Kitchen Essentials List:71 of the best kitchen cookware, utensils, tools & more

If you’ve ever attempted to purchase cookware for a new kitchen or simply tried to improve the quality of tools in your current kitchen you’ve probably found that stocking up on high quality kitchen essentials is much more difficult than it should be.

A collage of kitchen cookware

And this makes sense, doesn’t it? Nowadays everywhere we look there’s someone telling us to buy their product that will supposedly make our lives easier. I’m sure all of the following sound familiar:

  • Cooking TV show hosts recommending their products
  • Branded cooking sets from your favourite celebrity chef
  • Kitchen stores stocking unusual, “one-trick-pony” items
  • Infomercials aggressively selling cheap gizmos
  • Kitchen websites promoting every item as a “must-have”

and so on. Instead of all this increased choice making our lives easier, it’s made it that much more difficult to separate the quality from the junk. So we decided to test all the kitchen equipment we could get our hands on to solve this problem and make stocking a minimalist, high-quality kitchen as easy as possible.

Here’s what we learned…

The Best Minimalist Kitchen Essentials:Cookware, utensils, equipment, tools, appliances & more

When we started our cooking journey, we were full of confusion and frustration as we began our search for the best cookware and essential kitchen tools for minimalist cooks. When you start with no knowledge, the learning curve is immense.

But after years of refining our cooking techniques, creating and testing simple recipes, learning how to plan our meals, and building a customizable meal planning service for busy folks like us, we learned exactly which tools one needs (and doesn’t need) to stock a fully functional and multi-purpose minimalist kitchen.

Note: We’ve tried to make it easy to navigate this kitchen essentials list and find what you need right away. For this reason, we’ve organized our recommendations in to general categories (click to jump to any category):

And each of these categories contains items that are categorized into recommended, premium, and budget picks. That is, except those rare items that combine such high-quality and great value that they stand alone as a clear winner.

Let’s dig in to the best high quality and versatile kitchen essentials that provide the most value for your money.

Preparation Tools & Essentials

Chef's KnifeCutting boardCan OpenerMeasuring CupsMeasuring SpoonsMixing BowlsColanderVegetable PeelerPotato MasherWhiskSalad SpinnerGraterShearsCitrus JuicerGarlic PressParing KnifeBread KnifeHoning SteelKnife Sharpener

Chef's Knife

Picture of Global G2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

If you’ve only ever used a cheap chef’s knife for your cooking needs, switching to a high quality knife will be a night and day difference. Seriously, when we upgraded to a high quality chef’s knife we couldn’t believe how much sharper, heavier, and easier it was to cut and chop with the quality knife. And since you can use a chef’s knife for all of your cutting needs (and use it every time you cook), one high-quality purchase will serve you for years to come.

We’ve tested several different chef’s knives with different price points and designs, and though we used to recommend the German-made Wusthof chef’s knife, we now recommend the Global G2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife . It’s an absolute workhorse; it comes at a very reasonable price, is lighter and easier to handle and maintain than the Wusthof, and we’re sure it won’t disappoint you.

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Chef's Knife (Budget)

Picture of Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife

Coming in much cheaper than our recommended or premium options, the Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife is a steal of a deal. With a five star Amazon rating over 4,500 reviews, it’s the only chef’s knife you should consider purchasing under $40. You simply can’t go wrong with this starter chef’s knife.

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Additional Resources

Purchasing a quality chef’s knife is a great first step. But, you’ll want to learn how to use it properly and how to take care of it so it lasts you a lifetime. For general knife education, check out:

For supplementary knives and knife tools, click the following to jump:

Cutting Board

Picture of OXO good grips cutting board

One of the most basic tools you need in your kitchen is a good cutting board. You’ll be using it every time you cook (just like your chef’s knife) so it’s important to choose one that’s durable and well designed.

The OXO good grips cutting board is dishwasher safe and is built from odor-resistant polypropylene - meaning it will last a long time. Pick this inexpensive cutting board up and you won’t regret it.

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Cutting Board (Premium)

Picture of Proteak Edge Grain Cutting Board

Now if you’re looking for the Ferrari of cutting boards, look no further than this Proteak edge grain cutting board. If you haven’t tried a cutting board like this before, it’ll be hard to understand just how different - and how much higher quality - it really is. But we can confirm that upgrading to a cutting board like this will bring you joy in the kitchen every time you use it.

You have to take better care of this cutting board than our plastic recommendation; by cleaning it immediately after use and avoiding the dishwasher. But this item is unique and will last you a long time, so if you’re ready for an upgrade from the usual plastic cutting boards most home cooks sport nowadays, this one gets our vote.

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Can Opener

Picture of 5-in-1 Can Opener

It’s not often that a piece of cookware brings you joy every time you use it. But that’s exactly what this can opener from Kuhn Rikon does! This is a 5-in-1 can opener that pulls tabs, crowns caps, unscrews tops, and opens jar lids and cans safely, easily, and cleanly.

We have one of these beauties in our kitchen (Mealime green, of course) and it is an absolute pleasure to use. We actually look forward to opening cans, believe it or not. Pick up this multi tool today and you won’t regret it (just read all the great reviews!).

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Measuring Cups

Picture of Kitchenmade Stackable Measuring Cups

Measuring cups are used for precisely measuring the volume of liquid or solid cooking ingredients. You may not think that measuring cups can be anything special. Any set will do, right? Well as it turns out, great design can extend all the way down to measuring cups. This stackable set of measuring cups from Kitchenmade has all sorts of smart features that eliminates the small frustrations that measuring cups often bring about.

With high quality one-piece stainless steel construction, a thin profile and pouring lip, nesting capabilities, and a 5 star rating over 1,000 reviews on Amazon, you can’t beat the quality of these measuring cups. Pick these up today and never replace your measuring cups again.

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Measuring Spoons

Picture of Prepworks Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons

Measuring spoons are used to precisely measure smaller amounts of liquid or solid cooking ingredients than measuring cups. This set of 5 stainless steel measuring spoons from Prepworks contains measurements of ¼ tsp all the way up to 1 tbsp. They’re magnetic and nested so you can put them away easily without losing any of them (which can often happen for the smaller spoons).

They’re also designed to be double sided to accommodate both liquids and solids and are dishwasher safe. After testing different measuring spoons, we settled on this set ourselves and use them in our kitchen every single day. Highly recommended!

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Mixing Bowls

Picture of 9-piece mixing bowl set from Luminarc

For mixing together salad dressings, spice rubs, marinades, sauces, and even for storing leftovers, a set of high-quality mixing bowls is a must.

This 9-piece mixing bowl set from Luminarc can be used to do pretty much anything and won’t absorb stains and odours because it’s made of glass. Plus, these bowls stack easily for simple storage.

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Picture of 5-quart stainless steel colander from OXO Good Grips

For draining pasta or washing vegetables and salad greens, a colander is an essential piece for your minimalist kitchen. This 5-quart stainless steel colander from OXO Good Grips is well designed and has ergonomic non-slip handles and “feet” so it doesn’t slip all over the place.

This is an item you’ll use forever and couldn’t break even if you tried, so pick up this 5 star reviewed colander and forget about buying another in your lifetime.

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Vegetable Peeler

Picture of Kuhn Rikon Serrated Piranha “Y” Peeler 6.25”

A vegetable peeler can really speed up your preparation time, whether you’re using it to peel potatoes, carrots, or any other vegetables.

We love this pirahna "Y-Peeler" from Kuhn Rikon because it’s so simple. No multi-tasking here, but this is a high quality peeler that will stand the test of time. It’s dishwasher safe and ergonomically designed, just like all of our other recommendations.

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Potato Masher

Picture of flip potato masher from Prepara

Although a potato masher is a great tool, it usually has a very inconvenient and bulky shape that makes closing your drawer difficult. We chose this flip potato masher from Prepara for a few important reasons.

First, it “flips”, which means that it’s not a bulky tool to store in a drawer, like most potato mashers are. Second, it’s of high quality stainless steel (with no BPA) and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Third, it has only 5 star reviews on Amazon and is very highly recommended. You can’t go wrong with this quality potato masher.

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Picture of 9-inch whisk from OXO Good Grips

A whisk is often one of the most used items in your kitchen, so it’s important to have one that’s ergonomically made. This 9-inch whisk from OXO Good Grips fits great in the hand and is perfect for whisking together salad dressings, sauces, eggs, desserts, and much more.

Plus, it’s dishwasher safe so you don’t have to worry about the handle melting or warping in the heat.

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Salad Spinner

Picture of Salad Spinner by OXO Good Grips

A salad spinner is your best friend when it comes to having a crisp salad. To prevent your greens from going soggy, you’ll need to dry them and “spinning” them is by far the easiest way to do it.

Made by OXO Good Grips, this salad spinner can be used by simply pressing the button on the top. It’s very easy and simple to operate, and even features a brake and locking mechanism for easy storage.

We especially love this salad spinner because the strainer basket can be used for draining pasta and the bowl for serving. It’s a great multi-purpose tool!

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Picture of 7-in-1 box grater from Cuisipro

One thing we’re against here at Mealime is inefficiency. So what does this mean, exactly? It meals choosing multi-purpose tools and avoiding single-purpose tools whenever possible. Instead of purchasing different types of graters, a zester, and a chiffonade, why not choose one tool that can do it all?

This 7-in-1 box grater from Cuisipro can grate citrus, fine, coarse, ultra-coarse, parmesan, shave, slice and even has a ginger grater. It’s made of high-quality stainless steel and will last a lifetime.

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Picture of kitchen and herb shears from OXO Good Grips

For cutting up a whole chicken and other meats, to vegetables, to stripping herbs, to even cutting the stems off of flowers, these kitchen and herb shears from OXO Good Grips are fantastic.

They’re extremely sharp, heavy duty, and comfortable. The blades even separate for easy cleaning. With 200 reviews and a 5 star rating, these shears are a fantastic value and deserve a spot in your kitchen.

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Citrus Juicer

Picture of quality citrus juicer from Prepworks

Sometimes it’s the seemingly insignificant tasks in the kitchen that provide way more hassle than they should. Juicing a lemon or lime is one of those tasks!

It’s difficult to do, your hands get juice on them, and the seeds often fall into your food. That’s all solved with this quality citrus juicer from Prepworks. This one includes printed measurements so you know exactly how much juice you’ve squeezed. It fits lemons, limes, and oranges, and makes squeezing juice a joy. Plus, it’s dirt cheap!

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Garlic Press

Picture of garlic press from Kuhn Rikon

We still have this garlic press from Kuhn Rikon but use it less than we used to. If you don’t like playing with garlic and want the quickest solution, pick up this highly rated garlic press and you’ll be good to go. But if you don’t mind crushing and chopping your own garlic, you may want to pass on this item.

We’ve gone back and forth with garlic presses over the years and are currently on the “non-essential” train. Basically, a garlic press is nice to have and does make crushing garlic easier. But it’s really not that difficult to cut / press your own garlic with just your chef’s knife, and it’s oddly satisfying to do so as well.

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Paring Knife

Picture of Global GS-38 3 1/2 inch paring knife

A paring knife is a kitchen knife with a short blade that can be used for a multitude of tasks. You can peel and chop with it, and the small tip is great for fine work like coring strawberries (or similar).

Our recommendation is the Global GS-38 3 1/2 inch paring knife. It’s Japanese made, of the highest quality, has a 4.5 star review on Amazon, and will last a lifetime. This workhorse of a knife deserves a spot in your kitchen.

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Paring Knife (Budget)

Picture of Victorinox 4 inch paring knife

For a much cheaper alternative, the Victorinox 4 inch paring knife is a great buy.

Coming in at less than $10 yet still full of Swiss engineered quality, it’s a wonderful purchase on a budget.

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Bread Knife

Picture of Global G9 8 3/4 inch bread knife

A bread knife is a serrated knife that is typically used for (wait for it...) slicing bread. A high quality bread knife can also be used for slicing delicate items like cakes or pastry's.

Our recommendation is the Global G9 8 3/4 inch bread knife. Like our other recommended knife picks, it’s of high quality Japanese construction and enjoys a strong rating on Amazon.

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Bread Knife (Budget)

Picture of Victorinox 10.5 inch bread knife

A cheaper, yet high quality alternative (that we use most frequently in our home), is the Victorinox 10.5 inch bread knife.

At under $35, this is a wonderful purchase that you won't regret.

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Honing / Sharpening Ceramic Rod

Picture of 12-inch ceramic honing rod from Messermeister

If you’re going to purchase a quality chef’s knife (which you should) you’ll want to take care of it so it lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t take many tools or much time to maintain a quality knife, and this 12-inch ceramic honing rod from Messermeister is one of those tools.

Contrary to popular belief, most honing rods don't actually sharpen your blade. Rather, they realign your knife’s edges quickly and efficiently. Because this honing rod is made of hard ceramic, however, it is capable of both sharpening and honing your knives. It works especially well with our recommended chef's knife pick (the Global G2), because Global knives are made of harder steel than their German counterparts.

You can still purchase a sharpener (shown below), but this ceramic honing rod is all that we use to maintain our Global knives, and it works like a charm.

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Knife Sharpener

Picture of KitchenIQ knife sharper

Our recommended sharpener is a fantastically well-rated sharpener from KitchenIQ that has a near 5 star rating over 3000+ reviews and costs only $6.

You really can’t go wrong with this sharpener, and we recommend you purchase it even if you hadn’t planned on purchasing a sharpener. It’s cheap and effective. What more could you want?

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Cookware & Bakeware

Stainless Steel SkilletSauté PanSmall SaucepanMedium SaucepanLarge PotCast Iron SkilletGrill PanBaking Sheet PanMuffin PanCasserole DishBroiler PanStockpot

Stainless Steel Skillet

Picture of Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 12-Inch Skillet with Helper

A stainless steel skillet will likely be the workhorse of your kitchen. You will be using this cookware for frying, searing, sautéing, and browning, among other functions. For this reason, it’s important to pick a high quality stainless steel skillet that you can use for a lifetime.

We like Cuisineart’s Multiclad Pro line for all of our cookware, and their skillet is no exception. It is made of high quality stainless steel and even has a “helper” handle that makes it easier to carry heavy loads without tipping. Plus, it comes at a fantastic price for the quality. Highly recommended.

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Stainless Steel Skillet (Premium)

Picture of All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware, 12-Inch Fry Pan

All Clad’s take on the stainless steel skillet is, as with all of their other products, high quality and a joy to use.

We’ve used our All Clad stainless steel skillet for years now and can tell that’s it’s going to continue being used for years to come. Highly, highly recommended.

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Sauté Pan

Picture of Cuisineart’s Multiclad Pro series sauté pan

A saute pan is different from a skillet in a couple of important ways. It has a wide flat bottom and vertical sides that generally go up much higher than a skillet’s flared sides do. This makes it easier to cook sauces and sear and braise meat than a skillet.

We recommend Cuisineart’s Multiclad Pro series sauté pan because of its superior value relative to our premium alternative. It won’t let you down and will last a lifetime of cooking.

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Sauté Pan (Premium)

Picture of All Clad 4-quart tri-ply bonded sauté pan.

Our premium pick is All Clad’s 4-quart tri-ply bonded sauté pan. Just like the other All Clad picks in this article, we chose this pan because of its high quality construction, fantastic reviews, and made in USA quality guarantee. You can’t go wrong with All Clad.

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Small Saucepan

Picture of Cuisineart’s Multiclad Pro 1 ½ quart saucepan

For small portion cooking of soups, stews, pastas or sauces, a lightweight and easy to handle saucepan is necessary. Cuisineart’s Multiclad Pro 1 ½ quart saucepan is our recommended small saucepan pick for your minimalist kitchen.

There’s not much more to say about the Multiclad series after promoting them in our other recommended cookware. Suffice to say, this small saucepan is fantastic value and is a high quality item that will last you as long as your cooking career lasts (which we hope is a very long time!).

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Small Saucepan (Premium)

Picture of All Clads 1 quart tri-ply bonded sauce pan

Our premium small saucepan pick is All Clad’s 1 quart tri-ply bonded sauce pan. You'll notice by now that we recommend All Clad products for most of our premium recommended picks. Their made in USA high-quality construction and beautiful design sets them apart from their competitors, but their prices are set to match their quality. Choose this small saucepan if you want the best quality cookware that money can buy.

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Medium Saucepan

Picture of 4-quart Multiclad Pro series saucepan from Cuisineart

Just like most of our recommended cookware options we suggest purchasing from the same line, this 4-quart Multiclad Pro series saucepan from Cuisineart is our recommended pick for your medium saucepan needs.

It’s made of solid stainless steel and aluminum and has been designed to pour easily (a big frustration saver!). It is dishwasher and oven safe and can even be put under the oven broiler.

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Medium Saucepan (Premium)

Picture of 4-quart medium saucepan from All Clad

Our premium medium saucepan pick is by All Clad. It is made in the USA from stainless steel and has nothing but glowing reviews from its 5 star rating on Amazon.

Our recommended pick will likely be enough for all of your cooking needs, but if you’re interested in upgrading to the best, we highly recommend this 4-quart medium saucepan from All Clad.

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Large Pot

Picture of Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 6-Quart Saucepot with Cover

For cooking large dishes like soups, stews, pastas or sauces, you’ll need a large pot to handle the volume.

When it comes to stainless steel pots and pans in general, we’re big fans of Cuisineart’s Multiclad Pro series. They’re extremely durable and cook evenly, thanks to their solid stainless steel and aluminum construction. And because they’re made in China (rather than in the USA, like our premium brand recommendation), Cuisineart is able to keep costs down for a decidedly premium product.

This large pot is perfect for cooking pasta, large dishes, or even for making your own broth. It is dishwasher and oven safe (even on broil) and was designed with simple pouring in mind. Pick up this "steal of a deal" pot and relax knowing you purchased a high-quality item at a fantastic price.

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Large Pot (Premium)

Picture of All-Clad 4506 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Stockpot with Lid

For a made in USA high-quality large pot that you simply can’t go wrong purchasing, look no further than All Clad.

This 6 quart tri-ply bonded pot will last a lifetime and you’ll never tire from using it - take it from us that all All Clad products are a joy to use in the kitchen.

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Cast Iron Skillet

Picture of Lodge’s 12 inch cast iron skillet

Cast iron skillets have been workhorses in kitchens all over the world for over 2,000 years. Modern cast iron skillets are made from heavy cast iron and pre-seasoned (so food doesn’t stick); with impressive heat retention abilities these skillets are favoured for use on both the stovetop and oven alike.

You’ll never need another cast iron skillet in your lifetime as these are insanely durable and can cook anything. The best part? Our recommended cast iron skillet is made of high-quality materials in the USA and is very reasonably priced! You can’t go wrong with Lodge’s 12 inch cast iron skillet.

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Grill Pan

Picture of Non-stick 11-inch grill pan from Calphalon

Grill pans have gained popularity in recent years. And why not? They’re great for those without a barbecue (or who don’t want to grill outside in the winter) but who still want those nice grill marks on their food.

For summer dishes like burgers, roasted salmon, meatballs, and marinated vegetables, a grill pan is a must. It creates tantalizing grill lines in your food, just like a barbecue does. But it’s much easier than barbecuing because you don't have to leave the comfort of your kitchen and it only requires a stovetop element - no propane, gas, charcoal, or intense cleaning necessary.

We used to recommend Lodge's cast iron grill pan, but we found ourselves not using it because of its weight and how difficult it was to clean. We now recommend this non-stick 11-inch grill pan from Calphalon and we couldn't be happier. It's easy to use, affordable, and a snap to clean.

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Baking Sheet Pan

Picture of Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet

A baking sheet pan (or sheet pan, baking tray, baking sheet) is a flat, rectangular metal pan that is used for roasting and baking food in the oven. From quickly roasting cauliflower, broccoli, or squash to whipping up a tasty treat if you’re inclined to bake, a high quality baking sheet pan is an essential item for a minimalist kitchen.

This 100% pure aluminum sheet pan from Nordic Ware is commercial quality and a large size - perfect for spacing out your food and getting that delicious browned effect. This sheet pan is easy to clean, lightweight, sturdy, won’t bend or buckle like cheap alternatives, and will last a lifetime.

We use two of these sheets in our kitchen while testing new recipes. After plenty of use, they still look great and perform perfectly.

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Muffin Pan

Picture of Oxo Good Grips Pro Muffin Pan

A muffin pan is a baking pan with 6 or 12 built-in cups. Besides making muffins, they are great for individual quiches and on-the-go breakfast cups. We recommend the Oxo Good Grips Pro Muffin Pan because the Swiss-engineered, ceramic-reinforced, two-layer coating allows for easy food release. The heavy-gauge aluminized steel promotes even heat distribution.

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Casserole Dish

Picture of HIC Oblong Rectangular Baking Dish Roasting Lasagna Pan

A casserole dish is a large, deep dish with high edges that is used for baking or serving. For those lazy times you want to throw a one-dish meal into the oven (like lasagna or a casserole), a quality casserole dish is a must.

This casserole dish from HIC is made of fine white porcelain and is broiler, microwave, and dishwasher safe. That means that a lazy one-dish meal also is simple to clean. What could be better?

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Broiler Pan

Picture of Range Kleen Broiler Pans

A broiler pan is a rectangular metal pan for use under the high-heat broiler in the oven. It is much thicker than a typical baking sheet pan so it doesn’t warp under the high heat, and contains grooves and a draining pan that sits below to catch any fat that drips through (so your oven doesn’t get stained).

Broiling is great when you want your food to get a nice brown crusty top. Our experience with this broiler pan from Range Kleen is that it is sturdy and easy to clean (you can even throw it in the dishwasher). It can handle broiler heat (500 degrees fahrenheit or more) without warping, feels very high quality, and is something you’ll never have to replace.

Plus, this pan is super inexpensive. Pick one up today and you’ll likely never use it enough that you’ll have to replace it.

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Picture of Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 12-Quart Stockpot with Cover

A stockpot is a very large pot (usually 12 quarts) that is ideal for homemade broth or large portions of soups. Anytime you want to make an extra large meal is also a great reason to use a stock pot. But because most cooks don’t tend to make their own broth (though they should, it’s easy!) this is not an essential item for a minimalist kitchen.

Our recommendation is this 12-quart stockpot from Cuisineart's Multiclad Pro line. It’s fantastic value with very high quality construction, materials, and reasonable prices. You can’t go wrong with this stockpot.

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Stockpot (Premium)

Picture of 12-quart stockpot from All Clad

Our premium pick is this 12-quart stockpot from All Clad. It is made in the USA and comes with the high quality guarantee that covers all All Clad purchases. Once again, this is an optional option, but if you often make stock, broth, and soups, this is a great premium pick.

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Cooking Tools & Kitchen Utensils

SpatulaStirring SpoonSlotted SpoonTongsLadleOven MittsTrivetSplatter GuardThermometer


Picture of Tovolo Silicone Slotted Turner

A spatula is a small cooking implement with a wide, flat, flexible blade that is used for mixing, spreading, and turning.

You may not think that a spatula can be much improved upon, but you’d be wrong! Tovolo has done a wonderful job with their line of stainless steel and silicon cooking implements. This is a high quality spatula that is heat resistant up to 600 degrees fahrenheit and won’t melt if you leave it against your pot or pan (which we’ve all done!). This small kitchen item is a joy to use and is very reasonably priced for the quality.

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Stirring Spoon

Picture of Tovolo Silicone Mixing Spoon With Stainless Steel Handle

Going back to the wonderful design of Tovolo products, their stirring spoon is just as good as their slotted spatula.

With their trademark stainless steel and silicon construction, it will last for a very long time and won’t melt in different places (like other products do). Instead of stocking up on several spoons, choose one that is durable, heat resistant, dishwasher safe, and won’t scratch cookware or pans. This stirring spoon from Tovolo one will do great!

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Slotted Spoon

Picture of Oxo Good Grips Silicone Slotted Spoon

This large spoon, featuring slots or holes for draining liquid, helps to make cooking easier and safer. It is perfect to use when removing something from a pan while leaving the yummy juices behind. We love that the Oxo Good Grips Silicone Slotted Spoon is safe to use on our non-stick cookware.

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Picture of Zyliss Cook N Serve Silicone and Stainless Steel Tongs

For easily flipping meats and vegetables, a good pair of tongs that can handle all kinds of different sized foods is a must. It’s important for them to have silicone tips to prevent scratching and a high degree of heat-resistance so they don’t melt away after frequent use.

This pair of tongs from Zyliss is beautifully designed. You can operate them with only one hand, and everything is done ergonomically and with sturdy construction. We have two of them for some reason, but one is all you need!

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Picture of Tovolo Silicone Ladle

A ladle is essentially a very large, long-handled spoon. It is used for serving liquid dishes like soups, stews, or sauces.

This ladle from Tovolo is strongly built with a unique combination stainless steel and silicone, which means that it won’t melt if you leave it in your pot or pan or place it in the dishwasher.

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Oven Mitts

Picture of Kitchen Elements Ultra-Flex Red Silicone Kitchen Cooking Mitt

Oven mitts are used in order to protect your hands from being burned when transferring hot food to and from the oven. No longer will you have to wrap your hand in a tea towel and try not to spill your dish (or get burned) as you pull it out one handed.

Our recommended oven mitts from Kitchen Elements are made of silicone with a cotton interior and are dishwasher safe. Plus, they can be cleaned very easily and even look stylish! Whether you choose to purchase our recommended pick or another option, make sure you have quality oven mitts before beginning any high-heat oven cooking. A good pair of oven mitts is a must have for any kitchen.

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Picture of Bambri HP03P Trivet Bamboo Hot Pads, Heat Resistant Trivets

A trivet is a heat resistant pad that you place hot dishes on, so you don’t burn your table. We love Bambri’s bamboo trivets because they’re both functional and fashionable and do what they’re supposed to do.

Instead of ugly cloth trivets that get stained easily, pick up these beautiful bamboo trivets that will last a long time and are easy to clean.

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Splatter Guard

Picture of Progressive International Stainless Steel Splatter Screen

A splatter guard is a device that is placed on top of skillets or sauté pans during high heat cooking in order to stop splattering hot oil and food from coating your stovetop.

Let’s face it, cooking can get messy. How many times have you had to clean your oven top and cupboards from splattering grease and oil? With this fine mesh splatter guard from Progressive International, these clean up days are over. It will fit most pans, is simple to clean and much sturdier than other splatter guards out there, and even has feet so you can set it down after use without leaving a mess on your countertop.

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Picture of Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer

A quality meat thermometer is a must if you often cook meats and want to stop guessing at when they’re done.

With this ultra fast and accurate thermometer, you’ll have a very accurate temperature reading in just 4 seconds. As the #1 best seller meat thermometer on Amazon, this has scores of 5 star reviews and only comes in at $25. Great buy.

If you find yourself roasting foods often in the oven and want to have continual temperature readings, we also recommend the Thermoworks ChefAlarm. It's wonderful for precisely measuring the temperature of Thanksgiving turkey, for example, or for getting accurate water temperature readings for sous vide cooking.

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Immersion BlenderKitchen ScaleBlender

Immersion Blender

Picture of Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender

An immersion blender (also known as a stick blender) is used to blend or puree food in the container its is being prepared in.

We use our immersion blender all the time. From blending soups and sauces directly in the pot, to whipping up homemade whipped cream for dessert, to easily making mayonnaise for hard boiled eggs, our recommended pick is a versatile two-speed blender from Cuisinart that’s a cinch to use (and is even easier to clean). Plus, it’s very reasonably priced.

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Immersion Blender (Premium)

Picture of Breville BSB530XL the All In One Processing Station

If you’re looking to purchase a multi-speed all-in-one immersion blender with attachments, look no further than the Breville all-in-one processing station.

It comes with a variety of useful attachments that are all ergonomic, high quality, and very easy to clean. They turn your immersion blender into an extremely versatile tool. We love this package deal!

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Kitchen Scale

Picture of SC Series Precision Digital Kitchen Weight Scale

For precisely measuring raw food (and coffee beans, in my case) a small, lightweight, scale is needed. Look no further than American weigh scales digital pocket scale.

With a bright LED display, highly incremental measurements in US and metric units, and compact size, this scale is perfect for most weighing functions you’ll ever need.

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Picture of Oster Versa Blender

If you’re a fan of making smoothies, sauces, dips, or soups, you’ll likely want a powerful blender instead of using a food processor every time.

Our pick is the Oster Versa blender that comes in at less than ½ the price of a Vitamix (our premium pick and the de facto standard for powerful blenders) and performs just as well.

This is a stylish blender with a 1,400 watt motor that pulverizes anything you can throw at it. This is a great purchase for the price, and we highly recommend it.

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Blender (Premium)

Picture of Vitamix Professional series 750 blender

Our premium pick is the Vitamix Professional series 750 blender. If you’re in to blenders at all, there’s not much to be said about Vitamix. They’re the best, and they command a premium price.

You have likely seen Vitamix’s in commercial restaurants because of their power and ease of use and cleaning. If you’re looking for the best of the best, the Vitamix is a fantastic pick.

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Blender (Budget)

Picture of Ninja Professional Blender

If our recommended pick is still a bit more than you’d like to spend for a blender, the Ninja Professional Blender is a great budget alternative.

Coming in at only $80, this powerful blender will do much of what its higher priced counterparts will do at a fraction of the price. It’s a great buy on a budget.

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Other Kitchen Essentials

Food Storage ContainersAluminum FoilParchment PaperTowelsSpongesHeavy SpongesDish RackIce Cube TraySmall Trash BagsLarge Trash BagsSmall Trash BinLarge Trash Bin

Food Storage Containers

Picture of Kinetic 01330 GoGREEN Glassworks Series 6 Piece

High quality food storage containers are essential for bringing lunch to work and storing ingredients (or cooked meals) in the refrigerator so they stay fresh for several days. Our recommended glass containers from Kinetic are dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and oven safe and are made from environmentally friendly glass (instead of plastic).

This is a set of three containers with locking lids, which is great for a single cook who plans on taking their lunch to work. If you cook for your family or significant other and need more than three containers containers, try our premium option which comes in a bigger set.

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Food Storage Containers (Premium)

Picture of Pyrex Snapware Airtight & Leakproof Glass Food Keeper Set 10-PC

You can purchase these highly rated glass food storage containers from Snapware in sets of 10, 16, and 18. They’re reasonably priced, made in the USA, and are also dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and oven safe and are made from BPA free Pyrex glass.

Plus, the reviews are amazing! Pick these up and you’ll have quality food storage containers for years to come.

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Aluminum Foil

Picture of Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil, 500 sq ft

Aluminum foil can be used in the kitchen for all sorts of different purposes. From cooking to cleaning, protecting, scrubbing, lifting, or steaming, this is one versatile kitchen essential. As as important as aluminum foil is, however, it’s also one of those items that you can easily forget to re-stock up on, leading to expensive impulse purchases at your local grocery store.

For this reason, we recommend stocking up on high quality foil from Reynolds. With two rolls and 500 square feet of high quality, inexpensive foil, you’ll be able to relax and get back cooking without worrying about re-purchasing for a long time.

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Parchment Paper

Picture of Kirkland Signature Parchment-1pk Non Stick Parchment

Parchment paper is used in cooking as a disposable non-stick surface that greatly helps with avoiding messes in the kitchen.

Simply line your casserole dish or baking sheet pan with parchment paper and you’ll be able to clean up in a flash. Our recommended parchment paper from Kirkland is high quality, comes in high quantity packaging, and is a very reasonable price.

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Picture of Flour Sack Dish

Everybody needs towels in their kitchen for drying dishes, wiping up spills, dusting, and regular cleaning. But towels aren’t something most people give much thought to when stocking their own minimalist kitchen.

After much searching and testing, we found these “flour sack” towels and haven’t looked back. They’re 100% cotton, very reasonably priced, and work exactly how kitchen towels should.

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Picture of Scotch-Brite’s Dobie all purpose pads

Just like with kitchen towels, when it comes to sponges most people choose one type and don’t look back. But as with all of our other recommended kitchen items, some sponges are better than others.

In all of our searching and testing, Scotch-Brite’s Dobie all purpose pads are the clear winner. They have just enough scouring ability that you don’t need a dedicated scouring pad, but work just as well as a delicate sponge does. Plus, they have a 5 star rating on Amazon over several hundred reviews, so we’re not the only happy customers out there!

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Heavy Sponges

Picture of Scotch-Brite’s heavy duty scrub sponges

If our all-purpose sponges aren’t enough for a heavy job, Scotch-Brite’s heavy duty scrub sponges will be able to scour any tough job you have to do. These sponges are tough and will last a many tough jobs in the kitchen.

If they get smelly all you have to do is put them in the dishwasher, run a cycle, and they'll come out as good as new. For lasting quality that doesn’t break apart on the tough jobs, these sponges are our winners.

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Dish Rack

Picture of Polder’s advantage dish rack

Even if you have a dishwasher you’ll still need to hand wash some items or to give cookware a quick rinse. A quality dish rack is needed because you can place your dishes on the rack and have it drain the water back into the sink.

Our recommended dish rack is Polder’s advantage dish rack. It comes with a typical dish rack design that we’re all familiar with, and it looks stylish and works as it should.

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Dish Rack (Premium)

Picture of Zojila Rohan dish rack

If you want to fancy your dish rack up, the Zojila Rohan dish rack is the ferrari of dish racks. It’s made of brushed stainless steel and features an innovative drain system that differs from the typical design you see in most dish racks today. This is a pricey purchase, but the positive reviews back it up.

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Ice Cube Tray

Picture of Rubbermaid Easy Release Ice Cube Tray

You probably haven’t given much thought to ice cube trays. They’re all the same, right? Well, if you’ve ever tried Rubbermaid’s ice cube trays, you’ll know that there are better options out there!

These trays allow you to release the cubes with a single, simple twist that will get the entire cube out. Never again do you have twist and hit your trays to get broken ice cubes out.

You may think that ice cube trays won’t make much of a difference to your life, but if you often use ice cubes these trays will make the process a whole lot easier.

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Ice Cube Tray (Premium)

Picture of OXO Good Grips No-Spill Ice Cube Tray with Silicone Lid

Now if you’re an ice cube aficionado and want the best of the best, OXO’s silicon ice cube trays are what you should buy.

The silicon lid seals water into the tray before freezing which allows you to place the tray any way you like in the freezer. Popping the cubes out is an extremely simple affair, and the reviews of this tray are glowing.

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Small Trash Bags

Picture of Glad Small Trash Bags - 4 Gallon

Because everyone needs trash bags, you may as well choose the best designed ones you can find. These small trash bags from Glad are perfect for apartment dwellers who only have room for a small trash bin.

These bags come in a 4-gallon size, which is perfect for under-the-sink trash bins that need to be tucked away. They're also extremely sturdy and can handle being carried when full without you having to worry that they'll tear and spill garbage everywhere. For a small bag that does a tough job, these trash bags are a great quality buy.

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Large Trash Bags

Picture of Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bag - 13 Gallon

With fantastic reviews on Amazon, these large trash bags from Glad will fit your large trash bin perfectly.

These bags come in a 13-gallon size, which works well for taller trash bins that aren't stored under the sink. They also have reinforcing bands woven throughout the bag which makes them extremely tough and sturdy - a nice feature that gives peace of mind when carrying a full bag. Whether you use these bags in your busy kitchen or even in the office, you won't be disappointed.

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Small Trash Bin

Picture of simplehuman 10 Liter / 2.6 Gallon

Designed for apartment dwellers using small trash bags, this stainless steel small trash bin from Simplehuman is elegantly designed, highly rated, and comes with a 5-year warranty.

It has custom handles on the inside of the bin that holds grocery bags in place so they never sag when filled with trash. Even the step that opens the can is designed well - it works with a small amount of pressure and has a soft-close feature that won't make a racket when you close the lid. Overall, this is a fantastic bin for use under the sink in your kitchen or bathrooms.

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Large Trash Bin

Picture of Simplehuman 38 Liter / 10 Gallon

This large trash bin from Simplehuman is perfect for people who have the space for a full-sized, high-quality trash bin. This bin also comes with a 5 year warrantly and will fit your large trash bags perfectly.

It comes with a steel foot pedal with a soft-close feature that makes closing the bin after use quiet and smooth (which is a nice change from those bins that close with a crash). Innovative design allows you to place the bin right up against the wall and still allow the lid to be opened. For use as a standalone bin that isn't tucked away anywhere, this large bin is a clear winner.

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Fully stocking a minimalist and efficient kitchen with cookware doesn’t have to be frustrating or cost a lot of money. By purchasing only high-quality multi-purpose items that have a strong value proposition, you can end up with a fully stocked kitchen that will last a lifetime (without costing you an arm and a leg!).

To review, feel free to jump to each main cookware category in this article:

And don’t forget that there’s no point in purchasing cookware if you have no intention to cook! Check out our free simple recipes, or join our free personalized meal planning service here.

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