The world seems to be designed to make us buy more and more stuff. I for one want to work against this insatiable desire to have more things. I’d rather have more open spaces in my home to create and enjoy. That means I need to edit down my ridiculously large collection of kitchen gear to the fundamentals. So it is time to set up a minimalist kitchen!

You don’t need much in the way of fancy kitchen gear to make delicious meals for yourself and your family. So why not join me in emptying those kitchen cabinets of all your single-use gadgets and never used tools?

I will earn a small commision on some of the products on this page if you purchase through my link. I have only recommended products I know and love. I have not recieved anything from these companies for free.

Cutting Essentials

Cutting Essentials

One 8-inch Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife

Don’t buy a set. PLEASE don’t buy a set. No matter how good a deal it seems to be, you are better off spending a little more on one GREAT knife that will last you forever than on a cheap set of knives. Most people only ever use one of the knives in that set and usually the construction is so shoddy they aren’t worth the money you spent on them.

Kitchen Shears

Get a pair designed for use in the kitchen and can be separated into two pieces for easy cleaning.

Ergonomic Vegetable Peeler

Get a high-quality peeler. Not that one your Granny had that hurt your hands because it was so uncomfortable to use.

Box Grater

This baby isn’t just for cheese. You can use it to grate veggies, eggs and all sorts of things! Plus it is much easier to store and clean than a food processor.

Microplane Grater

Use this to zest a lemon or grate hard cheeses, cloves of garlic, nutmeg and more.

Two Cutting Boards

Use one for meats and one for veggies. You don’t need more than two. Buy boards of high quality and heavy duty enough that they won’t slip around on your counter.

Stove Top Essentials 

These are another item sold in sets. If you want to work in a minimalist kitchen don’t buy a set. You won’t use all the pieces. Use your money better and buy fewer things of higher quality!

10 or 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet

Ok, so again… You will get sold ENTIRE sets of pots and pans with pieces you will NEVER use. While it is nice to have all these, you end up using one skillet most of the time. Don’t buy a non-stick skillet. There are lots of fantastic new technologies out there for non-stick surfaces but let me tell you a secret. You really do want your food to stick.

That’s where all the gorgeous flavor comes from. All the little brown bits and caramelized pieces. So instead of buying some skillets that are non-stick and others that are not, just go old school and get a cast-iron skillet. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet works just as well for perfect eggs and pancakes as it does for searing meat and caramelizing onions. These types of pans hold heat really well and when well seasoned are basically non-stick without adding Teflon. If you take good care of it, it will perform for you for the rest of your life.

Find out how to take care of your cast iron on Serious Eats

Three Quart Saucepan

You need at least one of these. They are a workhorse item you will probably use every day. I boil water in mine for coffee every morning. I boil eggs, I make a single batch of soup, I even make sauces in it. Honestly its a must have. I like a 3 quart Saucier because it has a rounded bottom and is just easier to whisk thicker sauces in without things getting stuck in the corners. Some folks don’t like these because they aren’t quite as stable. So if that is you try a standard saucepan instead. Two or four quarts should work for most household uses.

Eight Quart Dutch Oven

Many lists recommend both a stock pot and a dutch oven, but for my money, I think a dutch oven is the way to go. It works perfectly for every use you would use a stock pot for and then some. Only get a pot specifically for stock if you are making significant volumes of broths on a regular basis. For home use, a dutch oven large enough to fit a whole chicken works just as well

Baking Essentials

Half Sheet Pan

Use this for all your baking needs. This multipurpose item can roast your brussels sprouts or bake your cookies. Heck you can even make a cake on a sheet pan.

Casserole Dish

You can make this oval or rectangular, whatever you prefer. Rectangular is a bit more logical for things like enchiladas and lasagna that just fit better in that shape, but an oval baker is just so pretty! You don’t have to use it only for casseroles either, you can roast chicken in there, or use it to make a family size pot pie!

One 9-inch Pie Pan

Not just for pies, you can roast a small quantity of meat or veggies in a pie pan as well.

Muffin Pan

Yes you can make muffins in this, but you can also make savory things like tuna cakes or mini-frittatas in this handy little pan

Kitchen Thermometer

Nothing works better for getting perfectly cooked meats than using a thermometer to assess doneness. Seriously, if you make a roast of any kind this little gadget is a lifesaver.

Food Prep Essentials

Food Prep Essentials

Wooden Spoon

You need to stir things. A wooden spoon is non-reactive and won’t scratch your pots and pans.

Spider Skimmer

Sometimes you just need to get things in and out of a pan of hot liquid without pouring it all down the sink. A spider can help you gently fish out pieces of chicken from your soup so you can shred it and add it back or move your perfectly cooked pasta from the pot to the sauce without dirtying a colander and a cup for the liquid you needed to reserve to finish your sauce. I even use it to gently lower my eggs into boiling water per that perfectly jammy egg.


Not all tongs are made alike so make sure you get a set with a spring and a quick open and close mechanism. I use tongs to cook EVERYTHING. I can gently turn individual pieces, or I can stir and saute with them. They are like using my hands to move things around in the pan but without all that pesky burning myself nonsense.


You need to flip things, press things, get them out of the pan in one piece. A spatula is your go-to tool for all these activities.


You need a whisk if you make gravy or marinades or sauces of any kind a whisk works wonderfully for creating smooth light sauces every time.

10-piece Tempered Glass Nesting Prep Bowl set

You always need bowls. Having a nice nesting set ensures you always have a bowl when you need one. I suggest glass because it is non-reactive. You can use it for ANYTHING without worry. If glass freaks you out, remember that tempered glass or pyrex is EXTREMELY difficult to break so don’t worry about working them HARD.

Rolling Pin

Yes, you can use this to roll things out like pie crust or pasta. You can also use it instead of a meat mallet to tenderize meats. Use it to crush whole spices, crush cookies, or dried out bread into crumbs. Smash things like ice or even use it to muddle herbs for cocktails!

Wire Mesh Strainer

Instead of buying a colander, buy a wire mesh strainer. This way you have a sifter and strainer all in one. You can drain your potatoes and pasta, sift your flour, even strain your yogurt to make yogurt cheese. Lots of options when you go this route.

Spice Grinder

Most people buy spices pre-ground. The problem is pre-ground spices lose flavor quickly (not to mention you have no idea how old they were when you bought them.) Buy whole spices instead and grind them as you need them. Not only will this save you space in your spice cabinet, it will save you money AND make your food more delicious.

Large Citrus Squeezer

Don’t buy multiples of this tool. Buy one large one and use it to squeeze the juice out of all your citrus. (You use fresh citrus in your cooking right? No? We need to chat!)


Save your jars. Different sizes from jams, olives, pickles, mustard, etc. These babies can be used to store anything and everything — dried fruit, nuts, beans, spice mixes, leftover soup, homemade broth. Seriously these babies are gold (and eco-friendly!) Also, they work like a charm when you want to make a little bit of salad dressing for dinner! 


These are pretty self-explanatory. Still, some folks have tons of versions in their kitchens. If you want to live the minimalist kitchen life you don’t need more than one of each. If you have duplicates its time to pick your favorites and donate the rest.

Two-cup Liquid Measure

I like the old classic Pyrex Liquid Measuring cups. They are tough as nails and get the job done. Bonus for not adding more plastic to the world and I doubt you will ever have to replace them. They don’t stain or break or dribble. They have measurements in all the increments you need and some you don’t!

Set of Dry Measuring Cups

There are lots of cutsey items out there that claim to measure. They are ceramic painted with cute designs, they are plastic with ergonomic handles. Don’t get them. You need these to measure accurately, clean up easily, and store compactly. I like stainless steel ones molded all in one piece. That way no food gets stuck in the little seam between the handle and the cup. The stainless steel also won’t bend under the pressure of scooping out a full cup of flour. Make sure your set has all the increments from 1 cup down to 1/4 of a cup. You will need them.

 Set of Measuring Spoons

Just like the dry measuring cups don’t go cutesy on these. They need to measure accuratly, clean up easily and store compactly. The other consideration is that a full set that covers all measurements from 1 tablespoon all the way down to a “pinch” takes away all the guess work. Just like the measuring cups I recommend stainless steel, all a single piece of metal for these for the same reasons.



Immersion Blender

Yes, I know everyone wants a Vitamix, but unless you are making smoothies every day that is a lot of counter space to dedicate. An immersion blender does everything a regular blender does but stores easily in a drawer and at half the cost. Blend soups, make mayo, make a smoothie. You can do it all with your immersion blender

Stand Mixer

Ok, this is a counter hog, but it can basically do anything you need. Knead bread, whip up cake batter or egg whites for meringue. With the addition of an attachment you can make pasta, veggie spirals, or even sausage. Nothing beats a stand mixer for multi-purpose utility. No kitchen should be without one!

Want more kitchen basics? Check out this one about salt!

I will earn a small commision on some of the products on this page if you purchase through my link. I have only recommended products I know and love. I have not recieved anything from these companies for free.

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