Listed alphabetically below are kitchen essentials I cannot live without, that are important to me (and worth the moolah). Have a read and see what your kitchen might be missing. Most are pretty basic, but there are a couple of really special items that an ambitious foodie may desire. In most cases, I have sourced the best value-for-money items, but feel free to browse amazon and select one that suits your budget (it always helps to read the reviews). For the UK readers, the links in bold will direct you to Amazon.co.uk. For USA (and other countries), there are links to the same / or similar items available in your country.
Baking Parchment Paper
Anyone that likes to make any of the fathead-type creations should have a roll of baking parchment paper. It is essential when rolling the ‘dough’ in the Fathead Dough Pizzas, as well as rolling the sensational Fathead Ham & Gruyere Rolls. I needed it when forming my Coconut Flour Wraps and my Keto Nachos, as well as when I piped my Berry Meringue Baskets. Too many recipes examples to list here: simply put, its a must for any kitchen and easily available at your local store.
Baking Trays / Sheets
Used to cook meat or vegetables in the oven, I cannot live without mine and I have a variety of sizes and depths. Funnyman uses it when he makes his famous Mark’s Pepper Chicken and I also use it to roast vegetable side dishes like Coconut-roasted Cauliflower, Coconut-roasted Broccoli or Balsamic Roasted Asparagus. Most importantly though, having a nice big one is handy for making Keto Cloud Bread or even sweet treats like when I needed to pipe plenty of Mini Meringues. Having a variety of sizes and depths is handy as you will use them alot.
I am originally from South Africa and get a lot of pleasure from making my own biltong. I invested in a Sunbeam® biltong maker several years ago after moving to the UK, and what a smart move that was! I use the Freddy Hirsch spice (see In my Keto Pantry for that link) and churn the good stuff out often because they make excellent keto snacks. Biltong is essentially dried meat but differs from jerky that I have sampled around the world so I have to go on record and say its not the same thing. The UK link below will take you to the exact make-and-model I use, however the US link only will only bring up basic dehydrators, which aren’t really suitable for hanging meat, but will do the job of drying thinner strips to make jerky. (Sorry guys, you will have to come and visit us across the pond and invest in a real biltong maker!) See my Homemade South African Biltong recipe to help you get started making your own.
Bread baking tin (18 x 9cm / 7-in x 3.5-in)
I realise my bread baking tin is a little smaller than the regular large “bread size” we are familiar with, but it was the perfect size to make my Keto Mixed Seed Loaf and Olive & Sun-dried Tomato Loaf.
Cake Server / Slicer
Just because you have given up cakes, tarts and cheesecake doesn’t mean you will never need a cake server / slicer again. I make plenty of keto-friendly tarts, cakes and different-flavoured cheesecakes where this little utensil is necessary to slice and serve. I have several and even started collecting a couple of antique ones. For some inspiration, have a look at this Keto Lime Cheesecake Tart – its lush!
Cake / Pie Stand
As mentioned above, just because you have given up sweet treats doesn’t mean you should toss out your cake stands. Have at least one pretty one in your home when you whip out your creations. They will make cheesecake, tart or even keto cupcakes and muffins look extra special. Besides, you have put so much effort and dedication in your low-carb cooking, you may as well fluff out your tail feathers and present it beautifully. For some dessert inspiration, check out my Blueberry Keto Cheesecake.
Casserole with lid
Also known as Self-basting Roasters, mine is an essential item in my kitchen. Large enough to cook a large joint, the reason I love it is because of its well-fitting lid. This is important when I slow-cook meat in a stock with onions to make a keto-friendly gravy afterwards. This is where I can showcase my keto gravies, so if you want to try my Pork Shank with Mustard Gravy , Pork Belly with Keto Gravy or Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder – you need this casserole. When I am not being fancy slow-roasting joints, we use it daily to bring the meat off the braai (and I guarantee every South African has one in their kitchen already..)
I haven’t become that adventurous that I have made my own cheese (yet), but cheesecloth is great to have on hand for fine straining, like I needed to do when I made Beurre Noisette (Browned Butter) to remove and discard the milk solids. It can also be used to squeeze all the moisture from vegetables like I needed to do when making my Cauliflower-crust Pizza or when I needed all the moisture removed from the grated courgettes before cooking the Courgette Cheese Fritters with Spicy Tomato Relish. (Muslin works just as well and I have also listed it below with the same recipe examples.)
Funnyman bought me a Robert Welch® Chef Knife after I graduated from culinary school many years ago and I struggle to find the words to describe how much I love it. It still lives in its protective box and I sharpen it daily with pride. No one is allowed to use it (not even Mark – unless he wants me to use it on him) and it gets hidden when housesitters stay. It was with me when all the most important things happened to me in my culinary career: I whipped it out on my first day as a development chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck (sorry, I had to name-drop there); it comes with me every day (and every year) I private chef for Grigor Dimitrov over the Wimbledon Tournament (apologies, I name-dropped again); it prepared a lot of the food you see in the photos of Joe Wick’s 30-minute meals book where I worked with the food styling team (whoops, did it again) and I use it a thousand times a day doing what I love most: cooking for Funnyman at home! (It has also sliced into my flesh many times if I cook while sipping a G-and-sugar-free-T, but it’s forgiven because I probably deserved it #RespectTheKnife.) As a foodie yourself reading this, you may have a knife you love, BUT if you don’t, I can’t stress enough how important it is having a good-quality knife. Invest in one or put it on your birthday or Christmas wish list – and when you do: try a Robert Welch® – you won’t regret it (and you may as well get the set, because you will use them all.) I don’t need to give any recipe examples here, I use my trusty Robert Welch® Chef’s Knife and Paring Knife in just about every single thing I make. (Interesting side note: If you cry when you cut onions, its because your knife needs sharpening. Please invest in a good-quality sharpener too – there are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to sharpen your knife properly.)
I love konjac / shirataki ‘noodles’ and feature them in many of my recipes. I mostly use the ‘fettuccine’ shape, but the noodle/spaghetti shape features often too if the recipe calls for something Asian-inspired. Funnyman struggles with chopsticks and steers clear of them (our first sushi date was pure hilarity), but I always use chopsticks at home when eating my konjac dishes that are Asian-influenced. (Maybe its just me, but it makes the whole experience far more authentic.) If you don’t already have a set, now is a good time to get inexpensive ones so you can enjoy dishes like Low-carb Pho Bo, Prawn Curry with Cherry Tomatoes or Coconut-milk Poached Salmon even more.
Every home needs a colander. How else will you drain your boiled cauliflower before mashing to perfection and making Keto Creamy Cauliflower Mash, or cooking your Brussels sprouts before tossing in Beurre Noisette, creating Brown-buttered Brussels Sprouts? Its also essential when making Bone Broth to drain the bones (before sucking out the glorious marrow of course #CooksPrivilege). Many uses here and not enough space on the page: just make sure you have one.
I lined my 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake cases when I made my Keto Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes. They are also handy when making the Keto Breakfast Bacon & Egg ‘Muffin’s because we all know eggs are notorious for sticking to muffin trays. I prefer a simple white, but there are many pretty colours available.
Deep-based, Casserole Dish (large)
Having a large, deep-based dish that can be used on the stove top and in the oven .. AND is non-stick is a fantastic investment. I may not use mine as much as you think (given how I am punting it here), but I take it along with me on private-cheffing gigs all the time and I KNOW its essential when cooking some of my dishes that serve a family. Frying something on the stove top then simply popping it in the oven afterwards is essential in some of my dishes, plus it makes for less washing up. Invest in one if you want to make my Spicy Low-carb Zuppa Toscana or something similar.
Dessert Serving Bowls
I am all about presentation and if you are too, these lovely little dessert bowls are a delightful way to serve ice cream or chocolate mousse in place of uninspiring bowls. I used these exact (UK) ones in my ‘Turkish Delight’ White Chocolate Mousse dessert (yummy), but they would be ideal to serve my Low-carb Chocolate Mousse or my Keto Coconut Ice Cream.
Doner Kebab Grill
I haven’t posted my recipe yet, but Oh. My. Gosh – these mini doner kebab grills are the bomb! I love mine and have made some exceptional chicken dinners using it. It sits comfortably on the kitchen counter top and rotates for a few glorious hours, doing what it does best. Not only is it a conversation piece and a novelty at a chilled dinner party, but it makes really delicious meat dishes. Watch this space as I have chicken and lamb recipes coming soon using it – along with fantastic keto-friendly marinades and accompanying sauces.
Electric Hand Mixer
Essential when a regular whisk won’t do, I needed my (inexpensive) hand mixer when whipping up egg-whites for my Mini Meringues Bites, Berry Meringue Baskets and Keto Cloud Bread. I also needed it to make the perfect batter for the Keto Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes. More than this, its how you make whipped cream (like in the Keto Lime Cheesecake Tart or the Keto Blueberry Cheesecake. Essential.
Electric Indoor BBQ Grill
Funnyman and I LOVE TO BRAAI (South African word for BBQ). We now permanently reside in the UK (and recently became British citizens – can I hear a whoop-whoop?) but still braai as often as we can. In fact, we import our wood from South Africa and do it properly! However, our tough South African skins have softened slightly and we no longer boast about braaing-in-any-kind-of-weather. So, on the impossibly chilly winter nights, we use an electric indoor grill, mostly to enjoy our favourite midweek meal: Peppered Lamb Ribs. It may not impart the lovely flavour that only cooking over wood can, but it serves its purpose and we love it.
Escargot (snails) Serving Dish
If you are going to do something – do it right. If you plan on making one of the most visited recipes on this site: Keto Garlic Snails (Escargot), be sure to serve it in the dishes we all fondly remember from the eighties. I would have suggested the actual shells, but these are far easier to clean and there is more surface-area for that glorious Gruyere to melt over. Simply superb!
Egg-Lifter / Turner (Silicon)
You likely already have one of these (and if you don’t, I can’t help but wonder how you have been turning your fried eggs?) I love silicon utensils as they won’t scratch my pots and pans. If you have only a stainless steel one and wish to take care of your cooking set: go silicon. It’s hardy enough to scrape the crispy, delicious bits from the bottom of your pan. It won’t melt (like some poor-quality plastic ones some one-dollar stores still sell!!) and they won’t scratch your beautiful Teflon/T-fal pans. They do more than just turn fried eggs, they flip almost any meat or fish you are cooking on the stove-top – especially the delicate ones that can’t be turned with tongs.
If you are as anal as I am and love grill marks on your chicken or steak, invest in a good-quality non-stick griddle pan. It’s not only used for meat, but also great for getting beautiful char-marks on sliced vegetables like sliced courgettes or red/green peppers (before adding to a keto warm side salad). Funnyman uses it every time he makes our steak dinner and it does the job perfectly.
Hand (Stick) Blender
Essential for blitzing soups, like my Courgette and Brie Soup, or sauces like my Roasted Tomato Sauce, mine comes in most handy when creating my keto gravies. Have a look at these recipes for inspiration: Pork Belly with Keto Gravy, Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder or Pork Shank with Mustard Keto Gravy. A handy piece of equipment that blitzes mixture while they are still in the pot, making for less cleaning up.
Ice Cream Maker
A very ambitious investment, but until the stores can offer us a clean, keto ice cream – we will have to do with making our own. I have made a Creamy Coconut Ice Cream using it and have many more recipes coming up in time for summer. Watch this space!
Ice Cube Trays
Invest in a spare set of simple ice cube trays to set your Concentrated Beef Stock into handy little cubes. After a few hours in the fridge, the gelatine present in the stock will have set to a firm jelly which you can then pop out, wrap and freeze for easy, clean homemade stock pots. Genius.
Kitchen Knife Sharpener
Hopefully you have invested in a sharpener to keep your most important utensil working best. If not, there are plenty available online and in stores – just be sure that the one you end up investing in is safe, easy to use and comes with instructions to ensure you sharpen your knives properly.
Kitchen Paper Towels
I simply cannot live without kitchen paper towels, and I can’t imagine anyone that can. I have two rolls in my kitchen at all times: a cheap, smaller roll as well as a large, excellent-quality extra-absorbent roll. I will highlight the latter one here as I use it in food preparation. Examples mostly include patting dry steaks and fish after removing it from the store packaging (you don’t want to fry a moist protein because you won’t get a good crust) or placing my blanched vegetables on to fully dry before tossing in butter (Buttered Asparagus with Parmesan). Its also handy when defrosting items, like I did with my seafood selection in Low-carb Spicy Moroccan Seafood.
For UK readers, buy kitchen paper towels online here; for USA (and other countries), find it online here.
Probably the most important item on this list! You need not buy a fancy one: just a reliable, good-quality one. Mine lives permanently on the kitchen island as I use it numerous times a day (I develop recipes for clients all over the world by trade) so it has to be reliable. I do not use ‘cups’ in my cooking because they simply are not accurate. If my years spent with Heston has taught me one thing: it’s accuracy. I develop and create my recipes using kitchen scales, and they should be followed using scales. Please get one because #ScalesDon’tLie
A little bit of a pretentious item, these are great for precision plating, like if you want to place micro-herbs onto a dish in little strategic places. I don’t imagine any of you are like that (I am not), but they were great to have on hand when I removed the seeds and inner flesh from my jalapenos before stuffing. See my Keto Jalapeno Poppers recipe for some inspiration. If you like the idea, I would just as easily suggest you find a regular pair from Boots and keep them in the kitchen drawer far away from your eyebrows..
Ice Lolly / Popsicle Moulds
I have a VERY happy husband because I bought an inexpensive set of lolly moulds a while back. Funnyman loves his sweet treats, so I spend 5 minutes a week whipping up a batch of lollies for him to enjoy after dinner most nights. Check out some of my creations where I got inventive with easily-available ingredients: Tart Berry Yogurt Lollies, Raspberry Rosewater Lollies, Creamy Coconut Popsicles and (his favourite) my famous Keto Blueberry Lollies. The ones I use are 100ml/3.4 fl. oz) so be sure to find ones similar in size.
Loose-bottomed, Fluted Tart Tin (18cm/7-in diameter)
I used an 18cm/7in diameter fluted tart tin to make the incredible Keto Lime Cheesecake as well as the Low-carb Chocolate and Raspberry Tart. I feature a delicious tart base in that recipe, so do check it out and play around with different-flavoured cheesecake fillings (and if you don’t, don’t worry – I will!) If you haven’t already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, please do so – so that you never miss a recipe (link for subscribing appears on every single recipe post, so visit any one and enter your details).
This is a strange one because I advise using a mandolin in my very popular Keto Celeriac Dauphinoise to get the celeriac very thin. But, truth be told: I avoid a mandolin like the plague. I was one of those adults that patted myself on the back for being responsible using the guard, but then I would ditch the guard when I was left with the last, tiny piece – and lose a finger tip in lieu. My knife (mentioned above) is super sharp and my experience and patience allows me to manually slice even, paper thin pieces, which is what I personally do. However, if you prefer to use a mandolin, invest in a decent quality one and please use the guard AT ALL TIMES.
As mentioned throughout the site, I do not develop my recipes using ‘cups’ as its far too inaccurate. (I weigh ingredients and advise you do too.) However, measuring spoons are different as they are either done scooping small amounts of dry ingredients like ground spices or baking powder, but also liquids like tamari, olive oil or even water. Using your household cutlery may not be accurate as your ‘teaspoons’ and ‘tablespoons’ in your fancy, trendy cutlery set may not be as accurate as proper measuring spoons. I develop using them (and calculate macros using them), so you should follow recipes using them. A dead-cheap, plastic set will do the job, but I prefer a set that is dishwasher-friendly and will last a lifetime. Choose a set that fits your budget.
Meat Thermometer Probe
Nobody wants to eat under-cooked chicken. If you don’t trust the old-fashioned advice of “piercing the chicken until the juices run clear”, I suggest you invest in a meat thermometer probe. It’s accurate and will tell you exactly what (safe) temperature your meat is at. The key is to insert it in the centre of the thickest part of your meat (and not too close to the bone). You will enjoy succulent meat that won’t make you ill. Check the temperatures specified on the recipes – and remember that temperatures increase for at least 4-5 minutes after being removed from the heat. Its a small investment if you care about your cooking. This is Funnyman’s time to shine as he uses it in Mark’s Famous Pepper Chicken.
Medium-size Cast Iron Skillet
I used a cast iron skillet to create the delicious Eggs baked in Spinach (a ‘romantic’, one-pan breakfast that you can eat straight from the pan with your loved one), but my favourite use of it is in my Creamy Baked Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes (probably one of my favourite creations ever!). They do the job perfectly of cooking on the hob, then popping in the oven. Just be sure that you clean and treat them well: a cast-iron skillet will last a lifetime.
I love my microplane with it’s bright pink handle. (I think I recall getting it as a gift from a colleague many years ago.) It will very finely grate lemon and limes for that all-essential zest. I used it to grate lime zest for my Keto Lime Cheesecake; grated lemon in my Lemon Homemade Mayonnaise and Keto Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes; and used it plenty for my Low-carb Chicken and Oregano Bake. It can also be used to finely grated Parmesan like I needed to do in my Buttered Asparagus with Parmesan.
Mini Food Processor
Having a large food processor is handy, but I admit I never use mine. I do, however, use my mini processor a lot and that may be just because I cook in smaller amounts (no kids). If you are like me and prefer to make meals for 2-3 people, you would do well investing in an inexpensive mini food processor (called a ‘chopper’ in US). Sometimes a larger one is just too big and won’t help if you needed to make a batch of Homemade Basil Pesto, Vegan Cashew Nut ‘Cheese’ Sauce or my delicious Creamy Cauliflower Mash. Do check out the links in the “hand blender” above and browse amazon, because many hand blenders come with a mini chopper thrown in. Two bird with one stone..
Mini Cast-iron Skillets
These mini cast-iron pans may be a bit of a luxurious (non-essential) investment, but how else will you create the cute individual servings of my Shakshuka? I take very good care of my little pans and clean them properly so that I can spoil house guests with a fancy-pants breakfast…
Mini Pudding (Dariole) Moulds
These mini pudding moulds were used when I created my little Salmon & Cream Cheese Domes. They helped shape them perfectly to create a lovely, fresh appetiser. They are inexpensive, and I will be using them in future development (I am working on a creme ‘caramel’.) <- Watch this space.
Just about everyone on the internet makes their Bulletproof Coffee in a blender and I cannot imagine why anyone would welcome extra things to clean. The only important thing to get right when making BPC is to get the fats of MCT oil and cream (or butter) emulsified in the hot coffee. This can easily be done by using a mini whisk and a drop of boiling hot water before popping in your coffee pod and finishing your morning cuppa. My coffees are smooth, creamy, frothy and perfectly emulsified, so I must be doing something right? Er… its also a case of a £2 mini whisk vs a £50 blender…
Having several mixing bowls in various sizes is an essential addition to any kitchen. In so many cases – especially when baking – you need to get dry mixes ready in one and wet mixes ready in the other (before combining). It also helps when weighing items on your kitchen scale. Some examples where I need several mixing bowls at hand include all my fathead recipes like Ham & Gruyere Rolls or Mini Rosemary Keto Rolls; cheesecake recipes like Keto Blueberry Cheesecake or Keto Lime Cheesecake Tart – and the ol’ Best Ever Brownies.
Muffin Tray (12-cup)
You may already have a 12-cup muffin tray kicking about, but if you don’t you will need one to make the Keto Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes or the Keto Breakfast Bacon & Egg ‘Muffins’. I have many more cupcake and muffin ideas to share, so invest in one please as they are inexpensive.
Keeping a roll of muslin kicking about is handy when you need to strain things and you don’t have a fine mesh sieve (like when making a Beurre Noisette (Browned Butter) to remove and discard the milk solids). It can also be used to squeeze all the moisture from vegetables like I needed to do when making my Cauliflower-crust Pizza or when I needed all the moisture removed from the grated courgettes before cooking the Courgette Cheese Fritters with Spicy Tomato Relish. (Cheesecloth works just as well and I have also listed it above with the same recipe examples.)
Pastry / Bowl Scraper
I use my pastry scraper for two things: to scrape all the batter and dough mix from bowls (ensuring no waste); and for gently nudging along the fathead dough in delicate situations like rolling them into (the awesome) Ham & Gruyere Rolls. The fathead dough is not a traditional ‘dough’, its tricky to work with – but can be easily manipulated. You would require something flat and ‘blunt’ to scrape and roll the dough bit-by-bit in the above-mentioned recipe and I found my pastry scraper to be the perfect tool.
Pestle and Mortar
Every good cook should be flashing a beautiful pestle and mortar set in their kitchen – but its not just for show. They are handy – and not just for getting your frustration out. In many recipes that call for finely chopped garlic or ginger, why not make your life easier and bash those babies before finely chopping the pulp further? On M&L, I used it to smash the lemongrass to release subtle flavours when infusing the coconut milk in my Coconut Milk Poached Salmon.
Piping Bag & Nozzles
Piping bags and nozzles may seem like something you won’t need on this new lifestyle, but you may still find they have some use in your kitchen if you care about presentation. (No judgement here if you don’t). I desperately needed them (and a cheap set will do fine) when piping my Berry Meringue Baskets and Mini Meringue Bites. I also liked the pretty presentation of the ‘Turkish Delight’ White Chocolate Mousse.
Pizza Stone & Cutter
Again, this is all about presentation and the element of familiarity. Pizza stones are not essential in making any of the pizzas on M&L (a preheated stone pizza is important for regular-flour pizzas but not for keto ones). However, I still love them because they look pretty when serving – and they are round, so they help me size the perfect diameter. As for the pizza cutter… again, not essential – but a “rolling knife” is exactly what you need to slice all the pizzas on M&L, like the Fathead Dough Pizzas, Cauliflower-crust Pizza or the creations I made using Lo-dough®, like the Salami Lo-dough Pizza or the Garlic Pita Bread. In these cases, a pizza cutter was invaluable.
We all long for mashed potatoes, don’t we? However, I hope by now you have tried the Keto Creamy Cauliflower Mash which tastes superb and nothing like cauliflower (even though cauli tastes fab). The cauliflower is boiled until completely soft and tender, then mashed with a potato masher. The cauli-mash recipe mentioned above is referred to many times throughout the site as the perfect side dish to mop up delicious sauces and saucy casseroles, but I use it to mimic the Great Potato when topping my Spicy Low-carb Cottage Pie or the (very delicous) Low-carb Seafood Bake.
Pressure cookers are great: they are inexpensive and you will get a lot of use from them if you like to make your bone broth or beef stock. It halves the time, intensifies the flavours (and saves your home smelling like beef for a week). I feature a simple, full-flavoured Bone Broth recipe on M&L (which can further be used as a base to make Concentrated Beef Stock Cubes). I love mine!
Pyrex® Glass Jug
Any small-medium size glass will do here, but I will shamelessly (and non-sponsored) showcase my Pyrex® jug which gets used so often! Its the perfect size to make my Keto Homemade Mayonnaise, which I do by placing the jug on a wet piece of kitchen paper to avoid it moving, while I whisk and emulsify it vigorously. I use it so much, there is not enough space on this page. If a Pyrex® is too costly, get any small-medium glass jug: you won’t regret it. (Silly example: but when I use a stock cube – this is how I prepare it in boiling hot water, along with a mini whisk.)
Maybe its because we graze on Roasted Macadamia Nuts, Biltong and Pork Scratchings every day, but I pack away at least five ramekins from the dishwasher every morning #annoying! Anyway, off-topic.. while they do make great small snack bowls, I really wanted to feature them here because they are the perfect size to make Mug Cakes (recipe coming next week!). And if you aren’t a pretentious knob like I am, you could serve your Low-carb Chocolate Mousse in them too. BUT… I used ramekins to make the fabulous Keto Breakfast Muffins – and you should too, they are so lovely!
Raw Meat Preparation Board
This one is a bit ‘cheffy’, but its good kitchen practice: keep your regular chopping board and your raw meat preparation/chopping board separate. In professional kitchens we have several colour-coded boards for different ingredients in food prep and they are all colour-coded. I won’t get too anal-retentive about breaking them down, but I will encourage you to use a board for raw meat prep and another one for everything else. For raw meat: its red. #SafetyFirst
Rectangular Roaster – Large
You need at least one large, good-quality roasting dish in your kitchen. You likely already have one (how else did you make lasagne in your pre-low carb days?), but if you don’t – they come in so handy when making dishes like the the Low-carb Chicken & Oregano Bake, or the Smoked Paprika Chicken & Chorizo Bake – both deliciously generous family meals.
Roasting Dishes / Bakers (Stoneware oven-to-table)
If you are like our household that only cooks for two adults, having a variety of sizes of stoneware dishes is very useful. However, maybe the kids are at granny and you are deciding to cook in? Some recipes – particularly side dishes will only work in appropriately sized cookware. Stock your kitchen because you never know when you will need them. Check out the Keto Baked Creamy Baked Onions or the Low-carb Sausage and Cauliflower Bake as examples. They are referred to as ‘oven-to-table’ because you can confidently take the dish from the oven straight to the table, and it will be attractive enough to tuck into after a garnish of fresh herbs scattered over.
You probably already have one, but if you don’t, please consider it. I needed one when I flattened the fathead ‘dough’ between two sheets of baking parchment paper making the Fathead Spinach & Ricotta Calzone, as well as my Fathead Pizza Dough and the scrumptious and very popular Ham & Gruyere Rolls. You need not get a marble one as shown, a cheapie wooden one does the trick (although – like working with any ‘pastry’ – and in this case cheese – you want no ‘warmth’ in the mixture, so marble works best).
A large serving spoon is a standard kitchen utensil that you probably already have, but I included it here because I have first-hand experience with someone that didn’t have one. I visited them for a delicious roast and they only had a tablespoons to serve up the food. I stood there patiently (and painfully) inner-weeping at how my vegetables were getting cold because the whole dishing-up affair took triple-the-time it should have..
Silicon Pastry Brush
Don’t even bother getting a pastry brush if it isn’t silicon. I have burnt the ends of so many other types, its as if manufacturers don’t realise you are basting piping hot juices and sauces sometimes. A silicon one will stand the heat and last you a lifetime. I needed mine when basting the balsamic juices over the Balsamic-roasted Asparagus, as well as basting the low-carb marinade over Buffalo Wings and Ribs-that-fall-off-the-bone.
I love my silicon spatulas, and have them in several sizes. They do an excellent job of stirring and scraping every corner of your pan while cooking, while being kind to your non-stick cookware. In fact, when I first moved to the UK several years ago (with only a suitcase filled with my chef whites, knives and knickers) it was among the first things I bought to kit out my new kitchen. I use them all day, every day.
In the spirit of celebrating silicon utensils, do consider getting a silicon-tipped whisk while you are at it. I do suggest getting various sized whisks (like the mini one referred to above); or for baking (mentioned further down the page) – but a silicon-tipped one will be best when whisking mixtures directly in your non-stick pans. A good example is whisking coconut milk into your Thai paste in the wok to fully combine: like the Low Carb Thai Prawn Curry; or whisking melted chocolate for the Low Carb Chocolate Mousse.
Much like a large serving spoon, you likely already have one of these large slotted spoons in your kitchen. I quite like using it when removing crispy bacon bits from a pan after frying, allowing all the rendered fat to remain in the pan so that I can continue to cook the remaining ingredients in the fat. I probably use it most when lifting poached eggs from the simmering water. Want some inspiration? Check out the Keto Salmon Eggs Benedict or the Poached Eggs on Buttery Spinach. (Large slotted spoons can also double-up as a serving spoon for non-saucy meals.)
Having a slow-cooker is handy if you like to toss everything in a pot and forget about it. Its not quite the way I like to cook (I LOVE spending time in the kitchen and believe every ingredient in a dish should be respected and prepared in the most appropriate way for best results), hence there being no slow-cooker recipes on the site. Slow-cookers are popular for their ease-of-use and practicality, so if you are into that sort of cooking, you should consider investing in one. I have used mine several times and I know readers would probably love to see tasty keto creations made in one – I am on it!
This one is self-explanatory (like most items on this page). If you love soup but don’t have a ladle, I can’t help but wonder how you have been serving it up? It also helps monitor that every one gets an equal amount of the good stuff as opposing to just tipping your pot into bowls. My subtle OCD shudders even thinking about it. I have some lovely soups on the site, check out my Low-carb Sausage and Cabbage Soup (love this one), Quick-and-easy Low Carb Pho (yum!) or the Keto Courgette and Brie Soup.
Springform Round Cake Tin (18cm / 7-in diameter)
I use a Springform round cake tin (in the exact above size) for my Keto Blueberry Cheesecake. It’s a lovely dessert and I am playing around with other flavours, where I will be using this tin, as its the perfect size to make a deep, creamy cheesecake – where every portion is a generous one. The tin can also be used in the oven, and the quick-release clip on the side allows for a clean, neat baked cake.
Steak Knives (Robert Welch)
Unlike other ‘diets’, we can enjoy a juicy, marbled rib eye as often as we like on keto. Be kind to yourself and put a beautiful set of steak knives on your Christmas wishlist. I prefer non-serrated steak knives and found these beauties on amazon – made by my Robert Welch (same maker as my chef knife set). I have two beautiful steak knife sets, but do not personally own THIS set (I am hoping Funnyman is reading this and pops a set in my stocking this year.) If I were a cartoon, my eyes would be popping out of of my head right now but #ItsWrongToCovet.
Strainer / Sieve Set
Used to rinse the funky smell from your packaged shirataki / konjac noodles (too many recipes to list here) or the cooked up mince from the Bone Broth, a strainer is an essential item for any kitchen. Colanders can also work, but sometimes you need a finer mesh. Enter strainers. Getting a set in different sizes will also allow you to use the smaller one to dust over powdered sweetener to make pretty desserts, or when you want to squeeze fresh lemon over a dish and catch the pips.
Square Baking Tin (20cm / 8-in)
This baking tin has many uses and you will soon come to find that out, but I thought I should highlight it here as its the exact size dish I use to bake Funnyman’s Best Ever Keto Brownies. It will yield nine, perfect brownies that not only make a lovely sweet dessert (along with some double cream poured over and blueberries to garnish) but also great fat bombs.
Tefal (/T-fal) Non-stick Pots
A good-quality non-stick set of pans will last you many years if you take care of them. I use mine countless times a day and I am grateful that I have them in varying sizes. Do check out amazon, because sometimes they have specials where you can get some non-stick frying pans thrown into a set too. We were flat-broke when we first moved to the UK in 2012 so Funnyman bought me a set on our first Christmas here. (Not very ‘romantic’, but I am a foodie and also incredibly easy to please.) Mine are almost 7 years old, VERY well-used and still in perfect condition.
Tefal (/T-fal) Non-stick Frying Pans
See everything I said above about getting durable, good-quality non-stick pots, because the same goes for your frying pans. And, as mentioned above, check out amazon, because sometimes they have specials where you can get a large set that includes a variety of pots and frying pans, kitting your kitchen out your entire kitchen in one happy delivery!
Funnyman and I are (now) very proud British citizens, but remain proudly South African so we (obvs) have many different sets of braai tongs in our home. (I wouldn’t dare touch his light-sabre-Star-Wars-tongs – and he knows not to use my “indoor-only” ones.) Tongs are handy to flip steaks, chicken or pork, but I love them most when removing cooked meat from a pan before adding other ingredientsto the pan to cook in the meat’s rendered fat. Too many recipe examples to mention here because one or two sets of tongs is essential in all homes..
Tupperware (for Quick Chia Bread)
I developed a fabulous recipe for Quick Chia Keto Bread, which yields three beautiful, non-eggy slices. Its a very popular recipe on the site and the feedback has been great. The recipe takes less than 5 minutes (including prep and cooking), but there is a catch: I developed it using one of my own (microwave-friendly) plastic storage containers. The good news is that the bread turns out to be the same square dimensions as a slice of bread; the bad news is that the recipe (and macros) are calculated assuming you the reader has the same size container. What was I thinking? Apologies… but I found the perfect one you can use on the links below.
Investing in a good-quality set of plastic storage containers is very convenient, so it needs no further obvious mention here. You can store any leftovers for work the next day, or batch-cook and freeze. Finding ones that are microwave and dishwasher-friendly is advisable. (While the pound/dollar-store may seem like attractive bargains, you want a set that doesn’t melt or stain – and at least safely locks closed if you are travelling with it.)
I have two vegetable peelers, but will only endorse this shape because I think I tossed out the other one because it was useless. While we may not be peeling carrots or potatoes on keto, we do still need to peel the stubborn skin from a celeriac (check out the amazing Keto Celeriac Dauphinoise recipe) and I need mine to shave pretty ribbons of cucumber in the Thai Steak Salad.
Waterbath & Vacuum Sealer (for Sous-vide cooking)
I realise this is a super fancy piece of equipment to add on this list. I don’t feature any sous-vide recipes on the site because I do explain (clearly, I hope) how to cook salmon or steak to perfection – BUT I wanted to feature it because I use mine when there is no place for error: I drag my waterbath to my private-cheffing gigs when I need 100% assurance that my salmon or chicken is cooked safely, but still succulent – especially when cooking for more than 4 people. Its a pretty special piece of equipment and I love mine. Its about temperature, and its science: foolproof perfection.
An effective way to mix dry ingredients (like almond flour, baking powder and salt), wet ingredients (like eggs), and then mixing those two together (like all baking). I advise having a sturdy set in different sizes. They were invaluable to me when making just about all the Bread Recipes on the site, as well as all the fathead recipes like the Ham & Gruyere Rolls, Mini Rosemary Keto Rolls, Fathead Pizza or Spinach & Ricotta Calzone to name a few. I also use it to whisk all my salad dressings (to many to list).
Wok / Stir-fry Pan
It need not be an actual wok, but having a large, deep-based, circular frying pan is vital in many dishes – even those that aren’t Asian-influenced. It allows for even frying (especially in large ingredient quantities) and I simply cannot live without mine. You will only need one in your home, so make sure its a good-quality, non-stick one. Too many recipes to list where I needed mine, but the Thai Prawn Curry, Keto Cauliflower Rice, Stir-fried Greens with Bacon or Keto Bacon & Maushroom ‘Pasta’ are just some fab examples.
Sometimes you need a sturdy, hard utensil to mix ingredients – ones that won’t bend or break. For my fathead mixtures, only a wooden spoon would do to vigorously get the melted cheese effectively combined with the eggs and seasoned almond flour. Get an inexpensive set and (I promise you) they will make your life easier. Any set in the store will do the job, but links below to source some online.
Wooden Chopping Board (large)
Next to my knife, my large wooden preparation board is the only other item used a hundred times a day. I cringe when I see some people only have a tiny plastic one, or – even worse – a glass one! I am sure your fancy, personalised glass chopping board is very special to you, BUT – and this my personal view only – cutting or slicing anything on glass makes me want to tear my hair out #NailsOnChalkboard. I am not judging anyone, but a large, wooden one (which should be cleaned and sanitised correctly) will make your cooking experience far more enjoyable. Also, as mentioned above, get a red one to separately prepare your uncooked meat – it’s just good home economics.
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