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This post is all about kitchen essentials.

kitchen essentials list

Welcome to the heart of every home – the kitchen! Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner cook, having the right kitchen tools can make all the difference in your cooking experience. Without these essentials, your life in the kitchen will be much harder and so much less enjoyable than having stocked and ready cabinets and drawers.

In this post, we’re diving into the world of kitchen essentials – those must-have items that every kitchen should be stocked with, no matter who you are. I’m no expert at cooking or baking, but I’ve had my fair share of test runs with different kitchen essentials. I’m just here to share with you the list of kitchen items that I could absolutely never live without.

From lasting cookware to handy gadgets and everything in between, together we’ll explore the kitchen essentials that will help you whip up delicious meals with ease. So, grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

This post is all about the best kitchen essentials checklist.


1. Chopper

I absolutely love this chopper and can not say enough good things about it!! If I had just one kitchen essential to choose, it would definitely be this.

I have bought it for so many friends as gifts and all of them love it just as much as I do! It saves so much time and makes chopping and cutting vegetables 100x easier.

2. Cutting boards

Cutting boards are a necessity no matter what your level of expertise is in the kitchen. Having a variety of sizes is also very nice depending on how much space you need or what you’re cooking.

3. Grater

I’m going to be honest, I don’t use my grater that often because I typically will just buy pre-shredded cheese, but if you want to be fancy, get a cheese grater!

This is perfect for topping off dishes or if you want to freshly grate your cheese yourself.

4. Can opener

If you don’t think you eat food from cans a lot, think again. A lot of things come in cans, from soup to tomato paste to vegetables and you’ll definitely find a need for a can opener sooner than later.

5. Dry measuring cups & spoons

Especially if you prefer baking over cooking, you’ll 100% dry measuring cups. This is something anyone who cooks or bakes at all is likely to use at least once or twice a week.

You may also know the teaspoon and tablespoon hack with regular spoons, but measuring spoons take the guesswork out of that. Measuring spoons are not anything that needs to be fancy either; this is something that you can get for your kitchen for pretty cheap in kitchen essentials amazon!

6. Liquid measuring cups

Same thing can be said for liquid measuring cups as dry measuring cups. They’re very necessary and why they’re toward the top of the kitchen essentials list!

7. Vegetable peeler

Peeling vegetables is impossible without a vegetable peeler, so make sure your kitchen is stocked with one!

8. Mixing bowls

Mixing bowls are another necessity for the experienced or the newbie baker. Mixing bowls are a great kitchen essentials set that is so easy to find.

9. Strainer/collander

You can’t make pasta without a strainer, and who doesn’t love pasta?? I have so many strainers just because they’re so cheap and you can find them so easily. They also come in all different sizes depending on how much pasta you’re making.

10. Salad spinner

Not only are salad spinners on the kitchen essentials list because they’re necessary, but they’re also so fun to use! I don’t eat salads that often honestly, but when I do it’s so nice to have my salad spinner ready to use. It just makes it feel so much cleaner and healthier.

11. Kitchen scissors

You may be thinking that you have other scissors so why do you need specific kitchen scissors? But trust me… you do.

Kitchen scissors are so much stronger than regular scissors and it’s nice to have separate scissors to use on food. I think it’s pretty gross for food to touch the scissors I use everyday.

12. Hand-held juicer

Fresh lime and lemon juice (and more!) is so much easier to get out of fruit with little juicers like this one. If you prefer fresh juice than store bought, a cheap handheld juicer is super smart to get.

13. Garlic press

I use store bought minced garlic honestly so I don’t even know if I have one of these, but I think a garlic press is necessary for more experienced cooks.

If you’re like me and don’t care to buy and mince your own garlic, you may not need one of these! But it’s definitely a kitchen essential for lots of people.

14. Knife sharpener

You have to keep your knives sharp otherwise you’ll start getting so angry when you try to cut food and it doesn’t cut easily.

Knife sharpeners are so easy to use and honestly super satisfying. This’ll save you time and money in the long run, too, with not having to buy new knives or cut things for triple the amount of time than you need to.

15. Rolling pin

Super necessary for bakers!! If you don’t like to bake, disregard this kitchen essential. But if you love to bake, definitely get a rolling pin!

16. Sifter

This one is also not super necessary for people who are anti-bakers. You can definitely make successful dishes without a sifter, but your life will be so much easier if you have a sifter on hand.


17. Knives

A good knife set is one of the best kitchen essentials! Having good knives will do wonders for making anything in the kitchen so much easier to do.

18. Silverware Set

Not only is silverware an absolute kitchen essential, but there are so many fun silverware sets out there to find! I have used gold and black sets before instead of silver and I love them.

19. Spatulas

All different types of spatulas are super important for baking and cooking alike. This is a kitchen essential you’ll desperately need.

20. Stir spoons

You of course need stir spoons for anything cooking in a pot! Plastic or wooden spoons will work just fine, but I prefer wooden spoons for cooking and baking.

21. Tongs

Tongs are great for making sheet pan meals and they’re necessary for grilling! Living in Wisconsin and being the queen of sheet pan meals, I use my kitchen tongs all the time.

22. Ladle

Ladles are a soup season necessity. I won’t lie, you probably won’t use a ladle if you’re not making soup or chili. If you love a nice cozy meal like that though, you need a ladle!

23. Pastry brush

You may be thinkin, why is a pastry brush on a list of kitchen essentials for new home? But trust me, you’ll be using this pastry brush for much more than just pastries.

It’s also super helpful for using any sort of sauce or dressing!

24. Ice cream scoop

Because who doesn’t love ice cream?? An ice cream scoop was one of the very first things I bought for my first apartment. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to someone’s house or apartment and they haven’t had an ice cream scoop.

25. Pizza cutter

Same thing for a pizza cutter as with an ice cream. If you ever plan on making a pizza (which is everyone right?), then you need a pizza cutter!

26. Cookie dough scooper

Cookies can always be made without a cookie dough scoop, but they make the cookie baking process so much easier and faster. And they’ll make your cookie making experience so much more fun!

27. Meat masher

This is another thing that may be perfectly doable without one, but cooking any ground meat will be so much easier with a meat masher. I never had a meat masher in an apartment, but I actually made sure to buy one right away when I moved into a house.

28. Whisks

If you like to bake or make homemade dressing or sauces, you need a whisk! They may be a little bit difficult to clean but they’re so fun to use and can probably be used for way more than you think.

29. Meat thermometer

I have some friends who are soo scared to not cook food all the way through and get sick, and they absolutely swear by a meat thermometer now. If you’re like my friends or if you aren’t, a meat thermometer just makes cooking meat so much easier and (honestly) less stressful lol.

30. Zester

A little zest makes any dish look 10x fancier than it actually is! It may not be an absolute essential to lots of people, but you can make it for dishes, cocktails, desserts, and so much more! Sounds like an essential to me.

31. Potato masher

If anything, a potato masher is essential for Thanksgiving haha. If you’re going to make mashed potatoes, there’s no way to get them silky and smooth without a potato masher.

And from someone who loves mashed potatoes, I 10/10 recommend a potato masher.

32. Meat mallet

Have you ever had to crunch up cookies or croutons and you don’t know what to use? Well this is what I typically use a meat mallet for!

Sure, you can use meat mallets for what they’re actually meant for, but they can also be used to make crumbs or something else which is super useful.


33. Pots & pans set

Obviously you need pots and pans!! I don’t think I could go one day without cooking a meal that required using at least some sort of pot or pan. I would consider pots one of the minimalist kitchen essentials because of how much you’ll use a set like these ones.

34. Cast-iron skillet

The one thing I love to use my cast-iron skillet for is one huge chocolate chip cookie lol. You have to try it if you haven’t already!!

Cast-iron skillets may be a little bit expensive but they’re definitely worth it in the long run. They’ll last you forever and there’s so much you can do with them.

35. Muffin tin

Muffin tins are necessary for baking, but they can also be used for other things (like many other kitchen essentials!). I’ve used muffin tins to make egg bites before and they worked beautifully! If you want to get creative with your meals and meal prepping, a muffin tin is a really great way to do it.

36. Cooling racks

I don’t know if it’s just me but I love using cooling racks! I feel so fancy using them. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what their purpose is exactly but I know they help with baking which is great for people who love baking.

37. Baking sheets

You’ll definitely be utilizing baking sheets probably more than you think. Sheet pan meals are suchhh an easy meal idea as well and all you need for it is a baking sheet! I would consider baking pans a kitchen essential just for that reason.


38. Blender

I absolutely love smoothies and really only use my blender for that, but what else do you even need it for?

One of the top things I would put on the kitchen essentials for new apartment list is a single serve blender. This will do the trick for all your blender needs, trust me. It’ll also save you space!

39. Instant Pot

An Instant Pot will be a life-changer for you, especially if you’re in college or just a super busy person! I will never live without an Instant Pot again. It may even be more important than a blender for me.

40. Hand mixer

I think, even if you don’t love to bake, that having a hand mixer is a super big kitchen essential. It’s so useful for simple baking and makes the whole mixing process for anything so much easier.

Especially if you’re a mom and only really bake a few times a year, this’ll make your life and baking experience so much better.

41. Stand mixer

This is an awesome appliance if you ARE a big baker! Stand mixers are a great investment as well because they’ll last you sooo long. And they’re super pretty!


42. Plates and bowls

This is an obvious one… you need plates! This is one of the best kitchen essentials for first apartment that I would put at the top of my list if I were moving into an apartment for the first time.

These are the plates I bought for my first apartment and they lasted me SO long. I think they’re the perfect first plates and pretty cheap for plates!

43. Glassware

Alllll sorts of glassware are essential for any house or apartment. To start off, I would get a simple cup set. But in the long run, it’s also important to get wine glasses, mugs, pint glasses, etc.

44. Reusable straws

I loveee my reusable straws! I am such a straw girl and I love having metal and glass reusable straws to grab and go. I think it’s an absolute kitchen necessity.

45. Storage containers

Tupperware might be so annoying to store in your kitchen, but how would we store food without them?! You can get tupperware in very large quantities, and I recommend this glass set because they’ll last you so much longer than plastic.

46. Parchment paper, plastic wrap, and tinfoil

One of the best kitchen essentials for new home is stuff like parchment paper, plastic wrap, and tinfoil. Getting this type of stuff right when you move in is a really nice thing to get out of the way.

47. Ziploc bags

Same thing for Ziploc bags as the items mentioned above! This is a super nice thing to just get out of the way right away when moving into a new space.

48. Cookbook

Highly recommend Half Baked Harvest! I adore this cookbook and have never disliked a recipe from it! It’s so good and it’s so fun having a place to easily get dinner ideas from every week.

49. Dish towels & paper towels

Cute dish towels are such a fun thing to buy, especially for different holidays! This isn’t a necessity but having any kind of hand towel is! You’ll go through paper towels (even though these are necessary too) way too quickly if you don’t have dish/hand towels.

50. Sponges

These are necessary for cleaning dishes and wiping up countertops. These can come in bulk which is super nice. Another thing that is nice to get right away when moving in somewhere.

51. Scrubber

Once I hopped on the scrubber train, I never turned back. It’s so nice to have while doing dishes and gets food and stains out of dishes way better than just a sponge can.

52. Dish rack or dish drying mat

Whatever kind of dish rack you want will be so helpful while hand washing dishes! If you don’t want to tag team dishes every time you do them, you’ll absolutely need a dish rack of drying towels.

53. Trash bags

And last but not least, trash bags! Where are you going to put all your trash without trash bags?

And there you have it! Those are all of my absolute kitchen essentials that I could not live without! I really hope this list of kitchen items helps you fully stock and feel extra prepared in your kitchen!

54. Oven mitts

Oven mitts are essential if you ever plan on baking anything in the oven! If you’ve ever tried getting something out of the oven with something other than an oven mitt, you know it’s pretty much impossible.

Oven mitts (like the one above) can also be so cute and double as cute decor for the kitchen.


1. What is a kitchen essential?

Kitchen essentials are anything you need and can’t live without in your kitchen! The kitchen has so many essential items that you absolutely need to feel prepared and ready in your kitchen.

2. What does a kitchen need?

A kitchen needs allll sorts of things! Including appliances, utensils, cookware and bakeware, storage items, and so much more! I’ve included all the essentials in the list above.

3. What food do I need for my first kitchen?

For your first kitchen, I would definitely get any food that is a staple in your life or that you always have in your kitchen. Then go from there! Treat it like any other kitchen you’ve lived in, though.

4. How do you stock a basic kitchen?

In order to stock a pretty basic kitchen, make sure you have all of the essentials, but only the essentials! This’ll keep your kitchen basic but fully stocked.

5. What is considered a fully stocked kitchen?

A fully stocked kitchen has all of the essentials, of course! There’s a ton that goes into a kitchen but having all of the above essentials will help you feel confident and prepared every time you step into your kitchen.

This post is all about kitchen essentials.

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