25 Cooking Essentials That Every Modern Kitchen Should Have

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Cooking is a great pastime and a hobby for many people.

This is mainly because it allows you to provide delicious and nutritious meals to your family and loved ones. Simply standing in front of freshly prepared meals is pleasing to the eyes.

However, it can generally be stressful to prepare meals without having the essential cooking tools you need.

A complete kitchen will have all of the essential appliances, cookware, and utensils needed to make any dish absolutely effortless.

So what are the cooking essentials that every modern kitchen should have?

Well, there is a list of essentials that you need to make your cooking experience of pleasure. However, your appliances, cookware, and utensils top the list.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the cooking essentials, we got you covered:

Cooking Essentials

Share This Image On Your Site


The 25 most important Cooking Essentials

Below we’ll take a closer look at necessary cooking essentials that every modern kitchen should have.


Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Professional cookware is probably the first and most basic kitchen essentials that you need.

Irrespective of what type of cooktop you are working with, be to gas, electrical, or induction cooktop, using an induction-ready cookware set is recommended.

These cookware sets are versatile enough to use on any cooktop, and even if you choose to upgrade to an induction cooktop, later on, you’ll still be able to use it.


A strainer is one of those items that you barely think about until the exact moment that you really need it.

So when you’re struggling to strain your rice noodles and squeezing the lid to the top of your pot while allowing pasta steam to burn your knuckles, you’d appreciate the value that a strainer adds to your kitchen.

Strainers come in various shapes and sizes; however, the fine-mesh versions are more versatile and have a wider range of uses.


Meridian Ivory Covered Casserole Dish

There are certain dishes that you simply cannot make without a casserole dish. For starters, lasagna and brownies are never the same unless made in a casserole dish.

These casserole dishes often come in sets, but you can buy them individually as well. The ideal sizes range between 9 inches to 13 inches.

Try and get some matching lids for them, and they make great travel and serving dishes as well.

Knife Set

Although it’s possible to get away with one large knife in your kitchen, having a set of different sized knives is always better.

One that comes with a knife block is even better for storing your knives on the countertop, is also safe, and gives easy access.

For most dicing and slicing, you need a large chef’s knife and a paring knife, which is suitable for smaller, more detail-orientated tasks.

Cerated knives are for cutting bread and hard fruits. Although knife prices vary considerably, you want to invest in a good quality knife said that would last you for a long time to come.

Measuring Cups

Orange Measuring Cups

Measuring cups are great for measuring larger quantities of ingredients when baking or cooking.

Most of them are microwavable and have a pouring spout as well. They’re handy for melting things like butter and chocolate and pouring them onto other ingredients.


Although flatware is not something you need to go all out on, it’s really handy, especially when you have guests around.

Those that come with extra spoons and forks are great because you can never have too many serving utensils on hand when entertaining people.

Can Openers

A can opener will be needed at some point and time. So ensure that you have one in your utensil drawer.

If you can invest in an electric one, it will really prevent those hand cramps and won’t leave jagged edges at the top of the can.

Can openers are available at various retail stores or you can even buy them online.

Slow Cooker

Stainless Steel Slow Cooker

If you’re going to invest in only a few countertop appliances for your kitchen, one of them should be a slow cooker.

They’re so versatile, and they make cooking delicious and fulfilling meals absolutely effortless.

A slow cooker can be used to make everything from chicken wings to pot roast, and all you have to do is throw in all your ingredients and wait for a few hours.

If effortless cooking is what you have been waiting for, a slow cooker was made for you.

Food Dehydrator

Although a food dehydrator is not something you see lying around in everyone’s kitchen, they are one of the most versatile and useful pieces of equipment.

Food dehydrators work wonders when it comes to drying your favorite foods and keeping them for later.

Everything from fruit, vegetables, and meats can be dehydrated to create delicious homemade snacks.

Now there is no need to run to the store every time you’re craving dried food because with a food dehydrator you can create tasty dry snack in the comfort of your own kitchen.


Two Slice Toaster

If you have a soft spot for English muffins, bagels, pop tarts, and bread, then a toaster is an absolute necessity.

Later models will have wider slots so you can toast thicker slices or more slices at the same time.

Cutting Board

A cutting board is an absolute necessity in the kitchen.

Every time you cook, you will need to cut or slice your vegetables and meat, so choose one that is suitable and will last a long time to come.

Lots of good quality cutting boards are also dishwasher safe and built from polypropylene, so it is odor resistant.

So try and choose the highest quality that you can find because cutting boards should be able to last you for many years to come.

Measuring Spoons

Stoneware Measuring Spoons

Measuring spoons are used to measure small amounts of liquids and ingredients as compared to measuring cups.

However, they usually come in a set of five stainless steel spoons that measure anywhere from a quarter teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.

Some are plastic, but you do get magnetic ones, as well.

They’re designed to be double-sided to accommodate liquids as well as solids, and they are also dishwasher safe.

It’s an absolute must for enthusiastic bakers. So choose a set that will last you a long time.

Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls come in handy when you’re making salads, doing spice rubs, sauces, marinades, and also storing over leftovers.

High-quality mixing bowls are a must because they’re so versatile and will be used for so many different purposes.

You can basically do pretty much anything with a mixing bowl set, and they do not absorb odors or stains because they’re made of glass.

So invest in a high-quality set to use as you please in your kitchen.


Professional Whisks

This is one of the lesser-known facts, but a whisk is one of the most used items inside your kitchen.

It is important to have one that is also ergonomically made since you hold in your hand for long periods of time.

Whisks are ideal for putting together salad dressings, desserts, sauces, and many more dishes.

It is one of the primary tools used in baking.

So investing in an ergonomic and high-quality whisk to help make your tasks inside the kitchen easier.

Vegetable Peeler

A vegetable peeler with speed up your preparation time when peeling vegetables.

Irrespective of whether you are peeling potatoes, carrots, or any other type of vegetable, it’s almost always faster with a vegetable peeler as opposed to using an ordinary knife.

A high-quality potato peeler will stand the test of time.

Choose one that is dishwasher safe and also ergonomically designed, so it’s comfortable to hold, especially if you are using it for extended periods.

Potatoe Masher

Dual Action Potato Masher

Potato peelers are extremely convenient and a great tool to have inside the kitchen.

However, most of them have a very bulky shape, which tends to take up a lot of drawer space.

Lately, there are flip potato mashes that have a more ergonomic design and tend to save space as well.

Recent potato mashers are also made from high-quality stainless steel, which is BPA free and dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.


In order to be efficient in the kitchen, you need a grater. Graters are multipurpose tools that can be used for grating and zesting.

Graters that are made these days offer multiple functionalities. You can grate citrus, as well as coarse and fine ingredients.

So feel free to use it on anything from Parmesan to ginger. Invest in a durable stainless steel grater, which will last you much longer than a plastic one.

Dinnerware set

Dansk Dinnerware Set

Dinnerware is something that you need to have on hand. An adequate dinnerware set will accommodate at least four people.

You need to have large plates and small plates as well as bowls. Plates are for enjoying lunch and dinner while your bowls will be used to enjoy your cereal in the morning.

Sets should be sturdy, microwave safe, and also good to go in the dishwasher. Lots of dinnerware sets come with mugs and cups, as well.

Garlic Press

A garlic press is another essential to have handy inside the kitchen.

If you don’t like slicing or grating garlic, then one of the quickest solutions when you’re cooking, a garlic press is your number one solution.

Some people prefer crushing and chopping their own garlic and using a blender to do so.

However, if you don’t particularly like this method and would like to crush garlic while you’re cooking, then a garlic press is a must-have kitchen essential.

Bread Knife

High Quality Bread Knife

Bread knives are knives with serrated edges that you typically use for slicing through bread and hard fruits.

A high-quality bread knife is priceless and comes in handy for even slicing delicate items such as pastries and cakes.

Choose knives that are made of high-quality construction such as Japanese knife sets.

Sharpening Rod

A sharpening ceramic rod is an essential tool sharpening for knife sets. It usually is designed to last a lifetime and doesn’t take much maintenance.

Honing rods don’t actually sharpen your blade, but the idea is to realign your knifes edges efficiently and rather quickly.

Most honing rods are made from ceramic, but it is capable of sharpening and honing your knives as well. It works especially well with chef knives that are made from hard steel.

Invest in a good quality one because all you need is one honing rod to sharpen an entire knife set.

This is also not an item that needs to be replaced very often, so choosing one with a long lifespan is essential.


Stainless Steel Kitchen Shears

Shears are not seen as a kitchen essential by lots of people; however, when it comes to cutting up a whole chicken and other types of meat, it is absolutely priceless.

Even slicing vegetables or stripping herbs becomes effortless when using a pair of good quality shears. They are extremely sharp and, therefore, able to cut through chicken and various types of meat.

They are also durable and comfortable to hold in your hand as compared to holding a knife for an hour.

The blades also separate to make cleaning easy and convenient. A good quality pair of shears definitely deserves a spot in your kitchen.

Cups And Glasses

It goes without saying, but you definitely need cups and glasses inside your kitchen.

The rule of thumb is that you need to have enough of these for four people. Mugs are great for enjoying your tea and coffee, and they usually come with your dinner set.

However, if you are a wine drinker, you might need to get some glasses or even wine glasses to add to your cup collection in the kitchen.


Microwave In Kitchen

A microwave oven is also a kitchen essential for obvious reasons.

When you have leftover meals stored in the fridge, having a microwave makes it a breeze to simply take food out of your fridge and heat it up, making your leftovers ready to enjoy.

Some later and more recent models are even capable of cooking and baking.

These microwaves are known as convection microwaves, and although they are a little more costly than a normal microwave oven, it definitely serves multiple purposes and therefore is worth every penny.

Salad Spinner

A salad spinner is not something that everyone uses; however, it is your best friend if you like preparing a crisp salad.

If you don’t enjoy your greens getting soggy, you need to dry them, and spinning them is the easiest way to do this.

It’s as simple as placing your greens inside the bowl and pressing a button. It also has a locking and brake mechanism for easy storage.

The strainer basket can also be used for draining spaghetti and rice noodles. So it’s not just a salad spinner and serves multiple purposes too.

Related Questions

Do You Need All These Kitchen Essentials To Put Together A Meal?

No, you don’t necessarily need each and every one of these essentials on the list; however, having them around definitely will make your cooking experience more enjoyable.

Is A Food Dehydrator The Same As An Oven?

While you can use your oven to dehydrate certain types of food, you probably won’t get the same results every time.

This is mainly because an oven usually doesn’t have air circulation, which a dehydrator also contains.

Dehydrators are also more energy-efficient and will consume a fraction of the energy that an oven will use.

So ultimately, a food dehydrator is more practical than an oven when it comes to drying food.

What Is The Difference Between The Kitchen Essentials My Granny Used To Use And The Ones Made Nowadays?

The truth is that everything has gotten better with time.

And although there are your good, old, and faithful kitchen essentials that have stood the test of time, recent models are created to be more practical and serve multiple purposes.

Therefore, one kitchen essential nowadays can probably serve the purpose of the five essentials that we used decades ago.

Ultimately, this means that you need fewer essentials and will still be able to do more in your kitchen.

Rate this post

By Abby McAvery

After learning how to cook from her family, Abby began anonymously submitting original recipes online. Once she gained enough traction, she decided to open Get Me Cooking, and devote it to everything that a true chef needs in the kitchen. From the best mixers to the top utensils and more, she continues the family tradition by informing others on how to be a better cook and share some of her favorite memories and cooking tips at the same time.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *