green Egg. For the budget-conscious cooks, we’re going to focus on the former. Here are 25 chef-approved kitchen tools that cost $25 or less.

ChoiceHD Deli Containers (32 oz.)

“I use these for everything: storage, portioning, mise en place, sweet tea during service, to make lunches for my wife — they really are the backbone of the kitchen. They come in different sizes, but they have universal lids. They are reusable, they are cheap, they are sturdy and with a roll of masking tape and a sharpie, you can keep everything in them labeled and organized.” — Jordan Terry, Chef de Cuisine at Dirty French

Buy Now: $4 (Set of 24)

Weber Lighter Cubes

“If you ever find yourself outdoors with a charcoal grill, these mini cubes are a must. How many times have you seen people stuffing paper, small pieces of boxes or pouring liquid charcoal lighter? Everyone has their own way making the fire but many times isn’t as easy as one thinks. With the mini lighter cubes all you need to do is put the lighter cubes in between the charcoal and wait till it starts to light, give a light fanning and you are ready to go.” — David Shim, Executive Chef at Cote

Buy Now: $5

Choice Green-Striped Kitchen Towels

“They’re faster than using pot holders and, overall, just super cheap and easy to clean. Keeping a clean kitchen is super important for both professional chefs and home chefs; keeping it constantly clean with the help of a towel will keep the crumbs, grease, sticky stuff and, most importantly, bugs away.” — Bryan Kidwell and Macks Collins, Chef-owners of Piccalilli

BUY NOW: $5 (5-pack)

Sharpie Peel-Off Marker

“These pencils are my main expediting and labeling tool. With no stress sharpening, I am always using it to mark tickets or jot down a quick note.” — Ayesha Nurdjaja, Executive Chef at Shuka

Buy Now: $9

Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Bench Scraper

“Hands down my favorite kitchen tool. I use it for portioning dough, shaping pasta, moving knife work into storage containers. At our Southeast Asian restaurants, Stock, we do a ton of knife work — our menu is very veg-forward, so we’re constantly using this tool to move ingredients from our cutting boards into containers without bruising them. This model is really slip-resistant, which is a plus in a fast-paced kitchen.” — Tyler Akin, Chef-owner at Res Ipsa and Stock


Victorinox Serrated Paring Knife

“This small knife is a powerhouse. It can cut through artichokes and cherry tomatoes, comes in fun colors and is a nice and inexpensive gift to give to any chef.”
Ayesha Nurdjaja

Buy Now: $9

Vollrath 12-Inch High-Heat Tongs

“Size does matter in this case. If you are using tongs over an open flame, you’ll want to keep a little distance and the 12-inch length on these tongs allows you to keep an appropriate distance. The added bonus of the coated tip gives you the option to use these on scratch sensitive surfaces as necessary. The coated handle is very helpful when gripping the tongs and it allows you to move large format food around easily. It’s best to use a nonstick pan on a side burner (gas grills) to sauté some vegetables while grilling steak.” — Daniel Huebschmann, Corporate Executive Chef at Gibsons Restaurant Group

Buy Now: $9

Vollrath Heavy Weight Mixing Bowls

“The curve of and depth of these bowls is perfect. You can mix and whisk aggressively in them and don’t have to worry about spillage. The heavier gauge of the stainless steel also makes for more even heat distribution when you use them as a double boiler to make hollandaise. I have one in almost every size, and since they nest, they don’t take up a lot of space.” — Craig Koketsu, Executive Chef at Quality Branded Restaurant Group

Buy Now: $10+

Eddington 50002 Italian Olive Wood Cooking Spoon

“I like to do a lot of long cooking, and this spoon helps in the process. When you’re browning and stirring, you really need a good wooden spoon. They have a nice feel to them, and they do have an effect on the dish.” — Alfredo Nogueira, Executive Chef at Cure and Cane & Table

BUY NOW: $11

Three-Pack of Tongs

“The tool I use most frequently are my tongs. Small, medium and long should do the trick. I use small tongs for garnishing, medium tongs for serving vegetables and proteins and long tongs for cooking over high heat. If you have a hot pot with handles and one side towel you can use your tongs to hold the other handle. You can use your tongs to spread out the hot charcoal and wood. If you use your tongs enough they eventually become an extension of yourself.” — Rick Ortiz, Chef at Antique Taco

Buy Now: $19

Matfer Bourgeat Nylon Dough Scraper

“This little baby helps me keep my cutting board free of debris. It also helps me transfer anything that I’ve minced up, especially smaller garnishes. Another use is to cut pasta and bread dough into smaller, easier to manager portions. Overall, it’s just very handy.” — Mike DeCamp, Chef at P.S. Steak

BUY NOW: $12

Edlund Kitchen Tongs

“Kitchen tongs by Edlund are the only tongs we use. They last forever and have the best grip.” — Anthony Alaimo, Chef at 101 North

BUY NOW: $13+


“This is great for zesting citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg and hard cheese. In fact, it’s one of the most underrated tools in the kitchen. It makes for great visuals on the plate, as well as equal distribution of a garnish on the dish.” — Bryan Kidwell and Macks Collins

BUY NOW: $13

Stainless Steel Chef Tweezers

“These are great for all-around cooking in the kitchen. They look pretentious, but once you use them, you will never go back to tongs. A great tool for flipping foods on grills, pans and in the deep fryer, as well as helping incorporate sauces in pastas.” — Bryan Kidwell and Macks Collins

BUY NOW: $13

Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler

“Has an easy grip, is lightweight and is great for professional kitchens; plus, it’s cheap. They’re called speed peelers for a reason; being so lightweight and easy to grip, they enable faster, more efficient even peels.” — Bryan Kidwell and Macks Collins

BUY NOW: $14 (3-pack)

Binchotan Charcoal

“I use this every day as a water filter. Its charged molecules attract impurities like chlorine and lead to make water healthy taste fresh. It’s also eco-friendly. You have to boil it every two weeks and after a few months you can add it to your konro for grilling meats.” — Jeremy Hansen, Chef at Fork

Buy Now: $19

Hall China 1-Quart Jars

“We each have our own and store all the tools we will need for service: like spoons, spatulas, tweezers and whatever else we might need. I love having a few extra around, filled to the brim with spoons for cooking and tasting. They are quiet, elegant and a great way to keep everything you need within arms reach.”
Jordan Terry

Buy Now: $20

Kizen Instant-Read Thermometer

“A digital thermometer is one thing that I always have when grilling. Everyone has their own way of telling if the steak is done but it is always great to have a backup plan. There are some with basic temperatures on the thermometer itself so that you don’t have to google what a medium-rare steak is supposed to be.” — David Shim

Buy Now: $22

Opinel Oyster Knife

“Never will I have to break my keys opening oysters when I find myself in this situation (which has happened more than you might think). It’s beautifully made with a smooth and strong handle and a stout blade that flies through whatever size oysters you stumble upon, and fits comfortably in your pocket. Just don’t forget it’s there when you go to city hall to get a marriage certificate… they don’t care about your reasons.” — Jordan Terry

Buy Now: $20

Fine Chinois Strainer

“This tool is great for smooth purées and for straining very fine foods, stocks and sauces. Fine dining restaurants use them all the time both in front and back of house. Also, finding the perfect ladle to help pass the food through the chinois is a must.”
Bryan Kidwell and Macks Collins

BUY NOW: $23

LamsonSharp Slotted Turner

“Hands down my favorite offset spatula. I use it mostly when I’m working the griddle — its sharp edge makes sure that every bit of the golden brown sear stays on the scallop. It’s also the perfect size and ridgidity to fillet Dover sole tableside. Lastly, it’s ideal for cutting and scooping out brownies from the pan.” — Craig Koketsu

Buy Now: $25

Tanita Digital Kitchen Scale

“Last but not least, a scale. Consistency is key to the success of a kitchen. Measuring along the way and balancing the scale before you start to make sure that you’re not including the bowl or vessel is very important. I can’t cook every single dish each night, so the scale helps to make sure that my staff is cooking the dishes exactly as intended, each and every time.” — Gene Kato, Executive Chef at Momotaro

BUY NOW: $24

King Medium Grain Sharpening Stone

“A sharpening stone is a must to get that sharper edge on knives, especially Japanese knives which have flexible, very thin blades, needed for slicing delicate fish. I sharpen my knives once a week and I change the whetstone every two weeks.” — Gene Kato

BUY NOW: $22

Silpat Mat

“A nonstick silicon sheet tray liner is great for baking, sweets, tuiles and anything you don’t want to stick. It can withstand high temperatures, is easy to clean and it’s reusable, so you don’t have to use parchment paper.”
Bryan Kidwell and Macks Collins

BUY NOW: $25

Bialetti Moka Express

“I’m of Cuban descent, and these stovetop espresso makers are common in every Cuban household. It’s simple to use, and it makes coffee that’s just about as strong as it gets. You can get the whole staff moving really quickly. I’m a known coffee-drinker, so it’s necessary in the kitchen.” — Alfredo Nogueira

BUY NOW: $14+

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Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Associate Staff Writer.
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