75 Essential Kitchen Items for Home Chefs: Make Restaurant Quality Meals at Home
Like many home cooks, I used to dream about recreating restaurant quality meals at home, thinking I lacked the specialized equipment to achieve professional results. After some research though, I realized you don’t need fancy equipment to make a delicious meal! There are a lot of restaurant tricks that are easily adaptable to the home kitchen. Here’s my list of essential kitchen equipment for home chefs:
Keep reading, I’ll go into some more detail about each one of my recommendations below.
The number one thing every home cook needs—a good set of sharp knives. This knife set includes all of the essentials including a chef knife, carving knife, bread knife, utility knife, paring knife, and a sharpener.
Having a mandoline makes prepping vegetables easy. This model has five different blades, allowing you to slice, shred, or julienne large quantities of veg quickly and easily.
Sorting your prepped ingredients into tiny glass bowls prior to cooking helps keep you clean and organized. Using these glass bowls for mise en place will have you looking like a professional chef in no time!
A good mixing bowl set is a must-have for cooking, baking, and storage. This versatile glass set is safe for the microwave, dishwasher, and freezer.
Having a set of three cutting boards on hand allows you to prevent cross contamination. These are made of non-porous plastic, so they’ll clean easily and won’t retain stains or odors.
This adjustable stand makes following recipes easier while keeping your cookbooks clean. It also works great with tablets!
Manual Citrus Juicer
Fresh squeezed citrus juice elevates everything from salad dressings to cocktails. This 2-in-1 model works well for both limes and lemons.
Just like fresh citrus juice, citrus zest adds a ton of bright flavor to any dish! A rasp grater is useful for zesting as well as grating things like ginger, chocolate, or Parmesan cheese.
Box graters are essential for grating cheese and vegetables like carrots or cabbage. This one has six different sides, offering a variety of sizes, plus it’s comfortable to use with its ergonomic handle and non-slip bottom.
Garlic Press & Peeler
Using fresh garlic really elevates a dish, but peeling and mincing garlic is such a chore. Luckily this garlic press and peeler set makes it a breeze!
These Y-shaped vegetable peelers work well for virtually all your fruit and vegetable needs. This set of 3 peelers is convenient for switching out peelers that become dull or rusted over time.
Bench scrapers handle a variety of tasks from cutting and portioning dough to transporting prepped ingredients from cutting board to pan. This one has convenient measurements along the bottom edge for consistent cuts.
Flexible bowl scrapers allow you to slide along the curved edge of a bowl, ensuring you’re able to use every last bit of dough or batter.
Spiralizers easily turn vegetables into noodles and other fun cuts. Perfect for making healthy and delicious meals on paleo or gluten free diets!
Large serving spoons are essential for finishing and plating dishes. This stylish set includes a serving spoon, a slotted spoon, and serving fork, and is perfect for the transition from the kitchen to the dining room table.
I use a rubber spatula for nearly everything I cook and bake. They’re so versatile, and this set includes different shapes for different tasks, including folding, flipping, icing, mixing, and getting the maximum yield out of your condiment jars.
Wooden spoons are the perfect tool for scraping all the brown bits in sauté pans to create flavorful, restaurant quality sauces. This corner spoon features one squared corner and one rounded corner to most effectively complete this task in any type of pan.
A spider skimmer is a great utensil to keep on hand for deep frying or making delicate pasta like ravioli.
Whisks are necessary to aerate batters, whip egg whites, and get all the lumps out of a sauce. I use this model by OXO Good Grips all the time—it has a soft, comfortable handle with a non-slip coating.
A flat whisk is a unique multi-use utensil that is quite useful for home cooks. Flat whisks allow you to get into the corners of shallow pans when making pan gravy and can also be used like a spider to remove poached items from their cooking liquid.
Restaurant cooks and home cooks alike use tongs constantly for flipping and grilling, so you’ll probably want to invest in a couple pairs, like this set of 2 featuring a 9-inch and 12-inch pair.
Salad hands are the perfect tool to toss salads more delicately, and they make for attractive serving ware too.
Metal Fish Spatula
Metal fish spatulas feature a thin, flexible metal edge to easily slide under delicate items prone to sticking. And they can be used for much more than just fish—chicken, pancakes, just about anything that needs flipping!
It’s crucial to have nonstick utensils to use with your nonstick cookware to prevent scratching. This nonstick spatula is heat resistant up to 400 degrees and dishwasher safe.
You’ll definitely want a ladle in your utensil crock to serve up hot soups, stews, and sauces.
Pots and Pans
Stainless Steel Skillet with Lid
Invest in a high-quality skillet like this one from All-Clad and you’ll be whipping up restaurant quality sautés and pan sauces for years to come. This model is oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees! Stainless steel skillets are indispensable because they are versatile, durable, and distribute heat evenly.
Enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are also extremely versatile, allowing for stovetop or oven cooking. Since cast iron is a great heat insulator, they’re great for deep frying too!
Newer nonstick cookware is made from scratch resistant hard-anodized aluminum, making it a lot safer than Teflon coated cookware of the past. Nonstick skillets are great for making delicate items like eggs.
Sauce pots of various sizes are an important staple for home chefs. This 2-quart model is a great size for a variety of tasks and has a beautiful brushed stainless exterior.
Large Stock Pot
You’ll want at least one extra large stock pot for handling tasks like boiling water for pasta, boiling lobsters or corn on the cob, and of course making homemade stock from bones. This model holds up to 12 quarts and comes with a glass lid.
Roasting Pan with Rack
A large roasting pan with a rack is necessary for making impressive, evenly cooked roasts with a crisp golden exterior.
Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets are excellent heat insulators, making them a good choice for a variety of dishes, including fried chicken, burgers, cinnamon buns, and cornbread. They’re so versatile!
Double Broiler Pan
A double broiler set up is needed to slowly melt chocolate or cheese fondue over simmering water. This pan makes it easy with two pieces that fit perfectly together and comes with a glass lid, too!
Baking sheets are essential for cookies but are also perfect for full sheet pan meals! I recommend these aluminum pans by Nordic Ware for even browning.
Pan frying can be messy, so get a splatter screen to help control the grease! This one is 13 inches in diameter, so it should be large enough to cover all your frying pans.
Every home cook needs a few different sized fine mesh strainers to handle a variety of tasks. This set allows for larger tasks like sifting flour or rinsing rice, as well as smaller tasks like refining juice or straining custards into individual ramekins.
Wire Cooling Rack
Wire racks are useful for an assortment of kitchen tasks—from cooling cookies to draining excess oil from fried foods. You’ll use them constantly, so why not get a set of 2?
9 x 13 Pan
This pan can be used for cakes and casseroles alike. The nonstick coating makes cleanup a breeze!
Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods, so every home cook should have a quality steamer basket. This model has is able to adapt to different sized pans and collapses for easier storage.
To really level up your entertaining, try investing in a home espresso machine. This Breville model is easy to use and creates perfect foamed milk lattes and cappuccinos every time, for restaurant quality coffee drinks right at home!
This Cuisinart food processor is truly a workhorse in the kitchen. Simple to use and clean, it comes with different blades to shred, slice, and chop large quantities in seconds!
Invest in a high-power blender that’s able to fully puree and pulverize, resulting in a smooth creamy texture. Use it for fruit smoothies, blended cocktails, or creating velvety smooth soups.
The latest trend for home chefs, air fryers allow you to make all your favorite crispy fried foods at home, using a fraction of the oil. It’s much healthier, and less mess too!
Electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are the ultimate time saver! This 6-quart multi-functional model acts as a pressure cooker, slower cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and even a yogurt maker. Pressure cooking allows you to cook foods in a fraction of the time compared to conventional cooking methods.
Every home chef should have their turn at cranking out handmade pasta. This manual pasta machine works with different pasta cutting accessories to make different kinds of pasta including fettuccine and spaghetti.
If you find yourself juicing a lot of fruit, I would consider investing in an electric juicer. This model is even able to juice harder fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery, beets, and kale, to make nutrient-rich juices.
No brunch is complete without Belgian waffles! This waffle maker is easy to use and features six settings for customized browning control.
Electric griddles are convenient for cooking a variety of foods and save valuable space on your cooktop. Presto makes a great model with an easy-to-clean nonstick surface and drip tray.
Immersion blenders, also known as stick blenders, are super useful for blending soups and sauces without having to take out and clean your blender.
Rice is notoriously tricky to get right, but rice cookers ensure perfectly cooked rice every time. This model by Aroma is highly rated and holds up to 8 cups of cooked rice.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker
For all the iced coffee lovers out there, a cold brew maker is a must-have! Cold brew is smoother and less acidic than traditionally brewed iced coffee.
A pizza stone is absolutely critical to achieving a crispy pizza crust in a home oven since home ovens don’t get as hot as brick pizza ovens. For high quality pizza at home, check out this pizza set that includes the pizza stone plus a pizza peel and wheel cutter!
This stand mixer will help you achieve all your baking goals. You’ll be able to effectively cream butter and sugar with the paddle beater attachment or knead bread doughs with the dough hook.
If you don’t have the room or budget for a stand mixer right now, a hand mixer can handle most of the same tasks. Hand mixers also allow you the added flexibility to whip mixtures while simultaneously heating, which is useful for mashed potatoes or certain custard-based desserts.
Liquid Measuring Cups
Liquid measuring cups have a curved spout making it easier to pour liquids precisely and without spilling. These Pyrex glass measuring cups are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Silicone Baking Mat
Silicone baking mats are an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to parchment paper. They fit standard sheet pans to provide a nonstick baking surface and prevent over-browning, easy to clean and reuse again and again!
When it comes to baking, accurate measurements are vital, and the best way to measure consistently and accurately is to weigh your ingredients. This compact kitchen scale measures in both grams and ounces with a weight capacity of up to 11 lb.
Every home baker wants to make a show stopping pie. These glass pie plates from Pyrex make it easy to monitor browning while cooking, and the beautiful crimped edges make for great serving ware too.
Muffin tins are necessary for making muffins of course, but they can also be used for cupcakes and breakfast egg cups.
To take your biscuits, pies and pastries up a notch, try brushing them with butter or egg wash to create a beautiful shiny and deep golden-brown exterior. I recommend this silicone pastry brush from OXO because it’s easy to clean and the silicone bristles won’t scorch, clump or break off into food.
Pastry blenders cut in small uniform pieces of butter to create flaky-textured baked goods. Try this pastry blender next time you make pie crust or biscuits and you’re sure to have impressive results! Pastry blenders can also be used to mash foods like avocado for guacamole.
Every baker needs a good quality rolling pin. This wooden rolling pin has comfortable handles and is durable and moisture-resistant.
Measuring spoons are essential for accurately measuring ingredients in baking. I recommend these because the measurement marks are engraved, so you don’t have to worry about them rubbing off with continued use.
Measuring Cup Set
This set includes 4 measuring cups in ¼, 1/3, ½, and 1 cup sizes. They come on a removable ring and nest inside one another for optimal storage.
Cleaning & Safety
Every home cook should have a fire extinguisher on hand as a safety precaution.
First Aid Kit
In case of cuts or burns, home chefs should be equipped with a fully stocked first aid kit like this highly-rated all-purpose kit.
Paper Towel Holder
This paper towel holder has a helper arm, making it easy to tear off a sheet with one hand and contributing to a cleaner kitchen.
Composting is an environmentally responsible way to get rid of your food scraps. This 1-gallon bin sits on the countertop for a week without attracting insects or omitting odors.
Restaurant cooks use side towels in a lot of different ways that are useful for the home kitchen as well, including cleaning spills, transporting hot plates, and covering doughs to prevent from drying out. This pack of 12 is made from machine-washable absorbent cotton.
Instant Read Thermometer
Thermometers are vital to the home chef in order to make sure proteins are cooked properly and comply with food safety regulations to prevent food poisoning.
Cut resistant gloves are a good way to prevent injury in relatively inexperienced home chefs. They are especially useful when working with a mandoline or box grater.
Aprons help keep your clothes clean and protect you from hot splattering oils. These aprons are water resistant and feature pockets to hold tools and recipe cards.
These oven mitts offer heat protection up to 450 degrees and are extra-long to protect bare forearms from burns as well. They also have a nonslip silicone grip as an added safety measure.
Your countertops also need protecting from hot pots and pans! These woven cotton potholders also function as spoon rests to keep countertops clean.
Pot Handle Cover
These silicone covers easily slip over the handles of skillets to prevent hand burns from touching hot handles. They’re com