If I could go back in time, I'd give past-me a few pieces of advice. Like, take more risks. Fight harder for what you believe in. Don't cut bangs. And, finally, I'd slip younger-me a shopping list of kitchen essentials, so I wouldn't waste money on mistakes like a ginormous wok I used exactly once. Now that I'm older, wiser, and cook every day for a family of five, I know what you really need to set up your kitchen. These items will help you cook healthier and more delicious food for yourself and the people you care about. Best of all, everything on this kitchen starter checklist is available on Amazon, and will save you time and money!
For example, you don't need a zillion cooking utensils when you have one really good spatula. I'm normally not a huge fan of single-use appliances, but I make an exception for this super-handy gadget. You can never have too many dish towels, but you only need one cheese grater. Keep going to see the rest of my Amazon kitchen starter checklist, and good luck with your kitchen!
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This 14-Piece Knife Set With Wooden Block Is an Outstanding Value
via: AmazonThe very first knife set I ever bought looked a lot like this one, but it cost a heck of a lot more! This 14-piece knife set is a tremendous value and would be an ideal starter set for anyone setting up a kitchen and getting ready to cook. I love that it includes a wooden block for safe storage (plus it looks great on the counter).
This Airtight Canister Neatly Stores Pantry Essentials
via: AmazonI have a bunch of these airtight canisters in my pantry. They're made of sturdy plastic that looks great year after year, and I appreciate how they can be stacked to make the most of limited cabinet space. The best feature is the lid that "pops" open and closed, forming an airtight seal. I use mine to store flour, sugar, rice, pasta, marshmallows, oatmeal, and other dry ingredients.
These Baking Sheets with Racks Are Perfect for Two of My Favorite Foods: Cookies and Bacon
via: AmazonAre you ready to perfect both cookies and bacon, thereby making yourself King of Your Friends? This set of two baking sheets with racks is all you need. For cookies, bake them on the pans and cool them on the racks. For bacon, line the pan with foil, put the rack on top, then lay the slices of bacon on the rack. Cook in a 450 oven to desired crispness. It's the easiest and best way to cook bacon!
This Bestselling Cocktail Set for Margaritas, Martinis, and Mai Tais (Oh My!)
via: AmazonI have learned some important lessons recently. (1) I can save a lot of money by not buying cocktails at restaurants or bars. (2) I can make my own delicious cocktails at home with a few key ingredients. (3) This bestselling cocktail set is a great place to start! Once you've got these tools, all you need is your favorite liquor and a few mix-ins like citrus juice and sugar, and you're on your way to bargain-priced cocktails that taste fresh and delicious!
This Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker for Easy, Fast, Delicious Coffee
via: AmazonWhen I was growing up, I thought the only way to make coffee was a drip coffeemaker, because that's what my dad used. Imagine my surprise when I grew up and learned about the myriad ways to brew coffee! One of the most elegant is this Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker. It earns consistently high reviews on Amazon, with one customer writing, "This is economical to buy, easy to care for, and it works splendidly."
This Cheese Grater Gets the Job Done
via: AmazonI've owned the same cheese grater for over a decade. You don't need anything fancy here--a good, basic, stainless steel grater like this should last you a long time. This one has four different surfaces so you can use it for zesting and slicing as well. Dishwasher safe!
This Citrus Juicer Is Handy When You Need a Squeeze of Juice
via: AmazonMy husband has a fancy electric juicer that he uses to make freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices. That's great for big batches, but I prefer this small, manual citrus juicer for cooking. Just pop half a lime or lemon inside, then squeeze to get out all the juice with no pulp or seeds. If I'm following a recipe, I squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. But if I'm flexible on the amount, I can squeeze directly into a pan or over a finished dish.
This Crock-Pot Does the Cooking for You
via: AmazonI love my Crock-Pot! Here are my two favorite, EASY recipes: -Put raw chicken breasts into the Crock-Pot and add a jar of salsa. Cook a few hours, shred with a fork, and you've got tender, flavorful meat perfect for soft tacos or salads. -Put a beef roast into the Crock-Pot and add salt, pepper, garlic powder, one tablespoon liquid smoke, and a quarter-cup of water. Cook all day. Now you've got Santa Maria barbecue beef, fantastic with green salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!
This 18-Piece Dinnerware Set Will Make You Feel Like a Competent Adult
via: AmazonMy first set of dishes wasn't so much a "set" as a collection of mismatched plates and bowls scrounged from relatives and friends. I'm sure you can do better. This 18-piece dinnerware set will prepare you nicely for cozy meals at home and will make you look like you know what you're doing when people come over. Choose from 16 styles--I like the Cottage and Branches sets the best!
This Food Processor for Faster Chopping
via: AmazonIf you're new to cooking, you don't need a food processor yet. But if you've reached the stage where you're trying more complex recipes, you may want to invest in a good quality food processor like this model by Cuisinart. It will save you time and trouble by doing a lot of the chopping for you.
These Cutting Boards Fit in the Dishwasher
via: AmazonCutting boards are hard-working kitchen essentials. This set of three cutting boards is a great value and will provide years of reliable use. They're dishwasher safe; in fact, they're specifically sized to fit in the bottom rack of dishwashers.
These Dish Towels Are a Ray of Very Practical Sunshine for Your Kitchen
via: AmazonI'm a firm believer that you can never have too many dish towels! I own at least 20, including cutesy ones bought on vacation and hardworking ones like this 8-pack of dish towels. They're absorbent, quick-drying, and still look good after repeated runs through the washer and dryer.
These Glass Mixing Bowls Nest Together for Compact Storage
via: AmazonMy mom gave me a set of nested mixing bowls for my first home, telling me that I'd get more use out of them than almost anything else in the kitchen. As usual, Mom was right! This set of 9 glass bowls by Duralex is durable and versatile, with graduated sizes so they nest in a very satisfying stack that fits neatly in the cabinet.
This Electric Can Opener for Hands-Free Convenience
via: AmazonI own an old, rusty manual can opener that has definitely seen better days. I went to Amazon to find a replacement, and fell in love with this neat little electric can opener. No more struggling to find the right angle, no more cranking the handle, no more sloshing out the can's contents. This baby makes it soooo easy to open cans!
This Electric Griddle for Big Batch Cooking
via: AmazonMy kids and I like to make pancakes on the weekends. I used to make them one at a time in a frying pan--it works, but it's s-l-o-w. Then I invested in an electric griddle, and now I can fit eight good-sized pancakes at once. I've also used the griddle to make French toast and grilled cheese sandwiches. Pro tip: Make extra pancakes to freeze.
This Electric Kettle Boils Water Fast
via: AmazonI start every day with a mug of tea, so in my opinion, an electric kettle is a kitchen essential! This Miroco electric kettle is a good-quality model that looks great on the counter and should work well for many years of use. It boils 8 cups of water in about 6 minutes.
These Organizing Bins Make Your Fridge Look SO Nice
via: AmazonHow often do you open your fridge? I decided to count (I know, I'm a weirdo) and learned that in just one morning, I opened my fridge 6 times. If I have to look at something that often, I want it to look good. That's why I recommend this set of fridge organizing bins. They make the most of precious shelf space and keep food organized and tidy.
These Glass Baking Dishes for Lasagna and Brownies (Yum!)
via: AmazonThis set of two glass baking dishes will serve you well. I use mine for casseroles, homemade mac and cheese, lasagna, and of course, brownies! They're sturdy, long-lasting, break-resistant, and dishwasher-safe.
This Grilling Tool Set for Better Backyard Barbecues
via: AmazonWhy does food taste better when it's cooked outdoors? There's something about those grill marks that make even the most basic food irresistible. These grilling tools are a perfect starter set, or would make a great gift.
This Grocery List Notepad Makes Shopping More Efficient
via: AmazonSome folks use an app on their phone, but I still prefer a paper shopping list. I love this grocery list notepad, which saves me time and trouble week after week. It reminds me to check on all my staples, and it even encourages my kids to check off an item they use the last of.
This Immersion Blender With Three Attachments
via: AmazonWhile you save up for a Kitchenaid stand mixer and Vitamix blender, you can get a heck of a lot of cooking tasks done with this immersion blender. Affordable and versatile, this appliance includes three attachments. Use the blender for soups, smoothies, and sauces. Use the whisk for whipped cream and cake batter. And finally use the frother to make milk foam for lattes.
These Measuring Spoons Fit in Spice Jars
via: AmazonI recently decided to treat myself to a new set of measuring spoons. I was very excited to discover this set of measuring spoons specially designed to fit inside narrow spice jars. So handy! They work for liquids too, so they're the only set you'll need.
These Pinch Bowls Are Handy for Prepping and Serving
via: AmazonA few years back, I bought a set of white pinch bowls that I've gotten SO MUCH use out of. Now I want more, so I'm eyeing this cute set of stoneware pinch bowls in soft, natural colors. I use pinch bowls during food prep to hold small amounts of ingredients like chopped garlic. They're also the perfect size for individual portions of dips like ranch dressing or soy sauce.
These Porcelain Serving Bowls Showcase Your Delicious Cooking
via: AmazonTaste might be the most important factor in food, but it's closely followed by looks. No matter what you're cooking, serving your food in proper dishes makes your meal seem more special and appealing. This set of two porcelain serving bowls is a good value, and they're well-sized for salads, pasta, mixed fruit, and more.
This Retro Toaster Is Equal Parts Adorable and Functional
via: AmazonPromise me you won't buy only boring, silver appliances. Mix things up with this cute retro toaster, which will add a pop of color and personality to your kitchen. It's designed with wide openings to accommodate bagels in addition to the usual bread and waffles.
These Rubbermaid Food Storage Containers Keep Leftovers Fresh
via: AmazonI highly recommend that whenever you cook a meal, you purposefully make extra for leftovers. That way, you can cook less and enjoy healthy, homemade food more! When it comes to food storage containers, I prefer to go with a name brand like Rubbermaid for lasting quality. This set is BPA-free, stain-resistant, microwave-safe, and dishwasher-safe.
If You Only Get One Pan, Make It This Nonstick Saucepan
via: AmazonIf I had to choose just one pan to cook with, it would be this nonstick 1-quart saucepan by Cuisinart. Use it to cook eggs, heat soup, or boil rice. The nonstick interior means it's easy to clean, and the included lid is clear so you can keep an eye on what's inside.
This Soap-Dispensing Dish Brush Might Be Life Changing
via: AmazonForgive me for being a tad overdramatic, but this soap-dispensing dish brush is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! It's easy to control how much dish soap I use, and the palm-sized brush seems to get dishes cleaner than the long-handled scrubber I used previously.
This Spatula Flips Food Like a Champ
via: AmazonI've recently become slightly obsessed with perfecting fried eggs. The secret is medium heat, a little more olive oil than you'd think would be necessary, and this spatula. The thin silicone slides beautifully under the egg and helps me achieve a perfect flip, every time. Also wonderful for pancakes, burgers, and more!
This Complete Spice Set Includes a Spinning Rack
via: AmazonI read the description on this item carefully to make sure it isn't too good to be true, because this spice set is an awesome deal. You get a shiny, revolving rack loaded with 20 full spice jars, all at one very reasonable price. The spices are packaged in Massachusetts, and you can get free spice refills for five years (you just have to pay shipping).
Customers Love These Stackable Mugs
via: AmazonUpgrade your coffee hour and tea time with this set of 6 stackable mugs. Each mug is made of sturdy porcelain and holds 16 ounces, and they're designed to stack neatly and safe space in the cabinet. These mugs have an extremely high customer rating and hundreds of glowing reviews.
These Stainless Steel Measuring Cups Will Last a Lifetime
via: AmazonMeasuring cups may not be an exciting purchase, but they sure are a practical one! I have a very similar set of stainless steel measuring cups that I've owned for well over a decade, and they look every bit as good as the day I bought them. This is a great, basic set that will serve you well.
This Stockpot Will Inspire You to Cook Delicious Soups and Sauces
via: AmazonJust looking at this handsome 12-quart stockpot makes me want to cook up a big batch of chicken soup or marinara sauce! It's made of enamel-coated steel, which means it's heavy, sturdy, and ensures an even cooking temperature. It's an ideal shape and size for making bone broth or stock.
This T-Fal Frying Pan Has the Right Balance of Price and Quality
via: AmazonThere are cheaper frying pans that will fall apart within months. There are more expensive frying pans that you'll end up replacing anyway when the nonstick coating gets scratched up. This T-fal frying pan falls right in the middle, which is why it's the only brand I buy.
I Use These Kitchen Tongs for a Zillion Cooking Tasks
via: AmazonI use these silicone-tipped kitchen tongs for cooking, grilling, serving, retrieving dropped items, and making satisfying clicking sounds. This three-pack includes tongs in three sizes and cheerful colors.
This Weber Meat Thermometer Helps You Cook Meat Properly
via: AmazonThere are lots of meat thermometers for sale on Amazon, but I'm recommending this Weber meat thermometer for one simple reason: It's the best one I've ever owned! It works great and is easy to read. Most importantly, it gives me peace of mind that I'm properly cooking chicken, and I'm sure it's saved me from overcooking the chicken, too.
These Wooden Spoons Are a Classic for Good Reason
via: AmazonThe humble wooden spoon is a kitchen necessity! I use mine to mix batters, cook eggs, stir sauces, and even serve food at the table. This set of three wooden spoons is made by OXO, a reliable brand, and should basically last forever.