ultimate list of kitchen essentials

Maybe your kitchen is empty except for a few bowls and the odd piece of cookware. Or, maybe you’ve got your entire kitchen set up but you’re missing out on a few of those kitchen essentials that can really take your cooking skills to the next level. No matter what your current kitchen setup is, everyone who takes a look at this list of kitchen essentials will find something they’ve been missing.

Handheld kitchen essentials

chefs knife

1. Chef’s Knife      

Those top chefs you see on TV who are slicing and dicing their vegetables or cuts of meat are quick and nimble at least in part because of their chef’s knife. Pick one up and you’ll never have to worry about sawing your way through carrots or cuts of meat again.

2. Measuring cups and measuring spoons

I used to have plastic measuring cups and spoons, but I’ve found glass and stainless steel measuring spoons and measuring cups hold up much better in a busy kitchen. I keep several sets on hand, just in case one is in the dishwasher.

3. Mixing bowls

You can’t have too many mixing bowls, and some of the bowls I’ve collected over the years are so nice to look at that I keep them on an open shelf. Anyone just starting out could use at least three mixing bowls to hold whatever you’re making or baking, and be sure to check out mixing bowls in bright colours if you want to add a splash of colour to a white kitchen.

4. Cooking Utensils

potato masherHave you ever tried to mash potatoes without a potato masher? It can be pretty difficult to get the right consistency if you don’t have one, and scraping out a bowl with a spoon isn’t as easy as gliding a spatula over the bowl to empty it out. You also need a whisk with a strong handle for whipping cream or making a roux for mac and cheese. When you’re stocking up on cooking utensils, don’t forget the kitchen shears. These scissors can make cutting through fish and other chops very easy.

5. Cutting board

Cutting boards aren’t just for protecting your countertops, although they do that and they do it well. Some cutting boards look great, too, perfect to double as a charcuterie serving tray. Some have grooves that can capture juices from items you’re cutting so they don’t spill to the floor. Others have markings to help you roll dough out to the perfect dimensions for an 8-inch pizza crust, for example. For the perfect rustic accessory, you can find cutting boards that are cut from a slab of wood.

6. Can opener

How would you open cans without a can opener? Choose an electric can opener and easily pop the top on your canned goods. You should also keep a handheld can opener in the drawer just in case of power outages.

7. Cheese Grater

cheese graterIf you have a great knife, why would you need a cheese grater? Grated soft and hard cheese means you can melt your cheese to perfection, so a cheese grater is essential.

8. Colander

If you’ve ever tried to strain pasta in a pot just by tipping it over the sink and holding it to the lid, you know that using a colander makes the process much easier. You can avoid potential spills of hot water, or the pot slipping out of your hands and falling into the sink (along with your freshly cooked pasta!)

9. Cast iron pan

Beyond cookware, there’s one essential pan that every at-home chef or casual cook needs. A cast iron pan is an amazing kitchen accessory you can use for baked mac and cheese, cast iron brownies, seared steak, and so much more. This will be your favourite pan because they’re not only non-stick so items slide right off, but also super easy to clean, and, with the right care, will last a lifetime.

Small appliance essentials

Not everyone will use every small appliance I have listed, but these are essentials you can use to really expand on your cooking skills.

1. Air fryer

air fryerOne of my favourite small appliances is an air fryer. It cooks up french fries, chicken strips, or anything else you would normally deep fry, but it does so without added oil. Everything is crispy and delicious, just like it would be if you fried it in oil, but an air fryer cooks without oil so food prepared in it is a lot healthier.

2. Toaster or toaster oven

Toasted bagels or a nice piece of sourdough are a great way to start your morning, so a toaster is a must-have. If you’d like to have an extra oven in the kitchen, you may want to consider combining your toaster with a mini-convection oven and purchasing one of the latest toaster ovens.

Some toaster ovens give you the best of all worlds. They have steam you can inject into whatever you are baking or convection setting so you can bake like you would with your oven. When you don’t want to bake with your toaster oven, it offers you a variety of toasting options too.

3. Stand mixer

kitchenaid stand mixerI can’t imagine life without a stand mixer, and it’s one of the small appliances I recommend to anyone. A KitchenAid stand mixer will whisk, beat, and blend your cookie dough, bread dough, and cake batter, and it whips cream to perfection too.

4. Coffee maker or espresso machine

Every kitchen needs a coffee maker or espresso machine. A kettle is very useful too. I have a full coffee bar my kitchen, and it’s one thing I’ve never regretted setting up. When everything you need for coffee is right where you need it, every morning starts off great.

5. Pressure Cooker

If you’d asked me a few years ago what a pressure cooker was, I wouldn’t have had a clue. Now the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is my go-to appliance for everything, and I use it at least 4 days per week for breakfast or dinner. It reduces your cooking time and makes the most delicious meals in a hurry.

A pressure cooker can double as a slow cooker, so you get two appliances in one. You can even make a cheesecake in your pressure cooker, and it will be the best cheesecake you’ve ever had.

Large appliances

It goes without saying that you need major appliances in your kitchen. Some large appliances are more versatile than others, and that’s why they make the list of top kitchen essentials.

smart refrigerator1. Smart refrigerator

Smart refrigerators have been around for a few years, and I think they could very well become a must-have in the kitchen. They have Google Assistant or Bixby voice assistant integration, inner cameras for you to see what’s inside via an app on your phone, and large LCDs on the front panel to schedule family events, show photos, and even order groceries. You can find the Samsung Family Hub online right now, and keep an eye out for other smart refrigerators you may want to add to your kitchen this year.

2. Convection ovens

There’s a real difference between a range with an oven and a range with a convection oven. A convection oven distributes the heat evenly throughout your oven, and that means if you’re a baker and you want to bake three trays of cookies at one time, you can do that. Convection also offers different multi-level cooking options, and ultimate list of kitchen essentials for cookingeverything you bake will come out perfectly.

Which kitchen essentials will you add to your kitchen?

This is just a short list of kitchen essentials. You can keep adding small appliances and kitchen gadgets you’ll use every day. There are some great choices available at Best Buy right now.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag