Looking for a list of kitchen essentials? Look no further than the following must-have kitchen items list! It includes my favorite kitchen tools, equipment, and appliances that are perfect for home chefs, new homeowners, and more.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my affiliate disclosure.
Whether you’re an experienced home chef or a beginner cook, having the right kitchen tools is a must. Quality kitchen equipment will last you years, if not decades. If you love to cook or want to cook more at home, a well-equipped kitchen is one of the most important factors.
But believe me, you don’t need a massive kitchen fit for a cooking show (although that is nice!). You just need the right kind of tools and good organization. My home kitchen is small—just 78 square feet—but it’s a well-oiled machine thanks to the types of tools I choose to have and how it’s organized.
The following list is a round-up of my must-have kitchen tools. There are a few bonus appliances and tools on the list that are a fun addition if you have the interest in and space for them. I hope you enjoy my recommendations!
In my experience, bamboo cutting boards are the best choice for a home chef. They are incredibly durable, low-maintenance, and sanitary. Bamboo is also a renewable resource. In addition to a set of bamboo cutting boards, I like to have a plastic cutting board with side grooves for slicing meat and other juicy foods.
It’s important to regularly maintain bamboo cutting boards with mineral oil. I use this food grade mineral oil from Thirteen Chef’s.
If you are setting up a kitchen from scratch and only want the absolute essentials, I recommend two knives: a chef’s knife and a paring knife. Otherwise, I recommend a full knife block, complete with a chef’s knife, paring knife, serrated knife, utility knife, and kitchen shears.
Here are the knives I use:
A set of mixing bowls is essential for any kitchen. Having a set of different sizes is especially helpful when baking or preparing multiple dishes. The set I use has a no-slip bottom that’s awesome!
Pots, Pans, and Baking
Good pots and pans are very much worth the investment. After a high quality chef’s knife, they would be the next set of equipment in which I would invest. I like to keep a mix of stainless steel, nonstick, enameled ceramic, and cast iron.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Farberware Stainless Steel Saucepan with Lid: I have three sizes of these saucepans, but you can absolutely get by with just this size
- All Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Skillets: I have the entire All Clad Hard Anodized pots and pans set with their lids, but I do not regularly use all of them
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
- Crane Cast Iron Casserole Dish/Dutch Oven: I use this for so many things: soups, stews, cooking a whole chicken, cooking pasta and grains, and more!
- Le Creuset Stock Pot
- Nordic Ware Aluminum Baking Sheets: there’s also a good set of these pans available at Macy’s
- Le Creuset Rectangular Casserole Dish with Lid
- Collapsible Silicone Colander: saves a LOT of cabinet space!
- Target Silicone Muffin Pan
- Pyrex Pie Dish
- CorningWare Ramekins
- Calphalon Cake Pans, 9×13 Brownie Pan, and Loaf Pan
If you have a small kitchen and/or don’t want a full pots and pan set, I recommend getting a few essential pieces. These would be a saucepan, skillet, a soup pot or Dutch oven, and a baking sheet.
Tools and Utensils
I love kitchen utensils, and some might say I own way too many of them. I’ve pared down the list here to include the essentials (and some extras).
- Olive Wood Spoon and Spatula Set: wooden spoons are usually my preferred utensils so that I don’t scratch my pots and pans
- Slotted Spoon
- Large Spatula Turner
- Silicone Spatulas
- Silicone-Tipped Tongs
- Soup Ladle
- Meat Thermometer
- Swivel Peeler
- Handheld Grater
- Chef’n Handheld Citrus Juicer
- Garlic Press
- 11-Inch Whisk
- Pyrex Measuring Cups
- Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
If you just need the essentials, start with a hand mixer and blender. There are some other great time-saving appliances out there that I included on this list. They’re not a good fit for everyone, but they can really upgrade your cooking if you are an active home chef.
- KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer
- Oster Blender: this was my first blender and it really got the job done!
- Vitamix E310 Blender: I love this model of the Vitamix because it fits under kitchen cabinets
- Nutribullet Personal Blender: I drink a lot of smoothies and therefore LOVE my Nutribullet
- Cuisinart Immersion Blender
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer: great for avid bakers; there are also a lot of available attachments, including one to make homemade pasta
- Cuisinart 11-Cup Food Processor
- Crockpot/Slow Cooker
- 6-Quart Instant Pot
Storage and Organization
A well-equipped kitchen can only run smoothly if it’s organized well, especially if it’s a small space. I put together some of my favorite space-saving items that have helped me organize my small kitchen, plus the things I use to store leftovers.
- Canisters: the exact kind that I use are no longer available, but I really like them for storing flour, sugar, coffee, and other goods on the counter to free up space in the cabinets
- Spice Rack: if you can find one that doesn’t take up a lot of space on your cabinet or wall, it’s a great option if you don’t have room in your cabinets for spices
- Utensil Holders: great for freeing up space in kitchen drawers and can be decorative
- Cookbook Stand: this doesn’t solve the issue of storing cookbooks (always a problem for me, since I have too many!), but it’s a really great way to prop a cookbook up while cooking
- Floating Shelves: I use small shelves to hold some decorative things as well as my recipe box, fresh garlic, and more
- Glass Food Storage Containers: I love this set of Pyrex containers
- Stasher Bags: I have several of these silicone bags to store food in the freezer and refrigerator
I hope this must-have kitchen items list is helpful! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. If you’re viewing this post around the holiday season and looking for gift ideas, check out my Holiday Gift Guide for the Vegetable Lover.
Happy cooking! – Lizzie