Kitchen Essentials

The tools that cooking requires can be daunting at times, essential in many cases, but daunting. Here, I’ve put together a list of what I think is a pretty simple, low-cost list of equipment for any beginner or general home cook.

Knives: I consistently use only three different kinds of knives: a chef’s knife, a paring knife (occasionally), and a serrated or bread knife. I use a knife that was handed down to me from dad, but a classic, well-recognized knife is the Victorianox 8 inch Chef’s Knife. It’s relatively inexpensive and with proper care, can last many years. An even cheaper option is the Mercer Culinary 8 inch Forged Chef Knife. A bread knife like the Dexter-Russel 8 inch Bread Knife is very solid, and cheap enough to replace when they become dull.

Cutting Board: A small cutting board is difficult to use and makes working with more a single item much more difficult. I like boards that are at least 12 x 12, but usually closer to 14.5 x 10.5 or larger – as big as 21.5 x 14.5. It allows for a lot more room to work with and usually doesn’t slide all over the place. The OXO Utility Cutting Board is a very good option that is cheap and has rubber edges so it doesn’t slide or require a wet towel underneath.

Pans: Generally, a nonstick pan, a cast iron a couple different saucepans or pots is a general requirement of cooking. A cast iron is probably one of the most important pieces of equipment in a kitchen, and last decades. I use a Lodge cast iron, if you’re cooking for more than yourself, something larger than 8 inches would be good, 10.25 or 12 inches is preferred.

For cheap non-sticks there are a lot of good options, Calphalon, Tramontina, and T-Fal all have affordable options that are a necessity for a lot of cooking – not just a safety net to keep food from sticking to a pan. They also have cheap saucepans and pots that work well.

Other Helpful Equipment:

  • Delis or other plastic storage containers
  • Metal spoon or ladle
  • Tongs
  • Plastic spatula
  • Sive or shinwa
  • Colander
  • Mixing bowls, variety of sizes, preferably glass or stainless steel
  • Measuring spoons, cups
  • Rubber spoonula
  • Blender
  • Baking sheets, quarter and half sheet