Good Question: Stocking a New Kitchen

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dear The Kitchen,

I have a young friend (vegetarian) starting out in a new city and loft. While I have every piece of cookware possible, she does not. What do you suggest as a source that might provide a list of basics for her kitchen. I am trying to encourage her to make her own meals. She is into ease. Currently, she has two pots, a tea kettle and a toaster. We differ on our idea of basics.

Suggestions as to basic for her would be helpful.


Dear Jmarieb,

This is a great question. The thought of stocking up a new kitchen is so exciting; shiny new pots and sharp new knives. Heaven!

Here’s the basic list I tell people to use when shopping (or begging/borrowing from family and friends’ overstuffed kitchens). Of course, not every item on this list is “necessary” – based on one’s cooking habits, they can add or take-away. For example, if they do not intend on doing any baking, very few of the items in the baking section would be needed.

Many of these items can be found at local cookware shops, depending on where she lives and what kinds of stores are nearby. If she prefers to shop online, she can get just about everything here at a general cook’s supply like Sur La Table.


Saucepan with cover (2qt.-3qt.)
Large sauté pan (10″ – 14″)
small saute pan (7″- 9″)
Stock pot (8qt. +) with steamer insert


Paring Knife (3½” -5″)
Chefs Knife (6″-8″)
Bread Knife
Kitchen Shears
Sharpening Steel
Sharpening Stone
Knife Block


Dry Measuring Cup Set
Dry Measuring Spoon Set
Liquid Measuring Cup (s)
Heavy Duty Mixer
Removable Bottom Tart Pan
2 Cookie Sheets
Cooling Racks
9″ Pie Plate
Muffin Pan
Loaf Pan (9x5x3)
Sheet Pan (9x13x2)
Flour Sifter
Parchment Paper
Rolling Pin
Pastry Brush
Dough Scraper
S/S Mixing Bowls


Large Metal Spoons (slotted and solid)
Silicone spatula
Wire Whisk
Wooden Spoons (2-3)
Cutting Board (2-3)
Sieve (with fine mesh)
Roasting Pan w/rack
Grater (such as Microplane)
Pepper Grinder
Vegetable Peeler (such as Swiss Peeler)
Hot Pads
Can Opener
Ice Cream Scoop
Heavy Duty Mixer
Cuisinart Food Processor

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