Stocking a home kitchen from scratch can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The main thing to consider is the type of cooking you expect (or aspire) to do on a daily basis and then purchase versatile tools that suit those purposes, especially if limited space is a concern. Multipiece sets of pots, pans or knives may seem like an efficient way to stock your kitchen, but if you’re the type to gravitate toward a handful of choice tools, it may be a better idea to invest in those specific pieces rather than sacrifice quality for quantity. To help get you started, I’ve rounded up 11 top kitchen tools that should be part of any kitchen.
Le Creuset 7.25-Quart Signature Round Dutch Oven
This Dutch oven from premium French cookware company Le Creuset is iconic—and for good reason. Its enameled cast iron material and heat- and moisture-locking recessed edge lid allow you to roast, braise and bake with ease. It’s a kitchen must-have, particularly when preparing large cuts of meat (as you can brown it first over the stove before cooking through in the oven) and family-sized meals.
Architec Specialty Kitchen Non-Slip Wood Cutting Boards
This 2-pack includes a medium and large cutting board, both of which are outfitted with non-slip rubber feet that keep the board safely in place as you’re slicing, dicing and chopping away. The boards are made of a sturdy, light natural wood that will suit pretty much any kitchen. To clean, wash with warm soapy water, pat dry immediately and oil the board after 30 uses.
Farberware 8" Triple Rivet Forged Chef Knife
Skip the knife sets with unnecessary extras and go for versatile tools (like a classic chef’s knife) that can be used for a wide range of cutting tasks. This chef’s knife from Faberware measures 8 inches and comes with an Edgekeeper protective sleeve that has a built-in honing mechanism which maintains the blade’s razor-sharp edge. The knife also has a limited lifetime warranty and must be hand-washed.
All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
If stainless steel pots and pans are your thing, you can’t get any more classic than this All-Clad set. Each piece is made with alternating layers of heat-diffusing stainless steel and conductive aluminum, yielding cookware that heats slowly and evenly to achieve consistent results. These pans are oven- and broiler-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and a highly polished starburst finish on each pan keeps foods from sticking.
SCANPAN TechnIQ Nonstick 9-Piece Cookware Set
If you prefer nonstick pans, you can’t go wrong with this set by SCANPAN, an eco-friendly cookware company from Denmark. This collection of commercial-grade nonstick cookware designed for everyday cooking features SCANPAN’s durable nonstick finish—a patented cooking surface that does not peel, crack or break down. Each pan has an extra thick, pressure-forged base that ensures even heat distribution.
OXO Pro Swivel Peeler
Peel fruits and vegetables with ease using this top-rated handheld peeler. It has a stainless steel swivel blade that hugs the shape of whatever you’re peeling, a soft-grip plastic handle for a secure, comfortable grip (a must, especially when peeling several items at a time), and a built-in blemish remover at the very top. The OXO Pro Swivel Peeler is dishwasher-safe.
Pyrex Smart Essentials Mixing Bowl Set
This 8-piece mixing bowl set includes a 1-quart bowl, a 1.5-quart bowl, a 2.5-quart bowl and a 4-quart bowl, plus locking lids for each of the bowls. Since Pyrex glass is safe for use in dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and preheated ovens, you can mix, cook and store food in these bowls. As an added bonus, the bowls do not absorb food odors, flavors or stains (due to their nonporous surface) and come with a 2-year limited warranty.
Cole & Mason Derwent Salt & Pepper Mills
Take your seasoning game to the next level with these sleek stainless steel salt and pepper mills fitted with precision grinding mechanisms. The salt mill has a ceramic grinder with three settings that range from fine to coarse, and the pepper grinder has a carbon steel mechanism with six settings that range from a light dusting to crumb-sized granules. Both grinders are filled by simply removing the top.
Kitchen Towel 2-Pack by Threshold
Keep these cotton kitchen towels on hand to handle hot plates, pots and pans and dry dishes and hands. This two-pack comes with a checked towel and a solid towel in your color of choice (blue, red, yellow, black, green), made with 100% cotton. Make sure you wash these before your first use; they’re durable enough to go in the washing machine and dryer.
Stainless Steel Tongs by Room Essentials
Along with wooden spoons and spatulas, tongs are a multifunctional kitchen staple. These dishwasher-safe tongs by Room Essentials are made with durable stainless steel and have scalloped nylon claws that are designed to withstand high temperatures. The long arms protect your hands from burns when handling hot foods, and a simple locking mechanism at the base of the tongs allows for compact storage in your kitchen drawer.
OXO Soft Handled Can Opener
Invest in a can opener that’s easy and comfortable to use. You’ll thank yourself later. This favorite from OXO has soft non-slip handles, a large knob that’s easy to turn and a built-in bottle opener. It features a sharp stainless steel cutting wheel that gets the job done and must be hand-washed.