27 kitchen essentials and why you need them

Whether you’re moving into a new home, or you’re completely remodeling your kitchen, it’s important to make sure that you have all the essentials necessary to take advantage of your kitchen’s full potential.

So before you start calling a moving company, we recommend checking out our complete list below. Whether you are moving from Nashville Tennessee to Queens New York or any other state, you’ll want to make sure you kitchen at least has the basic items you’ll need to survive.

There are several items every kitchen should have in it. To help you get your kitchen prepared, take advantage of the complete list of 27 essentials listed below.

1) Kitchen Knives

wall mount magnetic device holding different size knives

Every kitchen should have a quality set of knives. From cutting your steak to chopping up a head of lettuce, kitchen knives are items you’ll generally use on a daily basis. Adding a chef’s knife to your collection isn’t a bad choice either. Just remember, a well-working kitchen is fully equipped with a variety of knives for multiple uses. You can even invest in an attractive knife block to hold all your knives too.

2) Cutting Board

Cutting boards will keep your beautiful-looking countertops in great shape. Prevent unnecessary scratches by simply using a cutting board when you’re chopping, slicing, or dicing your food. Cutting boards also help eliminate cross contamination from eggs, chicken breasts, and other proteins. With so many different choices on the market, you have no excuse not to buy one. Cutting boards are made from a wide variety of materials including plastic, vinyl, natural stone, and wood.

3) Bowls

Bowls are fantastic for serving soups and salads, storing food, and eating cereal. Having a wide collection of different sized bowls is a necessary investment for any kitchen. There are many different kinds to choose from including plastic, glass, porcelain, clay, and even wood. The options are endless. If you’re planning on storing food or refrigerating leftovers, you’ll want some bowls with attachable lids.

4) Pots

set of copper kitchen pots displayed on wooden open shelves

Pots are not only useful, by hanging them from a rack over an island or a backsplash, you can really stylize the look of your kitchen. Most pots are made out of stainless steel and are sold in a collection. However, you can also buy pots made out of cast iron, Teflon, ceramic, and aluminum. If you like cooking stew, soup, pasta, and other hearty dishes, make sure you’re investing in a quality set of pots.

5) Pans

Anybody who enjoys baking should own a set quality set of pans. Pans are great for baking a cake, baking brownies, cooking a casserole, or even serving a dessert. When investing in a collection of pans, make sure you choose a set with a lot of different sizes. As far as the material it’s made from, that all depends on your preference. You have a choice between an array of materials including stainless steel, aluminum, glass, and even ceramic. Non-stick stainless steel pans are the most commonly used pans among homeowners.

6) Cast Iron Skillets

Cast iron skillets are a great investment. Not only are they appealing to the eyes, cast iron skillets are nonstick, they don’t have any nonstick chemicals like perfluorocarbons added to them, they can be used in both on the stove and in the oven, and they lave a long life span. They’re definitely worth the money.

7) Nonstick skillets

Besides cast iron, most nonstick skillets are made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is durable, easy to cook with, and a breeze to clean. You can also purchase nonstick skillets made from other kinds of metal like aluminum, carbon steel, and even copper steel. However, no matter what kind of skillet you decide to invest in, read the label and make sure it’s not made with the chemical PFOA. This chemical is quite dangerous to your health, especially pregnant women.

8) Sheet Pan

Nonstick sheet pans are great for making cookies and other treats. They also work well for cooking a variety of other kinds of food in your oven. Like having guests over to your home? Sheet pans allow you to serve appetizers and hors d’oeuvres with ease. Like with the pans and skillets, sheet pans are designed out of a variety of different kinds of metals.

9) Tongs

Tongs are a very useful utensil with a variety of uses. You can safely drop potatoes into boiling water, toss a salad, turn the hamburgers and hot dogs on your grill, and if you drop something down the sink or garbage disposal, you’ll be able to get it out much easier than sticking your hand through the hole. Plus, that can be a dangerous move. Investing in some tongs is a very wise decision.

10) Measuring Spoons and Cups

Just about every dish or dessert you make in your kitchen will require the use of either measuring cups or measuring spoons. A lot of recipes also require the use of both. Measuring cups and spoons come in all different colors and styles. If you want to give your kitchen a look of elegance, you can even hang a set of shiny, brass measuring cups and/or spoons over your stove or another part of your kitchen.

11) Blender

black kitchen blender sitting on top of the counter with kiwi and oranges ready to make juice

There are so many things you can do with a blender it’s crazy. You can make nutritious fruit smoothies, mix your guests a tasty margarita, and blend together some delicious malts. That’s just a few examples of the many. Blenders come in a variety of different models. When investing in a blender, choose one that’s more appropriate for what you’ll be doing with it. For instance, if you want to grind up ice, you’ll want a blender with a more powerful motor where as if you’re just going to make smoothies you probably don’t need something as powerful.

12) Kitchen Towels

Kitchen towels are an excellent way to decorate your kitchen, especially during the holidays. Kitchen towels come in just about any design you want. If you’re a festive person, you can find decorative kitchen towels for Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, and even the 4th of July. Are you a sports fan? Finding decorative kitchen towels embroidered with your team’s logo isn’t hard either.  

13) Toaster

There’s nothing better than starting your morning off with a crispy waffle or a couple pieces of buttery toast. Toasters are essential for anyone who takes their breakfast seriously. Some of the best toasters sold in stores today are made by brands like Black & Decker, Breville, Hamilton Beach, Kenmore, and KitchenAid. Some toasters have very limited options while others have a variety of features built into them. Choose the one that’s best for you.

14) Coffee Maker

If you like your caffeine, then you’ll definitely want to add a coffee maker to your collection of kitchen essentials. If coffee isn’t your thing, then a cappuccino maker is the next best choice. Being able to make a quick pot of coffee for your guests also comes in handy too. There are hundreds of different kinds of coffee makers on the market, so when investing in a specific model, consider how much coffee your household will consume, the kind of coffee you enjoy, and the features you want built into it.

15) Large Saucepan

When making your homemade sauce or soup, you’ll want to cook it in a quality saucepan with a matching lid. Saucepans typically are 3 to 4 quarts in size and made out of either stainless steel, aluminum, or Teflon. When buying a saucepan, make sure that the sides and the bottom of the saucepan you’re interested in are the same thickness. This will ensure even heat distribution.

16) Potholders

Potholers are not only a great way to decorate and stylize the look of your kitchen, they also help prevent hot pans and skillets from damaging your countertops or your dinner table. Potholders are available in just about any color and are made from a variety of different kinds of fabrics. If fabric potholders aren’t your thing, you can also buy a wood potholder. Wood potholders work well and look great as a decoration too.

17) Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is a device that cooks food in a concealed vessel. There are many benefits to using a pressure cooker. First, a pressure cooker cooks food fast while also conserving energy. In addition to this, a pressure cooker retains more of the food’s nutrients in comparison to other methods of cooking. Adding a pressure cooker to your kitchen appliances is really a good idea. After you use it once, you’ll find yourself using it all the time.

18) Bottle Opener

Bottle openers are a necessary tool for anyone who enjoys drinking beer. The last thing you want to do is to invite guests over to your home for a drink and not be able to open their bottles for them. When adding this little device to your collection of essentials, try purchasing one that goes with the rest of your kitchen. You can even get a unique bottle opener attached to a flashy backboard. These look great hanging on a wall.

19) Jar Grip

Don’t find yourself in a jam. Not being able to open a jar of some sort can be quite frustrating, especially when you’re busy cooking. Eliminate the hassle with a quality jar grip. There are several different kinds of jar grips. Some are made out of rubber and resemble a thin sheet where as others have a handle and two claws that wrap around the lid. If none of this interests you, you can also invest in an electric jar opener. The choice is yours.

20) Wooden Spoons

By hanging wooden spoons in your kitchen, you can add a little elegance to the overall appearance of the room. To add to this, wooden spoons are far superior to metal spoons. Why? Wood doesn’t conduct heat like metal does, and as a result, you won’t burn your hands on a hot spoon. Wood spoons are also lightweight, easy to use, and usually come in a nice collection.

21) Storage Containers

Storage containers are vital for keeping your leftovers fresh and free from drying out. Rubbermaid is one of the most popular companies of airtight storage containers. Their containers work better than just about any other brand out there. Storage containers are also great for storing little packets of parmesan cheese, soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, and ranch. Storage containers definitely come in handy.

22) Meat Thermometer

Meat has to be cooked at the right temperature for a certain period of time to prevent food poisoning. Meat thermometers measure the internal temperature of the dish you’re cooking to ensure you maintain the right temperature. Most meat thermometers have a gauge that is attached to a long, skinny stem. You stick this stem into your dish, and the gauge will tell you what the internal temperature is.

23) Can Opener

Can openers are another tool you just can’t live without. With so many foods sold in metal cans, there’s really no way around it. There are two different kinds of can openers. You have your manual can openers and then you have your electrical ones as well. The electrical can openers are a lot more expensive, but boy are they convenient. They’re definitely worth the money.

24) Colander

A colander is another extremely useful tool that you’ll want to add to your collection. A colander strains foods like pasta, vegetables, and ground beef, so you don’t drop any of it in the sink. Less expensive colanders are made from plastic while others are constructed from steel, brass, copper, and even aluminum.

25) Spatula

Every cook needs a few good spatulas. Spatulas are useful tools when it comes to cooking pancakes, eggs, or burgers. Some spatulas are constructed from stainless steel while others are made from plastic. Buying a set of spatulas all with an effective grip is also important. Your spatulas should feel good in your hand, not too heavy, and not too light.

26) Vegetable Peeler

Peeling vegetables with a knife can begin to hurt your hand if you’re doing it over an extended period of time. Give yourself a break. Either get a vegetable peeler with a comfortable handle or invest in an electrical one that peels your vegetables for you. Either way, a vegetable peeler will make your life a whole lot easier.

27) Corn Holders

Corn holders make eating corn on the cob a much easier and less messy experience. They come in a wide selection of designs, and to use them, all you have to do is stick each one of the holders into the ends of the cob. Once you use a pair of corn holders, you’ll wonder why you didn’t use them before.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the essentials that you’ll want to add to your kitchen collection. There’s many more to choose from, and as you continue to use your kitchen, you’ll think of others that would be a good investment. Just remember, an effective-working kitchen is one with a wide selection of essential items.

Legal Disclaimer

MasteringKitchens.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Additionally, MasteringKitchens.com also participates in other affiliate and advertising programs, such as AdSense, ShareASale, Awin, CJ, Impact, and eBay, among others, and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them.