Stocking a kitchen from scratch can be a daunting and confusing task, and it is possible to buy multiple luxury items that you will only use once in a blue moon while forgetting everyday essentials. Here is the ultimate list of kitchen essentials every home chef should have and nothing they do not need:
If you only get one knife, make it a full-tang chef’s knife made of carbon steel for durability and sharpness. We recommend going to a store and seeing how knives feel in your hand before making a purchase.
You will also need a cutting board with your new chef’s knife. Choose from wood or plastic, and look for one with a grippy bottom that will not move while you are trying to slice an apple.
Silicone spatulas can be used for everything from stirring a sauce to mixing up a batch of brownie dough. We recommend getting a couple of sizes, so you are set for any occasion.
In addition to the silicone spatulas, you will also want a sturdy metal spatula suitable for turning meat on the grill and other heavy-duty, high-heat tasks when plastic or silicone will not cut it.
If you often make soups or stews, you will want a deeper soup spoon or scoop that makes it a snap to fill bowls quickly to round out your collection of utensils. Choose one made of plastic or silicone to avoid scraping the bottom of your stockpot.
By Rococo2018 / Shutterstock.com
Slotted spoons are perfect for lifting a braised chicken breast out of sauce or a fried potato out of hot extra virgin olive oil. The rounded sides offer more security than a slotted spatula and reduce the odds that your food will fall accidentally.
Whip together a flavored vinegar salad dressing from scratch in no time at all, thanks to the trusty whisk. The more wires it has, the more thoroughly it will whisk — but it will also be harder to clean, so choose wisely.
Tongs are a must for flipping bacon and quickly pulling food off the grill. We recommend choosing a set of metal tongs with tips covered in silicone to prevent scraping the coating of your nonstick pans and skillets.
Grater and Zester
You will want a grater with larger holes for cheese and a Microplane grater for zesting fruits. You might be able to get a box grater that offers multiple different grate sizes, but they are often harder to clean, so some chefs prefer to own two other plane graters.
Sometimes it is much easier to cut something with scissors than to chop something with a knife, which is where kitchen shears come in. These have wider blades and more comfortable handles than standard scissors and also come apart completely for easy cleaning.
Be inspired by art / Shutterstock.com
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Everyone needs at least one set of measuring cups and spoons. We recommend metal or plastic versions (vs. ceramic or glass) since these are often handled and prone to be dropped.
Every kitchen needs mixing bowls in multiple sizes made of plastic, glass, or ceramic. Consider getting a set with tight-fitting plastic lids so they can double as food storage containers.
Nonstick bakeware pans in various kinds and sizes are a must for any home baker. The exact size and pans depending on what you like to bake. For instance, you will want a square pan for double chocolate brownies but a muffin tin for unfiltered honey muffins.
In addition to the nonstick bakeware, you will also want at least one full-size casserole dish made of glass or ceramic. If you get one with a plastic lid, you can store it in the fridge without transferring it to a separate container, which is very convenient.
Every serious home chef needs at least one enameled cast iron Dutch oven. While they come in various sizes, we recommend the 6-quart one to start. That size hits the sweet spot of being large enough for most recipes but not so big that it is too heavy to move around when full.
Cast Iron Skillet
Besides the Dutch oven, we suggest picking up a cast iron skillet, which you can get with or without an internal coating. Cast iron skillets let you get a fantastic sear on meat, even if you do not have a grill, and can also be used in place of a breakfast grill.
By Mix Tape / Shutterstock.com
You will also want at least one nonstick skillet that can be used for eggs and other difficult-to-clean foods. Most people own at least two nonstick skillets, a small and a large, ranging from six to 12 inches.
You will also want a couple of smaller saucepans in various sizes that can be used to heat sauces, boil pasta, and do other classic kitchen tasks. While you can get these in nonstick varieties, many prefer stainless steel saucepans for their durability.
Aluminum baking sheets can be used for everything from baking cookies to roasting vegetables. Choose a style with a raised rim around the edge to keep food from accidentally sliding off into your oven. You can also supplant it with one flat nonstick baking sheet if you make a lot of cookies and want something specifically for that.
Did we miss some of your favorite kitchen essentials? Got something to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!