Simple Kitchen Essentials
We try to keep our kitchen as streamlined as possible in order to make cooking and clean up as fast, efficient and stress-free as possible. Plus, we don’t like clutter, so any time we can do without something, we try to!
Based on our daily needs, we own smaller sets of dishware to save on space: 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 small glasses, 4 tall glasses, 4 wine glasses, and a 20-piece silver ware set. When necessary, we can easily accommodate 6. However, we rarely have more guests and if we do, we simply borrow dishes.
It’s taken us many reevaluations to get to this set and we’re always looking to simplify and improve. This page does include affiliate links for some of the products we use, but none of these items were provided to us free of charge. This is just what we own, use, and recommend.
Our go-to basic kitchen utensils. We’ve upgraded to nicer pieces as we’ve gone. As the plastic ones wear out, we’ll likely upgrade to all stainless steel. But for now, these serve us well! The citrus juicer may seem superfluous, but we use it several times a day and it saves us loads of time, so it was a worthy investment for our kitchen.
Cookware / Utensils
Why so many strainers? The fine mesh is great for juicing without a juicer and rinsing fine grains, the large one is great for pasta and veggies, and the small one is handy for fruit. The veggie peeler and can opener are self explanatory and came in a set (link below). And the box grater is versatile for cheese (for dairy-eating folks), veggies and fruit. Not so great for things like ginger and nutmeg, so a microplane may be our next investment.
Cutlery / Cutting Boards
The wooden cutting board is used primarily for food photography, and the small white one covers all our daily needs. This mandolin was a recent purchase, primarily for veggie chips, but it also works well for slaws – a great investment for veggie lovers. And the cutlery is the set we were gifted for our wedding, whittled down to what we actually use (we tossed the knife block because it was bulky and ate up precious counter space).
I know, a baking blog and no standing mixer? In my opinion, it’s clunky and unnecessary. This hand-held version does everything I need it to and stows away in our spice cabinet. Measuring spoons and cups and rolling pin are a given, and the sifter is my secret to 1 Bowl baking. Add dry ingredients and sift over the wet ingredients – time and space saved.
Two baking sheets to expedite cookie baking, classic Pyrex mixing bowls for the win, and a single baking rack (whittled down from a set of 3 to what I actually use).
The waffle iron may not be essential for everyone, but it is for us. Same with the electric skillet and toaster as I use them nearly every day. A girls gotta have her waffles and toast.
Cookware / Large Appliances
We recently upgraded to this 8-piece stainless steel cookware set and love it. Same with the Vitamix. We were due for a blender and food processor upgrade so we invested in the one machine that supposedly does it all. So far, we’re extremely happy with our purchase. And the ice cream maker is a given for us as it gets plenty of use in the spring and summer time.
We recently gave away our old dishware we received as a wedding gift as it was chipped and well loved. We went simple with this set from West Elm and love it so far. If we break or need more pieces in the future, we can easily grab more piecemeal. The glassware below is also from West Elm.
West Elm Glassware (certain varieties available in store)
This nifty salt cellar was found at Target but is apparently sold out (similar item linked below) and this color-matching grinder was too cute to pass up. The mugs are from West Elm as well.
We know this is more than the average person owns, but because we’re coffee enthusiasts we use this set daily and it is well used and loved. We highly recommend all of these pieces for stellar coffee.
That’s really about it (excluding props for food photography). We currently have a modest-size kitchen, which has large cabinets. But because we only keep what what we really need, they remain pretty sparse (and we love it).
Of course, this is our setup based on our needs and how many people we realistically host (max 6). Usually, it’s just the two of us, so we don’t need all that much. We don’t own things others may find essential (like a crockpot or Kitchenaid mixer), but it’s more than sufficient for our daily cooking needs and hosting small groups of friends.
We understand this set won’t work for everyone, so we encourage those hoping to simplify to look around and analyze what they really need. If there is excess, donate and sell where you can. And if there are areas you’re lacking, invest in items that will last.