There are certain tools that make meal prep more efficient and effective. We've combed through the best items out there and narrowed it down to the nine essential tools that you need to include in your kitchen arsenal -- check them out!

Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are the starting point for any dish -- you'll prevent any damage to your kitchen counters and also be able to easily place chopped ingredients into bowls or pots. It's ideal to have different colored cutting boards for various foods such as meat or vegetables. Plastic cutting boards are cheap and still do the trick, although the wooden variety will make your kitchen truly stand out.

Chef's Knife

a chef's knife on a cutting board

When you're picking out a knife set, the chef's knife is the most important component of the set. You'll be using this knife far more than any other knife in the set, and you'll want a high-quality product to cut through vegetables, work through meats and even cut through certain breads. It's worth spending a pretty penny on a good chef's knife, as you'll be using it almost every day for years.

Can Opener

a can opener on a table

A cheap can opener can be a safety hazard and lead to cuts from the can lid, so it's worth spending an extra couple dollars on a can opener that remove the lid with ease when opening the can. Find a product that will work quickly and efficiently.

Spatulas

a spatula in a pan

Having a few spatulas on hand will open up your cooking horizons in ways you couldn't imagine. Spatulas come in varying sizes and thickness, as well as coming in materials such as wood, stainless steel and silicone. You'll want to grab different styles of spatulas, as softer spatulas are needed for delicate dishes such as cooking eggs, whereas you'll want a tougher spatula for things that require flipping, such as pancakes.

Skillet

a well-oiled skillet

Whether you pick a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet, you'll need at least one of these pans for your kitchen. Picking the non-stick versions will allow you to cook eggs and meats without worrying about having to pry them off the skillet. Cast iron skillets are a wonderful choice for their durability and ability to enhance the flavor of your dishes.

Measuring Cups And Spoons

two measuring cups

Have a recipe that calls for half a cup of this or a teaspoon of that? You'll need these kitchen items to get accurate measurements for everything you make. Measuring cups and spoons are an absolute necessity for any cooking or baking recipe, making these tools one of the first things you should buy when assembling your kitchen arsenal.

Whisk

a whisk being used to mix batter

Good luck doing any form of baking without a whisk! This simple tool is necessary for stirring eggs, mixing batter, creating a salad dressing, and just about anything else that requires a thorough mixing of ingredients.

Mixing Bowls

an assortment of mixing bowls

There's no use in having a whisk if you don't have bowls to mix things in! Whether you opt for glass or stainless steel mixing bowls, you'll want to grab a few of them, and in varying sizes so that they can store together easily. Mixing bowls allow you to mix batter together, create salads or salsas, and prepare different aspects of dishes separately, making them a must-have for those who like making intricate dishes.

Colander

a colander

A colander is a necessity if you're one who indulges in the pasta life, or if you enjoy boiling or steaming your greens. You'll only need one colander if you buy a large one -- try buying a colander that fits the size of your largest pot or pan.

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