When you first move out and have to figure out how to stock your own kitchen it can be a daunting task. There are so many kitchen essentials you can end up needing but don’t always think of buying. And then even if you know what items you need, there are so many options to choose from, and it can be hard to tell what the best choice is.
I know when I got married and started stocking my kitchen, there were a few things I thought sounded like a good idea and that I have since changed my mind about.
The following recommendations are kitchen essentials that I believe are actually worth-while to have so that you can have a lot of versatility in the kitchen.
Of course, if you prefer to go even more minimalist then there may be things you could further cut, but my goal was not to be bare-bones but rather to cut unnecessary things while keeping flexibility.
These are so versatile and could actually take the place of having a blender if you need it to. I use mine for tons of things like pie crusts, mashed dishes, tomato sauces, etc. Trust me, they are amazing.
Great for heating up water quickly for beverages or even for cooking if you have a recipe that calls for adding boiling water.
Look for a stainless steel kind (All-Clad skillets are the top of the line) that has a handle that doesn’t get hot while on the stove. I started off with nonstick ceramic pans and regretted my decision.
I thought that the white coating looked cool and would be a good alternative to other cheap nonstick pans, but they got scratched very easily and just were not very durable. Stainless steel is one of the best materials because it cooks really evenly.
4. 8-inch fry pan with lid
Having an additional smaller size of pan gives you a lot more versatility than just having one.
5. Dutch oven
These can be very expensive, but they are beautiful pieces of kitchenware and honestly probably one of the most versatile of the kitchen essentials. You can use them to make soups or stews, cook chili, bake bread, bake large desserts, fry, poach chicken, etc. I bought a Les Creuset 7 1/4-quart dutch oven, which is made of enameled cast iron.
This is one of the top of the line dutch ovens so the price does reflect this. Cuisinart also makes some good quality dutch ovens that aren’t quite as pricey. I chose the size that I did because it was the largest size that Les Creuset labeled as still good for baking bread.
I have two of this set and use multiple bowls pretty much every day. I love that they are so versatile in that I can use them for mixing, serving, or storage.
8. Wooden spoon
10. Kitchen scissors
11. Dinner plates
I went with 12 each of our plates, bowls, and cups, which means we actually have closer to 10 each since we had some break in transit, but this has been plenty for us.
12. Salad plates
16. Forks, knives, & spoons
17. Baking sheet x2
18. Square pan
I love gold colored pans because they allow food to brown better than lighter colored pans without being prone to burn. I have a square goldtouch pan that I bought from Williams-Sonoma, and OXO has one as well.
19. 9×13 pan
This size can be used for baking cakes, making casseroles or lasagna, etc.
20. Loaf pan
21. Salt and pepper shakers
This is really good to have for things like fish and eggs that can be a pain to cook in regular stainless steel pans.
23. Measuring cups
24. Pyrex 2 cup
More pyrex cups are great to have as well, but if you have a small kitchen and want to just get one the 2 cup size will give you a lot of versatility.
25. Measuring spoons
You could go expensive with knives and get a really nice set (like this Wusthof set that is considered one of the best) or get a cheap set and plan on having to replace it. We went cheap at first, and the knives were fine. My husband surprised me with a Wusthof set for my birthday one year, though, and I can definitely tell the difference.
27. Cutting board(s)
I went with a 3 piece plastic set that can go in the dishwasher to make cleanup easier.
29. Meat thermometer
It is absolutely worth getting a nice thermometer because then you get an instant reading rather than having to wait forever for the thermometer and your food potentially over cooking.
30. Kitchen towels
31. Pair of oven mitts
32. Pasta scoop
34. Basting brush
39. Bottle opener
40. Can opener
After I once slit my thumb open while reaching into a can to take the lid out (stupid, I know) my husband (then boyfriend) bought me this can opener, which is great because it opens cans very smoothly and also has a magnet to lift the lid out of the can.
41. Instant Pot or a rice cooker, slow cooker, and pressure cooker (if you want all the same functions)
42. Coffee maker
So if you don’t drink coffee this may not be an essential for you. My husband and I being the Seattleites that we are, though, definitely needed a coffee maker. There are a bunch of different types of coffee maker options, and before we invested in our super expensive machine we went with a french press. A Keurig would probably be the most convenient option for making coffee quickly, but, again, us being Seattleites and (I’ll admit) coffee snobs, we do not prefer the taste of Keurig coffee.
43. Coffee grinder
This is essential for great coffee if your machine doesn’t grind the coffee for you because you are able to keep your coffee much fresher by buying beans instead of pre-ground. We went with a cheap option and have found that you can get the grounds pretty consistent in texture if you slightly shake it while grinding.
45. 3 qt. saucepan with lid
46. Pie plate
47. Rolling pin
48. Ice cream scoop
49. Lemon squeezer
50. Muffin tin
52. A set of food containers
53. Stand mixer (or handheld if space is limited)
55. Butter dish
You don’t need to feel overwhelmed when stocking your kitchen, and you don’t have to buy every trendy, expensive kitchen product out there to make good food. Simply focus on getting quality, versatile kitchen essentials like the items I list above, and you will have a collection of kitchen things that will allow you to make most recipes you come across.
What kitchen essentials can you not live without?
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