You need to outfit your kitchen because, well, you don’t plan on eating out or ordering takeout for the rest of your life. The good news is you don’t need special kitchen appliances, such as a food processor, stand mixer, or blender to make great food at home. The bad news is you do need certain gear. Here’s a checklist to get you started.
Illustration Fruzsina Kuhári.
#10 A Fire Extinguisher
Least sexy — and hopefully least needed — kitchen tool of all: a fire extinguisher. I think we can all agree this is a no-brainer. Also: Know how to put out a kitchen fire, whether you have an extinguisher or not.
#9 Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups
When following recipes, you’re going to need measuring cups and spoons — and mixing bowls come in handy too. Have these essential tools at the ready by mounting them in your kitchen cabinets. At the very least you’ll want to make consistent measurements whenever you cook, perhaps even by using drawn measurements on clear food storage containers.
#8 Quality Tea Towels
Germy as they are, tea towels are the stalwarts of the kitchen. They wipe off counters, cover rising bread dough, chill wine fast and can even substitute for oven mitts and potholders. (But we suggest splurging on pot holders too.)
#7 A Colander
How are you going to drain your pasta, filter out cereal dust, collect drip-free ice, or make Thai sticky rice without a colander? This multi-purpose tool belongs in every kitchen. People who have worked in restaurant kitchens agree.
That moment when you first use a tong is special. Suddenly you have powers you never had before, like pulling hot dogs, flipping chicken breasts without getting burned, squeezing the last bit of juice out of a lemon and getting an item off of a shelf too high to reach otherwise.
You already have a knife, so why do you need scissors in the kitchen? Basically, convenience and time savings. Kitchen shears can slice pizza more easily and quickly chop up herbs.
Some foods require you to use a thermometer for the best results. For example, when deep frying or sous-viding foods, making candy, or figuring out if a roast is done. Cooking is science, so you want to make sure you’re getting the most accurate and precise temperature when cooking.
#3 Cutting Board
You’re going to need a cutting board too. The Sweethome found that the best cutting board is the Prepworks Cutting Board — less than a $US20 ($27) investment. If you get a wood cutting board and maintain it with oil every month, the cutting board can serve you and look good all year round.
#2 Pots & Pans
Cookware is also an obvious choice when stocking your kitchen, but that doesn’t mean choosing those pots and pans is easy. Avoid rookie pots shopping mistakes, don’t worry about burnt enamel on the pans, and focus on the main types of pans you’ll need: a stainless steel pan, a nonstick pan, a cast iron skillet, and a big pot or Dutch oven for soups and stews. Heck, you can even use a wok.
You only need four types of knives in your kitchen, perhaps carbon steel knives. It’s fine if you want to upgrade your kitchen knife collection. However, the most important thing is to stick with the basics and remember to keep your knives in good condition. You’ll work more safely and efficiently in the kitchen as a result.
We left out so many cool and useful kitchen tools here, like the fish spatula, bench scraper, kitchen scale, Dutch oven, rice cooker and more. Still, the list above is a decent enough starter kitchen (sans microwave and toaster, of course). Add on for your own cooking needs.