Top Pick: Gibson Soho Lounge Dinnerware Set | $50 | Amazon
When you’re just starting out in a new home and striking out on your own, finding all the stuff you need for a kitchen can be a daunting task. You never really know what you’re missing until you need it halfway through a recipe ... unless you check out our guide first before you go shopping. Here you’ll find kitchen essentials that are overlooked because they’re so obvious. Let’s get cooking.
The most obvious thing you’ll need is a basic set of dishes. Plates, bowls, and cups are important because what will you eat off? You can find sets that include a few coffee mugs, or basic dish sets that don’t include any cups at all if you prefer to buy them separately. And don’t forget to grab a set of flatware, too. Unless you prefer to eat with your hands, that’s cool.
While you could spend a ton on fancy cooking equipment like cast-iron cookware if you really wanted to, you don’t necessarily have to when you’re just starting out. A simple set of non-stick pots and pans will do just fine to get you started cooking most dishes. Some even come with a few of the basic utensils you’ll need like serving spoons and ladles.
You don’t need to wait for your friend from high school to slide into your DMs with an MLM just to get a set of knives. For a starter kitchen, you can get a simple block of knives. They usually come with steak knives, a bread knife, a utility knife, and the other basic knives you’ll need around the kitchen. Like a lot of items on this list, you can also find knife sets that come with other kitchen essentials you might need, like measuring cups and spatulas.
You probably won’t want to use those shiny new knives right on your countertop. Instead, get yourself a cutting board. You can usually find a set of differently sized cutting boards for whatever needs you have without spending a ton of money.
At some point, you’re going to need to measure out some ingredients for a recipe. That’s where measuring tools can come in handy. For small amounts of spices or liquids, grab a set of measuring spoons and cups. For fluids up to two cups, you might need a larger cup, like this one with an angled surface that lets you see how full your cup is from above.
One of the most satisfying ways to make your new apartment smell like freshly baked cookies is to bake cookies. Imagine that. And at some point during the cookie baking process, you’ll need some mixing bowls. Probably for some other things, too. If you want to knock a few items off your list at once, try grabbing a set of bowls with utensils and measuring spoons.
Once you’re done baking the cookies, there’s going to be a ton of valuable, delicious cookie dough leftover. You could spend all evening scraping the dough out of the bowl with your finger and eating it–although you probably shouldn’t, that’s not super good for you–but if you grab a set of spatulas, you can scrape that extra dough out and make a couple more cookies. You can also use the spatulas for eggs, stir fry, and other foods, but none will top the cookies.
If you managed to get through all the previous items on this list without getting some utensils thrown in for free, then here’s where you can grab some. Like this batch that comes with turners, ladles, tongs, and even a container to hold them all.
When you start cooking some pasta, you’re going to need to strain out the water. This is why you’ll need, well, a strainer. And if you’re in a small apartment–as many of us often are when we start out–plastic collapsible strainers are a really useful way to save space in your kitchen.
Of all the tools you’ll miss when you don’t have one, few can be as frustrating as lacking a can opener. Go ahead and buy one before you get desperate enough to open up your can using a concrete parking stop.