Kitchen Essentials – How to Set Up Your Dream Kitchen

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

Bestseller 1
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs
Contoured handle design provides control while chopping and cutting; Soft, comfortable handle ensures a safe, non-slip grip, even when wet
Bestseller 2
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 3
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
Bestseller 4
OXO Locking Tongs, 12-Inch, Multicolor
OXO Locking Tongs, 12-Inch, Multicolor
Stainless-steel arms with soft, comfortable grips; Nylon heads safe for nonstick cookware; Heat-resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Bestseller 5
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Tongs Stainless,Black,
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Tongs Stainless,Black,
Perforated head ideal for straining juices and oils from foods; Dishwasher safe; Rounded head great for scooping and holding foods

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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 52%Bestseller 1
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.
−52%
Save 27%Bestseller 2
Mercer Culinary Hell's Tools Hi-Heat Slotted Spatula, 12 Inch x 3.5 Inch, Black
Mercer Culinary Hell's Tools Hi-Heat Slotted Spatula, 12 Inch x 3.5 Inch, Black
One-piece construction with beveled edge that gets under food quickly and precisely; Safe for use with non-stick cooking surfaces
−27%
Bestseller 3
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

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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

Bestseller 1
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 2
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 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

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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 50%Bestseller 1
How To Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos
How To Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos
Houghton Mifflin; Hardcover Book; Bittman, Mark (Author); English (Publication Language); 496 Pages - 03/05/2012 (Publication Date) - Harvest (Publisher)
−50%
Save 30%Bestseller 2
Save 20%Bestseller 3
Stir Crack Whisk Bake: An Interactive Board Book about Baking for Toddlers and Kids (America's Test Kitchen Kids, Easter basket stuffer)
Stir Crack Whisk Bake: An Interactive Board Book about Baking for Toddlers and Kids (America's Test Kitchen Kids, Easter basket stuffer)
America's Test Kitchen Kids (Author); English (Publication Language); 24 Pages - 09/03/2019 (Publication Date) - Sourcebooks Explore (Publisher)
−20%
Save 6%Bestseller 5
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
−6%

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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 49%Bestseller 1
Henckels Classic 8' Chef Knife, German Stainless Steel, Balanced Blade
Henckels Classic 8" Chef Knife, German Stainless Steel, Balanced Blade
BALANCED BLADE: Ergonomic, traditional triple rivet handle gives balance and comfort; PROTECTIVE BOLSTER: Full bolster provides weight and ensures safety
−49%
Save 13%Bestseller 2
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%
Bestseller 3
HENCKELS CLASSIC 3-pc Starter Knife Set
HENCKELS CLASSIC 3-pc Starter Knife Set
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
Bestseller 4
J.A. Henckels International Eversharp 8-Piece Steak Knife Set
J.A. Henckels International Eversharp 8-Piece Steak Knife Set
Set of 8 steak knives; blades feature a serrated cutting edge; Each knife forged from a single piece of stain-resistant steel
Bestseller 5
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

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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 27%Bestseller 1
HENCKELS Forged Premio Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS Forged Premio Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel; Modern triple-rivet design is curved for comfort
−27%
Save 24%Bestseller 2
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%

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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 3
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.
−52%
Save 36%Bestseller 4
KitchenAid Gourmet, 4-Piece Steak Knife Set, Stainless Steel
KitchenAid Gourmet, 4-Piece Steak Knife Set, Stainless Steel
QUALITY ASSURED: one-year hassle-free replacement, plus Lifetime Limited Warranty
−36%
Bestseller 5
Cuisinart C77TR-6PSK Triple Rivet Collection 6-Piece Steak Knife Set, Black
Cuisinart C77TR-6PSK Triple Rivet Collection 6-Piece Steak Knife Set, 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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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 29%Bestseller 4
HENCKELS Statement, 3-inch Paring Knife, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS Statement, 3-inch Paring Knife, Black/Stainless Steel
Fabricated from high-quality stainless steel; Single-piece precision-stamped blade construction provides durability
−29%
Save 27%Bestseller 5
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%

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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 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 6%Bestseller 3
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
−6%
Bestseller 5
Humbee Chef Serrated Bread Knife For Home Kitchens Bread Knife 10 Inch Black
Humbee Chef Serrated Bread Knife For Home Kitchens Bread Knife 10 Inch Black
Highly Versatile: This full tang knife is perfect for all professional and personal uses; 1The serrated blade of this bread knife is perfectly made to cut any kind of bread

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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 46%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
−46%
Save 24%Bestseller 2
Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Grain Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Sous Vide, Yogurt Maker, Sterilizer, and Warmer, Includes Free App with over 1900 Recipes, Black, 6 Quart
Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Grain Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Sous Vide, Yogurt Maker, Sterilizer, and Warmer, Includes Free App with over 1900 Recipes, Black, 6 Quart
CONVENIENT FAVORITES: 5 programmable settings for your own special recipes.; GENTLE STEAM RELEASE: The diffusing cover reduces noise and prevents countertop splash.
−24%

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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
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)
−33%
Save 33%Bestseller 3
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 43%Bestseller 1
Home Basics Lattice Collection Cast Iron Trivet for Serving Hot Dish, Pot, Pans & Teapot on Kitchen Countertop or Dinning, Table-Heat Resistant (1, Turquoise)
Home Basics Lattice Collection Cast Iron Trivet for Serving Hot Dish, Pot, Pans & Teapot on Kitchen Countertop or Dinning, Table-Heat Resistant (1, Turquoise)
Constructed of heavy duty cast iron, it features a rounded base, for ultra stability.; The trivet features rounded feet to prevent scratches on your countertop or table
−43%
Save 33%Bestseller 3
Lodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet
Lodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet
One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet; Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
−33%
Save 28%Bestseller 4
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)
−28%
Save 16%Bestseller 5
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%

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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.

Save 33%Bestseller 1
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-inch
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-inch
One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Handle Holder; Assist handle for better control
−33%
Save 33%Bestseller 4
Lodge Silicone Hot Cast Iron Skillet Handle Holder, 5-5/8' L x 2', Red
Lodge Silicone Hot Cast Iron Skillet Handle Holder, 5-5/8" L x 2", Red
Protects hands from heat up to 450° F; Offers a secure, comfortable grip when handling hot cookware on the stovetop
−33%
Save 22%Bestseller 5
Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet, 12 inch
Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet, 12 inch
Seasoned with oil for a natural, easy-release finish that improves with use; The right tool to sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry or grill
−22%

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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 50%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
−50%
Save 49%Bestseller 2
Cuisinart GG22-20 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Inch Open Skillet
Cuisinart GG22-20 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Inch Open Skillet
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
−49%
Save 28%Bestseller 3
Cuisinart 57B22-810BK Aluminum 2-Piece Skillet Set, Black/Stainless Steel
Cuisinart 57B22-810BK Aluminum 2-Piece Skillet Set, Black/Stainless Steel
SET INCLUDES: 8-inch skillet and 10-inch skillet; CLEAN UP: Easy clean up with hot soap water and a non-abrasive sponge
−28%
Save 22%Bestseller 4
Cuisinart 622-24 Chef's Classic 10-Inch Nonstick-Hard-Anodized, Open Skillet
Cuisinart 622-24 Chef's Classic 10-Inch Nonstick-Hard-Anodized, Open Skillet
COOL GRIP HANDLE: Solid stainless steel riveted handle stays cool on the stovetop.
−22%
Save 17%Bestseller 5
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%

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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

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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 10%Bestseller 3
Stock Pot - Tri-ply 18/10 Professional Grade Induction Ready with Stainless Steel Lid and Stay Cool Handles (12 Quarts)
Stock Pot - Tri-ply 18/10 Professional Grade Induction Ready with Stainless Steel Lid and Stay Cool Handles (12 Quarts)
Stockpot - Commercial grade 18/10 stainless steel with stick resistant interior.; Stainless Steel Stock Pot - Induction compatible, oven safe and dishwasher safe.
−10%
Bestseller 4
Stockpot Enameled Steel Pot Mushrooms Enamel Pot with Lid Kitchen Pot Cooking Pot (2 L / 2.1 qt)
Stockpot Enameled Steel Pot Mushrooms Enamel Pot with Lid Kitchen Pot Cooking Pot (2 L / 2.1 qt)
Material : Enameled Steel. Made in : Ukraine; Size : Small - 2.1qt (2L)/ 9.25'' x 5.71'' x 9.25'' (23.5 x 14.5 x 23.5 cm)
Bestseller 5
Rachael Ray Enamel on Steel Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid, 12 Quart, Marine Blue
Rachael Ray Enamel on Steel Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid, 12 Quart, Marine Blue
STAIN RESISTANT: Stain resistant and easy to clean; OVEN SAFE: Induction suitable and oven safe to 450°F

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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

Save 43%Bestseller 1
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 26%Bestseller 5
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
−26%

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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

Save 17%Bestseller 2
Farberware - 78892-10 Farberware Plastic Cutting Board, 11-inch by 14-inch, White
Farberware - 78892-10 Farberware Plastic Cutting Board, 11-inch by 14-inch, White
MEASUREMENTS: 11 inch long by 14 inch wide by 0.25 inches thick
−17%
Bestseller 3
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 4
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 5
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

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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 43%Bestseller 1
Bowl Spatula & Bench Scraper,Flexible Plastic Multipurpose Kitchen Pastry Cutter Tool,Food Scrappers for Bread Dough Baking Cake Fondant Icing,Set of 2 Pieces - White,Green
Bowl Spatula & Bench Scraper,Flexible Plastic Multipurpose Kitchen Pastry Cutter Tool,Food Scrappers for Bread Dough Baking Cake Fondant Icing,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.
−43%
Save 31%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
−31%
Bestseller 4
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 5
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 30%Bestseller 2
Cuisinart CTG-00-SAS 5-Quart Salad Spinner, White
Cuisinart CTG-00-SAS 5-Quart Salad Spinner, White
CONVENIENT: Wash and spin-dry salad greens, fruits and vegetables; EASY TO USE: Add and drain water without removing lid with easy-to-turn spin knob
−30%
Save 14%Bestseller 4
Step2 Best Chefs Kitchen Playset | Kids Play Kitchen with 25-Pc Toy Accessories Set, Real Lights & Sounds, Multicolor , Blue
Step2 Best Chefs Kitchen Playset | Kids Play Kitchen with 25-Pc Toy Accessories Set, Real Lights & Sounds, Multicolor , Blue
Clicking knobs on stove top and oven for more realistic pretend play; Pretend stove burner features fun lights and cooking sounds
−14%

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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

Save 57%Bestseller 1
Norpro, Brown Can Punch Bottle Opener
Norpro, Brown Can Punch Bottle Opener
Heavy duty opener with a hardwood handle; 2 in 1 for can punching and bottle opening; Great for camping or RV
−57%
Save 30%Bestseller 3
Chef Craft Select Waiter's Corkscrew, 4.5 inch, Stainless Steel/Black
Chef Craft Select Waiter's Corkscrew, 4.5 inch, Stainless Steel/Black
Corkscrew includes built in foil cutter and bottle opener; Measures 5 in length; Two step construction makes pulling out a cork easy
−30%

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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 35%Bestseller 1
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.
−35%
Save 31%Bestseller 2
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 28%Bestseller 3
Qimh Collapsible Colander Set of 3 Round Silicone Kitchen Strainer Set - 2 pcs 4 Quart and 1 pcs 2 Quart- Perfect for Draining Pasta, Vegetable and fruit (green,blue, purple)
Qimh Collapsible Colander Set of 3 Round Silicone Kitchen Strainer Set - 2 pcs 4 Quart and 1 pcs 2 Quart- Perfect for Draining Pasta, Vegetable and fruit (green,blue, purple)
★ Safe - Using environmentally friendly Rubber and plastics materials,no smell.; ★ Multi Use - You can used in or over a sink and freestanding on a counter or table.
−28%

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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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