Gimme Some Oven

My 20 Favorite Kitchen Tools Under $20

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Food blogger Ali Ebright (from Gimme Some Oven) shares her favorite useful and affordable kitchen tools, all $20 or less! |

Hi friends!

Today I thought I’d take a break from sharing a recipe, and instead, share with you a little behind-the-scenes tour of the favorite kitchen tools and gadgets I use to make my recipes.

I regularly receive emails from readers asking for product recommendations, which is why I opened up our shop this year with links to just about everything in my kitchen. But lately, I seem to be hearing from more of you who are creating wedding registries, or shopping to stock your kitchen for the first time, and are wondering what items are actually useful and worth the investment. If you’ve been down the kitchen tools and gadgets aisle at the store anytime recently, there’s no doubt that the options out there nowadays are overwhelming (and mostly unnecessary, if you ask me). But there are a few new tools that have surprised me over the past few years, and also some instances where I’ve learned it’s better to splurge, and others where it’s totally cool to save.

So if any of you are interested, here are 20 of my current favs with explanations for why I love them!

Update: Also be sure to check out My 10 Favorite Small Kitchen Appliances post too, if you’re interested!


Lime Chef'n Fresh Force Lime Juicer |

Chef’n Fresh Force Lime Juicer — My food blogging friend, Kathryne, insisted that I had to upgrade my flimsy metal lime juicer last year. And I am thankful every time I use this one that I did. It is a bit of a splurge, for sure, but it is so strong and will squeeze out every last drop of lime juice like a pro. Worth every penny. That said, if you also use a lot of lemons, I’d probably recommend buying the lemon juicer instead (because it will juice both lemons and limes). But for under $20, I can’t recommend this one enough. (Especially for any of you as obsessed with homemade margaritas as I am. I know you’re out there…)

Large & Small Scoops |

Large & Small Scoops — These used to be known as ice cream scoops and melon-ballers. But cooks nowadays know that you can use these scoops for so much more. I regularly use them to perfectly fill cupcake/muffin cups with batter (both regular-sized and mini). I also use them to scoop out evenly-sized no bake energy bites or whiskey chocolate truffles or meatballs. But I also use them for their modern namesake — cookies galore. Definitely great multipurpose kitchen tools, and I recommend having one of each size.

Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop

Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop — This is another one that I think is worth a slight splurge. This brand of ice cream scoop works like a charm, even on really hard ice cream. And the design of it feels comfortable in your hand along the way. Bonus? It’s also dishwasher safe.

OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatulas |

OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatulas (various sizes) — I’ve owned many a rubber/silicone spatula over the years, but this line of spatulas from OXO is by far my favorite, and I own at least one in every size. Mostly, I just love them because the top won’t fall off of the handle!!! They’re also easy to hold with the black grip, and the bright colors make them easy to spot in my drawer. As opposed to wooden-handled spatulas, they’re also dishwasher-safe.

OXO Softworks Pepper Grinder |

OXO Softworks Pepper Grinder — Last year, I asked a bunch of food bloggers to give recommendations on their favorite pepper grinders that produced a super-coarse and super-fine grind. I was expecting all sorts of expensive brands. But the #1 favorite? This $17 grinder from OXO. It may not be the prettiest, but I use it every single day and am always impressed by its performance. If you love pepper as much as I do, I totally recommend it!

EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale

EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale — I’m always amazed at how often I use a kitchen scale, but I think that part of that is truly due to the fact that this one is so lightweight and small and easy to grab! There are fancier and more expensive ones on the market, but I’ve been using this $19 scale for about 5 years, and absolutely love it. Whether it’s measuring out the weight of my coffee beans, or the right amount of pasta (from my giant Costco-sized portions), or the perfect amount of flour for a recipe, I’m regularly thankful that I have this little scale nearby.

Kuhn Rikon Paring Knives |

Kuhn Rikon Paring Knives — I’ll be the first to admit that I learned the value of splurging on good knives a few years ago. But when it comes to paring knives, these inexpensive and colorful knives from Kuhn Rikon can’t be beat. They cut and peel and chop impressively well, they each come with a matching sheath for safe storage (also good for packing in a lunchbox if needed), and you can pop them in the dishwasher and they’ll still come out nice and sharp! I keep a few on hand for different purposes and love them.

SurLaTable Measuring Spoons |

SurLaTable Measuring Spoons — If you happen to be in the market for new measuring spoons, I’ve grown partial to this set from Sur La Table. They’re pretty and made from stainless steel, so you can pop them in the dishwasher without worrying. But more than anything, I just love them because they’re nice and skinny and long, which means they’ll actually fit into your spice jars! Brilliant.

OXO Softworks Box Grater |

OXO Softworks Box Grater — I used an old vintage box grater for years, and then finally switched to this one (after the handle on the other one fell off, ha!), and I’m so glad I did. It may seem insignificant, but having a comfortable handle when you’re grating a bunch of cheese or veggies really does make a big difference. And having a nice little container to catch the food? Also helpful! Both are dishwasher-safe, too.

Pre-Cut Parchment Baking Sheet Liners |

Pre-Cut Parchment Baking Sheet Liners — I don’t know if this one counts as a kitchen “tool”, but I had to include these pre-cut parchment liners on here. After years and years of ripping jagged parchment off the rolls, my friend, Heidi, introduced me to the brilliance of parchment sheets that are pre-cut to fit into a basic baking sheet. And I’ve never looked back since. They are so, so, so convenient. And when purchased from this shop on Amazon, I think they’re even cheaper than the rolls.

Oil Mister |

Oil Mister — There are many different brands of oil misters out on the market now, and the three that I’ve tried all work equally well, so go with whatever you find first. I just recommend that every cook have one! Oil misters are super easy to use (just fill with your desired oil, pump them to build up pressure, and then spray on your food), and they are great at helping eliminate unnecessary excess oil in recipes. I use mine to spray pans before cooking, mist veggies and proteins before roasting, and sometimes even fill it with a (non-chunky) salad dressing to evenly-mist my salad. Definitely a helpful and environmentally friendly (aerosol-free!) tool to keep on hand.

OXO Julienne Peeler |

OXO Julienne Peeler — If you’re looking for a quick and easy tool to shred veggies, this little guy is for you. I use mine regularly to shredded carrots for salads, turn zucchini into zoodles, and shred potatoes for hashbrowns. Definitely a cheaper alternative to spiralizer (although I love mine too), and this brand is nice and sharp.

OXO Digital Instant-Read Thermometer |

OXO Digital Instant-Read Thermometer — I don’t do too much cooking that requires a cooking thermometer. But when I do, I’m super thankful to have this instant-read one on hand. It’s super quick and easy to use, nice and small, and it’s more affordable than many others out on the market.

OXO Horizontal Peeler |

OXO Horizontal Peeler — I tend to use this Y (horizontal) peeler much more than my vertical peeler. It easily skins just about any kind of produce, and also does a great job at making vegetable “ribbons”. Definitely a good kitchen basic, and I love the OXO one because it’s easy to hold and it’s nice and sharp.

OXO Cherry & Olive Pitter |

OXO Cherry & Olive Pitter — I usually have a policy of not wanting to accumulate kitchen gadgets that only serve one purpose. But if you happen to like fresh cherries (or olives), this pitter really is worth every penny. It pits like a pro — super efficiently and pretty darn accurately — and makes cherry season all the more delicious. :)

Microplane Grater / Zester |

Microplane Grater / Zester — Definitely one of my all-time favorite kitchen tools. I’m pretty sure my mom gave me mine for Christmas when I graduated from college, and I still have it and love it and use it constantly. It’s perfect for all of your citrus zesting needs, and I also use mine regularly to grate everything from nutmeg to Parmesan to garlic to ginger to chocolate and beyond. A “must” for every new cook, and Microplane is the best!

Jumbo Silicone Ice Tray |

Jumbo Silicone Ice Tray — Also not entirely sure this one counts as a kitchen “tool”, but I had to include it. If you like making cocktails — or really, any drink that you don’t want diluted with quickly-melting ice — then these jumbo ice trays are essential. The make big ol’ blocks of ice that serve the double purpose of looking lovely in your drink, and also cooling it down without immediately watering it down. And the silicone makes it easy to pop them out of the tray in a flash. I own silicone ice molds in a few different sizes, and enjoy using them regularly. They make ice so much fun!

Tongs |

OXO Stainless & Nylon Tongs — Every cook needs a good pair (or two) of tongs, and these ones are (by far) my favorite. The nylon grip prevents them from getting too hot to handle, and the clamp lets you lock them for more compact storage. They come in this regular size and a longer size, and I own and regularly use them both.

Bodum French Press |

Bodum French Press — Ahhh, my beloved French press. I’ve owned a couple of these over the years, and this plastic/glass version from Bodum seems to have outlasted the others by a mile. It’s well made, it’s dishwasher-safe, and it makes delicious French press coffee like a pro. Many different sizes are available, but this one is the best deal for under $20.

Wilton Cake Leveler |

Wilton Cake Leveler — Ok, if you don’t bake layer cakes, disregard this one. But if you do, this cake leveler probably wins my award for the Seems-Totally-Unnecessary-But-Is-Actually-A-Lifesaver item on this list. It’s $10, and you can easily store it somewhere with your baking stuff. And then once the time comes to level out a cake (these strips can help too, but won’t get it perfect), whip out the cake leveler, adjust it to your desired height, and then — boom — its tiny serrated blade will level out the cake so that it’s perfectly flat on top and ready for frosting, stacking, you name it. You can try to do the same with a serrated knife, but I’m tellin’ ya, this leveler is easier and is accurate for me every time.

Alrighty, so those are my favorites. Do you have any of your favorite kitchen tools to add to the list?

 (This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.)

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27 comments on “My 20 Favorite Kitchen Tools Under $20”

  1. Ohhhh those precut parchment baking sheet liners! That is so convenient for a lazy/clumsy person like me :) And that cake leveller would be cool to own to make layered cakes. Many good tools!

  2. I totally agree – that microplane zester is the best! I use mine constantly, especially this time of year (aka. #citruseverything) :) 

  3. I have several of these but I just bought the Chef’n Fresh lemon juicer and it has changed my life!  I used to think “oh I can just use my hand, I don’t need any fancy tools!” but it is amazing at getting ALL of the juice out and saves time since I don’t have to try and squeeze everything, keep the seeds out and wipe off my hands.  

  4. oooooh.. those measuring spoons look perfect. I HATE that mine don’t fit inside the spice jars. I always end up making a mess :)

    The Midwest Darling

  5. Awesome roundup! I’m on a college student budget so being able to find items under $20 is always a bonus! :) Definitely need that kitchen scale to up the quality in my baked goods!

  6. I love the precut parchment! I’ve never seen the cookie sheet version but our local bakers supply carries pre-cut cake pan parchment rounds. I would add herb scissors to this list! Best invention ever.

  7. Pre-cut sheets are a lifesaver! Haha. 

    Also, going to have to grab those Sur la Table measuring spoons. Im’ tired of nothing fitting into what I’m measuring out. 

  8. I had no idea an oil mister existed, but boy that is exactly what I need!! Planning on ordering it today – that little thing is going to solve so many problems! 

  9. I definitely agree with the cherry pitter. I’ve tried so many times just using a straw (doesn’ t work) or slicing in half and digging out the pit (makes a mess and butchers the fruit). I bought mine at Target for about $12. Worth every penny.

  10. I have got to try the oil mister for sure!  My favorite kitchen tool is the garlic press.  I am crazy about it!  I use it for making dressings and adding garlic to marinades.  When we feel a bit under the weather, we add pressed garlic to echinacea tea.  LOL! Xoxo, Ester

  11. I love my microplane! I use it for everything!

  12. Must have tools in every kitchen. Most of the tools in this article makes certain simple tasks super easy and perfectly accurate. My kitchen is missing few tools mentioned in the list and I am going to complete my kitchen asap.

  13. Definitely second that rec for the Bodum French Press! It’s changed my coffee-drinking life!

  14. I LOVE my garlic press. Almost every savory recipe I make starts with garlic, and I can never seem to chop the cloves fine enough with a knife so they melt right into the dish.

  15. The box grater looks awesome I’m currently struggling with the old style grater myself.

    Thanks for sharing! 


  16. I’d never thought about the benefits of a kitchen scale, but after reading your section on what you use yours for, I’m sold. A lot of times, kitchen utensils seem pretty superfluous, but when they’re cheap, my reaction is pretty much “why not?!” This list is fantastic at showing things that I think would be awesome, but not break the bank. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yeah, we actually use it more than you would think! And you’re welcome, we’re glad you enjoyed the list! :)

  17. I went to your shop I love the utility cart especially in the dark gray.
    I also wanted the book stand but they are not selling it anymore.
    You have a lot of good things in the shop.

    • Thanks for checking it out! We’re actually in the process of updating it, so stay tuned! :)

  18. Precut Parchment is the best – never going back to the rip and tear stuff.

    And I love my Hamiliton Beach coffee/Spice grinder that lets you adjust how fine or coarse you want it ground. And I would add a good pair of kitchen scissors as I use kitchen scissors at least once a week if not more. Going to get that lime juicer because mojito season is all the time now.

  19. I bet you can buy all these from eBay for under $100. Damn, I love the globalism :)

  20. I just bought the Chef’n Fresh Force Lemon Juicer…and you were totally right. Especially for the girl who loves Asian food (lime and cilantro are always a must in my cooking) and a good homemade lemonade or iced tea, this one was so worth it!

  21. Excellent list! Thank you for sharing!

  22. This a cute collection of kitchen gadgets! And even cuter when all of them are under 20! I could use some cute measuring spoon and spatula. I have been opting online shopping lately, I mean I do online shopping a lot too before but now it’s on a different scale! Just to minimized the stress being in the crowd, I shop online to for my kitchen! Thank you for the cute selections! Maybe check us out too, thank you!

  23. Such an awesome collection of kitchen gadgets. You can’t beat a good french press. Measuring spoons are a life saver in our home too as we love trying a little bit of baking.

  24. Brilliant list and have to say that I could really do with some of these pretty cool and chic equipment in my
    kitchen. Love the pepper grinder and the oil mister. A thermometer is one of the lest used items in the
    kitchen when it should be the most considering meats and water temperature needs to be perfect for most
    preparations. Kitchen gadgets are always so fun.