The kitchen is by far the most cluttered room in most homes. Which begs to question, how much stuff do we really need to prepare healthy and delicious foods in our home?
A couple years ago we got rid of quite a few unnecessary items in our home as we prepared to move to a new state. It got me looking at what we actually use in our kitchen.
We had at least two or three of each type of cooking utensil, 3 cookie sheets, and several pots and pans. This doesn’t even touch on the things I had hidden away that quite frankly, we had never used.
I took a month and recorded all the items that we actually used. I got rid of about ¾ of the kitchen products we had. It was getting rid of all the things we didn’t use that made it so my kitchen actually stayed organized. Everything had it’s place, was easy to get to, and was actually used.
If your kitchen is a hot mess of utensils, extra pans, and loads of unused serving dishes, it might be time to declutter.
Minimalist Kitchen Essentials
Below is my list of essential items every kitchen needs. Every person is a bit different in how they cook or what they need so before you get rid of anything that’s not on this list, put it away for a few months.
If you pull it out within 3-4 months to use it, you could probably hold on to it. Remember while this list is complete for me, it may not be complete for you. Take your time to figure out what is absolutely essential and get rid of the rest.
For me the instant pot is an essential kitchen item. It’s a rice cooker, slow cooker, and pressure cooker all in one.
Having a multiple use function in one small appliance means you don’t need to have multiple appliances cluttering up your counter. One Instant Pot, tucked into the corner of your kitchen counter is all you need.
After using an Instant Pot for the first time I realized I no longer needed my slow cooker. It didn’t serve a multi purpose function like the Instant Pot. So after perfecting a few recipes in the Instant Pot I got rid of my Crock Pot.
We used to have an entire set of large, medium, and small frying pans. When you are single a small frying pan comes in handy for one grilled sandwich or eggs. As a family of 4, that small frying pan hasn’t seen the outside of its cabinet in at least a year.
I currently use this T-Fal pan for most of our meals and it works wonderfully. I don’t even need to cook with oil because nothing sticks to this pan, which means we are eating really well most nights.
The only downfall to this pan is you can’t put it in the oven to finish cooking and would need to transfer a casserole to a baking set to bake. That’s not usually a problem for me though as I don’t often do that.
We had a set of pots at one point, ranging from large to tiny. I never used anything but the large pot. I saw no need for having this slew of extra pots that just didn’t get used.
So I found this large pasta pot and steamer combo. While I don’t often steam vegetables, because I prefer them baked or cooked in a frying pan, I saw the use for having a steamer available.
As a smoothie and cashew sauce fanatic I knew I needed a high powered blender to cut through cashews and frozen fruit with ease. This blender will literally blend anything.
I use this blender almost daily. It makes soft serve frozen banana ice cream, cashew “cheese” sauce, thick and creamy smoothies, and pasta sauces with ease.
I’ve used it as a food processor and a blender. No matter what the task, this blender handles it with ease. Finally, it’s easy to clean which is a must have for a product you could use up to 3 times a day.
I’m a big fan of sheet pan meals, I will mix up loads of fresh veggies with a little bit of olive oil and roast the veggies in the oven.
Of course I also bake french bread, cookies, and chickpeas on the cookie sheet so it’s important to make sure you have a good cookie sheet that will hold up.
Who doesn’t love muffins or cupcakes? In my house when I do make muffins they don’t last long. My son will gobble up an entire batch of muffins in a day. I actually have to hide muffins when he’s not looking and pretend they are all gone.
For me, muffins are a staple in the home so I have to have a muffin pan in our kitchen. This pan is a sturdy pan that works really well and is pretty easy to clean up after use too.
There is no better baking set for me than corning ware. Not only does the simple design make these baking dishes double as a decent serving set they are versatile in what you need to bake.
Bake everything from brownies to casseroles and serve them up hot in the same dish. Use the small dishes to create a vegan sliceable cheese with just a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
This baking set is versatile and I use each piece at least once a week. They are even portable for those dish to pass events you might attend.
I personally prefer using silicone cooking utensils because they don’t melt in high heat situations, they don’t break easily, and they are safer to use than most plastic based utensils.
This set has everything you need including measuring spoons and cups so you can do all your cooking and baking with ease. The best part about silicone is if you need to switch from one dish to another using the same utensil they only need a quick rinse if you don’t want mix dishes.
I recommend getting a toaster oven above getting a regular toaster because it’s far more versatile. Having a munchy food night or need to bake up a bunch of different appetizers? Throw something in your oven and another in the toaster oven.
If you need to bake a small amount of food for your toddler don’t worry about preheating your oven just bake it in the toaster oven.
The toaster oven is a must have, easy to use, versatile appliance to have in your kitchen. It makes your life easier and keeps your kitchen clean from larger baking dishes being used for smaller meals.
As a baker myself I can not remember what life was like before getting my stand mixer. I make fresh bread often, homemade bagels, and whip up batters for desserts with ease.
All this without my arms or hands getting tired from kneading dough or using a hand mixer. The stand mixer makes baking a quick and easy job and clean up is a breeze.
However, if you don’t bake often or you need to save counter space a small hand mixer still gets the job done for mixing up desserts quickly.
I love having a good colander, be it for draining pasta or rinsing vegetables or rice this colander is the best. The mesh like holes mean you don’t have to worry about losing beans, noodles, or rice grains during the drain and rinse processes.
It also sits easily in the sink so you don’t have to worry about burning hands or spilling food down the drain. A colander like this works well and I personally use mine with almost every meal I make.
When you are cooking for a family of 4 a 2 cup measuring cup is essential. I personally love my 2 cup measuring cup and it lasts forever.
A manual can opener is essential to life. These things last forever and don’t become dangerous pains to use.
I’ve only ever used a manual can opener up until this last move, we started using an electric one and I usually end up swearing at it at least once every couple of days.
A manual can opener will always work and is a necessary item in a minimalist kitchen.
Every kitchen needs a good sharp knife set. This set is useful because it has all the different knives you need, as well as a set of sharp knives to serve with meals.
It also comes in a block so it keeps them safely stored away from little hands that could get cut.
Other Essential Items For Your Kitchen
There you have it, you have more room in your cabinets and less clutter on your counter top. Plus you stop spending several minutes trying to find that one spatula that works better than the other 5 you have.
Obviously there are other essentials that you would want for your kitchen. A coffee maker, plates, glasses, coffee cups, and flatware just to name a few.
My recommendation is simple on how many you should have of each of these. For a family of four a set of 6 or 8 should work just fine for dishes and flatware. Cups can be 4-6 as your family learns to rinse out the cup they were just using to fill it with another drink.
Coffee is life and coffee mugs are cute so I personally give a pass to the collecting and hoarding of coffee mugs. Realistically, you probably only need 2 cups per person who drinks coffee in your home.
As far as specialty cocktail, wine, or beer glasses go though, do what works for your home and your needs.
What are your absolute kitchen essentials? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your organization and minimalist boards.
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