Cooking is smart and requires the right tools. As an alternative to buying everything at once, you can build up a stock of essentials over time.

You will find your life so much easier if you have the essential cooking equipment in your cupboard. Even though the kitchen world is constantly coming up with sleek, trendy, and exciting gadgets, you don’t have to buy every one of them to cook well. To cook delicious meals, you only need the most straightforward tools. We also have advanced tools for the kitchen. You can check these out once you’ve saved all that money on home-cooked meals.

We created a Checklist for kitchen essentials for first apartment to help you know exactly what tools you need to get started. Here is a list of 20 basic cooking utensils perfect for beginners or chefs on a budget. 

Using these items, you will be able to cook almost anything and start kicking butt in the kitchen! That is why these kitchen essentials for first apartment are important.  

Cookware

1. Nonstick 10-Inch Pan 

The best way to make eggs and pancakes is on a nonstick surface, so every household needs a nonstick pan. In addition to searing meats, sautéing vegetables, and making sauces, it is also an incredibly versatile pan. Just be careful to use non-abrasive tools on the surface! We like this stainless steel frying pan and this aluminum one. With a two-piece set, you can use two sizes simultaneously and cook two things at once.

The first thing you’ll need is a nonstick pan if you’re building a kitchen from scratch. This pan is straightforward to clean and very forgiving, provided you take care of it properly (no metal utensils or scrubbers!) They are also the best pan for cooking eggs, which stick to stainless steel and cast iron. 

Suggested Product: Tramontina Professional Aluminum Nonstick Restaurant Fry Pan, 10″

  • Material: Aluminum 
  • Brand: Tramontina
  • Size: 10 Inches 
  • Color: Satin 
  • Commercial-grade aluminum 3004 that is NSF-certified
  • A high-performance nonstick surface that is PFOA-free, dishwasher-safe
  • Suitable for gas, electric, and ceramic glass, oven-safe (400°F / 204°C).
  • Lifetime Warranty

2. Saucepan

A saucepan is perfect whenever you need to boil pasta or vegetables or simmer sauces or beans. It is easy to handle and maneuver a 4-quart saucepan so that you can cook for one person or four people at the same time. 3.5 quarts nonstick or 4 quarts stainless steel saucepans are good choices.

Suggested Product: Cuisinart 719-16 Chef’s Classic Stainless Steel Saucepan

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Brand: Cuisinart
  • Capacity: 1.4 Liters
  • Color: Silver
  • Chef’s Choice Stainless: Classic design, professional performance in mirror finish.
  • Exceptional Heat Distribution: The aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and distributes warmth evenly. Removes hot spots.
  • Drip-Free Pouring: The rim is tapered for drip-free pouring.

3. Stock/Soup Pot

It’s a good idea to have a 12-quart stockpot on hand for big batches of soup, stew, and pasta. With its even heating base, soup cooks perfectly every time.

It is not uncommon for a soup pot to function as the one-pot in a one-pot meal. If you feel adventurous, you can simmer homemade chicken stock in a 6-quart pot. You’re not making your stock now, but someday you will. And when that day comes, you will say, “Oh! I’m glad I have this stockpot on hand already. Thanks, food website!”

Suggested Product: Gotham Steel 5 Quart Stock Multipurpose Pasta Pot 

  • Brand: GOTHAM STEEL
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Color: Graphite
  • Capacity: 5 Quarts
  • Twist and Lock Handles – strain out water for seconds – twist the handles, and drain the water. No filter is needed!
  • A multipurpose pot can be used to cook pasta, spaghetti, and anything else on the stove! 
  •  A 10-year limited guarantee

4. Sheet Pan

Sheet pan can be used to roast vegetables, bake meats, toast nuts, and bake cookies. A sheet pan dinner is also easy to clean up. You can cook foil-wrapped fish fillets, chicken with vegetables, deep-dish pizza, or roast vegetables. Cleanup is easy with one-pan meals!

Use one for baking cookies and another for roasting vegetables. The thing you put under the broiler when you want to broil tuna melt. If the dinner you planned turned into a disaster, the pan can also be used to thaw out store-bought frozen foods, such as french fries and spanakopita. 

Suggested Product: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet

  • Color: Silver
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Brand: Nordic Ware
  • Aluminium’s superior heat conductivity allows foods to bake and brown evenly. The encapsulated steel rim is reinforced to prevent warping. 
  • Suitable for use with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Easy to clean; hand washing is recommended.
  • Made in the USA

5. Glass Baking Dish

Baked goods such as casseroles and enchiladas can be baked in glass baking dishes. Microwave-safe, an 8-inch size, is perfect when you need to pre-cook vegetables for the Microwave & Saute Method or complete cooking when you do not have an oven or stove.

Suggested Product: Pyrex Grab Glass Bakeware and Food Storage Set, 8-Piece, Clear

  • Brand: Pyrex
  • Color: Transparent 
  • Material: Glass
  • Perfect for baking, serving, and storing food
  • The set includes (2) Easy Grab Baking Dishes with Lids and (2) Glass Storage Containers with Lids
  • Food odours, flavors, or stains can’t penetrate nonporous glass
  • BPA free secure, dishwasher safe
  • 2-year limited warranty on glass and plastic lids
  • Lids Made in USA, Vessels Product of US, Egypt, and Turkey. 

Utensils

6. Knives

We at Kitchenliker are vehemently opposed to cutting off your fingers. However, it’s a decent chef’s knife worth splurging on in a beginner’s kitchen. Blades with dull surfaces tend to slide around on greasy produce, requiring more force to cut effectively. The two factors make them ideal for accidentally slicing your fingers. This is a tool you’re likely to use every time you cook, so choosing one of the best makes sense. Those of you who don’t feel comfortable sharpening knives themselves should send them to a professional sharpener every so often. 

If you’re cooking, you’re going to be using a knife. If you only have money and space for one knife, get a chef’s knife. You will use this knife for 90% of your food prep, so buy a nice one and take care of it. However, we highly recommend getting serrated and paring knives since they serve different purposes. Serrated knives let you slice through tomatoes and bread easily, and paring knives are great for smaller, more delicate jobs when a big knife just doesn’t cut it. 

A chef’s best friend is a good knife. Stainless steel carbon-plated will stay sharp over time but go to a specialty store to find the perfect match for you. You should be able to handle your knife comfortably and efficiently, it should not feel too heavy, and it shouldn’t feel flimsy either. You’re going to use it a lot, so make sure you take good care of it. 

Suggested Product: Farberware 4-Piece Full-Tang Triple Rivet Knife Set

  • Blade & Handle Material: Stainless Steel
  • Brand: Farberware
  • Color: Black
  • This Farberware set includes four 4.5-inch steak knives.
  • Each knife is perfectly balanced and controllable due to stainless steel rivets that secure the full-tang blades to the handle. 
  • Each knife has a “Never Needs Sharpening” blade, so you can always slice food with confidence.
  • Hand-wash in warm water with a mild detergent; rinse and dry immediately.

7. Measuring Spoons

When you need precise measurements, measuring spoons are handy on hand, even if you prefer eyeball ingredients. However, they can also be used as mini spoons to scoop up spices and dried herbs! Here is a magnetic set of jar lids that fit easily into spice jars, and they stick together, so you don’t have to worry about losing a spoon or misplacing a tablespoon!

Suggested Product: KitchenAid Classic Measuring Spoons, Set of 5, Aqua Sky/Black  

  • Color Aqua Sky/Black
  • Material Plastic
  • Capacity 4 Milliliters to 15 Milliliters
  • Brand KitchenAid
  • This measuring set includes five different spoon sizes: a tablespoon (15 millilitres), a 1/2 tablespoon (7.4 millilitres), a teaspoon (5 millilitres), a 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 millilitres), and a 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 millilitre).
  • The measuring spoons nest within each other and are held together with a thick plastic ring to secure easy organization and storage.
  • 1-year hassle-free replacement and lifetime limit. 

8. Measuring Cups

You don’t just need measuring cups if you’re a baker – they’re also great for everyday cooking. To measure dry ingredients and small amounts of liquid, we like to keep a 4-piece set on hand. The 1-quart glass measuring cup makes measuring liquids much easier, and you can even make sauces and vinaigrettes inside and then pour them directly into whatever you’re cooking.

Suggested Product: Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup Set (3-Piece, Microwave and Oven Safe), Clear

  • Color: Transparent 
  • Material: Glass
  • Capacity: 1750 Milliliters
  • Brand: Pyrex
  • Includes 1-cup, 2-cup, and 4-cup versions
  • Measurements are easy to read in cups, ounces, and milliliters. Designed with a curved spout for accurate pouring and easy-grip handles for comfort
  • Tempered glass lasts for years and can be used in a dishwasher, freezer, microwave, or preheated oven.

9. Wooden Spoons

You can use wooden spoons on your cooking surfaces for a lifetime, as they are not abrasive. Be sure not to wash them in the dishwasher! Make sure your wooden spoon set has a variety of wooden spoons, such as this 6-piece set, to use for different types of cooking.

Suggested Product: OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Wooden Spoon Set

  • It is made of solid beech wood
  • Suitable for non-stick cookware
  • Finished with natural oil
  • Set includes: Wooden large spoon, Wooden medium spoon, and Wooden small spoon
  • Made from solid beech wood
  • Handles are comfortable

10. Fish Turner

It is advertised as a fish-turner, but it can also be used for other things. Flipping burgers, fish, over-easy eggs, or even pancakes is easy with the broader base of this tool. You can easily slide it beneath the foods you flip, and the slots let grease drain.

Suggested Product: Nylon Cooking Utensils / Spatula / Fish Turners – 2 Piece, Rose by Rachel Ray

  • Material: Nylon 
  • Color: Rose
  • Brand: Rachael Ray
  • Set: 2 Pieces; the set includes an 11.75-inch Nylon Turner and a 9.625-inch Nylon Turner.
  • Long-Lasting Turners: Rachel Ray’s slotted turners are durable nylon for years of nonstick cooking and serving. 
  • Nylon turners are heat safe to 400 degrees F

11. Vegetable Peeler

When setting up your kitchen, you need a good, sharp peeler to remove the peels of vegetables, shave off cheese, or make veggie ribbons. 

If you’re peeling potatoes, carrots, or any other vegetable, a vegetable peeler will help you save time. This isn’t a multi-tasker, but it is a high-quality peeler that will endure the test of time. We recommend this product because it’s dishwasher safe and ergonomically designed, just like all our other recommendations.

There are potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, beets, all things that might need a good peeling. Some people prefer to leave the skin on their vegetables, but a peeler is essential if you want to make apple pie or cube some thick-skinned squash. They are inexpensive and small, so why not get one?

Suggested Product: OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler

  • Brand: OXO 
  • Sharp and efficient blade with a comfortable handle 
  • Peel potatoes, apples, and other tough fruits and vegetables with swiveling twin blades with flexible action
  • The soft, oversized handle makes it easy to repeat strokes
  • Even when wet, it offers a comfortable non-slip grip
  • Potato eye remover built-in
  • The handle has a large hole for easy storage
  • Suitable for dishwasher use

12. Whisk

One of the most used items in your kitchen is a whisk, so selecting an ergonomically designed one is essential. In addition to whisking sauces, dressings, eggs, and desserts, this 9-inch whisk from OXO Good Grips fits perfectly in hand. Furthermore, the handle will not melt or warp in the dishwasher.

A whisk is faster and more efficient for emulsifying liquids such as vinegar and oils than forks and chopsticks. Almost every night, we make vinaigrettes and marinades for salads and everything else, so a whisk comes in very handy!

You could get demoralized if you attempt to whisk something with anything other than a whisk. However, nothing whisks quite like a whisk, so the word for the action and the object are the same. You need one of these when you want to make gravy, mix pancake batter, or whip your cream.

Suggested Product: OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk, Black

  • Color: Black
  • Brand: OXO
  • Style: Stainless Steel Whisk
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Whipping and aerating ingredients are made easy with this balloon-shaped whisk. 
  • An ergonomic handle provides a comfortable grip. 
  • The stainless steel wires are polished.
  • Provide a soft, comfortable grip that won’t slip.

13. Tongs

Tongs are like your extended hands and are very useful items in the kitchen! Besides flipping large pieces of food, they can also move ingredients without burning in a frying pan or on a sheet pan.

Do you ever wish that you could use your hands while cooking but know that doing so would result in a grave physical injury? For example, retrieving long pasta from boiling water or flipping roasted vegetables? Tongs come in handy here. But, as close to hands as you can get in the kitchen, they are these non-hands.

Suggested Product: OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs 

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Color: Multicolor
  • Brand: OXO
  • A multipurpose knife that can chop, mince, dice, and scoop vegetables, herbs, and more
  • The contoured handle allows for better control when cutting and chopping
  • Despite being wet, the soft, comfortable handle ensures a secure grip
  • After washing with warm, soapy water, dry immediately
  • It is an 8-inch hardened Japanese stainless steel blade. 

Dishes, Tools, and Gadgets

14. Cutting Board

It is essential to have a cutting board with an excellent grip to protect your fingers while preparing food. If you are preparing food, you need a sturdy, stable surface. In addition, your knife will last longer and become less dull if you use a wooden cutting board. 

Where there are knives, there should also be cutting boards. Make it a habit never to cut anything on a plate or directly on the counter. Furthermore, you may risk cross-contamination and the introduction of microbes to your food, not to mention damaging your knife and counter. It is better to use plastic or reBoard than wood for beginners. Get more than one to pull out a fresh one when you switch from preparing raw chicken to slicing onions.

Suggested Product: HOMWE Plastic Cutting Boards for Kitchen – 3 Piece Chopping Board Set

  • Material: Plastic
  • Color: Black
  • Brand: HOMWE
  • Product Thickness: 9.5 Inches
  • Offering three sizes, including small, medium, and large, this cutting board set is perfect for multi-course meals and all-day use. 
  • The plastic cutting board can be used as a fruit or meat cutting board, a fish cleaning board, a carving board, or even a sink cover. 
  • Mess-free meal prep is possible with these chopping boards with juice grooves and non-slip handles.

15. Colander

Colanders are essential for draining pasta and vegetables after boiling. Furthermore, it is used to drain canned beans and freshly washed vegetables.

Do you want to wash all your produce directly in it? Is it spotless enough for you to do that? Colanders are meant for this very purpose. 

Suggested Product: Excel Steel Heavy Duty Handles and Self-draining Solid Ring Base Stainless Steel Colander

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Brand: EXCELSTEEL
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Easy-grip handles
  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Mirror polished for a high shine
  • Made of lightweight stainless steel for easy handling. 

16. Prep Bowls In Every Size

Prep bowls are essential in any kitchen if you want to organize your ingredients. When you buy collapsible prep bowls, you’ll save space and have the convenience of securing components with covers that are not quite ready for cooking yet. But glass prep bowls can also double as serving dishes!

Even though it seems like a no-brainer, it’s essential to own a variety of mixing bowls. Choose ones made of metal or glass since they are less porous than plastic. As a result, you won’t have to worry about them picking up stains or odors.

Suggested Product: Pyrex 3 Piece Glass Mixing Bowl Set

  • Bowl Material: Glass
  • Brand: Pyrex
  • Style: Mixing Bowl Set
  • Mix, microwave, and serve in one bowl. Cleaning is easy thanks to dishwasher glass that nests neatly to save cabinet space.
  • Durable tempered glass can be washed in the dishwasher, frozen, microwaved, and baked in a preheated oven.
  • The nonporous glass doesn’t absorb food odors or flavors.
  • 2-years warranty
  • Made in the USA

17. Can Opener

Make sure you have a can opener with you at all times! Many things come in cans that require a can opener, such as coconut milk, curry paste, fruits, crushed tomatoes, etc. Canned beans and vegetables are great for quick cooking and are great pantry staples.

Five-in-one can opener pulls tabs, crowns caps, unscrews tops, and opens jar lids and cans safely, quickly, and cleanly.

Suggested Product: KitchenAid Classic Multifunction Can Opener

  • Brand: KitchenAid
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Designed to puncture and open any can or bottle with ease, this KitchenAid can opener is made from sturdy 420 J2 stainless steel.
  • A bottle opener is integrated into the head of the opener.
  • Opening cans is easy with the can opener’s large, easy-to-turn knob.
  • Designed with ergonomic handles, this can opener provides a sure grip and is durable.
  • Hand washes with warm water and mild detergent. Rinse immediately and dry.

18. Microplane Zester

It may not seem like essential equipment in a basic kitchen, but it makes a huge difference when you want to add flavour to your food. For example, lemons and limes can be zested, and ginger and cheese can be grated using a zester.

Suggested Product: Deiss PRO Lemon Zester & Heavy Duty Cheese Grater & Vegetable Grater

  • Color: Yellow
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Brand: Deiss
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • The curved sides make it extremely rigid and allow you to apply more force when necessary.
  • With just a few seconds, you can have finely grated garlic or ginger or have a favorite dessert topped with fluffy chocolate flakes.
  • Deiss Kitchenware offers a lifetime warranty on its zesters.

19. Immersion / Stick Blender

Don’t worry about the bulk of a blender! Soups can now be pureed in the pot, smoothies can be blended to create individual servings, and vinaigrettes and dressings can be made extra creamy and smooth. It even cleans up quickly – Atake off the blade for quick and easy cleaning.

Suggested Product: Elite Gourmet  Electric Immersion, Mixer, Chopper

  • Color: White
  • Material: Metal
  • Brand: Elite Gourmet
  • Voltage: 120.00
  • Powered by a 150-watt motor, the blender blends, purees, mixes, chops, and blends healthy drinks, shakes, sauces, soups, etc. 
  • You can blend, chop, and mix in your pots, bowls, and juice pitchers with a few dishes. 
  • The stainless steel blades are durable and stain-resistant, and the detachable rod is dishwasher safe and BPA free.
  • A comfortable ergonomic handle reduces storage space.
  • Easy one-touch operation via a fingertip button.

20. Salad Spinner

A colander may be adequate for drying lettuce, but a salad spinner is more efficient. It is challenging to apply salad dressings to lettuce that is still wet, and people dislike eating tacos and sandwiches that are soggy. Salad spinners are the answer to your problems because they will help you get rid of water in seconds and save you money on paper towels. These tools will also allow you to dry fresh herbs. 

Suggested Product: OXO Good Grips Large Salad Spinner

  • One-hand operation with patented pump mechanism and brake button
  • A soft, non-slip knob locks down the bowl for storage, and a wide base and non-slip ring keep it steady on the counter.
  • This elegant, clear bowl is perfect for serving, and the basket can be used separately as a colander.
  • The clear, flat lid allows easy stacking when not in use, and the parts are top-rack dishwasher safe and BPA-free.
  • Bowl capacity: 6.22 quarts, basket capacity: 4.95 quarts, dimensions: 10.5 inches by 10.5 inches by 6 inch