From polished kitchenware to smaller meal-specific utensils, a wide range of stainless steel kitchen utensils are available for home and commercial use. Some are decidedly simple in their styling and construction materials, picking simplicity over any excessive styling. Others are built to fit in with even the most ornate table decorations, and may include special bone handles or other materials.
Technically, all food preparation tools are utensils, although for the purpose of this guide we will be looking at the utensils that kitchen users are most familiar with. These include measuring tools, and a range of other items used for measuring out portions; strainers, which are used to separate cooking materials, and a range of bowls and trays, which are used for storing and cooking food.
Stainless steel kitchen utensils are available in a variety of styles and finishes. The most basic are generally styled quite simply, made entirely out of pressed steel and lacking in any extra handles, specific inlays, or other details. Despite their simplicity, these utensils can look quite stylish, as a brushed or stainless steel finish can complement other items in a modern kitchen quite nicely.
An added benefit of these undecorated, simple stainless steel kitchen utensils is that, on average, they are more hygienic than alternative materials. Steel cooking utensils can’t react with cooking ingredients, as many other materials can, making it a sound choice for food hygiene. It’s also an incredibly cleaner-friendly material, with minimal post-cooking cleaning required for regular use.
Other stainless steel kitchen utensils may feature inlays, in which a pattern or name may be added, or interesting grips and handles, many of which are made from polished wood or animal bone. For high-end kitchen utensils, including those designed for long-term use, it’s not uncommon to see a brushed plastic handle added to a knife or specialist serving fork to assist with grip and usability.
The most basic, and the most frequently used utensils, are the standard knife and fork set. Stainless steel knives and forks are typically produced from a single piece of steel, limiting the level in which the steel itself can bend from its standard shape. As many kitchen utensils are used under strain, for example a thick steak knife, it’s essential that utensils are strong to prevent unwanted warping.
Other stainless steel kitchen utensils include the serving spoon and specialist knives, including most of the knives used during larger dinners to prepare turkeys and other roasted cuts of meat. As with a standard stainless steel kitchen knife, many of these blades are reinforced or cut from a single piece of steel in order to preserve their strength and prevent them from warping when used with pressure.
If there’s one thing to look out for with stainless steel kitchen utensils, it’s poor supporting materials limiting the strength and value of steel kitchen equipment. While stainless steel itself is very strong and fairly difficult to fault, many lower-end stainless steel kitchen utensils, such as serving tongs or cooking whisks, may be put together using plastic components and other low-end materials.
While this does not affect the steel parts of the utensil, it can result in unwanted breakages. Tongs, for example, can split into their two steel pieces when bound together with a small spring. Due to the immense value of stainless steel kitchen utensils as long-term possessions – most have a shelf life reaching into the decades – it’s best to spend slightly more and purchase high-end utensils.
When it comes to cooking tools, however, such as dough pans and mixing bowls, it’s important to consider both the size of the utensil and its durability. Stainless steel kitchen utensils are generally of a high quality level, although exceptions do exist. As with dining utensils, always look for gaps in construction quality and low-end materials used in place of important, often essential, items.
Whether you’re searching for the perfect stainless steel kitchen utensil set, or merely looking for a nice colander or mixing tray to complete your current stainless steel collection, it’s worth keeping your focus on issues such as quality and value. Great stainless steel utensils are durable and long-lasting, while poor quality items can often end up breaking, or even warping into unusual shapes.
It’s also worth considering the type of finish that your stainless steel kitchen utensils are sold with, as it can dramatically change their appearance. Brushed steel, while ideal for outdoor utensils and modern cooking equipment, certainly isn’t the best look for an old fashioned home. Similarly, you may like the look of shiny stainless steel, but it’s a poor match for older porcelain serving plates.
Keep these tips in mind when shopping for stainless steel kitchen utensils and you’ll be able to find cooking equipment that meets, or even exceeds your expectations. While occasional quality issues can arise, they’re rare with a good strategy. Compare several different sets of stainless steel kitchen utensils to find your perfect set, and enjoy a long-lasting and durable kitchen cooking collection.