Image of utensils in a kitchen

Kitchen Essentials Checklist – 75+ Items (FREE PDF)

Your kitchen essentials checklist is here! Setting up a kitchen can be a long process that can lead to missed meal opportunities if you (or your clients) don’t have the right tools.

As a dietitian, I often have clients ask me what kitchen tools they need to prepare more meals at home. Use this simple kitchen essentials checklist to freshen up your own kitchen or help your family, clients, or friends get their kitchen going from scratch.

This checklist is broken up into several categories. Jump ahead to the category of your choice, or simply download the FREE PDF Checklist at the bottom of this post to take it on your shopping trip.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Cutting and Chopping

Image of knives on a wall

A delicious homemade meal can require some cutting and chopping. A good knife set can save you a lot of time and make the meal prep process easier. Here is a list of knives and cutting tools to consider when setting up your kitchen.

  • Steak knives
  • Paring knife
  • Carving knife
  • Chef’s knife
  • Bread knife
  • Utility knife
  • Santoku knife
  • Boning knife
  • Knife block
  • Knife sharpener
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Cutting board(s)

Food Preparation and Measurement

Image of kitchen utensils hanging from the wall

All of these gadgets and gizmos are incredibly useful when setting up your kitchen and preparing your favorite meals.

  • Can opener
  • Vegetable scrapper
  • Cheese Grater
  • Apple slicer
  • Zester
  • Measuring Cups
    • Dry measuring cups
    • Liquid measuring cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Cooking utensil holder
  • Cooking utensils
    • Pasta spoon
    • Ladle
    • Turner
    • Slotted spoon
    • Cooking spoon
    • Potato Masher
  • Baking Tools and Utensils
    • Mixing Bowls
    • Silicone Spatulas
    • Whisk

Cookware and Bakeware

Image of pans

There is so much that goes into choosing your cook and bakeware, but this short list will help you get off on the right foot. Overtime, I am confident you will find your favorite pan.

  • Pots and Pans
    • Skillet
    • Saucepans
    • Sauté pan
    • Dutch oven
    • Colander strainer
  • Baking
    • Baking sheets
    • Cake pan
    • Muffin pan
    • Cooling rack

Serving Tools

Image of plates, cups, and eating utensils

Getting your food from the oven/stove to the table takes a few more kitchen essentials. Consider these options and choose a color or vibe that suits your style.

  • Hot Pads
  • Serving tools
    • Tongs
    • Pizza cutter
    • Ice cream scoop
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Silverware
    • Silverware holder

Kitchen Storage

Image of a woman grabbing pasta in a glass jar from a shelf

These tools are essential for reducing food waste and saving you time and money.

  • Storage Containers
    • Plastic or glass
  • Fruit/Veg Bowls
  • Flour container
  • Sugar container
  • Coffee container
  • Ziploc bags
  • Cling wrap
  • Foil

Small Appliances

Image of several small kitchen appliance

These small kitchen appliances may or may not be used in every kitchen, but you may consider these as your set up the flow of your kitchen.

  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Mixer
    • Hand Mixer
  • Waffle iron
  • Coffee maker
  • Tea kettle
  • Blender
  • Meat thermometer

Cleaning Supplies

Image of a sink and clean dishes in a drying rack

Cleaning supplies are essential in a new kitchen, but we often overlook our cleaning essentials when you are starting out. Here are a few basics to get you started.

  • Dish soap
  • Dish wand
  • Drying rack
  • Hand towels
  • Paper Towels
  • Trash can
  • Trash bags

Pantry Items

Image of various herbs and spices

Your favorite recipes will call for various herbs, spices, and flavor enhancers. If this list feels a little long, take it slow. Purchase your herbs and spices as you need them or when a recipe calls for it.

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Oil
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Baking soda


  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme


  • Allspice
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric

Final Thoughts on the Kitchen Essentials Checklist

Image of checkmarks in checkboxes

Setting up a kitchen is something that we get to do a few times in our lives, but it can  feel overwhelming if you don’t have a kitchen essentials checklist.

Would you like a FREE PDF copy of this article? Download the checklist here.

Image of utensils sitting on a kitchen counter.

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More About Rochelle

Rochelle Inwood MS, RDN, ACSM EP-C

Hello there! I’m Rochelle Inwood, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Exercise Physiologist (ACSM EP-C). With over 14 years of experience, I have sharpened my expertise through diverse roles, including weight management program co-coordinator, patient/employee gym supervisor, outpatient dietitian, program manager, dietetic internship preceptor, and more. I am passionate about learning, creating, teaching, and supporting personal growth and development.