Essential kitchen items & a few you may find handy

It can be hard to know what you need in your kitchen. There are so many products out there. They are designed to make our time in the kitchen easier. However, it’s not always easy to figure out what items you need and which fall under the want category. Plus let’s face it, the allure of items that will make meal prep faster are hard to resist but those items don’t always get used and then turn into clutter. What items you truly need will depend on what you want out of your kitchen. After learning how to cook after struggling in the kitchen for many years, I have now determined the essential kitchen items that I need. Perhaps this list will help you. Having only useful items in your own kitchen will help keep your kitchen clutter-free.

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Essential kitchen items

Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the kitchen, there are a number of items that every kitchen should have. It doesn’t matter whether you will be cooking from scratch or using store-bought items to create your meals, these items will make cooking easier.

Good Knives. I cannot stress this enough. For years I believed we had a good knife, and then we bought a truly good knife and my world changed for the better. It is absolutely worth the extra money to buy a good set of knives right from the start. This Mercer knife set is fantastic and makes cutting anything a breeze. Getting a set of knife guards is also a good idea.

Mixing Bowls. Whether you are cooking from scratch or using a store-bought box mix, mixing bowls are great to have. These can also be used to hold food once it is cooked.

Measuring Cups and Spoons. These items are likely to be used every day. I highly recommend buying stainless steel measuring cups. Make sure they are made from a single piece of metal. The ones that have the handle added on tend to break easily. You can also get stainless steel measuring spoons.

Can Opener. This one sounds obvious, but it’s easy to overlook such a small item. Go with a manual can opener, that way you can open cans even in an emergency, like a power outage. In fact, I would recommend buying a second one and putting it in your emergency kit. If you want to get an electric can opener as well, then that’s your choice.

Cutting Board. Another obvious item. However, it can be forgotten when you first start out. Get a nice sturdy cutting board and it should last a long time.

Grater. Love grated cheese? Save yourself money by buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself. A grater can also be used with fruits and vegetables for different recipes. I know people often buy pre-shredded cheese to save on time, but if you compare the price to a block of cheese you are overpaying by a lot.

Pots and Pans. A good set of pots and pans can last you a lifetime. They are essential for nearly all types of cooking. Make sure you take into account the size of your household when buying them.

Baking trays. These are not just for baking. Sheet pan dinners have become incredibly popular and having a cookie sheet to cook on is essential for them. If you plan on making muffins, like these carrot raisin muffins or pies, then be sure to invest in some muffin pans and pie plates as well.

Silicone muffin cups. These are wonderful. This has been my most recent addition to the kitchen and I am so glad that I got them. Silicone muffin cups are easy to clean. They also allow the food to slide right out after cooking. No more struggling to pull off paper muffin liners or cleaning the baked-on food inside a muffin tray. Plus they cut down on the amount of garbage you are producing.

Dinnerware and silverware. It’s hard to eat if you don’t have a set of dinnerware. Of course, you also need some silverware to go with it.

Colander. A colander or strainer isn’t something you will use every day, however, it does come in handy regularly.

Slow Cooker. A slow cooker or crockpot is the perfect kitchen item for busy people. Whether you have work or school all day, you can toss something into the slow cooker and come home to a fully cooked meal. Another option is an Instant Pot.

The Extras

Now that you have the basics, it’s time to expand a bit. If you are looking to cook from scratch and potentially preserve food for the long term, then these items are what you will want.

Stand Mixer. Mixing by hand can be done, however, having a stand mixer makes this job so much easier and quicker. I don’t know how I went so many years without having a KitchenAid stand mixer.

FoodSaver. This machine comes in handy. Be it packaging up meat for the freezer or sealing dried goods in a jar, a FoodSaver makes the job hassle-free. Be sure to get the jar attachment and hose as well, as they do not come with the food saver. This attachment is handy for sealing herbs and other dry ingredients in jars for better storage.

Dehydrator. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food. Whether it’s herbs, fruits, vegetables, or even meat, a dehydrator is a great kitchen tool to have.

Canner. There are two kinds of canners, a water bath canner, and a pressure canner. Canning is a great skill to learn in order to preserve your food for long-term storage. The water bath canner is for high-acidity foods, such as fruits, and jams. Whereas the pressure canner is essential for canning low-acidity foods like soup, vegetables, and meat. You will also want a canning tool kit.


  1. This is a great post. It’s a great guide for anyone who’s going to be living on their own for the first time. It covers all the basic. When I got my own apartment it didn’t hit me to buy a can opener or a peeler until I actually needed one.

    1. Thanks. It was the opposite for me when I moved out, my parents insisted on me having EVERYTHING for the kitchen but then didn’t bother to teach me how to cook. So I had all this stuff and no idea how to use it. Now I know that, for the most part, you can get by with the basics for nearly all of your kitchen needs.

  2. Great list! A good set if knives and pot/pans are for sure must have even if they cost a little more. They are just so much better then the cheaper versions.

    1. Agreed. That investment of money into good ones pays off in the end.

  3. Ok, I somehow never knew the advantages of silicone muffin cups. Thanks for educating me. I will give these a try! Trying to clean a muffin tin is one of my least favourite things to do.

    1. IT’s the main reason why I bought them once I found out they made cleanup a breeze. That and they cut down on waste over the paper liners. I agree, cleaning muffin tins is a total pain, but with the silicone cups they only need a quick wipe down and they are good to go.

  4. Great post!! You have everything here! I am going to buy those silicons muffin cups!!

    1. Thanks. Yes, get the silicon muffin cups, they have made my life so much easier since cleaning them is a breeze.

  5. What an informative & valuable article this is! Really great. You have given me some vital information. Thanks for that. Keep it up.

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