64 Basic Kitchen Essentials That Simplify & Speed Up Homemaking

An Demonstration of the Basic Essential Kitchen Tools You Need

When it comes to creating delicious meals and simplifying your time in the kitchen, you only need a curated selection of basic kitchen essentials.

This guide will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the world of kitchenware, separating the must-have essentials from the time-saving conveniences and the show-off gadgets. Whether you’re a new homeowner setting up your first kitchen and you don’t cook a lot, or you’re a seasoned home cook looking to optimize your workspace, this comprehensive list will help you find the perfect tools to transform your home cooking experience.

Let’s dive in and explore the essential kitchen utensils you’ll need to conquer the kitchen with confidence!

Needs (Essential Items): The Foundation of Kitchen Confidence

When it comes to setting up a kitchen from scratch, these are the items you couldn’t live without. These essential kitchen utensils form the backbone of everyday cooking, helping you prepare meals efficiently and safely. Think of these as the foundation of your kitchen – without them, even simple tasks can become a hassle. If you are a beginner cook, get these first and master their uses.

Here’s your list of essential kitchen items for new homes that every cook needs:



This is the unsung hero of your kitchen, keeping your food fresh and safe to eat. Look for a size that fits your needs and consider features like adjustable shelves and crisper drawers. My personal favourites are Whirpool, Frigidaire or GE as these are reliable and long lasting. I haven’t had good experience with Samsung (and LG is equally bad).


A good oven is needed for baking, roasting, and broiling. Gas ovens offer faster preheating times, while electric ovens provide more even heat distribution. If possible, go for one with a convection feature. After getting a convection oven, I don’t think I would go back to a regular oven. Consider brands like KitchenAid Double Oven, Bosch 800 Series, and GE Profile Convection Oven for reliability and performance.

Stove (Gas or Electric)

This is where the cooking magic happens! Choose between a gas range for responsive heat control or an electric cooktop for its sleek design and high energy output. Top brands to consider are Viking Professional 5 Series Gas Range, GE Profile Induction Cooktop, and Samsung Flex Duo Range. My dream stove and oven combo, is a Bluestar.

Breville Fresh and Furious Blender


A versatile tool for creating smoothies (without that annoying graininess), pureeing soups, and whipping up dips. Look for models with multiple speed settings and a sturdy motor. Popular options include Blendtec and Vitamix but my personal recommendation that I’ve been using, is this Breville Fresh and Furious. A cheap alternative to Breville that is very very good, is Oster, but you’ve gotta choose the right Oster blender.


A classic breakfast essential, toasters can also be used for bagels, English muffins, and reheating leftovers. Consider toasters with multiple browning settings and wide slots to accommodate thicker bread slices. Breville, Cuisinart, and Oster are all reliable brands. My personal favorite is the Breville Fresh and Furious which does an amazing job at less than half the price of a Vitamix. It complements any new kitchen setup perfectly.


4 piece stainless steel cookware set

The Essential Cookware (pans, pots, etc.)

Invest in a good set of stainless steel cookware with heat-resistant handles. Look for a variety of sizes, including a saucepan, a stockpot, a frying pan, and a classic Dutch oven. These will cover most cooking needs from boiling pasta to searing steaks. Look for high-quality sets from All-Clad, T-fal, and Cuisinart. If I were to start with one set of pots, it would be a stainless steel set as these are long-lasting.

Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet is highly recommended for its durability and versatility. It retains and distributes heat evenly, making it perfect for searing, frying, baking, and even slow-cooking. Its non-stick surface improves with use, and it can go from stovetop to oven seamlessly. This essential kitchen tool is built to last a lifetime and enhances the flavor of your dishes. Top recommended brands include Lodge, Le Creuset, and Staub.

Black CAst Iron Skillet

Baking Sheet

Don’t underestimate the power of a versatile baking sheet. This essential pan is perfect for roasting vegetables, baking cookies, or whipping up sheet pan dinners. Look for heavy-duty baking sheets with rolled edges to prevent warping and ensure even cooking. Top brands include Nordic Ware, USA Pan, and Calphalon.


3 knife set, chef knife, serrated knife, paring knife

Your three first Knives

A good chef’s knife is your primary cutting tool, perfect for chopping vegetables, slicing meat, and mincing herbs. It is practically impossible to make great food without a good chef’s knife. Serrated knives are ideal for tackling tough-skinned fruits and tomatoes. Paring knives offer precision for smaller tasks like peeling and deveining. Consider brands like Wüsthof, Henckels, or Tramontina for high-quality knives.

Cutting board (wooden recommended)

Choose a sturdy wooden cutting board to protect your countertops and knives. Plastic boards are a good option for raw meat and fish to prevent cross-contamination but avoid using them for chopping as they can dull your knives and plastic can get in your food.


A silicone spatula is a versatile tool for stirring, scraping, and folding ingredients. A slotted spoon is perfect for skimming fat or draining liquids. Top brands are OXO, KitchenAid, and DI ORO.

Knife sharpener

Even the best knives need sharpening from time to time. Invest in a good knife sharpener to keep your blades performing at their best. There are manual and electric options available. Recommended brands include Chef’s Choice, Lansky, and Work Sharp.

stainless steel measuring cup and spoon set

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accurate measurement is the cornerstone of successful cooking and baking. Invest in a set of stainless steel hybrid measuring cups (can be used as a dry measuring cup or liquid measuring cup) and measuring spoons. Look for nesting sets of three of more for easy storage and opt for clear markings to ensure you get the perfect proportions every time.

Kitchen shears

It’s much easier to dissect a chicken with a kitchen shears than a knife, if you’re a novice. Kitchen shears are highly recommended for their multifunctionality and ease of use. They excel at cutting through meat, herbs, and packaging, making food prep quicker and more efficient. Top recommended brands include OXO, KitchenAid, and Henckels.


A grater is highly recommended for its ability to quickly shred cheese, vegetables, and zest citrus fruits, enhancing the flavor and texture of your dishes. Its versatility makes it an essential tool for preparing a variety of recipes with ease. Top recommended brands include Microplane, OXO, and Cuisinart.

Mixing Bowls

A set of nesting mixing bowls in various sizes is a workhorse in any kitchen. From whisking eggs for breakfast to tossing a salad for dinner, these bowls will handle all your mixing needs. Stainless steel (metal mixing bowls) or glass bowls are easy to clean and durable for everyday use. Recommended brands are Pyrex, Cuisinart, and OXO. Avoid plastic.

Additional Cooking Utensils (Ladle, Slotted Spoon, Tongs)

Equipping yourself with a basic set of cooking utensils is essential for tackling most kitchen tasks. A ladle is perfect for serving soups and stews, while a slotted spoon lets you skim fat or drain liquids. Tongs offer secure handling for flipping food or tossing ingredients in a pan. Look for heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe utensils made from silicone or stainless steel for easy cleanup. Recommended brands are OXO, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart.

Can Opener

A good can opener is a must for any kitchen. Pop the tops off canned goods quickly and safely with a manual or electric can opener that’s comfortable to use. Consider features like easy-grip handles and built-in bottle openers for added convenience. Reliable brands are OXO, Hamilton Beach, and Kuhn Rikon.


Used for beating eggs, whipping cream, and creating smooth sauces, a whisk is a must-have for baking and cooking. A well-made whisk made from stainless steel is durable and easy to clean. Recommended brands include OXO, KitchenAid, and Tovolo.

Storage & Organization

Food Containers (Tupperware)

Food containers are essential for storing leftovers and meal prep. They keep food fresh and organized. Top brands include Rubbermaid, Pyrex, and Tupperware. Glass containers are recommended.

Tea, Coffee and Sugar Canisters

Canisters keep your tea, coffee, and sugar fresh and easily accessible. They are a nice addition to any kitchen. Choose from a variety of materials like glass, ceramic, or stainless steel to match your kitchen’s décor. Look for stylish and functional options from Simplehuman, Brabantia, and Oggi.

Specialty Tools & Gadgets

Kitchen faucets

A reliable faucet with spray functionality makes rinsing dishes and filling pots a breeze. Consider features like a pull-down sprayer for added convenience. Some fancy ones are the Delta Faucet Leland, Moen Arbor Motionsense, and Kohler Simplice for durable and efficient options. But there’s lots more options on my Amazon store.

Pot Holders

Safety first! Protect your hands from sizzling pans and oven racks with a trusty pair of pot holders and oven mitts. Opt for heat-resistant silicone or cotton mitts that provide a secure grip and allow you to confidently navigate your hot dishes.


This tool is your hero for draining pasta, rice, and vegetables. A sturdy stainless steel colander is a versatile option that won’t rust or break easily. Look for comfortable handles that make it easy to drain liquids without scalding yourself. Top picks are OXO, Cuisinart, and T-fal.

Worktop (countertops)

Durable and easy-to-clean countertops are essential for food prep. Popular options include corian, granite, and quartz. Ensure your worktop complements your nonstick cookware. Marble tends to be harder to maintain and certainly wouldn’t work at my house so I have a wood top kitchen island.

Okay lets continue exploring the recommended, luxury, and show-off items in the next section!

Highly Recommended (Mega Convenient Items): Time-Saving Heroes

Now that you have the essential tools covered, let’s explore some highly recommended appliances that can transform your kitchen into a haven of convenience. These must-have cooking tools offer convenience and efficiency, making your time in the kitchen more enjoyable and productive. It was quite difficult for me to keep some of these items off the essentials list as I can’t live without them, especially the air fryer.


Induction Cooktop

Induction cook-tops use magnetic fields to heat cookware directly, offering faster preheating times and greater energy efficiency compared to traditional electric or gas ranges. This can compliment your existing stovetop, however, be sure to note that induction cooktops require specific types of cookware.

Coffee maker (Keurig, traditional coffee makers)

Start your day off right with a fresh cup of coffee. Choose between a traditional coffee maker for brewing a full pot or a Keurig for single-serve convenience. Popular brands include Keurig, Braun, and Cuisinart. My husband uses a V60 Hario for pour over which he pairs with a gooseneck kettle.

breville juice fountain

Juicer (standard juicers)

Freshly squeezed juice is a healthy and delicious way to start your day. Standard juicers extract juice from fruits and vegetables. Popular juicer brands include Breville, Hamilton Beach, and KitchenAid.

kitchenaid stand mixer with pasta attachment

Kitchen Aid mixer

A stand mixer is a baker’s dream, taking the effort out of kneading dough, whipping cream, and mixing batters. KitchenAid is the most recognized brand for stand mixers, but other options are available. I love my kitchen aid because you can buy attachments, like pasta makers, meat grinder and ice cream maker, and this saves space. The kitchen aid mixer is an essential in my home.

Countertop dishwasher (or regular dishwasher)

Free yourself from the chore of handwashing dishes or anything that’s not easy to clean, with a dishwasher. Choose a model with features like adjustable racks and energy efficiency. The countertop dishwasher with the best reviews that I ended up buying, is the Farberware Professional Countertop Dishwasher.

Electric can opener

An electric can opener makes opening cans easy. It’s convenient for quick access. Top brands are Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, and Oster.

Spice grinder

A spice grinder makes fresh ground spices in bulk. It’s convenient for enhancing flavors as that which is on the shelf has lost much of it’s flavor. I use it for black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Recommended brands include KRUPS, Cuisinart, and SHARDOR.


This countertop marvel is a lifesaver for reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen foods, and even cooking simple meals. Look for models with user-friendly controls and defrost settings. Popular choices include Panasonic, GE, and Samsung. Look for an inverter model.


Ceramic cookware

Ceramic cookware offers even heat distribution and non-stick properties. Popular choices include GreenPan and Caraway. Ceramic cookware can be quite delicate though, so I wouldn’t recommend them as your sole cookware.


A set of baking pans, loaf pans, and pie dishes is essential for baking cakes, breads, and pies. Look for non-stick or ceramic bakeware for easy food release. Top brands include Wilton, Nordic Ware, and USA Pan.

corsori air fryer

Air fryer

This is my favorite, most used kitchen appliance. The air fryer offers a healthier alternative to deep-frying by circulating hot air to crisp up your favorite foods. Popular options include Philips, Ninja, and Cosori. I have a full comparison on my blog where you can see all the comparisons and choose which one suits your family. I almost put air fryer in the needs category, but the oven is more versatile.

Hand mixer

A hand mixer is portable and versatile. It’s convenient for quick mixing tasks. Recommended brands are KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Hamilton Beach.

Electric kettle

Quickly boil water for tea, coffee, or instant meals with an electric kettle. Look for models with rapid boil times and automatic shut-off features. Breville, KitchenAid, and Smeg are all trusted brands.

zojirushi rice cooker

Rice cooker

This handy appliance simplifies cooking perfect rice every time. Look for models with automatic shut-off and steaming functions. Zojirushi and Tiger are popular rice cooker brands, but just get the Zojirushi, none can compare.

Pressure cooker

Pressure cookers significantly reduce cooking times, making them ideal for busy weeknights. Look for models with safety features and easy-to-use controls. Instant Pot is a popular brand electric, but there are other options available. I have no experience with electric ones because I prefer stove top pressure cookers, as they are more versatile and safer as they have a venting system. My recommendation is by Presto.

Electric griddle

An electric griddle provides a large cooking surface. It’s convenient for breakfast foods and more. Top brands include Presto, Cuisinart, and Blackstone.

Non-stick baking mats

Non-stick baking mats make baking easier. They are reusable and easy to clean. Recommended brands are Silpat, AmazonBasics, and Kitzini.


Knife Set (Premium or Additional Sets)

While a good chef’s knife, serrated knife, and paring knife are your essential trio, a premium knife set can elevate your food prep game. Imagine effortlessly carving a roast with a honing steel or tackling delicate garnishes with a bird’s beak paring knife. These specialty knives aren’t everyday necessities, but they can unlock a world of culinary possibilities for the adventurous home cook. I’ve had good experience with Tramontina, Misen and Cuisinart. But there are big brands like Wusthof, High-quality brands to consider are Shun, Global, and Zwilling.

Citrus Press

A citrus press is highly recommended for its efficiency in extracting maximum juice from lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits with minimal effort. This tool ensures fresh, seed-free juice for your recipes and beverages, adding a burst of flavor to your dishes. Top recommended brands include Chef’n, Zulay, and Bellemain.

Garlic Press

A garlic press makes mincing garlic easy. It’s convenient for adding fresh garlic to recipes. Top brands are OXO, Kuhn Rikon, and Alpha Grillers.

cuisinart food processor

Food processor

A food processor chops, slices, and purees quickly. Shred, chop, slice, and puree with ease! A food processor saves you time and effort on countless tasks, from whipping up pesto to grating cheese to prepping veggies for stir-fries. It’s a versatile powerhouse that simplifies food prep and opens doors to new culinary creations. Recommended brands are Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and Breville.

Vegetable Peeler

A peeler makes peeling fruits and vegetables easy. It’s convenient for food prep. Top brands are OXO, Kuhn Rikon, and KitchenAid. There’s a ton of different options on Amazon, and there’s no clear winner here.

Stone mortar and pestle

A stone mortar and pestle grinds spices and herbs. It’s convenient for fresh, homemade flavors. Top brands are ChefSofi, Vasconia, and Laevo, but you can just go for looks here as they’re all pretty much the same.

Garlic press

A garlic press makes mincing garlic easy. It’s convenient for adding fresh garlic to recipes. Top brands are OXO, Kuhn Rikon, and Alpha Grillers.

Mandoline slicer

A mandoline slicer makes slicing vegetables easy. It’s convenient for uniform cuts. Recommended brands are OXO, Benriner, and Mueller.

Storage & Organization

Spice rack

A well-organized spice rack keeps your favorite seasonings within easy reach and adds a touch of style to your kitchen. Look for spice racks with clear containers for easy identification. Recommended brands include SimpleHouseware, Kamenstein, and YouCopia.

Specialty Tools & Gadgets

Food Scale

A food scale ensures accuracy in recipes. It’s convenient for measuring ingredients. Recommended brands include Ozeri, Etekcity, and Greater Goods.

Pantry cabinet

Dedicated pantry space keeps your dry goods organized and readily accessible. Utilize airtight containers and clear labels for optimal efficiency. Recommended options include IKEA, Sauder, and SystemBuild.

Range Hood

A range hood removes smoke and odors. It’s convenient for keeping your kitchen fresh. In the tropics, it’s essential for us because it lets out the heat from kitchen instead of sending it back into the house. I bought an IKTCH range hood after much research and I am satisfied with it. Other recommended brands include Broan, Cosmo, and KitchenAid.

ThermoPro TempSpike 500FT Wireless Meat Thermometer, Bluetooth Meat Thermometer Wireless for Turkey Beef Lamb, Meat Thermometer Digital Wireless for Rotisserie Sous Vide BBQ Oven Smoker Thermometer


A thermometer ensures food is cooked to the right temperature. It’s convenient for food safety to KNOW WITH CERTAINTY when your meat is done cooking. Recommended brands include ThermoPro, Kizen, and Lavatools. There are lots of types as well, from wireless thermometers, to instant read to that which can stay in your oven. I recommend getting all these varieties as they have different purposes.

Salad spinner

A salad spinner dries salad greens quickly. It’s convenient for fresh, crisp salads. Top brands include OXO, Cuisinart, and Zyliss.

Modern Innovations 10 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar with Multipurpose Use as Knife Holder

Magnetic knife holder

A magnetic knife holder keeps knives organized. It’s convenient for easy access. Top brands are Modern Innovations, OXO, and Norpro.


A spiralizer makes vegetable noodles. It’s convenient for healthy cooking and you’ll be surprised how much more you enjoy vegetables like cucumbers once they’ve been spiralized. Top brands are Spiralizer, OXO, and Paderno.

Brieftons 7-Blade Vegetable Spiralizer

Tortilla press

A tortilla press makes homemade tortillas. It’s convenient for fresh, authentic meals. Recommended brands include Victoria, Norpro, and IMUSA

Nut milk bag

A nut milk bag makes homemade nut milk. It’s convenient for fresh, dairy-free milk. Top brands are Ellie’s Best, Bellamei, and Organic Family Products.

Stay tuned for the next section where we explore gimmicks or show-off items and wrap up this comprehensive kitchen essential guide!

Luxuries (Non-Essential, Nice to Have): Elevate Your Kitchen

While the previous categories focused on essential and convenient tools, this section explores luxury items that can elevate your kitchen experience. Sometimes, it’s nice to splurge on a few items that add a touch of luxury to your kitchen. These must-have kitchen items might not be essential, but they bring extra convenience, style, or functionality. They can make cooking more enjoyable and might even inspire you to try new recipes.


Ice maker

An automatic ice maker in your refrigerator ensures you always have ice on hand for refreshing drinks but can sometimes be quite problematic to your refrigerator operation. This is where a dedicated ice maker shines. Top brands include GE Profile Opal, NewAir, and hOmeLabs.

Bread maker

A bread maker takes the work out of homemade bread, allowing you to enjoy fresh loaves at home. Zojirushi is a popular brand known for its high-quality bread machines. Zojirushi makes high quality appliances.

Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker

Cuisinart WAF-F30 Round Flip Belgian Waffle Maker

Waffle maker

Homemade waffles are a delicious treat, and a waffle maker simplifies the process. Popular choices include All-Clad, Breville and Cuisinart.

Masticating juicer

Masticating juicers extract more juice and preserve more nutrients compared to standard juicers. However, they are typically more expensive. Top brands include Omega, Hurom, and Tribest.

Omega J8006HDS Cold Press Juicer Machine Vegetable and Fruit Juice Extractor and Nutrition System


Calphalon cookware

Calphalon cookware is known for its durability and non-stick properties.

Hexclad cookware

Hexclad cookware is a high-end option known for its exceptional heat conductivity and PFOA-free non-stick coating. Recommended models are HexClad 7-Piece Set, HexClad 10-Inch Fry Pan, and HexClad 12-Inch Wok.

Stay tuned for the next section where we explore gimmicks or show-off items and wrap up this comprehensive kitchen guide!

Gimmicks or Show-Off Items: More Fun Than Function

While some kitchen gadgets offer undeniable convenience, others fall into the category of gimmicks or show-off items. These are fun to have but not mandatory for everyday cooking.


All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set

All-Clad Cookware

Considered top-of-the-line, All-Clad cookware is known for its exceptional heat distribution and professional-grade construction. It’s a luxury for serious home cooks. Top picks include All-Clad D3, All-Clad D5, and All-Clad Copper Core.

Deep fryer

Deep-fried foods are delicious but not the healthiest option. If occasional indulgence is your goal, a cast iron dutch oven can achieve similar results with less mess and healthier cooking. Recommended brands are Cuisinart, T-fal, and Presto.

Pasta maker

Making fresh pasta can be a fun activity, but a pasta machine requires practice, dedicated storage space, and additional drying equipment. As I mentioned before, I would just recommend the KitchenAid stand mixer with the pasta attachment, but for those that want to show off or want to make versatile pasta shapes, try Marcato, Philips or Imperia.

Ice cream maker

Homemade ice cream is a delicious treat, but ice cream makers require pre-freezing a bowl and can be time-consuming. It’s a show-off item for dessert enthusiasts. Recommended brands are Cuisinart, Breville, and Lello. You can also try the kitchenaid attachment – works well!

Sous vide cooker

This immersion circulator precisely cooks food at a low temperature, resulting in perfectly tender results. However, it requires special vacuum-sealed bags and can be expensive.

Ooni Koda 12 Gas Pizza Oven

Pizza ovens

Countertop pizza ovens offer the satisfaction of homemade pizza but may not be practical for everyday use. High-quality ovens can also achieve excellent pizza results. Recommended brands include Ooni, Breville, and Cuisinart.

Wrapping Up

Equipping your kitchen with the right tools doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By focusing on the most important items, then gradually incorporating highly recommended time-savers, you can create a functional and efficient kitchen that allows you to whip up delicious meals with confidence.

Remember, the best kitchen for you is the one that is well-equipped to fit your cooking style and budget. It’s not about having every tool on this list– it’s about having the right ones for the way you cook.

So, do you have everything YOU need?


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About The Chef
Chef Samantha

A formally trained chef, Observer Food Awards scholar, graduate of The University of Technology in Hospitality & Food Service management, young wife and mom of two.

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