Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Why a small, cheap ruler is a must-have item in your kitchen

We’re all familiar with the classic kitchen measuring tools: cups, spoons, bowls, and scales. Well, it’s time to add a ruler to this lineup. You may be surprised to learn that rulers are a key tool in the kitchen, and they’re just about a necessity when baking cakes, pies, and cookies or making perfectly cooked sauces and evenly sliced bread.

Adding this tool to your kitchen lineup isn’t a chore, either. They’re inexpensive, don’t take up much space, and once you begin using one, you’ll wonder why you went so long without it.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Go metal

While any ruler can get the job done, we recommend grabbing one made of metal. This material is easy to clean and won’t rust, warp, or melt when exposed to heat. We love this Breman Precision three-piece metal ruler set from Amazon, which includes one 6-inch ruler and two 12-inch ones that have conversion tables on them for easy measuring. Each one is made with high-grade, rust-proof stainless steel so, when making sauces, the hot liquid won’t damage the tool.

Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sauces rule

Speaking of sauces, rulers are a necessity when reducing them. For example, if a recipe calls for reducing the sauce by exactly half or requires you to cover tomatoes by an inch of water, sticking a ruler right in the pot is the easiest method. While more seasoned chefs may be able to track these measurements by sight alone, beginner chefs can use a ruler while they’re training their eyes.

Recommended Videos

We also recommend using rulers when cooking with expensive ingredients. There’s nothing worse than having to start over because you reduced a sauce by too much, and wasting expensive food is always frustrating. Instead of playing the guessing game, just put the ruler in at the beginning and measure as it cooks to follow the recipe to the letter.

baking bread
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Measuring dough

If you’re making bread, pizza, biscuits, or cookies, it’s important to measure the diameter and thickness of the dough. Baking is an exact science, so there’s little room for error. Rolling out your dough to the necessary thickness is key to making sure your pie doesn’t burn or undercook. Further, if you’re splitting a cake into thirds to make layers, it’s best to measure the thickness with a ruler to make sure you’re cutting it into three even pieces. If your metal ruler is thin enough, you can also use it to cut right through the dough or cake in a pinch, too. Just make sure to spray or rub it with oil first so it doesn’t stick.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Measure servings

If you’re displaying cakes, brownies, tarts, or pies and want them to be evenly cut, all you need is a ruler to make sure each slice is the exact same size. This is especially helpful when serving kids who are constantly searching for the biggest piece of cake or pie. Make the “his piece is bigger than mine” argument a thing of the past, and assure them that everyone’s serving is equal. In baking, presentation matters, and a ruler makes every piece look clean and professionally made.

grilled steak with asparagus and gravy
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Meat thickness

Cooking filets can be tricky, as just a few minutes can be the difference between the perfect medium-rare piece and an overcooked rock. Cooking times for meat depend largely on the thickness of the cut, so grilling with a ruler is certainly a must. Further, some recipes call for pounding poultry or pork to a certain thickness, so while you’re getting more comfortable in the kitchen, use a ruler the first few times until you’re able to tell just by looking at it.

For many cooks who are just getting started, it can feel overwhelming to tackle a complex recipe that calls for exact measurements. With a ruler, you can have the confidence to try new things because you can follow the recipe exactly. Bakers have long kept a kitchen ruler in their list of must-have kitchen utensils, but they are nearly as important to grilling enthusiasts, sauce makers, and pizza chefs. If it isn’t already, a sturdy metal ruler will soon be a staple in your kitchen drawer, right next to the measuring cups and spoons.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
What colors go with purple? 9 captivating shades for your home
Here's how to decorate with purple and find colors that complement it
Living room with purple couch and walls

Purple represents royalty, mystery, peace, and much more, depending on who you ask. So, why can’t you decorate with purple? There are many ways to work it in if purple is your thing, from purple color combinations to purple accents.

Research shows that people who decorate with purple are most likely to say their home makes them happy, and Pantone's color of the year in 2022 certainly celebrated the shade. If you already love purple, this is definitely the read for you, but if you need some convincing, this just may be the thing that convinces you that purple is the right choice for remodeling your space.

Read more
These are the colors that go with green: Design your home around this hue
What color complements green? Here are some amazing options
Green living room with gold accent pieces

The color we're talking about today is rich and vivid green. Several well-renowned paint companies like Sherwin-Williams, Behr, and Glidden have named different shades of green the color of the year. A natural and lively color, green is peaceful, luxe, and vibrant, making it the perfect new addition to your space.

With its delicate ties to nature, this color is the perfect addition to home design and will have you considering switching up your existing theme. Whether you want to revamp your kitchen, dining space, bedroom, or bathroom, green is a versatile tone with several complementary color combinations.

Read more
This incredible kitchen cabinet style will be trendy for years to come
Does your space need a revamp with this stylish addition?
Sage green kitchen cabinets

There are a lot of kitchen cabinet styles one can choose from when designing a kitchen. Landing on the right one is a matter of personal preference and your overall aesthetic. If your home has an open concept, it's important to pay attention to the rest of your home's design so you don't end up with, say, a French country-style cabinet opening onto a boho living room.

With all the kitchen cabinet door styles on the market, you'll want to take the time to do your homework on what's available. The kitchen is the heart of your home, so picking the right cabinet style is important. It's not just about color; it's about a door style you won't want to change two years in. Here are some of our favorite available options.

Read more