Test Kitchen Tips
10 Cooking Tools You Can Get Cheap at the Hardware Store
Find better quality cooking and entertaining items at the hardware store. Eschew the froufrou!
Shutterstock / Joshua Resnick
Cedar Grilling Planks—about $1 each
You can spend around $15 for a pair of cedar planks made specifically for grilling, or you can head to the lumber department for an untreated 12′ cedar board. Have the employee cut the board into 12- or 15-in. lengths and you end up with 10-12 planks for about $11. That’s a savings of 85%—and a whole lotta cedar planked salmon for years to come!
New to plank grilling? This beginner’s guide will help get you started.
Shutterstock / Evgeny Tomeev
Plastic Funnels—$1 to $2 each
No need to hit the kitchen supply store for overpriced funnel sets with pieces that you don’t need. Just grab a funnel a la carte from the hardware store. These may not collapse like pricier silicone funnels made specifically for the kitchen, but they cost only a fourth or a fifth as much. The hole in the handle means you can hang the funnel out of the way.
Parchment paper makes a quick funnel for dry ingredients. Here are 9 other uses.
Shutterstock / Todd Taulman Photography
Paintbrushes, AKA Pastry Brushes—$2 each
Long-bristled paintbrushes work just as well as those sold specifically for pastries, and they cost less than half as much.
Shutterstock / Anna_Pustynnikova
Slate Tile Cheese Tray—free to $12 each
One of the big kitchen stores sells a 12×18-in. slate cheese tray for $49.95, but we found a sample of this tile, also in slate, for $11.70. That’s 76% off! Some hardware and flooring stores have free samples, too. Now, here’s how to nail that perfect cheese assortment.
Shutterstock / Syda Productions
The Best Bench Scraper—$9
Chef Alton Brown says the 8″ Wal-Board Taping Knife is the best bench scraper he’s ever had. A name-brand one from a kitchen store will set you back about $15—and because it’s smaller, it takes more time to do the job.
Shutterstock / FoodStocker
Wooden Dowels—$0.41 and up
Place 1/4-in. dowels around your cookie or pie dough and you’ll always roll ’em to the right thickness. (Rolling guides specifically for kitchen use cost a lot more dough—from $6 for rolling pin rings to $20 for more elaborate dowel-type set-ups.)
Shutterstock / Bernd Juergens
Basic Blow Torch—$17
You’ll pay $25 to $40 for a cute mini creme brulee torch from a cooking store. Or you can reach for the professional chef’s choice—a basic blow torch from the hardware store. It’s reliable and it comes with more than 1.5 times the fuel. In no time it broils up this irresistible Chocolate S’mores Tart.
Kitchen Twine—$0.71 per 100′
Even cotton twine is cheaper at the hardware store—about 30% less than what we found for comparable twine at a home-goods store.