Home Cooking Essentials

Great Tools for Home Cooking

Cooking from home can feel like a chore, but it doesn’t need to! If you have some nice basic cooking essentials, then the meal prep and cooking process can actually go quite smoothly. Our kitchen is a bit on the small side, so I’ve streamlined the tools I use when cooking to make the most of the space. In my experience, home cooking essentials should be three things: easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store.

Home Cooking Essentials

A Small Cutting Board

A good cutting board is truly essential, in my opinion. Being able to chop or dice is foundational to any dish, especially if you’re making a vegetarian-forward recipe. I have a few larger cutting boards which I break out for larger cooking productions, but I do rely on our smaller board for when I’m just whipping up something quick.

I personally prefer wood or bamboo cutting boards, but if you’d rather go with plastic, I recommend getting a non-skid style. Amazon has a bunch of great options for either style. Brite Concepts has a 6 inch by 9 inch mini bamboo cutting board for $5.99, for example, or you could go with a slightly fancier Totally Bamboo brand option for $9.86. As for plastic, Faberware has an 8 inch by 10 inch non-slip plastic option for $9.95, which comes with a matching pairing knife.

A Good Set of Knives

Now, you’ll need a nice set of knives to go with the cutting board. When I say set, I don’t necessarily mean a knife block, although those are a great kitchen essential, too. I am a big fan of smaller knives that come with plastic sheaths, like this Faberware non-stick knife. This style knife is typically really durable and the handles are easy to grip. Plus, they’re generally dishwasher safe, which is always a plus for me.

You could go ahead and just get one or two in the sizes you prefer, or you can look for a set. Many places, like Target or even your neighborhood grocery store, sell sets of four or five. Alternatively, you could go with a bigger set, like this 12-piece Faberware option, which features pretty much any knife you’d find in a knife block set for just $19.99. (Side note: I might need this 12-piece set for myself!)

A Reasonably Sized Measuring Cup

I tend to eyeball my measurements, but it’s really good to have a measuring cup around for things that need a bit more precision. I have this 2-cup angled measuring cup from OXO, which I like. The plastic has cracked a bit on the side of mine, which is disappointing, but it’s still totally usable. The angled measurement gauge is helpful for measuring liquids and it is BPA free. This style comes in a few sizes, including a 1 cup, 2 cup, and 4 cup design.

If you’re looking to switch from plastic to glass kitchen products, Pyrex has some great options. I’d recommend going with a smaller cup, like the 2 cup size, rather than the 4 cup, because it can feel a little unwieldy in the larger size. I ordered the 4 cup version when I noticed the crack in my OXO one, but wound up not really using it much. It’s handy to have, but I still find myself reaching for the 2 cup one more.

Wooden Cooking Utensils

Overall, I’ve been moving away from using plastic in the kitchen, especially when heat is involved. Where I previously used mostly plastic cooking utensils, I have switched to wooden or bamboo styles. I’ve kept the plastic utensils around, and they do get some use, but I try to avoid using them with anything that boils.

Bamboo utensils are a good, generally more sustainable option than plastic. Plus, they’re typically really affordable. My simple three-piece set is about two years old from Target, but there are so many styles on Amazon and other online retailers, or even in your regular grocery store, that you can choose from. I’m eyeing this 5 piece set with a matching holder from Amazon, which is available for under $10.