A lot of the items below are available from many stores with very different prices. I purchased the majority of my items from a dollar store or large department store (ex. Walmart). Some of the specialty items I have gotten from family members moving or even a thrift store. Others I have bought on sale from a department store or even online. I have been building my collection of supplies over the last 3 years.
Pots and Pans (~$150): If you are going to spend abit of money, this group is the place to. A set of pots will last many years. My gallon, Qt and sauce pans were bought in a box set under $50 and included many other pieces with glass lids. Also don't be afraid of the "cheap" non-stick coating as long as you also have plastic or wood utensils to use on them so they are not scratched up. My 2 gallon stock pot is a family hand-me-down, it's a heavy ceramic and steel pot that has been beautifully maintained. I would invest in this very versatile item that could run you anywhere from $50 to $100+, it will be worth it.
- 2 Gallon stock pot (oven safe)
- 1 Gallon pot
- 1 Qt med height sauce pan
- 2 in high wall and 12 in diameter sauce pan
Baking Pans (~$100): I have collected my baking pans from department and discount stores. They have cost me any where from $5 to $15 new, these items purchased at a thrift store work just as well.
- 12 cavity muffin tin (reg and large)
- 3 cookie sheets
- 9x13 baking glass pan
- 4 cooling racks
- 9x3 bread pan
- Large spring form pan
- 2 9 inch circle baking pans
Utensils (~$140):The majority of my utensils have come from a dollar store and others from a discount department store. My cookie cutter sets were purchased from a cooking specialty store for 20$ per set and have 8+ sizes in each.
- Assorted mixing spoons and spatulas - spoons (slotted and whole), whisk, slotted spatulas, spider, ladle, can opener
- Rubber spatulas
- Standing shredder
- Wooden rolling pin with spacers
- Metal tongs
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Small mesh strainer
- Circle and square cookie cutters
- Knife set
- Piping tip set
Linens(~$10): I would not get these anywhere but a dollar store or discount department store, unless you want something special. They will get dirty, burn and used up. You don't want to feel bad when that happens.
- 10 kitchen towels
- 2 oven mitts
Containers:(~$100) I purchased these items from department stores. Oven safe glass is one of my favorite kitchen items because of its versatility. Be sure to get lids when you can so leftovers can be stored easily. The oven glass products prices will vary depending on brand so shop around. If you are not sure a product is oven safe it will be imprinted on the bottom of the item. The plastic containers can be bought online or saved from take-out meals. I love reusing them for shelf stable goods.
- Oven safe glass mixing bowls with lids - 4 various sizes
- 4 -1 cup sized oven safe glass containers
- Large metal mesh strainer with handle
- 12 - 1 Pint mason jars with lids
- 5 - 1 Qt plastic containers with lids
- 5 - 2 cup plastic containers with lids
Paper/Plastic products (~$60): These items can be purchased inexpensively from a dollar store or department store. The cookie bags are something special. These are "tin tie closure wax coated treat bags" that I purchase online. They cost about $20 for 100. I love using them for giving out the cookies I bake or as a food safe container for the fridge or freezer.
- Parchment Paper
- Aluminum foil
- 6 oz~ plastic cups
- Muffin cups (reg and large)
- Cookie bags
- Cheese cloth
- Gallon plastic zip bags
- Quart plastic zip snack bags
- Tooth picks
- Pack of paper napkins
- Pack of assorted plastic cutlery
Electric Equipment: The prices for the items in this group vary greatly by brand and model. My only advice is when comparing models and brands look at product reviews. My spice grinder and electric griddle were purchased at a discount overstock store for about $40 total. My hand blender set with different attachments for whisking, blending blade and a food processor was $40. Hand blenders are a very versatile tool. As for my stand mixer, I splurged and got a name brand because I loved the attachments that it can be used with. I do have a disclaimer for it though, it is really only a big time saver. All of its functions can be done with other tools or your hands, but if you buy it, you will not regret it. These can cost $200+ so take your time with the purchase.
- 10x15 electric griddle
- Hand (immersion) blender set (+whisk and food processor)
- Spice grinder
- Stand mixer (optional)
One of the challenges I face when I cook is managing the balance between making the most of the equipment I have and only buying what I can use often. Of course I have some specialized equipment. When I share recipes that use more specialized equipment, I will be sure to share how to enjoy the recipe without it and how to include it in your collection.
Thanks for reading! I hope you are able to enjoy these kitchen essentials as much as I do. Please comment and share your kitchen essentials too!