Kitchen Essentials: 10 Must-Have Items

alt="Kitchen Essentials"It’s a common idea in the home building industry that in order to do any job well, one must have the proper tools. After all, it’s hard to make a straight cut with a dull blade. But this idea crosses over into many areas of life, including the kitchen. After 20+ years of running a kitchen, I have come across at least 10 kitchen essentials, items I have come to depend on throughout the years.

1. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer — At first I was a little uncertain I needed a mixer this powerful and heavy-duty, but after owning this mixer for several years, I can honestly say that I would be lost without it. I probably use it three or four times each week. I use it for cakes and cupcakes, sausage balls, meatloaf, whipping cream, and anything else that needs mixed or whipped. Because this mixer sits on my counter, I almost never pull out a hand mixer.

2. A good set of knives like these from J.A. Henckels. I happen to be a big fan of the Santoku knife, but use whichever shape fits your hand best. Just get a good set and keep them sharp. A good, sharp knife makes cutting and chopping SO much easier and quicker. Knives don’t necessarily have to be expensive, but they do cut best if they are sharp and fit your hand well.

3. I have tried a lot of cookware, and many are good, but nothing beats Le Creuset. It is made of cast iron, so it cooks like an iron skillet, but the enamel coating makes it easy as pie to clean up. I have three pieces including this dutch oven, a brasier, and a skillet. These are lifetime pieces, so I really believe they are worth the investment.

4. Bamboo Cutting Boards – We use a cutting board multiple times each day. As a cook who makes a ton of dishes from scratch, I am constantly chopping and slicing. As a blogger, I like my cutting boards to be pretty for photos. I have been through a dozen or more cutting boards trying to find one that covers both of my bases. I finally settled on these bamboo boards. They clean up easily and are very durable.

5. Pizza Stone – We’ve been making lots and lots of homemade pizzas lately, and every time we make them I wish for more pizza stones. The one we have has been with us since we got married 15 years ago. It has aged well, and I love the patina it has developed over the years. By far, my favorite way to cook pizza is on a stone. However, I would love to know if any of you have ever used a cast iron pizza pan. That might be next on my list.

6. Glass Canisters – I’m not a big fan of cluttering up my kitchen countertops because I like wide open spaces to work on. However, I do like utilitarian “decorations.” I have five glass canisters that sit out on my countertops. They are filled with sugar, flour, grits, cornmeal, and coffee. I absolutely adore they way they look, and they provide me with very easy access to the staples I use multiple times every day. When I get to the bottom of the jar, I throw them in the dishwasher for easy clean-up. They are simple, but I feel like they make my kitchen homey.

7. Interestingly enough, we don’t eat a lot of ice cream, and I never use a melon baller to scoop melon. However, I use a Ice Cream Scoop and Melon Baller almost every day. In addition to scooping the occasional bowl of ice cream, the ice cream scoop is the perfect size to fill muffin pans full of muffin or cupcake batter. The melon baller makes the perfect scoop for cookie dough, meat balls, or sausage balls. If you have these in your drawer, I promise you will find more uses for them than you ever thought possible.

8. Though I’ve listed a lot of must-haves in this post, I truly don’t know how I’d make it without my Kitchen Shears. It really grosses me out for my regular scissors to come in contact with any type of food, so I keep three pairs of kitchen shears on hand. I use the for simple things like opening cereal bags and for ickier jobs like cutting fat off of chicken. I’ve even been known to use them for cutting pizza when I couldn’t locate a pizza cutter.

9. Tervis Tumblers – Listen, nobody is more surprised than me at the fact that I’m including plastic cups on this list. However, if you’ve ever used Tervis Tumblers, you know that they deserve a spot. They keep your drink insulated, and they don’t sweat. That means no water rings on your furniture or countertops. We basically fill one in the morning and use it all day. You can purchase lids and straws, which we also love.

10. Cookbooks – Every cook has her own favorites, and my preferences have developed over time. As my cooking style has established itself, my penchant for cookbooks has changed. However, I do have a few favorites that I go back to again and again because I know they won’t let me down.

My current favorites include The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, A Southern Palate, An Italian Palate, 400 Best Sandwich Recipes: From Classics and Burgers to Wraps and Condiments, and anything on LifeInGrace.

I hope that these items will help you serve your family better by making life simpler in the kitchen. Y’all let me know in the comments what you’d add to the list. What are your must-haves?

PS: Those are all Amazon affiliate links. I’ll make a few cents if you purchase any of them. Thanks for keeping The Hill Hangout afloat.


  1. Hi, what color did you choose for your cabinets? I also have black appliances and want a color like that to match!

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