15 Must-Have Kitchen Essentials to Make Cooking Easier

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Here is my list of 15 Must-Have Kitchen Essentials. These are tools that I use nearly every day to cook, bake, and make my morning beverages. These are the tools I couldn’t live without!

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The Instant Pot

This is an appliance that I couldn’t live without now that I’ve had one. It makes cooking so much easier when you can just chuck a few ingredients into the Instant Pot, turn it on and let it work its magic!

There are so many functions to choose from and so many different things you can make in it! We use ours most frequently for making perfect rice, beans, and steaming potatoes.

The Air Fryer

I have owned one of these Secura XL 5.3 Quart Air Fryer for a year now and I honestly don’t know how I ever lived without it!

An air fryer makes it so easy to make crispy fat-free or low-fat snacks such as sweet potato fries, kale chips, giant cookies and so much more!

This economical little model is a real work horse that can replace your oven, toaster oven, and even your microwave! (for certain things anyway). Sometimes the best things come in small packages!

In our family, it gets used most often for making rice and beans. Both of these staples cook perfectly in the Instant Pot!

Cuisinart Food Processor

For years I had a cheap blender/food processor that was nothing fancy, but it did the job. When it finally gave up the ghost, I tried a couple of different food processors that seemed more economical. None of them lasted very long.  

I finally decided to bite the bullet and spend the money on the Cuisinart SFP-13 Elemental model that I thought best suited my needs and would be a quality product. I was not disappointed.

It runs so smoothly, blends so nicely, and comes with a variety of different blades stored in a sleek transparent box. Perfect!

Small Blender

I haven’t owned a large blender in years (hint hint – I would love a Vitamix!), but I do own a small Cuisinart SPB-300 blender that I use every single day.

My most essential use for it is for blending my matcha latte in the morning, but I have used it for so many other things! It comes with a small spice blender attachment, which I use not only for spices, but also for grinding my flax and chia seeds.

It’s also great for when I have to work out of town and stay in a hotel. It’s lightweight and portable and easy to clean. I use it to make my morning matcha or breakfast smoothie in the hotel room.

Electric Kettle

Along with the small blender, the electric kettle is a countertop appliance that I use virtually every day. I use it to heat the water for my matcha and it always gets used throughout the day for making instant soups and afternoon tea. It’s heats the water so much faster than on the stove!

Cast Iron Pans / Dutch Oven

I grew up using cast iron pans and when I moved out on my own, I acquired pieces for myself over the years. But somehow I got out of the habit of using them. I tried a string of “non-stick” pans, only to find that they just don’t seem to stay non-stick for very long.

I read somewhere that cast iron was like the original non-stick pan. As long as you take care of it properly, it will be your best friend. I guess I was just kind of hard on my pans, but now that I know how to treat them, they really are some of my best kitchen tools.

My most essential pan is a flat skillet known as a comal, for heating up tortillas, flat breads, making quesadillas and for quickly frying up a veggie burger or breakfast sausage. A deeper skillet is also essential for stir-fries, saucy dishes, and skillet breads.

But the Queen of Cast Iron is the Dutch Oven.

Not only is it the perfect vessel for cooking soups and slow-cooking stews, but you can also make some tasty sourdough bread in it!

Whaaaat?!

But my most essential use is for the Dutch Oven is roasting a Thanksgiving Tofurkey!

Knives

Of course, every kitchen needs knives. How else are you going to chop up all those delicious veggies? The question is, which knives are essential for easy cooking?

There are so many different types of knives out there, and a lot of people have their favorites. A lot of it depends on the types of foods you are preparing and how comfortable you feel with your knife skills.

This beautiful German steel knife set with block has a good variety of sizes essential for any home kitchen. And they look great too!

Cutting Boards

 

If you’re going to be using knives (and yes, you are going to be using knives!), you’re going to need a cutting board or two. I find it handy to have a larger sized one for larger items, or for being able to have several piles of veggies on the board at one time. It’s also nice to have a  smaller one for when I just want to cut up an apple or slice a bagel in half.

I like these ones because they are made from organic bamboo. They’re durable, easy to clean, and pretty darn beautiful too!

Mixing Bowls

 

It’s always nice to have at least a couple of sizes of mixing bowls on hand, especially if you like to bake. Mixing bowls can also make nice serving bowls, and if you get ones with lids, they can be used for food storage as well.

 

Wooden Spoon Set

A variety of large spoons is essential for every kitchen, and wooden spoons are classic. They work great for pans with a non-stick coating, they come in a variety of styles and sizes, and they look really nice!

 

 

 

Baking Sheets and Silicone Mats 

Great for roasting veggies, baking tofu, cookies, or even pizza, baking sheets are essential!

It’s best to have a variety of sizes and types, such as a cookie sheet, a muffin pan, and don’t forget a cooling rack!

 

 

 

Silicone Mats and Baking Sheets go hand in hand because the mats help your food cook more evenly and reduces waste created by disposable parchment paper!

 

 

Measuring Cups and Spoons

It’s hard to get a recipe right if you don’t have the right measuring tools! But just because they are essential, doesn’t mean they have to be boring!

 

 

Oil Sprayer

I used to be a big fan of spray oils until I realized how much waste I was creating by using them!

I feel so much better about myself now that I have a refillable oil sprayer!

 

Lime Squeezer

I discovered these when I was doing my Master’s thesis research in Mexico. Every bar, every little food stand, every little abuelita making food for her familia, had one of these lime squeezers – because they put lime on everything!

And there were plenty of times when we used one to squeeze some lime into our homemade margaritas!

 

Now that I have one at home, it is one of the most-used gadgets in the kitchen. It makes it super easy to make guacamole!

Julienne Peeler

My last kitchen essential that I use nearly every day is the humble vegetable peeler. My favorite is actually just the standard classic one. I’ve had mine for years and it’s still going strong!

 

 

What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Essential?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

For more gift inspiration check out these posts:

21 Gifts for Vegans on Amazon

Eco-Friendly and Zero Waste Gift Ideas for Any Occasion

7 Ways to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen

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