Every new cook has to start with the basics—and outfitting your kitchen is the first step. We’ve put together our favorite tried-and-true kitchen items to help you get started. You’ll be cooking in no time.
Chef’s Knife, Misen
There are a lot of options when it comes to chefs’ knives, and the prices can get pretty steep. We recommend starting with something more affordable to get you started, like this Misen knife, which is also excellent for chopping everything from chocolate to veggies.
Cutting Board, reBoard
To keep your brand-new chef’s knife from going dull, you’ll want to invest in a great cutting board. We love this one because it’s BPA-free and made from plastic scraps and sugar cane.
Cast Iron Skillet, Lodge
You’ve prepped your ingredients and seasoned your protein—now it’s time to get cooking. There’s really no need to invest in fancy pans because a cast iron skillet can do it all. We like this 10.25-inch one from beloved American-made brand Lodge because it’s big enough to cook almost anything, but small enough to easily store. Cast iron skillets works on any cooktop, including induction. And that price? You can’t beat it. (Pro tip: if you love vintage shopping, look for antique cast iron pans from brands like Wagner and Griswold. You can clean and re-season them, then give them new life.)
The easiest beginner’s dish is pasta—and it’s best with the addition of fresh-grated Parmesan or a hit of lemon zest. A Microplane makes grating a breeze.
Two-Cup Liquid Measuring Cup, Pyrex
No kitchen is complete without a copy of Irma S. Romabauer’s Joy of Cooking—and the same goes for a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Used for generations by millions of home cooks, this kitchen addition is an absolute must for mixing, measuring and pouring.
Four-Cup Food Processor, Cuisinart
While we do love the 10-cup food processor from Cuisinart, the four-cup model is excellent for getting started while staying on budget. This bad boy will chop, mince and purée its way into your heart, and it’s especially great when you’re cooking for a crowd.
Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls, Amazon
A set of nesting mixing bowls is a worthy addition to your kitchen arsenal—and stainless steel is a superior material, because it retains heat and cold well, doesn’t stick and doesn’t leech a strange flavor into whatever you’re cooking. These bowls will help you mix flour, whip cream, or keep your ingredients separate before you add them to your dish. We love them.
Silicon Coated Tongs, Oxo
Keep your fingers safe from the hot pan with a good pair of tongs, which are excellent for flipping meat, coating spaghetti with sauce and stir frying. This silicon-coated pair is heat tolerant and won’t scratch your nonstick pans.
Bench Scraper, Oxo
Bench scrapers are beloved by bakers everywhere because they can divide and scoop your dough while leaving countertops nice and clean. But the tool isn’t just for pastry chefs: use it to scoop chopped vegetables into a bowl or pan or easily clean up kitchen scraps. We love a multitasker.
Salt Cellar, Amazon
Is this a little bit extra? Maybe. But storing your salt in a salt cellar makes seasoning your food a breeze. You can dip in your measuring spoon with ease or grab a pinch with your fingers.