Whether you need to outfit your whole kitchen with the basic utensils and appliances, or you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen essentials from beginner to home chef approved, we’ve got what you need right here!
From knives, to cookware, to small appliances, to things you didn’t even know you needed, read on to learn our top picks for the must-have kitchen items. Or skip ahead to discover lesser known kitchen tools like a cast iron scrubber, unpaper towels and more.
First up, want to know the best of the best? From the one knife every kitchen needs to the cookware item you can’t live without, here they are!
Our top 5 recommendations for kitchen must-haves
There’s a whole host of essential kitchen tools and appliances below, but we’ve rounded up the best of the best if you just want to cut straight to it!
- The most essential multipurpose knife: Victorinox 4 Inch Swiss Classic Serrated Knife
- The most essential measuring tool: Squish Collapsible Measuring Cups
- The most essential appliance to deal with food waste: Lomi Kitchen Composter
- The most essential cookware item: Ozeri Stone Earth All-in-One Sauce Pan
- The most essential item you didn’t know you needed: Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
Essential kitchen tools for food prep
While there are a lot of specialty kitchen tools for those who are really serious about the culinary arts, there are also a number of essentials that anyone who is going to be making their own food needs. And here are ten of them!
Made from dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, moisture-resistant bamboo fiber, these mixing bowls come in seven different sizes so all your mixing needs will be covered. Plus, because bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials in the world - purchasing products made from it is a vote for environmental stewardship.
Price: $79.99 USD
Why you need this: Once these mixing bowls have surpassed their life cycle, they’ll fully biodegrade - leaving zero waste.
If your kitchen is small or you just love items that store easily, these collapsible measuring cups are super handy. Fold them down when not in use, pop them open when you’re in the mood to make something. They’re also super affordable, because you shouldn’t have to spend a ton of money on measuring cups!
Price: $9.87 USD
Why you need this: Comes with four different cup sizes ranging from 1/4 cup to 1 cup, meaning you get just the right amount of cups for all your basic food prep.
Every kitchen needs measuring spoons, but wouldn’t it be cool if you measure everything from 1/8 teaspoon to a full tablespoon with only two tools? With KitchenArt’s adjustable measuring spoons, you can! With a small spoon for all measurements under a teaspoon, and a larger one for all measurements above, you won’t need to be fussing around searching for the right size.
Price: $9.80 USD
Why you need this: Made of top-rack dishwasher-safe plastic, so cleanup is a breeze.
Sheet pan, baking sheet, cooking sheet - call it what you want, but if you’re going to be cooking anything from deep dish pizza to french fries to cookies, you’re going to need one! This silicone-coated sheet pan is one of only a few nonstick pans that is safe to use with metal utensils. It’s also dishwasher safe and warp-resistant, because no one likes a bent baking sheet!
Price: $17.99 USD
Why you need this: Even though it’s high performing, it’s still cost effective compared to other, higher-end cooking sheets.
This perfectly-sized 18 inch by 12 inch cutting board gives you the power of bamboo without the price tag that often comes with it. Its smooth surface is gentle on your knives, yet the board is hearty enough to withstand all your chopping needs. Plus, this board’s beautiful two-toned design will look great on your kitchen counter.
Price: $29.99 USD
Why you need this: Bamboo cutting boards may require a little extra work, such as handwashing, but being able to cut your food on a non-toxic, natural surface is totally worth it.
A small, lightweight serrated knife is an absolute kitchen must-have. Whether you’re slicing a tomato for a BLT, prepping chicken for stir fry or prefer your apples sliced to whole, you’ll be reaching for this knife again and again.
Price: $9.99 USD
Why you need this: While a large serrated knife can sometimes feel intimidating, this petite one by Victorinox is the perfect size for all your everyday slicing and chopping needs.
While you might think any old rolling pin will do the job of flattening dough for pastries, pizza dough and more, there is actually a way to ensure the job goes as smoothly as possible. A marble rolling pin may be heavy, but that’s actually why it’s so great. The weight cuts down on the amount of work you have to do. Plus, it’s so pretty!
Price: $19.96 USD
Why you need this: It comes with a wooden stand, which has both a functional purpose as well as an aesthetic one, as it helps you display your beautiful marble rolling pin.
Nobody likes a dull surface when they’re trying to cook, which is why Cuisipro’s ultra sharp four-sided box grater is a breeze to use. Its holes are etched rather than stamped, which is how it retains its sharpness. Whether you’re grating carrots or shredding cheese, this grater will get the job done.
Price: $37.98 USD
Why you need this: Its 25 year warranty should give you confidence in the fact that this box grater was built to last.
There is no kitchen mishap more frustrating than when your food sticks to your frying pan. Which is why you have to have a nonstick skillet - even if you aren’t a serious cook. This nonstick skillet has a beautiful wood-look and its Swiss ILAG coating will ensure you never have to scrape your culinary creation off the bottom of your pan.
Price: $13.99 USD
Why you need this: It comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from 7 inches to 12 inches, so buy a few and you’ll always have the exact nonstick skillet you need.
If you don’t want just any old casserole dish and would prefer something you could hand down to future generations, this stunning piece by the well-respected French brand Le Creuset is perfect. Its oven-safe lid means you can cover your cooking creations as needed, whether that be while baking or while in transit to a potluck.
Price: $130 USD
Why you need this: It comes in a wide range of beautiful colors, such as Ocean, Nectar and Olive, so you’ll be able to find one that suits your kitchen’s style perfectly.
Essential kitchen utensils for home chefs
You may not be a pro, but you’re pretty close! Being a home chef means having all the right tools at the ready at all times. Because you never know when you’re going to need a chef’s knife, a stock pot or a dutch oven.
While a serrated knife is great for slicing and chopping, a paring knife works best for peeling or any other more delicate kitchen work. The Kyocera paring knife is made from proprietary zirconia, which is a very hard Japanese ceramic, meaning it stays sharper longer when compared to stainless steel blades.
Price: $19.95 USD
Why you need this: When it’s time to sharpen your blade, you can send it to Kyocera and they’ll do it for you.
Soup, roasted chicken, bread - is there anything you can’t cook in a dutch oven? The answer is pretty much nothing! This beautiful dutch oven by Tennessee-based brand Lodge has a slightly tapered bottom to bring liquid to a boil more quickly and its wide handles make it easy to put in and take out of the oven.
Price: $79.90 USD
Why you need this: A high-quality classic dutch oven can cost well into the hundreds. Meanwhile this model does the job just as well, but at a very reasonable price.
One of the most important factors when you’re deciding which chef’s knife to purchase is the type. While a Western chef’s knife tends to be thick and heavy, a Japanese-style knife is lighter and thinner. Then there’s a German-style chef’s knife like this one by Wusthof, which has a curved blade that allows for rocking while cutting and mincing.
Price: $170 USD
Why you need this: This knife’s weight makes prepping denser foods like sweet potatoes and other root vegetables a breeze.
We’ve already talked about a serrated knife, a paring knife and a chef’s knife, but what about a bread knife? A bread knife is a must for anyone who prefers cutting their own bread to buying it pre-sliced and this blade by Mercer won’t disappoint - whether slicing into a homemade sourdough or a baguette fresh from the bakery.
Price: $14.00 USD
Why you need this: It comes in twelve different colors, because who said bread knives need to be basic black?
Everyone who's ever had pepper from a pepper mill knows, the flavor is well worth the additional effort of grinding the peppercorns yourself. This mill’s super consistent grind is thanks to its two-stage grinding mechanism, which first breaks open the peppercorn, then grinds it more finely.
Price: $59.00 USD
Why you need this: The grind-size selector is easy to use, meaning you can quickly adjust the size of your pepper granules.
If you want to make a large amount of stock at once, this stock pot by Tramontina can handle 16 quarts of liquid at a time - that’s a whopping 64 cups! Making your own stock is a hallmark of a home chef and thanks to this pot’s dishwasher-safe construction, cleanup is a cinch.
Price: $95.96 USD
Why you need this: It’s oven safe up to 500 F, so roasting vegetables or meat in the oven before transferring the stock pot to the stovetop is totally doable.
An environmentally-friendly saute pan? Yes please! Its stoneware coating is free of all toxic chemicals and its magnetized base means faster heat transfer, which equals quicker cooking. It’s also resistant to scratching and sticking - as all good saute pans should be.
Price: $38.40 USD
Why you need this: This saute pan has a large capacity, which makes it great for big families.
Not much in the culinary world beats a perfectly-seasoned cast iron skillet and this one by Victoria does not disappoint. It comes pre-seasoned, so you can continue to add layers of flavor on your own. And unlike some models, it’s relatively lightweight. Because cooking shouldn’t require heavy lifting.
Price: $18.95 USD
Why you need this: It’s pre-seasoned with non-GMO certified kosher flaxseed oil and contains no harmful PTFEs or PFOAs.
In a regular kitchen, you may need a pot or two. But in a home chef’s kitchen? You’re going to need a whole lot more to tackle all your creativity has to offer. This 10-piece cookware set comes with an 8” and a 10” frying pan, two smaller sauce pans with lids, a larger sauce pan with lid and a stock pot - also with a lid.
Price: $330.21 USD
Why you need this: This cookware set is compatible with all cooktops, including induction, and is oven-safe up to 500 F.
Keep your fingers safe when peeling fruits and veggies with this two-piece set that includes a straight peeler and a julienne peeler. Their Japanese stainless steel blades are rust-proof, their handles are non-slip and both are dishwasher safe.
Price: $16.95 USD
Why you need this: The straight peeler handles potato and apple skins with ease, while the julienne peeler cuts precise strips of carrot, zucchini and more.
Essential kitchen appliances to make your life easier
Thanks to technology, we now live in a world where there’s a helpful kitchen appliance for almost every task. From a food processor to a coffee grinder to an electric composter, we’ve got you and your time-saving appliance needs covered.
A food processor is a must for anyone who takes food prep seriously. And with its excellent design, including built-in space to store its attachments, the Breville Sous Chef is surprisingly easy to use compared to other high-end appliances.
Price: $449.95 USD
Why you need this: Some kitchen appliances are painfully loud, but not this one! You can use your Breville to make early-morning pancakes without having to worry about waking the house.
If reducing food waste is at the top of your mind when it comes to life in your kitchen, electric composter Lomi will be a huge help. Add produce scraps, leftovers - even Lomi Approved bioplastics - and watch how it turns into nutrient-rich fertilizer you can then add to your indoor plants or outdoor garden.
Price: $499 USD
Why you need this: Not only does Lomi help you reduce your food waste, it’s made by a company that is a B Corp and is certified carbon neutral. Now that’s taking care of the planet!
Wondering how an immersion blender differs from a regular blender? While they have the same purpose - to blend food - an immersion blender makes life so much easier because you can blend right in the bowl or pot you’re already working in. Meaning less dishes for you!
Price: $229.95 USD
Why you need this: It’s a breeze to clean because there’s no cord to get in the way. It also comes with an upright charging base so you can keep it charged between uses.
While the Instant Pot brand name has become synonymous with the term pressure cooker, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. Sure, an Instant Pot gets the job done, but if you want access to pressure cooker pre-settings such as pot roast and pudding, as well as slow cooker pre-settings for stock and beans, the Breville Fast Slow Pro is for you.
Price: $279.95 USD
Why you need this: A pressure cooker is truly one of the most essential small kitchen appliances. Plus, this model by Breville can also sear, slow cook, steam and keep your food warm.
If pre-ground coffee from a canister just won’t do, this coffee grinder by Italian-company Smeg grinds your beans for you - and looks great while doing it. It has 30 different grind settings so you know you’ll be able to make your morning coffee exactly the way you like it.
Price: $329.95 USD
Why you need this: If the way your appliances look on your counter is important to you, the Smeg Coffee Grinder is beautiful - and very quiet to operate.
Want a gorgeous, top-of-the-line espresso and coffee maker for your kitchen? Well, look no further than this model by Espressione. Decide between making regular, albeit highly flavorful coffee, or a specialty drink like a latte or a cappuccino.
Price: $266.93 USD
Why you need this: You’ll feel like an at-home barista with cool pro features, like the ability to brew two espresso shots at the same time.
Other kitchen essentials you didn’t even know you needed
Sure, you’ve got your spatulas and knives and cutting board, but did you know there are a a bunch of other kitchen essentials you may never even heard of? From a chainmail scrubber to a reusable paper towel, we’ve got the kitchen items you didn’t even know you needed.
If you love lemons, then you’ll also love this stainless steel lemon squeezer. Simply slice your lemon in half, place it in the tool and squeeze it right over your food or drink. No need to worry about pulp or seeds escaping as the squeezer filters them out.
Price: $17.94 USD
Why you need this: Cleanup is a breeze - just toss it in the dishwasher!
Don’t let the name deceive you, a fish spatula is useful for so much more than frying fish. Less commonly known as a slotted offset spatula, this kitchen tool is perfect for flipping burgers, scraping the bottom of pans and - yes - turning over a delicate piece of fish.
Price: $26.51 USD
Why you need this: It has a beautiful, comfortable to grip, wooden handle. Meaning it’s just as attractive as it is versatile.
If you have a cast iron pan, you know how hard they can be to clean. Which is why a cast iron chainmail scrubber is a must! With an easy to grip handle and an anti-rust stainless steel base, you’ll be able to bring your cast iron frying pan back to life every time.
Price: $16.99 USD
Why you need this: It’s dishwasher safe and much easier to store than other chainmail scrubbers.
If you love salad, then a salad spinner is a food prep necessity. No one likes soggy lettuce, and the best way to thoroughly dry it without crushing it is with a spinner like this one by trusted kitchen brand OXO. You can also use this salad spinner to wash and dry berries or strain out water after cooking pasta.
Price: $64.95 USD
Why you need this: With its pretty stainless steel design, you can use the outer bowl for serving your carefully washed and spun salad.
You may find yourself asking, “Do I really need a wok if I already have a frying pan?” And the answer is - you do! Especially if you want a perfectly cooked stir fry, with seared yet moist meat or tofu and veggies that are the perfect blend of firm and soft. But this wok from Zwilling does more than stir fry, it also handles soup, eggs, fajitas - even popcorn - like a champ.
Price: $129.95 USD
Why you need this: It comes with a silicone spatula that hugs the shape of the wok and won’t damage its nonstick surface.
Parchment paper is a fantastic kitchen tool for preventing food from sticking to your baking sheets. And while some parchment papers can be composted, others can’t. Plus it’s always better when you can reuse! Which is why a silicone baking mat, which does the same job as parchment paper, but can be used again and again, is a much more eco-friendly option.
Price: $22.95 USD
Why you need this: This parchment paper substitute is oven safe up to 500 F, plus it’s microwave safe and freezer safe too.
Reducing the amount of plastic wrap you use is an important step in creating a more sustainable kitchen, which is why beeswax wraps are such a must-have. They work the same as plastic wrap, but are washable and reusable. Plus, they come in super cute patterns and colors.
Price: $25.95 USD
Why you need this: They’re made from all-natural materials like beeswax, tree resin, and organic coconut oil.
Another single-use kitchen item that has a great eco-alternative is paper towel. There’s no point in using something once and then throwing it away when you can use it, wash it, reuse it. Check out Mioeco’s reusable paper towel set, which are excellent for wiping up spills or scrubbing stove top grease.
Price: $34.95 USD
Why you need this: Mioeco produces these organic cotton unpaper towels using carbon-neutral manufacturing.
Of course you know any kitchen needs a trash can. And you probably know that - these days - a recycling bin is also a must. But did you know you can get them both in one dual unit? Introducing the Step N’ Sort Trash Can and Recycling Bin. With a durable stainless steel frame and removable inner bins, it makes at home waste management a breeze.
Price: $78.94 USD
Why you need this: Each side has its own step-pedal, making it much easier to sort your trash and recyclables into the designated bin.
Adding more plastic to the landfill is never a good thing. Which is why compostable trash bags are a great substitute for the regular non-biodegradable brands. Made from plant starch, these compostable bags will eventually break down instead of last for centuries like traditional trash bags do.
Price: $27.67 USD
Why you need this: FORID is a brand with a sustainability-focus and they donate a portion of their profits to environmental protection organizations.
And there you have it! 36 of the most essential kitchen tools so you can go ahead and stock your home like a pro. If you want to dive further into creating the kitchen of your dreams, check out 23 must-have kitchen appliances of 2022.
Don’t forget to head over and read what everyone is saying about Lomi. Like once you have Lomi in your kitchen, you won’t know how you ever lived without it!
Written by: Larissa Swayze