Bad At Cooking? These Are The Cheap Must-Haves I Swear By Every Day

Psst, cooking newbies, this one's for you.
Super useful tools every cooking newbie needs
Super useful tools every cooking newbie needs

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I remember the first time I ever tried to cook something other than toast. I had no idea what I was doing, my chopping was disastrous and everything ended up a little charred. It’s safe to say the dish was a mess (and so was I, for that matter).

A few years on, I can safely say that I’m a confident (and fairly competent) cook, able to try my hand at most dishes. As part of my cooking journey, and in a bid to bolster and hone my cooking skills, I’ve tried and tested a hell of a lot of kitchen gadgets, tools and tech. And let me tell you, a lot of tools aren’t worth even trying.

That being said, while some tools really aren’t worth the cost – all they do is clutter up your kitchen – others are total lifesavers that I literally couldn’t cook without.

To give you an insight into the must-haves that really will enhance your cooking experience, I’ve rounded up a few game-changing best buys.

These easy peasy egg poachers
For getting perfectly poached eggs every time, these food-grade, heat-proof silicone poaching pouches work a treat.
These silicone spatulas
For cooking, my go-to tools are always silicone. They're easy to use, are heat-proof, non-stick, and are super versatile. Plus, unlike wooden cooking tools they don't absorb smells, which can totally ruin a dish. (I once mixed up brownie batter using a wooden spoon I'd previously used for curry and the end result was rather disappointing.)
These handy measuring cups
Kitchen scales are great but they can be fiddly and take up a lot of space, which is where these space-saving measuring cups come in. I have a set of these at home that I use day in, day out for almost every recipe.
This handy herb stripper
If you like to cook with fresh herbs, then this easy-to-use herb stripper – which also doubles as a dicer – is super useful to have.
These reusable silicone baking cases
For baking cupcakes these are ideal, but it's not just sweet treats you can use these little cases for. They're also great for making bite sized pies and mini quiche cups, ideal for lunches or snacks.
This mini slow cooker
For cooking from fresh every single day, a slow cooker is a must. This mini cooker serves two people and can be used to make all sorts of meals, from curries and stews to crumbles and cakes. All you have to do is throw the ingredients in, turn on, wait a few hours, and voilà, dinner is served.
This handy microwave pasta cooker
Who knew you could microwave pasta? Well, it turns out you can, and this large capacity cooking pot works a total treat, making pasta cooking a hell of a lot quicker (and easier too).
These silicone food storage bags
Whether you're storing leftover pasta sauce or microwaving your lunch, these food-grade silicone bags are ideal. They're both dishwasher and microwave-safe and are completely leak-proof.
This mini veg spiralizer
If you're looking for a lower carb alternative to pasta, a sprializer can turn all of your favourite veggies into a delicious pasta alternative. (I have one of these and it is brilliant!)
This handy slicer
For quicker and easier slicing, a mandolin can be super helpful. Whether you're chopping fries, grating carrot, or slicing cucumber, this ultra useful tool will make life a hell of a lot easier.
This multi-purpose bread making tool
What I love about this silicone bread maker is that it can be used for the entirety of the bread making process, from mixing to baking. Honestly, this little tool is a game-changer when it comes to bread.
These leftover freezing cubes
For storing leftovers, these silicone cubes (that come complete with lids) are fantastic. Simply pop any excess food into them, put the lid on, and freeze. Think of them like ice cube trays but for food.
These heat-proof silicone pan lids
Whether you're using a milk pan or a wok, these reusable silicone lids are a total godsend. With five sizes, the lids should fit any pan – even a frying pan – which makes them a super useful buy.
This easy-to-use oil dispensing brush
When you're cooking, the last thing you want is to accidentally pour too much oil into the pan, which is where this handy little decanter brush comes in. It's also ideal for gently brushing the pan with oil to make sure every inch is coated.
These space-saving cooking mats
I love that these hard-wearing, cut-proof mats can be easily slipped into even the smallest space. On a food hygiene note, the colour coding makes them super easy to work with.