Essential Kitchenware Items for Every Home Cook

Whether you’re newly independent, recently graduated or moving into your first apartment, these items will help you get started in the kitchen. They are the basics that every cook needs to start cooking with confidence.

This reusable plastic container set is fridge, freezer and microwave-safe and comes in various sizes. Its stackable design helps keep your cabinets organized and is less than six inches wide so that you can fit it into narrow silverware drawers.

Silicone Spatula

Spatulas are a must-have kitchen tool for every cook. Look for a silicone head that won’t melt or warp under heat and a handle made from sturdy acacia wood to prevent burns.

This set includes a large and small spatula to tackle various tasks, from stirring soups and stews to wrangling that last bit of peanut butter out of the jar. The smooth surface also resists oily residues, making cleaning easy by hand or in the dishwasher.

Sturdy Whisk

It would help to have a sturdy whisk, whether whisking eggs, emulsifying vinaigrette or stirring soup. Stainless steel options come in all shapes and sizes. Look for a Danish dough whisk, a brisker, sturdy enough to mix heavy bread batters and knead yeast doughs.

This pick has a broad head with 12 reasonably flexible wire loops that performed well beating, whipping and mixing but could have been more precise when getting into corners of bowls. Its metal handle is thick and easy to grip, though slightly slippery.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

A set of measuring cups and spoons is the backbone of any kitchen. They allow you to count ingredients precisely, ensuring your recipes turn out perfectly every time.

A good set like those from GoodCook kitchenware will include a variety of sizes so that you can accurately measure everything from a pinch of salt to a cup of flour. Look for a group that provides pouring spouts for easy transfer of liquid ingredients.

Immersion Blender

We all have a basic worktop blender and a single-serve smoothie or milkshake blender, but an immersion blender can make a huge difference in your cooking. Also called a hand or stick blender, this versatile electric appliance is used directly in the pot for blending tasks that can’t be accomplished with your regular countertop blender.

Immersion blenders are ideal for pureeing soups and sauces right in the pot. A select few even come with a whisk attachment that makes it easy to create whipped cream, meringues, and vinaigrettes.


A colander is a useful kitchen tool for washing, draining, and rinsing food. It is typically made from plastic or metal and has a large bowl-shaped body with small holes or perforations.

Colanders differ from strainers, with finer meshed holes that catch smaller solid ingredients. Use a colander to strain cooked pasta, rinse vegetables, and more. You can also find collapsible colanders, which are more compact and easier to store. Some cooks use them as a replacement for a sieve when sifting flour to avoid lumps.

Dutch Oven

While Le Creuset and Staub are credited with the Dutch oven’s recent resurgence, this versatile kitchen workhorse has existed for hundreds of years. Its biggest draw is its ability to handle multiple cooking techniques in one pot (think searing beef for bourguignon, baking bread and stewing soups).

A good Dutch oven is heavy enough to conduct and retain heat while remaining sturdy enough to withstand a large meat cut or liquid quarts. Enameled options are best for home cooks, as bare cast iron can react to acidic ingredients.


Like a set of metal opposable thumbs, tongs are indispensable for reaching into vats of oil or grabbing that piece of steak off the grill. Choose a pair with heat-resistant handles that won’t damage your cookware or plastic food containers.

Salad tongs with a spoon and spork head are great for arranging and serving a large salad while keeping hands away from food while prepping or plating. Color-coated cooking tongs allow you to create a simple system of color-coding for front-of-house service and food safety purposes.

Roasting Pan

Although it may seem like a roasting pan is strictly necessary for cooking turkey and ham during the holidays, it’s an important cookware year-round. With its wide surface area, you can roast vegetables and bake casseroles and cakes.

When shopping for a roasting pan, look for fully clad models (where an internal layer of aluminum—or sometimes copper—is sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel). This type of cookware conducts heat more evenly than other types.

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