Here are my personal recommendations for basic kitchen equipment. I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you purchase through any of my links, you’ll help support this site!
Note: If you aren’t a total newb, items on this list will probably seem like a no brainer and you won’t need to be told which equipment to use when you’re looking at a recipe. My audience is at least partially comprised of people who have little to no experience in the kitchen though, so this is for them.
I’ve broken the kitchen equipment into 3 separate lists. Why?
First of all, I don’t believe that lack of equipment should stop you from starting your vegan or whole foods journey. if you can get your hands on most of the stuff in list 1, you’re good to go.
Secondly, though I personally own almost every item on this list, it didn’t start out that way. As my skills grew and I started to do certain tasks more often, I slowly added the tools that were important to me based on what I was cooking.
Since not everyone will be doing things the same way or making the same things, your needs may vary from mine. If you find yourself thinking, “Man, I wish there were an easier way to do this,” then maybe it’s time to pull a tool from the next category.
Finally, I want to be completely transparent about the costs involved in switching to a vegan or whole foods diet. There will probably be at least some initial expense involved, but it’s worth it. You’ll save in the long run because you’ll probably eat out less and ingredients cost much less than already processed foods.
Not counting knives (which you could spend thousands on if you wanted to), everything on this list can be purchased on Amazon for less than $300. These are high quality, long lasting items. Add them to your wish list and ask friends and family to buy from it for birthdays and other holidays where gifts are involved!
I also highly recommend stores like Ross, Home Goods and TJ Maxx for utensils, cookware, dinnerware and storage containers. Ikea is great for kitchen items too, that’s where all of my plates and bowls are from. I’d be willing to bet you could find everything on this list for under $150 at a discount home store or Ikea.
If you’re really on a tight budget, dollar stores and thrift stores have many of the items on this list. Garage and estate sales are good resources for kitchen gear too! Finally, try looking on craigslist, offerup or even on Facebook groups that are for sharing free items. Post asking for people to share items they may no longer be using. Sustainability and minimalism have become much more popular lately, a lot of people are using second hand goods and getting rid of items they don’t use anymore. Take advantage!
- Measuring cups, both for dry goods and liquid.
- Measuring spoons
- Cutting Board
Pancake spatula – I prefer a very flat edge, like the two below. Having two sizes is handy.
Or just one like this would be fine. This is the one I have.
Rubber spatula – the set below comes in a variety of fun colors and is the one I have in my own kitchen.
This set has a few more colors.
Or here’s a single version of the same spatula.
Big spoon (I like a silicon spoonula, a mix of spoon and spatula)
Stand up box grater – This one has a cool removable zester!
Colander/Strainer – I have a set like this and I like having multiple sizes.
I don’t have one of these, but this is a good choice too!
Casserole dish – a variety of sizes is best, here’s a good set of 3.
If you have to choose a single size, get a 9×13
3 sizes of sauce pan with lid (small saucepan, medium sized saucepan and large stock pot for pasta/soup). Here’s a good set with wok type pan included.
Non-stick skillet – a deep one like this is great for a lot of things
2 knives – I personally use Cutco knives. They have a lifetime guarantee and they’ll come to your house and sharpen them for free. If they get really bad, you have to send them to the factory to get sharpened, but it’s still a great deal. Before, I never felt like I got my knives quite sharp enough when I used an electric sharpener. Here are a couple of their sets that are available through Amazon.com
4″ paring knife
Chef’s knife – I prefer this smaller one
I love this serrated one too, especially for cutting winter squash.
Parchment paper – find at any grocery store or buy a silicon mat like the one below. I have a few of them. I do like having parchment around too, the one they sell at Costco lasts me for YEARS.
Dinnerware and silverware, kinda goes without saying, yeah? You need plates, bowls, forks, spoons. Thrift shops and garage sales are GREAT for these items. They’re also available very inexpensively at home goods stores and Ikea. I don’t have any specific recommendations as far as that stuff is concerned. I’m sure you’re not currently eating your food off of the floor….right?!
You’ll also need some type of storage for keeping food in the refrigerator and freezer. I use the glass Snapware set below and plastic zipper bags for the freezer. Vacuum sealers are also great for long term storage. I use the mason jar attachment almost daily. You suck the air out of those jars and herbs stay good for well over a week. I also vacuum seal mason jars in my long term storage that have dry goods and spices in them.
This set from Amazon looks similar and has good reviews.