Let’s face it – not everyone is rich enough to buy all the kitchen tools of our desires. But if you’re smart and focus on only the must-haves, you can build a kitchen that can cook, bake, or prepare any recipe you want to try.

These 20 must-have kitchen items are the right tools to purchase if you don’t have a huge budget.

  1. Set of knives. Investing in a quality knife is essential not only because it could make cutting precise, but it also reduces the chances of knife-related accidents in the kitchen. Look for a “chef knife” around 8 inches long that’s lightweight, made of stainless steel, and provides a good grip.

A quality knife can start from $50 to $100.

  1. Chopping board. When looking for a chopping board, find one that is odor-resistant and designed with a grip. If you have a bigger budget, choose a wooden board (made from maple, teak, or walnut) that is built to last a lifetime with proper maintenance.
  2. Metal and silicone spatula. A metal spatula is used for mixing or flipping food while being cooked on a pan. A silicone spatula scrapes ingredients easily from a bowl or equipment like a food processor.
  3. Kitchen shears. Investing in quality-made kitchen shears could make food prep a breeze. You can use it to cut veggies, meat, edges of the bread, packaging of various goods, and so on.
  4. Can opener. There is no other way to open canned goods as effortlessly and safely as the traditional can opener. There are virtually thousands of brands and designs available, from manual versions to completely automatic can openers.
  5. Measuring cups, spoons and bowls. These are a baker’s must-have tools. If you’re going to be following recipes of baked goods, you can only follow the instructions accurately if you have measuring cups, measuring spoons and measuring bowls.
  6. Whisk. Even if you’re not fond of baking, you’ll still find a whisk useful. It mixes dry ingredients like breadcrumbs and herbs perfectly. It also helps you make perfect frittatas every time.
  7. Quick-read thermometer. Having a thermometer removes the possibility of serving uncooked food or overcooking food. With this kitchen tool, you’ll be able to see the exact temperature of the food or your oven.
  8. Colander. A colander helps you strain your veggies, meat, pasta, and other food you need to dry.
  9. Kitchen scale. You don’t have to be on a diet to use a kitchen scale. If you’re after accuracy with your baking, cooking, making cocktails, or anything else you’re making, the digital scale with LED display is a must-have.
  10. Knife sharpener. There’s no use in investing in a quality knife if you won’t have a way to sharpen them when the time comes it requires sharpening.
  11. Immersion blender. You don’t need a food processor to mash, blend or mix ingredients. If your kitchen is small, or you don’t have the funds to get a quality blender or food processor, this handheld kitchen tool lets you create the best sauces, condiments, salsas, and other recipes.
  12. Grater. No other kitchen tool can replace the traditional grater. Used for grating cheese, citrus, fruits, and other ingredients, a grater can be designed as a single-purpose tool or a 7-in-1 model with varying modes (super-fine, coarse, parmesan, etc.)
  13. Peeler. Technically, you can use a paring knife (or other general-use knives) to peel your fruits and vegetables. But it isn’t as easy as using a peeler, which was designed exactly for this purpose.
  14. Garlic press. If you’re like me and you live in a household obsessed with garlic, invest in a garlic press since you’ll be using it almost every day. It saves you time and removes the stink of garlic on your hands.
  15. Timer. You can use this for boiling, cooking, baking, waiting for your dough to rise, etc. This kitchen tool doesn’t have to be complicated – as long as it works and tells you when one process is done, you’re good to go.
  16. Grill pan. With this pan, you can grill your go-to burgers, franks, veggies, steaks and other food indoors.
  17. Skillets (non-stick or cast iron). Cast-iron skillets can last a lifetime if you know how to take care of them. If you prefer something else, pick a non-stick skillet for your regular fried foods.
  18. Saucepan. Comes in various sizes, a saucepan (as its name suggests) is perfect for cooking any recipe with a sauce.
  19. Large pot and stockpot. For soups, stocks, stews and cooking noodles, these kinds of pots also come in different sizes. I recommend buying a smaller 6-quart variant and a bigger one for your stock.

You see, you don’t even have to buy all of these kitchen tools in one go. Pick and choose which ones you need first, but make sure you go through this list and buy everything when you’ve got the funds available. Once you complete this list, it’s guaranteed your kitchen would be a functional one.