If you’ve ever attempted to purchase cookware for a new kitchen or simply tried to improve the quality of tools in your current kitchen you’ve probably found that stocking up on high quality kitchen essentials is much more difficult than it should be.
And this makes sense, doesn’t it? Nowadays everywhere we look there’s someone telling us to buy their product that will supposedly make our lives easier. I’m sure all of the following sound familiar:
Cooking TV show hosts recommending their products
Branded cooking sets from your favourite celebrity chef
Kitchen stores stocking unusual, “one-trick-pony” items
Infomercials aggressively selling cheap gizmos
Kitchen websites promoting every item as a “must-have”
and so on. Instead of all this increased choice making our lives easier, it’s made it that much more difficult to separate the quality from the junk. So we decided to test all the kitchen equipment we could get our hands on to solve this problem and make stocking a minimalist, high-quality kitchen as easy as possible.
When we started our cooking journey, we were full of confusion and frustration as we began our search for the best cookware and essential kitchen tools for minimalist cooks. When you start with no knowledge, the learning curve is immense.
But after years of refining our cooking techniques, creating and testing simple recipes, learning how to plan our meals, and building a customizable meal planning service for busy folks like us, we learned exactly which tools one needs (and doesn’t need) to stock a fully functional and multi-purpose minimalist kitchen.
Note: We’ve tried to make it easy to navigate this kitchen essentials list and find what you need right away. For this reason, we’ve organized our recommendations in to general categories (click to jump to any category):
Preparation Tools & Essentials
Cookware & Bakeware
Cooking Tools & Kitchen Utensils
Other Kitchen Essentials
And each of these categories contains items that are categorized into recommended, premium, and budget picks. That is, except those rare items that combine such high-quality and great value that they stand alone as a clear winner.
Let’s dig in to the best high quality and versatile kitchen essentials that provide the most value for your money.
If you’ve only ever used a cheap chef’s knife for your cooking needs, switching to a high quality knife will be a night and day difference. Seriously, when we upgraded to a high quality chef’s knife we couldn’t believe how much sharper, heavier, and easier it was to cut and chop with the quality knife.
And since you can use a chef’s knife for all of your cutting needs (and use it every time you cook), one high-quality purchase will serve you for years to come.
We’ve tested several different chef’s knives with different price points and designs, and though we used to recommend the German-made Wusthof chef’s knife, we now recommend the Global G2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. It’s an absolute workhorse; it comes at a very reasonable price, is lighter and easier to handle and maintain than the Wusthof, and we’re sure it won’t disappoint you.
Coming in much cheaper than our recommended or premium options, the Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife is a steal of a deal. With a five star Amazon rating over 4,500 reviews, it’s the only chef’s knife you should consider purchasing under $40. You simply can’t go wrong with this starter chef’s knife.