The 11 essential kitchen tools you shouldn't pay more than $10 for, according to professional chefs

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  • Not every kitchen tool needs to be a huge investment. Even professional chefs have their budget favorites. 
  • These tools, such as a tea infuser you can use for spices, and a mini spatula that's exactly the right shape to make perfect scrambled eggs, are all versatile, useful, and importantly, less than $10.
  • See also: 11 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knives
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Stocking a home kitchen can be expensive.

Between high-quality cookware sets, sharp and shiny knives, and a cabinetful of small appliances like stand mixers and pressure cookers, your kitchen will certainly start to take form — often at the expense of your wallet. 

However, it's gratifying to remember that not every single kitchen tool costs hundreds of dollars. Sometimes, you only need to spend 10 bucks (or less) for a useful accessory that you'll end up using every day, and for a variety of tasks. 

Professional chefs know better than anyone that price doesn't always indicate utility or quality. I asked 10 chefs around the country to share their favorite budget cooking tools and they had plenty to recommend.

Here are 11 small but useful kitchen tools, all under $10: 

A mini measuring cup

Mini Angled Measuring Cup

Not only is this the cutest little measuring cup ever, but I use it for everything! Forget about digging through your drawer and picking up every measuring spoon before you find the right one. This angled measuring cup makes it easy to measure everything from vanilla in your cookies to tequila in your marg. —Kristen Tomlan, founder & CEO of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

A tea infuser that can be used for much more than tea leaves

Mesh Ball Tea Infuser

I love to use tea balls, and they're definitely not just for tea. I like to use them for my spices for all my stocks; it's a must-own in our household, especially for Phố. —Jimmy Ly, chef and owner of Madame Vo NYC and Madame Vo BBQ

Versatile glass mason jars

Ball 16-ounce Glass Mason Jar

I use mason jars for many things, most recently as a makeshift cocktail shaker when my standard one was in the dishwasher. I mix salad dressings in them, store leftovers, sauces, nuts, flours, etc., in them and also use them as an earth-friendly way to share extra food with neighbors and friends. —Michele Rubini, chef at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele

A small spatula that lets you grab every last ingredient

Wilton Mini Jar Spatula (Set of 2)

The mini spatula is rarely spoken of, but to me, this is the greatest tool for mixing, making fluffy scrambled eggs, and helping get out all the good bits in a blender or food processor. Don't overlook the power of a mini spatula! —Vikki Krinsky, celebrity chef and founder of VK Energy

 

A spray tool that you attach directly to your lime or lemon

Utopia Kitchen Store Citrus Sprayer 

This is a unique tool that will impress your friends as well. It's a great way to get fresh citrus juice without the mess of juicing, and it works great with salt or sugar for rimming glasses for your cocktails or spraying onto a salad for a fresh dressing. —Zach Van Gaasbeek, regional chef at Bottleneck Management

A sharp zester and grater

Microplane Zester Grater

A microplane and a good vegetable peeler are invaluable. I use a microplane for a variety of tasks, and home cooks would benefit from this tool since it is so versatile. You can grate garlic, ginger, cheese, and whole spices such as nutmeg. The grater is sharp enough that it is efficient and will not bruise your product. —Mari Katsumura, executive chef & pastry chef at Yūgen

A small strainer with an extra long handle

Helen's Asian Kitchen Mini Spider Strainer

This tool can be used for lifting vegetables, pasta, fritters, eggs, or anything else that is cooked in boiling water or hot oil from a fryer. This is a very safe way of straining instead of pouring into a colander and avoiding being splashed with hot water or oil. —Paul Katz, corporate executive chef at Bottleneck Management

A tool that squeezes lemon juice

Aluminum Lemon Squeezer

The citrus squeezer is my secret weapon. I use citrus juice to make everything taste better and this little guy helps keep things efficient, clean, and seed free! —Vikki Krinsky, celebrity chef and founder of VK Energy

 

 

A pair of long wooden chopsticks

Donxote Extra Long Wooden Chopsticks

Coming in many sizes and materials, chopsticks are extremely versatile, and I find myself using them in different ways every day. I use this 16.5-inch wooden pair for placing garnishes, cooking, stirring, plating, and more. —Sharone Hakman, chef and founder of Hak's

A shaker to fill with your favorite seasoning

Cambro Camwear Shaker

I am a huge fan of the Cambro Camview Shakers. We use these in our BJ's kitchens and I also use them at home — they are super versatile, inexpensive, durable, and dishwasher safe.

I also like that you can purchase different lids and use the same base container for different types of seasoning or preparation styles. These are the unsung heroes of BJ's kitchens and versatile workhorses for every type of chef, from professional to amateur. —Scott Rodriguez, senior vice president of Culinary & Kitchen Innovation at BJ's Restaurant, Inc.

A splatter screen to reduce kitchen messes

Harold Import Stainless Steel Splatter Screen

I fry a lot of food at home and it prevents the oil from splattering on me and the stove and floor. It's a simple tool that makes cleaning up a lot easier. —Jimmy Ly, chef and owner of Madame Vo NYC and Madame Vo BBQ

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