One of the best parts of becoming a homeowner is the new (or new-to-you) kitchen you have to call your own. Stock the fridge however you’d like and leave the dishes to soak for as long as you need, friend. It’s all yours. You’ll finally have the freedom to cook up what you want when you want, how you want. At this point, gathering the cooking essentials is the only obstacle between you and all the delicious food you’ll make. Sure, maybe you have a few scraggly odds and ends from garage sales or apartment living, but a new kitchen deserves quality products that look great and will last for the long haul.
With so many flashy products on the market, figuring out what you need is–understandably–overwhelming. I find focusing on the basics helps minimize decision fatigue. After all, you’ll have plenty of time to dive into the gadgety abyss when you’re all settled.
So, whether you consider yourself a master chef or a Poptart connoisseur, it’s time to build a solid foundation for your culinary future. To make things easier on you during this new homeowner journey, we’ve assembled these affordable 10 kitchen equipment must-haves.
The most essential 10 kitchen equipment at a glance:
- Large pot
- Cutting board
- Sheet pan
- Glass baking dish
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups/spoons
When it comes to buying knives, the most obvious option is a knife block. Unfortunately, this means many people end up with many random, mediocre knives they don’t know how to use. (My experience.)
A better idea might be to skip the knife block altogether. Instead, save some money by starting with a few knives that get the job done in almost any situation. Many experts recommend beginners choose only the essentials, including a chef’s knife, paring knife, and serrated knife. Sticking with these three makes chopping a lot less intimidating. Fewer options = less confusion.
High-quality knives are often made of carbon or stainless steel, but ceramic is another more affordable option that can stand the test of time, too. This Kyocera knife set offers these three knives at a fair price.
Bonus tip: To maintain sharpness, hand-wash your knives.
This tool goes by many names: skillet, frying pan, or saute pan. Whatever you decide to call it, make sure it’s one of the first 10 kitchen equipment items you purchase for your new kitchen.
For skillets and any cookware in general, there’s fierce debate over non-stick and stainless steel. I like stainless steel for its durability and lifespan, but even the most die-hard stainless steel fans recommend picking up at least one non-stick skillet. The reason? It will make life a lot easier for cooking everyday things like eggs and save you the time you’d otherwise spend scraping and scrubbing away.
So: if you think you’ll use your skillet regularly for cooking eggs, a non-stick is a good bet for your first skillet. On the other hand, if browning and searing meat is more important to you, start with stainless steel. Either way, 10-inch is a good size if you’re only cooking for one or two people. Opt for a 12-inch If you have a bigger family.
This T-Fal Nonstick Fry Pan has high ratings on Amazon and with nearly 12,000 reviews. A nifty feature is its “thermo-spot”– when preheated, the circle at the center of the pan turns red to let you know it’s ready to cook.
The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Skillet is a great stainless steel option with excellent ratings and reviews.
For everyday cooking, everyone needs at least one large pot. The specific type depends on what you regularly cook.
A stockpot is usually huge and is (unsurprisingly) best for stock, making soup, boiling pasta, or vegetables. The base of a stockpot is thin so that it can quickly heat liquids.
To the new homeowner, a cutting board might not seem like something that should make the list of top 10 kitchen equipment. But, I can promise you– the last thing you want is to scratch up your new countertops. (I learned the hard way, chopping carrots on a paper plate. Oops.) Cutting boards make chopping safer and easier.
When it comes down to practicality, plastic boards are best for their durability and ease of care. However, there’s no denying that wooden cutting boards are much more aesthetically pleasing. If you’re looking for a great functional/beautiful piece to add to your kitchen, a wooden cutting board is a classic. Just stick to handwashing so it doesn’t get damaged in the dishwasher.
Ultimately– if you have to choose one, go with plastic. It won’t absorb smells as easily and resists bacteria more than wooden boards.
OXO makes quality cutting boards with “drip catchers” along the sides to prevent mess.
For a wooden cutting board, I suggest you display it propped up behind your stovetop to serve as functional decor. It brings warmth and texture and can also double as a serving platter or a trivet for hot dishes!
Another underrated must-have. You might know it as a “strainer.” Draining your pasta or vegetables without a colander is a dangerous game– one that often ends in food down the drain and a grumbling stomach.
For an affordable colander, OXO strikes again. This one features grip handles for easy straining and feet to keep things sanitary when setting it down in the sink.
These are tools you use when preparing and serving food. There are many utensils to choose from, but every kitchen should include the basics to start.
The most important cooking utensils for any starter kitchen include a whisk, spatula, slotted spoon, and ladle. This AIUHI set has these and then some. Made of Teak wood, you won’t have to worry about scratching your pans.
For baking cookies and roasting vegetables, of course. Newbie cooks, hear me out: baked veggies are one of the easiest sides you can make. Put down some parchment paper, drizzle your favorites in olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Boom, 50 percent of dinner– done!
This Nordic Ware sheet pan has more than 30,000 (!) ratings with a 4.8-star average. It’s extra-large to accommodate more than one batch.
To avoid discoloration, wash your sheet pan by hand.
Glass Baking Dish
The 13-by-9-inch baking dish is my most-used bakeware item. It allows you to bake desserts like cake and cobbler, or lasagna and casserole dinners.
This Pyrex dish does it all. It’s dishwasher and microwave-safe and even comes with a lid.
Pick up some mixing bowls for baking, pancake, and waffle making. I recommend this OXO set. The bowls are great for their bottom grips and spouts. Pouring batter is so much easier without the awkward side drips, and the bottom grip prevents slippage while using a hand mixer.
The five-star rating speaks for itself. These bowls are BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. What more could a pancake lover ask for?
Last but not least–measuring cups! Stainless steel is my recommendation for dry measuring cups, while experts say glass is best for liquids.
This set of measuring cups’ magnetic handles helps keep your drawers organized, and the etched measurement markings mean that fading won’t be an issue.
Make Your House Feel Like Home
Once you’re equipped with the top 10 kitchen equipment, pat yourself on the back. You’re already well on your way in the new homeowner journey. Now, you can start to focus on the finer details to make your home feel like your own.
One of the quickest ways to make your new house feel like a home is simply to start cooking and sharing meals with the ones you love. Everyone starts somewhere when learning to cook, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and try new recipes. (Once you’re all settled in, check out our recipe for Thai-inspired zucchini noodles.)
Happy cooking and happy home-owning!
Post By: Alyssa
Alyssa Stacks is a freelance writer and ESL teacher. You can find her fixing up and decorating her 1930s home or teaching her cats how to fetch. She has a soft spot for all things wildlife and enjoys spending time outside with her husband, biking, and birdwatching.