I get so many questions over on instagram, about my kitchen staples, it seemed it was finally time to put them in one place! I tried to think of my top five. Then my top ten. I couldn’t do it guys. Let’s just see how many we end up with mmkay?? If you let me post as many as I want, I’ll let you leave whenever you want. DEAL.
If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me mention lots of these. And here’s the thing. I AM NOT a gadget lover. I’m not generally a “hack” lover. I’m kind of an old dog, who hates to store extra stuff, and despises taking apart machines and cleaning annoying pieces when I could clean like— ONE KNIFE, and my hands. WIN.
BUT— it turns out there are several things, (more than five… and ten) that I can’t live without. So maybe you’ll call my bluff. I can live with that. Here goes.
Kitchen Essentials for the home cook: Appliances
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot is KEY to cooking up large batches of protein for recipes like my Creamy Buffalo Chicken, my smokey honey cilantro chicken, salsa verde carnitas, bbq pulled pork… Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Chicken Soup. and tons of recipes from my cookbooks! I could not live without it. Even if it WILL smell like garlic ’til it’s last breath. It just gives the perfect tender, shredded meats in no time. And makes soups a breeze. I haven’t touched a slow-cooker since I got mine three years ago.
It took me longer to join the ai-fryer fan club. I was a major skeptic since I love to cook LARGE batches of things for my family. Air fryers are never going to be as big as my oven. Duh. My first one was small and black and I hated lugging it out. But once I got this larger white one that I could handle the sight of on my counter, my life is CHANGED. We use it every single day. Sometimes to actually cook things like my Easy Air Fried Fish Tacos and my Air Fryer Greek Pork Taquitos. And other times just to reheat EVERYTHING and anything. No more slices of pizza in my toaster leaving cheese on the side to smoke up the house for the next lucky user. Like I said. Life changed. Find this Air Fryer here.
To me, a Food Processor like the one above is just a must-have for a cook. I do not use it every day. Sometimes I even go months without pulling it out. But when I need it, I need it. Making nut butters, blending oats, processing a bunch of sauteed veggies for the mushroom meatballs in my LEAT book. It makes chopping up the Zucchini for my Snickerdoodle Zucchini Baked Oats or the brownie baked squash oats so quick and easy. You can find this Cuisinart Food Processor here.
Mini Food Processor
Sometimes you don’t need the capacity of the big food processor, or maybe you just don’t have the cupboard space to store a large one. In those cases, this mini food processor is perfect! This is my go-to for small batches of dressings or sauces that are too small to be grabbed by the blades of the big one. Try making my Quick Romesco Sauce or my creamy chimichurri with it.
Ninja IQ Blender
If you know you know. I’d be lost if they stopped making this one. It is a GAME CHANGER in my opinion for my FAVORITE nightly shake. (You can also watch me make mine in the highlights on my Instagram feed.) My favorite blender to get the texture PERFECT is this Ninja IQ blender.
I love making fresh Pico de Gallo (especially for my Skinny Creamy Chicken Enchiladas). This hand cranked Salsa Maker/Food Chopper is my go-to tool for quickly chopping everything I need for my Pico. No, you don’t really need it if you’ve got the food processors. But I fell for it anyway and it turns out sometimes I just love the quick crank. and it makes it easier to get “riced” veggies rather than letting part of it become totally pulverized while others are still chunky.
Yes, this Alligator Chopper is another chopping tool. And I said I generally love to just use a great knife. Ha! But– if you love to dice a million veggies for greek salsa, or pico, or you just love to have perfect little sweet potato cubes to roast… OR maybe you actually hate chopping. This thing is amazing.
Kitchen Tools Every Cook Will Love: Pots and Pans
Have you been converted to Caraway pans yet? If you need a whole beautiful set, this one is amazing. I love that they’ve just added baking dishes to their lineup. Can’t wait to use mine. Non-toxic, non stick and stunning. They’re definitely the nicest pans I’ve ever owned. They do require you to keep the heat around medium. So I don’t use them for EVERYTHING. I still prefer frying eggs and crunch wraps in a different non-stick.
If you don’t need a whole set of pans, I’m listing some favorite stragglers below.
Amazon Cast Iron Skillet
I’m sure there are wonderful perks to getting higher-end cast iron. But this is the one I’ve got. An amazon pan, super affordable. And it’s MASSIVE. Which is EVERYTHING to me. It’s my go-to pan for any meal that needs lots of surface area to brown meat without crowding or cooking in a million shifts. I grab it for TONS of the skillet recipes in my One-dish meal cookbook and for things like my lightened Up Beef Stroganoff to my One Pan Garden Veggie Orecchiette. Don’t be afraid of the upkeep– it’s been seasoned. I just scrub it like normal, with a little soap if needed (gasp), and dry it well before wiping it down with oil.
Enamel Cast Iron Casserole
This Enameled Cast Iron Casserole dish is perfect for anything that needs to go from the stovetop to the oven– with a lid. It’s another beautiful option for getting nice color on your meats and veggies since it gets really hot. If I don’t need the space of the giant cast iron, this is the one I grab for most of my one-dish meals. And it’s less stressful to clean!
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This Lodge 6 qt Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is perfect for any of my stove-top soups. Lodge is a great brand so this will be a bit more than the one below. I use my dutch oven for recipes like this skinny tomato butternut soup, this lean chili mac, the popular white chicken chili, and this classic low carb chili! I use my dutch oven ALL the time.
Amazon Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is a great budget friendly option. It’s still gonna do all the same stuff!
Huge Cookie Sheets 21 x 15
I can’t believe how long it took me to realize these these giant cookie sheets existed. Makes roasting veggies SO much more doable without crowding and steaming them instead. BOOO. Big sheet pans are affordable and SO ESSENTIAL to me. They’re also the only way a “sheet pan dinner” is even MAYBE feasible in my house! We need more space!
ALSO— of course my daughters love to bake our favorite giant chocolate chip cookies and who wants to get like 4 on a pan haha. A must.
Crate and Barrel Lasagna Pan
My Brownie Baked Squash Oats have become a family favorite around my house recently! I ALWAYS double the recipe and this is the PERFECT pan for it. It’s an Extra Large (15in.) Lasagna Baking Pan and I love it so much. Super affordable.
Crate and Barrel Large Salad Bowl
It’s no secret I love a huge salad. And so does my oldest daughter. So if I’m building a family salad, it had better be A BIG SALAD. Like I mean big. I don’t think I’ve met a restaurant salad that’s as big as the salads we make at home. Anyway– this Carson Acacia Serving Bowl from Crate and Barrel is both gorgeous and functional, and it’s always the one I pull out if we have guests.
Kitchen Tools Every Cook Will Love: Utensils and Accessories
Parchment Paper Sheets
Obsessed with these parchment paper sheets— I’ll never go back to the rolls again. Either will you.
Large Cookie/Portion Scoop
Whether it’s cookies, cupcakes, or anything else that you need to scoop, I love knowing that I’m getting the same amount of food in each portion. And I like my cookies BIG. This 3.25 oz portion scoop is my go-to size. I’ve got a couple of the bigger sizes to for extra wildly huge cookies haha.
Bamboo Wood Salad Hands
These Bamboo Wood Salad Hands are the perfect tool for tossing my Berry and Goat Cheese Salad and every salad under the sun. I have plenty of long, beautiful salad tongs and ALWAYS go for these. I think the hands just really let you get in there and TOSS.
Crate and Barrel Large Cutting Board
Having a big cutting board is a kitchen essential for every cook! This Large End Grain Cutting Board Block is so pretty you can leave it out on the counter every day. It sits by my sink and we use all throughout the day! We just skip raw meat and stinky onions.
I should have put these first. Knives are EVERYTHING. You don’t need a whole set in my opinion. But at least one AMAZING knife. I’ve been using these Nakano Knives for a while now and I cannot recommend them enough. They’re an investment, but worth it. I love their handmade collection and their Mito set. The pull-through sharpener is a must and makes it EASY to keep them sharp. I’ve got an affiliate code with this one: Lillie ‘ for 20% off your purchase.
Knife Block for Drawer
I hate junk on my counter — so I store my knives in a few of these knife block organizers in my drawer.
My favorite towels! Geometry House are both beautiful and really functional. Super absorbent, great size, they’re pretty much all I use. I’ve got an affiliate code for these: Lillie15 for 15% off.
White Dish Towels
The only other towels I buy for my kitchen, when I want to grab one for something messier. I love how simple these are and the fact that they come in a pack of 10. Find them here.
Salt Cellar Box
If you’re a baker, or a macro-counter, you need a good kitchen scale. This Kitchen Scale is THE BEST. I’ve had mine for 4 years going strong. It’s big enough to weigh big pots of soup but also sensitive enough to measure 2 grams of honey drizzle.
Small Meatball Scoop
Kitchen Favorites Every Cook Will Love
I hope this list of my kitchen favorites is helpful! I’m tired. That was a lot.