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28 Essential Kitchen Tools and Appliances for Your Home 2022

Visualize this: You just moved into your new home or very first apartment and you’re finally prepared to stock up on all of the essentials to have an operational kitchen like a functioning adult. More likely than not, your current tools have been with you since you bought them back in college. Unfortunately, the kitchen is one of the toughest and most overwhelming rooms to stock, as there are hundreds of different kitchen gadgets that could be considered essential (depending on what kind of cook you are).

To make this daunting task easier for you, we’ve carefully picked items for the ultimate essential kitchen list. This list includes essentials — from utensils to appliances — that are absolute must-haves for a fully operational kitchen. Pick up all these items from our list of essential kitchen tools and appliances and you’re ready to host a dinner party!

A man cooking in the kitchen.

Utensils

Let’s start with the basic kitchen utensils. While plastic utensils come in handy when you don’t have any of the necessary cooking utensils yet, you definitely want to invest in a good set of forks, spoons, and most importantly, knives. Here are some of the best one-item sets of kitchen essential utensils to buy for your home.

Knife Set

Messmeisterknifeblock.

When choosing a knife, you could get away with one large chef knife, but you’ll thank yourself later if you go ahead and spring for a set. One that comes in a knife block is even better since storing it on the counter is safer and will save you drawer space. We recommend the German-made Messermeister Olivia Elite 5 Piece Next Level Block Set. The set includes a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a utility knife, a paring knife, and of course, a beautiful wooden block to store them in. You’ll thank us later for investing in a high-quality set that will last you a long time.

Japanese Knife

Shun Japanese Knife.

Every home needs at least one Japanese knife…they are life-changing. Japanese knives vary depending on use (i.e. meat, seafood, vegetables). We love Shun’s Classic Blonde Nakiri 6.5-inch knife. The first thing you notice about the nakiri is how lightweight it is. In Japan, a nakiri is a vegetable knife and this beautiful kitchen knife is designed to handle a full range of vegetables, and a lot more, with ease. It only needs a little pressure for extremely efficient slicing and dicing.

Measuring Spoons

A set of measuring spoons filled with different condiments.

Unless you have the nimble fingers of a Michelin-star chef and can pinch up a perfect ¼ teaspoon with ease, you’ll need a set of measuring spoons. Find one with easy-to-read measurement labels and a ring that you can clip open for individual use and easier cleaning.

Measuring Cup

A large measuring cup filled with sugar.

Yes, you should get both measuring spoons and a measuring cup. Why? Well, for starters, the classic Pyrex measuring cup (you know, the one that seems to be in literally everyone’s kitchen) can measure larger quantities. It’s also microwaveable and has a pour spout, so you can use it to melt things like butter or chocolate and pour them right into other ingredients.

Flatware

Flatware which consists of two forks, two spoons, and a knife.

You don’t have to go super fancy with your flatware, but if you plan on having guests over it should be a large enough set for at least four people to avoid a “community fork” situation. Plus, if you get a set that includes larger spoons and forks, you’ve got extra serving utensils on hand. While you’re at it, treat yourself to a silverware organizer to slide into one of your drawers — it makes getting out and putting away silverware a lot easier.

Spatula

A variety of blue spatulas lined up.

You don’t need us to list all the uses for a spatula to know you’re definitely going to need one. Your spatula is going to be a heavy-hitter in your kitchen, so get one that’s sturdy and durable. We also suggest picking up a pack of spatulas, which usually come in a variety of sizes — perfect for the myriad ways you’re going to use spatulas.

Can Opener

A can being opened with a can opener.

Chances are you’ll need to open a can of something or other at some point, so be sure to stash a can opener in your utensil drawer, too. We really dig one that doesn’t cause hand cramps and won’t leave jagged edges at the top of the can. Though an electric can opener is easier to use if you’re someone who cooks with store-bought canned soups.

Vegetable Peeler

Two vegetable peelers with peeled vegetable skin on the chopping board.

You don’t have to go too crazy and get an electric vegetable peeler (though they do make us feel fancy). This vegetable peeler is great for peeling fruits and vegetables in nice long strips without getting jammed.

Cookware

Now for the essential cookware kitchen items. Skillets, pots, pans, and trays are the most used items in the kitchen. Here are some of the best ones for your kitchen or if you’re looking to give the best kitchen gifts to the cooking enthusiast in your life.

Cookware Set

KitchenAid Cookware Set

If you want to look like a chef and cook like a chef, try a stainless steel cookware set. This KitchenAid 3-Ply Base Stainless Steel 11-Piece cookware set includes a 1.5-quart straining saucepan with lid, a 3-quart straining saucepan with lid, a 6-quart stockpot with lid, 3-quart sauté pan, an 8-inch frying pan, 11-inch frying pan with lid, and a 3.75-quart steamer insert (fits 6-quart stockpot). The saucepan lids feature built-in strainers to strain liquids without the need for a colander, and measuring is made incredibly easy with this set as each pot and pan has etched measuring marks. The pots and pans are crafted from heavy-duty stainless steel and are tough enough to stand up to everyday use and experimentation in the kitchen. These are quality products that you can rely on; they deliver every time.

Wok

Hestan Wok.

You’ll want to invest in a wok for those days that you’re craving a delicious stir-fry. Hestan’s NanoBond Molecular Titanium Stainless Wok is suitable for all cooktops and is designed for greater heat conduction, perfect for stir-fry, wok cooking, sautéing, and deep-frying.  The high dome lid also allows this wok to be used for steaming, braising, and roasting a whole chicken.

Stockpot

Calphalon Stock Pot.

A stockpot is built for making soups or stews, boiling potatoes, and cooking spaghetti sauce. The best is Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 6-Quart Stock Pot. This pot features a 3-layer metal construction that distributes heat evenly with consistency. It takes about 15 minutes for it to boil water and weighs seven pounds. A bonus is that it is dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup!

Bakeware

OXOBakeware.

There are some (extremely delicious) foods that just can’t be replicated without the use of bakeware dishes — lasagna and brownies, for starters. For these occasions, it’s nice to have a set of bakeware stashed in the cabinet. Get some with matching lids and they make great servings. If you’re bringing food over to watch the game these make great travel dishes, too. The OXO 14 Piece Glass Bake, Serve & Store Set is perfection in our eyes. The set includes a glass 3-quart baking dish with lid, glass 2-quart baking dish with lid, glass loaf pan, glass pie plate, 1-cup round smart seal container, 2-cup round smart seal container, and a 4-cup round smart seal container. This set is ideal because they also come in handy for storage as well.

Read more: Best Meal Prep Containers

Sheet Tray

A sheet tray filled with various vegetables.

If you can cook it in the oven, you will probably want to cook it on a sheet tray. If you plan to make anything from cookies to pizzas to finger foods to bacon, a high-quality sheet tray is endlessly useful. Plus, you can slide it under deeper dishes like roasting trays as a fail-safe for errant dripping. Look for the kind that’s made for restaurant use — they’re large, durable, and long-lasting.

Colander

Set of three colanders.

A colander is an item you hate to not think of until the exact moment you really need it, like when you’re struggling to drain spaghetti by squeezing the lid to the top of your pot while hot pasta steam burns your corneas. We like Williams Sonoma’s All-Clad Set of 3 Colanders.

Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls filled with various baking ingredients such as eggs and butter.

Grab a set of two or three larger bowls that can be used for mixing ingredients. Find a set with lids included so that they’re also handy for storage. If you get the triple-threat combo and find a set with lids that also looks nice, you can use them as serving bowls, too.

Appliances

Appliances can be pricey, but they will make all the difference when preparing meals. Whether you’re looking to find appliances for meal prep or kitchen gadgets we found the best ones for you.

Toaster

Revolution toaster.

For anyone who’s into bread, bagels, English muffins, or pop-tarts, a kitchen feels all too bare without a toaster. Revolution’s InstaGLO R270 Toaster offers the ultimate toasting experience, with custom settings for 34 bread types and three toasting modes (fresh, frozen, reheat). The InstaGLO even has a gluten-free setting with algorithms tailored to the chemistry of non-gluten ingredients, for better results. You can also purchase Revolution’s panini press and a warming rack to add to your toaster.

Mixer

Kitchenaid Mixer.

Whether you need 9 dozen of your signature chocolate chips cookies or shredded chicken for Taco Tuesday with friends and family, we highly recommend using KitchenAid’s Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. This durable tilt-head stand mixer comes in a variety of colors (over 20) and features 10 speeds to gently knead, thoroughly mix, and whip ingredients for a wide variety of recipes. There are also over 10 optional hub-powered attachments, from food grinders to pasta makers and more. This mixer comes with a 5-quart stainless steel bowl, a coated flat beater, a coated dough hook, a 6-wire whip, and a pouring shield.

Blender

Haden white blender.

Enjoy fresh smoothies, milkshakes, sauces, soups, and protein shakes in seconds with the Haden Heritage blender. This retro-inspired blender features an ice crush function, five speeds with pulse, anti-slip feet, and a tempered glass jug that is dishwasher safe.

Slow Cooker

A slow cooker surrounded by other kitchen tools.

If you’re only going to invest in one countertop appliance for your kitchen, purchase the best slow cooker. They’re so insanely versatile and they make cooking hearty, fulfilling meals so simple you’ll basically feel lazy. You can use a slow cooker to make everything from pot roast to chicken wings, and all you have to do is chuck your ingredients in and wait a few hours. If you’re in charge of making the chili this year, a slow cooker is going to make it so easy for you.

Read more: Best Slow Cookers

Dishes

Your dishes are used every day and will probably stay with you for years down the road. When shopping for dishes make sure to check the right size for your cupboards and a fitting style for your table.

Dinnerware

A set of dinnerware on a large woven tray.

Just as with your silverware, you should have enough dinnerware on hand for at least four people. We recommend having both large and small plates as well as bowls. Look for sets that are sturdy, microwave-safe, and dishwasher-safe. To make things easier, look for a dinnerware set that comes with mugs or cups as well. If you have enough cups and mugs, then a simple set such as the one pictured above will work perfectly.

Wine Glasses

Wine glasses.

No home is ever complete without a set of good-looking wine glasses (if you’re a wine drinker that is). Gabriel-Glas has developed a glass with the ideal shape for tasting every style of wine. The StandArt glass is molded with a wider base at the bottom of the glass and a conical shape at the top, designed to “drive” the flavors of wine. The glass is durable yet elegant, lead-free, and dishwasher safe.

Serving Platter

Serving platters being used in table setting.

Sometimes you might have a beautiful hunk of meat or charcuterie plate you want to serve up for guests, in which case you’ll be glad you have a serving platter on hand. This is likely to be used mostly for company, so spring for one that will look great sitting on your table.

Cups

Two cups filled with garnished tea.

Again, keep enough cups or glasses around for at least four people. We also recommend getting a few mugs to enjoy coffee and tea (if they don’t come with your dinnerware set).

Other Items

Milk Frother

Nanofoamer latte maker.

Skip the expensive cappuccino machine and purchase this Subminimal NanoFoamer. Make your own barista-style cappuccino or latte art every day with this handheld frother. The tiny frother has NanoScreen technology to create better-tasting, better-looking, and better-textured coffees. Simply choose a NanoScreen to suit your preferred microfoam type, churn your warm milk for about 30 seconds, and pour your perfectly micro foamed milk over an espresso.

Oven Mitts and Pot Holders

A man wearing a pot holder while cooking.

Keep your surfaces clean and your hands burn- and wound-free by picking up a decent set of oven mitts and potholders. Silicone’s high heat resistance makes it a great material for these items, too.

Cutting Board

Walnut cutting board with kitchen knife and sliced papaya and kiwi placed on it.

This walnut cutting board is a no-fuss, mess-free board where you can slice and dice your ingredients to your heart’s content. The walnut wood finish also helps keep your knives sharp and useful. Aside from being a cutting board, this stunning chunk of wood can also double as a serving tray (picture a charcuterie board).

Read more: Best Cutting Boards

Towels

Kitchen towel being used on a wooden surface to wipe out spilled milk.

No kitchen is complete without a set of reliable kitchen towels. Use them for cleaning up messes, drying dishes, and even as makeshift potholders in a pinch. We recommend a set of at least four so you always have a fresh one even when the others are in the wash.

Read more: Best Kitchen Towels

Dish Drying Rack

A dish drying rack filled with tableware.

Even if you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher, you should still keep a drying rack (and a brush and soap for cleaning the things you’re about to put in the drying rack) around for items that are not dishwasher safe.

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