I’ve been wanting to put together a large list of all of my favorite kitchen items for a long time now. I finally got around to gathering everything together in one long post. Here you’ll find my favorite kitchen tools, from my favorite pots and pans, to the Instant Pot, to quirky foodie favorites like my quesadilla maker.
It’s definitely not necessary to have every single item on this list in your kitchen, but if you love to cook like I do, you’ll certainly find these items convenient!
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Pyrex 2-Cup Measuring Cup – I have three of these: a 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup. Since I cook so much, it’s helpful to have all three. But if you don’t cook that often, a 2-cup would be just fine. I like glass because it won’t warp and holds up well in the dishwasher.
Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons – Great staple for any kitchen. I have two sets of stainless steel measuring cups and spoons.
Mortar and Pestle – Used for grinding spices and sauces. I also use mine for grinding graham crackers and cereals into crumbs when needed.
Funnel Set – Great if you plan on making any type of homemade pickles, kombucha or condiments. I also use mine when I use too much sauce and need to add it back to containers.
Wood Rolling Pin – Used for homemade pasta, pies and pastries!
Multi-purpose Scraper & Chopper – Great for when you’re chopping veggies and need to transport them to a pan or container. Also great to rough chop herbs and greens.
Oven Mitts – An obvious necessity for any type of baking!
Silicone Pot Holders – Great for baking, but also great for handing all forms of hot pots and pans. When we eat meals on the couch, we use one of these under our plates so we’re not holding hot plates.
Egg Slicer – If you’re a fellow hard boiled egg fan, this will easily slice your egg into even pieces. Perfect for dipping into mayo. Am I the only one who does this?
Zester – Perfect for not only lemons and limes, but also for parmesan cheese, chocolate shavings, garlic cloves and more!
Digital Kitchen Scale – I use this for measuring out proper amounts of flour for baked goods and pasta. I do NOT use this for weighing and measuring out foods for calorie counting purposes.
Mini Silicone Spatulas – Great for getting the last bit of smoothie or pesto from a blender/food processor.
Julienne & Vegetable Peeler – This one is dual purpose – so you can make pretty skinny zucchini or carrot noodles and use the opposite side for simple peeling.
Salad Servers – for tossing salad, obvs.
Meat Chopper – This one you may have never heard of. My mother in law gave me this gadget and I didn’t think I would use it much, but I use it ALL the time. Mainly for getting ground meats into tiny pieces while cooking. I’ve also used it to scramble tofu and eggs and chop veggies into smaller pieces while cooking.
LARGE KITCHEN APPLIANCES
Instant Pot – One of my favorite kitchen appliances, I use my Instant Pot for rice, beans, meats, pastas, the list is endless. Try my Lentil Sloppy Joes, Pulled Pork Sliders, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, French Dip Sandwiches, Oatmeal and Sweet n Sour Chicken!
Immersion Hand Blender – If you have a blender (see next item), you can use it to blend up soups, but it’s a real pain. Pureeing soup in a counter top blender requires you to move the hot liquid from the pot on the stove to the blender, and if you forget to remove the air vent in the lid of your blender, things get messy quickly. An immersion blender can stick straight down into the pot and puree. Use an immersion blender for my Butternut Squash Soup or my Baked Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup.
Vitamix – by far my favorite counter top blender. I’ve tried plenty of other brands and nothing compares. The motor never dies or gets stuck. My favorite feature is that the main container and blade is all one piece — you never have to take it apart to clean it. My favorite smoothie recipes are my Zingy Pear and Tropical Turmeric.
Food Processor – I often get asked if having both a food processor AND a blender is worth it. I think so, for various reasons. I only make pesto and hummus in my food processor, because the blade is wider and lower to the base of the bowl than my blender, so I am able to get more of the surface area of the food I’m blending. Try my super popular Basil Pesto Hummus.
Mandolin Slicer – Perfect for cutting fruits and veggies into small pieces for salads, pickling and baking. I use my mandolin to slice apples very thin for my Apple Roses.
Electric Kettle – Mine sits out on the counter because I use it every day to make my cup of French press coffee. I also use it to heat water quickly for tea.
Quesadilla Maker – The first birthday gift my husband ever gave me! I like to joke about this, because at the time, we had only been dating about 6 months and I was expecting some sort of jewelry. But no, he gave this foodie a quesadilla maker. We use it all the time. Think of it like a panini press for tortillas.
Hot Air Popcorn Popper – Another birthday present from my husband and probably my favorite kitchen appliance. I LOVE popcorn and we eat it all the time. This machine makes it so easy to have freshly popped corn using no oil or butter. I air pop it and then add my own butter to taste.
Inspiralizer – One that I use less often, but still get decent usage out of. I like to make zucchini noodles here and there for an extra veggie punch.
Bread Machine – One more gift from my husband (Christmas present). Can you tell he knows me all to well? I use this all the time to make freshly baked bread. It also has a dough cycle, which I use to make bagels and rolls.
Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven – I bought this pot solely for use in my recipe videos, but the more I used it, the more I began to love it. It’s great for soups, stocks, casseroles, mashed potatoes, pretty much anything.
Slow Cooker – Now some of you may think that since I have an Instant Pot on my list, that I shouldn’t also have a slow cooker. I disagree. I’ve used my Instant Pot with the slow cooking function that it has, and it is not great for this purpose. The lid locks shut and it gets WAY too hot. I prefer just the old fashioned slow cooker for these types of recipes.
BASIC KITCHEN ESSENTIALS
Calphalon Nonstick Cookware Set – This is the set of pots and pans we put on our wedding registry. It’s relatively non-expensive (compared to other high end brands) and works great. Heats evenly and cooks well. We have a set of about 10 different pots and I use most of them frequently!
Wüsthof Knifes – Ahh, amazing. These were also on our registry. Before, I had a crummy set of knives that constantly needed to be sharpened. These Wustof knives are sharp, well-weighted and slice easily. They are expensive, but worth the investment. Every kitchen should have a high quality chef’s knife.
Wooden Chef’s Board – If you have good knives, then you need to have a good cutting board. I use a large butcher block board for fruits and veggies.
Plastic Cutting Board – A plastic cutting board is essential for cutting raw meats.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer – A present from my mom for my bridal shower, my mixer is the center of attention in my kitchen. I have the bright red color and I use it for making pasta, dough, shredding chicken, whipping cream and mashing potatoes.
Toaster Oven – When I first moved in with my husband, he had a toaster oven. I had always grown up with just a toaster and didn’t like that the toaster oven had to sit out on the counter all the time. I didn’t understand it’s purpose. But I slowly came to my senses when I realized what it could do. Not only does it toast breads, but it reheats food as well. Much better tasting than the microwave.
Fine Mesh Strainer – These are great to have for rinsing small things like peas and beans that could slip through a colander.
Colanders – Great for draining pasta and rinsing large pieces of fruit or vegetables.
Silicone Muffin and Cupcake Pans – Muffin tins are an essential for every kitchen, but these are silicone! Meaning you don’t need to use paper muffin cups and the muffins/cupcakes pop right out of their mold.
Nonstick Baking Sheet Set – Baking sheets are a necessity for every kitchen and can be using for roasting veggies and meats.
Cuisinart Automatic Burr Mill – I’m a big fan of French press coffee, and to make it properly, a coffee grinder is a necessity. French press creates a smooth, rich cup of coffee.
French Press Coffee Maker – This is my favorite French press coffee maker. It’s rose gold and beautiful!
Salad Spinner – Great for getting the excess water out of a head of lettuce. You can save money by buying a whole head of lettuce and chopping it yourself versus buying pre washed/chopped lettuce.
Glass Baking Dishes – These are also essential for every kitchen for baking casseroles and pasta dishes.
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!
Karen Ching says
I definitely need that coffee grinder! :)
I got my French Press, but I wish I had the Rose Gold color, I’ve never seen one before ;( I’m jealous.. haha
Thanks for sharing these kitchen essentials, I’d love to have them all if I could.
Monica C. Barrera says
You just talked about all essential kitchen things.
This helps me so much!
Thank you so much!