Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

15 tools from Home Depot that will help you kill it in the kitchen

Who needs fancy kitchen stores when everything you need to cook like a rockstar chef can be found at Home Depot?

For those of us who love to cook, a trip to a pretentious kitchen store like Williams-Sonoma can be a fun way to spend an afternoon — and an expensive one. There’s something indulgent about silly little cooking gadgets like strawberry hullers or asparagus steamers. But at the end of the day, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you realize that these things for the most part are just a waste of money and kitchen space. More often than not, these gimmicky gadgets are cheaply made or serve one very obscure purpose, and then we can’t find the damned thing when it comes time to actually use it. This shouldn’t be how we cook. It’s frustrating, cluttered, and expensive.

Once we allow ourselves to let go of the idea that we have to have the newest quirky gizmo, we can embrace the usefulness of high-quality, multi-functional tools that will last for years in our kitchens.

Kitchen tools and equipment needn’t be purchased from a high-end retailer or snooty culinary website. For most kitchen tasks, you can (and should) purchase your kitchen tools at hardware stores. It turns out, Home Depot tools have some brilliant culinary uses, so let’s take a look at some of our favorites.

Rubber mallet

Rows of rubber mallets
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

My favorite way of busting open large melons involves using this handy tool. Paired with your trusty chef’s knife, this will keep your fingers safe in what can be a slippery situation. To split open your favorite large or stubborn ingredients (pumpkins, watermelons, coconuts, etc.), simply place the blade of your knife where you’d like the cut and firmly whack the back of the blade with this rubbery tool. Your fruit or vegetable will open with ease, and your knife won’t be harmed. Better yet, neither will your fingers.


Bernzomatic blowtorch
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

A blowtorch in the kitchen does so much more than just crème brûlée — though, admittedly, we do love it for this purpose, as ’90s Miami steakhouse as the dessert is. A blowtorch is wonderful for giving a toast or a char to just about anything from marshmallows to meringue, from peppers to fish. Just like many of the other items on this list, a hardware store version of this tool will get you a lot further than a dinky kitchen version.

5-Gallon bucket

Stack of orange 5-gallon buckets
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

Ah, the signature orange Home Depot bucket. This trusty pail is how I brine my Thanksgiving turkey every single year (don’t worry, that’s its only purpose). No need for fancy brining bags or expensive, bulky coolers. This bucket gets the job done perfectly and will fit into most refrigerators with a few shelf adjustments.

Wood rasp

Wood rasps
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

You may see a woodworking tool, but I see a microplane that’s in it for the long haul. Zest citrus, grate fresh nutmeg, or shave some chocolate or coconut flakes onto your dessert to give it a special touch. This little tool is meant to shave wood and is therefore sturdier and longer-lasting than a flimsy kitchen version.

Joint pliers

Rows of joint pliers
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

Cracking open nuts with one of these will take any and all daintiness out of the process. Joint pliers will crack open a nut with ease and look pretty cool next to the cold one you’ve got resting on the tool chest.

And while these pliers may not fit the lobster or crab dinner aesthetic you’re probably going for, they’re great for cracking open those pesky shells. Maybe just do that part behind the scenes and not at the dinner table.

Long-nose pliers

Long nose pliers
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

There are special tweezers made for the sole purpose of deboning fish. They’re lovely. They’re also needless. A pair of long-nose pliers will get the job done just fine. These are also great for fitting into those annoyingly slender jars when you just can’t get to that last pimento-stuffed olive.

Safety glasses

HDX Safety Glasses
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

When I was just starting to enjoy cooking, someone in my family stuffed my stocking one Christmas with some rather extravagantly pink, horribly bejeweled “onion goggles.” They were absurd. But you know what? They worked. Onions contain tear-inducing enzymes that are released when the onion is cut, and all that crying can be a real pain when all you’re trying to do is make yourself some lunch.

Throw on a pair of these bad boys to stop the fumes from getting into those baby blues. They’ll work just as well as the sparkly pink version, no emasculation required.


Wood planks
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

Wood is the start of any great project, sure, but have you ever considered making your own cutting board? Or making several and giving them as housewarming or wedding gifts? If you have a few basic woodworking and crafting skills, they can be super easy to make. Plus, the warm, personalized touch they give to a kitchen will make for a very thoughtful gift that will certainly be cherished.


Cubbies with wood dowels
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

Wooden dowels have many uses in the kitchen, and their varying sizes make for a long list of possibilities. If you’re into baking, the thinner versions make great cake dowels to hold your cake layers together. The thicker dowels can create the most heavy-duty, most affordable rolling pins you’ve ever had. Use them for rolling out doughs, breaking up nuts, and chasing off bad guys.


Slabs of kitchen tile
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

You say bathroom tile, I say beautiful cheese boards. For a tiny fraction of what you’d pay for the exact same thing labeled “cheese board,” you can simply use a piece of tile, and no one will be the wiser. And yes, you can usually buy single tiles. If you’re looking for a smaller piece, you may even be able to get one free if you ask nicely. People like to take these home to see how the tile will match their décor, so the more generous employees will sometimes allow you to take one or two free of charge.


Shelves with balls of twine
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

From trussing poultry to holding herb bundles together, cooking twine is a must in every kitchen. While you can most certainly purchase this item at fancy kitchen retailers, you’ll end up paying about twice as much per yard. Best to buy in bulk here.

Heavy-duty shears

Heavy-duty shears
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

There aren’t a lot of ways you can’t use a good pair of trusty shears in the kitchen. Use them for everything from chopping herbs to breaking down poultry to opening food packages. Just like so many of the other items on our list, it’s best to go with the hardware store version rather than the kitchen version. Of course you can buy shears that are made specifically for the kitchen, but they’re likely to be much less burly than something like this. If they’re more of a heavy-duty model, you can expect to pay top dollar. In this case, just go with the toolbox version.

Joint knives

Rows of joint knives
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

Let’s be honest — we’re not always the most flawless chefs in the kitchen. Sometimes things burn. It happens. But cleaning that burnt-on goo from sheet pans isn’t all that bad when you use one of these guys to do the hard work for you. Simply soap, soak, and scrape your baked-on troubles away.

Joint knives are also the perfect tool for making one of today’s trendier treats: Rolled ice cream. If you’d like to try this at home, simply spread your ice cream on an anti-griddle and use this trusty tool to shape your chilly rolls.

Infrared thermometer

Infrared thermometers
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

One of my favorite uses for an infrared thermometer in the kitchen is not to check food temperature itself (though that’s great, too!) but to check cooking surfaces. I have a pretty old-school grill that doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, so this little gadget helps me get the temperature right every time. It’s also perfect for checking the temperature of oil for frying. No need for messy, bulky ones that sit in the pot and get in the way.

Welding gloves

Welding gloves
Lindsay Parrill/The Manual

The manliest oven mitts on the market, welding gloves can withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. So whether you’re getting something off the hot grill, out of the oven, or you know, the surface of the sun, you should be good. While they don’t offer a lot of finesse with your hand movements, they’re great for grabbing a hot skillet from the coals — then goin’ out back and branding cattle or something.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
Fun app helps home cooks find new recipes and has a thriving community
See what's cooking with this new app
Man and woman cooking in kitchen

Most of us have at least a few recipes saved somewhere on our phones or tablets. As we peruse social media and the plethora of YouTubers, Instagram influencers, and our favorite bloggers urging us to try this or that new dish or cooking technique, it's hard not to have established a considerable collection of digital recipes.
Part of the joy in collecting these recipes is sharing them with friends and family when you've found a winner. Years ago, apps like Pinterest and Facebook helped us do that to an extent, but, if we're honest, those sites are pretty dated and limited when it comes to recipe sharing.
Thankfully, there's a new recipe app in town. One that will help you save all of those tempting recipes, share them with your friends, and even assist you with things like grocery shopping and keeping your screen from going dark while you're trying to cook.

Sisters and founders of Spillt, Maddy and Ann, created the clever app in the early days of COVID. The two were living together with their mother and, like everyone in those days, found themselves cooking...a lot. It didn't take long for them to realize the need for an easy, updated, fun way to share recipes with each other and with their friends. And thus, Spillt was born.

Read more
Video: Let the great Jacques Pepin teach you how to properly truss a chicken
The famous French chef shares his easy technique for trussing a chicken
how to truss a chicken 16619015518 fa5e11b4b1 o

If you're like most people, you grew up watching the great Jacques Pepin on PBS, blowing us all away with his incredible culinary skills and captivating French charm. Not only was Pepin one of the original celebrity chefs long before The Food Network was even a thought, but his welcoming persona and warmth also make him the darling French grandfather we never had.

Pepin makes even the most complex recipes seem easy, and that's probably because his focus has always been exquisitely delicious, beautifully simple food that anyone can make. There's nothing pretentious about his skill, he's too confident for that nonsense.

Read more
The hottest contraband from Mexico right now may surprise you
Cracking the case: Why eggs are the new darling of the black market
White eggs in an egg carton

In a frustrating, yet somehow wholesome turn of events, eggs have been added as the newest addition to the long list of illicit items being smuggled over the Mexican/U.S. border.
Between November 1 and January 17, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents reported over 2,000 instances of attempted egg smuggling over the border, according to the New York Times. In the same 11-week period the year before, only 460 similar instances were reported.
The surge in this unusual crime is undoubtedly due to the increasing cost of eggs in the states. The guilty party? The avian flu, still wreaking fresh havoc on all birdkind as the days tick by without any real solution. From turkey shortages this past Thanksgiving to what's now apparently turning into eggs being sold shadily in little plastic baggies, the effects of this gnarly virus are extraordinary.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, avian influenza has affected more than 58 million birds in both commercial and backyard flocks. By the end of last year, the illness had killed more than 43 million egg-laying hens. Due to the egg shortage this continues to create, obviously, their cost has skyrocketed.
In Mexico, however, the price of a kilogram of eggs - which equates to more than a dozen jumbo eggs in American terms - is currently running between 31 and 50 pesos, or $1.59 to $2.79 in U.S. dollars. Compare that to our average of $7.37 per dozen in California, and a new career in the underground egg game starts to look interesting.
While it has been illegal to bring eggs and uncooked poultry into the U.S. from Mexico since 2012, most instances until now were simply cases of ignorance and a few discarded eggs as a consequence. Now, though, the powers that be are cracking down.
On January 17, San Diego Director of Field Operations, Sidney Aki, tweeted, "The San Diego Field Office has recently noticed an increase in the number of eggs intercepted at our ports of entry. As a reminder, uncooked eggs are prohibited entry from Mexico into the U.S. Failure to declare agriculture items can result in penalties of up to $10,000." For ten thousand bucks, you can buy at least a couple of weeks' worth of eggs, so maybe it's best not to risk it.
Either way, no matter how you get your eggs home this week, we recommend storing them in the refrigerator...removed of all duct tape and white, powdery residue.

Read more