A well-stocked kitchen doesn’t have to break the bank. These basic cooking essentials give you everything you need to make meals, store leftovers and more.
Loads of Colors
This pick has everything you need: two skillets, two slotted spoons and more! Rachael Ray
Buying a full set of pots and pans means you’ll have all the basics covered: heating or making soups, boiling pasta or potatoes, pan frying proteins and sautéing veggies. A nonstick set is easiest to clean, but make sure you use plastic, silicone or wood spatulas and stirring spoons so you don’t scratch the coating.
These babies nest for easy stacking and have special tops that prevent splatter when microwaving. Rubbermaid
Instead of relying on cheap plastic containers from your last takeout order—or old, thoroughly scratched and stained Tupperware—treat yourself or a friend to a sturdy, organized set of containers and lids. Look for something stackable that will take up less space in the cupboard.
These knives have an ergonomic handle to reduce the chances of an accidental slip-up. Cuisinart
Every cook, no matter how casual, needs a few good knives. Stainless steel is the gold standard, and when they get dull (which every knife will after a while) the steel holds up well to sharpening. At the very least, make sure any set you buy has a chef’s knife for chopping, a paring knife for smaller slicing and a serrated knife for breads, bagels and pastries. Bonus points if it comes with kitchen scissors or a sharpener!
Designed for performance, these are safe up to 450 degrees. Rachael Ray
If you make cookies, muffins, cakes, bread or brownies on a pretty regular basis—or want to start—it makes sense to buy a full set of baking gear. Consider whether you want nonstick or regular metal. Nonstick is easier to clean, obviously, but if you buy a dark-coated set know that baked goods may cook faster and you need to check your items before the time listed on your recipe.
These are drip-free and freezer-safe, and have the look of restaurant-quality models. FineDine
It doesn’t matter if you’re baking or prepping a full-course meal: There’s almost never a time you won’t need a mixing bowl in the kitchen. Everyone has at least one of these, but if you cook or bake often, it’s nice to have a set with different sizes. Glass mixing bowls are classic and chic—but stainless steel is a lot lighter and usually less expensive, so choose accordingly.