Kitchen essentials to keep in stock, whether you’re a culinary master or not

If you’ve ever visited a kitchen store without a plan, you know how tempting it can be to buy everything in sight. But while garlic presses, cherry tomato slicers and spiralizers seem 100% necessary at the moment, the fact is that there are only a few kitchen essentials you really need in stock at home. – pancake pans, pizza stones and all other fun, but superfluous products not included.

And yes, this is true regardless of your level of expertise. It’s a bit like what the late Anthony Bourdain wrote in his 2000 memoir, Confidential kitchen. “I sometimes wish I could roam the kitchens of home cooks everywhere just throwing knives out of their drawers – all those mid-sized “utility” knives, those useless serrated things you see advertised on TV, all that hard-to-sharpen stainless steel garbage, those poorly designed slicers. Please believe me, here is everything you will need in the knife department: ONE good chef’s knife, as big as it is comfortable for your hand,” he said in the book. Yes, Bourdain was talking about knives in particular, but the same goes for many other tools. In reality, most of these fancy kitchen gadgets are useless, no matter how fun and ingenious they are.

So what does that leave? Fortunately, the list is limited. Still, if you don’t know where to start, it’s understandable that you still feel overwhelmed. In that case, continue on for a roundup of the absolute essentials. It may seem small, but once you fill it up, you’ll realize how simple creating a fully equipped kitchen should be.

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Kitchen utensils and bakeware

Before you do anything, invest in a few high-quality pans of various sizes – you won’t be able to start your culinary journey without them.

Cast iron skillets can be intimidating due to their somewhat complicated maintenance, but they should still be a staple in every kitchen. They allow you to cook on high heat and even stick your food in the oven, which is often essential for preparing things like chicken.

If you’re planning any type of stew, soup, or Bolognese in your future, be sure to add a large Dutch oven to your repertoire. This will allow you to cook these comforting meals in large batches.

A saucepan is simply one of those basic items. You can use it for everything from cooking rice to making sauces. They come in different sizes, so choose what works best for you based on who you cook and what you like to do.

For roasting or baking of any kind, you’ll want to have a baking sheet (or five) handy.

Some times just call for a good casserole — and when those come, you’ll need a nice baking dish to do it with.


Every chef and home cook will tell you that the most essential part of your kitchen is a very sharp chef’s knife. Find a good one and a sharpener, and treat it with great care.

A serrated knife is also essential – it will come in handy for slicing bread and even meat.

Kitchen scissors are useful for an endless variety of things. Need to open a package? Break a box? Cutting pizza? Cut flower stems? They can do it all and more.

When using knives, a cutting board is mandatory. Make sure you get one that’s non-slip and has a ditch around the edges, so the juice doesn’t fall sideways when you move it.

Tools and preparation

Yeah, some people (*raises hand*) have a huge jar of tools. But whether you are a beginner or a confirmed amateur, the fact remains that a whisk, a wooden spoon and tongs serve as the basis for everything. Add a spatula and you basically have everything you need.

Let’s face it – you won’t get far on your culinary journey without a can opener. You can splurge on a fancy device, but a manual like this (which has safety features so you don’t cut yourself) will certainly suffice and take up a lot less space.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of a pepper mill. But compare pre-ground black pepper with its freshly ground counterpart and you’ll immediately realize that you can’t live without it.

It’s rare to prepare a meal without having to mix something, so a mixing bowl set should be at the top of your list. Bonus points if they come with lids; this is a detail that will make your life infinitely easier.

Between rinsing lettuce and draining pasta, you’ll use a colander almost every day of your life. This sleek option features evenly distributed perforations down the side of the base, promising efficient drainage.

Although many cooks will tell you that they never extent, not everyone has the confidence to avoid all recipe recommendations. However, you don’t need much in this area. Just get a simple set of measuring cups and spoons and make sure they’re dishwasher-safe — you don’t want to hand-wash tiny items after every meal.

Of course, it might seem implausible that you grate cheese often, especially if you don’t really like to cook. You’d be surprised, however, how often the need for a grater arises. Luckily, this one is ready for all of those scenarios, whether you need a fine grater of parmesan or lemon, large potatoes or apples, or even sliced ​​zucchini or cucumbers.

OK, you probably already know that a vegetable peeler is important. Make sure you have one in your drawers with a comfortable grip – it’s guaranteed to get plenty of use.


For many, a blender seems superfluous. But when you have a sudden craving for a frozen cocktail or need to stir up a hot soup, you’ll realize how important it is. Just be sure to buy one that can withstand hot liquids – this feature will ensure you double duty.


Yes, the internet is a wealth of information about cooking. But when that gets too overwhelming, it’s good to have a reliable cookbook in your library. Choose one with meals that are sure to please, like this treasure trove of recipes from the Missoni family. It includes “recipes selected for the season and for the occasion” and is suitable for small meals as well as large events.

If you happen to indulge in libations (or host people who do), a cocktail recipe book will save you those nights when you just don’t know what to drink. This one from Mark Addison offers twelve cocktails in twelve unique variations “for 144 signatures on the classics.” In other words, it will never let you run out of new ideas.

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