What Are the Most Essential Dishes & Kitchen Tools?

What Are the Most Essential Dishes & Kitchen Tools?

Faith Durand
Mar 31, 2011

Q: I have a quandary to crowdsource to your smart readers. I am moving halfway across the country from home and Hubs for a year for work (I'll come back a few weekends a month). I have to be pretty picky about what's worth lugging out there. I don't bake much, but I love to cook and eat just about any kind of cuisine. I'm pumped to be moving to the West Coast, Land of Magical Wintertime Farmer's Markets, so I want to be able to cook for myself and the occasional visitor or two.

So--from dishes and utensils to gadgets--what do you think are the absolute essentials?

Sent by Kat

Editor: Kat, I just spent a week in a rental kitchen in Colorado, and so I feel uniquely suited to answer this question! The kitchen was kitted-out quite well, but it really was the basics; nothing extra or over-the-top. Here are the things I had, more or less (the quantities are different) — and I managed to cook nearly ever single night for a crowd of 14 hungry skiers!

This list obviously depends on how you cook. Personally, I always want a larger, deeper sauté pan (4 to 6 quarts is ideal) for searing and braises. But this list here will fit in just one big box and will get you quite far in the kitchen.

Dishes & Utensils
• Six to 8 white plates and small bowls
• A handful of mugs, matching or not
• One serving bowl and one platter
• A handful of serving spoons
• Glass tumblers (can double as wine glasses and cocktail glasses)
• Flatware (forks, spoons, table knives) for 6 to 8

Tools & Pans
• Chef's knife and paring knife
• Peeler
• A few wooden spoons and a good spatula
• Baking sheet/roasting pan
• 10-inch sauté pan (with high sides)
• 4-quart pot (or Dutch oven)
• Two chopping boards
• At least two kitchen towels and hot pads
• One set of measuring cups and one set of measuring spoons, as well as a glass liquids measuring cup
• A small set of glass bowls and storageware with lids (Updated: Including one large bowl, with lid, that doubles as storage and as a mixing bowl.)

Here are a few more past posts and lists, too.

The Well-Stocked Kitchen: Our Essential Serving Dishes
Essential Kitchen Tools: A Roundup of Basics
Five Essential Baking Tools: Pans
Five Essential Baking Tools: Prep

Readers, what did I leave off? What would you suggest to Kat?


Related: Skillets & Mandolines: 13 Chefs Share Their Favorite Tools

(Image: Collage via The Kitchn)

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