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11 Manual Kitchen Tools Every Prepper Needs

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of How to Prep When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Do you keep manual kitchen tools on hand so that you can cook from scratch, even when the lights go out? Every prepper’s kitchen could potentially benefit from these items. Some of them are like the ones our great-grandmothers used, while others are more closely related to a manual version of modern items.

Here is a list of kitchen tools that you may want to add. I use several of these right now and have for years.


I have this manual food chopper and use it regularly. It makes fast work of things like onions, garlic, and other veggies and saves me so much time during canning season.  I also use it when I need a lot of a particular chopped item, and when making fresh salsa. It’s an inexpensive addition to your prepper kitchen that can save you a lot of time chopping, dicing, and mincing.


A good quality mandoline like this one can be incredibly useful when you need to slice things uniformly and thinly. I use mine particularly when I’m dehydrating produce to get thin, even slices.

Food mill

Canners will recognize a food mill. It helps you to get a nice, smooth puree for things like marinara or apple sauce. You can also use it for potatoes and even for baby food if you have a tiny human in the house. I find a food mill to be invaluable. I love this one because it’s ergonomic and easy to use.

Rotary beater

I still have and use my granny’s rotary beater. The listing calls this item an egg beater but it works well for baking too.  Any place you’d use a handheld mixer, you can also use a rotary beater. You’ll have to put some muscle behind it but this will help with batters, frostings, and mixing. Sure, you can use a fork but I find that a beater incorporates my ingredients much better.

Mortar and pestle

I find a mortar and pestle to be invaluable. It’s a great tool for macerating herbs and also for grinding dried ones. This has both culinary and medicinal uses – I use it when getting herbs ready for a decoction or an infusion, and also for getting the most flavor out of my kitchen spices before adding them to a dish. I’ve also used it to grind up medication to hide in my pets’ food, and you could do the same for humans who perhaps cannot swallow a pill. This is a really nice one that is a useful size.

Can opener

Do you have a manual can opener? Do you have two? (One is none and two is one!) This one is very high quality and is also easy to use. I’ve had a few that were really difficult to crank, but the Gorilla Grip is my absolute favorite. This is a place you really don’t want to cheap out, particularly since preppers often rely heavily on commercially canned goods.

Manual meat grinder

Here’s another place you don’t want to cheap out: with a meat grinder.  A meat grinder is a great way to make a tough, unpleasant cut of meat more palatable. I’ve tried the cheap $30-40 dollar ones and they break quickly, do a poor job, and are difficult to crank. This is the one that I swear by. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble for cleaning and works extremely well. Yes, it’s a bit of a physical workout, but not nearly as much as the cheap versions.

French press or pour-over coffee maker

If you want to be able to have your morning java long after the power goes out, there are two really simple options that only require your coffee and boiling water: the French press and the pour-over coffee maker. I’ve had this French press for years and always used it as my backup. But recently, my daughter got this pour-over coffee maker with a permanent filter. (I guess pour-over is trendy now?)

Both of these make a great cup of coffee, and really, it’s up to your personal preference what kind to get. French press is less filtered and makes a stronger, bolder cup of coffee, so if you prefer a blonde roast or a lighter cup, you’ll want the pour-over version. If you get your coffee in whole-bean form, you’ll also want a coffee grinder. I love the vintage look of this one: the reviews are great and the price is right.

Pasta maker

Do you like pasta? Do you have hundreds of pounds of wheat put aside? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you might benefit from a manual pasta maker. It’ll save you a lot of effort when you can run your dough through this instead of rolling it out and carefully slicing it to the right size. Not only does it work well for noodles, but you can also use it for making dumplings and pierogie.

Tortilla press

I got my cast iron tortilla press in Mexico, but this one is very, very similar. It’s the very best way to get a nice thin tortilla to fry up. It’s nearly impossible to roll the dough thin enough, and that’s extremely time-consuming. Tortillas are another great way to use your stash of grains, and they are quick to make with a press. Ladies who I knew when I lived in Mexico would spend a few hours every weekend making fresh tortillas for the week ahead. Once you’ve had homemade tortillas, you’ll never want to go back to storebought.

Wheat mill

Grinding wheat is hard work. In good times, I would always recommend using an electric wheat grinder because the job is time-consuming and takes a lot of muscle. But if the power is out and you want to work your way through those wheatberries, you need a proper grinder.

I’ve tried numerous different brands, and I always go back to the Wondermill Junior. There’s no other grinder around that does such a good job and really does so as efficiently as possible. Yes, there are cheaper ones, but you get what you pay for. If you stash grains in their whole form, you will need a grinder to make them ready for cooking. You can grind basically any grain with this device, and it also includes an auger to make masa and nut butter.

If the Wondermill is too spendy, this is the next best choice.

What are some manual kitchen tools you recommend?

Do you have manual tools for your kitchen? Do you have the ones listed here? Are there others you’d recommend? And do you use them now or are you saving them for power outage situations?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterestGabMeWeParlerInstagram, and Twitter.

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