Every kitchen needs Essential Cooking Gear. While some people buy kitchen equipment like it’s their job, I take a more minimalistic approach. Here are a few items that meet nearly all of my needs. I know these will meet a majority of your needs, especially if you’ve jumped on our meal plan membership.
There are affiliate links so you can grab the best items, made from quality ingredients, from reputable brands in the quickest amount of time and shipped straight to your door. But… if you want to spend your time driving around town you could probably find the items locally too. Scroll all the way down for the condensed list of essential cooking gear.
I love a slow cooker! It’s the ultimate enabler for a multi-tasker and should be on your list for essential cooking gear. Would you like to cook food while you… sleep, run errands, work, play with the kids, watch Netflix, or while you do anything else you want? Get a slow cooker. I love it because you don’t have to keep checking it to see if the food is burning.
Step 1 – Dump food in.
Step 2 – Turn it on.
Step 3 – Carry on with my life.
When you are ready to eat in the next 3 to 8 hours, you have food hot & ready just waiting for you to enjoy it.
(2022) This thing is amazing! It works like an actual oven (but without heating up the whole kitchen) and is a microwave too! Perfect for us in a hot climate, great if your space/appliances are limited. Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1
Cookware – Large Pans & Stock Pot with Lids
I love cooking several things at once… I mean if you’re going to be at the stove then might as well get as much done as possible. My favorite is the big pain with nice high sides and a lid. You can cook a lot of food at once, you don’t have to worry about it spilling out, and the lid traps the steam cooking the food faster without drying it out.
I like making my own broths, soups, and curries. The holidays are my favorite time of year for soups and utilizing the rich bones from Thanksgiving turkeys or Christmas hams. Of course, if you are taking the time to cook, you want to make the most of your time and have plenty of leftovers! A Big Stock Pot is perfect for big batches of savory soups that will freeze well and carry you through a few months.
Stainless steel is the way to go and this set comes with one non-stick pan (perfect for eggs or pancakes). Check out this set, they have amazing deals sometimes. Stainless Steel Cookware Set
I make this one plural because if I’m going to heat up the oven (in this Hawaiian climate), then I want to bake as much as I can. Casserole Dishes should be in your essential cooking gear list. If you don’t already have them then grab some with lids at Amazon using my link below.
High Power Blender
Smoothies, thick soups, sorbets… I don’t know how people live without a blender. I love the power of my Vitamix, but if you’re looking for a more affordable option then a Ninja isn’t a bad choice. *An average blender will get you through for a little while, but the motor will burn out if you use it every day.
Mason Jars for the win! I couldn’t dream of putting together an essential cooking gear list and not including mason jars. Half pint & Pint jars can go in the fridge, freezer, or microwave. Some people even bake in them. (Honestly, I haven’t tried that, but they are my go-to for all things food storage.) You can use them to pack individual serving sizes and you could keep a few larger ones (quart size) around for when you make smoothies or soups in bulk.
The Half-Pint Regular Mouth jars are great for small portion sizes (like for kids) and Wide-mouth Pints are great for adult portions. Grab a case of each with those links, or run to your local big box store to pick up a case for about the same price. A Collapsible Funnel isn’t super essential, but it will make life more efficient with mason jars.
Some people prefer rectangular lunch containers. They’re much pricier, but they do stack nicely. Here’s a well-reviewed brand –> Glass Containers
*Note – Glass can break if it is exposed to extreme temperature changes. Never take a jar directly from the freezer or fridge and apply direct heat (oven or microwave). Always bring the glass up to room temperature before reheating the contents. Running it under warm water is the quickest way.*
Knife & Cutting Board
I pretty much use one knife all of the time and a bamboo cutting board. You really don’t need much more. If you’re concerned about meat contaminating the cutting board, throw down a piece of wax or parchment paper.
A Santoku Knife and a Large Bamboo Board will handle all your chopping needs with plenty of room for multiple fruits or veggies on the board. Nobody wants to do more dishes just because you had to set the chopped vegetables in a bowl, right?! Make sure you have a large board with plenty of room to work.
Essential Cooking Gear Summary
Large Slow Cooker for a Family or Small Slow Cooker for an Individual/Couple
Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1
Stainless Steel Cookware Set
9×13 Glass Casserole Dishes
Vitamix or Ninja Blender
Wide-mouth Pints are great for adult portions or Rectangular Glass Containers
Large Bamboo Board
Don’t know what to cook?
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