With all of the kitchen gadgets out there, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones are actually handy, and which ones will just take up space and gather dust. As you start making more vegan recipes you might notice that a lot of recipes require tools you might not have considered before. Everything from dehydrators to spiralizers, high-powered blenders to juicers, and air-fryers to slow cookers. Do we really need all of these things?
As a 7 year vegan, bestselling cookbook author, and full-time food blogger, I've tested them all. To make it easy for you, I've gathered my 25 must-have cooking tools for a vegan kitchen! This is the list of tools that I use all the time- if not daily, then at least weekly.
All the gadgets that gathered dust or just weren't as useful as they claimed to be didn't make it to the list. This is my list of vegan cooking kitchen essentials.
These are the tools that even the most minimal kitchen should absolutely have. Make sure you collect all of these kitchen essentials first, before investing in fancier items, or tools you might not use as often.
My number one most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife. Skip getting the knife set, you really don't need all the extra sizes. Instead invest in one quality chef's knife about 8 inches long. Don't be intimidated by its size, the length will make cutting large fruit and veg such as melons and squash a breeze. The weight of it will aid in chopping, and the width will allow you to scoop up chopped veg and herbs to add to your pan.
Buy a knife sharpener and be sure to use it! A dull knife is not only difficult to work with, but it's also much more dangerous as it can unpredictably roll-off of food instead of cutting straight through it.
An extra-large cutting board will give you lots of room for all your prep work or to chop larger items such as watermelon. I especially love this one as it has the little moat to catch water from juicy veg or fruit and save it from spilling on your counter.
I use parchment paper all the time. It provides a non-stick surface when baking and unlike aluminum foil, it's completely compostable. It's also one of my most common photography backgrounds!
This squeezer makes juicing lemons and limes a sinch. I use lemon juice in many of my baked goods and also add it to my drinking water.
If you don't have a quality can opener, now is the time to get one! If you're vegan you're likely going to need to open a lot of cans of beans, tomatoes, jackfruit, and all sorts of other goodies.
Not only are a quality pair of scissors handy for random snipping jobs, but you can use scissors to quickly cut herbs such as cilantro, chives, or parsley.
The number one reason why baked goods don't turn out correctly is due to poorly measured ingredients. I'm very careful about measuring all my ingredients using a simple set of cups and spoons and my baked goods (and all my other recipes) turn out perfectly every time!
A decent set of mixing bowls are a must for baking. I love these ones as they have a silicon bottom which will grip to your counter to stop them from sliding.
A simple set of baking pans will allow you to do everything from roasting veggies, to making muffins or cupcakes, baking layer cakes, or preparing sweet or savoury loaves.
I actually prefer spatulas over other types of stirring spoons. Not only can they stir, but they are great at scraping all the bits from the sides of the bowl and are handy for more delicate tasks, such as tossing tofu in marinades, or folding aquafaba into batter.
For whipping up sauces, combining marinades, and making baked goods a whisk is a must-have tool. I particularly like this flat whisk as it makes it easier to get into corners of pans, or deglaze pans.
You don't need the largest set, but a decent selection of pots and pans will last you for years. I'm a big fan of stainless steel for its durability and ease of use. They last much longer than most non-stick pans, and because the handles are also stainless steel (instead of wood or plastic handles) it allows you to use these pans in the oven as well.
When it comes to pan-frying I always, always reach for my cast iron skillet. Its natural non-stick surface gets even better with age. The pan cooks evenly and can even be popped directly in the oven.
Not so much a tool but a staple for any vegan kitchen is to have very large bowls for serving. A large bowl is perfect for assembling Buddha bowls, large salads, plates of pasta, or burrito bowls. Vegan food tends to be less calorie-dense than the standard American diet, so that means your serving size will likely be large. Trust me when I say that if you don't have one yet, a super large bowl will be your new favourite dish!
These are the tools that will take your kitchen skill up a level. Once you have completed the basics list, start adding in these upgrades.
When you're ready to invest in upgraded kitchen equipment I would recommend the first piece you get is a quality blender. Not only can you make smoothies, but I use mine to make everything from all sorts of sauces, pumpkin cheesecake, vegan cheeses, coffee cream, pasta sauces, salad dressings, soups, dips, and more. In my kitchen, I have both a Blendtec and a Breville Boss (now called the Super Q) both are very high-end blenders. Between the two I prefer the Breville. They are both amazing, but the Breville just works a little better, especially with smaller portions.
- Best on a tight budget: Ninja Professional
- Best bang for your buck: Breville Fresh & Furious
- Best overall: Breville The Super Q
I'll let you in on a little secret: I love my air fryer. Like, really love it. I think I use it at least once a day, whether it's to make a full meal or just blast something back to life. I say this with confidence: you will never forget the first time you take that special snack out of your air fryer for the first time. So CRISPY! So GOOD. All with little to no oil needed! It even revives foods like cold pizza, stale nacho chips, or that take-out order of (insert fried food name here) that showed up a little soggy or cold. This is a magic machine. You'll love it.
Who doesn't love an Instant Pot? Going by the number of emails I get a week asking if my recipes are compatible with Instant Pot, I can safely say that this guy has become one of the most popular kitchen gadgets around. And for good reason! According to their site, this "multi-cooker combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer, prepares dishes up to 70% faster to support your busy lifestyle." Sold!
The zest from lemons and limes can instantly brighten a meal and add a ton of flavour.
This one is just for fun, but a grill pan is a great addition to a kitchen. You can use it instead of a BBQ and it makes drool-worthy grill marks on veggies, tofu, seitan or whatever you choose to toss in there.
Almost every savoury dish I cook starts with a couple of cloves of garlic. Using a press can save you the hassle of finely mincing the garlic and you can avoid the smelly fingers too!
If you have an interest in making your own seitan (vegan meat alternative), a nice large steamer pot is recommended. It's not expensive and it will allow you to make vegan steaks, vegan chicken, vegan pepperoni, and all sorts of fun seitan creations.
While you can press a block of tofu by wrapping it in a tea towel, and placing some heavy objects on top, if tofu pressing is something you think you might do often, I recommend grabbing yourself a tofu press. I love this one as I can toss my tofu in there, pop it in the fridge, and it can press for up to a few days.
After a blender, the next investment piece I recommend is a food processor. This will allow you to make all sorts of vegan cheeses, seitan, crusts, pates, dips, veggie burgers, hummus and more.
- Best on a tight budget: Hamilton Beach
- Best bang for your buck: Cuisinart
- Best overall (what I use): Breville Sous Chef
As mentioned with the measuring cups and spoons, getting your recipes to turn out perfectly every single time is all about measuring correctly. Using a scale can help you get the correct amount of veggies in a dish, or help you easily calculate accurate nutrition information.
Not just for cleaning lettuce, I toss all sorts of veggies in my salad spinner. I love this one as you don't even have to remove the top to fill it with water or to drain it. I also like to pop the entire spinner directly in the fridge with the washed veggies in it as I find doing this helps keep my salad fresher than it would if I stored it in another container.
I mixed all my baked goods by hand for years so this is something that isn't a priority but if you're big into baking you might want to consider getting an electric mixer. Electric mixers really come in handy for making coconut whipped cream, whipping aquafaba, or creaming vegan butter and sugar.
- Best on a tight budget: VonShef Electric Hand Mixer
- Best bang for your buck: Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus
- Best overall: Kitchen Aid Classic Series
I hope you found this list helpful! If you think I missed any kitchen tools that every vegan needs, let me know down below in the comments!