I want to get right to list but need to mention a few things before jumping in.
First, I want this list to be helpful for a few different types of people. Maybe you're single and starting from scratch with cooking supplies. Maybe you're someone who is just learning how to cook and you're overwhelmed by all the kitchen gadget options out there. Maybe you have lots of stuff and just want to fill your kitchen with more stuff or you just want to be a minimalist. Regardless, this list was not targeted at the top chef with years of culinary experience. However, if you are that person, I encourage you to read this post and let me know what you think you would have on your list for someone who is a beginner or has some cooking experience.
Second, this is a list of must-haves aside from your regular pots and pans. I’m not going to go into what specific pieces I use but I will say I prefer the non-stick coated ones.
Lastly, I cheated a bit and grouped some supplies into one "item" for the sake of keeping this list short and to the point. Now to the list, which is in no particular order.
Proper Kitchen Knife and Paring Knife
Sanotku - My knife of choice is the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star II 5.5” Hollow Edge Santoku Knife. You can find my exact knife on Amazon. Otherwise, they have it on their website but it is now a 5 inch model instead of 5.5 inch. I LOVE this knife because I have small hands (they have larger sizes as well) and it can be used for everything. I know it's a splurge but this is still the first knife I reach for in the kitchen six years later.
Paring Knife - The other knife I use is a paring knife I bought from Marshall's or TJ Maxx. I linked to a similar one on Amazon so you can see what it looks like but I'd recommend actually going to Marshall's or TJ Maxx to find one. I don't think I spent more than $10 on mine. This knife is great for peeling fruits and cutting small quantities.
I know buying a fancy knife set sounds like a smart and exciting idea but unless you plan to regularly use every single knife in your set, it is really not a good investment.
Other Cutting Tools
Peeler - This is the peeler I have (you might be able to get it cheaper at Target depending on price fluctuations) and I prefer it over the swivel kind just because I can peel things faster with it.
Standing Grater - Make sure yours has different cuts on all four sides for more versatile cooking.
Non-Slip Cutting Boards
I recommend having at least two larger ones. I don't know what brand ours is but this is a similar option.
Digital Meat Thermometer
Checking the temperature of your meat to avoid illness is essential. A lot of my friends talk about how cooking any type of meat is intimidating to them and I think this is a great solution to getting over your "fear" of undercooking or overcooking it. We have a very expensive thermometer but this one would be a great option also.
-Silicone Spatula - I love it because it won't scratch my pots and pans. Just don't use this for making candy or caramels. For projects like that you'll want the wooden spoon.
-Turner - I prefer these to be stiff, non-flexible material.
-Silicone Tongs - Just silicone EVERYTHING so you don't scratch your pots and pans! 😃 I believe Williams Sonoma has tongs that match the silicone spatula I linked to.
I am not in any way affiliated with Pampered Chef so this is not me trying to get you to join a party, join a company, help me get free stuff, etc. This is one of the few items I have ever purchased on my own from Pampered Chef and I do not regret it one bit. I've gone through three other can openers that either broke or didn't open cans effectively. This one works properly every. single. time. without leaving any sharp edges. Next time you want to roll your eyes when a someone invites you to one of these parties, just go and spend the $20ish dollars on this can opener. 100% worth it.
I got rid of mine when I moved in with Luke but I wish I had kept it! It was a cheap one from IKEA but surprisingly it worked way better than the one we have now. Make sure you clean it with hot water immediately after use because garlic gets crusty and hard to remove if it sits too long.
I have a set of Pyrex bowls (with lids) that are great for mixing and prepping things ahead of time. Storing greens like lettuce and spinach in any glass Pyrex container makes them last much longer than they would in plastic.
Non-Stick Sheet Pans
These are essential for prepping large quantities of roasted veggies! I always line mine with parchment paper for easy clean up.
If you can afford to buy a blender and a food processor, I highly recommend that you do! Ask someone in your family for a hand-me-down or check out a thrift store to try and get one second-hand. The Magic Bullet is also a great alternative.
Here's a short list of splurge or other items that I didn't want to put on this list because they aren't exactly necessary:
Kitchen Aid Mixer - I like to bake but we also use it for shredding meat! Costco usually has a good deal on these around the holidays.
Food Processor - So handy if you can afford it! Mine was a hand-me-down but it works great.
Wooden Artisan Cutting Board - Because it's a fancy upgrade to any kitchen and it serves two purposes: prepping and serving. Shoutout to Michael's Woodcraft for the beautiful board I got Luke for his birthday!
Microplane Zester - You can use your grater for zesting but the microplane zester is able to get you a much finer zest. I linked to the one I bought. Looking back, I wish I had bought one that was a little bit better quality but for how often we use it, the one I bought works just fine.
People who know me will wonder why I didn't list the Presto skillets that Luke and I use for cooking pretty much EVERYTHING. One reason is that we still do have to use pots and pans for other things! Another reason is that I wanted this list to reflect me and what my journey and experience in the kitchen was like before I moved in with my partner. That being said, tailor your kitchen supplies to your specific needs. My list is just the bare essentials that I started with when I began cooking and still couldn't live without. I think it might be fun to post a list of Luke's must-haves sometime...Maybe I'll do that since he does get a lot of questions about what he uses for meal prepping. ;)
What kitchen supplies are a must have for you or that you could not live without?
***Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a link that takes you to their site and you purchase something, a little bit of that purchase does come my way. That being said, I have linked to several items on Amazon and they are either exactly what I purchased or they are listed for the sake of having an example of what I own because I don't actually know where some of the items I have came from or they aren't available anymore. If I link to an item on Amazon but purchased it elsewhere, that is noted. I'm not affiliated with or sponsored by any other company.