Essential Tools for Indian Cooking

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Ready to explore Indian cuisine in your own kitchen? With just a handful of essential tools, you can start whipping up delicious Indian meals in no time!

A bunch of ladles and a caption that reads Indian cooking tools
Essential Kitchen Tools for Indian Cooking

New to Indian cooking?

For those who are new to Indian cooking, don’t fret; you don’t need a ton of special equipment to cook Indian food. In fact, you probably have most of what you need already in your kitchen, especially if you’ve been cooking at home for a while.

As you explore the world of Indian cuisine and gain more experience, you may find that there are a few tools that come in handy, but for the most part, you won’t need to go crazy buying tons of kitchen gadgets.

So, let’s get started.

Assuming you’ve already been cooking for a bit, you probably already have the following items in your kitchen.


  1. Spoons, Forks, and Knives
  2. Dinner Plates – I recommend Corelle instead of stoneware since it is lighter.
  3. Cereal bowls
  4. Serving spoons/ladles
  5. Coffee mugs
  6. Drinking glasses

Basic Kitchen tools

Knife – Every budding chef’s dream is to have a quality knife in their arsenal, and this 6-inch all-purpose Chef’s knife from Wusthof does any job well. It is very comfortable to hold and makes chopping less of a chore.

Chef's knife

Chopping board – It is best to separate chopping boards for veggies and meat. That’s why I like Index™ with knives from Joseph Joseph. This set includes four color-coded cutting boards with four corresponding knives to help reduce cross-contamination and make food preparation easier.A chopping board and knife set

Color coded cutting boards with corresponding knives

Kadhai / Wok – I have 2 of them – T-Fal, one for stir-frying, and the Futura brand to make curries. I would think one would be sufficient to begin with. If you want something long-lasting, go for Anolon chef’s casserole.
Black kadhai / wok

Black kadhai / wok

Blender – I use my Blendtec blender for everything from idli batters to banana bread and even sambar powder.

Blender with a jar and a side jar

Frying / Pan – Always keep two separate frying pans for dosas and chapatis. I prefer cast-iron ones for chapatis and non-stick ones for dosas.
Griddle Griddle Dosa in a non-stick pan

Dosa in a non-stick pan

Lemon squeezer – To add a bit of tang to your meal, you need a lemon squeezer that will get every bit of juice out
Lemon squeezer

Lemon squeezer

Grater – There are many kinds – Zester / Box graters. I have a very simple box grater. It comes in handy while making carrot halwa.

Box grater

Peeler – This Oxo one works great.
Black peeler

Black peeler

Can opener – A can-opener is a must-have, in my opinion. Think about all those cans of coconut or condensed milk!

Can opener

Ice-cream scooper – an ice cream scooper is a must for all ice cream lovers!
ice cream scooper

Ice cream scooper

Now that we have some of the kitchen essentials out of our way, let’s look at the must-have kitchen tools for an Indian kitchen.

Kitchen Tools in Indian Cooking

In this list of 10 items, I would consider the top four as absolute essentials. The rest of the tools in this list come in handy when you want to make Indian flatbreads (roti) and idli at home.

Pressure cooker – It is hard to imagine an Indian Kitchen without a pressure cooker. It is used to speed up cooking times for pulses and lentils, amongst other things. I prefer an electric pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot. If Instant Pot is not an option, then a stovetop cooker like Hawkins is a good alternative.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Masala dabba/spice rack – You can find some really pretty ones from World Market, but if you want something functional, get this masala dabba (spice rack) from Amazon.
Masala dabba

Masala dabba

Mortar / Pestle –  A mortar and pestle are useful for quickly grinding spices into powder.

Mortar and pestle

Tadka pan / mini fry pan – These are perfect for tempering those delicious curries you’ll be making.

Tadka pan

Saucepan – A saucepan is perfect for making tea or coffee on your stovetop.Saucepan with lid

Saucepan with lid

Strainer – All you tea lovers, what would you do without a strainer?
A set of 3 strainers

A set of 3 strainers

Chakla / Belan (Circular board and rolling pin) – if you can or are planning to make chapatis / phulkas, you need chakla and belan. The ones I found online were outrageously expensive and not rated well. I think this kitchen equipment is best bought in Indian stores.
Wooden circular board and rolling pin

Wooden circular board and rolling pin

Tongs – Chimta or Tongs is an essential tool in the kitchen, especially while making rotis.


Pincer – This tool comes in handy when handling hot pans and pots.


Idly Stand / Idly Cooker -If you don’t want to go for an idly cooker, that’s fine; you could buy an idly stand that you can place in the cooker to get steamed idlis. I have used both, but I will be honest: the idlis in the Idli cooker come out much better.
Idli cooker with idli stand

Idli cooker with idli stand

Got any questions? Drop in a comment and let me know.

Indian Cooking 101

Learn more about Indian cuisine and get cooking in no time! Check out these helpful resources from the Indian Cooking 101 series.

This post was originally published on 05/24/2018, and the text and images were updated on Nov 13, 2023. 

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An overhead shot of Gujarathi kadhi along with rice, rotis and a side of lemon


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  1. I am interested in purchasing a chakla and belan. I searched online for an Indian kitchen supply store, who would possibly ship one to me, after seeing the not so great Amazon reviews.
    A friend showed me how she makes her chapati, and her rolling pin was as thin as a drum stick.
    Any ideas where I could find something near Philadelphia, or a good quality set that I could have mailed to me?
    Thank you very much for your wonderful informative site to help we non native Indian food lovers!

    1. Do you have a Patel brothers grocery store near you? I am sure you could find a good set there. I’ll keep an eye for other online stores that sell Indian utensils and will let you know.