Have you ever explored the home kitchen of a professional chef? Seeing 10 unique types of peelers and contraptions designed to whisk a particular recipe can intimidate many of us. But don’t despair — a kitchen stocked with every flavor of prep tool is the exception, not the rule.
You can get fancy later with high-tech gadgets and specialty items, but for a fully functional home kitchen, you only need these 20 kitchen essentials. Get cracking on your favorite meals once you stock your pantry and cupboards with these must-owns.
With modest cabinet space, you can stock your kitchen with the essential cookware to bring most recipes to life.
- Sauce Pan
When it’s time to boil pasta, cook vegetables, or simmer a delectable sauce, turn to the aptly named sauce pan. A 4.5-quart sauce pan provides plenty of space to get the job done for recipes intended to feed up to four people.
- Stock Pots
For larger recipes of soups, pasta, stews, and, of course, stocks, upgrade your hardware to a stock pot up to the task. A 12-quart stock pot is sufficient for most at-home recipes, even for big batches. However, you can browse our other stock pots if you plan on preparing substantially sized meals.
- Non-Stick Fry Pans
Serve up a stir fry. Saute some veggies. Make an omelet for breakfast. Do all of this and more with the core cooking essentials: a few non-stick fry pans. A 12-inch fry pan provides plenty of space for simple recipes. Three-coat systems like those in our fry pans provide resiliency to sticking and make cleaning a breeze.
- Sheet Pan Set
No kitchen is considered complete without a few sheet pans of different sizes. How else will you bake cookies, enjoy freshly-cooked salmon, or bite into crunchy, flavorful Brussels sprouts? When you’re feeling like a quick meal, a sheet pan dinner makes for easy cleanup.
- Glass Baking Dishes
Baking dishes are a must-own if you want to try your hand at cakes, enchiladas, casseroles, or other set-it-and-forget-it dishes. Investing in durable glass baking dishes makes your work easier: our baking dishes are safe for use in the microwave, dishwasher, freezer, and oven.
These utensils will help you stir, slice, chop, whisk, and flip your way to culinary perfection.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
Measure out a teaspoon of paprika or two cups of flour in these can’t-cook-without-it essentials. A full set of measuring cups and spoons will ensure you adhere to exact quantities in your recipes. You can’t, and shouldn’t, “eyeball” all of your ingredients.
- Wooden Spoons
While checking on your pot of boiling water or stirring your pasta sauce, we recommend using wooden spoons because they aren’t abrasive on cooking surfaces, and they will last for years. Take care to wash them by hand — the only foe that can undo a wooden spoon is a dishwasher.
A slotted spatula will prove to be one of your closest compatriots in the kitchen. Once you’ve conquered some basic recipes, consider expanding your selection for specific purposes. Bakers can improve their technique with a pastry spatula, and a fish turner takes the fuss out of flipping burgers, eggs, and fish.
Emulsify ingredients like vinegar, oil, and eggs with a stainless steel whisk. Sure, you can use a fork in a pinch, but whisks shorten the process and make it easier to complete.
Tongs will be your best friend when you want to avoid burning your hands. Extend your grip with a pair of tongs to flip meat and stir ingredients in a pan while keeping your hands safely away from sizzling oil. Serve or store your next meal with high-quality utility tongs.
You need it to prep potatoes, carrots, and other ingredients with a thin layer of skin. It’s a peeler, and it will be instrumental in your kitchen. Choose a peeler with sharp blades designed to glide through tough skins with ease.
- Graters and Zesters
Adjacent to peelers are these other helpful kitchen utensils. Box graters contain multiple grates so you can slice or coarsely grate food. For finer grating, turn to a zester designed to shave off tiny fragments of citrus and spices to provide the kick your recipe needs.
- Knife Set
Most cooking begins with a sharp, professional knife set. All knife sets will include a proper chef knife to chop, slice, and dice your ingredients. This large knife will be the foundation of your cutlery, but a complete set will also include items like a serrated bread knife.
- Paring Knife
Chef knives are large and won’t be ideal for delicate jobs. If you are attending to tasks like peeling a kiwi or removing the crust from your child’s PB&J, a chef knife will be unwieldy. Outfit your kitchen with a couple of small but powerful paring knives.
Dishes and Tools
Your kitchen is nearly stocked. Complete your cooking station with these essential dishes and tools to create any meal you can imagine.
- Mixing Bowls
Invest in mixing bowls of various sizes to combine ingredients, prep sauces, and stay organized. Glass and stainless steel mixing bowls can double as serving bowls for maximum utility.
- Cutting Boards
Don’t settle on just one cutting board. Prevent cross-contamination between meats and your produce by investing in a set of cutting boards that you can spread across your counter. Cutting boards made of materials like polyethylene can be placed in the dishwasher for convenient cleaning and are chip, peel, and crack resistant.
- Can Opener
A can opener in a working kitchen isn’t optional. We recommend all professional and at-home chefs have two can openers on hand in case one isn’t working. Hand-held can openers from Chefs’ Toys provide superior grip to help you open coconut milk, beans, canned fruit, tomatoes, and more. An electric can opener makes you even more efficient while cooking.
When it’s time to drain pasta, vegetables, beans, corn, or any other element of your recipe, you need a high-volume colander. Choose a colander with handles and a standing base for added convenience.
- Mortar and Pestle
Crush and grind spices, dips, and other staples in a mortar and pestle. A mortar and pestle is one of the most-used tools across the globe, enabling all types of food and medicinal preparation for thousands of years.
- Immersion Blender
There’s no need in a small kitchen for the bulk of an entire blender. You can puree soups, blend smoothies, and concoct delightful vinaigrettes when you own an immersion blender. Mix your recipes safely with an ergonomic, dual-power blender that allows you to blend by hand.
Complete Your Kitchen with Chefs’ Toys
Armed with these kitchen essentials, your kitchen becomes your workshop for culinary magic. Advanced chefs can invest in fancier equipment, but stick to these items to ensure you have what you need to cook most cuisine.
Fill in the gaps in your home cookware and utensils with our top-quality kitchen supplies, trusted by working chefs around the country.