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Tools for a Real Food Kitchen

Eating real food means committing to regularly cooking real food. And having good tools definitely makes the time spent in the kitchen preparing food more enjoyable.

Full disclosure: I am an affiliate for Amazon and Thermoworks, so if you want to order one of those items, we'd sure appreciate it if you did so using one of these links. (I'll make a small commission, and it's a very simple way to support your local farmer.)


Cast Iron Skillets

A cast iron skillet is a workhorse in the kitchen. It can sear food on the stovetop, and bake it in the over.

  • 12" Cast Iron Skillet - the larger cast iron skillet is great for one-pot skillet meals and can also double as a casserole dish.
  • 10" Cast Iron Skillet - the 10" skillet is the perfect size for frying up some breakfast sizzlers or making a dutch baby pancake.


Good knives are a requirement to work easily in the kitchen. While there are many styles of knives, two will get you pretty far in the chopping, slicing and other tasks.

  • Chef's Knife - a versatile knife that makes short work of many tasks from dicing onions to breaking down whole chickens.
  • Paring Knife - a small knife for more precise work.

Sheet Pans

Sheet pan meals minimize dishes by cooking meat and vegetables together. Sheet pans are also great for corralling packages of meat to defrost in the refrigerator.

Instant Read Thermometer

An instant read thermometer lets you make sure your steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness, that the roasted whole bird has reached the appropriate internal temperature and more.


These are definitively not required in the kitchen, but sometimes the right specialized tool can just bring a little extra joy in the kitchen.

  • Slicing/Carving Knife - With a longer, more flexible blade, this knife is the tool for slicing turkey, roast beef, and here in Texas, brisket.
  • Boning Knife - A thin, narrow boning knife allows for easy movement around bones and joints
  • Microwave Popcorn Popper - For a snacktime treat, pop some popcorn using lard or bacon grease.
  • ChefAlarm - a thermometer that lets you set and and forget it, but not actually forget it.