Kitchen Basics

I often get emails asking about what kitchen items people should put on their bridal registry or what tools and gadgets one would need to start a kitchen when moving out on their own for the first time. When I started this blog five years ago (!!!) I made a guide about How to Stock Your Kitchen, but it’s sorely out of date and I’ve learned a lot since then. I updated the list and included it in the Kitchen Basics section of my book (Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half), but I wanted to make the information available for everyone. Plus, this way I can actually link to the products, so you know exactly what I’m talking about (if you’re a Budget Bytes fan, my guess is that you’re a visual learner, like me!). :D

Kitchen Basics

Below is a comprehensive list of basic kitchen items that will help make a well run, efficient, no frills kitchen. You don’t need to purchase all of these things before you begin making meals at home. Instead, think of this as a goal list of items that you plan to acquire over time. The lists focuses on basic equipment that you can use every day and often for more than one purpose. These are my go-to items. These are the things that make my kitchen work.

The product links below are affiliate links and are for example purposes only. I took great care to chose products that I either own myself, or would pick if I had to buy them again.

Pots & Pans

Tip: When buying pots and pans, weight matters. Look for pots and pans that are thick, heavy, and don’t seem like they’d dent if you hit them with a mallet. Thin pots and pans will heat food unevenly and tend to cause scorching. I’ve had a set of these Calphalon pots & pans for over ten years and they have served me well. Glass lids are also very helpful!


Prep Tools & Kitchen Gadgets

Storage and Supplies


These are fancier items that I bought later in my cooking adventure. They’re by no means basic or necessary, but I get really good use out of all of them.

  • Slow cooker (Doesn’t need to be fancy, 5-7 quart is a good size)
  • Food processor (Again, doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. This is the one I use and it’s a beast!)
  • Dutch oven (It can be used on the stove top or as a covered casserole. Truly multipurpose cookware)
  • George Foreman Grill (I can’t believe there’s an infomercial product that I actually LIKE)

What are your “must have” kitchen basics? Share your knowledge and experiences in the comments below!