These are just some basic thoughts for what I use and like.  There is no ONE RIGHT WAY to do anything and most things can be done with substitute things.  I am sure many cooks out there have other “go to” utensils or kitchen gadgets they rely on.  I am still learning, but I like to use what I already have and also to save time.


  • Set of measuring cups you can use to scoop with also.  I like stainless steel measuring cups as the markings do not rub off.
  • 1 and 2 cup glass measuring cups.
  • Measuring spoons, specially teaspoon, tablespoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon.  If you don’t have a tablespooon, know that 3 teaspoons is 1 tablespoon.  Do not use eating utensil spoons! 🙂  I really like stainless steel spoons as the markings do not rub off and you can get them more rectangular so they fit inside spice jars.


Cutting boards.  I like the stiff plastic ones because they are easy on the knifes and also I can bring the chopped ingredients over to the pot to scrape into.  I try to have on hand a few of them at any one time.

Set of good knives and a good knife sharpener.  Keep your knives sharp! You can own more and many do, but this is the minimum for cooking work:

  • Main chopping knife that feels comfortable in your hand. This knife can do most of the work. It is very important to have this ONE good main knife that is balanced and sharp and comfortable in your hand.
  • A flat cutting blade for chopping and mincing.
  • Serrated bread knife.
  • A large cutting knife for melons and big things.
  • A small paring type knife.
  • Good Scissors.
  • Bandages  🙂


  • Set of stainless steel bowls.  I like the ones with non-skid bases.
  • Small bowls (for mixing sauces, cornstarch mixes, etc)

Utensils:  Make sure you use plastic on any non-stick cookware.

  • Set of silicone spatulas.  These are great to use when blending and to scrape the blended material out.
  • Good mixing spoon, plastic and heat proof.
  • Good metal spatula
  • Tongs
  • Potato Masher
  • Microplane to grate ginger and make zest from rinds
  • Grater
  • Whisk


Dough Work:

  • Dough mat.  I love having a large non-stick mat to work on.
  • Rolling pin

Cooking vessels

  • Cast Iron (I have two sizes…small and larger) pans
  • Sauce Pan W/ Lid
  • Frying Pan W/ Lid
  • Large Pot w/ Lid
  • Baking Sheets (larger and medium sized)
  • Baking pans.  Bread loaf,  9×4, 9×3. Muffin tins.
  • Steel Wok (and wok spatula).  Not required, but makes a lot of things easier.  Best for gas flame stoves.


  • Food processor  (you can get away without one and use the blender, but the processor makes a lot of things much easier)
  • Blender (get a good quality one)
  • Rice Cooker.  Yes you can cook rice in a pot on the stove.  But the rice cooker is so easy, you just push a button and it keeps the right temp for hours.


  • Salad spinner
  • Tofu press
  • Spice grinder
  • Olive Oil sprayer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Alum Foil
  • Resealable plastic bags
  • Good set of sealable containers for frig and freezer