What are the essential kitchen items that are so regularly used in your cooking space that they become must-haves?
There are so many products on the market, with varying qualities and functionalities, that it’s hard to determine which kitchen essentials should be a staple in your kitchen.
In the last 15 or so years, my husband and I have moved- a LOT. In that time, I’ve been a freelance recipe developer, a recipe tester, and written 2 cookbooks as well as created dozens of recipes for this website. I know how to… as they say… get around a home kitchen.
There are 5 kitchen products I’d recommend to any newly married couple, new homeowner or renter, or anyone who’s interested in stocking their kitchen with the good stuff.
The famed Instant Pot is a Canadian brand of multi cookers. They’re electronically controlled combined pressure cookers and slow cookers. The original cookers are marketed as 6-in-1 or more appliances designed to consolidate the cooking and preparing of food to one device.
I’m OBSESSED with mine. Totally have drunk the Kool-aid, and I use it all the time.
Instant Pot isn’t just a Pressure Cooker
Despite pressure cooking being the number one reason most people use it, an Instant Pot isn’t just an electric pressure cooker. It’s also a rice cooker, defroster, yogurt maker, popcorn make, and more
Basically, it does everything except wash your dishes for you.
The Instant Pot recipes I turn to the most:
A sheet pan, baking tray, or baking sheet is a flat, rectangular metal pan used in an oven. It’s a tray! It’s an organizer! It’s a cooking vessel! It’s a platter!
A sheet pan is a lifesaving kitchen tool in the oven and out.
I use mine for baking cookies, pizzas, sheet cakes, bread rolls, Swish rolls, and lots more.
It can even be used for unconventional things like a skewer soaker, ingredient organizer, slider stand, corn catcher, etc.
My best tips for sheet pan shoppers:
- Get a good size pan, at least 7”x11.”
- To ensure quality, get something sturdy, with at least a 1” lip all the way around.
- Avoid at all costs those cheap “cookie pans” from the dollar store.
Here are some of my all-time, best-loved sheet pan meals to try with your new sheet pan:
The sauté pan comes from the French word “Sauter”, meaning “to jump”. This pan is designed to cook a larger volume of ingredients without overcrowding, which helps maximize caramelization and, with it, flavor.
Sauté pans are very versatile, as their tall sides allow them to hold liquids as well as other ingredients. This means they can be used for making sauces in addition to braising, poaching, shallow-frying, searing, and pan-frying.
When picking sauté pans for your kitchen:
- Choose one with a wide bottom.
- Get a tight-fitting lid
- Lastly, you can’t help but love the “helper handle” (this is a handle on the other side of the pan from the long handle, used for lifting the pot when heavy).
Some of my favorite recipes that really need a good saute pan are:
A good sharp knife is essential for getting the job done easily and efficiently. Dull blades could result in some really messy cooking. You need knives, not just any knife but, something razor-sharp. How do you pick the right knife for your cooking space?
- A good knife should be balanced even when you place it on the flat of your hand.
- After obtaining a good knife from the store, it doesn’t end there. Keep it sharp. If you’re not comfortable sharpening on your own, find a reputable sharpener. I take mine to our local hardware store; our guy there has a hookup with a proper knife sharpener.
A sturdy slow cooker that distributes heat evenly and works reliably is a must-have for any kitchen.
A slow cooker is a countertop electronically powered kitchen appliance. It is used for cooking at lower temperatures.
It simmers instead of boiling, frying, or any of the other various cooking methods. A slow cooker transfers heat to the base of the pot which in turn transfers to the sides of the pot to cook your food from within.
Slow cooking in a sealed chamber is a healthy method of cooking because it keeps the moisture and nutrients in your food.
Here are some other essential things you need to know about your slow cooker:
- Timer setting is not needed, but helpful.
- Get a sturdy lid (should be sturdy and stay put against the steam inside).
Some of my favorite slow cooker recipes are:
That’s it! Which essential kitchen item is your must-have?