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.
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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.
- 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
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