101+ Kitchen Essentials | Ultimate List for Beginners to Pro Chefs

Getting ready to move into your first EVER apartment?

Welcome to the world of adulthood where you have to cook and clean, pay the utility bills, do your own laundry, get plenty of sleep at night and do 100 more things completely on your own!

As much as challenging that might sound, living independently has some of its perks as well.

You get to choose every single household item that goes into your new place all by yourself!

Unless you plan on surviving the rest of your life eating from a take-out box (Yes, we know some of you are already considering this!), the first thing you should do is to stock up on all the kitchen cookware that you need to cook some delicious meals at home.

Excited?

Well, you should be! It’s time to go shopping and tick off items one-by-one from the Kitchen Essentials list we have prepared for you.

Let’s go!

What Do You Need In a Kitchen | How to Pick the Right One?

Kitchen EssentialsSetting up a whole kitchen right from the scratch is rather a daunting task, especially if you don’t even have a coffee mug to your name!

Don’t worry, we are here to help you with everything you need in a kitchen by providing a list!

However, we don’t want to overcrowd you with things that you don’t need right at the beginning. That’s why we recommend going through our list down below and choose the ones that go with your cooking style and purchase accordingly.

From basic utensils like Tongs, Spatula and non-stick frying pan to the special ones like Chef’s knife, Mandolin or even a Potato Masher, we have included almost everything we could think of in this list!

Apart from the common kitchen tools names, you will find appliances and the latest kitchen gadgets in our list that will make your life easier.

For instance, instead of whisking your favorite cake batter for hours, you can easily do the same thing with the hand mixer that’s provided here!

Depending on your preference, you can choose to go for an entire cookware set or purchase each item individually. A set will most likely save your budget. However, if you don’t like the quality of the tools, its best to buy them separately.

List of 117+ Kitchen Essentials

Cutleries

  1. Chef’s Knife

Looking for something that will help you disjoint large cuts of meat, dice vegetables and chop nuts with one single piece of equipment?

A Chef’s knife is the perfect tool for the job!

  1. Paring Knife

A paring knife is best described as small, short-bladed, basic kitchen tools with pointed tips that are used for cutting delicate pieces from fruits and vegetables.

  1. Bread Knife

Every time you try to cut through a piece of loaf, it ends up getting squashed, doesn’t it?

Well, that’s where a bread knife comes to play!

It comes with a toothy, saw-like edges that help cut through any kind of bread with ease.

  1. Cheese Knife

A cheese knife is designed to cut, shave, chip and form perfect cube-sized cheese from a larger portion.

  1. Dinner Knife

A dinner knife is basically a large table knife that’s used to cut the food and push it around the plate whenever necessary. You can also use it to cut a big piece of lettuce leaf if the salad knife isn’t available.

  1. Dessert Knife

Smaller than a dinner knife, a dessert knife usually comes with a narrow blade and a pointy tip to cut through dessert items with ease.

  1. Butter Knife

A butter knife is designed with a blunt edge and rounded point to make it easier for you to cut and spread butter on bread during a meal.

  1. Steak Knife

A steak knife comes with a wooden handle and sharp-edged blade to help you eat steak or other fried meat quite easily.

  1. Kitchen Scissors

Trimming the fins of raw fishes is a lot easier when you have the right tool for it!

Kitchen scissor is shear-shaped equipment to help you cut through flesh, such as chicken joints, fish fillets or fins etc.

Accessories

  1. Knife Sharpening Rod

Even the best-quality cutleries get blunt after long-term uses and that’s where a knife sharpening rod comes to help you out!

  1. Knife Sharpener

A knife sharpener is a tool to hone your knife’s sharpness by sharpening the edge of the blade.

  1. Chopping/Cutting Board

A chopping board is a flat panel made out of wood, plastic or cork, to cut or work on food and can easily be washed off once you are done using this tool.

  1. Serving Tray With Handle

A serving tray is most commonly used when you give someone breakfast in bed! It’s basically used for carrying food and beverages.

  1. Wood Serving Board

The serving board is one of the best kitchen accessories for serving or preparing/chopping raw ingredients while cooking a meal.

  1. Cooling Rack

A cooling rack is used to keep baked goods on top of it so that it can air-dry itself naturally.

  1. Kitchen Towels

Kitchen towels are just like the regular bath towel that you use every day, except, they are a bit tougher in terms of durability.

  1. Napkins

Napkins are essential for formal dinner settings. It’s a rectangular-shaped piece of cloth that’s used for wiping fingers or mouth while you eat.

  1. Potholders

Potholders refer to the thick piece of fabric that’s used for holding hot kitchen cookware.

  1. Oven Gloves

An oven glove helps protect your hand from getting burned by hot objects in the kitchen, such as oven, hot cookware, stoves etc.

  1. Trivet

Trivet is a stand or support to place hot kitchenware on top of it so that it doesn’t burn your kitchen countertop!

  1. Splatter Guard

A splatter guard is a lid for covering a frying pan or pot while it’s on the stovetop to prevent oil from spitting on your skin.

  1. Sponges (Heavy And Light)

Kitchen sponges are made with water-absorbent properties and therefore, can clean kitchen surfaces or dishes with ease.

  1. Kitchen Soap/Cookware Cleaner

Using a cookware cleaner not only helps remove food particles from your plate but also, it gives the utensils a nice, polished look as well.

  1. Paper Towel Holder

Towels are must-have items in a kitchen checklist. Instead of stacking them up in a pile, it’s best to use a paper towel holder for this purpose.

  1. Dish Rack

A dish rack is used for keeping dishes and cookware in a way so that they can get air-dried pretty quickly.

  1. Ice Cube Tray

An ice-cube tray is designed in small square-shaped boxes to store liquid like water, herb, tea, fruit juice and turn them into cute little ice cubes!

Food Preparation Equipment

  1. Vegetable Peeler

A vegetable peeler is a tool that’s used for removing the outer layer of fruits and vegetables with the help of a sharp metal blade.

  1. Garlic Press

A garlic press is designed in a way to crush cloves of garlic through a small opening, usually, by a certain type of piston.

  1. Grater

A shredding device that’s covered with holes to help cut cheese and other food items into small, fine particles is called a Grater.

  1. Zester

A zester is a device designed to shave bits and pieces from the peel of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons or limes etc.

  1. Mandolin

Mandolin is a slicing tool that can make different types of cuts, like, julienne, wavy or waffle-shaped pieces out of a large portion of fruits or vegetables.

  1. Fish Turner

While frying a whole fish or making a fish-fillet, you need a spatula-shaped spoon to turn the fish, which is called a fish turner.

  1. Can Opener

Nothing feels more frustrating than not being able to open a can of food!

And that’s why a can opener is an integral part of every kitchen.

  1. Bottle Opener

A bottle opener is a device that’s designed in a way to remove metal caps off from a bottle quite easily.

  1. Pizza Cutter

The name says it all!

It’s a tool to cut clean slices from your favorite pizza!

  1. Corkscrew

Corkscrew behaves almost like a bottle opener, except it helps to pull corks from bottles by moving in a spiral motion.

  1. Masher

A masher is a small device for crushing food ingredients e.g. Potato, Vegetables, Fruits etc.

  1. Balloon Whisk

A balloon whisk is used to increase the airflow into the foods that need to get stirred like egg whites, sauce, cream etc.

  1. Pastry Brush/Basting Brush

A basting brush is typically used to spread butter, oil or glaze on food to bring more flavor out of it.

  1. Thermometer

Ever eaten an under-cooked chicken in your life?

Well, that wouldn’t have happened if you had a thermometer, which is used to measure the internal temperature of food accurately and determine if it’s properly cooked!

  1. Kitchen Scale

A Kitchen scale is a measuring device to determine the weight of the ingredients that go into your food.

  1. Plastic Wrap/Clingfilm

Clingfilm is a thin, plastic sheet that wraps itself around food and is one of the minimalist kitchen essentials as it eliminates the need for purchasing lids!

  1. Kitchen Foil

Want to keep your food free from bacteria and moisture?

Wrap it up in an aluminum foil and keep it fresh and warm for the longest time!

  1. Baking Parchment Paper

Parchment paper helps keep your baked cake from getting stuck to the bottom of a pan by creating heat and grease-resistant surfaces in that place.

  1. Mortar And Pestle

Mortar is a bowl-shaped vessel in which dry food ingredients are crushed or ground. And Pestle is the tool that helps crush the materials inside the mortar.

  1. Pepper Grinder

Pepper grinder is one of the essential cooking tools for grinding or crushing pepper, salt or spice into a fine powder.

  1. Melon Baller

A melon baller is a spoon-shaped kitchen tool that has a round shape in the middle and is used for scooping the seeds out of fruits and vegetables and serving purposes.

  1. Salad Spinner

A salad spinner is basically washing equipment for cleaning dirt and removing excess water from vegetables.

Not all salad spinner spins the way you want!

  1. Citrus Juicer

Want to get a freshly-squeezed orange juice without using the blender?

A citrus juicer is perfect for that occasion!

Cooking Tools & Utensils

  1. Grilling Tools

While barbequing a fat piece of meat, you can’t just use an ordinary spoon to turn or flip it over. And that’s why the grilling kitchen tools and equipment are here for! They are heavy-duty, strong and made of thick materials.

  1. Ice Cream Scoop

Ice-cream scoop is one kind of spoon that’s meant to serve ice-cream or similar types of desserts into a cone or a bowl.

  1. Rolling Pin

Whether you need to flatten out dough for baking pastries or make a nice, thin crust for your pizza, a rolling pin is a must-have kitchen accessory in all scenarios.

  1. Measuring Jug

Measuring jug is used to weigh liquids/ingredients in a cup before using the mixture into your cooking.

  1. Measuring Cup

Measuring cup are more versatile and used to measure a wide range of ingredients including liquid, fruits, nuts or other kinds of cooking ingredients.

  1. Measuring Spoon

Ever seen cooking books including words like “Teaspoon”, “Tablespoon” or milliliter units in their recipe?

Well, that’s why the measuring spoons were invented to help you out!

  1. Mixing Bowl

A mixing bowl is, basically, a bowl that’s used for whisking eggs, blending cake batters, combining salad items or mixing other ingredients.

  1. Colander

A colander is one of the must have kitchen utensils that’s used to wash foods like pasta and vegetables while the water drips directly into the sink through its fine mesh and holes.

  1. Sieve (Mesh Strainer)

A sieve is a straining tool that separates unwanted elements like, seeds, gunk from your desired ingredient.

Cookware/Pots/Pans

Kitchen Essentials Infographic (Essential Pots and Pans)

  1. Cookware Set

Even if you are an occasional cook (like me, ahem!), you are still going to need at least one good-quality cookware set to get started on the right foot!

Recommended Reading: Best Non-Stick Cookware Set Collection

  1. Non-Stick Frying Pan

A non-stick frying pan is coated with “Teflon”, which allows the food to get brown without getting stuck to the surface. It’s also known as one of the college kitchen essentials!

  1. Cast Iron Skillet

In the mood for a roasting a big, fat, juicy chicken?

Well, you need a cast-iron skillet for that! It can also be used for braising, sautéing, pan-frying, searing etc.

Recommended Reading: Best Cast Iron Pots and Skillets

  1. Dutch Oven

A Dutch Oven refers to a large cooking pot that comes with a lid on top and is used to make casseroles, bake pasta/bread etc.

  1. Stainless Steel Skillet

A skillet is basically a flat-bottomed frying pan that typically comes with a long handle for support.

Recommended Reading: Best Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

  1. Wok (Carbon Steel Wok)

If you are in the mood for some stir-fried vegetables or crunchy chicken-fry, then wok is probably a go-to utensil for you!

Recommended Reading: Best Carbon Steel Wok

  1. Saucepans

Saucepans refer to deep cooking pans that come with long handles on sides and a lid on top and are usually made of metal.

  1. Sauté Pan

Sauté pan is one of the necessary kitchen items that’s almost similar to a frying pan, except, it can be used on higher heat and is ideal for ingredients that use butter or oil for frying.

  1. Large Pot/Stockpot

Wide pot with a flat bottom, used for slow cooking and usually comes with a lid on top. Sounds familiar?

Well, that’s a stockpot!

  1. Grill Pan

A grill pan is a metal container that gives you a somewhat similar experience of outdoor cooking by preparing food under a grill.

  1. Ovenproof Dish (Casserole Dish)

Most casserole dishes need an oven to bake. That’s why these dishes are considered oven-proof.

  1. Roasting Tin

A roasting tin refers to the pan that’s used to roast chicken along with other ingredients in the oven. Usually, it contains a rack inside it.

  1. Broiler Pan

Broiler pan comes in handy when you need to bake or cook a piece of meat or vegetable.

  1. Baking Sheet Pan

A flat-bottomed, rectangular-shaped metal pan that goes into the oven whenever you need to bake cookies or pastries is called baking sheet pan.

  1. Muffin Pan

A muffin pan is similar to a baking pan, except it consists of several cupcake-sized connecting holes inside for baking purposes.

  1. Stirring Spoon

You already know what it is! Just the basic spoon that you use to stir liquids or dig into solid food items.

  1. Slotted Spoon

Nobody likes to see their food covered in grease! And that’s why slotted spoons come with holes in the middle to drain oil from the food items.

  1. Spaghetti Spoon (Pasta Fork)

It isn’t easy serving pasta/spaghetti with a regular kitchen spoon and that’s why the Pasta Fork is here for!

  1. Spatula

A spatula is a kitchenware that’s used to mix and spread things using its flat, blunt edge that’s a bit wider than the usual spoons.

  1. Tongs

Tongs refer to an object that has two arms attached to its end and can be used to picking up or lifting food items.

Servingware/Dinnerware Accessories

  1. Ladle

A ladle is basically a serving spoon with a deep, round bowl-shaped structure in the middle. It’s good for serving soup, stew or other liquid-based food items.

  1. Round Platter (Large Or Medium)

The round platter is basically used for serving food. It can be made of different materials including wood, plastic, metal or ceramic.

  1. Square Platter (Large And Medium)

If you don’t like the oval-shaped platter and want a modern, chic-looking serving tray on the dinner table, then a square platter might be the best option for you!

  1. Dinner Plates

Dinner plates are used for displaying the main courses of a meal. Typically, they are a bit larger than the regular serving plates.

  1. Serving Spoons

Serving spoons are the big ones that are used to serve each individual their portions of food. They are also used for measurement purposes.

  1. Serving Bowls (Large And Medium)

A serving bowl is a round or rectangular-shaped bowl that’s used to serve food on the table.

  1. Salad Bowl

The salad bowl is large to a medium dish that’s a little deep and used for serving salad or fruits along with other ingredients and dressings.

Recommended Reading: Best Wooden Salad Bowls

  1. Salad Server

Salad servers work similarly as tongs, except they are used for serving salads.

  1. Ramekins

Ramekins are small, round-shaped dishes that are used as one of the most common baking tools and equipment. You can also use this for serving dessert or savory dishes.

  1. Pie Server

It’s a bit hard to get a decent piece of cake using a regular serving spoon, don’t you think?

That’s why a pie server is used for that purpose!

  1. Water Pitcher/Jug

The water pitcher is simply a container that’s used for pouring water, juice or other kinds of beverages into another vessel.

  1. Glasses

Among the things you need in a kitchen, glass is one of the most common tableware.  A good-quality glass should be heat-resistant and able to withstand light pressure impact.

  1. Coffee Mug

A coffee mug is probably one of the most used things in every household and is, therefore, an excellent gift idea for someone special!

  1. Tea Cups

Whether you start your morning with a sip of tea or coffee, teacups are the perfect size for this purpose.

  1. Tea Kettle

The tea kettle is used for brewing or steeping tea leaves with boiling water before serving it into teacups.

Storage Equipment

  1. Plastic Container/Food Storage Container

Plastic containers are typically used for storing leftover foods in the freeze. You can also store dry ingredients like raisin, nuts or spice etc. in them.

  1. Zipper Bag

A zipper bag is a rectangular-shaped storage bag that is often transparent or semi-transparent.

  1. Glass Jar/Spice Jar

Spice jars are what every kitchen needs for storing dry ingredients like spice, herbs etc. Typically, the jar has a wide opening, which can be covered with a lid that comes along with it.

  1. Dry Good Container

Dry food containers are basically storage containers that are air-tight, light and portable so that they can easily be carried around.

  1. Bread Bin

Bread bins are one kind of storage containers that are used to keep bread and other baked goods fresh.

  1. Salt Cellar

The salt cellar is a container with closed lids that are used for storing salt, spice or other small household items.

  1. Oil/Vinegar Container

Oil/vinegar needs to be added in small amounts while cooking and that’s why it’s best to use a dispenser that’s specifically designed for that purpose.

  1. Oil Sprayer

Did you know using an oil sprayer actually results in using less oil while cooking?

Yep! That’s why a lot of people choose this over the bottle dispensers!

  1. Kitchen Tool Organizer

The kitchen tool organizer, otherwise known as utensil holder is a round-shaped open container to keep your kitchen utensils in an upright position.

  1. Trash Bags

Yes! We know you like to keep the kitchen messy!

However, a trash bag can easily solve that problem in a jiffy by storing all the waste inside.

  1. Trash Cans (Large And Small)

To go along with the previous item on our list, you will also be needing a trash can to hold the bag inside.

Electric Kitchen Appliances

Essential Kitchen Appliances Infographic

  1. Dishwasher

You can’t let the dirty dishes keep piling on the sink forever!

A dishwasher helps keep your kitchen clean by washing the dirty cutleries and cookware automatically.

  1. Induction/Gas/Electric Cooktop

Depending on your preference, you can choose to use an induction, gas or electric cooktop to cook your food in the kitchen.

  1. Immersion Blender/Stick Blender

Immersion blender, otherwise known as stick blender is a grinding tool to mix/blend food ingredients.

  1. Blender

Whenever you need to mix, fuse or make a puree of some fruits or vegetables, a blending machine is definitely required!

  1. Hand Blender/Hand Mixer

A hand blender is a hand-held device that’s used to beat the ingredients such as, egg whites, whipped cream and mix them quickly.

  1. Stand Mixer

A stand mixer usually generates more power than any ordinary blender and is suitable for mixing air into liquid substances.

  1. Slow Cooker

Slow cooker, otherwise known as crock-pot is electric cookware that’s used for bringing more flavor to food by simmering it at a lower temperature.

  1. Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is an electric appliance that’s designed to boil or steam rice.

Recommended Reading: Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker

  1. Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is a kitchen utensil that’s used for cooking food at high pressure.

  1. Air Fryer

An air fryer is an electric appliance that prepares food by circulating hot air or oil all around the item evenly.

  1. Coffee Maker

A coffee maker helps you by brewing you a cup of hot coffee by mixing the ingredients automatically.

  1. Microwave Oven

A microwave oven is an electric appliance that helps cook and heat food by generating electromagnetic radiation in microwave frequency.

  1. Toaster

A toaster is a small device that heats up bread and turns them into brown color until they become “toasted”.

  1. Electric Kettle

Electric kettle helps you relax while monitoring the water level automatically and switching it off once the water reaches a boiling point.

How to Choose the Best Kitchen Essentials?

  • Gather The Essentials First

From the numerous cooking essentials available on the market, you should pick the compulsory items that you can’t do without from each category.

For instance, knife, spoons, spatula, cup, dish and a non-stick frying pan are must have kitchen items from the basic category.

Already have them in collection?

Great! Now you can move onto some of the appliances that we need every day like, toaster, coffee machine, electric kettle, dishwasher etc.

Once you are done with this category, you can choose to take your pick from some of the optional ones like corkscrews, pizza cutter, ladle, thermometer, plastic wraps etc. according to your need.

  • Determine The Size Of The Tools

Are you planning to cook regular meals that we devour every day? Then, a basic Paring Knife and a small cutting board might be all you need!

However, if you are a professional chef or just someone who likes to do things quickly, then the 8-inch Chef Knife and large cutting board would be better suited for you.

The moral of the story is, you need to determine the size of your kitchen tools according to your working preference.

  • Consider Your Cooking Style

Everyone has their own specialty and we always encourage playing to your strengths!

Keeping that in mind, you might be interested in some of the baking accessories like pastry brush, hand mixer, blender, zipper bag, mixing bowl, measuring spoon and ice cream scoop if you have a sweet tooth and love to bake!

A savory-lover, on the other hand, would need essential kitchen tools like grilling equipment, sauté pan, stockpot, steak knife, fish turner, grater and things like that.

  • Pay Attention To The Material

Cooking tools are made from different materials.

From wooden spoon to stainless steel skillet, no matter what utensil you choose to purchase, make sure it’s made of high-quality material so that you don’t have to start looking for a replacement in near future.

Tips for Using and Cleaning Essential Kitchen Tools

  • To clean the stainless-steel pots, pour some water-soap mixture inside and bring it to boil. Let it sit there for 1 hour before rinsing it with cold water.
  • Do NOT use a dishwasher to clean your knives.
  • Prolong your wooden utensil’s life by applying almond oil once a year.
  • Read the manual before using any kitchen gadgets.
  • Oven smelling bad? Heat a soapy dishtowel inside and wipe the walls 30 minutes later to get rid of any foul smell.

Final Words

With so many products mentioned in our Kitchen Essentials List, we hope we haven’t got you spooked already!

Relax.

You don’t have to purchase all of them at once!

Just start where you feel like needs the most attention and you can slowly build up to a well-stocked kitchen one day.

Hopefully, our article has been able to help you sharpen your cooking skills, upgrade the current condition of your kitchen tools and make your life a lot easier by providing you with everything you need to make a deliciously-cooked meal at home!