The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Kitchen Essentials: Utensils & Tools 

 December 22, 2020

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Adopting a plant-based diet can mean spending more time in the kitchen, and transforming your kitchen into a more plant-based focused workplace can be daunting.  Over my 12 years as a vegan, I have bought ALL the utensils and tools and know which one work and which don't.  Peppered throughout this list are a few tips as well, so look out for them!  

If you've previously lived on takeaway, then read on to find out how to kit-out your kitchen with the best and most useful utensils and tools, that will save you time and allow you to cook a wider variety of things.

This article is just one in our 3-part series on how to create the ultimate vegan kitchen, so do check out our other posts on the best appliances and the best time-saving gadgets.

There's a lot of fun stuff to go through, so let's get started!

One or two of these little silicon spatulas are perfect for getting every last bit of cake batter from the bowl into your muffin trays and from the pan on to your plate.  And from the bottom of the bowl to your mouth, of course 😉   They get into every nook and cranny of the bowls and are very good at making sure that you don’t have any lumps of flour that haven't been mixed in.  Make sure you choose a spatula whose head can pop off and clean it regularly.  It can get quite gross under there if it is not washed properly regularly!


A turner is perfect for all those vegan burgers you are going to make that need flipping. We like this one which is made from biodegradable materials but which is also also gentle on non-stick surfaces.


A whisk is important in every kitchen, whether it is to whip up a flaxseed egg, that aquafaba or pancake batters.  While you only need one, a second small one might also be helpful for whisking very small amounts.


Tongs are really helpful for turning over those roast potatoes on the BBQ and to get out that piece of toast stuck in the toaster (turn it off at the mains first of course). While one is fine, consider getting a second that is smaller as well, which is great for serving salads. If you are choosing one with silicon tongs, then make sure they are removable. It can get pretty squalid if not removed and cleaned often. Also make sure that there is a pull ring lock to save space during storage.

Wooden spoon

This indispensable tool is fantastic to have close-by at all times. Used for baking, stirring food on the stove and being made of wood, it doesn’t conduct heat and won’t damage delicate pans. We love wooden spoons with at least one square side so you can get in to the corner of the saucepan and you can avoid things getting burned when you are making a roux sauce.

Chef’s Knife

As a vegan, you can get rid of a lot of knives.  You won't need a steak knife, carving knife or a boning knife!  However, you certainly do want a good chef’s knife.  A sharp heavy knife allows you to chop easily and with little effort. If you can only get one knife, then let this be it.  You can mince garlic, slice enormous watermelons and cut hard pumpkins with this item.

Paring Knife

If you need dexterity to accomplish a cutting task, then this knife will be very helpful. Not only will it be safer, but you will be able to be more precise than with a chef’s knife. Use this for peeling the skin of a cooked potato, dehulling strawberries and getting the seeds out of watermelons.

Bread Knife

A bread knife is serrated and perfect for cutting through foods that have a hard exterior and soft interior like bread and, surprisingly, tomatoes. The blade of a bread knife is thinner than a chef’s knife, so it will cut through layer cakes with more precision than a chef’s knife.

Knife Sharpener

While here at Vegan Home and Travel, we like to get our knives professionally sharpened, it’s helpful to have something that is effective and can be done on a per-needed basis. This little knife sharpener will ensure that your knife blades stay sharp, which is quite important as it stops the blade rolling off the food and going on to your fingers.  Ouch!

Knife Block

Not only is it unsafe to keep knives floating around at the bottom of a utensil drawer, but all that bumping around with other metal items will also cause the blades to get dull. Whether you chose to have them on a magnetic strip or in a knife block, you will keep your knives in good condition for years to come.  We love this one which gives you the ease and benefit of magnets but having them on the counter and more out of view, and of course, you don’t have to drill any holes in the wall (perfect for renters). We love the fact there are no knife slots which can get encrusted with food over time, plus it's made of bamboo.

Chopping Board

The great thing about vegan cooking is that you don’t need to have multiple chopping boards. You can also use ones made out of wood because no meaty bacteria is going to get stuck in the crevices or absorb into the wood!

Cooling Rack

If you are baking, then this is really important.  I like to put my baked goods on here when they just come out of the oven until they are ready to be taken out of the tin. The air on all sides allows them to cool more quickly which helps them get out of the pan and then of course in into your belly more quickly!

Mixing Bowls

While you don’t really need 5 bowls, at least a couple is really helpful, and having lids is super handy when you go to potlucks or simply for food storage. Having them nest inside each other makes a huge difference to the amount of space they take up too.


Whether it is pasta or potatoes that needs draining, a colander is a helpful addition to the kitchen. Many people are now using over the sink colanders which allows the water to run away much more efficiently.  Worth checking out! 


At least one fine sieve is helpful for sifting fine goods to ensure there will be no limps. Icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda often need sifting, as well as some flours. If you have a small one, you can use it to sift only small amounts which then won’t take up as much room in the dishwasher.

Measuring Cups

20 years ago, most of the world didn’t need measuring cups. We simply weighed ingredients.  However, with recipes now being shared all over the world, most recipe blogs and cookbooks arounds the world use measuring cups or at least have it as an option, and, personally, I find measuring cups more convenient than a scale... even though I know it is not quite as accurate as weighing an ingredient. 

Measuring Spoons

I love metal measuring spoons and I especially like it when there is an 1/8th teaspoon choice. I also like it when they can be kept together on a ring, while still having the choice to take them off the ring for blogging and photography reasons.


A good peeler is great! While you can use a paring knife for this task, unless you have had a lot of practice, chances are you will end up wasting a lot of the food when you peel potatoes, carrots and so on. Get yourself a peeler and thank me later!


A masher is most often used during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Think mashed potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin!

Potato Ricer

Not strictly necessary, but if you love mashed potatoes without any lumps and don’t mind the cleanup, a potato ricer is for you!

Steamer Basket

While you can buy dedicated steamer appliances, we have never found that necessary. We like to use a stainless steel insert which fits a wide range of saucepans.

Cast Iron Skillet

There are lots of reasons to use a cast-iron skillet. They are chemical-free, add iron to your food, can be non-stick if you know how to use them, can be used in the oven and are cheap!  They are also very heavy, so these are not ideal for anyone who has weak wrists or are elderly (and not so strong).

Frying Pan

These days you can have a non-stick pan without the Teflon!  This one is hard-anodized, which is harder than stainless steel and is dense and non-porous. We love this pan as it has a lid which comes in handy more often than you’d think.

Saucepan Set

There are saucepan sets that seem to have about twenty items. Personally, I don’t need anything more than 7pieces.

Grill Pan

There are lots of grill pans out there and they are simply fantastic for taking camping (if you have a cast iron one) or want to get those distinctive grill marks on your tofu.

Muffin Trays

If you are making muffins or cupcakes, then a muffin tray is a must-have. We always advise stainless steel over non-stick, and if you aren’t into non-stick, then make sure you grease each mold properly or your muffins will get stuck!

Baking Dishes

If you are putting anything in the oven, you will need a couple of baking dishes of different sizes. Think lasagnas, roasting vegetables and more.

Dutch Oven

!If you like cooking stews in the oven, you will likely want a Dutch oven. A word of warning though, if you have jumped on the sourdough bread craze of 2020, then make sure your Dutch Oven can endure temperatures of up to 500 Degrees Fahrenheit.  If you like camping, then a pretty enamel one probably is not the way to go.

If you like it, PIN IT!

images of kitchen tools, spatulas and chopping boards with the text The Ultimate vegan guide to kitchen essentials utensils and tools

Let's Discuss!

We'd love to hear from you!  Do you have any questions?  Ideas?  Any awesome kitchen utensils or tool we might have missed?   Let us know and we might add them to a future article update!

Remember that this article is just one in our 3-part series on how to create the ultimate vegan kitchen, so do check out our other posts on the best appliances and the best time-saving gadgets.

Let's have a discussion in the comments below.  We'd love to hear from you!

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