If you’re a new home owner, congratulations! You’ve made one of the biggest decisions of your life, which is definitely worth celebrating. 🥂
Now that the paperwork is out of the way (hopefully), you can focus on the much-more-fun next step of filling your home with items you love. Your new kitchen is a good place to start, so you can actually use it—and so you won’t have to depend on takeout forever. Here are some items that are at the top of the list of essentials for the new-kitchen cook.
(Since this article is about making food, we won’t be covering consumption methods, but of course, you’ll need plates, bowls, glassware, mugs, and cutlery in order to enjoy the meals you make, as well as any kitchen beverages.)
- Chef’s knife. If you go any length of time without a chef’s knife, you’ll realize how essential it is for any homemade meal. Most food prep requires cutting, so look for a knife that’s durable, well designed, and super sharp, with a steady grip that gives you total control. (Once you have your chef’s knife, you may want to add a paring knife to your kitchen, to help with smaller items and precise cuts.)
- Cutting board. Please don’t nick up your new kitchen by cutting items directly on your countertops! You’ll get a ton of use out of a well-made wood cutting board.
- Skillet, saucepan, and large pot. Enjoy fresh-off-the-stovetop dishes prepared with a cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet, saucepan, or large pot. For stirring and serving, you’ll also want to have a spatula, wooden stirring spoon, and ladle.
- Measuring spoons and cups. Essential to any kitchen where food will be prepped are measuring cups for dry goods and liquids (two separate sets), plus measuring spoons to portion out teaspoons, tablespoons, etc. We don’t recommend eyeballing it, unless you’re an absolute kitchen ace.
- Spice rack, salt, and pepper. Having a basic spice rack, plus salt and pepper—ideally fresh ground—is a sure way to increase the flavor variety of your homemade meals. We think some spice rack essentials are red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, curry powder, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
- Baking sheet. To use your new oven for simple or complex dishes, a baking sheet is a must. If you’re craving something quick and healthy, just toss some vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper, pop them in the oven on a baking sheet, and within half an hour, you’ll have a tasty dish to dive into.
- Serrated knife. There are certain cutting tasks that require a serrated knife blade, including slicing through a loaf of bread or a citrus fruit with tough skin. Use it to get tougher cut jobs done.
- Mixing bowls. Not sure if you should go the stainless steel or glass route for mixing bowls? Wirecutter has a helpful bulleted list outlining the pros and cons of each, depending on how you’ll use your mixing bowls.
- Can opener. You may not end up needing a can opener often, but it’s one of those things that you’ll want to have on hand when the need arises.
- Colander. Because no one wants to eat water-soaked pasta. Enough said.
There are many other kitchen items, of course, and depending on what you like to make, maybe your own personal list will include other items, such as a loaf pan, whisk, rolling pin, set of tongs, or thermometer (that last one’s essential if you’ll be prepping meat dishes). But the above list is a good starting place for preparing and enjoying home-cooked meals. Have fun in your new kitchen!