12 Kitchen Essentials for Every Home Cook

It’s pretty safe to assume that we’re all doing a lot more home cooking these days. In fact, that’s exactly what inspired the debut of our IDCO Menu Plan + Shopping List blog post series. Each week, we curate a guided menu plan to take one less thing off your to-do list with an emphasis on easy yet elevated meals.

But if we’ve learned anything about home cooking over the past few months, it’s the importance of having the right tools for the job.

Today on the blog, we’re covering the 15 kitchen essentials that save us tons of time and effort while cooking every single day. We’ll assume you’re covered on the most basic items (think frying pan, mixing bowls, and baking sheets) and dive into tools that take any home cook’s work to the next level.

Interior Design: Anastasia Casey | Photography: Madeline Harper

12 Kitchen Essentials We Love

Garlic Press

If you find mincing garlic to be the most tedious task ever, allow us to bring a garlic press into your life. This tool will save you time, sanity, and results in even garlic cuts every time.

Cast Iron Set

Ask any chef, and they’ll tell you a good cast iron skillet is a home cook’s best friend. As one of our top kitchen essentials, we love cast iron because it goes from the stovetop to the oven and holds heat like no other. Plus, if you take care of your cast iron set well, it will last you a lifetime.

Bar Keepers Friend

The award for the most underrated kitchen essential goes to Bar Keeper’s Friend, and here’s why. This genius cleaning agent can be used on basically anything in your kitchen, including pots, pans, stovetop, sinks, faucets, and more. This stuff keeps our white sink looking great, and works like a dream on stainless steel cookware. There are so many variations of Bar Keeper’s Friend on the market, but we’ve found it best to stick with the old-school powdered formula.

Citrus Press

Acid is an essential element in cooking, but squeezing lemons and limes by hand can be a tad bit annoying. Instead, reach for your citrus press, and you’ll get that fresh zippy taste with no accidental seeds.

Recycled Glassware

If you’re looking for glassware with an eco-friendly spin, investing in recycled glassware is your best bet. I’m obsessed with our recycled glass drinking glasses and use them on the daily.

Glass Tupperware

We’re team leftovers at the Casey household, but risking leaked toxins from plastic containers is a nonstarter. Instead, we always opt for glass tupperware containers for top safety, making them one of our favorite kitchen essentials.

Pull Out Shelf Drawers

If you’re a regular reader here on the IDCO blog, you know I’m low-key obsessed with these pull-out racks that I previously showcased during my Pantry Reveal. They were installed for all our lower cabinets, so every inch is fully accessible and visible.

Lettuce Spinner

Washing lettuce before use is essential, but no likes sogginess in their greens. Using a salad spinner will ensure your lettuce is safe to eat while removing excess water, so your yummy dressing can steal the show.

Food Processor

Once you really get into home cooking, a food processor is an absolute must. It’s perfect for quick grinds and purees, plus it typically requires no liquid, unlike the average blender.

Extra Large Cutting Board

When in doubt, go big or go home — especially with your cutting board. You’ll always be glad to have the extra room whenever you’re in meal-prep mode.

Mortar and Pestle

Whenever mincing and fine grinding is required in your cooking process, a mortar + pestle is great to have on hand. I love using my mortar and pestle for homemade pesto, guacamole, and so much more.

Quality Knives + Sharpener

Did you know that having dull kitchen knives is considered dangerous? It’s true — a dull knife requires more pressure and actually increases the risk of accidents. Make sure you’re investing in quality knives AND a good sharpener to go with them.

We hope these recommendations streamline your home cooking process! In case you’re looking for even more inspiration, we’re linking to a few podcasts and cookbooks that have inspired our own adventures in the kitchen:



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