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The Top Kitchen Essentials Every Kitchen Needs

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I get asked ALL the time about which kitchen tools, gadgets, and appliances that I recommend and love. There are SO many options out there, I know it can be hard to choose sometimes. I have created this Kitchen Shopping Guide with you in mind – so you can easily find the best basic tools you need for your kitchen!

There are so many adorable, cute, quirky and fun kitchen supplies out there that sometimes its hard to limit yourself to just the essentials.

But unless you have an endless supply of cabinets and drawers, buying just the essentials will really help keep your kitchen neat and orderly!
It’s best to start with quality tools – its important to think about how long the items will last, what materials they are made of, and if they are actually functional for multiple uses.

Whether you want to keep a minimalist kitchen, you are just starting out, or you are looking to flesh out your existing stock, I’ve totally got you covered! I have taken the guesswork out of figuring out which things to buy by assembling for you the best cookware, bakeware, gadgets, appliances and more that I actually own, use and love!

*This post contains some affiliate links. Please visit my disclosure page for more information. 

Essential Cookware

Cookware is the building blocks of your kitchen and how you prepare food on a daily basis. You will want to invest in simple, sustainable, long lasting quality products.

  • A large dutch oven (affiliate link) is perfect for stovetop, oven, or campfire. You can bake bread, roast meat, bake a cobbler, just about anything you can think of in these. Get a 5 or 6 quart!
  • Cast iron skillets are a must. They are my favorite cookware ever, and what I use almost every day. There are so many things you can do with them. I recommend having both a flat griddle and a 12″ skillet. If you want to check out why they are my favorite, what you can do with them, and how to take care of them – read How to Care for and Maintain Cast Iron
  • Pots and pans, for sure! I would definitely recommend these pans below. I’ve used them for 8 years and they still look brand new. Plus I love how the handles stay cool while you are cooking with them.

Essential Bakeware

Bakeware allows you to cook and bake many things from frozen pizza to cookies and cakes to meatloaf. Again, you don’t need every pan imaginable, just a few quality pieces that can do lots of jobs.

  • A great baking sheet set will allow you to cook and bake a variety of things. It’s good to have both a rimless cookie baking sheet pan (affiliate link) and a rimmed jelly roll sheet pan (affiliate link).
  • A 9×13 baking dish with lid (affiliate link) is a must! Not only can you bake cakes and casseroles, but you can store cookies, muffins, and more. Seriously, the lid is the best part! I also recommend getting a good 8×8 baking pan.
  • A good set of oven safe cooling racks come in really handy. Make sure you get ones that can be used in the oven and make them work double duty – not only can they be used to cool hot pans and cookies, but they can also be used to bake chicken, jerky, and more.

Essential Kitchen Appliances

Small appliances in your kitchen can do a lot of heavy lifting for you! There are a lot of fancy gadgets out there, but when you have limited counter space or cabinet space, these are the essentials that you should invest in.

  • A good 7 quart slow cooker (affiliate link) can be used year round, and for so many things! This is the one I use – its simple and effective!
  • An electric hand mixer (affiliate link) is great for making all kinds of things from cakes and brownies to whipping cream.
  • A quality ice crushing blender (affiliate link) is perfect for making soups and drinks and other recipes.
  • A Magic Bullet Blender (affiliate link) is also a really great item to have for making dips and spreads and small batches of blended things.

Essential Kitchen Utensils, Gadgets, and Tools

There are so many fun gadgets and tools you can get for your kitchen. Some are so cute, some have specific jobs, but they all take up room in our kitchen. I always recommend starting with just the basic multi-use items and going from there.

  • This Glass Mixing Bowl Set (affiliate link) is my favorite – it comes with so many different sizes, you will never run out. They are so gorgeous you can also use them as serving bowls as well.
  • A Large Metal Colander (affiliate link) – You want one that is large enough to strain a big pot of potatoes on Thanksgiving, but with holes small enough not to let spaghetti escape, and one that is sturdy enough to last.
  • A Fine Mesh Strainer (affiliate link) is good to have for straining liquids – whether you are making baby food, or straining seeds out of lemon juice, having a small mesh strainer is a good thing!
  • Quality Wooden Spoons (affiliate link) are a must. Get as many as you can. Cheap ones often split and splinter when you wash them in the dishwasher, so buy some quality ones that can take the abuse. Make sure you learn how to care for wooden utensils so they last!
  • A Coarse Grater (affiliate link) is perfect for grating a variety of ingredients like cheese, zucchini, carrots and more.
  • An Etched Zester (affiliate link) is great for hard cheeses, garlic, nutmeg, citrus and more!
  • Quality Non-Slip Cutting Boards – make sure you have at least one that is dishwasher safe and designated only for raw meats. I keep wooden ones on hand for only cutting fruits and veggies, too.
  • Quality heat resistant silicone spatulas (affiliate link) are great for many things. These are the kind I like.
  • A good whisk that fits in your hand comfortably is important. I like the silicone coated ones
  • Measuring spoons and measuring cups. You will want a quality one. Surprisingly, not all measuring cups are standard sizes! Often the really cute sets are not actually accurate and will affect the recipe you make. And yes, you need one specifically for liquids, too.

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  1. Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood says:

    Definitely agree that cast iron pans are a MUST! My brother moved out on his own and I got him one as a house warming gift – they're perfect for everything!

  2. With how much baking I do, YES to rubber spatulas and pretty glass mixing bowls for photos. GREAT list

  3. Carrie Rundhaug says:

    I definitely agree on the cast iron! I absolutely love cooking with cast iron and desperately need to get some new ones. We left ours in the states when we moved.

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