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 14%Bestseller 2
Rösle Stainless Steel 9-inch One-Handed Locking Tongs (12915)
Rösle Stainless Steel 9-inch One-Handed Locking Tongs (12915)
Made of 18/10 Stainless Steel, 9" in length; Convenient locking mechamnism for one hand locking and releasing operation
−14%
Save 11%Bestseller 3
OXO Good Grips 9 Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
OXO Good Grips 9 Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
Sturdy brushed stainless steel Tongs; Soft, non-slip handles and comfortable thumb rests; Locks closed for convenient storage
−11%
Save 6%Bestseller 4
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs With Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs With Nylon Heads
Great for turning and lifting vegetables; Scalloped edges securely hold food; Nylon heads are high heat resistant and safe for non-stick cookware
−6%
Save 5%Bestseller 5
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
Scalloped edges securely hold food; Nylon heads are high heat resistant and safe for non-stick cookware
−5%

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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 13%Bestseller 1
Bestseller 2
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 3
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
Bestseller 4
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Flexible Turner, Large
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Flexible Turner, Large
Flexible spring-steel head; Large head accommodates fish filets and omelets; Useful for lifting cookies

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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 20%Bestseller 1
KitchenAid Classic Soup Ladle, One Size, Black 2
KitchenAid Classic Soup Ladle, One Size, Black 2
Dishwasher safe: this ladle is dishwasher safe, making clean up quick and easy.
−20%
Bestseller 2
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle
Contoured handle is comfortable to hold whether you're feeding from the front or the side; Small bowl fits easily in baby's mouth
Bestseller 3
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
Bestseller 4
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 5
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

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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 43%Bestseller 1
Old Dutch Jumbo Hammered Copper H x 7' Dia. Utensil Holder, 7x7x7.5
Old Dutch Jumbo Hammered Copper H x 7" Dia. Utensil Holder, 7x7x7.5
Hand-Hammered Finish; Measuring at 7"; Made of durable Stainless Steel construction with a tarnish resistant Copper finish
−43%
Save 20%Bestseller 2
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, Jumbo-7 x 7 inches
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, Jumbo-7 x 7 inches
Durable brushed stainless steel utensil holder, metal utensil holder; Heavy and solid, so it will not easily tip over
−20%
Save 14%Bestseller 3
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
−14%

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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 31%Bestseller 2
Little Helpers Toddler Baking Cookbook: Sweet and Savory Recipes to Make, Bake, and Share
Little Helpers Toddler Baking Cookbook: Sweet and Savory Recipes to Make, Bake, and Share
Lamperti, Barbara (Author); English (Publication Language); 120 Pages - 02/23/2021 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)
−31%
Save 28%Bestseller 4
Joseph Joseph Nest 9 Nesting Bowls Set with Mixing Bowls Measuring Cups Sieve Colander, 9-Piece, Multicolored
Joseph Joseph Nest 9 Nesting Bowls Set with Mixing Bowls Measuring Cups Sieve Colander, 9-Piece, Multicolored
Space-saving nesting design allows individual pieces to be stacked neatly together; Great cooking prep set for gifting, new home cooks, bakers, RV camping, and small kitchens
−28%
Bestseller 5
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

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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

Save 60%Bestseller 1
HENCKELS Classic 3-pc Kitchen Knife Set, Chef Knife, Utility Knife, Paring Knife, Stainless Steel, Black
HENCKELS Classic 3-pc Kitchen Knife Set, Chef Knife, Utility Knife, Paring Knife, Stainless Steel, Black
SET INCLUDES: 4-inch paring, 6-inch utility/ sandwich knife, and 8-inch chef's knife; QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel. Made in Spain
−60%
Save 38%Bestseller 2
Cuisinart C77WTR-15P Classic Forged Triple Rivet, 15 Piece Set, White
Cuisinart C77WTR-15P Classic Forged Triple Rivet, 15 Piece Set, White
Superior high-carbon forged stainless steel blade for precision and accuracy; Durable extra-wide safety bolster for perfect stability and control
−38%
Bestseller 5
HENCKELS Statement 20-pc Kitchen Knife Set with Block, Chef Knife, Bread Knife, Utility Knife, Steak Knife Set, Natural
HENCKELS Statement 20-pc Kitchen Knife Set with Block, Chef Knife, Bread Knife, Utility Knife, Steak Knife Set, Natural
DURABLE BLADE: Single-piece, precision-stamped blade construction provides durability; EASY TO HANDLE: Lightweight, full tang design yields maximum maneuverability

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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 56%Bestseller 1
ZWILLING Classic 8-inch Professional Chef Knife, Kitchen Knife, German Knife, Black
ZWILLING Classic 8-inch Professional Chef Knife, Kitchen Knife, German Knife, Black
BALANCED BLADE: Ergonomic, traditional triple rivet handle gives balance and comfort; PROTECTIVE BOLSTER: Full bolster provides weight and ensures safety
−56%
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 43%Bestseller 3
HENCKELS Classic Chef's Knife, 6-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel, Kitchen Knife
HENCKELS Classic Chef's Knife, 6-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel, Kitchen Knife
QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel. Made in Spain.
−43%
Save 33%Bestseller 4
J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 8-Inch Chef -,Black
J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 8-Inch Chef -,Black
Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel; Modern triple-rivet design is curved for comfort
−33%
Save 32%Bestseller 5
HENCKELS Forged Synergy Chef's Knife, 8-inch, Black
HENCKELS Forged Synergy Chef's Knife, 8-inch, Black
Fully forged high-performance German stainless steel blades; Stainless steel riveted handle
−32%

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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

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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 49%Bestseller 1
ZWILLING Steak Knife Set of 8, German Knife Set, Stainless Steel, Gift Set
ZWILLING Steak Knife Set of 8, German Knife Set, Stainless Steel, Gift Set
SET INCLUDES: 8 stainless steel steak knives and presentation box; STRONG BLADES: Forged blades provide the ultimate strength
−49%
Save 26%Bestseller 2
Calphalon Contemporary Cutlery, Steak Knives (Set of 8), 8-Piece
Calphalon Contemporary Cutlery, Steak Knives (Set of 8), 8-Piece
Sleek, ergonomically contoured polyresin handle; Blades stamped from Asian steel
−26%
Save 20%Bestseller 3
HENCKELS International Forged Accent 4-pc Steak Knife Set - Black
HENCKELS International Forged Accent 4-pc Steak Knife Set - Black
German stainless steel; Forged bolster adds balance, heft, and acts as a finger guard; Ergonomic, triple-riveted handle
−20%
Save 20%Bestseller 4
Wusthof Stainless 8 Piece Mignon Steak Set in Olivewood Box
Wusthof Stainless 8 Piece Mignon Steak Set in Olivewood Box
Includes 8 stainless steel steak knives and olivewood box; Manufacturer's limited lifetime warranty
−20%
Save 18%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.
−18%

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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

Save 51%Bestseller 1
HENCKELS CLASSIC 4-inch Paring Knife, Utility Knife, Kitchen Knife, Black, Stainless Steel
HENCKELS CLASSIC 4-inch Paring Knife, Utility Knife, Kitchen Knife, Black, Stainless Steel
QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel. Made in Spain; BALANCED KNIFE: Ergonomic, traditional triple rivet handle gives balance and comfort
−51%
Save 38%Bestseller 2
Kuhn Rikon Straight Paring Knife, 4 inch/10.16 cm Blade, Set of 3, Red, Yellow & Blue
Kuhn Rikon Straight Paring Knife, 4 inch/10.16 cm Blade, Set of 3, Red, Yellow & Blue
Feature an ultra-sharp, hand-ground, long-lasting, Japanese stainless steel blade; Non-stick coatings release food from the cutting surfaces for easier and neater chopping
−38%
Save 27%Bestseller 4
HENCKELS Solution Paring Knife, 4-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS Solution Paring Knife, 4-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Fabricated from high-quality stainless steel; Single-piece precision-stamped blade construction provides durability
−27%
Bestseller 5
Shun Premier Grey Knife Block Set, 5 Piece Starter Set, Includes Chef, Utility, and Paring Knives, Honing Steel, Wood Block
Shun Premier Grey Knife Block Set, 5 Piece Starter Set, Includes Chef, Utility, and Paring Knives, Honing Steel, Wood Block
68 micro layers of Damascus cladding look beautiful, support and protect the core; Hammered TSUCHIME finish helps release food easily when cutting

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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 58%Bestseller 1
Mercer Culinary Millennia Black Handle, 10-Inch Wide Wavy Edge, Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia Black Handle, 10-Inch Wide Wavy Edge, Bread Knife
Textured finger points provide slip resistance, grip, and safety. Protective finger guard.
−58%
Bestseller 5
Cuisinart C77TR-8BD Triple Rivet Collection 8' Bread Knife, Black
Cuisinart C77TR-8BD Triple Rivet Collection 8" Bread Knife, Black
Superior high-carbon stainless steel blades for precision and accuracy; Forged, durable extra-wide safety bolster for perfect stability and control

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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 47%Bestseller 1
Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well
Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well
Hardcover Book; English (Publication Language); 192 Pages - 12/31/2019 (Publication Date) - America's Test Kitchen (Publisher)
−47%
Save 42%Bestseller 2
The Complete One Pot: 400 Meals for Your Skillet, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot®, Dutch Oven, and More (The Complete ATK Cookbook Series)
The Complete One Pot: 400 Meals for Your Skillet, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot®, Dutch Oven, and More (The Complete ATK Cookbook Series)
English (Publication Language); 432 Pages - 11/03/2020 (Publication Date) - America's Test Kitchen (Publisher)
−42%
Save 36%Bestseller 3
Save 22%Bestseller 5
Instant Precision Dutch Oven, 5-in-1: Braise, Slow Cook, Sear/Sauté, Cooking Pan, Food Warmer, 6-Quart, Cast Iron, Red
Instant Precision Dutch Oven, 5-in-1: Braise, Slow Cook, Sear/Sauté, Cooking Pan, Food Warmer, 6-Quart, Cast Iron, Red
5-in-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Braise, slow cooking, sear/sauté, cooking pan and warmer.; PROFESSIONAL RESULTS: Easily and precisely control cooking time and temperature.
−22%

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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

Save 48%Bestseller 1
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)
−48%
Save 33%Bestseller 2
Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals [A Cookbook]
Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals [A Cookbook]
Ten Speed Press; Hardcover Book; Fetterman, Lisa Q. (Author); English (Publication Language)
−33%

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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 20%Bestseller 1
The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: A Tantalizing Collection of Over 200 Delicious Recipes for Every Kitchen
The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: A Tantalizing Collection of Over 200 Delicious Recipes for Every Kitchen
Hardcover Book; DeVito, Dominique (Author); English (Publication Language); 256 Pages - 05/16/2017 (Publication Date) - Cider Mill Press (Publisher)
−20%
Save 19%Bestseller 2
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)
−19%
Save 16%Bestseller 3
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)
−16%
Bestseller 5
Kohler K-5864-5U-0 Cape Dory Undercounter Kitchen Sink, White, 2.375
Kohler K-5864-5U-0 Cape Dory Undercounter Kitchen Sink, White, 2.375
Large single bowl; 36-inch minimum base cabinet width; 9-inch depth; Single compartment; Three oversized faucet holes with two oversized accessory holes to the right

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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 58%Bestseller 1
Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
Water-based Ceramica nonstick surface won't peel off, free of PTFE and PFOA; Superior heat conductivity resulting in less energy use; oven- and broiler-safe
−58%
Save 40%Bestseller 2
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 24%Bestseller 3
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 10-Inch Open Skillet
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 10-Inch Open Skillet
COOL GRIP HANDLE: Solid stainless steel riveted handle stays cool on the stovetop.; DRIP-FREE POURING: Rim is tapered for drip-free pouring.
−24%
Save 8%Bestseller 4
Cuisinart 722-30HNS Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 12-Inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle
Cuisinart 722-30HNS Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 12-Inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle
Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly and eliminates hot spots; Titanium reinforced Quantanium nonstick interior for healthful low fat cooking options
−8%
Bestseller 5
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

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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 46%Bestseller 1
Cuisinart MCP194-20N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 4-Quart Saucepan with Cover
Cuisinart MCP194-20N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 4-Quart Saucepan with Cover
Updated cast-stainless-steel handle stays cool to the touch and comes riveted for strength
−46%
Save 19%Bestseller 3
Amazon Basics Non-Stick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans - 8-Piece Set
Amazon Basics Non-Stick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans - 8-Piece Set
Aluminum body with non-stick coating for easy cooking and cleaning--BPA-free; Comfortable soft-touch handles stay cool during use, vented glass lids let steam escape
−19%

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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

Save 33%Bestseller 2
Cook N Home 16 Quart Stockpot with Lid, Stainless Steel
Cook N Home 16 Quart Stockpot with Lid, Stainless Steel
Has a mirror-polished stainless steel body and an aluminum disc layered in bottom; Capsuled aluminum disc provides even heat distribution and prevents hot spots
−33%
Save 9%Bestseller 3
Cuisinart 744-24 Chef's Classic Stainless Stockpot with Cover, 6-Quart,Silver
Cuisinart 744-24 Chef's Classic Stainless Stockpot with Cover, 6-Quart,Silver
Chef's Choice Stainless: Mirror finish. Classic looks, professional performance.; Drip-Free Pouring: Rim is tapered for drip-free pouring
−9%
Bestseller 5
Rachael Ray Brights Nonstick Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 6 Quart, Gray
Rachael Ray Brights Nonstick Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 6 Quart, Gray
OVEN SAFE: Oven safe to 350°F; LIFETIME WARRANTY: Lifetime Limited Warranty

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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

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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

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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 2
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 3
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 4
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 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 30%Bestseller 2
Chef'n Pastrio Set Bench Scraper and Chopper, Includes Stainless Steel and Plastic, Red
Chef'n Pastrio Set Bench Scraper and Chopper, Includes Stainless Steel and Plastic, Red
COMPACT STORAGE: Nest all 3 pieces together for easy storage
−30%
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
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

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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

Save 18%Bestseller 1
Tupperware Shape O Ball Keychain
Tupperware Shape O Ball Keychain
Tupperware Shape O Ball Keychain; Miniature Version of a Tupperware Classic; Not a Toy - Small Parts - For Ages 12+
−18%
Save 12%Bestseller 2
Tupperware Fridgesmart Container 4 Pcs Set Newest Design
Tupperware Fridgesmart Container 4 Pcs Set Newest Design
Tupperware Fridgesmart 4 pc set
−12%
Bestseller 5
New Tupperware Wonderlier Bowl Set 3 in New Colors (Large)
New Tupperware Wonderlier Bowl Set 3 in New Colors (Large)
Set of three includes one 6 cup, one 8 cup, and one 12 Cup; one of each color.; Salsa Verde Green (6 cup)

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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

Bestseller 3
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
Bestseller 5
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMC Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 4,Silver
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMC Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 4,Silver
1, 1/2, 1/3 And 1/4-cup sizes on a storage ring; Stainless steel; Dishwasher safe

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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

Bestseller 2
Kitch Ice Tray Easy Release White Ice Cube Trays, 16 Cube (Pack of 2)
Kitch Ice Tray Easy Release White Ice Cube Trays, 16 Cube (Pack of 2)
INCLUDES 2 ICE CUBE TRAYS! Each tray makes 16 nice-sized ice cubes for a total of 32; FLEXIBLE AND DURABLE ICE TRAYS: Ice cubes release easily with just a twist
Bestseller 4
LYWOO Cat Shaped Silicone Ice Cube Molds and Tray, Pack of 2
LYWOO Cat Shaped Silicone Ice Cube Molds and Tray, Pack of 2
Each one tray makes 9 kitties; 100% Silicone (made to FDA Standard), dishwasher safe; Size: 17.5cmX13cmX1.5cm (for each one tray)

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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

Save 25%Bestseller 2
Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker Crusher Mincer Press Dishwasher Safe, Stainless Steel
Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker Crusher Mincer Press Dishwasher Safe, Stainless Steel
Cleverly designed multi-function garlic tool for crushing and mincing; Simply place on top of garlic clove and rock back and forth
−25%
Save 18%Bestseller 4
OXO Good Grips Soft- Handled Garlic Press
OXO Good Grips Soft- Handled Garlic Press
Large-capacity garlic chamber; Efficient hole pattern maximizes amount of garlic pressed; Built-in cleaner pushes out garlic peels
−18%
Save 10%Bestseller 5
ZYLISS Susi 3 Garlic Press 'No Need To Peel' - Built in Cleaner - Crusher, Mincer and Peeler, Cast Aluminum
ZYLISS Susi 3 Garlic Press "No Need To Peel" - Built in Cleaner - Crusher, Mincer and Peeler, Cast Aluminum
Lightweight ergonomic handle makes pressing garlic or ginger easy; Generous size hopper accommodates large garlic cloves
−10%

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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

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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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