Home Kitchen Essentials – I’m often asked about my essential kitchen tools: the things we absolutely couldn’t cook without. Now that is not an easy task: we have

Of the things in our kitchen… how on earth am I going to limit them? But if you take a closer look, there are things we use, and then there are things we use on a regular basis (and there are probably some things we never use that need to be cleaned, but that’s a whole other question). These are the items that are constantly in and out of the dishwasher, the items that have migrated to the most accessible shelves and drawers where they are easiest to grab. If you search for those items, it’s easy to see what’s commonly used here.

Home Kitchen Essentials

I plan to add to this post with more specific baking essentials and even pantry essentials (and maybe even blogger essentials?), but for now, we’ll just focus on the basics.

Kitchen Tools That Both Pro Chefs And Home Cooks Need In Their Kitchen

Use this post as a foundation to build your own well-equipped kitchen. It’s also a great gift guide if, perhaps, you know a newlywed couple or a grad who just moved into their first apartment or a friend who wants to learn to cook…this is a great place to start!

Disclaimer: While this post is not sponsored and no brand paid to be featured here, many of these products were received as part of past/current brand partnerships. That said, if our kitchen went to ruins today, we wouldn’t hesitate to buy them again ourselves tomorrow. Meaning, everything on this list is something we own and love and use regularly, if not everyday. There are also affiliate links in this post, FYI. And if you’re reading this post in RSS or email, you might want to click over to the post page for easy clickable links to each item on this list!

Stand Mixer – I regularly use my KitchenAid® Artisan Stand Mixer for all kinds of baking, but also a range of accessories that can expand its functionality even further. I had my old green mixer for 12 years and it was still going strong when I passed it on to the neighbor (I’ll admit, I just wanted a new color… isn’t that cobalt blue gorgeous??) If you’re short on space, the new Mini the mixer is cute and perfect for mixing individual batches of cookies or pizza dough.

Mini Food Processor – I love this Mini Food Processor from KitchenAid: It’s cheap and easy and ultra-efficient for small batches of pesto, and big enough to grind up a batch of vanilla wafers for pie crust. Not to mention cute. I think I’ve used my full size food processor maybe twice since I got this, which goes to show you how rarely you really need a full size food processor.

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Blender – We use our Vitamix 5200 blender every day for smoothies in the morning and homemade nut milks every week. I love the Vitamix because it’s powerful and most importantly light (since we keep it in a lower cabinet and have to take it out every day). If you have room to keep a blender on your counter all the time, KitchenAid’s Pro Line and High Performance Series blenders are great (and much nicer looking), with an equally if not more powerful motor.

Slow Cooker – I’d say a slow cooker is essential if you have the space for it (which, before last year, we definitely didn’t have, and we did just fine). However, now that we have it, we love it, especially in the winter when we can cook a hearty stew and enjoy the fragrant smells of her cooking wafting through the office all day. We have a KitchenAid® Slow Cooker and love it!

Rice cooker – Okay, this is a new addition, and one of those things that if you have the space for it and you cook rice regularly (or maybe you want to cook more rice but struggle to get it right) it’s a gadget worth having . We splurged on the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker. It’s basically a giant Tomagachi that cooks perfect rice and sings when it’s done… well worth the money in my opinion. laughing out loud.

Air Popper – This Hot Air Popper was one of the most unexpectedly useful wedding favors we received, and it’s still going strong 8 years later. We like to toss our freshly popped corn with a little melted butter or olive oil and some fine sea salt. Mmmm!

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Dutch Oven – I bought this Le Creuset 5 1/2 Quart Dutch Oven for my birthday almost 8 years ago when I wanted to jump on the no-knead train. It is true that it is a little greasy on the inside due to years of constant use, but this pan is our go-to not only for bread, but also for soups, stews and stews.

Cast Iron Skillet – for perfect steaks, roast chicken, pan cakes and more. A 10-inch pan is probably the most versatile, although if you have the space, the smaller sizes are perfect for pan cookies. 🙂

Large Nonstick Pan – I won this 12 inch anolone pan at a conference probably 5 years ago, and it’s probably the one we reach for most often for everyday cooking (and even after almost daily use, it’s still in great shape). Perfect size and shape for stir-fries and sautés, risottos and pastas: the flat bottom and higher rounded sides are perfect for those times when you need something between a pan and a pot (which is almost all the time). The pan itself doesn’t come with a lid, but if you buy the full set, it does (we use the lid regularly too, so I’d recommend it!)

Half sheet pans – not just for baking! We regularly use our pans for roasting chicken breasts, fish and vegetables, as well as for baking biscuits and bread. We have a set of KitchenAid pans and King Arthur baking pans, as well as some cheap aluminum ones from restaurants for messes where I don’t want to chew up my pretty pans.

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Quarter Pans – For smaller baking jobs, I like to have a quarter sheet pan on hand. KitchenAid has a great set that includes both a half and a quarter pan, though you’ll probably find yourself wanting two of each if you’re doing significant cooking or baking.

Pizza Stone – If you want to make crispy, restaurant-quality pizza at home, a pizza stone is a must. We also use it for homemade pita bread! Ours (Old Stone Oven brand) was a wedding present 8 years ago. It’s well used and almost black at this point, but still bakes beautifully crispy crusts.

Liquid Measuring Cups – At the very least, get 2 Pyrex cups. But I would highly recommend both the 1-cup and 4-cup (I actually prefer the Anchor’s 4-cup, which I regularly use in my jam-making escapades, because it has a more defined spout that is less prone to dribbles).

Plunger Measuring Cups – I love these things for measuring sticky, messy ingredients like honey and peanut butter. We have a set that we got years ago from the Alton Brown gift shop, but OXO has a similar product in 1 and 2 cup sizes.

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Mini Cups – You have liquid cups for large quantities, why not small ones? These OXO® Mini Beakers are fun and functional, perfect for measuring vanilla extract, lemon juice, milk and more. Also, cocktails!

Kitchen Scale – I have waxed poetic about kitchen scales and I would say that having one is definitely essential. This OXO® Good Grip Scale is our go-to scale and weighs up to 11 pounds, but any scale that accurately measures ounces and grams is perfectly acceptable.

Triple Timer – When one timer just isn’t enough…. this triple timer from OXO has 3 counters so it’s perfect for when you’re multitasking. I also use it a lot for recipe development, while I’m baking I’ll start one timer counting down and one up, so if I need to put something back in the oven for a few more minutes, I’ll have a final number for how long it’s been baking.

Instant Read Thermometer – I got this Thermoworks Thermapen for Taylor a few years ago for Valentine’s Day (can you say, romantic?) and it’s the fastest, most accurate thermometer we’ve ever used, be it for meat, chocolate, or caramel. A good thermometer is worth its weight in gold!

Wayfair’s Major Two Day Sale Is Finally Here And Some Kitchen Essentials Are 80% Off

Pyrex Mixing Bowls – This set of 3 Pyrex mixing bowls is a favorite here, especially since they also come with lids (so they’re perfect for mixing and storage!)

Glass Storage Containers – Speaking of food storage, a few years ago we threw out all our plastic containers and bought a few sets of these Anchor® TrueSeal Glass Storage Containers with Silicone Lids. We only had to throw out one lid (no, we left something in the fridge too long

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