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Essentials & Guides Kitchen Tips

17 Kitchen Tools and Essentials Every Beginner Needs

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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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Knives

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.

One purple Chef's Knife with protective sheath, one red Serrated Edge Knife with a protective sheath, and one green Paring Knife with a protective sheath.

Cutting Boards

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.

A bamboo wood cutting board with 6 colored plastic cutting mats in various colors.

Cookware

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!

10-Piece Cookware Set that includes 1-qt. and 2-qt. Saucepans with Lids, 8-qt. Stockpot with Lid, 3-qt. Sauté with Lid, 8-in. and 10-in. Frying Pans, Stainless Steel

Baking Pans

If you’re anything like me, you’ll need some baking sheets to cook veggies (ok, fine, frozen pizzas) on in the oven.

2 piece baking sheet set

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. 😉

25+ Kitchen Utensil Set

Wooden Spoons

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.

3 wooden spoon set

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.

red electric hand held mixer

Mixing Bowls

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.

3 piece glass mixing bowl set

A Colander

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.

Stainless Steel Colander Sieves

A Microplane

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.

picture of a microplane

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.

A black and yellow Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer with a battery.

Baking Dishes

Do you like roast chicken, casseroles, cake? Then you’re going to need some bakeware to start cooking those dishes.

12 piece ceramic baking dishes

Pot Holders

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.

two teal pot holders

Trivets

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. 😆

picture of a gold-color trivet

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.

picture of stainless steal can opener

Toaster

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.

picture of a black toaster

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. 🙄

Black coffee maker

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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!

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13 Comments

  1. Very useful for someone setting up home! I went to my parents and made them dinner recently and they didn’t have a can opener! Getting coconut milk out a tin with a knife was a challenge! Thanks for sharing

  2. OMG I cannot LIVE without at least a dozen wooden spoons in my kitchen. (I’m not a grandma though lol) I love them because they’re sturdier than silicone and easier on your cookware than metal.

  3. I got a set of nice glass bowls (with their own lids) for Christmas and am just in love with them! I had white mixing bowls before and adored them as well, but the fact that these ones have lids just makes it so much easier to store food and travel with it to parties.

    1. I wish I could find some glass mix-bowling bowls without plastic lids. I’m trying to slowly build a sustainable kitchen!

  4. I love these kitchen tools. Definitely do not skimp on the mixer. I did and the motor blew while mixing some cookie dough. Kitchenaid is the best!

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