When it comes to kitchen equipment, my mantra is less is more. This list covers my favorite kitchen utensils and equipment for everyday cooking! The checklist has all the necessary tools for your new or updated kitchen, without any of the fluff!
The truth is, I'm a minimalist when it comes to my kitchen cookware. Despite having a fair amount of storage (for a NYC apartment) and very generous friends who gift me gadgets and gizmos galore, I stick to the same few essentials everyday.
If this sounds like you, and you're trying to figure out the things you'll need for your new (or updated) kitchen, then let's jump right in.
The Chef Knife
I have several different brands of knives in my kitchen, but the one I use everyday is my Messermeister chef knife. It is impeccably sharp, precise, and well made. It is beautiful too, with a comfortable olive wood handle. I have used and loved it everyday for 3 years now with no sign of wear or tear.
The Paring Knife
For my paring knife, I turn to the Japanese brand Shun. They are masters of eloquence and sleek, subtle design. While I have a complete knife set from them, this little one is easily my favorite for how light and versatile it is.
The Serated Knife
Surprisingly, I use a serated knife fairly often for slicing bread, tomatoes, grapefruits, etc. My mother-in-law gifted me this knife and it's truly exceptional.
I also like that it's small and much less cumbersome then other larger serated knives which are hard to maneuver.
While I know that the knives I use are more expensive, I firmly believe that this is kitchen category you should invest in. Buying good quality knives makes cooking easier and more fun, and not to mention safer.
The Pot I Use Everyday
My most beloved pot is HANDS DOWN my Staub Cocotte. I received it as a wedding gift and I've probably used it 600x since for everything from making soups to frying doughnuts to boiling pasta and beyond.
It is the perfect everyday heavy, lidded pot and I couldn't recommend it more.
The Best Silicone Spatula
When I worked at Food52, I discovered the GIR silicone spatula, which is heat-proof and so comfy to cook with. These spatulas are very sturdy and break up ground meat with ease. They also don't get hot quickly and they come with a lifetime guarantee. Winning!
I have the mini, skinny, and ultimate size and recommend getting a few for your kitchen.
In an effort to be environmentally conscious and not waste, we don't use single-use plastic in our family. I love these silicone lids or the GIR brand ones. I use them to cover pans when cooking (to steam) and also to cover bowls with leftovers in them.
Again, to prevent from using plastic wrap, we use food huggers. They're great when you've got half a lemon or a chunk of avocado you want to save.
I cannot stress how comfortable deli containers are for people who cook often. They stack perfectly on top of one another in the fridge and are the ideal size for a little bit or a lotta bit of leftovers! I have tons of different glass and plastic containers but I always gravitate towards these.
Please note these are VERY reusable and should be properly washed and used hundreds of times.
The literal only thing you need to roast things in the oven. This half-sheet pan is the most comfortable size, fits a lot of food, and conducts heat evenly. I find the Nordic brand to be very durable compared to others and really like the quality of their pans.
I line mine with If You Care parchment paper to prevent mess + sticking.
The Best Nonstick Pan
When it comes to cooking eggs in the morning, you can't beat a nonstick pan. I love the Greenpan brand for several reasons. It's ceramic, scratch-resistant and has a corrosion-resistant coating. The pans are also free of PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadium.
There is a lot of research around nonstick pans and I do not claim to be an expert in them, but these pans are what I feel safest using for my family!
The Best Cast-Iron Pan
The other pan that I use very often for searing (and heating things like quesadillas up quickly) is a cast-iron. My husband Brandon is actually obsessed with vintage cast-iron pans, so we have quite a few. The one we use everyday is a vintage Wagner #8 pan.
The Spider Strainer
While I'll often use a regular colander for draining things, sometimes I just want to remove the actual item I'm cooking. A spider strainer is the perfect tool for this and I find myself reaching for it very often! I use it for pasta when I want to save the water, or if I'm frying something in batches and I want to keep the oil.
The Pint Size Wide Mouth Ball Jars
I use these ball jars for storing leftovers, packing lunches, shaking up dressings, making overnight oats, and everything in between. They are really comfortable because they have a very wide opening which makes scoop things in or out easy. I also find the pint size to be more reasonable than the larger (32oz) tall jars.
A mini whisk is critical for making dressings, whisking eggs, and preparing a tiny batch of cookies.
Kidding about that last one, kind of.
I use a microplane surprisingly often for grating parmesan on top of pasta (we're a big parm family), zesting lemons and limes, and grating fresh nutmeg. It's a MUST!
Nice-to-haves, not need-to-haves
The kitchen tools and equipment listed above is what I use most often. Here are some other items I use every now and again:
The Vitamix: I love that the vitamix is so versatile. I've used it to blend soups, make creamy nut butters, grind coffee or flour, and lots of other cool things. That being said, you can also just buy an $89 blender and be just fine.
The Stand Mixer: The KitchenAid mixer is a wonderful addition to any kitchen counter, especially if you get it in the pistachio color like me. It's just so pretty! I use it to bake pretty often, but you could buy a cheap hand mixer and get by with that for most things!
The Baking Steel: The pros of the baking steel are that it's the only way you're going to make really f*&(n good pizza at home. The cons are that it's heavy and I don't use it for too many other things. But. Pizza.
These are the main kitchen utensils and equipment that I love and use. I hope you'll find some inspiration as you build out your own kitchen must-haves. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below.