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15 Essential Chinese Cooking Tools

Whether you're tossing up a stir-fry or steaming up bao buns, here are the Chinese cooking tools you need to make your favorite dishes.

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Lodge Pro Logic Wok With Flat Base Ecomm Via Amazon.comVia Merchant


One of the most iconic Chinese cooking tools, woks can be used for everything from stir-frying to steaming dumplings. We like this cast-iron wok for its heat retention and durability, but follow our wok buying guide to find the best size and material for your kitchen.

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Rice Cooker

Whether you want to cook up fried rice or serve it as a side with sesame chicken, using a rice cooker makes a difference. This simple appliance provides consistent results, and it gives you more time to focus on other dishes. An Instant Pot also works really well. Here’s how to find the best rice cooker for you.

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Kitchen Shears

A pair of sturdy kitchen shears are a must, according to Maggie Zhu of the blog Omnivore’s Cookbook. She explains, “You can use it to cut up bone-in chicken. Or, use it to cut vegetables like green onions, when you just need a few pieces to top on a soup at the end of cooking.” Shears are on our list of essential kitchen utensils, too!

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Steamer Basket

You’ll want to pull out this steamer basket when making a delicious bao bun recipe. Made entirely out of bamboo, this traditional tool has two tiers for steaming rice, fish, veggies and more.

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Cleaver Knife

A sharp, precise cleaver knife is an essential for Chinese cooking. You won’t need another knife again if you have a cleaver knife on hand—you’ll be prepped and ready for any Chinese dish! This one is even dishwasher safe.

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Garlic Press

Here’s a cooking tool you can use for Chinese cooking and beyond (like in these recipes for garlic lovers). Maggie uses her garlic press on the daily. She mentions, “It is just so much faster and easier (to use).” Here’s a tip from her: “The pressed garlic will be a bit finer than minced garlic, so cook it with slightly lower heat or for a shorter time so it won’t burn.”

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Thin Rolling Pin

The thick rolling pin you currently own won’t cut it for shaping and rolling small bites like Chinese scallion pancakes, dumpling wrappers and buns. Grab a thin rolling pin for easy maneuvering. Here are a few other reasons why you need a mini rolling pin.

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Hot Pot

If you like to indulge in hot pot dishes at your local Chinese restaurant, this Chinese cooking tool is calling your name. Made of stainless steel, this hot pot features a divider so you can simultaneously cook two different dishes at once.

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Wok Spatula and Ladle

Make sure to snag speciality wok accessories that perfectly complement your pan. This spatula and ladle set is a great choice for maneuvering around a steaming hot wok. We love that it has wooden handles that will prevent you from burning your hands.

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Nonstick Skillet

No wok? No worries. You can use a nonstick skillet for stir-fry dishes and fried rice. This kitchen staple provides plenty of room for evenly cooking your ingredients. And, as an added bonus, cleanup is a breeze!

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Bamboo Strainer

Bamboo strainers are a traditional Chinese cooking tool. They’re used for straining liquid off of dishes like wontons and dumplings. You can also use a slotted spoon or a metal strainer, too.

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Julienne Peeler

Julienne peelers are an easy alternative to using a knife to cut veggies. Maggie likes using them for, “slicing carrots, zucchini, potatoes and more. It’s fast and much easier for cutting even pieces if you’re not confident in your knife skills.” She also explains that this tool can help you achieve those matchstick-like veggie slices that are used in a variety of Chinese cooking, like in this pork and vegetable spring roll recipe.

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Splatter Screen

If you use a frying pan for pan-frying and grilling meat, you’ll want to pick up a splatter screen. Maggie explains that it’s the tool to reach for when, “you want the meat to brown without creating a mess on your kitchen counter. It keeps the steam out and oil splatter in.” Just set up this mesh screen on top of your pan for spill-free cooking.

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Mortar and Pestle

In Chinese cooking, a mortar and pestle is used to grind fresh spices or garlic and to make pastes. It’s also a popular Mexican and Indian cooking tool.

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Wok Brush

A specialty bamboo wok brush and just a splash of water is all you need to give your wok a thorough clean. Do keep in mind that you want to avoid soap when scraping up food residue on your wok since it’ll remove the patina. Before you get scrubbing, here are more tips on how to clean a wok.

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Christina Herbst
Christina is a Social Media Editor for Taste of Home. She enjoys trying out local restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on. In her free time, you can find her hunting down one-of-a-kind furniture pieces at thrift and vintage stores and DIYing trendy home decor crafts.