20 items you should have in your kitchen



knife-lemon

A knife cuts through a lemon on a kitchen counter. Anna Brown

So you’re out of the dorms and into a house or apartment. No more meal plan and mini-fridge — you have a real kitchen now. But what should you really have in there? 

The basics:

  • Dishes and silverware. You could go with disposable, but are you camping or living? Make sure you have enough to use so you’re not stuck doing the dishes every day just for a clean plate.

  • Knives. A decent blade, or rather three (a chef’s knife, a serrated blade for bread and a paring knife) will make prep time easy. 

  • Cutting board. Speaking of cutting, you’re going to need somewhere to do it. Get a board. Don’t slice up your counter.

  • Mixing bowls. If you’re baking or cooking, you can’t mix ingredients in your cereal bowl every time. Glass mixing bowls are easy to clean, and if they come with lids, they can double as food storage.

  • Measuring cups/spoons. Those ingredients in the recipe have specific amounts for a reason. Eyeing out every measurement can be difficult, so make things easier with measuring cups and spoons. Make sure to get a liquid measuring cup. If you plan on putting it in the microwave, get a glass one.

  • Spatula, spoon, tongs and whisk. You’re going to have to flip, stir or grab something when you cook. Get a good basket or container to keep these essentials on hand. 

  • Can opener. Sure, some of them are pull tabs nowadays, but you don’t want to count on that, do you?

  • Colander. It’ll make your life so much easier when it comes to draining pasta or rinsing vegetables.

  • Peeler. Not only will it take the skin off potatoes, carrots, apples and others much easier than a knife, it can help in prepping salads if it also has a julienne side to cut thin strips.  

  • Towels. You’re going to have to dry those dishes and your hands at some point. Unless you want to use your shirt.

  • Potholder. Get yourself a couple potholders and save yourself the burn trauma.  

Cookware:

  • Pots and pans. They are the staples of cooking, so get yourself a nice nonstick pan that can be used for just about every meal.

  • Cast iron. Take you skillet game up a notch with a cast iron. Just make sure you know how to take care of it—you don’t want to lose that delicious seasoning. That means no scouring, no soaking and no soap.

  • Baking sheet. It’s not just for cookies. Most things won’t go directly on the oven rack.

Ingredients. You should always have the mainstays on hand, such as salt, pepper, sugar and flour. But those other little ingredients, things such as garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, herbs and other spices can add up quickly at the register. Try finding sales on them before they’re needed, and stock up.

Whether you’re an experienced chef or just trying to make mac and cheese without burning your place down, keeping these items in your kitchen will have you ready for meal time nearly every time.

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