The best kitchen essentials checklist to equip your home kitchen with the right tools
The ultimate kitchen supply list includes everything you'll need to buy for the kitchen in your new house, first apartment or home, or even after a remodel. This essentials checklist includes basic (and advanced) tools that every home cook needs in their kitchen. The list is built with budget-conscience, high-quality tools that will last! A complete free printable checklist is included!
Whether you're moving into your first house or apartment or wanting to get into the kitchen a little more often, you'll need to have the right tools for the job. This means...it's time to get your kitchen stocked with the proper equipment!!
If you're looking to get your kitchen stocked will all of the essential supplies you need to be able to cook at home, this is the list for you! This is your roadmap for building up the tools and gadgets so you can get into the kitchen and start making delicious food for your family and friends.
On a budget? No worries! We'll talk through how to decide which items are essential to YOU and how to save some money along the way.
Best of all, most of the items on the kitchen supply list are from Amazon, so you can get them shipped to you relatively quickly if needed.
Before We Start...
Before we start, grab your printable copy of the kitchen supply list so you can take inventory of what you currently have vs. what you still need. This will leave in a good place to start your shopping.
First things first, tableware is all of our essentials that we'll use daily. If you're starting a brand new kitchen, say your first apartment or first home, these are very important to have! You'll definitely want to prioritize them on your kitchen supply list.
I recommend getting a set that will last you a long time. Something that's good quality and a neutral color (that won't go out of style in a year). These don't have to be your 'forever' dishes, but you should definitely select a set that you plan on using for 5+ years. These are my favorite modern-classic plates from Crate & Barrel.
If you need to save money, ask around your family or friends to see if anyone has tableware they no longer use. Garage sales, Facebook MarketPlace, or thrift stores are also good places to check. You can always mix & match similar patterns or colors to get a complete set.
What to purchase:
- Dinner plates (set of 8)
- Bowls (set of 8)
- Silverware (set of 8)
- Steak knives (set of 8)
- Drinking glasses (set of 8)
Knives (the non-negotiable)
EVERYONE, I repeat, EVERYONE needs a quality chef's knife in their kitchen. I don't care if you're a beginner or advanced home cook, you need a good knife.
If you have to splurge on one item (and by splurge I mean $35 - $60 generally), it should be on a chef's knife! It will help you improve your knife skills, with practice of course, and it will be your most used tool in the kitchen.
I also recommend a honing steel to straighten and sharpen the knife in between each use.
If you need to save money, opt for a cheaper knife.
Pots & Pans
Truth be told, you don't need as many pots and pans as you may think. If we're being honest, I only use 3 different pots and pans for 90% of my cooking. My cast-iron skillet, dutch oven, and baking pans are without a doubt my most used items.
So here's my advice. Whether or not you need to save money, think through what you cook the most, and what pans would be most useful in your kitchen. If you cook a lot and enjoy having a variety of pots and pans to choose from, then by all means purchase them all.
However, do not feel pressure to stock up on all these items if you do not anticipate needing or using them frequently.
What to purchase: Here are some examples of common uses for each of the pots and pans to help you narrow down your needs:
- Cast Iron: Often used to cook steak, bacon, fried eggs, anything you need to sear (pork chops, chicken), frittata, paninis, or dishes that need to be transferred directly from stove to oven.
- Dutch Oven: Often used to cook chili, soups/stews, mac & cheese, pasta, braised short ribs, homemade bread, potatoes, roasted chicken. You can also get a nice sear on meat with a dutch oven, and it can go directly from stove to oven.
- Nonstick Frying Pan: Often used to cook eggs, omelets, pan-seared fish or shellfish, pancakes, or cheesy dishes. Used most often for any dishes that tend to stick to the pan while cooking.
- Saucepan: Often used to cook quinoa, poach or hard boil eggs, browning butter. Use this for smaller tasks that don't require you to dirty a big pot.
- Saute Pan: Often used to cook similar things as a skillet (see above). Use for high-heat searing, sauteing, and pan frying. Similar to a skillet? Yes, but it has straight sides and a lid.
- Half Sheet Pan: Often used to cook roasted vegetables, sheet pan dinners, cookies, or pizza. It's a go-to pan for our basic oven needs.
- 9 x 13 Aluminum Pan: Often used to cook lasagna, cakes, casseroles, pasta bake, enchiladas, or brownies.
- 9 x 9 Aluminum Pan: Often used to cook similar things as a 9 x 13 pan (see above). Just a different size if you like the versatility.
This is the section of the kitchen supply list with the most amount of items. Similar to the advice I gave above, I suggest only buying the prep tools you know you'll use frequently.
Many of these kitchen basics, if taken care of properly, should last you for years. Meaning, you can make a one-time investment, and then just replace items as they break or get worn down.
If you need to save money, buy your top 3 most used items at full price (so you can use them right away). And then, wait until items go on sale or use one of those 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupons that always come in handy. College students should also check out the Bed Bath and Beyond college savings pass.
QUICK TIP: For the PERFECT steak every single time, purchase a meat thermometer (usually only $20 – $50 depending on how fancy you want to get). Not only can you use the meat thermometer while you’re grilling, but also when cooking meat in the oven, on the stove, or even in the air fryer. It’s a super versatile tool that you’ll want to add to your kitchen!
Utensils are arguably one of the least fun on the list of kitchen items to buy. Nonetheless, they are still an important essential to have stocked!
Nobody should be spending a lot of money on these items. Since utensils are using almost every time you prepare a dish, they will easily wear down and break. Don't sweat it. All of these items are under $12 each and are cheap to replace.
If you're very active in the kitchen, I suggest purchasing multiple of the utensils you use often so you don't have to constantly wash the item during dinner prep.
I cannot tell you enough how in love with these storage containers I am! If you cook often, and need storage containers for leftover dinners or ingredients, these are the perfect solution!
I love how sturdy these containers are! They are made of glass, so they won't stain when you pack leftover spaghetti. And, they have leak-proof lids so you can finally take soup to work without it leaking in your lunchbox. Plus, for any clean-freaks out there, the rubber seal is easily removable, making it a breeze to fully clean out the leftover food in the lid.
While these glass containers are a bit pricey, I've had mine almost 3 years and have seen only very minor chips in the glass or breakage on the lids on a few of the containers. They have been one of my best kitchen necessity investments!
To save money, buy one set of glass containers and another set of Rubbermaid containers. You can slowly build up your glass storage containers as time goes on.
Advanced Kitchen Tools
I wanted to separate out this section from the kitchen basics section. These advanced kitchen tools are for the home chefs who cook 4-5 times a week and prepare more advanced meals.
If you know the use for the tools below, and think you would use it at least once a month, it's probably a good investment.
If you're reading this thinking "I have no idea what they heck that is used for" it's probably best to pass.
Small Kitchen Appliances
Is it just me, or does it seem like there's a new, trendy kitchen appliance that comes out almost every month?
Here's the deal. Small kitchen appliances take up valuable real estate in your kitchen. And if you're in an apartment or house with a tiny kitchen, you know just how valuable your cabinet and pantry space is.
Only buy small kitchen appliances that you'll use AND that function multiple ways in the kitchen. Let me show you what I mean by telling you a little bit more about why I've selected these three appliances below.
- Instant Pot: An electric pressure cooker (cooks food super quickly) that can also function as a rice cooker, sauté pot, yogurt maker, and warming pot. The Instant Pot cooks everything from soups to chicken to steel-cut oats.
- Slow Cooker: As the name implies, slow cookers cook food at low temperatures. This way of cooking often helps tenderize a tough cut of meat or bring out flavors in foods. Also useful for keeping food warm during a party.
- Toaster Oven/Air Fryer Combo: The air fryer has been trendy for a few years now, and it's definitely worth the hype. But for me, it takes up too much space on its own. Opt for a toaster, convection oven, air fryer combo instead.
If you need to save money, really make sure the appliance is going to be put to use in your kitchen. You can always test out a friend's before buying your own.
If you love to bake and find yourself in the kitchen often, it’s time to invest in some proper baking equipment. That means picking some classic equipment that is going to serve your needs time and time again, and, more importantly, last a long time!
When purchasing baking tools, I have two rules. First, the equipment must serve dual purposes. Meaning, I don’t want to invest in equipment that has only one use or role in my kitchen. My storage space is too valuable for that! Second, I must plan on using the equipment at least once a month. This helps me eliminate equipment that “seems” useful, but only gets pulled out once a year.
Here's an example:
A cookie scoop: Obviously this tool helps make cookies the exact same size to help with even baking. However, other uses include scooping ice cream, cupcake or muffin batter, melon baller, homemade meatballs, or even chocolate truffles.
For all my party people - people who love to entertain at home - it's helpful to stock up on some entertaining basics to make your life easier when hosting.
I like to purchase neutral-colored platters/bowls that can mix and match with any party or theme. And of course, if you love making cocktails, don't forget some basics to stock your home bar. Let me show you how I use some of my favorite entertaining kitchen items.
- Stemless Wine Glasses: Great not only for wine but also for cocktails and mocktails.
- Serving Tray: Can be used to create a charcuterie/cheese board, set up a drink station, or as an appetizer platter.
- Large Pitcher: Fill with water, a fun cocktail, soda, lemonade, or whatever drink your guests will love. This comes in handy so guests can self-serve as needed.
So, Now What?
Now that you've read through the whole list, here's what you need to do:
- Grab your copy of the kitchen supply printable list.
- Sit down and brainstorm what you really need, keeping in mind what you already have, or what friends & family will be giving you. Anything you don't need, cross it off of the checklist.
- Use the links in the checklist to add necessary items to your Amazon cart.
- FINALLY: Get your kitchen all set up and ready to use! I also have tips for organizing your pantry if you need some help.
LET’S SHARE RECIPES
I love trying new recipes! Let’s discover new recipes together on Pinterest!
P.S. If you make any fun recipes with these kitchen essentials, share a picture with me on Instagram using #HomebodyEats. I love seeing your creations!!