How do you know what to purchase for your kitchen when you are first starting out? How do you know if a kitchen gadget is really worth buying and taking up space in your kitchen?
When my husband I were first married we lived in a duplex with a small kitchen. I had no pantry to store excess tools and appliances. My sister just got engaged and will most likely be living in a small apartment. I thought I’d give her a list of kitchen essentials, favorite tools (most of which are also essentials), and my favorite appliances to help her as she comes up with her own wedding registry and makes plans for her own home.
After being married over 7 years, these are the kitchen tools I would replace immediately if my kitchen were destroyed. Most of the others that are taking up space in my kitchen I wouldn’t even miss.
The items from my favorite kitchen tools list and favorite kitchen appliances list (coming the the next few days) and the following:
Vegetable Peeler – Don’t get the cheapest one out there. They hurt your hand and break much sooner.
Soup Ladle – There not another great option for dishing up broth-y soups.
Pizza Cutter – I have a pizza wheel with a handle. I’ve had super cheap ones and the one we have now is middle of the road. It definitely cuts much easier.
Colander – I have a smaller mesh one and a larger pasta one
Cutting Boards – I recommend two large ones and the small size I have on my favorite kitchen tools list. I’m needing to replace mine, so I don’t have specific recommendations for these.
Food Storage Containers – I love my Pyrex set! The perk of having glass is that you can use them in the microwave and they can double as food prep dishes. I also have a set of decent plastic ones that I like. I’ve found that having some mini containers (4 and 8 ounces) has been really useful!
Possible Kitchen Essentials:
Potato Masher – If you make mashed potatoes or a lot of your own refried beans, this becomes an essential! If not, try without one for a while. I have one of the ones with holes in the masher part but I could see how the ones with the wavy metal base would be easier to clean. Haven’t tried that kind though.
Pasta Fork – This is only an essential if you use spaghetti or fettuccine noodles. If you use elbow, penne etc you could just use the slotted or unslotted spoons.
Whisk – If you aren’t sure if you’d use it, do without. You can purchase one later.
Ice Cream Scoop – This is an essential in our home. If you don’t eat ice cream frequently you can use a sturdy regular spoon. My favorite scoop came from Bed Bath and Beyond but they no longer sell it.
Baking Kitchen Essentials
Items from my favorite kitchen tools list and my favorite kitchen appliances lists and the following:
Airbake Cookie Sheets – Love these! Perfect for cookies, rolls, breadsticks. Get the lighter colored ones.
Mini Muffin Tins – This is the pan I have. I prefer having 2 12 cup pans over 1 24. I recommend mini over regular sized ones because they make the perfect sized muffins for kids and when you bring muffins or cupcakes to a function a lot of the time people won’t finish an entire regular sized one and it always makes me a little sad when food I’ve made gets tossed. They are also great size for appetizers
9×13 and 8 or 9 Inch Square Pan – I use these all the time. I actually have 2 of each. Unless you know you’ll be using them a lots start with one of each. All of mine are glass (Pyrex) but you might consider getting one set in glass and one in metal. The metal ones are great for taking places – no worrying about breakage! I also recommend that you buy the ones that come with lids.
Measuring Spoons – If you are going to cook or bake at all you’ll want a set, maybe even two. Don’t buy a cheap set. I recommend metal over plastic and prefer a set that included 1/8 of a teaspoon.
Measuring Cups – The same as the spoons. These are essentials. If you are a baker, you might want two. Don’t buy a cheap set. I have had plastics ones, and they have accidentally been melted. I also have a cheap set of stainless steel ones and the handles are falling off less than a year later (they just happen to be the first set that currently appears on this link).
Liquid Measuring Cups – I have a set that comes with a 1, 2, and 4 cup. The ones that that are angled and you can read standing up make things a little easier but I haven’t seen them in glass. A basic set is fine, no need to spend extra on this.
Glass and Metal Mixing Bowls – Get a variety of sizes. Our largest one gets used for tossing big batches of popcorn with butter or making pancakes for a herd. The middle sized one is great for cookies and muffins. The small ones are good for whisking an egg or two. One of my metal bowls nestles perfectly into a saucepan for a double boiler.
Possible Baking Essentials:
Jelly Roll Pan – We use this for oven fries or roasting veggies. Mine is an old uncoated one.
Pastry Brush – If you don’t do much baking, you won’t need this. Most often ours gets used for brushing the butter on top of breadsticks. I use one with natural bristles. If you get a cheap one, the bristles fall out way sooner so be sure to read reviews and don’t by the cheap ones. Some people love the silicone brushes.
Rolling Pin – I have a traditional rolling pin and a pizza and pastry roller that I love! Do you make pizza, sugar roll out cookies, or tortillas? Then this will be a must. If not try without and on the rare occasion you need a rolling pin try using a bottle.
Bread Pan – This is an essential if you are going to make homemade bread. Otherwise you can just use the muffin tins for quick breads. If you really want bread pans for quick breads I love this size. Otherwise I use stainless steel bread pans for my yeast bread.
Other Kitchen Items:
Silverware – In my opinion there is no need to buy silverware that is $50 a setting. One the other had, don’t buy the the cheap stuff. It bends easily, tarnishes, and hurts your hand. We purchased a middle of the road set that we really liked from Bed Bath and Beyond. Using one of their 20% off coupons made it a great purchase. A service for 12 cost under $200.
Dinnerware – Fine china was something that I didn’t want. When you are in a small house you most likely won’t have space for storing plates that seldom get used. I love corelle. They are thin and won’t take up a lot of space in the cabinet.
Glasses – If you are limited on space, make sure your glasses will stack otherwise they will take up a lot of space. Our came from Ikea and they work great. Next time we’ll most likely purchase something a tiny bit thinner.
Hot Pads and Trivets – One or two trivets would be plenty. Hot pads or kitchen towels could always fill in on the occasion you need more. You will want at least 2 hot pads.
Wash Clothes and Dish Towels – Enough to get you through to the next wash day. I dislike drying my dishes with the cheap microfiber towels. Look for something that will absorb the water easily.
Don’t for forget that I would also include most of the items on my Favorite Kitchen Tools List and several on my Favorite Appliances List as essentials in my kitchen so be sure to check them out as well! (You’ll also get to hear about my all time favorite appliance. You might be surprised)
What are some of your favorite kitchen tools?
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