If the title sounds like I’m about to try and sell you yet another piece of junk, don’t worry. I’m not exactly a minimalist, but when it comes to kitchen appliances, I have my list down for the real essentials a person who cooks will use. And get this – I am not going to link to my Amazon favourites, offer affiliate links or call out brands, because this is not an ad and chances are, you already own most of these anyway. Ready?
I keep seeing instagrammers left and right telling me how I need this incredible high-speed jug blender, smoothie maker or a food processor or some other magical tool which cuts stuff up really fine. Except, you can just use immersion blender – put your smoothie ingredients, nuts, potatoes, pumpkins or whatever it is that you need to blend in a measuring jug, a pot or whatever you have, and blend. Making nut milk? Same. Making a soup? Great – you can blend directly in the pot. It even works for whipping egg whites and aquafaba.
Good knife and a sharpening tool
You only need one good knife which you can sharpen. If you are yet to purchase one, look for a mid-sized, well balanced knife with a sharp tip and comfortable handle. You don’t need a whole set of knives, you can cut whatever you are using with just one as long as it’s sharp enough and comfortable in your hand.
Easy to clean chopping board
Let’s state the obvious – if you cook or eat anything that needs cutting or chopping, you need a flat surface to cut it on, preferably one you can clean easily. I love wooden boards and have more than one, but I also don’t eat animals meaning that I am potentially less likely to be exposed to some of the bacteria which thrive on meat and which can cause illness. If you happen to eat animals, reconsider using a wooden board and instead opt for something easier to disinfect.
And I mean one deep enough to cook a soup in, wide enough to use for a stir-fry and with a handle and lid suitable for putting into an oven, just in case you fancy baking your mac&cheese directly in the pot.
The idea that you need to have different pots for different dishes is fairly new and somewhat inaccurate, especially when you are mainly cooking for yourself. Unless you’re a catering business, you really don’t need to be set up with a different cooking vessel for every type of dish out there.
If you have an oven, then have a good, reasonably large baking tray to go with it. It’s not just for cookies – it’s perfect for baking vegetables, making chips, baking a rustic loaf of bread or even for homemade pizza. I don’t eat meat or fish, but you can totally bake some foil-wrapped salmon or chicken on it too. The good thing about ovens is that most come with a roaster tray as part of a set, and that tray work just fine for everything listed here, so if you have it do take good care of it.
Oil spray dispenser
This is the last thing I will recommend is a refillable oil spray bottle. If you fry or bake anything, forget about buying these terrible oil spray cans from the supermarket. Aerosols are bad for the environment and therefore for us, but I appreciate most humans’ need to have their food not overly greasy. Cue in a refillable oil spray bottle that replaces the aerosol pretty well – it’s usually a pressurised container with a little manual pump hidden in the lid and a spray nozzle, which you refill with your oil of choice.
My personal kitchen is no longer as minimal as this list, but out of all the ‘gadgets’ I have, these six are the ones which I reach for over and over again.