Updated: Aug 21
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We wouldn’t generally consider ourselves minimalist, except that we have had the pleasure of moving. A lot. Roughly every five years or so. When you’ve gone through the joyous occasion of packing up your things so frequently, one begins placing much greater value on keeping only the bare essentials rather than packing another single, moving box.
On this site, we share many methodologies and the thought processes behind why we do things. Our Minimalists kitchen list is great for the cook who's just starting out and has to boot-strap their first kitchen outfit or, in our case - people that tend to move a lot and only have space for the very best stuff.
Heck, the list is really great for anyone who would like to lighten their load and free themselves of the terrifyingly overcrowded cabinets that may or may not avalanche when the cabinet door opens. Yeah, we’ve been there too. Like anything else, this is a process. It takes time to focus on and readily recognize the things that truly matter.
Restricting the amount of kitchen gear on hand is a glass-half-full situation. Some may find it limiting. Others will see it as a challenge of ingenuity and creativity. Now don’t get crazy. This isn’t an ironclad list meant to dictate your lifestyle. We’re hip! We try the new thing sometimes…
There have been times when we've experimented with the new trendy gear that promises to save you time and make the process of doing XYZ that much simpler. However, as a general rule, any time saved or convenience gained was trumped by the added time cleaning up another contraption or the cupboard space consumed. So, at the end of the day, after all the sous vide has swirled, the air has fried, and not-so-instant pots have decompressed, we found the following twelve items can get you through just about any recipe your taste buds desire.
Heck, depending on the size of your household, might manage with seven pieces or fewer. For example, a 12” sauté pan, 1-qt, 2qt, and 6qt saucepans, each with lids. We cook for two to eight people regularly so having a full set of twelve comes in handy. A few of my favorite brands include Tramontina and Circulon. I love a nonstick surface, soft grip handle, and durable design. These sets are on the heavier side and feel very sturdy. Since we're cooking a lot I prefer pans that can handle regular wear and tear. The classic look and contemporary styling of these sets also make them very attractive.
2. Complete Set of Easy to Clean Silicone Utensils - 9pc +/-
When you're down to the bottom of the peanut butter jar, a butter knife just won’t cut it. Instead, go for the silicone spatula and show that jar who's boss. Not the smallest shmear shall be wasted of the creamy and/or crunchy goodness. This is just one of the many life-altering achievements that will come from being the proud owner of your own silicone kitchen utensil set.
Never again shall an unknowing significant other grab the wrong utensil and scratch the life right out of your beloved pots or pans. No more "oops, I melted it" or "Oh sh*%, I caught it on fire..." These tools are pretty bomb-proof for even the most inexperienced or accident-prone chefs.
Who needs a fancy wire cheese cutter when you can use a veggie peeler? You deserve that fancy shaved parmesan look on your next homemade Caesar salad, so grab that veggie peeler and wedge of deliciousness and get to work! Or why not make wide carrot noodles for your low-carb soba without a crazy veggie spiralizer? Yes, it's magic. Who knew veggie peelers could be helpful for so much more than just peeling cucumbers and potatoes?
Because beans, damn it. I tried to go without a can opener when I first moved away
from home. I wasn’t doing much cooking at the time, but it seemed like I needed a can opener any time I did! Not having one tormented me for months as I tried to find other creative can-opening methods until I finally just ordered one. Open the can with a spoon they said, uh no. Those hacks do not work, just get a can opener and keep it handy. This is about the only tool we haven’t come up with creative secondary uses for yet. Have any ideas?
Tomato soup, anyone? Yes, we make soup and a ton of sauces in our blender. Of course, we like a good smoothie or fro-yo too, but if that's all you're using your blender for, it's time to up your game. We’ve also been known to whip up a batch of pancake batter or brownies in our blender too.
Harvesting veggies from the garden, steaming veggies over a saucepan, draining noodles, or separating solids from a new batch of stock. Colanders can do a lot. We especially love the new collapsible silicone ones. We suggest checking your temperature rating and being mindful of the size if you plan to use them over a saucepan or drain stock into a storage container.
Almost unnecessary. I mean, you could cut on your granite counter, but the
sanitation, stains, and longevity of your counters and knives matter. Plus, cutting boards are cute and can be great as serving trays or trivets. Pro tip: never let juices dry on your cutting board, whether they be fruit, vegetable, or meat. This prevents germs from getting into the porous surface materials and extends the life of your board, whatever the material is.
I pretty much use one knife for everything... Other members of the family insist we have some others. I love a classic 'The Shinning' moment. Give me a big sharp chef knife any day, and I’m happy. If you have the counter space for a traditional block that comes with a set of steak knives, that’s awesome! You will win bonus adulting points when all the guests get their own knife instead of dicing everything before plating as parents do for their tots.
The primary use for my measuring cups is mixing sauces or dressings. Measuring spoons are absolutely essential for bakers, or so I'm told... I can throw a pretty good meal together with a quick glance in the fridge and a frying pan, but ask me to bake a cake following a recipe with all the right ingredients, and the likelihood of success is maybe 50/50 on a good day. I can't explain it. I just don't have the baking gift. All the same measuring cups and spoons will be sorely missed at some point, like the can opener, if you don't have them.
Movie night! Got to have some large quality bowls to bring the cinematic experience to life in the living room, am I right? We use our mixing bowls for everything and sometimes mixing cake batter. Defrosting meat quickly with dripping water, throwing together a quick salad, or washing fruit they’re just a must in the kitchen. We use our small bowl for icing hard-boiled eggs for an easy-peel, our medium bowl for sides, and the large one for mixing most recipes or popcorn…
Cover those bad boys with parchment or aluminum and keep them nice! When they’re not in the oven with a batch of gooey delicious cookies baking pans can also be dressed up and used as a great serving tray. Baking sheets are less popular these days, but they may still have a place in your kitchen if you’re getting multiple things in and out of the oven at once, like mini pies, for example. Otherwise, sticking with just the pans is a great choice.
Use them for everything from cutting open boiling hot bags or microwaved veggies to trimming the little strings from turkey or other meats - not without washing in between, of course! Get a set that comes apart and go in the dishwasher for extra thorough sanitizing.
Did we cover all the bases? If not, comment below and tell us what other kitchen tool you could not live without. Wondering what kinds of recipes we’re whipping up with these tools? Good, stay posted for the release of our cookbook by signing up for our email list. It’s packed with more simple, down, and dirty tricks for keeping up with home cooking even when life gets hectic. In the meantime, we also have recipes on the kitchen page.
Thank you for reading!
Silicone Oven Mits to protect your delicate hands
Still looking for ideas? Check out our full kitchen list here