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My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools

Find my favorite kitchen utensils and appliances! I use most of these everyday! ❤️

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools | MyKoreanKitchen.com

One of the most frequently asked questions by my readers are what kind of rice cooker and wok do I use? And what brands would I recommend for those?

With Christmas approaching, I thought I might share some of my favorite kitchen tools I use day to day in my kitchen, so that you can use this information as your shopping guide or, even better, request to your family and friends that you want one of these. 😉 Good idea?!

Out of curiosity, do you own any of these tools in your home? If so, which one? Anyway, I hope you find this guide useful!

1.Rice cooker

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Cuckoo IH Pressure Rice Cooker | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Cuckoo IH Pressure Rice Cooker : This is my beautiful rice cooker made by Cuckoo. It is an induction heating pressure cooker so it distributes the heat evenly and thoroughly. I’ve owned this one (model number CRP-HYXB1010FB) since June 2013. I actually ordered it from Korea so I’m using it with an Australian power adapter.  I had owned a different Cuckoo rice cooker before this as well. You can view the picture from here.

I don’t know all the technical details but what I know is that my rice cooker cooks the most delicious rice. It always gives me rice with just right – nice, fluffy and moist – texture. It’s also very easy to clean inside and outside. (It has an internal steam cleaning function so you can always keep the rice cooker clean even internally!) It is also very sturdy, nothing like the cheap $10 rice cooker you can buy from a supermarket. I keep my rice cooker out permanently on the kitchen bench as I use it everyday (sometimes I use it twice a day!).

It speaks three different languages – Korean, English and Chinese. (I set mine to English so that my husband can cook the rice as well, which is quite handy.) The “only downside” I can think of is the price. I think I paid close to USD $500 for this one but I consider it as an investment as it saves my time and gives me consistently  great results (as long as the water to rice ratio is correct). It has many settings so you can not only cook rice, but you can also cook rice porridge, bake cakes and do so much more. Unfortunately I’m just too busy to utilise all the functions it has to offer at present but it’s all there! You can use it as an electric pressure cooker as well. I’ve steam cooked beef dishes with this before.

Cuckoo is by far the most well known rice cooker maker in Korea. They seemed to release a new and improved rice cooker every 6 months, so you should be able to get more advanced models now.

2. Skillet/Wok

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Lodge skillet (10.25 inch & 12 inch) with lid | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Lodge skillet (10.25 inch & 12 inch) with lid : These are my go to skillets for my everyday cooking. (Basically I use them as my wok.) I love using cast iron pans as they are cheap and easy to maintain. I also do think food tastes better even though it could be a psychological thing! The only downside to using a cast iron skillet for me would be the heavy weight compared to a non-stick pan but I consider it as my arm muscle building opportunity as I normally don’t get to exercise. lol FYI, I use these mainly on my induction cooktop. You don’t have to have a gas burner to use these ones! I’ve been using them for over 2 years now. Before these, I used to use non-stick pans and I got tired of throwing them away every few months when they got scratched. Now I don’t need to worry about throwing my money away anymore!

Also when I bought the skillet I bought the lid as well. I didn’t think I would use it much but surprisingly it is so handy to have a lid that fits perfectly onto a skillet. It’s great for lightly steaming during stir frying and speeding up the cooking. If I were to add a proper wok into my kitchen tool inventory, I will buy a lodge wok as I love their skillets!

3. Braiser

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 3-1:2-Quart Round Braiser | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 3-1/2-Quart Round Braiser : This is my favourite braising pan. It heats up slowly and distributes the heat evenly. The food cooks well and keeps the moisture so well without over simmering the sauce. I used this pot in my latest cookbook for the Spicy Braised Mackerel and Radish recipe. It gave me consistently excellent results. It’s also good for Korean style hot pot (e.g. budae jjigae (Korean army stew) and gamjatang (pork bone soup)).

4. Knife

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Victorinox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Victorinox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife  : I was introduced to this santoku knife about 2 years ago and I love it because it fits my small hand very well. It’s also very versatile and it cuts well of course too! I actually also own a more expensive brand’s (Wusthof) santoku knife but I prefer using the Victorinox one for my cooking. Food just seems to slice better and easier with it.

5. Mixer

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Bamix Mono Hand Mixer | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Bamix Mono Hand Mixer : This one was a gift from my husband for mother’s day. Before this I only had a stand alone type mixer – Vitamix, which I also love. But for general cooking (e.g. making Korean BBQ marinade and Kimchi base) I wanted a handheld mixer as it works better than the stand alone type with the food that has little liquid. My husband chose this brand because his grandma and also his mom used it for decades.

6. Mandoline slicer

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Swissmar Borner V Power Mandoline, V-7000 | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Swissmar Borner V Power Mandoline, V-7000 : I love using this borner mandoline slicer. It makes julienning so much faster and easier with minimum effort! I had owned other Australian brand mandolin slicers in the past but they were really hopeless in performance, so I gave them away to charity.

7. Kitchen scale

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - Soehnle Attraction Professional Kitchen Scale | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Soehnle Attraction Professional Kitchen Scale : I love measuring things. With this digital kitchen scale, I am able to measure my cooking ingredients accurately. It can measure weight and volume. You can also measure in grams or ounces.

8. Spatula

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Flexible Turner

OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Flexible Turner : I think this is one of the best spatulas I’ve tried so far (particularly for non-stick pans) and it’s great when flipping (Korean) pancakes. It’s flexible and can support reasonably heavy pancakes such as Korean seafood pancakes (Haemul Pajeon).

9. Measuring spoons

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Measuring Spoon Set | MyKoreanKitchen.com

OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Measuring Spoon Set : It is very handy to have 6 different size measuring spoons. I particularly love having 1/2 Tbsp and 1/8 tsp. I use all of them all the time. They are dishwasher safe too. Though when I use these for Gochujang (Korean chili paste) or Kimchi  I rinse them immediately after use as they can stain the spoon. You can also get these in black from Amazon.

10. Mixing bowl

My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools - IKEA Blanda Blank Serving Bowl | MyKoreanKitchen.com

IKEA Blanda Blank Serving Bowl : These are made with stainless steel and are sturdy and very handy to have. I own a couple of these mixing bowls in different sizes. I use 11 inch (28cm) bowls a lot for making small batches of Kimchi and marinating Korean BBQ meat.


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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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50 thoughts on “My Korean Kitchen Essential Tools”

  1. Hi Sue
    I have had so many brands of rice cooker But when we visited Korean store plaza I have to get yet another one but this time I bought the Cuckoo brand I love it along with my Iwatani Korean style table grill

  2. Hi Sue,
    I love your blog. I am a Kiwi living in Japan, and am planning on taking my Japanese rice cooker (1200w) home with me to NZ later this year. Would you mind sharing what kind of adapter you are using? I have bought an adapter to use with my rice cooker (a 1200w step down transformer to convert NZ 240v to Japanese 100v, but the adapter package says it cannot be used with rice cookers. Have you had any problems with yours? Thank you!!

  3. After using this Victorinox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife, i felt like you. Thanks for introducing us to use this. Awesome knife.

  4. Like the story of the rice cooker. Definitely will search for that korean rice cooker. This looks interesting to me. Thanks for the share!!!

  5. Hi Sue,

    I have just got a Cuckoo IH high pressure 10cup, but I am struggling a bit to get some proper basmati rice with it, it comes out sticky.

    Any hints ?

    Thank you

    • I think I have the same cooker as you. I didn’t find any glutinous rice setting to work well for either basmati or jasmine rice. You might want to try the mixed grain setting –I haven’t tried it. After a couple of experiments with jasmine rice I went back to using my old Zo IH non-pressure rice cooker for jasmine and basmati rice and I keep the Cuckoo for short grain and mixed grain rice. I really bought it for the mixed grain rice function so it was well worth it to me.

      • Thank

        I will try my mode 4 soak 1 heat, I have seen on one post someone using nutritious rice setting

        A bit of a bummer as we only eat basmati (beside suchi)

        • Hi Dam,

          I don’t cook long grain rice often, but on rare occasions I tried it in my rice cooker, it came out sticky as well (though not as much as short grain rice). I will let you know when I discover a right setting / combination for it. 🙂

    • Try nutritious rice setting. I’ve been using it for my Jasmine, long grain white rice and comes out just the way I want it.

      • I will try nutritious rice setting soon. The other day, I used sushi rice setting for my jasmine rice and it turned out quite well. (It felt even more fluffier after I kept it in the fridge overnight.) I will keep experiment and report back. 🙂

    • I use 1 portion of rice to an equal portion of rice, disregarding the instructions on the rice packaging. For example, I use 1 cup of basmati rice and 1 cup of rice in my 6 cup, pink cuckakoo induction heat rice cooker and the basmati turns out great. When I followed the rice package instructions, the basmati was a sticky glumpy mess.

          • Dear sue, Please let me know a product name which have all house hold equipment s for a complete house…I mean fridge , ac, Owen, mixer, coolers, aircurtain, cooking stove,

        • I tried the one for one ratio on Jasmine rice and it turned out wonderful and fluffy! My first use of my new Cuckoo IH Pressure Rice Cooker! Yay! So excited. What I would like is someone to write a cookbook specifically tailored to the Cuckoo IH pressure rice cookers so that I could learn hints and tips on settings and ratios for all different types of rice dishes. The instruction manual is not very user friendly 🙁

    • I moved from Korea to the UK recently and was probably most excited to see my Cuckoo rice cooker after my household items finally arrived! I found this thread after searching how to cook basmati rice in a rice cooker with Induction Heat / Pressure Cook functions. I saw a tip elsewhere to do a 1:1 ratio of basmati rice and water + a little butter and salt . Tried that last night on the Quick 백미 (Quick “white (sushi) rice”) setting. Rice was done in 18 minutes and I was happy with the results! I will add a touch more water next time, but I think a 1:1 water to rice ratio is a good starting point for long grain rice.

  6. We just had our first korean meal in a restaurant yesterday. The cabbage was so finely shredded – less than 1 mm I would say. What would you use to shred this finely?

    • Hehe, but it’s a really good rice cooker and it can cook many dishes, not just rice. Also it’s also very well made and I’m sure it will last many years.

  7. Hi Sue, I’ve recently purchased a cuckoo rice cooker but it’s an older model. I got it from the US and has a 120V, 60 Hz power supply description. Just wondering where you got your Australian power adapter and how it works with the power supply on your rice cooker model…

    • Hi Mel, I think I bought my adapter from Big W. It was a long time ago though. (But I’m still using it every day.) It looks very similar to this one. https://www.bunnings.com.au/korjo-multi-reverse-travel-adaptor_p4420320 (I couldn’t find a similar one from Big W.) Also, my adapter doesn’t convert the voltage.

      Though if you bought 120V rice cooker, I would think you will need a transformer to change the voltage as well? Something to think about before you plug in! Perhaps something like these ones? (But I’m not experienced in these kinds of gadgets, so please check with an expert!)

      I bought my rice cooker from Korea (220V) and it’s close enough for Australian standard (230V). I’ve been using it fine without any problems since 2013. Also, my previous rice cooker from Korea (between 2007 to early 2013) worked fine as well. Hope you can start using your new Cuckoo soon!

  8. Hi Sue,
    I just bought the newest Cuckoo pressure rice cooker so I can cook mixed rice more easily. But I was wondering, can the Cuckoo rice cooker cook Thai jasmine and Indian basmati (both white, long grain rices) well? I’ve heard that it’s really only meant for medium and short grain rices. (My daily rice is white, short grain rice.) Thanks for any advice.

          • Hi. Which Cuckoo Menu setting and water level you recommend for the long grain rice (like jasmine rice)? Many thanks.

          • (On a rare occasion) When I cook long grain rice, I just use the “glutinous rice” – 백미 (Baekmi) setting. The water level is also same as what I would normally do for short/medium grain white rice.

          • I did cook jasmine rice a couple of nights ago. It was very fluffy, but too dry. I cooked it on the standard “glutinous rice” setting and followed the water measurements on the pot. Next time, I may increase the water to the level of “soft glutinous rice” water line and see what happens. I’m only cooking 3 rice cooker measuring cups at a time while I do these “experiments” so if it doesn’t turn out well, I’m not wasting too much. (I know the pressure rice cooker will work for the jasmine and basmati rices because my Indian friends use stove-top pressure cookers for their rice on a daily basis.)

          • Thanks for updating this thread. By the way, what is “soft glutinous rice” water line? Is this official name? Or did you name it? 🙂

          • Hi. I also found some advice on the other IH rice cooker manufacturers site. They suggest using “Mixed rice” mode and 1-1.25 cup of water to 1 cup of rice ratio. For me long grain is as important as short grain, since I love Thai and Indian food. I have to try both options.

          • The newest Cuckoo pressure rice cooker has a water line for and a separate setting called “soft glutinous rice.” They do think of everything…

  9. HI Sue, I have the Cuckoo 1H pressure cooker and have never used it (I used the older rice cooker) but received this as a gift some years ago and finally had the courage to take it out of the box. Have you ever tried to use this as a pressure cooker too? Maybe to make Kalbi Jim? I’d love to get more use out of this giant, and rather expensive rice cooker. Would appreciate your thoughts. The instruction manual was confusing and since this isn’t a traditional pressure cooker, I’m not sure how to use this. All best Jean

  10. Hi

    We have Korean neighbors who leave their cooking utensils out in the sun during the day. Is this a Korean custom and why is it done??

    • Hmmm, I’ve never seen it or heard of it. (I certainly don’t practice it. 🙂 ) If it’s a wooden utensils maybe he’s trying to dry it out because it’s wet? or sterilising it? Why don’t you ask him? Certainly a good conversation starter! 🙂

  11. Huh… I never thought to use the hand blender for kimchi seasoning. I’ve just been using food processor and mixing it with chopsticks like a weirdo ^=__=^;; I shall have to give it a go next time (unfortunately I just made a batch yesterday haha ^^;; ). Living with mum I can’t really buy utensils cause of lack of space competing with her things but I do have a mandoline and it is the best thing ever. I also use a kitchen scale a lot, and I bought a large bowl recently cause making kimchi without one was a real mess. Like, having three bowls out at once, ay dios mio ^@__@^;; Kinda looking forward to moving out and having my own kitchen so lists like these are going to be very helpful when I need to figure out what things I need to buy so thank you for the post! I’m not sure I will ever buy a rice cooker though because I am just so used to making it in a pot now, but we will see. I probably won’t have time to babysit a pot when I’m in medical school anyway. I’m definitely looking into acquiring one of those santoku knives that you posted about though as mum has been complaining about how she keeps buying supposedly “good” knives that turn out to be rubbish so hopefully one of those will make her happy. :o)

    • Thanks Z. I don’t like sharing my kitchen space with somebody else either. 🙂 You will love having your own kitchen when you move out. Though, if you’re studying medicine, you probably want to stay with your mum until you graduate so that she can cook for you. 🙂

      • omg Sue thank you so much for posting this knife recommendation. I bought a different brand but it is a Santoku like yours with the ridges on the side and it. is. the. best. thing. evAr. Completely blows all of our other knives out of the water and into orbit in space ^<__<^;; It goes through everything I cut so easily. I was slicing shiitake earlier which is always such a chore with our other knives that I usually just slice the amount I immediately need and put off the rest til when I need it again, but it was so easy with this knife that I finished all of the shiitake I had in like 10min. ^o__o^;; Thanks again, I'm sure we will get so much use out of this knife.

        • Hahaha, you’re very funny! It’s good to hear you’re loving your new knife so much already. Yes, I love my santoku knife too! They are the best! 🙂

  12. Love the Kitchen scale, the knife and Spatula choice. Rice cooker not so much. I bought an expensive rice cooker but it started deteriorating and then I dropped it. Suffice to say it was toast. So I went back to an inexpensive rice cooker than handle some rough use without damaging the electronics. Oh yeah I have those Ikea mixing bowls too. They are brilliant.

    • Sad to hear about your rice cooker. My previous Cuckoo lasted me about 7 years. I could have continue to use it but the steam wasn’t ejecting properly through the designated hole. Cleaning was getting hard because of that too. So I upgraded to a new one (as above) and it’s been great so far. Cleaning is breeze too. I’m hoping it lasts me another 5 more years! 🙂

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