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My utensil caddy, which houses nearly a dozen different spoons, a handful of spatulas, and a few whisks, sees more action than almost anything else in my kitchen. If you’re in need of such tools for the first time or are giving your own collection a makeover (or if you simply want some doubles of your most-used ones), you might look to a full set. It’s a more streamlined and affordable way to get what you need than buying individually.
But just as with cookware and knives, the key is choosing a collection that doesn’t overwhelm your space with stuff you won’t end up using. While all the groupings on this list include a well-rounded range of tools, some are more pared down to the essentials, while others have additional pieces like a basting brush, measuring spoons, or graters included. You’ll want to really think about how you cook before you buy — but from there, you’ll be sure to find something that fits the bill among the expert-endorsed options, below.
What we’re looking for
Number of pieces
The number of pieces in each of the sets ranges from 7 to 15. The captions detail exactly what each one includes, but this is a good starting point to get a sense of how big or small they are.
Some of these sets are made from a single material (two of them silicone, one stainless steel), and the others are mixed with those two materials, plus some with wood tools. Here, I’ve noted what you’ll find.
Best overall kitchen utensil set
Number of pieces: 12 | Material: Mix
This 12-piece set is the second-most extensive on this list, with tools made from stainless steel, wood, and silicone (the very largest from OXO, below, is exclusively stainless steel). In it, you’ll find a wooden spoon, tongs, silicone spatula, fish spatula, ladle, and grater, plus some additional (and very essential) pieces that no other collection offers. Those include two nesting mixing bowls, a colander, a peeler, measuring cups, and measuring spoons. “Every time a friend moves into a new apartment and asks me what to get to set up their kitchen, I point them to this,” says recipe developer and private chef Jane Morgan. “It has everything you need. And even if you already own some of the items, they’re things where it can’t hurt to have two.” She loves that all of Goldilocks’s tools aren’t too design-y, with “no frills, but super-high quality, like you could find them in a restaurant-supply store,” she says.
Strategist editor Maxine Builder, who tested the set nearly five years ago, says these are still the most-used utensils in her kitchen today. In her original piece, she explained that the founders of the company sought the advice of home cooks and professional chefs at the beginning of the design process and then incorporated their feedback into the final products — a decision that clearly paid off in the long run since “these are still going strong,” she says.
Best small kitchen utensil set
Number of pieces: 7 | Material: Mix
This collection from Five Two, Food52’s line of kitchen equipment, is the most pared down on this list. It’s also the only set that offers a small whisk, an item I find to be imperative for more contained tasks like mixing up salad dressing. The flat stainless-steel spatula is wider and just a bit thicker than your standard fish spatula, making it perfect for flipping heavier foods and transfers. Still, it’s lightweight, so it doesn’t feel cumbersome to handle.
A couple of the items have particularly smart design details, too, like the ladle with a spout on both sides to ensure a clean pour (it really works) and the spatula with an indent so you can rest it on the lip of a piece of cookware without making a mess on your stove or counter. I also find the design to be quite appealing; for such utilitarian items, they look particularly refined. The stainless steel is shiny and strong; the wood is a pretty mid-tone; and the silicone doesn’t appear cheap.
Best kitchen utensil set with knives
Number of pieces: 9 | Material: Mix
We’re big fans of Material Kitchen’s durable and beautiful pieces, so it’s not surprising its utensil set made its way into this roundup. “They’re just so well designed and not flimsy at all. The pieces have a nice weight to them,” says Morgan, who has owned the collection for about four years. In this case, you’ll get a stainless-steel spatula, spoon, slotted spoon, tongs, and the whisk that former Strategist writer Chloe Anello, Morgan, and I all love. “So many whisks get bent out of shape or they’re hard to clean,” Morgan says. “This one doesn’t have either of those problems.”
The set also includes three knives: a small paring knife, a serrated knife, and a chef’s knife — all of which we’ve written about before. In particular, the chef’s knife is a favorite of recipe developer and food writer Rebecca Firkser, who says it “fits really nicely in my hand and feels balanced when I chop.” The tools come in a dedicated wood holder (you can choose from walnut or maple) with a magnetic side to store the blades.
Best stainless-steel kitchen utensil set
Number of pieces: 15 | Material: Stainless steel
OXO is another brand that consistently delivers. This set comes recommended by Jocelyn Delk Adams, the cookbook author and recipe developer behind Grandbaby Cakes, because it’s “truly comprehensive,” she says. It’s the largest on the list with multiple spoons, several different spatulas, tongs, a whisk, pie server, can opener, swivel peeler, and pizza wheel, housed in a matching holder. Delk says the stainless steel is super-high quality. “Kitchen utensils take a beating,” she says, “but these have held up great for the last few years I’ve been using them. And I run them through the dishwasher, too.” She also likes that the steel gives them a streamlined appearance. “If you’re a person who likes your kitchen to look clean and elegant, these will do that for you,” she says.
While I don’t own the full set, I do have all the smaller items (the whisk, can opener, peeler, and pizza wheel), each of which has wide rubber handles that are soft to the touch and no-slip, even when they get wet.
Best silicone kitchen utensil set
Number of pieces: 10 | Material: Silicone
GIR makes the best silicone spatulas around, favored by Strategist editors and professional chefs and bakers alike — and its ten-piece kitchen utensil set includes five of them. There’s the Ultimate Spatula, a middle-size one that can tackle pretty much any task; a tall and skinny model to get into the corners of containers; a mini size, perfect for reaching the bottom of jars and mixing small batches of ingredients; a spoonula that can scrape, scoop, and serve; and a flat one for lifting and flipping. “They’re all just a bit flexible but still very sturdy,” says recipe developer and food stylist Chloe Walsh. “And they’re also so durable. I’ve had them for about a year now, use them all the time, and put them in the dishwasher. They’ve held up great.”
I’ve found the same: I’ve owned several for even longer than Walsh, and they look as good as the day I bought them. The set also comes with a silicone ladle (it’s relatively shallow, Walsh says, so she uses it for broth-y beans and stews more than super-liquidy soups); two proper spoons (one big, one small); a stainless-steel whisk; and a stainless-steel peeler (both made with that same comfortable-to-hold silicone material for the handles).
Best less expensive silicone kitchen utensil set
Number of pieces: 10 | Material: Silicone
This incredibly affordable collection — only $25 for ten pieces — comes recommended by recipe developer and newsletter author Caroline Chambers. (Amazon says it contains 11 pieces, but that includes the holder, which I omitted because it’s not an actual utensil.) It’s the set Chambers most often suggests to friends who are looking to outfit a kitchen from scratch because “with others, you often end up with at least one thing you’re gonna never use,” she says, “but you actually need every single one of these tools.”
It includes three spatulas of different shapes and sizes, a slotted spoon, solid spoon, ladle, tongs, whisk, pasta fork, and basting brush. For Chambers, silicone is important. “It’s a high-heat resistant material,” she says. “I’m a mom of three, so I’m constantly stopping my kids from burning my house down. I can leave these sitting in a skillet for a few minutes and they’ll be fine, unlike plastic or metal or wood. I also love nonstick cookware because it just makes my life easier — and these are crucial for nonstick. Anything scratchy will ruin the surfaces much faster.”
Best kitchen utensil serving set
Number of pieces: 7 | Material: Stainless steel
While this set is made up of serving (not cooking) utensils, I think it very much deserves a place on this list. Serving is a part of the kitchen-to-table pipeline, after all, and having the proper tools to dole out finished dishes is essential. Walsh, who owns the collection, says it’s very well rounded because it includes everything you might need for a dinner party, with a spoon, a three-pronged fork, salad servers, small and large ladles, and a cake server. “They’re a simple design but very pretty,” she says. “I like how the forks and spoons are interesting shapes, almost primordial.” Not only that, but “the small ladle is great for doling out pancake batter,” she adds.
• Jocelyn Delk Adams, cookbook author and recipe developer
• Maxine Builder, Strategist editor
• Caroline Chambers, recipe developer and newsletter author
• Rebecca Firkser, recipe developer and food writer
• Jane Morgan, recipe developer and private chef
• Chloe Walsh, recipe developer and food stylist
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