I’m a young twenty-something still living with the parentals — which means that I fantasize about moving into my first apartment, and stocking up my kitchen ALL.THE.TIME. The kitchen is my favorite room, but I understand that for some people that isn’t necessarily true. To help those who feel that curating a well-equipped kitchen is difficult, I’ve put together a list of 17 kitchen tools and essentials that every beginner needs.
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The most important tool, hands down, every cook or chef needs is a knife. Three to be exact: a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated edge knife. I got this Farberware 6-Piece Set for Christmas, and they are the best knives I have ever used in my entire life. They are super sharp, and have their own protective sheath for safe storage. 10/10 would recommend.
You’ll need something to chop your veggies on with your brand-spankin’-new knives. You can get any shape or size you want or need, but I would get the largest wooden cutting board you could afford — especially if you’re living in a tiny apartment with a small kitchen because you can place that large cutting board over your kitchen sink and increase your counter space! I particularly like this bamboo wood (which is a natural and renewable resource #sustainability) cutting board because it comes with 6 non-toxic plastic cutting mats. Quick Tip: never cut raw meat, poultry, or seafood on a wood surface for food safety reasons.
What good are knives and cutting boards if you don’t have anything to cook with?! Now, full disclosure, I don’t personally use this Farberware 10-Piece Set — but it’s what I would buy if I was shopping for some kitchen-must-haves. This set includes saucepans, a stockpot, a sauté pan, and two non-stick frying pans. It’s all the basics, which is perfect for a beginner or new home renter/buyer!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll need some baking sheets to cook veggies (ok, fine, frozen pizzas) on in the oven.
A Kitchen Utensil Set
Instead of buying individual utensils like a whisk, tongs, and a spatula separately — buy them all in a nifty 25+ Piece Set. It even includes a pizza cutter! I mean, you’re gonna need somethin’ to cut up those pizzas after they’ve cooked on those nice and new baking sheets. ????
LITERALLY every grandma on the planet uses and cooks with wooden spoons. I don’t know why. I don’t question their wisdom, but sometimes you just gotta do what they do without asking questions. Got it? Good.
An Electric Mixer
Confession: I am not a baker. I am not a measuring person. I like to guess and eyeball during the cooking process, but there have been situations when an electric mixer was helpful — say when beating egg whites into stiff peaks for Belgian Waffles. You don’t want to be doing that by hand with a whisk. Trust me.
You’re gonna need mixing bowls to make those Belgian Waffles! I’m really fond of these glass mixing bowls as they’re better for the environment than plastic.
These Stainless Steel Colander Sieves are great for both draining pasta and vegetables + sifting dry ingredients like flour as well as straining out fine sediment.
A microplane is a very fine grater — and, yes, there was a grater included in the 25+ Piece Set above — but a microplane does things that a ~basic~ grater cannot. A microplane does a hella good job at grating spices + cheeses, zesting citrus, and turning garlic (and other similar aromatics) into a fine paste.
A Food Thermometer
If you care at all about food safety and eating tasty food, then you’ll invest in this Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer. You don’t want to eat undercooked or dry, overcooked chicken because that is nasty. We don’t do nasty here.
Do you like roast chicken, casseroles, cake? Then you’re going to need some bakeware to start cooking those dishes.
You don’t want to burn yourself when pulling out that perfectly-roasted chicken or picture-perfect casserole out of the oven, so you best buy some pot holders.
If you place a hot pan, pot, or baking dish on the countertop or your kitchen table — it will burn it. My mother has done this. Please, learn from her mistakes. Here’s a cute and sleek gold-colored trivet one of my best friends got me for Christmas last year. Course, he probably should have gifted it to her. ????
A Can Opener
This one is obvious. Do I really need to explain why purchasing a can opener when stocking up your kitchen for the first time is a necessary purchase? Buy an electric one because you should be kind to yourself.
If you like toasted bread or bagels, you’re gonna need a toaster. This one here is not anything fancy, but it will get the job done.
A Coffee Maker
I might lose some followers for admitting this, but I am not a coffee drinker. I like tea — of the black, green, and white variety. I understand I’m in the minority on this topic, so I guess I’ll begrudgingly list a coffee maker as a kitchen essential. ????
Look at you with that fully-equipped kitchen! Now, you’re all ready to start cooking! Read how to Stock your Pantry with the Must-Have Essentials (A Beginner’s Guide)!
Do you have anything else to add? Share your suggestion in the comments below!