10 Must-Have Essentials for a First Kitchen

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I have lived with multiple roommates, in multiple cities, and have moved in and out of my mom’s house several times. I acquired some things along the way, but found that sharing living spaces with others meant I could keep a low profile and move without the hassle of moving much stuff. Then this past year I finally moved into an apartment I could call my own, which meant setting up my first kitchen.

I started with some glassware, plates and utensils I bought from a local thrift store, and a box of odds and ends I had collected over the past few years. Then over the next couple months I filled in my kitchen with what was necessary to prepare and cook some basic meals. Below is what I use weekly, if not daily, and consider essentials for a first kitchen:

1. Pots & pans: a stainless steel frying pan for cooking eggs, a saucepan with a lid for cooking grains, vegetables, and sauces, and a cast-iron skillet for everything else.
2. Well sharpened chef’s knife
3. Cutting board
4. Food storage containers: chances are you’re making some meals in bulk for lunch or dinner the next day, especially if you’re on a budget. I made the switch from plastic to glass, and use a combination of rectangular glass nesting containers and old food jars.
5. Wooden spoons
6. Mixing bowls: you don’t need a complete set to start. I have 2 (small and large), and they’ve worked out well so far. Opt for stainless steel or glass if possible – plastic is not as sturdy.
7. Colander
8. Can opener
9. Toaster oven: it’s the first appliance I bought, and it’s great for cooking and reheating meals, especially when you’re cooking for one.
10. French press: a morning cup of coffee is very necessary in my apartment!

Do you agree with this list? Is there something you would trade out? Share your essentials in the comments below!

And if you are looking to round out your collection of kitchen tools, and find yourself doing a fair amount of cooking and baking, you should check out: 5 Guides to Help You Set Up Your Kitchen With the Best Basics over at The Kitchn.