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

Save 9%Bestseller 1
OXO Good Grips 9 Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
OXO Good Grips 9 Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
Versatile for cooking, tossing and transferring food; Tongs lock closed for convenient storage
−9%
Save 5%Bestseller 2
OXO 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads Kitchen Tools, Silver
OXO 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads Kitchen Tools, Silver
Stainless-steel arms with soft, comfortable grips; Nylon heads safe for nonstick cookware; Heat-resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
−5%
Bestseller 3
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk & Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk & Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
Product 1: Innovative handle shape and soft, comfortable grip to absorb pressure; Product 1: Dishwasher safe
Bestseller 4
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs & Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs & 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
Bestseller 5
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs With Nylon Heads,12 Inch,1 EA
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs With Nylon Heads,12 Inch,1 EA
Product 1: Constructed from brushed stainless steel; Product 1: Locks in closed position for easy storage

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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

Save 14%Bestseller 2
Bestseller 4
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
Bestseller 5
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Omelet Turner
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Omelet Turner
Perfect for flipping longer foods like omelets and fish filets; Thin, flexible edge glides easily beneath foods

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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

Save 7%Bestseller 1
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
−7%
Bestseller 2
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle, Black, One Size
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle, Black, One Size
Perfect for portioning and serving soups, stews and chilis; Sturdy nylon is safe for non-stick cookware
Bestseller 3
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
Bestseller 4
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
Bestseller 5
OXO SteeL Ladle
OXO SteeL Ladle
Ideal for serving soups, stews and sauces; Sturdy stainless steel head is generously proportioned

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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

Save 40%Bestseller 1
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder Jumbo, Kitchen Utensils Holder 7' x 7'
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder Jumbo, Kitchen Utensils Holder 7" x 7"
Durable brushed stainless steel utensil holder, metal utensil holder; Heavy and solid, so it will not easily tip over
−40%
Save 13%Bestseller 3
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Rotating Utensil Holder
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Rotating Utensil Holder
Holder rotates to make tools easy to locate; Large capacity holds over 15 large-handled tools
−13%
Bestseller 4
Oggi Steel Holder Utensil Crock, Jumbo, Stainless Steel - 7'
Oggi Steel Holder Utensil Crock, Jumbo, Stainless Steel - 7"
HIGH QUALITY & BUILT TO LAST: Requires minimal care and cleaning. Hand washing recommended
Bestseller 5
Creative Home Heavy Gauge Stainless Steel Tool Crock Utensil Flatware Holder, Large, 7' Diam. x 7' H, Black
Creative Home Heavy Gauge Stainless Steel Tool Crock Utensil Flatware Holder, Large, 7" Diam. x 7" H, Black
Dimensions: 7" Diam. x 7" H; Made of heavy gauge stainless steel with black powder coating finish

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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

Save 22%Bestseller 2
Bestseller 3
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set - 3-Piece
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set - 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
Bestseller 4
RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Mini Whisk, 9 Inch
RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Mini Whisk, 9 Inch
18/10 stainless steel construction; Perfect for sauces or gravies; Convenient size for most jobs
Bestseller 5
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk & Good Grips 9-Inch Whisk
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk & Good Grips 9-Inch Whisk
Product 1: Innovative handle shape and soft, comfortable grip to absorb pressure; Product 1: Dishwasher safe

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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

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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

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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

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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

Save 64%Bestseller 1
Henckels Classic 15-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set
Henckels Classic 15-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set
Stylish brushed stainless steel cap and stained ash wood base self-sharpening block; Tailor-made for the J.A. Henckels International Classic knife series
−64%
Save 55%Bestseller 2
Henckels Classic Steak Knife Set, 5 pc, Black/Stainless Steel
Henckels Classic Steak Knife Set, 5 pc, 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
−55%
Save 35%Bestseller 3
HENCKELS Classic Chef's Knife, 6-inch, 0
HENCKELS Classic Chef's Knife, 6-inch, 0
QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel. Made in Spain.
−35%
Save 35%Bestseller 4
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
−35%
Save 13%Bestseller 5
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet 8-Piece Steak Knife Set with Box
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet 8-Piece Steak Knife Set with Box
4-1/2-inch serrated blades slice steaks, chops, roasts; Made of high-carbon stainless steel with synthetic handles
−13%

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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

Save 24%Bestseller 1
HENCKELS Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel
HENCKELS Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel
QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel. Made in Spain; BALANCED BLADE: Ergonomic, traditional triple rivet handle offers balance and comfort
−24%
Save 20%Bestseller 3
Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7' Santoku Knife
Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7" Santoku Knife
G2 micro-carbide powder steel; Authentic thin Japanese blade profile; Hand-honed using the three-step Honbazuke process to a 9.5 to 12 degree edge
−20%

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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.

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...
  • 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...
  • 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.

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Steak knives

Save 52%Bestseller 1
Trudeau Laguiole Steak Knives with Pakkawood Handles (Set of 6), Stainless/Wood
Trudeau Laguiole Steak Knives with Pakkawood Handles (Set of 6), Stainless/Wood
Set of 6 steak knives featuring serrated 30CR13(420) stainless steel full tang blades; Razor sharpness cuts through steaks without added pressure; retaining flavorful juices
−52%
Save 43%Bestseller 2
Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Swiss Classic Serrated Steak Knife Set, Round-tip, 4.5-Inch, 6-Piece
Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Swiss Classic Serrated Steak Knife Set, Round-tip, 4.5-Inch, 6-Piece
KNIFE DIMENSIONS. Six (6) stainless steel blades -- 4.5" in length.
−43%
Save 20%Bestseller 4
Bestseller 5
Farberware 4-Piece Full-Tang Triple Rivet 'Never Needs Sharpening' Stainless Steel Steak Knife Set, Black
Farberware 4-Piece Full-Tang Triple Rivet 'Never Needs Sharpening' Stainless Steel Steak Knife Set, Black
SET OF 4: This Farberware set features (4), 4.5-inch steak knives.; EASY CARE: Hand-wash with warm water and a mild detergent; rinse and dry immediately.

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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

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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

Save 21%Bestseller 1
Global G-9-8-3/4 inch, 22cm Bread Knife, 8.75', Stainless Steel
Global G-9-8-3/4 inch, 22cm Bread Knife, 8.75", Stainless Steel
Lightweight, precisely balanced 8-3/4-inch bread knife; Blade made of high-tech molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel
−21%
Save 20%Bestseller 2
HENCKELS Statement, 8-inch Bread Knife, Black
HENCKELS Statement, 8-inch Bread Knife, Black
Fabricated from high-quality stainless steel; Single-piece precision-stamped blade construction provides durability
−20%
Save 9%Bestseller 3
Cuisinart C77TRN-8BD Nitrogen Collection 8' Bread Knife, Stainless Steel
Cuisinart C77TRN-8BD Nitrogen Collection 8" Bread Knife, Stainless Steel
Nitrogen-infused, corrosion-resistant stainless steel knives stay sharp longer; Forged, durable extra-wide safety bolster for perfect stability and control
−9%

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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

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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

Save 35%Bestseller 1
Instant Pot Official Mesh Steamer Basket, Set of 2, Stainless Steel
Instant Pot Official Mesh Steamer Basket, Set of 2, Stainless Steel
Enjoy Delicious, Nutritious Foods; Use for steaming all kinds of vegetables, fish & more; Protects Food: Raised feet protect food from boiling water
−35%
Save 14%Bestseller 2
Instant Pot Tempered Glass Lid, Stainless Steel Rim, for 5 Qt/L or 6 Qt/L Models
Instant Pot Tempered Glass Lid, Stainless Steel Rim, for 5 Qt/L or 6 Qt/L Models
It is 23 cm (9 inches) in diameter and designed to fit all Instant Pot 6 quart models; Instant Pot is the No1 selling brand of electric pressure cookers in the US
−14%
Save 13%Bestseller 3
Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Grain Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Sous Vide, Yogurt Maker, Sterilizer, and Warmer, 6 Quart
Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Grain Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Sous Vide, Yogurt Maker, Sterilizer, and Warmer, 6 Quart
CONVENIENT FAVORITES: 5 programmable settings for your own special recipes.; GENTLE STEAM RELEASE: The diffusing cover reduces noise and prevents countertop splash.
−13%
Save 7%Bestseller 4

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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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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

Save 47%Bestseller 1
Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All (Cook's Country)
Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All (Cook's Country)
Americas Test Kitchen; English (Publication Language); 304 Pages - 02/23/2016 (Publication Date) - Cook's Country (Publisher)
−47%
Save 31%Bestseller 2
KOHLER 6487-0 Whitehaven Kitchen Sink, One Size, White
KOHLER 6487-0 Whitehaven Kitchen Sink, One Size, White
MINIMUM CABINET BASE WIDTH: 30" minimum cabinet base width; INNOVATIVE DESIGN: Basin slopes 2 degrees toward drain to minimize water pooling
−31%
Save 27%Bestseller 3
The Complete Cast Iron Cookbook: A Tantalizing Collection of Over 240 Recipes for Your Cast-Iron Cookware (Easy Recipes, Home Cookbook, Simple ... for Foodies) (Complete Cookbook Collection)
The Complete Cast Iron Cookbook: A Tantalizing Collection of Over 240 Recipes for Your Cast-Iron Cookware (Easy Recipes, Home Cookbook, Simple ... for Foodies) (Complete Cookbook Collection)
Hardcover Book; The Coastal Kitchen (Author); English (Publication Language); 464 Pages - 09/11/2018 (Publication Date) - Cider Mill Press (Publisher)
−27%
Save 21%Bestseller 4
Save 20%Bestseller 5
KOHLER K-5871-5UA3-0 Riverby Single Bowl Undermount Kitchen Sink, White
KOHLER K-5871-5UA3-0 Riverby Single Bowl Undermount Kitchen Sink, White
36-inch minimum base cabinet width; Single bowl configuration; 2-degree basin slope toward drain minimizes water pooling
−20%

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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.

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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

Save 40%Bestseller 1
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 10' Open Skillet, Inch, Non Stick Stainless Steel
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 10" Open Skillet, Inch, Non Stick Stainless Steel
Updated cast-stainless-steel handle stays cool to the touch and comes riveted for strength
−40%
Save 26%Bestseller 2
Cuisinart DSA22-20 Hard Anodized Nonstick 8-Inch Skillet, Black/Stainless Steel
Cuisinart DSA22-20 Hard Anodized Nonstick 8-Inch Skillet, Black/Stainless Steel
CLEAN UP: Easy clean up with hot soapy water and a non abrasive scrub pad
−26%
Save 22%Bestseller 3
Cuisinart 622-24 Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard Anodized 10-Inch Skillet, Black/Stainless Steel
Cuisinart 622-24 Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard Anodized 10-Inch Skillet, Black/Stainless Steel
COOL GRIP HANDLE: Solid stainless steel riveted handle stays cool on the stovetop.
−22%
Save 17%Bestseller 4
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 8-Inch Open Skillet
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 8-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
−17%
Save 9%Bestseller 5
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 2-Piece 9-Inch and 11-Inch Skillet Set - Black And Silver
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 2-Piece 9-Inch and 11-Inch Skillet Set - Black And Silver
18/10 mirror exterior finish for a classic look and professional performance; Dishwasher cleaning for ease and helps to maintain the mirror finish
−9%

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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

Save 56%Bestseller 1
Cook N Home 12 Stainless Steel Saucepot with Lid Quart Stockpot, QT, Silver
Cook N Home 12 Stainless Steel Saucepot with Lid Quart Stockpot, QT, Silver
Made of mirror polished 18-10 stainless steel for durability and easy cleaning; Aluminum disc layered bottom for even heat distribution and prevents hot spots
−56%
Bestseller 3
Yamde 2 Piece Stainless Steel Stack and Steam Pot Set - and Lid,Steamer Saucepot double boiler…
Yamde 2 Piece Stainless Steel Stack and Steam Pot Set - and Lid,Steamer Saucepot double boiler…
All stainless steel construction; Tempered glass lid; Easy-to clean; dishwasher safe; Oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Bestseller 4
Bestseller 5
Rachael Ray Brights Sauce Pot/Saucepot with Steamer Insert, 3 Quart, Marine Blue Gradient
Rachael Ray Brights Sauce Pot/Saucepot with Steamer Insert, 3 Quart, Marine Blue Gradient
SET INCLUDES: 3-Quart Saucepot, Stainless Steel Steamer Insert and Lid

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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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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

Save 7%Bestseller 4
Good Cook Steel Nonstick Bakeware, 3 Piece Cookie Sheet Set
Good Cook Steel Nonstick Bakeware, 3 Piece Cookie Sheet Set
Small Size Measures: 13×9, Medium Size Measures: 15×10, Large Size Measures: 17×11; Updated design for increased durability that allows for repeated use for years to come
−7%
Bestseller 5
Amazon Basics Silicone, Non-Stick, Food Safe Baking Mat - Pack of 2
Amazon Basics Silicone, Non-Stick, Food Safe Baking Mat - Pack of 2
2 non-stick silicone baking mats for easy and convenient baking, roasting and food prep; Oven-safe up to 480 degrees F

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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

Save 43%Bestseller 2
Lodge L5SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron 8-Inch Skillet
Lodge L5SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron 8-Inch Skillet
8-inch Skillet can saute, sear, fry, bake and stir fry; Pre-Seasoned and ready-to-use; Superior heat retention and even cooking
−43%
Save 40%Bestseller 3
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch Cast Iron Set
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch Cast Iron Set
3 piece set includes 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pans; Cast Iron cookware is comparatively less smoother than non stick cookware
−40%
Save 33%Bestseller 4
Lodge Cast Iron Round Pan, 8 in, Black
Lodge Cast Iron Round Pan, 8 in, Black
Seasoned with oil for a natural, easy-release finish; The right tool to sear, sauté, simmer, bake, broil, braise, roast, fry or grill
−33%

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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

Bestseller 1
OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set
OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set
One 7.25-in x 10.75-in Prep Board and one 9-in x 12.9-in Everyday Board; Double-sided, non-porous surfaces resist odors and won't dull knife blades
Bestseller 2
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
Bestseller 3
OXO Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board - Translucent
OXO Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board - Translucent
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
Bestseller 4
OXO Good Grips Prep Cutting Board
OXO Good Grips Prep Cutting Board
Compact 7.23-in x 10.75-in Prep Board is ideal for smaller slicing tasks; Double-sided, non-porous surfaces resist odors and won't dull knife blades
Bestseller 5
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board - Red
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board - Red
10-1/2- by-15 inch cutting board with colored edges; Crafted from nonporous, odor-resistant, durable polypropylene

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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

Save 16%Bestseller 2
Bench Scraper & Chopper,Stainless Steel Blade Knife,Pastry Cutter for Pasta Dough Bread Cake Baking,Multi-purpose Kitchen Tool with Scale Ruler- Set of 2 Pack
Bench Scraper & Chopper,Stainless Steel Blade Knife,Pastry Cutter for Pasta Dough Bread Cake Baking,Multi-purpose Kitchen Tool with Scale Ruler- 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
−16%
Save 6%Bestseller 3
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Scraper & Chopper
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Scraper & Chopper
Stainless steel blade includes quarter inch markings for easy measuring; Soft, comfortable non slip handle
−6%
Bestseller 4
Amazon Basics Multi-Purpose Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper with Contoured Grip, 6-Inch
Amazon Basics Multi-Purpose Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper with Contoured Grip, 6-Inch
Broad, rectangular-shaped, stainless-steel blade with square edge; 1-inch measurement marks along blade edge for creating perfectly even portions

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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

Save 6%Bestseller 1
San Jamar (SAO7G) - PCL2 2 Portion/Sauce Cup Lid Organizer, Black
San Jamar (SAO7G) - PCL2 2 Portion/Sauce Cup Lid Organizer, Black
This is a genuine OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part; Use genuine OEM parts for safety reliability and performance
−6%
Bestseller 4
Simply Asia Japanese Style Ramen Noodles, 8 oz (Pack of 6)
Simply Asia Japanese Style Ramen Noodles, 8 oz (Pack of 6)
5 grams of protein per serving; 5-7 minutes boiling time; No MSG; Non-GMO Certified; Use immediately after cooking in soups, stir-fry and more

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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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Save 31%Bestseller 1
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
−31%
Save 30%Bestseller 2
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.
−30%
Save 22%Bestseller 4
Chef Craft Select Plastic Deep Colander, 11x5 inch 5 quart, White
Chef Craft Select Plastic Deep Colander, 11x5 inch 5 quart, White
Colander is 11 x 5 inches in size with a 5 quart capacity; Large holes allow water to easily flow out
−22%

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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?

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