The 6 Bare Essentials a Kitchen Needs

Discover the six bare essentials that you need in your kitchen! Feeling overwhelmed? Reduce down to these six and you’ll have everything you need!

kitchen essentials

At one point or another, we all take a look around our kitchen and wonder, “How did this get so cluttered?” Over time we have a tendency to accumulate items we don’t need. While it may not feel like much in the moment, these small additions can build up until suddenly we can’t see our counter and we’re wondering what went wrong.

By focusing solely on the items we absolutely need, it’s possible to reclaim our kitchens and return to a life of simplicity. After all, no one wants to cook in a cluttered kitchen. It’s hard to find the things we need and to make space for our ingredients and equipment. The result? Dishes end up taking much longer to make than they should.

In modular construction, builders reduce costs by bringing just what they need to the site, with most of the project already assembled. By taking a similar approach to outfitting our kitchens and arriving in a new home (or after clearing the junk out of the old one) with just what we need, we can reduce costs and clutter and have a better cooking experience. The bare kitchen essentials include:

1. One large sauté or frying pan and spatula

This is one of the first kitchen essentials most people link of when assembling their cooking arsenal. A frying pan is an incredibly versatile item — one that most of us use to cook the majority of our dishes. You can also get away with a sauté pan, which is simply a frying pan with straight sides rather than the sloped ones that allow you to easily flip your food. One can easily save space by only purchasing a large pan. After all, a large pan can be used to cook small dishes, but a small pan can’t be used for large ones.

2. A cast iron skillet

If you use a non-stick frying pan, you’re going to want a cast iron skillet as well. This is because non-stick pans are not meant for the very high temperatures we use for things such as searing meat. When they get too hot the coating of these pans can be damaged, reducing their effectiveness and potentially leaching harmful chemicals into your food. A cast iron skillet is perfect for cooking at high temperatures, as the metal distributes the heat evenly throughout the pan.

3. Three knives

While your kitchen drawers may imply otherwise, you only truly need three knives: a chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife. The chef’s knife allows you to slice, dice, and chop any meat and veggies you prepare each day. A serrated knife is perfect for cutting through delicate baked goods, such as fresh loaves of bread. The paring knife is ideal for cutting fruits and veggies. While you may want other knives, most amateurs can easily get by on these three.

4. Measuring cups and spoons

Unless you have a really good eye for judging spices, oils, rice, water, and more, you’re going to want a set of measuring cups and spoons. Baking in particular tends to require precise measurements, so you’ll want to be prepared.

5. Plates, utensils, and drinkware

Of course, if you’re going to be making food, you’ll need a way to eat it. Try to resist the temptation to load up on cool glasses and mugs (we’ve all been guilty of this) and get just what you need for yourself and a realistic number of guests.

6. A blender

A blender may seem like a discretionary purpose to some, and an absolute necessity to others. Those who have a habit of incorporating healthy foods into their diets, such as heart-healthy, anthocyanin-rich maqui berries and various fresh fruits and veggies, will probably own a blender already. But those who don’t may be surprised at just how many uses these versatile devices have.

Optional: a cocktail shaker

If you enjoy making cocktails at home, you’re going to need a cocktail shaker. Making cocktails at home is a safer way to enjoy them as well, since you don’t have to drive — Ohio reported 379 fatal drunk driving incidents in 2017 alone. To stay safe, either use a ride service, have a designated driver, or enjoy your drinks in the comfort of your own home.

To save space and money, consider buying a set that includes the essentials in addition to a shaker: a wine and bottle opener, tongs, and citrus knife will often be included. These generally come with a stand that will allow you to easily store everything while keeping the set aesthetically pleasing.

These kitchen essentials should be enough for most people. While you can add convenient items that are worth it to you, such as a rice cooker, make sure to really think things through before you make the purchase. Otherwise you’ll soon find yourself right where you started, in a cluttered kitchen.

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