Kitchen Essentials – How to Set Up Your Dream Kitchen

(Last Updated On: May 24, 2021)

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or you’re moving to a new house, the kitchen will be an important part of your new home.

Our checklist of kitchen essentials has all of the tools, utensils, cookware, and gadgets you’ll need to whip up some delicious meals.

Below we’ll cover the necessities you should have for your first kitchen as well as some nice-to-haves that will help expand your cooking repertoire.

Our list below has two categories for every section – Essentials are things you shouldn’t be caught without, and Splurge items that you could consider buying if you have room in your budget, think you’ll use them, or want to up your game as a chef.

We’ve kept our budget for our essential items capped at $500, so if you’re outfitting your kitchen for the first time you won’t have to break the bank.

Shopping for quality

You’ll always need to eat, and no matter where you live you’re going to have a place to cook.

When we created our list of kitchen necessities, we wanted to make sure we considered the quality of every item as well as the cost. In most cases, you’re better off spending a little more on a utensil that comes with a lifetime guarantee and is going to last for decades over a cheap product that will only last until your next move.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the author of The Food Lab, is a world-renowned chef and food experimenter. Many of the items on this list are recommended as part of his essential toolkit for any aspiring chef.

Most of the items are under $15, are battled-tested by professional chefs, and will last you for years.


Kitchen Utensils List

Utensils are one of the most used tools in the kitchen. They don’t need to be fancy or expensive, but if you’re like us, buying the right items can make your time in the kitchen much more enjoyable.

Tongs

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OXO Etched Box Grater with Removable Zester, One size, Steel & 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
OXO Etched Box Grater with Removable Zester, One size, Steel & 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
Product 1: Sharp, etched stainless steel surfaces for fast, easy grating and slicing; Product 1: Angled slicer for a smooth cut
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Save 8%
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
Soft, non-slip handle features comfortable thumb rests; Heat resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
−8%
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
Constructed from brushed stainless steel; Locks in closed position for easy storage; Cushioned nonslip handles and thumb rests
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
Product 1: Constructed from brushed stainless steel; Product 1: Locks in closed position for easy storage
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Spatulas, Small, BLACK
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Spatulas, Small, BLACK
Product 1: Constructed from brushed stainless steel; Product 1: Locks in closed position for easy storage

We love OXO kitchen products. These budget-friendly 9” Stainless Steel Locking Tongs by OXO are a steal at under $15, are sturdy enough to flip a steak, and have nearly replaced all of our other kitchen tools.

Spatulas

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304 Stainless Steel Fish Spatula, Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle Slotted Spatula, Black
304 Stainless Steel Fish Spatula, Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle Slotted Spatula, Black
Premium 304 stainless steel construction prevents rust.; Solid steel core construction for a comfortable hold.
−54%
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New Star Foodservice 43068 Wood Handle Fish Spatula, 6.5' Blade, Silver
New Star Foodservice 43068 Wood Handle Fish Spatula, 6.5" Blade, Silver
Quality brushed stainless steel blade; Solid smooth wooden handle securely riveted with three stainless steel rivets
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Rachael Ray Kitchen Tools and Gadgets Nylon Cooking Utensils / Spatula / Fish Turners - 2 Piece, Blue
Rachael Ray Kitchen Tools and Gadgets Nylon Cooking Utensils / Spatula / Fish Turners - 2 Piece, Blue
EASY REACH: Kitchen spatulas are designed to reach deep into mixing bowls; SET INCLUDES: 10-Inch and 12-Inch Spatulas
−23%
Save 9%
Mercer Culinary Hell's Handle Fish Turner/Spatula, 3 Inch x 6 Inch
Mercer Culinary Hell's Handle Fish Turner/Spatula, 3 Inch x 6 Inch
Innovative high heat-resistant handle absorbs 50% less heat, staying cool to the touch; Dual-textured finish for extra grip and slip resistance
−9%
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Fish Turner
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Fish Turner
Great for lifting, turning and transferring whole fish, filets, seafood cakes and more; Sturdy, oversized, stainless steel head

Our spatula of choice is OXO’s fish spatula. It’s slotted, which means you can drain off any liquids before transferring them to a plate.

It’s stiff enough to handle a thick cut of meat but flexible enough to wedge into the nooks and crannies of your pan.

We also recommend getting a silicone spatula to use for non-stick pans so you don’t scratch the surface. Again, OXO makes a sturdy, high-quality silicon spatula that we love.

And we’re not the only ones – it’s rated 4.5 stars on Amazon with nearly 1,500 different reviews. At about $10, it’s a great value buy.

Ladles

OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Ladle
OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Ladle
Sturdy brushed stainless steel construction; Subtle, soft, non-slip grip; Stainless steel surface for safely leaning utensils on hot cookware
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Ladle
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Ladle
Flexible ladle conforms to curves to scrape up every bit of sauce for serving; High heat-resistant silicone is gentle on non-stick surfaces
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle
Sturdy stainless steel ladle neatly scoops soups, sauces and gravy; Dual-sided pour spouts make serving easy for right-and left-handed users
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle
Suitable for non-stick cooking and baking utensils; Soft, comfortable grip; Dishwasher-safe
OXO Good Grips Double Rod Stainless Steel Ladle
OXO Good Grips Double Rod Stainless Steel Ladle
Oversize rubber handles are nonslip, wet or dry; Large scoop holds ample liquid well; Made of durable stainless steel; double-rod neck

For soups, stews, chili, and other liquids, you’ll want something to scoop your delicious creation out of your pot and into your bowl. Again, it’s OXO to the rescue with this nylon ladle for $7.

It’s hard to argue with over 1,000 reviews rating it at 4.5 stars on Amazon.

Utensil holder

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Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, Jumbo-7 x 7 inches
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, Jumbo-7 x 7 inches
Made of High Grade durable brushed stainless-steel.; Heavy and solidly build, so it will not easily tip over.
−19%
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Cook N Home Stainless Steel Utensil Holder Jumbo 2PC set, 5.5-inch x 6.3-inch and 6.3-inch x 7.08-inch, Silver
Cook N Home Stainless Steel Utensil Holder Jumbo 2PC set, 5.5-inch x 6.3-inch and 6.3-inch x 7.08-inch, Silver
Made of food safe stainless steel 18-8; Satin polish exterior giving it a modern and elegant look
−10%
Oggi Jumbo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder
Oggi Jumbo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder
Durable stainless steel with two-tone satin and mirror finish; Great for storing utensils: spatulas, ladles, spoons, tongs, whisks and more
Oggi Stainless Steel Jumbo Utensil Holder
Oggi Stainless Steel Jumbo Utensil Holder
Oggi Stainless Steel Jumbo Utensil Holder keeps all your utensils close at hand

Now that you have all these great tools, make them easy to reach with a utensil holder for your kitchen counter.

We think this jumbo stainless steel utensil holder looks great on our counter, but they come in tons of flavors.

Splurges

Whisks

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Cuisinart HM-90BCS Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer with Storage Case, Brushed Chrome
Cuisinart HM-90BCS Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer with Storage Case, Brushed Chrome
Handheld mixer with 220-watt motor and automatic feedback;BPA Free; Simple on/off button; 1-touch speed control and 9 speed options
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Save 33%
StarPack Basics Silicone Whisk, High Heat Resistant to 480°F, Non-Stick Safe Silicone Whisk (Cherry Red)
StarPack Basics Silicone Whisk, High Heat Resistant to 480°F, Non-Stick Safe Silicone Whisk (Cherry Red)
VERSATILE AND ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOL - Contains: 1 x Whisk: 9.8" x 2.4"
−33%
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Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set, Gray - 3-Piece
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set, Gray - 3-Piece
3-piece wire whisk set includes 9-inch, 10-inch, and 11.5-inch sizes; Popular balloon shape for optimal whipping; ideal for everyday use
−7%

In most cases a whisk isn’t necessary, you could get it by using a fork. But if you’re a baker, pancake enthusiast, or just like the convenience of a whisk, we recommend this basic 9″ whisk for $9.

You only need one whisk in your life, and this one will do you just fine.

Cooking chopsticks

It might seem odd to some, but chopsticks make an excellent cooking utensil. Great for stirring, tossing, or placing food, they’re especially useful when cooking in a wok or other rounded pans.

We like these 14” stainless steel chopsticks for cooking.

Skimmer

For soups & stews, we also recommend having a skimmer on hand as well, in case you want the liquid to drain before scooping something up.

These can also be very helpful when frying foods. There are plenty to choose from, but we like this highly rated steel strainer with a bamboo handle for under $10.


Kitchen Knives and Cutlery

There are a few basic knives every kitchen should have, and they don’t need to break the bank.

When considering a good knife, we look for a sharp, sturdy blade, a comfortable handle, and durable construction.

These knives will hold up through years of use, can be resharpened over time, and many come with a lifetime guarantee.

8” Western Chef’s Knife

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J.A. Henckels International Classic Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black
J.A. Henckels International Classic Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black
Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
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Save 42%
J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife, 8 Inch, Kitchen Knife, Black
J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife, 8 Inch, Kitchen Knife, Black
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel. Handle length - 4.72 inch
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HENCKELS CLASSIC Carving Knife, 8-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS CLASSIC Carving Knife, 8-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
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J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-Inch Hollow Edge Chef's Knife
J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-Inch Hollow Edge Chef's Knife
8-inch hollow-edge paring knife from J.A. Henckels International; Forged full-tang blade made of high-carbon, no-stain steel; full bolster for balance
J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife with 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife with 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
2-piece set includes: 8-inch chef's knife and 7-inch hollow edge santoku knife; Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel

Sturdy, sharp, and pointed at the tip, these knives are great for cutting through meat, bone, and hearty vegetables. They’re built to rock back and forth as you cut, and generally have some heft to them.

We like the J.A. Henckels Classic 8″ Knife, with its full tang blade and triple-riveted handle. It’s has a comfortable grip with a bolster that makes it easy to maneuver while chopping.

We think it’s the best chef’s knife you can buy for $50, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

7” Santoku Knife

Santoku knives come from Japan, designed by chefs to slice, dice, and mince. Unlike a western chef’s knife, santoku blades are not meant for chopping through bone or hearty vegetables like carrots or squash.

However, their straight, sharp edge makes them great for chopping just about anything else, and they are far more agile and maneuverable than a typical western chef’s knife.

Having each style of knife in your kitchen means you’ll have the right tool for each job.

Our pick for santoku knives is the Victorinox 7” Fibrox santoku knife with its ice-tempered carbon blade makes for a high qualified knife that handles well.

Victorinox (makes of the Swiss Army Knife) includes their patented Fibrox non-slip grip on this knife, giving it a textured handle that is comfortable to use while still allowing for a firm grip.

Save 5%
Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Santoku Knife, Granton Edge, 7-Inch
  • VERSATILE KITCHEN ESSENTIAL. Slicing, dicing, mincing -- this knife can do it all. This Santoku knife's combines the features of a cleaver and a chef's knife with a unique shape that allows it to be used as a spatula to scoop up whatever you are chopping.
  • GRANTON EDGE. Featuring a Granton edge that prevents food from sticking to the blade and minimizes friction. The flat cutting edge doesn't rock, creating a highly efficient chopping motion and is ground in two directions to create long-lasting sharpness.
  • EASY HANDLING. This knife features an ergonomic Fibrox Pro handle for a non-slip grip -- even when wet. This exceptional knife is weighted and balanced for easy handling and comfort.
  • KNIFE DIMENSIONS. Stainless steel blade -- 7" in length. Meets the strict National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards for public health protection.
  • TRUSTED SWISS QUALITY. Expertly crafted in Switzerland in 1884, Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship. Making a lifetime commitment has never been so easy. Handle material - Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)

Steak knives

Great steak knives are worth the investment, and shouldn’t set you back much. J.A Henckels, the maker of our pick for a western chef’s knife, makes a beautiful 8 piece steak knife set.

We like these for the same reasons we like their chef’s knife – full tang blade, sturdy rivets, a comfortable handle, and a lifetime guarantee.

Splurges

Paring Knife

Bigger isn’t always better. We like this 4 in. Victorinox paring knife for peeling fruits and vegetables or making other fine cuts.

Bread Knife

A long bread knife is great for cutting up soft bread, hard bread like baguettes, cutting sandwiches in half, or even slicing meats in a pinch.

The Victorinox bread knife is great, but at nearly $50 is a little indulgent. This 8” bread knife from OXO will do the job just fine.

It’s highly rated with nearly 600 reviews on Amazon and comes in under $10.

Meat Cleaver

If you’re sold on a santoku knife, but looking for an alternative to the western chef’s knife, a meat cleaver is a great alternative pairing.

Handy for cutting through thick meat, bone, and hearty vegetables, but also surprisingly good when it comes to finely mincing herbs or other vegetables.

A basic heavy-duty meat cleaver should last you a lifetime, and for just under $10 it’s worth having in your kitchen on the off chance you need it.


Appliances

We do not consider any of these items essential, these all fall squarely in the Splurge category. You may consider a toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, or blender, but we’ve found we can get by without them.

This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of cabinet storage or counter space, single-function appliances are hard to justify.

However, there are two items we want to call out because they are multi-purpose, and they have changed the way we cook for the better.

Instant Pot

We can’t help but highlight our favorite kitchen appliance to date – the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Duo 9-in-1 won our top pick for best pressure cooker, and for good reason – this little pressure cooker has garnered itself a cult following, with nearly 500,000 people on their Facebook group and plenty of sites dedicated to Instant Pot Recipes.

And it’s popular for good reason – it requires almost no set up, it’s easy to use, and is a 9-in-1 appliance – use it as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, sterilizer and it makes cake too!

Because it’s so diverse, you can cook just about anything with an Instant Pot – from obvious dishes like soups and carnitas to more surprising meals like beef gyro or rotisserie-style chicken.

On top of everything else, the Instant Pot is built to be convenient – some models can be controlled with your smartphone.

This makes it easy to prep a meal before work, start the cooking process on your way home, and come home to a delicious homemade meal. The Instant Pot will be your new best friend in the kitchen.

Sous Vide

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Sous Vide for Everybody: The Easy, Foolproof Cooking Technique That's Sweeping the World
Sous Vide for Everybody: The Easy, Foolproof Cooking Technique That's Sweeping the World
English (Publication Language); 232 Pages - 09/25/2018 (Publication Date) - America's Test Kitchen (Publisher)
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Save 26%
The Sous Vide Cookbook
The Sous Vide Cookbook
Hardcover Book; Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen (Author); English (Publication Language); 64 Pages - 06/26/2018 (Publication Date) - Weldon Owen (Publisher)
−26%
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The Sous Vide Kitchen: Techniques, Ideas, and More Than 100 Recipes to Cook at Home
The Sous Vide Kitchen: Techniques, Ideas, and More Than 100 Recipes to Cook at Home
VOYAGEUR; Hardcover Book; Wylie, Christina (Author); English (Publication Language); 288 Pages - 06/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Voyageur Press (Publisher)
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Your Kitchen Sous Vide Cookbook: The Super Modern Cookbook for Quick and Easy Cooking at Home with Chosen Sous Vide Recipes. Illustrations Included!
Your Kitchen Sous Vide Cookbook: The Super Modern Cookbook for Quick and Easy Cooking at Home with Chosen Sous Vide Recipes. Illustrations Included!
Anderson, Sam (Author); English (Publication Language); 129 Pages - 03/22/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Using a sous-vide has changed the way we cook, especially for larger groups. To cook using a sous-vide, you place your food in a sealed bag and use a water bath to heat it to the perfect temperature.

It becomes impossible to overcook a cut of meat with a sous-vide, it’s the easiest way to get juicy, tender meals with almost no stress.

It’s definitely not for everyone, but the cost of a sous-vide appliance has dropped dramatically in the last few years. The Anova cooker with Bluetooth, our favorite sous vide, usually sells for $150.

You can often find it on sale at Amazon, so it’s worth checking to see if you can get a deal on it.

If you decide on a sous-vide, we highly recommend you try these sous vide ribs from Serious Eats.


Pots, Pans, and cookware

Of all the things you’ll buy to outfit your kitchen, the easiest place to blow your budget is with your pots and pans.

With all the different sizes, shapes, metals, and types of cookware, it’s hard to know what you will need, what you’ll use day-to-day, and what to avoid buying.

Our picks below are enough to account for most of your cooking needs. We think “less is more” when it comes to pots and pans – you can always expand your collection over time if you find you are consistently missing something to cook a dish.

But we can assure you, there’s no rush to buy that specialty paella pan right out of the gate.

Pans

Cast Iron

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MaryJane's Cast Iron Kitchen
MaryJane's Cast Iron Kitchen
Hardcover Book; Butters, MaryJane (Author); English (Publication Language); 224 Pages - 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) - Gibbs Smith (Publisher)
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Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle With Handles, 20 Inch x 10.5 Inch - One tray
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle With Handles, 20 Inch x 10.5 Inch - One tray
20 x 10.5 cooking area; Use on all cooking surfaces, grills and campfires; Oven safe; Sauté, sear, fry, bake and stir fry to heart's content
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Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch
3 piece set includes 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pans; Cast Iron cookware is comparatively less smoother than non stick cookware
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Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet - Utopia Kitchen (12.5 Inch)
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet - Utopia Kitchen (12.5 Inch)
Cast iron cookware is less smoother than the Non-Stick cookware.; Its superior heat retention will keep your mouth watering food warm for a long time
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gasaré, Cast Iron Trivet, Metal Trivet, Birds Decor, for Hot Dishes, Pots, Kitchen, Countertop, Dining Table, Rubber Feet Caps, Solid Cast Iron, 7 ½ Inches, Rustic Brown Finish, 1 Unit
gasaré, Cast Iron Trivet, Metal Trivet, Birds Decor, for Hot Dishes, Pots, Kitchen, Countertop, Dining Table, Rubber Feet Caps, Solid Cast Iron, 7 ½ Inches, Rustic Brown Finish, 1 Unit
Coating with a protective dark brown paint layer for durability and beauty finish décor; The birds symbolize freedom, strength and harmony

Cast iron skillets can’t be beaten. They’re sturdy, easy to clean, they last for generations, and they don’t break the bank.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can try to find these at a local swap meet or thrift store – just make sure you’re ready to go through the process of cleaning & seasoning a used cast iron skillet.

We like Lodge brand skillets for a number of reasons. We recommend the 12″ skillet from Lodge, which is big enough to make most dishes but still small enough to use in a standard size oven.

Lodge pre-seasons all of their cast ironware, which makes it easy to use and ready to cook without the box. At under $30, it’s hard not to love these things.

Adding a potholder makes using a cast-iron skillet much more convenient, so either buy a skillet that includes a silicone handle cover or make sure to buy a potholder separately.

Non-stick pans

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Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Nonstick Stainless Steel 10-Inch Skillet
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Nonstick Stainless Steel 10-Inch Skillet
Updated cast-stainless-steel handle stays cool to the touch and comes riveted for strength
−40%
Save 25%
CUISINART 8922-810NS Professional Series 2-Piece Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet Set, 8” & 10
CUISINART 8922-810NS Professional Series 2-Piece Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet Set, 8” & 10
Professional Stainless Steel Construction; Power Bond Impact Bonded Aluminum Encapsulated Base
−25%
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, Black
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, Black
Oven safe to 500 degrees F, with tapered drip free rim.Unsurpassed Heat Distribution
Cuisinart 722-24NS Chef's Classic Nonstick Stainless 10-Inch Open Skillet
Cuisinart 722-24NS Chef's Classic Nonstick Stainless 10-Inch Open Skillet
Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly and eliminates hot spots; Titanium reinforced Quantanium nonstick interior for healthful low fat cooking options

Even though we love our cast iron skillets, it’s nice to have a non-stick pan on occasion. A good non-stick pan is a great compliment to a cast-iron skillet and comes in particularly useful for cooking eggs, sauces, or delicate meats.

Again, no need to spend big here. This Cuisinart 12″ nonstick skillet is a classic – well made, can be baked in the oven up to 500 degrees and comes with a helper handle to make it easy to maneuver when it’s hot.

It’s rated at 4 stars on Amazon with over 800 reviews, and for about $35 it’s the only non-stick pan you’ll need.

Pots

Saucepot

A 3-quart saucepot will be your go-to for boiling water, whether it’s too hard to boil eggs, whip up some pasta, or cook some sweet potatoes. They also come in handy when making sauces or small batches of soup.

Our top pick is a 3-quart stainless steel saucepot from Cuisinart. It has a high-quality build and includes a pour spout on the side to help avoid spills. It’s a great deal at about $35, especially considering it comes with a straining lid.

Stockpot

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College Kitchen Texas A&M Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 12 Quart, White
College Kitchen Texas A&M Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 12 Quart, White
SKIP THE WARM-UP: Durable enamel-on-steel construction provides fast, even heating; BENCH WARMER: Snug-fitting lid seals in heat and moisture
−25%
Save 8%
Hell's Kitchen 6QT Stockpot
Hell's Kitchen 6QT Stockpot
6QT Non-Stick; Pressed Alluminum; Tempered Glass Lid; Soft Touch Handles
−8%

It’s always good to have a large pot on hand for soups & stews. A basic stainless steel stock pot will handle almost anything you throw at it, no need to get splurge here.

Baking sheets

They are truly all the same. Get this great set of 3 backing sheets from Amazon for $15 and don’t overthink it.

Splurges

Small cast iron skillets

We love our cast iron skillets so much we can’t help but get more of them.

An 8” skillet comes in useful when you’re preparing multiple dishes at once and need a second pan, and these 3.5 inch skillets are great for baking personalized dishes that can be served in the skillet, like an egg bake or corn bread.


Kitchen necessities

Cutting board

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OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
Stainless steel blade includes quarter inch markings for easy measuring; Soft, comfortable non slip handle
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OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set,Clear,Multi
OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set,Clear,Multi
Prep board is ideal for Paring fruits, trimming vegetables and other smaller tasks; Everyday board is great for prepping simple recipes
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
Large 10.39-in x 14.78-in Utility Cutting Board is ideal for big meals; Double-sided, non-porous surfaces resist odors and won't dull knife blades
OXO 11272900 Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board,Clear,One Size
OXO 11272900 Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board,Clear,One Size
14.34-in x 21.11-in Carving & Cutting Board holds roasts and poultry; Double-sided non-porous surfaces resist odors and won't dull knife blades

You don’t realize the importance of a good cutting board until it’s too late. For us, a good cutting board has a large work area, does not slide around on the counter, and is easy to use.

Our top pick is a 10.5” x 14.5” cutting board from OXO. It’s large, has rubberized edges to grip the counter, and cleans up in a snap.

It also has a nice channel around the perimeter of the board to make sure any liquids won’t leak onto our counter (think juicy meats that you’re slicing to serve.)

Bench Scraper

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OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
Stainless steel blade includes quarter inch markings for easy measuring; Soft, comfortable non slip handle
−19%
Save 13%
Stainless Steel Dough Bench Scraper & Chopper, Pastry Cutter for Kitchen (1 Pack, Black)
Stainless Steel Dough Bench Scraper & Chopper, Pastry Cutter for Kitchen (1 Pack, Black)
Durably constructed with stainless steel blade.; Double measuring guide and tapered edge.; Non slip rubber handle to absorb pressure.
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Bench Scraper & Chopper,Stainless Steel Dough Cutter for Kitchen - Set of 2 Pack
Bench Scraper & Chopper,Stainless Steel Dough Cutter for Kitchen - Set of 2 Pack
Measuring guide on the blade allows you to easily measure and cut pasta and pastry dough.; Dishwasher safe,12 months warranty
Dough Bowl Spatula & Bench Scraper,Multipurpose Kitchen Tool,Set of 2 Pieces - White,Green
Dough Bowl Spatula & Bench Scraper,Multipurpose Kitchen Tool,Set of 2 Pieces - White,Green
Food grade PP plastic, non-toxic, reusable,flexible; Size: 4.65" x 3.66"; Use widely for chopping cream,baking,cake, cheese, chocolate, pastry dough, fondant, etc.

Ever used a knife to scoop something up off of a cutting board? Scraping your knife blade across a hard surface is a great way to dull it or even chip it.

Bench scrapers are built to scrape the sticky dough off of a work surface, but they’re also great for scooping up chopped veggies or meat off the cutting board without ruining your knives.

Ramakins

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M. Gastro Kitchens, 6 Piece Set, 4 Ounce “West Loop” Round Ramekins, Creme Brulee, Souffle, Custards (4 Ounce, White)
M. Gastro Kitchens, 6 Piece Set, 4 Ounce “West Loop” Round Ramekins, Creme Brulee, Souffle, Custards (4 Ounce, White)
CREATIVE, ELEGANT DESIGN to visually transform everyday foods to eye catching dishes.; DURABLE GLAZED CERAMIC for baking, freezing and microwaving.
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Tiny French Dip
Tiny French Dip
Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand); Tastemade (Director); English (Playback Language); English (Subtitle)

We might catch some flak for considering this an essential, but ramakins are great for holding chopped food when you need to make room on the cutting board. Our favorite is sold as “custard cups”, $12 will get you 4 of them.

Mixing Bowls

Another game-changer, we think this might be the best investment you make in your kitchen (next to a good cast iron skillet and some good knives).

A basic set of stainless steel mixing bowls will make your life easier when it comes time to marinate some meat, mix veggies, or toss a large salad, and they’re incredibly easy to clean.

Our top pick features 6 different size bowls for under $25 – a very worthwhile (and budget-friendly) investment.

Tupperware

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Rubbermaid Brilliance Leak-Proof Food Storage Containers with Airtight Lids, Set of 5 (10 Pieces Total) |BPA-Free & Stain Resistant
Rubbermaid Brilliance Leak-Proof Food Storage Containers with Airtight Lids, Set of 5 (10 Pieces Total) |BPA-Free & Stain Resistant
Built-in vents under latches allow splatter-resistant microwaving with the lid on; Safe for the dishwasher, microwave, and freezer; lifetime warranty
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Tupperware One Touch Reminder Canister Set Host Specials
Tupperware One Touch Reminder Canister Set Host Specials
One - 17-1/2 cup / 4L Canister; One - 12 cup / 2.8L Canister; Two - 5 cup / 1.2L Canister
Tupperware Miniature Keychains Lot of 8 Some Rare
Tupperware Miniature Keychains Lot of 8 Some Rare
Set of 8 miniature Tupperware keychains.; Most measure between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches, some open up and can stash tiny objects inside
Tupperware Wonderlier Bowls
Tupperware Wonderlier Bowls
Includes 2-cup/473 mL; 3-cup/700 mL; 4-cup/1.5 L; 8-cup/2 L; and 12-cup/2.8 L sizes.; 5 Bowl Set

With all this cooking going on, you’ll need somewhere to keep the leftovers. Tupperware is an area where buying cheap usually means buying a new set every few months.

This 28 piece set from Rubbermaid is easy to wash, easy to store, is shatterproof, and should last you a while – for under $40 it’s a no-brainer.

Bottle Opener & Corkscrew

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a large stainless steel bottle opener that pops a top with ease.

For wine, we like this professional-grade wine key, and for under $15 it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Measuring Cups/spoons

Jamie Oliver Measuring Cups Set, Nest for Easy Storage, Stainless Steel
Jamie Oliver Measuring Cups Set, Nest for Easy Storage, Stainless Steel
Ideal for measuring Dry or liquid ingredients; Measurements clearly marked on handles in cups and ml
Onesource 16-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel 2 Sets of Four Measuring Cups and 2 Sets of Four Measuring Spoons
Onesource 16-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel 2 Sets of Four Measuring Cups and 2 Sets of Four Measuring Spoons
Onesource 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set
New Star Foodservice 42917 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups Combo, Set of 8
New Star Foodservice 42917 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups Combo, Set of 8
Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons set; Measuring cups: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup
Update International 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set
Update International 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set
Made of Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel; Set nests for storage and attach to a removable loop; Measuring spoons: 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp

A staple of every kitchen. No need to get fancy here – we like this stainless steel measuring cup set from Chefland.

Less than $10, highly rated by thousands of buyers, and eligible for Prime shipping on Amazon. What more could you ask for?

Ice cube trays

We prefer silicone trays because they’re much easier to get the cubes out of. This two-pack of trays makes 20 perfect cubes per tray.

Oven Mitts

These aren’t your grannie’s potholders (though she might enjoy these as much as we do). The Grill Armor Oven Gloves are wearable oven mitts that will protect your hand up to 932 degrees.

Are they ridiculous? A bit. But getting burned sucks, and having full use of all of your fingers when handling hot items is a game-changer.

Splurges

Instant read thermometer

Don’t ever overcook your dinner again. Having a thermometer in your kitchen solves two problems – the fear of undercooking your meat, and the disappointment of overcooking it.

This $15 instant-read thermometer is the best budget-friendly option. If you avoid overcooking one great cut of meat by using it, it has paid for itself.

Kitchen Scale

A kitchen scale will change the way you cook for the better. Is it nerdy? A bit indulgent? Yes to both, but it’s the best way to get precise measurements in the kitchen.

This scale is a great option to test the waters with.

Garlic press

If you cook with garlic regularly, you know that mincing it with a knife is a pain. A garlic press makes this process quick and easy.

An added bonus – using a press will keep your fingers from having that funky garlic smell for the rest of the night.

Salt Cellar & Pepper Grinder

A minor purchase, but a major convenience. Having these at the ready will make cooking easier, and they look great on your table as well.

Tea Kettle

If you regularly make tea or use a french press for coffee, you might consider getting a kettle – it’s far more convenient than whipping out your sauce pot every time you need to boil water.

Colander

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ExcelSteel Heavy Duty Handles and Self-draining Solid Ring Base Stainless Steel Colander, 5 Qt
ExcelSteel Heavy Duty Handles and Self-draining Solid Ring Base Stainless Steel Colander, 5 Qt
Easy grip handles; Constructed in durable stainless steel; Dishwasher safe, clean with ease
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Stainless Steel Colander With Handle and Legs, Large Metal Green Strainer for Pasta, Spaghetti, Berry, Veggies, Fruits, Noodles, Salads, 5-quart 10.5” Kitchen Food Mesh Colander, Dishwasher Safe
Stainless Steel Colander With Handle and Legs, Large Metal Green Strainer for Pasta, Spaghetti, Berry, Veggies, Fruits, Noodles, Salads, 5-quart 10.5” Kitchen Food Mesh Colander, Dishwasher Safe
★ ERGONOMIC AND STURDY HANDLE: Easy and comfortable to grip.; ★ FASHIONABLE & BEAUTIFUL: A perfect idea for gifts and kitchen decoration.
ExcelSteel Colander set, Stainless steel
ExcelSteel Colander set, Stainless steel
Features 1-Quart, 2.5-Quart and 4-Quart sizes; Constructed in high quality stainless steel
Calypso Basics by Reston Lloyd Powder Coated Enameled Colander, 5 Quart, Turquoise
Calypso Basics by Reston Lloyd Powder Coated Enameled Colander, 5 Quart, Turquoise
5-Quart powder coated enamel on steel colander; will never flake or discolor; Chrome plated handles with wide base and stainless steel rims

Our recommended saucepot comes with a straining lid, so you could get by without one.

But if you’re regularly making pasta, or want an easy way to wash and dry your fruits and vegetables, a colander or strainer could be a worthwhile investment.

A few other odds and ends:

  • Kitchen rug / Standing mat
  • Can Opener
  • Magnetic hooks – great for hanging things off the side of the refrigerator.
  • Step stool – Worth considering if you are storing your new kitchen goodies in hard-to-reach places.

Bon appetite

We hope you enjoy cooking in your new kitchen. We’ve hand-picked all of these items because we know they work.

They’re cost-effective, useful, well designed, and should last for years. Once you’ve assembled your dream kitchen, it’s time to get cooking!

Didn’t see your favorite kitchen utensil? If you feel like we missed something please drop it in the comments!

If you’re in need of some inspiration, we highly recommend The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. It’s by far the most fascinating look at the cuisine that we’ve seen, and the New York Times says it’s “The one book you must have, no matter what you’re planning to cook or where your skill level falls”.

What better way to celebrate moving into your new home and put your new kitchen to the test?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Last update on 2021-06-07 from Amazon / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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