Preparing your favorite recipes requires a well-stocked kitchen, and any Paleo foodie knows how important it is to have all the essential tools on hand.
Stocking your kitchen and cupboards with the right foods is important, of course, but we also need the right equipment.
From checking meat temperatures, cutting and chopping fruits and vegetables, to whipping up delicious smoothies, every Paleo kitchen can benefit from these 15 essential kitchen appliances and tools.
Let’s just say your recipe prepping and cooking just got a whole lot easier!
For whipping up delicious protein-filled smoothies, this kitchen appliance is a must. When you’re strapped for time in the morning, a blender is truly lifesaving. It takes 5 minutes to whip up a healthy shake, which means you won’t miss a meal and you’ll keep your blood sugar stable until lunch. I recommend investing in a blender than can really blend ingredients well. Most blenders aren’t strong enough to crush ice, so investing in a Blendtec or a Vitamix is worth it. I’ve had mine for almost 8 years now and it’s never failed me once!
You might think this isn’t so essential, but this kitchen tool isn’t just for washing your salad greens. Use this to wash all your fruits and vegetables. When roasting vegetables or making fresh-pressed juice, I chop all my veggies, throw them into my salad spinner and wash them all at once. It saves a lot of time and works like a charm!
Cast Iron Pan
Even though it’s a little on the pricier side, this pan is worth it. It will last you a very long time and unlike a non-stick pan, it won’t degrade and break down. Plus, most non-stick pans contain aluminum or chemicals that leech into your food — not something we want on our Paleo plate!
In fact, your grilled or sautéed meats will come out a lot tastier in a cast iron pan. Plus, you can take this pan from the stovetop right into the oven to broil foods and make frittatas.
Meat cooks more thoroughly in a cast iron pan due to the heat being more evenly distributed. So if you’re still trying to find ways to cook the perfect steak, cast iron is your answer! As a bonus, you’ll also absorb more iron into your diet directly from the pan.
I would suggest getting a small pan and a medium to large pan so you have the options of cooking more or less food. From cooking eggs, to sautéing veggies, to pan searing meats and fish, these pans will surely be used frequently and last you a lifetime.
Saucepan or Dutch Oven
If you’re looking to cook up homemade broths or make your own tomato sauce, these pots are ideal. You can typically get saucepans in a set that includes various sizes, or get yourself one medium to large dutch oven which you can take from the stovetop to the oven. It’s a great kitchen tool to have if you want to make chili, soups or stews.
If you’re looking to save time but still put an epic meal on the dinner table, a slow cooker is the way to go! Throw all your ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning, set it on low for 6-8 hours and when you get home, you’ll have a delicious and healthy meal waiting for you. From soups to stews and slow-cooked roasts, this is a must-have. Plus, you can make healthy porridges or egg bakes the night before and wake up to a ready-made breakfast.
(Related: 20 Easy Paleo Crock Pot Recipes)
You can spend money on a fancy steamer, or you can hit up a local Chinese or Japanese store and pick up a bamboo steamer for five bucks! This definitely comes in handy when you’re being conscious of oils and fat in your cooking, plus it’s great for steaming denser squashes, sweet potatoes and yams.
A Great Set of Knives
A great set of knives is vital! From chopping to slicing and cutting, this is one tool you will use everyday, guaranteed. Invest in a set that has a knife sharpener so you can extend the life of your knives and perfect your chopping skills.
A chef’s knife is what you’ll use for preparing the majority of your dishes. So if you don’t get an entire set, be sure to get yourself a high quality chef’s knife.
This is by far one of the most basic tools you’ll use almost daily, and it’s fairly cost-effective. Look for one that is dishwasher safe, large enough to hold a lot of vegetables and non-slip to prevent your food from ending up on the ground!
Baking Sheet Pan
These aren’t just for baking cookies! From roasting veggies to chicken thighs, a baking sheet is essential. I personally recommend stoneware baking sheets. Not only will they last a really long time, but you don’t need to use parchment paper. You can place your food directly on the pan. Not only does your food cook more thoroughly, but you end up saving a ton of money and helping the environment by not using parchment paper or foil. And just like with cast iron pans, stoneware becomes better with each use.
You can handle almost any food with this tool. Plus, it saves you from burning yourself! How many times have you flipped or turned your food with your hands? You know what I’m talking about! It’s important for them to have silicone tips to prevent scratching, and a high degree of heat resistance so they don’t melt away after frequent use.
Glass Storage Containers
What are you planning to do with all those leftovers? Eat them, of course, which means you’ll need some good quality glass containers to store your food in the fridge, or to take with you for lunch the next day. Ideally, look for oven-safe containers that you can pop into an oven or toaster oven at work to reheat your food. A good glass container set should be oven, dishwasher, refrigerator and freezer safe.
Citrus Juicer or Reamer
Maybe it’s just me, but I use my lemon reamer daily! I regularly use lemon and lime juice in recipes, from marinating chicken breasts, to salad dressings, to freshening up baked salmon or simply adding lemon to my water. No one likes to go hunting for lemon seeds in a bowl or a large glass water bottle. This tool really helps you to get the most juice out of your citrus fruits, while keeping seeds out!
Measuring Cups and Spoons
From making pancakes to Paleo treats or concocting the perfect marinade, measuring cups and spoons are essential for any recipe. How can you recreate your best recipe without knowing the exact measurements? Be sure to look for cups and spoons that do not have printed-on measurements. These tend to wash off and will no longer serve their purpose when you need to know an exact measurement.
From whisking together marinades to blending together flours or even serving your salads, a good set of glass bowls will go a long way. Plus, you can use them for storing food and leftovers in your fridge. Glass is ideal as it won’t absorb any odors or stains from your food.
This is essential when you are cooking large roasts or even something as simple as a chicken breast. To ensure that you’ve thoroughly cooked through your meats and poultry, this tool will come in handy, especially during Thanksgiving or the holidays when you may be cooking a large turkey.
So now that your kitchen is all set up with the right tools and equipment, what about the actual cooking?
Follow my simple cooking tips below to help you create delicious and healthy meals and take the stress out of mealtime.
- Don’t be afraid to use herbs and spices. With the variety of herbs at our fingertips, we can turn simple and bland meals into tasty and delicious creations. Use a variety of fresh and dried herbs, and be sure to stock your cupboards with a variety of your favorites. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, fresh garlic and cracked black pepper are important. These are all great herbs and spices to stock up on.
- Use sea salt. Ditch the table salt and chose a good quality sea salt. Not only will this supply you with a variety of trace minerals, but salt truly does bring out the flavors in your food, especially meat and poultry.
- Taste, test, repeat. You can always add herbs and seasonings to a meal, but you can’t take them away. Be sure to taste test before adding more seasonings to be on the safe side.
- Chop, cut, slice, dice and prep all your food before beginning a recipe. This way, you ensure that you have all your ingredients ready at your fingertips and you won’t be panicked halfway through the cooking process.
- Get Creative. The only way you will truly learn how to cook and find recipes that work for you is to get creative and experiment in the kitchen. Don’t be hesitant to cook something you’ve never cooked before. With the abundance of recipes at your fingertips, follow the step-by-step guides and don’t be afraid to add your own flair. However, you may want to avoid cooking a new recipe for a hot date or a new boss!
- Stock your fridge and pantry with essentials like olive oil, lemons, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. These ingredients can be combined in various ways to make simple marinades for almost any dish. Plus, they make a simple salad dressing.
Stocking your kitchen with the right tools will allow you to create stress-free Paleo meals. Be sure to stock up on these kitchen essentials and get to experimenting and creating tasty and healthy recipes in your kitchen for you and your family.
(Related: What Does a Paleo Pantry Look Like?)