Basic Cooking

Must-Have Kitchen Items

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You may not have Joël Robuchon or Gordon Ramsay’s skills in the kitchen, but professional chef or not, you want to ensure that you have kitchen essentials to make your time in the kitchen easy and fun.

When buying all of your kitchen essentials, you want to ensure that the items you are getting make it easy for you to carry out basic kitchen tasks. Some kitchen tools are multipurpose, while others allow you to perform some tasks better than others.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through all the essential kitchen items you need to operate a functional kitchen and to ensure that you are prepared to handle any recipe that comes your way. Here is the list!

Basic Cooking Must-Have Kitchen Items

These are basic kitchen items you will need to make most recipes. Without these items, you cannot run a kitchen successfully.

Kitchen Knives and a Sharpener

Kitchen Knives and a SharpenerKitchen knives are the most basic kitchen essentials. The kind of knives you have will play a huge part in how well you perform in the kitchen. When it comes to kitchen knives, you need a set of 3 knives for all your kitchen tasks, including:

  • A paring knife for peeling and intricate cutting
  • A heavy-duty chef’s knife for chopping
  • A serrated knife slicing and curving

There are sets that include more knives for other functions. If that’s what you prefer, at least ensure you still have these three.

The key to picking a good kitchen knife is the feel of the knife’s handle. When you are buying a set, you should get a set with handles that feel most comfortable and firm in your hand. A heavy handle also gives you more control of the knife. 

You shouldn’t have blunt kitchen knives in your kitchen. This is why you will also need to get a knife sharpener along with the knives. You will need to sharpen your kitchen knives periodically, depending on how often you use them.


The saucepan is another must-have kitchen item you cannot run a kitchen without. You don’t need a collection of too many. You can get by with as few as two.

Saucepans are essential for making stews, rice, and sauces. When getting saucepans, the material of the pans is key. Stainless steel is the most desirable material for saucepans. They may not be the easiest to clean, but they will give you the best result. This is because steel is great at heat conduction and retention.

Another secret to getting the best saucepan is getting one with a heavier bottom. Pans with light bottoms increase the chances of your food burning.

Frying Pan

Frying PanA frying pan is another versatile kitchen essential that you cannot afford to forget in the kitchen. It will come in handy for a range of kitchen tasks. You can use it for basic tasks such as frying eggs for breakfast, making omelets to searing steaks, and finishing dishes in the oven.

For oven cooking, you will need to buy an ovenproof frying pan. That way, the pan serves more of your kitchen needs all at once. If you decide to go for this, then you will need one with a metal handle.

Vegetable Peeler

A vegetable peeler is a time-saving kitchen essential.  You will need one for peeling your vegetables if you want to do it fast and without wasting huge chunks of your vegetables, which is what happens when you are using a regular knife to peel vegetables.

Vegetable peelers are also great when you need to make small fine slices of vegetables or even cheese.

The key to getting a great vegetable peeler is in getting a comfortable handle with a firm grip and a sharp blade that won’t dull easily.


This is another kitchen item you will require in your kitchen. A grater comes in handy when you need to grate food like cheese, onions, and lemon peels.

The best option when it comes to a kitchen grater is the versatile one that comes with different grating options, including a slicer.

When choosing a grater, get one with a firm comfortable handle. Also, get a sturdy durable one. You don’t want to get those wobbly ones that crumble when you put pressure on them.

Chopping/Cutting Board

A chopping boardA chopping board is a great companion in the kitchen. There are chopping boards made of different materials on the market, but a wooden chopping board is one of the best.

While glass and marble may be great on aesthetics, they dull your kitchen knives easily. There is a good chance that small parts of your chipped chopping board end up in your food. If this happens, you do not want it to be plastic. This is why I do not recommend plastic chopping boards, even if they are good for the job.

Wooden chopping boards are the best option there is. Get a hardwood one if you can afford it. They last longer. When cleaning a wooden board, don’t leave it in the water for long. This may make it split. Applying cooking oil on your board once in a while helps keep it in good shape.

Mortar and Pestle

If you want to get the best out of your spices, a mortar nad pestle are a must-have in your kitchen. These kitchen staples have been around for millennia and it’s easy to see why. They are a great way to bring out the best flavor in your spices by grinding them into the right texture.

You can also use a mortar and pestle to crush things like garlic, if you want a fine paste out of it. Get a heavy-duty mortar and pestle that will last you for a long time.


A blender is another kitchen essential that comes in handy when you want to make quality smoothies, purees, or frothed drinks.

You can get an immersion hand blender, the normal blender that sits on your counter, or both if you have the money for it. Whatever you decide to get, make sure you get a high-quality one that will last you for a long time in the kitchen.


cooking WhiskA whisk is a must-have for making smooth emulsions for your recipes. A whisk is also essential when you are mixing salad dressing ingredients.

When you are searching for one to buy, make sure you get one with wires that will stand repeated use while doing a great job. The handle must feel firm and comfortable to hold as well.

Wooden Stirring Spoon

Wood is the best material for a stirring spoon. You could have a plastic or metallic one too, but keep in mind that plastic can melt under the heat, while metal spoons can heat up when left on the pan and burn you when you pick them up. Wooden is the best way to go.  

Kitchen Spatula

The spatula is a utensil you will need for all the flipping and turning of the food on the frying pan from a safe distance, without getting nasty burns from splashing oil from the pan.

With a spatula, you can also let excess grease drain off the food before you lift it off the pan for serving. If you want to do a better job at this, you might need to get one with spaces in the flipping end.

Pair of Kitchen Tongs

Pair of Kitchen TongsJust like the spatula, a pair of tongs allows you to turn food on the pan. The only difference is that a pair of tongs is more effective when you are turning or lifting thick pieces of meat off the frying pan. 

With a pair of tongs, you can do this without damaging or tearing the meats, especially if you are just searing them before you transfer them elsewhere for further cooking.

Baking Must-have Kitchen Items

If you enjoy baking as much as I do, then you need to remember to get basic baking essential items for your kitchen. Here are the most important.

Kitchen Scale

Some baking recipes require up to a gram’s accuracy when you are measuring ingredients. This is why you will need to get a suitable kitchen scale if you are to get it right.

When finding a kitchen scale, it’s good to keep in mind the measuring system you use and get one that offers that system. With an electric scale, it is possible to find one that easily switches between the metric system and the imperial system. That is a great option too.

A Meat Thermometer

If you often roast or bake meat, you will want to take the guesswork out of cooking by getting a meat thermometer. With one of these, you can accurately tell when food is done cooking.

Roasting and Baking Trays

Roasting and Baking TraysFor baking bread and other flat pastries, you will need a baking tray perfect for the job. Roasting whole birds like a thanksgiving turkey and chicken, you will require a roasting tray.


You cannot bake anything without aerating and ensuring there are no clumps in your flour. This is why you need a sieve for this job. A sieve is also great when draining water out of small grains like rice, which is too small for pasta strainer.

When getting a sieve, find one with a balancing hook and a long handle. You can make performing kitchen tasks a lot easier for you with a good sieve.

Rolling Pin

For bread rolls and flat pastries like pizza dough, you will need something for rolling out the dough. There’s nothing like a rolling pin to help with this specific task.

Oven Holders

If you don’t want to get nasty burns when taking out food from the oven, oven holders are a must-have. They do a great job of protecting your hands from accidental burns.

Miscellaneous Kitchen Items

These may not be the first things you think about when you think of kitchen items you may need, but they are also very important in running an orderly and tidy kitchen.

Kitchen Towels

Kitchen towels or tea towels are a must-have if you need to keep your kitchen tidy. They are great for drying wet surfaces, as well as drying utensils after cleaning them. They will save you from having a messy kitchen and make your cleaning easier.

Utensils Rack

You will need a utensils’ rack for placing utensils in after you clean them. This allows the water to drain away, especially if you plan to place the utensils in wooden compartments or drawers. Doing so without letting the utensils dry first can damage wooden surfaces.

When getting a rack, make sure yours does not corrode or foster mold growth. You will be set for a long time.

Small Trash Can

To keep the kitchen tidy, you need a trash can to dump the trash in. You don’t want to keep a large trash can in the kitchen that stays there for days before you have to empty it. This may give off odors you don’t want coming from your kitchen. With a small trash bin, you can conveniently dump in the trash and empty it as soon as you are done cooking. It makes keeping the kitchen tidy a lot easier for you.

Food Storage

Sometimes, you’ll have some food left over from your cooking. If you want to keep this food fresh, you will need to store it right. Vegetables too need proper storage if you want to keep them fresh. Plastic containers do a great job of keeping your food fresh. Get some that will serve you sufficiently.  

Must-Have Kitchen Items Conclusion

Nowadays, everyone tries to market their products as things you will truly need. That leads most people to end up buying items they never need, and will leave you with cluttered spaces. That should be avoided. 

You also do not need to spend a lot of money on fancy equipment for your kitchen. With these basic items, you are good to go.

If you are setting up a kitchen, I assure you that you will find all these items useful. With these items, you will be equipped to cook any recipe with ease and confidence.

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