10 Items Everyone Should Have in Their Kitchen
I am one of those people who will buy any and all kitchen gadgets and accessories. And use them maybe once. But at least I have them! In case I ever need them! Kitchen stuff is my weakness. I spend a lot of time cooking, so it’s the one area of the house where I don’t like to skimp. I like to have the good stuff, but the good stuff can be pricey. If you’re looking to stock your kitchen with some basics, these must-have kitchen items are a great place to start. There’s no much you can’t make with this stuff in your arsenal.
1. First up, you need a solid cutting board. This is an essential entry on the must-have kitchen items list.
Now, I am firmly Team Wood (LOL) when it comes to cutting boards. Plastic tends to damage easily, allowing bacteria to fester in the grooves. Plus, it’s tough on your knives. I’ve tried bamboo cutting boards, but also found it to be pretty hard on the blades of my knives. I prefer softer, more porous woods like maple or this walnut beauty on Amazon. I have one like this (with the groove around the edge) for meats, and another smaller wooden board for fruit and veg. Make sure you oil it well before using to preserve the wood and seal it. It’ll last you for YEARS.
2. Every kitchen needs a digital meat thermometer.
Unless you’re some kind of wizard, you can’t tell the temperature of your meat without a thermometer. Sure, you can do the ol’ thumb test when cooking a steak. But you have some wiggle room when it comes to red meats. You don’t want to mess around with undercooked poultry. Get a digital thermometer like this one from Amazon, and stop playing “Will I Poison My Family Tonight?” when you roast a chicken.
3. Protect your non-stick pots and pans with silicone utensils.
Metal utensils can scratch the surface of your pots and pans. Use silicone instead, and preserve the coating! Silicone utensils work great, and they can withstand temps of up to 400 degrees. Look for utensils that are one solid piece, like this set on Amazon. There are no grooves or connections for food and gunk to get trapped in.
4. Next up on the list of must-have kitchen items: stainless steel mixing bowls.
You are a grown-up. Therefore, you need mixing bowls. Glass is good, but if you plan on using them with a hand-mixer or immersion blender, they can chip. Stainless steel is the way to go. They’re fridge, freezer, and dishwasher safe. This set on Amazon comes with six different sizes. Plus, they’re pretty enough to double as serving dishes in a pinch.
5. I know herb scissors seem like a want, not a need, but you’ll have to trust me on this.
First of all, you should be using fresh herbs in most of your dishes (dried are fine for soups and stews that cook for a long time). Fresh herbs have a much more delicate flavor, and bring a lot of complexity to any dish. But, they’re a pain-in-the-ass to cut or chop. Enter: herb scissors. A couple of snips is all it takes, and you’ve got the perfect finish to your dish. You can also use them to cut kale, lettuce, peppers, whatever.
6. Bake a lot? Then you need silicone baking mats.
Is there anything worse than cookies that are stuck to the pan? Say goodbye to scraping all your hard work into the trash with these silicone baking mats. These are AMAZING. I use them anytime I bake something. Just a note: the silicone tends to absorb flavors, so I have separate sets for sweet and savory foods.
7. A kitchen essential: the cast iron skillet.
My cast iron skillet gets the most use out of any of the many pots and pans I own. Mine was passed down from my dad, who got it from his dad, and it is still in pristine condition. We’re talking like … 80 years of cooking. This one by Lodge is preseasoned, so you can start using it right away. And you’ll use it for EVERYTHING.
8. This is one of those must-have kitchen items that you could technically do without, but shouldn’t: a dutch oven.
Dutch ovens are designed for slow, stove-top cooking. We’re talking stews, braises, roasts, that kind of thing. You cannot and will not replicate the flavor you get out of something you cook for hours in a dutch oven. And listen, I KNOW Le Creuset is expensive as fuck. I know! But you get what you pay for, and what you’re paying for is the absolute best line of cast iron cookware you can buy. Splurge on one for yourself, trust me.
9. You need a garlic press. Obviously.
Who wants to painstakingly mince garlic by hand?! It needs to go in most dishes, but it’s a pain. Get yourself a high-grade, professional garlic press. This one is easy to use and easy to clean.
10.Finally, cut down on prep time with a handy mandoline slicer.
Not everyone has the knife skills of a professional chef. But you can get even, perfect slices of just about anything on a mandoline slicer. It cuts down on prep time, and actually helps your cooking (evenly-sized pieces of food cook at the same temp and rate). PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WARNING: use the goddamn handle it comes with. I have this exact model, and lost a little chunk of my thumb once because I was lazy and didn’t use it. But I still love my damn mandoline.
This list of must-have kitchen items isn’t complete, by any means. But it’s a great start! Whether you’re starting from scratch or just need to add some essentials to your collection, every kitchen needs these items.