Most American kitchens have measuring cups and can openers, but tools such as zesters and mandolins are more likely to only be owned by dedicated cooks.
Those are some of the findings of a recent YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. adults about which utensils fill their kitchens. Some of the highlights:
Some kitchen utensils are near-universal
Along with measuring cups and can openers, spatulas and measuring spoons are present in at least 90% of Americans' kitchens. Another nine utensils of the 25 YouGov asked about are present in more than 80% of respondents' kitchens, such as steak knives, cutting boards, whisks, and peelers.
On the other end, six of the 25 are owned by less than half of all respondents: chopsticks, garlic presses, juicers, zesters, mandolins, and ricers.
Skilled cooks are more likely to own all types of kitchen utensils
The 21% of Americans who describe themselves as "great" cooks are more likely to own all 25 kitchen utensils than are Americans with poorer opinions of their culinary skills. (46% of Americans describe their cooking abilities as "good," 25% as "OK" cooks, 4% as "bad," and 3% as "terrible." 2% said they weren't sure how to describe their cooking abilities.)
Among self-described great cooks, steak knives and tongs are nearly ubiquitous, with 94% owning tongs and 95% steak knives. These utensils are still common in other kitchens, but less so: only 85% of less-confident cooks say they own tongs, while 84% own steak knives.
The difference is particularly wide for some of the rarer utensils. Only 30% of Americans who say they're not a great cook own a mandolin, while 55% of self-described great cooks do. A zester is owned by 37% of less-confident cooks but 65% of great ones.
Most utensils are owned by more older Americans than young adults, but not chopsticks or ricers
It can take time and money to accumulate a well-stocked kitchen, as well as ample kitchen space to store all those tools. Unsurprisingly, many utensils are more likely to be owned by older Americans.
That's not true for everything, though. Some of the rarer types of kitchen implements are more likely to be owned by younger Americans. This includes chopsticks — primarily used for East Asian cuisine — and tools such as ricers, mandolins, zesters, and juicers.
— Taylor Orth contributed to this article
Methodology: This poll was conducted online on November 1 - 6, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.
Image: Getty (Peter Stark)