All the Kitchen Essentials You Need: Just for $500

With so many kitchen products available on the market, it’s unsurprisingly easy to be overwhelmed.

Then, there’s the buyer’s dilemma; we either think:

A. Expensive products will automatically be of great quality, or

B. Budget-friendly alternatives will break down shortly after purchase

In such cases, a well-thought-out guide is imperative in helping you make great choices when purchasing products.

This particular buying guide goes beyond the marketing gimmicks and recommends relatively cheap products that do not compromise on quality. 

kitchen essentials

For less than $500, you can get all of the following from this kitchen essentials list

Essential Kitchen GearPrices *
NutriBullet Combo$ 111.99
Presto 01241 4-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker$ 32.87
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker, Black$ 24.99
Victorinox 45520 Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife$ 46.24
Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Paring Knife, 3.5 Inch$ 16.49
Finnhomy Hard Porcelain Enamel Aluminum Cookware Set$ 93.99
U-Taste 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set$ 13.94
Cuisinart CTG-00-3MS Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers$ 12.99
ExcelSteel 731 Colander Set, Stainless Steel$ 15.03
Silicone Baking Mat– Set of 2 Half Sheet$ 12.95
Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware, Baking Sheet$ 17.50
Maxi-Matic Indoor Electric Nonstick Grill$ 36.99
Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper$ 42.37
Total (* Prices as of May, 2021)$478.34

The Kitchen Essentials Broken Down

kitchen essentials

Everyone deserves to feel like the king or queen of their domain, and these quality kitchen tools and equipment are our top picks after testing in our own kitchen.

Blenders and Juicers: NutriBullet Combo

Nutribullet Blender Combo

Customer Rating
5/5

Includes

  • 1200-watt motor blender
  • 64 oz jar with lid and ventilated cap
  • Two cups (24 & 32 oz).
  • To-go cup lids.
  • Tamper
  • Easy-twist Extractor blade

Features

  • Whole-fruit juicing capable
  • BPA-free containers
  • Dishwasher-safe containers
  • Three precision speeds
  • Hassle-free cleaning

Instead of getting both a juicer and a blender, a more budget-friendly option is to get a kitchen tool that does both.

Blenders and juicers turn fruits and vegetables into drinkable liquids.

The only difference is that blenders make smoothies and juicers make, you guessed it, juice.

Both are beneficial for health, and they’re an awesome addition to your diet.

The NutriBullet Combo was part of a recommended list of the best juicer blenders that I published a while ago.

This product allows you to make an infinite number of smoothies, soups, protein shakes, salad dressings, sauces, and types of nut butter.

Your culinary imagination is the only limitation here.

And for the days where you’re in a rush, the 1200-watt motor base will ensure that your ingredients are blended quickly.

The most compelling thing about this product is its low price.

For the quality it delivers, I consider this tool a bargain!

This video reveals three detox juice recipes for healthy skin and digestion.

Summary: Blenders and juicers are essential on a kitchen checklist, with a blender being the top pick in our opinion.

Pressure Cooker: Presto 01241 4-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker

Presto 01241 Aluminum Pressure Cooker, 4 Quarts

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • Pressure cooker
  • Special rack for additional room
  • Instructions and recipe booklet

Features

  • 4-quarts (3.8 L) liquid capacity
  • Works on gas, electric, and smooth-top ranges
  • Pressure regulator that maintains proper cooking pressure
  • Cover lock indicator and heavy-duty lid that locks down during cooking; an inner sealing ring that keeps the steam inside; pop-up pressure indicator; simple steam release mechanism, overpressure plug that lets off the steam upon an excessive build-up
  • Fully immersible and dishwasher-safe
  • Recipe booklet that features over 65 recipes
  • Extended 12-year warranty

A pressure cooker is one of the essential kitchen tools that enhances and preserves flavors in lean-cut meat while tenderizing it.

For this, it can be considered a kitchen essential while also cooking food at much higher temperatures.

This means braising, simmering, and boiling is done much faster. 

Although some prefer a slow cooker to a pressure cooker, this choice will depend on your lifestyle.

If you have children and other commitments, taking time to slowly cook food becomes a luxury.

Since both pieces of equipment provide the same flavorful taste, a pressure cooker is a better option, making it one of the must-have kitchen items. 

Quality at this price point is rare, which is why this Presto pressure cooker should be found in every kitchen. 

The Presto Pressure Cooker is a well-designed piece of equipment, with a capacity of 3.8 liters and is fully immersible and dishwasher safe.

Also, its coating is versatile as it’s suitable for electric, gas, and smooth-top ranges.

If you’re stuck for recipe ideas, it comes with a booklet that features over 65 recipes, helping you to be more creative with your recipes. 

I’m also impressed by its durability and sturdiness—Presto claims that its products are built to last for years.

It offers free repairs or replacements on defective products within the first year of usage. 

Summary: Pressure cookers slightly edge out the crockpot due to their quick cooking of many different slow-cooked dishes, saving you time and energy.

Coffee Maker: Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker, Black

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • Coffee maker with on/off indicator light and dual water window
  • Lift and clean filter basket for fast and easy cleanup
  • User manual

Features

  • On/off indicator light that lets you know when your coffee maker is on or off
  • Grab-A-Cup Auto Pause feature that stops the cycle if you need a cup before brewing is finished
  • Dual water window that allows visibility as you fill with water, preventing overflows
  • Lift and clean filter basket for fast and easy cleanup
  • Easy cord storage eliminates counter clutter

A great coffee maker can help you start your day on a more positive and energetic note.

We all have days when we’re feeling low and lethargic, so getting our daily dose of caffeine from a reliable machine will help ensure a smooth transition from home to work. 

A 2015 study has shown that coffee is beneficial to skeletal muscle when consumed in healthy quantities.

The skeletal muscle becomes more important as we age and experience bone degradation. 

The Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker is very easy to use, especially since it’s equipped with an on/off indicator that notifies you when your coffee is ready.

But if you can’t wait for your coffee, sensors automatically stop the cycle. 

With easy cleaning, this piece of kitchen equipment is convenient for the days when time isn’t on your side. 

Summary: Coffee drinkers will surely get lots of use out of a simple, yet efficient coffee maker, saving you tons of money at the drive-thru window.

Knives: Chef’s Knife and Paring Knife

Every kitchen needs a functional knife set as part of its essential tools.

Quality, sharp knives actually help to prevent accidents in the kitchen because the blade cuts through all produce with ease.

Some knives are for different purposes, so it is important to know the differences.

Also, don’t forget a cutting board to avoid cutting on countertops or other permanent surfaces in your kitchen.

Victorinox 45520 Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife

Victorinox - 8-inch Chef's Knife

Customer Rating
5/5

Includes

  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife.

Features

  • Flat spine.
  • Tapered edge.
  • Extremely popular.
  • Well-known company.

Chef’s knives are designed to be reliable and are meant to cut most things in the kitchen.

They’re one of the most used kitchen tools, and because of this, most people should own a chef’s knife.

If you plan on cooking regularly, a chef knife that you’re comfortable with is one of the most valuable tools.

The Victorinox’s Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife was made for both professional and home use.

It has a stainless steel edge that ensures cutting is done with ease.

This edge has also been laser tested for maximum performance

Most professional chef’s knives cost hundreds of dollars, but this product is made with similar craftsmanship and priced so well that it’s accessible to all.

Additionally, this is my top-rated product from my budget chef knives review

Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Paring Knife, 3.5 Inch

Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Paring Knife, 3.5 Inch

Customer Rating
5/5

Includes

  • 1 paring knife with a 3.5-inch blade

Features

  • German-made high carbon forged steel
  • Stain, rust, discoloration, and corrosion resistant
  • Full tang for superior balance
  • Santoprene handle for added comfort and safe-grip
  • Taper-ground edge for added stability, sharpness, and durability
  • NSF certified
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Paring knives are mostly used to peel fruits and vegetables.

Most people use peelers as an alternative as they require less skill, but paring knives add versatility to your kitchen essentials.

The Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Paring Knife has a Santoprene handle for added comfort and safety.

It also features an edge that allows for stability and sharpness when cutting and chopping.

With an included lifetime warranty, there’s no reason to exclude this paring knife from your kitchen. 

Master the basic knife skills by watching this video!

Summary: A chef’s knife and a paring knife are the two most important knives in a set. If buying a larger set, make sure these two are included with the purchase.

Basic Essentials Cookware: Finnhomy Hard Porcelain Enamel Aluminum Cookware Set

Finnhomy — 14-Piece Hard Porcelain Enamel Aluminum Cookware Set

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • Two saucepans with lids (1-quart and 2-quart).
  • 6-quart covered stockpot.
  • Two ceramic frying pans (8-inch and 9.5-inch).
  • 2.75-quart sauté pan.
  • Slotted turner and spoons.

Features

  • Silicone handles stay cool during cooking for safe handling.
  • Double-layer non-stick ceramic coating makes it easy to clean.
  • You can cook at high temperatures.
  • Glass lids make it easy to check on your food while cooking.

A complete cookware set can be considered one of the true kitchen necessities.

This is where most of your cooking will be done, so you must invest in quality equipment

When buying cookware, there are two main categories of products to choose from (aside from cast-iron cookware):

  1. Stainless steel: Although stainless steel is highly durable and easier to clean, it’s pricier and doesn’t have a non-stick surface.
  2. Ceramic: For beginners, price and non-stick surfaces are important, which is why ceramic is considered a better option. 

The Finnhomy Hard Porcelain Enamel Aluminum Cookware Set is beautiful, stylish, and designed from porcelain for fast and even heating.

It features a double-layer non-stick surface that facilities easier cleaning and ensures healthier meals because you’ll be using less grease. 

The set is accompanied by some more basic kitchen tools; three serving spoons and a turner.

The full set includes: 

  • 2x saucepans—1x medium saucepan and 1x large saucepan
  • 2x fry pans
  • 1x covered stockpot
  • 1x covered sauté pan
  • 1x turner
  • 3x plastic spoons

Summary: Aluminum or ceramic cookware are better for both your health and your cooking. Look for a large set that you will use for years to come.

Utensils: Measuring Spoons, Strainer, Colander, Baking Mat, and Baking Sheet

Although small and relatively inexpensive, utensils are kitchen essentials that allow you to make your meals more efficient.

They’re commonly overlooked, and the cooking experience may suffer as a result. 

You don’t need to have an entire cabinet full of utensils to cook effectively, though.

Instead, check out the key utensils I’ve picked out below.

U-Taste 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set

U-Taste 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set

Customer Rating
5/5

Includes

  • Measuring spoon, set of 9

Features

  • Made with 18/8 food-grade, rust-free stainless steel 
  • 9 different measurements from 1/16 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon 
  • Nicely engraved imperial and metric units conversion
  • Handles that are durable enough to not bend and long enough to fit in a deep container
  • Dishwasher-safe and easy to store

Measuring spoons allow you to follow recipes very precisely.

Sometimes recipes will give exact measurements that only experienced cooks can eyeball accurately without a measuring spoon.

For example, unless you’re experienced in the kitchen, a 1/4 cup of flour is hard to estimate

This measuring set has been configured to nine different measurements.

The measurements are engraved on the handles for better readability, and they won’t ever rub off.

Such design-consciousness paired with the set’s heavy-duty stainless-steel material ensures this product lasts a lifetime

Cuisinart CTG-00-3MS Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers

Cuisinart CTG-00-3MS Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers, Set Of 3

Customer Rating
5/5

Includes

  • One 3-⅛ inch strainer
  • One 5-½ inch strainer
  • One 7-⅞ inch strainer

Features

  • Excellent for sifting dry ingredients
  • Three strainers for the price of one
  • Made from durable stainless steel mesh
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Lifetime limited warranty

Stainless steel strainers are great for sifting dry ingredients.

If you like to bake, then a quality set of these will benefit you immensely.

This set is made from long-lasting stainless steel mesh and comes in three sizes for versatility:

  • 3 ⅛ inches
  • 5 ½ inches
  • 7 ⅞ inches

It’s also convenient, as it’s dishwasher safe to ensure you won’t struggle to remove residue. 

The product has been designed for durability and, as a result, comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.

ExcelSteel 731 Colander Set, Stainless Steel

ExcelSteel 731 Colander Set

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • One 1-quart strainer
  • One 2 ½-quart strainer
  • One 4-quart size strainer

Features

  • Three various sizes to fit your needs
  • Made with high-quality stainless steel
  • A sturdy base that easily sits on any countertops
  • Large handles that allow a firm and comfortable grip
  • Mirror polished interior and exterior
  • Lightweight and easy to store

Of the things you need in a kitchen, a colander is essential for so many foods.

Aside from the draining of pasta, it’s great for veggies, beans, lentils, rice, and many more foods.

We can’t live without one in our home.

This lightweight stainless steel set comes in three sizes, ensuring your culinary needs are covered:

  • 1 quart
  • 2.5 quart
  • 4 quart

In addition, the oversized handles are ergonomically designed to fit different-sized hands. 

Learn how to use a colander in this video.

Silicone Baking Mat— Set of 2 Half Sheets 

Silicone Baking Mat, Set Of 2 Half Sheets

Customer Rating
5/5

Includes

  • Two US standard half size baking sheet mats (16 ½ x 11 ⅝ x 1/32 in or 0.75 mm)

Features

  • Food-grade, non-toxic material
  • Thick and large size
  • Freezer, oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe
  • Non-stick and easy to clean
  • Promotes low fat cooking
  • Designed to withstand extreme temperatures from -40ºF to 480ºF

A baking sheet negates the need for vegetable oil cooking sprays when baking and grilling, helping us make more health-conscious food.

Although low in cholesterol, cooking sprays also come with additives that may be harmful to our health.

Baking sheets are not only kitchen essentials but have become a necessary caution against cardiovascular disease.

A baking sheet paired with non-stick bakeware provides a brilliant combination for healthier cooking.

In particular, this thick and large silicone baking mat has multi-purpose functions.

It’s perfect for baking everything from cookies to macaron and can be used to freeze fruits and meat. 

Designed for healthier cooking, the product is safe and free from toxic substances.

To achieve this, the materials have gone through vigorous food safety tests

Also, being non-stick, it’s also easy to clean, confirming its position on our list of essentials.

This video explains how to use and take care of your silicone mats.

Calphalon Non-Stick Bakeware, Baking Sheet

Calphalon Non-Stick Bakeware Baking Sheet

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • One-piece baking sheet, 17.88 x 13 x 1.13 inches

Features

  • Heavy-gauge steel material that won’t warp
  • Heats evenly with no hot spots
  • Interlocking non-stick layers that deliver a long-lasting, high-performance release that radically improves baking
  • Large surface area and raised edges for added versatility and space
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Full lifetime warranty

This product is great for even cooking and making sure baked goods come out perfectly.

The sheet pan also features non-stick layers that radically improve your baking. 

Of note is the large surface area, which adds versatility and provides space to bake many different things simultaneously.

And after your baking, cleaning up is quick and easy with the baking sheet’s dishwasher-safe feature.

Such convenience, paired with the lifetime warranty, makes this an essential buy. 

Summary: There are endless utensils to buy for your cooking endeavors. Bakers benefit from baking utensils and tools while cooks will love measuring spoons, strainers, and sieves.

Grill: Maxi-Matic Indoor Electric Non-Stick Grill

Maxi-Matic Indoor Electric Non-Stick Grill

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • Removable parts: grill base, drip tray, extra-large non-stick grill plate, tempered glass lid, and thermostat control knob
  • Instruction manual with a recipe guide
  • Exclusive 1-year warranty

Features

  • Large 14-inch grilling surface
  • Circular heating element that allows the grill to heat up faster and more evenly
  • Reliable non-stick coating
  • Cool-touch base and handles for safety and protection
  • Removable 120V/1300W thermostat control with 5 adjustable settings up to 450ºF
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Exclusive 1-year warranty

Grills aren’t only great for bringing the barbecue into your kitchen but are also a lovely alternative to stovetop cooking.

Flavors are different when you grill, giving you more creative options with your indoor cooking.

I also like that the circular heating elements promote even cooking and better flavor retention.

This is done in a relatively short amount of time, making this grill great for busy days

The Maxi-Matic indoor grill saves you time by allowing the grilling of different foods all at once.

This will make sure to enhance the flavors and leave your friends wondering how you made such a delicious, professional meal.

Also, the grill is non-stick, which ensures you’re using less fat when you cook.

This enables you to make healthier and low-fat meals

As if you needed another reason to buy this indoor grill, it comes with a 1-year warranty.

Summary: Eat grilled food all year long by having an indoor grill, made for delicious cooking and easy clean-up.

Food Processor: Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper

Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor

Customer Rating
4.5/5

Includes

  • Food processor
  • Bowl scraper attachment:

Features

  • Bowl scraper attachment— no need to stop and remove the lid to use a spatula
  • 10 cup capacity 
  • Large feed chute: can fit large foods like a whole block of cheese. 
  • Versatility of a food processor, food chopper and vegetable chopper. 
  • 2 speeds plus pulse and 450 watts of power. 

For many, food processors are essential kitchen tools.

Some will argue otherwise, but the time saved on cutting and chopping vegetables makes it a worthy placement on my list.

There are several ingenious ways to use a food processor.

From making breadcrumbs to salad dressings to instant desserts, you won’t regret purchasing a quality processor. 

The Hamilton Beach Food Processor is a well-designed tool and has a capacity of 10 cups, which is pretty large for home cooks.

This generous volume removes the hassle of having to stop and empty your processor. 

The two speed modes and 450 watts of power make this product easy to use and reliable.

Learn the 5 ingenious ways to use your food processor by watching this video!

Summary: A food processor saves time when chopping veggies, making sauces or pureeing baby food. This is a true staple and multi-purpose machine.

Frequently Asked Questions 

kitchen essentials

Is It Better to Have a Blender or Food Processor?

Complete kitchen sets can have either appliance. Neither a blender nor a processor is better than the other since they do different things. Consequently, I have recommended both a blender and a food processor. If you must make a compromise, you should choose what’s most important to you. A blender is better for those that make soups or morning smoothies often.

What Is The Best Way to Arrange Utensils in a Small Kitchen?

There’s no perfect method of arranging utensils in a small kitchen. This depends on the type of space you have, but my best advice is to look for alternatives to traditional drawers. You can hang your utensils or keep them free-standing in a utensil holder. Another way is to find a utensil tray and keep it on a shelf. 

Here are 25 ideas to reorganize your small kitchen.

How Do You Keep a Pan From Scratching?

kitchen essentials

The main way to keep a pan from scratching is to avoid metal tools. Also, when storing your pans, stack one on top of the other but place a paper towel between the pans. This protects the coating of the pan at the bottom. Finally, use cooking sprays sparingly and never cook at a high temperature.

Other Related Information

Now that you have a fully-stocked kitchen, you will need a ton of recipes to try out.

If you are a new cook, this is an exciting time to get in the kitchen and learn what you like to make.

To get you started, here are 7 easy, healthy recipes to try with your new kitchen tools.

Main Course Recipes:

Italian Chicken Salad

Lamb Chops in Pomegranate Sauce

Salmon with Honey Ginger Garlic Glaze

Side Dish Recipes:

Spice Rub Grilled Tofu

Lemon Parsley Grilled Zucchini

Veggie Platter with Tzatziki

Dessert Recipe:

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookie

kitchen essentials

Conclusion

The kitchen should be a place of joy and delight, not anxiety about cooking your next meal.

Keeping it clean and well-equipped through the tools you use will help achieve this goal.

Most of us are intimidated by the daunting task of cooking, but even more so when we see the high-grade equipment used by professional chefs.

The purpose of this guide is to remove that fear and inspire some culinary actions for regular people who just need to eat good food.

You don’t need to have expensive gear to be a great cook.

Any chef worth their title will reiterate these sentiments; buy for quality, not quantity.

Instead, what you need are the kitchen essentials mentioned—all for just $500!

Recommended products

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker

4.5/5

Gluten-free Raw Oatmeal

5/5

Cuisinart CTG-00-3MS Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers, Set Of 3

5/5

All-American 921 21.5-Quart Pressure Canner

4.5/5
Mike

Mike

Hi! I’m Mike. I’m happily married and have a young daughter. I’ve lived all over the world and have learned a lot from seeing others’ perspectives. I’ve also had many life altering health challenges. Fortunately, my lovely and brilliant wife helped save me by finding a new and better way for us to live. We started The Healthy Treehouse to share what we’ve learned and to learn from others, too.
 

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