As someone who isn’t in the kitchen much I was absolutely astounded when I moved away from home at all the kitchen equipment you need. Also, during that same time period, I acquired a lot of items I didn’t end up using… like ever.  So I thought I would give you my list of kitchen essentials for the average not-so-kitchen savvy millennial.

Prep Tools:

Grater: A normal cheese grater is great for most people, but you can also get a microplate grater if you like hard cheeses or citrus zest.  I ironically do a lot of zesting, so I have both types of graters.

Salad Tongs:  I have a miniature set of spring loaded tongs.  They’re perfect for me because I don’t often have company over…. and let’s be real, if I don’t have company I’m likely to get bagged salad and eat the salad straight out of the bag.  No tongs required.  However, if you think you’ll use tongs there are a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from.

Spoons: You’re going to use a lot of spoons so feel free to pick out several different kinds and sizes.  Maybe throw a spatula in here or there too. If you plan on storing them in some sort of cute on-the-counter-container look for ones that match the aesthetic of your home or apartment.

Measuring Cups & Spoons: As someone who measures her food out daily, I use these more than anything in my kitchen.  However they’re also great for a little thing called recipes.

Colander:  Us basic folk call this a strainer and it’s perfect for separating the macaroni from the water after you boil it.  My most used colander is a smaller hand-held one which is perfect to wash a few strawberries or drain a small amount of pasta.

Chopping Stuff

Big Knife:  This is also known as a Chef’s knife, and it’s one of the items you want to splurge on if you will actually be cooking. Your Chef’s knife should be 8”-10” and as sharp as possible (watch those fingers).

Paring Knife:  The little guy, this knife is great for doing things like cutting the stems off of strawberries. I use my paring knife daily and it’s my go-to primarily because I’m clumsy.

Serrated Knife: This is your bread knife. It works best to cut bread and tomatoes, but it’s the most overall useful knife.  It’s a good one to get if you can afford it, if not, put it on a to-get list and wait it out. Worst case scenario, you’ll buy a tomato and it will get partially mushed as you cut it.

Note: If you spend anything more than a few dollars on a knife make sure you go into a knife store and try holding them and seeing if you actually like them.  A $200 kitchen knife that looks pretty but is too heavy is a silly investment.

Cutting Boards:  Pick boards you can put in the dishwasher and thoroughly sanitize.


Sheet Tray:  Get at least one full-sized metal sheet tray to bake cookies and other foods like vegetables and meats on.

Frying Pan:  Eggs are a staple in my life, I couldn’t live without my frying pan.  It’s also great for sautéing vegetables of cooking fish.

Pots:  Get at least one small pot and one big pot for boiling water, or making soups, stews and sauces.  You can also get a cast iron Dutch oven which is a pot that can be used in the oven or in the stove top.

Instapot and/or Crock Pot:  If you want to make meals fast or make them ahead of time these are some optional, yet handy devices to have.  Once again, they’re on the higher price range so make sure you’re actually going to use them before you buy them.

That’s it! If you’re brand new to your own kitchen this list should help you outfit it properly to start cooking.  You might be surprised at the number of things you can make yourself at home and the amount of money you can save!

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