Hey guys! I thought I’d share with you my top 10 kitchen must-haves (plus a bonus!). I know kitchen must-haves will vary from person to person, but these are the things that I feel have really helped me to cook more at home and eat out less. It seriously has made a huge difference having these tools in the kitchen! I promise you that there were times my boyfriend and I would eat Chipotle multiple times a week (like probably 4 days out of the week) because I just didn’t want to deal with a crappy knife or crappy pan. It literally got to the point where the Chipotle employees already knew our orders by memory!
I have attached links on this post just in case you’re curious and want to check them out!
In my opinion, having a great chef’s knife is the most important tool to have in the kitchen! Cooking and chopping will be such a pain if you don’t have a great chef’s knife. When I had a crappy knife, I would purchase lots of produce already pre-cut that way I didn’t have to deal with it at home. Produce like watermelon and butternut squash were totally out of the question when shopping! When I finally got an awesome knife, I started buying produce and cutting it myself. Doing this helped us save more money because the pre-cut stuff can get expensive! Plus, I honestly love cutting my own produce.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive chef’s knife! A couple years back, my boyfriend gifted me a Kuhn Rikon chef’s knife and it worked really well for me for about two years. It’s a more affordable option for a chef’s knife and gets the job done. On my birthday this year, my amazing boyfriend gifted me an awesome Zwilling Pro knife set! I’ve been eyeing this knife set for the longest time, which I came across by watching the IG stories of Ronny from Primal Gourmet. If you haven’t watched his cooking IG stories, you are missing out! He’s seriously amazing. The Zwilling Pro chef’s knife is a more expensive option, but is definitely longer lasting and more durable than the Kuhn Rikon knife. These are just knives that I’ve used and have worked for me. Make sure that the knife you choose works for you!
I like to use my paring knife over my chef’s knife for slicing smaller foods! If I’m going to cut up some strawberries, I really don’t want to use my 8 inch chef’s knife for the job. It is also great for peeling fruits and veggies, mincing garlic, cutting avocado, and much more! I currently use the paring knife that comes with my Zwilling set, but before that I used (and sometimes still use) my Kuhn Rikon paring knife. If you want to splurge on the Zwilling chef’s knife and paring knife, William-Sonoma sells the set here on their website!
No one wants to ruin their counters, right?! A cutting board is a must! Again, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. I used to own a plastic cutting board and some wood cutting boards from Ikea. I used the wood ones more often than I used the plastic cutting board just because I preferred the wood. They don’t sell the cutting boards that I used anymore on the Ikea website, but this one is similar to one of the ones I had. Along with the new knife set, my boyfriend also surprised me with a new John Boos cutting board, which is what I use now!
If you have a more expensive type of knife, I really suggest investing in a good quality wood cutting board because they are gentler on the knife. I love my medium sized cutting board, but I also decided to purchase a smaller John Boos cutting board for small chopping jobs. They are definitely more high maintenance because you have to oil them every so often that way they don’t become dry and begin to crack. I usually do this on the weekends since the oil needs to soak overnight, along with applying the board cream.
If you don’t want your food sticking to your pan, a non-stick pan is the way to go. I’m going to be honest with you, I have not found a great non-stick pan yet! I currently have a non-stick Cuisinart pan that I got from Home Goods, but it’s not my favorite because it goes through phases where food will still stick and then all of a sudden it’s back to normal. I’ve also tried ceramic pans and they just didn’t work out for me. I know a bunch of people recommend the Ballarini Parma pans, but that one didn’t work for me either. I feel like I probably wasn’t caring for it correctly because it’s lasted a bunch of people a very long time, but only lasted me a couple of months!
Since I don’t have a super reliable non-stick pan yet, I use my cast iron skillets a bunch. If you maintain and care for them correctly, they will work as non-stick pans. I have the 10.25 inch, and 12 inch. I use them for searing meats, frying up eggs, sautéing veggies, braising meats, and more! I love that they can go directly from the stove top into the oven. If you have any recommendations on great non-stick pans, please let me know!
I love having multiple sized pots on hand. I use the smaller ones for making things like hot chocolate, homemade jam, or sauces and the larger ones for things like soup, braising meats, or making a dish that has tomato sauce (this stuff goes everywhere!). I don’t remember where my smaller pots are from (of course), but my larger pot is a Wolfgang Puck pot from Home Goods that I can’t seem to find a link for.
I am obsessed with roasting anything, especially veggies, so you know I got a few sheet pans in my kitchen! I honestly have no idea where my sheet pans are from, but you can find them anywhere now-a-days. I use half sheet pans since I have a small kitchen and my storage space is limited. Plus, I only cook for my boyfriend and I so I don’t really need full-sized sheet pans. I usually use these to multi-task with. I’ll prep lots of veggies, place them on the sheet pans, and let them roast in the oven while I work on my protein of choice on the stove top. I really don’t like using multiple skillets at once because let’s be honest I hate washing skillets
in my small sink! Since I place foil or parchment paper on the sheet pans while roasting, it calls for easy cleanup. Sometimes, I’ll throw in veggies and protein in the oven to roast at the same time that way everything finishes all at once and no pans need to be washed (yay!).
If you plan on cooking at all at home, you definitely need some kind of spatula! I have the most non-fancy spatula because I personally don’t think you need to spend your money on a fancy one if you’re just cooking at home. I have a silicone spatula that I use every single day. I’ve had it for about 5 or 6 years and it has not failed me! It literally still looks brand new. You can use it to sauté veggies, flip meat or fish, scramble eggs, lots of different uses for it!
I love having tongs on hand because I prefer them for flipping meats over using a spatula. I can’t find the exact ones that I have, but these are pretty similar. Sometimes I’ll use them to sauté veggies like sliced onions and bell peppers since they’re easy to grab with tongs. I bought these the same time that I bought my spatula, so I’ve also had these for about 5 or 6 years!
A whisk comes in handy when baking, making sauces, or literally when you need to easily mix and incorporate ingredients together! I have two different sizes of whisks. One is a small whisk that I got from Home Goods for mixing small amounts of ingredients and I have a large KitchenAid whisk. Usually when I use a large whisk to incorporate a small amount of ingredients, especially wet ingredients, it doesn’t work as well for me as using a small whisk. This is pretty much the only reason I have two different sizes, but you really only need one!
These are great to have in the kitchen for just mixing all the things! I suggest having different sized mixing bowls. It may be annoying if you have to mix a small amount of ingredients in a giant bowl (or is that just me?). I have the Pyrex glass mixing bowl set and I love these because they also come with lids, which is great when you want to mix and just store right away. I actually wish I had a set of stainless steel mixing bowls just because they’re lighter and easier to handle, but since I’m limited in storage space I’ve just stuck to my glass mixing bowls!
Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
If you love to follow recipes or create recipes, these are a must in the kitchen! I have two sets of both measuring cups and measuring spoons and I got all sets at Home Goods. One of my sets are the KitchenAid measuring cups and spoons and I don’t know what the brand of my other sets are but they are stainless steel. Although I have two sets of each, you really only just need one set of each!