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5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools for Slicing, Grating, and Zesting Like a Pro

Cook Like a Pro without Breaking the Bank: 5 Affordable Kitchen Must-Haves

We've all experienced the frustration of using subpar kitchen tools that just don't cut it (pun intended). That's why I am excited to share with you my curated list of the top 5 kitchen essentials that promise not just to enhance your culinary skills but also to do so without putting a dent in your wallet.

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Having the right tools in the kitchen is crucial for novice and experienced cooks alike. These 5 kitchen essentials can streamline your cooking process, enhance food preparation, and ensure culinary success. Now let's dive into the nitty gritty of why I love these 5 items and never cook without them.

Top 5 Kitchen Essentials:

When it comes to uniform slicing, the mandoline stands unrivaled. Among the plethora available, one brand consistently outshines the rest, becoming the go-to choice for restaurants and professional chefs alike. My loyalty isn’t to a name for its flashiness but for its unparalleled functionality. The compact design, enduring sharpness of the blade, and ease of cleaning are what make it indispensable in my kitchen.

Since 2016, my mandoline, with its original blades, has been an essential part of my culinary toolkit. Despite the array of blades it comes with, I gravitate towards the straight blade for its simplicity and safety. The other blades, while useful, pose a greater risk to nimble fingers. However, achieving the perfect julienne is still within reach. By setting it to my desired thickness and using a flat slice technique on my vegetables, I can then refine the cut with a knife to obtain precise results.


  • Durability and Precision: Crafted from handcrafted Japanese stainless steel blades and BPA-free plastic, this mandoline is built to last. It's been a steadfast companion in my kitchen, maintaining its sharpness and reliability year after year.

  • Versatility at Your Fingertips: It comes equipped with one fixed straight blade and three interchangeable blades - coarse, medium, and fine tooth. This range allows for wide slices, chunky cuts, and exceptionally narrow julienne strips, catering to all your culinary needs.

  • Customizable Options: Available in 3 sizes classic, super slicer, and extra wide as well as their old version

This mandoline is not just a tool; it's a gateway to elevating your culinary creations, ensuring every slice is a testament to precision and care.

The microplane, a slender yet powerful tool, has proven indispensable in my kitchen arsenal. Since 2013, it has been a constant companion in my culinary adventures, demonstrating remarkable resilience. Now, a decade later, I'm only beginning to consider the possibility of a replacement – a testament to its enduring quality and utility.

Ideal for grating parmesan to perfection, mincing ginger, shaving chocolate, and sprinkling nutmeg, the microplane's versatility extends even further. It excels in zesting citrus without reaching the bitter pith and transforming garlic into a fine paste. This tool is not just an accessory; it's a necessity that has earned its permanent spot in my knife roll and kitchen.

Microplane Zester

  • Unmatched Sharpness: Crafted in the USA from surgical-grade stainless steel, this microplane promises exceptional durability and rust-resistance. Its blades maintain their keen edge, ensuring precision in every zest and grate.

  • Ease of Cleaning: While it stands up to the dishwasher, I advocate for hand washing to preserve the blade's sharpness longer. A gentle scrub under warm water does the trick, keeping it ready for its next use.

Incorporating the microplane into your culinary routine can significantly enhance the flavors and textures of your dishes. Its reliability for consistent results makes it an invaluable tool for cooks aiming to elevate their kitchen craft.

Efficiency in the kitchen often comes down to having the right tools for the job, and the box grater stands out as a must-have for any cook. Its simplicity belies its versatility, making it a go-to for grating cheese, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, and more. When faced with smaller tasks that don't warrant the setup of a food processor, the box grater offers a hassle-free alternative.

Featuring four versatile sides - coarse, medium, and fine graters, plus a slicer - this tool caters to a variety of needs. Though I find myself primarily using the coarse and medium settings for most of my culinary projects, I reserve zesting and slicing for the microplane and mandoline, respectively. This strategic division of labor among my kitchen tools maximizes efficiency and outcome.

Box grater

  • Economic Efficiency: Priced at just $12.99, this box grater is a testament to the idea that you don't need to spend a lot to get a lot. It's capable of handling nearly all your grating and slicing requirements without breaking the bank.

  • Thoughtful Design: Designed with the user in mind, it features a contoured handle and a broad base that make grating even a dense block of cheese feel effortless. Additionally, the inclusion of a removable rubber bottom ensures stability on the countertop and keeps your grated ingredients contained.

  • Versatile: Featuring four sides - coarse, medium, and fine graters, plus a slicer - this tool caters to a variety of needs.

The Spring Chef Box Grater has been a valuable tool in my kitchen since 2018. The design not only stands as a testament to functional, economical kitchen design but also underscores the importance of simplicity and effectiveness in cooking tools. It proves that even the most basic utensils can have a significant impact on your cooking efficiency and enjoyment.

In the vast sea of kitchen gadgets, the Swiss peeler stands out for its simplicity and efficiency. The design that I keep gravitating towards comes in a convenient 3-pack, and here’s why having multiple peelers is a game-changer. Picture this: you're faced with peeling an ambitious amount of produce—be it 10 pounds of potatoes or a hefty bag of carrots. Having a few extra peelers means you can easily enlist the help of family or friends, turning a tedious task into a quick, communal activity.

But the magic of a good peeler doesn't stop at just potatoes and carrots. Its versatility extends far beyond what one might expect. Have you ever considered using a peeler for slicing hard cheeses, like parmesan, directly over a Caesar salad? Or effortlessly removing the peel from a mango, the tough exterior of a butternut squash, or crafting delicate carrot ribbons? The possibilities are endless.

Swiss Y vegetable peeler

All-Purpose Design: The Y peeler configuration is meticulously designed to handle both hard and soft fruits and vegetables, making it a versatile tool for any peeling task.

Razor-Sharp Efficiency: Equipped with carbon steel blades, this peeler ensures maximum smoothness in peeling with minimal waste, embodying efficiency in every swipe.

Maintenance Made Simple: Although dishwasher safe, hand washing this peeler with warm, soapy water is recommended to preserve its sharpness and longevity.

The Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler exemplifies kitchen efficiency, marrying form with function. Its ability to tackle a wide array of culinary tasks with ease makes it an indispensable tool in the kitchen. Whether you're preparing a feast or making a simple snack, these peelers prove that sometimes, the simplest tools are the most essential.

Expanding on the capabilities of the traditional microplane zester, the Microplane Gourmet Series Ribbon Grater stands out as an indispensable tool for culinary enthusiasts aiming to add both flavor and aesthetic appeal to their dishes.

This tool excels not only in slicing garlic but also in shaving thin, elegant ribbons of parmesan directly onto your dishes at the table. While mirroring the zester's functionalities, the ribbon grater takes it a step further by imparting a more textured and fine finish, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Ribbon grater microplane

  • Optimal for a Range of Ingredients: Specifically designed for soft to medium cheeses such as Gouda, Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack, this grater also works wonders on nuts, chocolates, coconut, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and onions. The result? Beautiful, ribbon-like textures that add an extra layer of complexity to any dish.

  • Precision and Durability: Proudly made in the USA, the ultra-sharp blades are crafted from high-grade US stainless steel, ensuring long-lasting performance and effortless grating.

  • Thoughtful Design: Featuring a non-slip base and frame, the grater guarantees stability during use. The ergonomic soft handle provides comfort, making the grating process a breeze.

  • Maintenance Made Easy: While it is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended to maintain the blade's sharpness over time, ensuring that your grater remains a key player in your kitchen arsenal for years to come.

The Microplane Gourmet Series Ribbon Grater is more than just a tool; it's a gateway to exploring new textures and flavors in cooking. Whether you’re garnishing a dish with delicate cheese ribbons or adding finely grated chocolate to your dessert, this grater is your ally in achieving culinary perfection.

Conclusion: 5 Must have kitchen tools for slicing, grating, and zesting

The right tools can transform a dish

In the culinary world, the right tools can transform cooking from a chore into a joy. The five kitchen essentials highlighted—mandoline, microplane zester, box grater, Swiss vegetable peeler, and the microplane gourmet series ribbon grater—represent the cornerstone of any efficient kitchen.

Each tool, with its unique capabilities, ensures that precision, ease, and versatility are at your fingertips, making meal preparation not just simpler but also more enjoyable. By investing in these affordable must-haves, you're not only elevating your cooking game but also ensuring that every dish you prepare is a testament to your culinary skills.

Remember, great cooking isn't just about the ingredients; it's also about how you bring them together. And with these tools, you're well-equipped to do just that.

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