Top 20 Kitchen Cookware Essentials List & Must-Have Handy Tool Items


Kitchen Essentials List

If you’ve recently moved out of your parent’s house and this is your first time living on your own, congratulations! This is an important moment in your life, and you should celebrate. How about some delicious wine and cheese?

What’s that? You don’t have a cork screw or a knife to cut the cheese with?

Sounds like you are in deep trouble. It’s okay though, this was to be expected. We are here to help!

What Utensils Are Best To Own

Here is a list of some very basic items that are essential to every successful kitchen:


This is a large bowl-shaped scoop that you can use to serve soup and other dishes. Look for a bent handle at the top, as it will allow for you to hook the ladle on the side of your pot without it falling in.

Locking Tongs

These things will save you from a lot of hassle in the kitchen. Make sure the ones you choose have scalloped tips and a nonslip handle. The last thing you want is your tongs slipping out of your grip while you are turning a beautiful, juicy steak.

Metal Spatula

Search for a thin metal spatula, so that you can get it under delicate food without breaking it apart. Make sure that the blade isn’t too small or too long, you don’t want to end up contorting your writ at an awkward angle just to flip a pancake.

Rubber Spatula

This one needs to be sturdy yet flexible at the same time. We need it to get into jars with ease but at the same time be strong enough to work with dough. If you get a silicone version then you can also use it in pots and pans without worrying about heat melting it.

Slotted Spoon

The major thing to keep in mind here is that you pick something that has a handle made of either stainless steel or some other heat resistant material. We don’t want this one to get too hot and fold under pressure.


Look for a good, solid handle. Avoid the type with a wired handle, as you fill find yourself spending way too much time removing food that gets caught in the handle. This if was more hassle than the miniscule savings is worth. Make sure the wire of the whisk itself is relatively thin and slightly flexible. This will give you some balance when you are whipping.

Chef’s Knife

The Chef’s Knife is one of the most important items in the kitchen. It should be about 9 inches in length with the back side of the blade serving as a finger guard. Make sure the knife is sturdy and confortable in your hand.

We prefer knives that have a tang which goes all the way through the handle. You can check for this by looking at the handle and making sure there are rivets through the handle. Generally, there should be three of them: one at the end, one in the middle, and one near the start of the blade.

Garlic Press

We try to stay away from “uni-taskers,” the kitchen utensils designed to do one thing and one thing only, but a garlic press is the exception. It just saves far too much time when you need to get garlic into your dish. Make sure it’s sturdy and dishwasher safe.


When you are cooking you will find to you will need to grate and zest stuff. Choose a single grater with six or four sides. Make sure the handle is solid and that it doesn’t bend easily, this item will go through some wear and tear. Also, check for at least two different grate sizes.

Citrus Press

This will be used for pressing the juices from lemons, limes, and other similar fruits. Check for some sort of ridges so that the fruit can be gripped better.

Kitchen Shears

You might not consider these important right away, but they will be indispensable when the time comes. From cutting through chicken bones to working with lobster, there are plenty of uses you can get out of a good pair of shears. Look for fine tips that are tapered and solid, roomy handles.

Paring Knife

The blade of a paring knife shouldn’t be any longer than 4 inches. This knife is designed for peeling fruits and vegetables, and for coring things like apples and tomatoes. Again, just like with a chef’s knife, search for one that has a tang which extends all the way through the handle.

Potato Masher

Make sure that this item is in one solid piece. You don’t want the handle to separate from the head while you are making some mashed potatoes. We can tell you from experience that this can cause real panic. Also, make sure the head piece is circular. It’s easier to get into the corners of pots this way.

Serrated Bread Knife

Try to find a bread knife with an offset handle. This way you won’t hurt your knuckles every time you make a sandwich. This knife should be at least 8 inches so that even the largest loaves of bread can be conquered.

Can Opener

While electric can openers are pretty nifty and effortless to use, we suggest staying away from anything too complicated. A simple manual one with non-slip handles will do the job.


Opt out of getting the two handled corkscrew varieties unless you are a true connoisseur of wines; even then you still need a normal waiter’s corkscrew which can open both beers and wine bottles. The more complicated something is the higher the chance it has of breaking, especially if you have trouble figuring out how to use it properly.

Instant Thermometer

Make sure when you shop for a thermometer that it’s actually a kitchen thermometer and not a medical one. This mistake has been made before with severe consequences. Something shatterproof will do with either a digital or standard easy to read display.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

These are an absolute must. Make sure both the cups and spoons can stack into each other and are dishwasher safe. Check to make sure they are nice and round so that you can get them into most spice jars to get that very last bit of spices out.


Refrain from using digital timers. A simple wind up timer is the best solution for the kitchen, and you won’t have to worry about batteries. Some microwaves actually have built-in timers, and if yours does you may not need to keep a second one on hand, though it would be prudent.

Wire Mesh Drainer

Double check to make sure you drainer has feet at the bottom, preferably a few inches long. That way when you drain your pasta or other ingredients in the sink, they won’t sit in the exact same water you are trying to drain out.

Final Thoughts

We have listed a few of the most basic items you will need in any kitchen. While you can certainly add more items to your collection, try to stay away from uni-taskers. These items are usually cheaply made and serve no other purpose than to do one very specific thing.

Can you imagine how much space you would need to store everything if all of your tools were uni-taskers? Work smarter and find tools that can perform a wide variety of uses.

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