As stated in my previous post, Kitchen Essentials, part one, I had a friend contact me the other day. Her daughter is getting married soon and is starting to create her wedding gift registries. My friend – God bless her – does not cook. She told me once that in college, she literally used the oven in her small apartment to store her purses! So she called me to ask if I could put together a list of kitchen essentials so her daughter could add them to her wedding registry.

My previous post covered measurement tools and pots & pans. This one will list essential small appliances, tools, safety items, knives, and bowls & such.

And away we go!

SMALL APPLIANCES:

Toaster

Every household needs a toaster. Pop Tarts, Toaster Strudels, toast, waffles, bagels, English muffins. You need a toaster. I really like this one. It’s skinny so it doesn’t take up too much counter space. The slots are really wide – which is important to any bagel fanatic – ME!

https://amzn.to/3ixLXz8

Hand mixer

You will need a hand mixer. Cake batter, whipped cream, meringues, cookie dough. I have this one and I love that it has a snap-on storage case for the attachments and the cord.

https://amzn.to/2BLZ6Eg

Stand mixer

This may not be considered an essential, since most of your mixing can be handled by a hand mixer. But if you’re creating a registry, why not include a stand mixer. This is a great, lower-cost mixer. I’ll admit, I don’t own this one. I have a KitchenAid. That’s the stand mixer of your dreams. I only have one because it was a Christmas gift. They are really expensive. But they are really worth it. And they last forever.

https://amzn.to/3f9rFd4

Stand mixer of your dreams: https://amzn.to/3gvyzcU

Food processor

I love my food processors. I have a big, 10-cup one and a mini, 3.5-cup one. The big one is great for monster batches of guacamole or salsa. The mini is great for a single batch of hummus or for chopping a few vegetables. I find myself using the mini just to keep from dragging out the big one. But I use both of them.

https://amzn.to/3gxu4yL

Or you may find that you only need a small food processor. I have this one and I love it!

https://amzn.to/2Z4gay2

Blender

Oh, gosh! I use my blender so much! Smoothies, salsa, smoothies, frozen cappuccinos, smoothies. My kids make a lot of smoothies.

https://amzn.to/38Lzvrj

Immersion blender

Wow! I use my immersion blender for a multitude of things. My crock pot potato soup cooks all day and then I use my immersion blender to blend it smooth. Same with my slow cooker tomato basil soup. You can use this blender right in the pot or slow cooker. It’s so much easier than transferring your soup into a blender and blending in batches. I have this one. I really like it because it’s metal so I don’t feel worried about putting it into a hot pot. I also like that it comes with a whisk attachment and a milk frother attachment.

https://amzn.to/2ZEB2eg

Slow cooker

If there is any “tool” in my kitchen that I use more than any other, it’s my crock pot. I have five of them. That’s admittedly excessive. I have a tiny one that’s just for dips. I have a pretty one that I keep at school for potlucks. At home, I have three. I have my big boy, 8-quart slow cooker that I use for most of my recipes, my smaller, programmable slow cooker that I use when I want to cook something overnight like my Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal, and my really old 30-year-old Crock Pot that I keep because it does the best job of making my Crock Pot Candy. This is a really versatile 7-quart slow cooker that will work for almost every household.

https://amzn.to/38AN2BH

Instant Pot

Okay, one look at Pinterest will tell you that the latest thing in cooking is the Instant Pot. It’s an electric pressure cooker that can cook most foods in a crazy-short amount of time. Mine is not an Instant Pot brand, but I really love it. This is not so much of an essential as it is an “I really wish I had one of those” kind of thing. This is the one I have.

https://amzn.to/3e8jpZR

Air fryer

Another “hot” kitchen item right now is the air fryer. There are lots of different kinds. Some have baskets. Mine has racks instead. They’re all pretty awesome at cutting the calories and fat from traditionally fried food. This one is very similar to mine.

https://amzn.to/3fbtwym

TOOLS:

Spatula

You don’t just use spatulas for frying. You also use them for taking cookies off a baking sheet or for serving lasagna or other casseroles. I think you need a metal spatula and a silicone spatula. Never, ever, ever use metal utensils in a nonstick pan.

https://amzn.to/2DmO1dr

https://amzn.to/2Z4amES

Wooden spoons

You will find a million and one uses for wooden spoons. From stirring cookie dough or spaghetti sauce or whatever! I like this set because it has more than just spoons.

https://amzn.to/2Z8b2Jy

Whisk

From making a roux to whisking together a bechamel sauce or making a hand-whisked whipped cream, you will use a whisk a lot. I like this set because it has several sizes and they have hooks in case you want to hang them.

https://amzn.to/31SSui1

Rubber spatula

There is nothing better for scraping every last bit of something out of a bowl! But rubber/silicone spatulas are great for other things, too, like stirring. This is a good set because there are different sizes included.

https://amzn.to/2ZLWzSn

Tongs

I use my tongs for a variety of things. I use them to flip things in a skillet or on a sheet pan. I use them for pulling a serving of pasta out of boiling water. I use my big ones for grilling. I have a set of stainless steel ones and a set of silicone-tipped ones that I can safely use in my nonstick skillets and pans.

https://amzn.to/3gBLNVC

https://amzn.to/31VJQiW

Ladle

Ladles are great for serving soups or stews, but also if you’re making a pasta sauce and need a ladle-full of pasta water.

https://amzn.to/2O9VnCR

https://amzn.to/2ZMYeXV

Big spoons

https://amzn.to/3gFruqf

https://amzn.to/3f9Qtlg

Citrus juicer

Yes, you can just use your hands, but I promise you’ll get more juice of you use one of these! You also won’t have to catch the seeds because it does that for you!

https://amzn.to/3gxXdd2

Ice cream scoop

I only use the big scoop from this set for ice cream. The others, I use for other things. The smallest one, I use as a melon baller or for filling mini muffin tin cups. The middle one helps me in portioning my meal prep containers and for scooping out cookie dough into equal portions. I also use the biggest one to scoop batter into standard-size muffin cups.

https://amzn.to/2ZMZnib

Microplane

So perfect to grating citrus zest or for finely grating garlic or ginger!

https://amzn.to/3ec3RUK

Box grater

You can certainly use a paddle grater, but I love using an old fashioned box grater. Different kinds of grates on each side – and it holds all of the stuff you’re grating in one place.

https://amzn.to/38AQ1Ki

Frosting spatula

You will use this tool for creating an even layer of frosting on top of cake or brownies, but you can also use it for evenly spreading batter before baking.

https://amzn.to/3e57Wdj

Pastry brush

For years, I had the traditional brush-style pastry brush. It worked great for a few months, but after that, I was constantly picking stray hairs out of whatever I was brushing. That is not a problem with this great set of silicone pastry brushes. An added bonus is that they can go into the dishwasher!

https://amzn.to/38M5Vlv

Kitchen shears

I use my kitchen shears several times every single day. Yes, they can cut through chicken bones (really!), but I also use mine just as scissors. Cutting open packages, cutting kitchen twine, you name it!

https://amzn.to/3gEkydk

Vegetable peeler

Peeling apples, butternut squash, eggplant, potatoes, whatever needs peeling!

https://amzn.to/2BQvoxM

Pizza cutter

I use my pizza cutter for the obvious (pizza), but I also use it to cut quesadillas into wedges or to cut tarts – like this one: Mushroom Onion and Gouda Tart – into pieces. I like this pizza cutter because of the grip. You can also open the base and remove the blade so that you can put it into the dishwasher.

https://amzn.to/2Z8a53S

Spider

I love my spider! It’s great for taking fried food out of the oil and also for removing pasta or vegetable from boiling water.

https://amzn.to/3f6MiXC

Potato masher

I use my potato masher for mashing potatoes (duh!), but I also use it when I want to make a little chunkier guacamole than I can get if I use the food processor.

https://amzn.to/31Y1UJ5

Squeeze bottles

These are such a cheap way to make your life easier. I use these when I make my Honey Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce or my Cilantro Lime Sour Cream Sauce. I also put olive oil into one of these when I need to just drizzle some onto meat or vegetables before cooking. I really like these because they cost just over a dollar each. That means that if I accidentally “lose” one in the back of the fridge and can’t get it clean, I can just toss it without feeling guilty.

https://amzn.to/3f9sORZ

Mandolin

If you want uniform slices of a fruit or vegetable – and you do, so they cook evenly, you’ll want to invest in a mandoline. This is a really good one because it is adjustable and it has several different blades – including three different graters, a crinkle cutter, and a v-shaped cutter that works well with softer vegetables, like tomatoes. Be sure you use to included guard – especially if you value your fingers. This thing is razor sharp! You may even want to invest in a chain mail glove to protect your hand.

https://amzn.to/2Z8FXp6

https://amzn.to/3fbZCKm

Rolling Pin

I actually have two rolling pins. I have a big 20-inch French rolling pin that I use when I’m rolling out a blanket of dough – like when I make cinnamon rolls. I also have an 11-inch mini rolling pin that I use the most. I use him when I’m rolling out puff pastry or pizza dough. Oh, wait! I have three! I also have a dual-ended rolling pin that is made for rolling things into a pan – like if you make a shortbread crust and you need to pack it into a pan. Like my Pecan Pie Bars.

Here’s the big one: https://amzn.to/31RYGH8

Here’s the little one: https://amzn.to/2ZvWRg3 

Here’s the dual-ended one: https://amzn.to/3ea9XoA

KNIVES:

Chef’s knife

This will be you go-to knife for chopping, slicing, and dicing. My favorite chef’s knife is my Wustoff – but it cost a little over $150. This one is a good starter.

https://amzn.to/38IjH8E

Bread knife

A big serrated knife is necessary for making nice, clean cuts in bread. But it’s also perfect for slicing tomatoes or other soft vegetables.

https://amzn.to/2ZKCdJf

Steak knives

In addition to your customary silverware set – forks, spoons, butter knives – you’ll also need a set of steak knives.

https://amzn.to/38BeKy9

SAFETY:

Pot holders and oven mitts

Protect your hands! Hot pans need pot holders and oven mitts. I like this set of both. And I prefer this set because they’re silicone. They are great because you won’t get burned even if your mitts or gloves get damp or wet. Have you ever tried to use an oven mitt and got burned because it was wet? That’s because water is a great heat conductor, so when it soaks into fabric, it gets HOT! These don’t let anything soak in – and they come in several colors.

https://amzn.to/2O5h9rK

Trivets

If you have wooden surfaces or, if your countertops are covered with Formica, you can’t just put hot dishes on them. You have to put something down to protect your counter surface. You can certainly use one of your oven mitts, but you may want to invest in a couple of trivets. This set is great because they are beautifully carved, but they’re also flexible, so you could really wrap one around a pot handle to protect your hands. They also come in several funky colors.

https://amzn.to/2DlcLCH

Fire extinquisher

I know it may seem like I’m being a bit of an alarmist, but fires happen in kitchens. The best thing you can do if a fire erupts, is to cover the pan with a tightly-fitting lid. This will cut off the fire’s oxygen and kill the fire. But let’s say your fire is a bit more advanced. You’ll need to call in the big guns!

https://amzn.to/3e8h3tR

BOWLS & SUCH:

Mixing bowls

Mixing bowls are pretty indispensable in a kitchen. Whether you’re mixing up batter flouring chicken, and making meatloaf. You need mixing bowls. I really love this stainless steel set because they nest together for easy storage. There are sizes from 3/4 quart up to 8 quart. I even use the smaller ones to a make a double boiler by placing it over a saucepan of simmering water.

https://amzn.to/3izuNBn

Cutting board

I have granite table tops, so I don’t always use a cutting board. But if your cutting something particularly wet or messy, or of you have wooden or Formica countertops, you’ll want a cutting board. I have friends who have more than one so that they have one for proteins and one for vegetables to prevent cross-contamination. This is a set of three, in different sizes. They are certainly usable as cutting boards, but they are also pretty enough use for those hyper-trendy charcuterie boards!

https://amzn.to/38D6bCV

Pitcher

Iced tea, lemonade, almond tea, or Kool Aid. Every kitchen needs at least one pitcher. I like a 2-gallon or half-gallon when I’m buying a plastic pitcher. I like the one pictured because the lid screws on so you can shake it up if you’re using a drink mix. I really like the 2-quart glass pitcher shown.

https://amzn.to/2AEm7sj

https://amzn.to/3ea8QFm

Sealed storage containers

You need these for storing leftovers or just for storing snacks! I like this set because it has a big variety of sizes and the price is great.

https://amzn.to/3gAdX3l

Meal prep containers

“Meal prep” is definitely a buzz phrase these days. Meal prep is my jam! This post has some of my favorite meal prep lunch bowls: Plant-Based Lunch Bowls. I love to spend a few minutes on Sunday afternoon so I can just grab and go the rest of the week. I generally meal prep five breakfasts (I’m the only one who eats this) and 12 lunches (there are four of us). Then on Wednesday, I spend a few minutes to prep 8 more lunches for Thursday and Friday. These are my favorite meal prep containers. They are refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe. And they last for months!

Round: https://amzn.to/2XENN90

Rectangular: https://amzn.to/2MzdIc3

And that’s it. Those are my essential kitchen items. Whether you’re creating a wedding registry or just trying to be sure your kitchen is well-stocked, these are the things you need!