This article is part of the Cooking Basics series.

Cooking Basics: A Starter Kitchen Toolset

Kitchen Toolset - Aurooba Ahmed

Before you can begin cooking, there are a few things you need to have on hand. The first set of those items are tools. You need things to chop with, pots to cook in, and cookie sheets to bake in. So let’s build you a starter kitchen toolset.

I’ve gone through this list again and again. Although you can certainly have more and sometimes multiples of some will help you cook faster, this is all you really need in order to be able to cook a variety of dishes and meals.

Buying a solid starter set of kitchen tools can feel pricey. You may want to do it in sections, buying a few things every week as you try more and more recipes. So I’ve broken the list down into two sections: what to buy right away, what to buy slowly as you need it.

Buy Right Away

  1. Knives and a Solid Scissor

    You need something to chop and dice and slice your vegetables and meat with. There are all kinds of fancy knives you can get. But all you really need to get things done is a pair of chef’s knives. Here are the exact ones I have. I love them and use them every time I cook. A pair of solid kitchen scissors are also essential (whether for cutting open plastic bags or quickly cutting up a green chilli into a pot of cooking stew).

  2. Cutting Board(s)

    You need something to use your knives on! I recommend having at least 2 cutting boards, but you can absolutely get away with one. If you have two, you can chop and leave the veggies on one while you handle the meat on another. Makes things a bit simpler. Here’s a decent set on Amazon. As long as you wash it and take good care of it, it should last forever.

  3. Colander

    You need something to drain the pasta in and something to wash your veggies in. This is a the kind you want, it’s versatile, big (always go a bit bigger than you think you need), and should fit in most sinks.

  4. Pots and Pans set

    You need a set of pots and pans. You can definitely get super cheap ones, but the quality of your pots and pans will affect not only the way your food cooks but also your cooking experience. Bad pots and pans can make you hate cooking, seriously. There’s no need to shell out super big bucks, but invest in a decent set. Here’s one with good reviews, from a good company, and with the right amount and sizes of pots and pans.

  5. Baking Sheets

    baking sheet with roasted sweet potatoes - aurooba ahmed

    You need baking sheets to make easy and simple meals that taste delicious. They are so incredibly handy. I recommend this set from Wilton. I have it myself and it is excellent.

  6. Silicone Cooking Utensils

    I’m not a big fan of metal cooking utensils. Silicone is the way to go, they last, they don’t scratch, and they are easy to clean. This one comes with a holder and has all the kinds you may need.

  7. Measuring Utensils

    You need measuring cups, spoons, and at least one liquid measuring cup. Here’s a set of measuring cups and spoons and here’s a 4-cup liquid measuring cup that should work perfectly for most of your needs.

  8. Foil and Wrap

    Aluminum foil is essential for baking and plastic wrap is handy for covering things up. Pretty simple.

If you were to buy the items linked above, it would cost you roughly $330. I think that’s a fairly reasonable estimate. You could definitely go cheaper though. The items I’ve linked are ones I think are good enough quality to last you a long time, but if your budget is tighter you can get away with cheaper items and invest in better pieces as you go along.

A budget of $300 to outfit your kitchen with tools is not bad.

Buy As You Need It

These tools are a big part of my cooking process., however I’ve done without them as well. As you make more complex recipes or figure out your unique cooking process, you’ll find yourself investing in these tools as well.

With these tools, you can cook so many things and you have a kitchen equipped to handle almost any recipe you may want to tackle.

Next Thursday, we’re going to set up a small but mighty pantry and start cooking!

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