12 must-have tools for a cramped cottage kitchen

Box grater

Cooking at the cottage presents an interesting conundrum. With limited takeout options and few nice restaurants within driving distance, you’re almost always whipping up three meals a day. Plus, there are all of those weekends when you’ve got to impress visiting friends and family with your culinary prowess. Despite the need for a full-sized kitchen, cottage kitchens are often tight and don’t have the storage for fancy appliances and gadgets. That’s why you have to choose your kitchen tools carefully, so that you can make the most of each one. This list of multipurpose gadgets will help you ensure your cottage kitchen is stocked correctly.

Stand mixer

This miracle worker is well worth the counter space it occupies. With the paddle attachment you can tackle any baking project, the dough hook will allow you to make pizza from scratch, and the powerful whisk will easily beat egg whites and whip cream. For those cottage chefs who are feeling extra ambitious you can purchase several compact attachments, including a meat grinder, mini-food processor, and pasta maker. Cuisinart has some great stand mixers that will serve you well.


A killer pair of tongs is your best friend in the kitchen. They’re perfect for flipping meat, are a great tool for serving veggies, and they can easily stand in for more cumbersome salad utensils. Plus, they’re extremely handy for mixing and stirring anything you’re working with on the stovetop—you may never put them down! OXO sells a great pair in their Good Grips line. They lock easily and have a nylon head that is gentle on non-stock cookware.

Immersion blender

These simple stick-shaped blenders are pure magic. You can puree sauces and soups right in the pot and skip the dangerous hot liquid transfer process. You can mix up beautifully thick, perfectly emulsified salad dressings in large and small quantities. Check out Cuisinart’s Smart Stick, which more than lives up to its name. An optional chopper attachment works wonders with nuts and a whisk attachment is they key to quick and easy whipped cream for your Sunday morning pancakes. The best part? It’s way easier to clean than a traditional blender.

Ice cream scoop

Obviously this is a must have for those sunny days on the dock, but when you start to think outside the box there are a ton of other ways to use an ice cream scoop. You can scoop perfectly round, equally sixed balls of cookie dough. You can fill cupcake tins without a lot of dribble and mess. And you can even make meatballs without getting your hands all mucky.

Box grater

Box graters are much sturdier and more versatile than their microplane counterparts. With just one tool, you can grate soft and hard cheese in varying sizes, zest fruits and vegetables, and shred garlic and ginger with ease. This Cuispro model comes with five grating surfaces, a non-slip handle, a removable base, and measurements along the side.

Chef’s knife

A knife set will serve you well, but cooking enthusiasts know that a good sharp chef’s knife is really all you need. Whether you’re slicing, mincing, or chopping, it will get the job done. There are a lot of excellent chef’s knifes available, and it’s definitely best to shop around and test out how they feel in your hand before committing to one.

Wing corkscrew

There’s nothing better than sipping a good glass of wine on a beautiful summer night. But those bottles aren’t going to open themselves! Choose a corkscrew that also doubles as a bottle opener so beer drinkers will be satisfied, too.

Slow cooker

This appliance will take up some space, but its versatility and ability to deliver mouthwatering meals with minimal effort, makes it well worth it. Spend your whole day out in the sunshine before retreating back into the cottage to enjoy a fully cooked meal. The Cuisinart 6.5 digital cooker is large enough to accommodate family sized meals and comes equipped with high, low, and stay-warm settings, a programmable24-hour timer and a dishwasher-safe bowl.

Mesh colander

You’ll need a strainer or a colander for draining pasta and cooked vegetables. It will also come in handy for washing the freshly picked berries from your afternoon hike. If you opt for a tight mesh colander you’ll also be able to use it to rinse small grains like rice and quinoa. They’re often sold in sets, but for a cottage kitchen, just get one large enough to meet all of your needs.

Kitchen shears

You can use these for so many kitchen tasks that it would easier to list the things they can’t do. They’re the least messy way to cut up chicken, the best way to snip fresh herbs from your garden, and the easiest way to clip twine, break up lettuce, and even slice a piece of pizza. Look for a good sturdy pair like these ones from JA Henkels to last you for a long time.

Rubber spatula

This one is essential for all your scraping, stirring, mixing, and scooping needs. A heat-resistant silicone spatula will stand up to the heat of a simmering sauce. Rubber spatulas are nice and bendable, yet still sturdy—perfect for serving up a heaping piece of lasagna or scraping every last bit of cookie dough off the side of the bowl.

Coffee and tea maker

Obviously you’re going to need your caffeine fix up at the cottage and with this 2-in-1 machine from Farberware you can ditch the kettle and make coffee and tea in the same place. It even comes with two separate permanent filters—one designed for coffee grounds and one for tea leaves.