Expert Guide: Equip Your Kitchen For Less Than $250
A well-equipped kitchen is possibly a cook’s most valuable asset. Whether you are a seasoned cook (pun intended, ha!) or just beginning your kitchen escapades, your cache of kitchen tools could make or break you. I would like to share with you my essential kitchen tools list so you can equip your kitchen like a pro.
When I was planning this blog, I thought about what I had and what I wished I had when I began cooking. Just as a baker’s tools and a chef’s tools can be different from one another, my toolkit has become more tailored to my specific culinary needs. Over time, yours will, too. However, every kitchen needs to be outfitted with some basic essential tools that will set you up for success in cookery.
Believe it or not, equipping your kitchen with great tools is not that expensive! I have done all the research for you – my list below contains what I consider to be the most important kitchen tools, why they are necessary, and a link to purchase each item. The best part – you can furnish your kitchen with ALL of the items below and it will cost under $250! Please note, this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission on the sale of these items at no cost to you. Also, the prices mentioned in this post are subject to change, as pricing often fluctuates on Amazon. (Updated October 2021)
Without further ado, here is my list of 9 Essential Tools for a Well-Equipped Kitchen.
Non-Stick Pots and Pans
A good set of pots and pans is the first essential tool in the kitchen. I like non-stick pots and pans in a beginner’s kitchen because they are so easy to work with. The AmazonBasics Non-Stick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans – 8-Piece Set (pictured above) is a perfect starter set for a beginner. The 8-piece nonstick cookware set includes 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 1.5-quart sauce pan with lid, 2 quart saucepan with lid, and 3-quart casserole pan with lid. This is the perfect set to get you started in the kitchen.
A chef knife is a great tool to have in the kitchen. It will allow you to accomplish all of the chopping, mincing, dicing, and slicing necessary to cook amazing food. My recommended chef knife is the Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef’s Knife (above), a bestseller on Amazon. It is very sharp and does a great job. It is inexpensive, too!
A cutting board is vital when preparing food. A cutting board will allow you to have a clean surface on which to work. You don’t want to cut directly on counter-tops. They are slippery and can scratch very easily. I recommend having more than one cutting board, as well, which is why the product I recommend is the HOMWE Kitchen Cutting Board (3-Piece Set) (above). You NEVER want to cut meat and vegetables on the same cutting board. This set will allow you to toggle between cutting boards easily and avoid cross-contamination. They are also slip resistant and have a shallow groove to catch any juices, so they don’t spill on your counter-top.
A Set of Cooking Utensils and Accessories
My next kitchen essential is a comprehensive set of cooking utensils and accessories. These are the things you will use ALL THE TIME that would be super expensive if you bought them individually. The good news is that I found an awesome 24-piece set. The Kitchen Utensil Set by Kaluns (above) is a highly-rated set that includes the following kitchen items: Soup Ladle, Solid Spoon, Slotted Spoon, Solid Turner, Slotted Turner, Potato Pusher, Can Opener, Whisk, Grater, Spatula, Tongs, Ice Scream Scooper, Beer Opener, Peeler, Measuring Cups, and Measuring Spoons. The nylon utensils won’t scratch your non-stick pots and pans.
I use mixing bowls almost daily. Not only do I mix batters and doughs in them, but I also use them to collect ingredients while I’m doing my food prep. I also use the largest one to collect food scraps for composting or for my homemade Freezer Vegetable Stock. The photo above features a set of 6 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls that nest perfectly for easy storage. They have flat bottoms as well, which makes them very sturdy.
Liquid Measuring Cups
The next kitchen must-have is a set of liquid measuring cups. I could probably write a whole blog post about how much I love my 3-Piece Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup Set (above). I always get the question: why would I need both liquid and dry measuring cups? Don’t you get the same measurement with them? The answer is both yes and no. A cup is a cup, no matter which container you are using to measure. However, a liquid measuring cup is much more conducive to measuring liquids. You are able to pour liquids in and out of a liquid measuring cup with ease. Does this mean that I have never measured a cup of milk in a dry measuring cup before? Nope, I have on many occasions. And I probably made a mess!
Dry measuring cups are much easier to use with dry ingredients because they have a straight edge on top that makes leveling off much easier. In my opinion, it is much better to have both liquid and dry ingredient measuring cups in your kitchen, which is why they are both included in my list of essential kitchen tools (see the The Kitchen Utensil Set above for dry ingredient measuring cups).
Colanders are an essential kitchen tool because they act as strainers for boiling foods like pasta and vegetables. They are also good for washing fruits and vegetables and draining canned food items. I love the Longzon Collapsible Colanders (see above). This set of two colanders is made out of silicone. Each colander is collapsible for very easy storage. I use these colanders all of the time.
Casserole and Storage Dishes
I love making casseroles. They are so fun to put together and you can make them with just about anything you can find in your fridge and pantry. They are super convenient to make ahead and freeze. I use the 8-Piece Deep Glass Baking Dish Set for my casserole needs. Not only do I use these heavy duty dishes for casseroles, but I use them for desserts and food storage. Since they are lidded, they are also great for transporting foods safely to a party or picnic. I wish I had this casserole set when I had my unfortunate tumble the first time I made my Sinfully Easy Deviled Eggs!
Baking Set – Sheet Pan, Cooling Rack, Silicone Mat
Everyone needs at least one sheet pan. I found this great 3 Piece Baking Gift Set that contains three kitchen tools: one sheet pan, one wire cooling rack, and one silicone baking mat. I use my sheet pan and silicone mat in my kitchen almost daily. You can use these kitchen tools for both savory and sweet recipes: from roasting meat and vegetables to baking cookies and pastries. If you have ever baked or roasted on a sheet pan without a silicone mat, you know how often food sticks to it and how long it takes to clean it. The simple solution to this problem is the silicone mat. This little miracle has transformed my kitchen in so many ways. I very rarely use a sheet pan without it because food never sticks to it and it is the easiest item in my kitchen to clean!
The wire rack is very versatile, as well. Use it to cool cookies, fresh out of the oven. You can also use it in the oven to crisp bacon or other items that need to have more ventilation when in the oven. All three of these items are so important in my kitchen and I frankly don’t know what I would do without them!
Well, there you have it! My list of 9 Essential Tools for a Well-Equipped Kitchen! What do you think? Do you have any items that should be added? Let me know in the comments below! Oh, and if you are looking for some additional culinary advice, check out my blog post: Best Advice For Learning To Cook At Home. Happy cooking!