Staples - kitchen equipment

Photo credit: Things Organized Neatly.

Back story here.  The essentials of a kitchen:


  • Knives - I would buy this Chef's knife but my wife laughed at me and the price.  So you need three knives:  A Chef's knife, a paring knife and a serrated knife.  Aside from some cheap steak knives and your silverware, these three knifes will cover your needs.
  • Pots and Pans - You need two large pots (cheap here for boiling and decent here).  One is to be used for boiling water and it can be cheap.  The other is used to make sauces and soups - trust me, you should make these - and it should have a nice heavy, heat conducing bottom.  A medium saute pan is essential (Bourdain says to get a heavy duty, thick-bottomed nonstick one and never wash it; just wipe it out after each use).
  • Tongs - Kitchen tongs are critical; more critical than a kitchen fork.
  • Wooden Spoon(s) - They stir, they are essential.  Have wooden spoons in your kitchen.
  • Towels - Go utility and cheap on towels but have plenty.  As close to white as possible so they can be washed in bleach and detergent and stacked up clean for kitchen work.
  • Salt and pepper shakers.
  • Chore Boy Golden Fleece - These gems should be purchased by the case and stored under your kitchen cabinets.  They clean anything quickly.  This is the gold standard of kitchen scrubbery.
  • Whisk - Get one.
  • Cheese grater - It's not just for cheese.
  • Mixing Bowls - several stainless steel mixing bowls will save you.  You can marinade, mix and  store in these.  Go cheap and get several.
  • Coffee Pot - I love the Bunn.  This may be the most used tool in your kitchen so it should be good.
  • Tea Kettle - For tea.  Also, you need a coffee press for tea - buy loose leaf tea.
  • Waiter's style corkscrew - Bottle opener, corkscrew and knife.  You are set.
  • Sheet pan - Pizza, frozen foods, loaves of bread. . .with room to grow into more creative stuff.
  • Spoons - slotted and unslotted.
  • Potato Masher - It will come in handy.
  • Colander - Get one that fits in your big pot in case you need to do some steaming (you can break off handles if necessary).  Otherwise, you need for draining pasta, potatoes, etc.
  • Can opener - For cans of stuff.
  • Cutting Board - Cut on this, not on the counter.
  • Toaster - Everything tastes better on toast.  Steve suggests a four-slicer. . .for her pleasure.
  • Grill - A grill is absolutely a piece of kitchen equipment. . .outdoor kitchen equipment.

I think that is it for essential kitchen equipment.  What am I missing?


  • Scissors - Shears, scissors, whatever; these come in handy in the kitchen.
  • Rasp - Not essential but useful.
  • Hand Mixer - Also not essential but one of those things you need more frequently than first imagined.
  • Stainless Steel Roasting Pan - Get one with a rack that fits inside for cooking animals.  Cheap is fine for this item; it needs to have handles and should conduct heat.
  • Pyrex Mix and Measure - Why isn't this essential?  You can ballpark cooking.  Remember, cooking is art, baking is science.  You probably won't be baking much.

What am I missing?


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  • 1/22/2013 11:03 PM Jeff wrote:
    OK - I'll bite...and no pun intended...

    You'll need a good steel for those knives and I see that there are four not three, one of which is a boning knife that is not needed.

    And do not EVER put those knives in the dishwasher - hand clean only and make sure the blade is facing away from you when clean it. Never knife edge into your hand and cleaning pad. If the knives are well sharpened, you're in for a quick lesson if you slip.

    I'd invest in a decent scale (I prefer digital) and a good oven thermometer. And as long as we're talking about ovens, a pair of decent mitts would do well.

    I see you've got a set of measuring spoons there although unmentioned - and you should definitely add a set of measuring cups with the measures embossed into the surface, not printed since after a few good turns in the dishwasher the ink markings will disappear. And I would get two sets of each - keep you from running back and forth to the sink to rinse each time you need to reuse.

    Although a whisk does a good job, I would still consider an electric mixer a necessity for speed, dispatch, and whipping. Which sounds quite sexy.

    In fact, I'd add an immersion blender as well for soups and sauces.

    You also want to add a microplane grater in addition to the cheese grater. For the small stuff.

    Skip the wooden board - too much nasty stuff gets embedded in the scars from the cutting and chopping. Can't clean them well. Go for poly with something rubber on the sides to keep it from sliding on the counter. Get two.

    All else looks good. And who says baking isn't art, sir. There are quite a number of cupcake reality shows that proves otherwise...
    Reply to this
    1. 1/22/2013 11:09 PM Cultural Offering wrote:
      Very good, Jeff.  Thanks.  I will incorporate those fine edits soon and they will be in the book.

      How about your essential kitchen ingredient staples?  Seasonings?  If you could only choose three hot sauces, what would they be?  Pantry staples?  That is the next installment and I would appreciate the help.

      Reply to this
      1. 1/23/2013 12:21 PM Jeff wrote:
        You're giving me way too much credibility - I'm more the baker than the cook. Which explains my defense of the art...

        But for the cooking I've done - here's what I would consider essentials for the cupboard:

        Must haves:
        Salt (preferable Kosher, large grain)
        Peppercorns (for grinding)

        Bay leaves
        Garlic powder
        Olive oil
        Worcestershire sauce
        Soy sauce

        For heat:
        Crushed red pepper (careful!)
        Curry powder
        Sriracha sauce (The Brunette's favorite)

        Wouldn't hurt:
        Beef stock
        Chicken stock
        baking soda
        baking powder

        You can build from there - but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

        - J.
        Reply to this
        1. 1/23/2013 8:03 PM Cultural Offering wrote:
          I'm more cook than baker but that is a damned good start.  Developing. . .

          Reply to this
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