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Kitchen Essentials: What Every Kitchen Should Have 
by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy September 13, 2005

Every kitchen should be equipped with some essential equipment and common ingredients but the novice cook may not know where to begin. Learn what utensils, cookware, basic ingredients, and more than every kitchen should have to be fully stocked.

Every kitchen requires some basic items beyond the major appliances. First time cooks may not know where to begin in setting up a full kitchen. Wedding showers can cater to these essential items so that the bride-to-be can have what she needs on hand. Young college grads setting up an apartment or home can also benefit from knowing what is necessary.

One trip to a discount store can net all you need or you can visit specialty shops that cater toward the cooking public.

Must Have Kitchen Equipment

No one needs to begin with a kitchen that rivals that of Julia Child but there are certain supplies that are necessary. The first one is cookware. Basic cookwear needs include:

a 1 quart saucepan with lid

a 3 quart saucepan with lid

a 4-6 quart Dutch Oven pot (make sure it has a lid)

a 6-8 inch skillet

a 12 inch skillet with cover (lid)

a baking sheet (at least one)

a muffin pan

a 9x5x3 loaf pan

a 13x9 baking dish

an 8x8 baking dish

2 8 inch or 9 inch round baking pans

a roasting pan or roaster (with lid)

a pizza pan

a casserole dish or two

After stocking the cabinents with basic cookware, the next step is utensils. Utensils are vital to cooking and the must-haves include:

a set of mixing bowls (preferably glass)

set of measuring cups

one clear glass or plastic measuring cup

Wooden or plastic spoons

Rubber spatulas (metal spatulas for BBQ)

paring knife

serrated knife

chef's knife

carving knife

sharpening steel (to keep knives sharp)

a meat mallet

long-handled fork

long-handled spoon

slotted spoon


kitchen scissors


can opener (hand or electric)


bottle opener


cutting boards, one small, one large


rolling pin

meat thermometer

oven thermometer

wire cooling rack

kitchen timer

a set of flatware (silverware)

Once the utensils have been stored, the next step is to have storage products. Available in many shapes, sizes, and styles, the basics should include:

storage containers with lids in many sizes

canisters for dry items like sugar, flour, etc.

freezer containers

freezer wrap


plastic wrap (don't buy the cheapest kind)

large and small plastic bags

paper towels

plastic pitchers (for juice, iced tea, etc.)

One more necessity is a set of dishes. These don't have to be fancy. Many stores carry inexpensive plastic plates or affordable china. Alternatives such as Corning Ware's Corelle line of dishes are also a possbility. Singles or couples may want to collect a hodge podge of cheap items from flea markets or rummage sales. Make sure to have multiple plates and bowls in several sizes. Platters and serving bowls come in handy too. Plastic tumblers, drinking glasses, coffee cups, and mugs are also a must for the first time kitchen. For meals on the go, remember paper plates and other throwaways.

Table linens may or may not be deemed necessary. Consider easy care vinyl tablecloths available in many discount stores. Paper napkins are an affordable alternative to cloth ones.



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