The pandemic has modified our lifestyles on multiple levels. For instance, over the last year Americans have spent more time at home and in the kitchen than perhaps ever. Sourdough bread, anyone? Whether you’re an amateur or on Master Chef level, having the basics will set you up for success in the kitchen. Here’s what the pros agree are must-haves for your culinary pursuits:

A Quality Knife Set

Behind every chef is his or her go-to set of knives. Having a selection of different types and sizes of knives will help you cut meat and produce with ease. Using the right knife for the job at hand is not only safer, but you’re also going to get a more precise cut. On that note, be sure to keep them sharp. It’s recommended to sharpen your set annually for optimal performance.

Pots and Pans of Different Sizes

Naturally boiling rice and sauteing veggies will require different cookware. Generally, the experts say you should be well equipped if you have the following essentials in your cupboard:

  • 10-inch nonstick skillet
  • 5.5-quart stainless steel skillet
  • 3-quart pot
  • 6-quart pot

This versatility will help you have the right size and style for the purpose. Just be sure to properly clean and store them, as some cookware is more sensitive and may require special care and handling. Always read the reviews and directions before making the investment.

A Mini Food Processor

The jack of all trades of kitchen gadgets, you can do a lot with a $40 food processor. From soups to salad dressings and more, a small one gets the job done. Plus, it doesn’t take up much space.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

If you’ve been baking for some time, you might have a good eye for estimating quantities, but measuring cups and spoons are the only way to ensure your guess is right on the money. And since they’re usually pretty cheap, there’s no excuse not to invest in them.

Quality Cutting Boards

One thing the pros agree on is that it’s good to have 2-3 cutting boards so that you can assign them to different purposes. For instance, it’s not safe to use the same board for veggies as you would for chicken. Cross-contamination can get you sick. Plastic and bamboo are the best, as wood can absorb liquid and it’s harder to keep clean.

Air-Tight Storage Containers

Whether for food prep or storing leftovers, you’re going to want to have good storage containers. Glass (Pyrex) is better because it’s machine washable and doesn’t leak chemicals, like plastic is known to do. You can find a good selection at Target and at similar stores.

Slow Cooker

There’s a reason there was the Instant Pot crave a few years ago. These gadgets are versatile and can yield some tasty results. A Crock-Pot is convenient because you can throw in a meal in the morning and let it cook all day. Voila...dinner is served!

What are your kitchen essentials? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website: