Budget friendly kitchen essentials

Kitchen Essentials-Your first kitchen tools, on a budget


Written by: Bill Panebianco

For many who are buying their first home, discretionary money (the money to buy “want” items and not just “need” items) is limited. Making every dollar count is essential.

Knowing how to buying a few of the right items can make anyone seem like a gourmet chef. Any mechanic will tell you the right tools make all the difference in doing the job right.

I love to create budget-friendly gourmet meals and have some tips to share with you to ensure you have the essentials you need.  Let’s get started!




Watch the sale ads! Basic pots and pans can often be bought in a combination set for less money than buying one at a time.  If you are a real bargain hunter, pots and pans can picked up at flea markets or yard sales in pieces.

If you can afford one luxury, get stainless steel, if not that is ok, but try to find pans that are “heavy”.  The lightweight versions not only have a shorter use of life expectancy, but also cook unevenly.  Make sure your set includes a 10” fry pan (this I recommend in non-stick) a 2 ½ or 3 qt. pot, and a 6 qt. pot. Make sure all these have lids.

The next things you’ll need are baking pans.  A good non-stick cookie sheet is great because it has sides and can be used for many purposes. Two 8” round cake pans, and a deep-dish glass or ceramic casserole dish will make welcome additions for everyday meal entrees, side dishes as well as baking. The last oven item is a roasting pan and a V-rack.  Make sure it is large enough to hold the turkey at Thanksgiving.

Don’t forget oven mitts (safety first).


Utensils can overwhelm even the most experienced chef.  When you walk into a cooking supply store there are walls filled with utensils. I recommend that you buy the sturdy black plastic utensils.  A spatula (flipper), two spoons, you need two since most proteins start off raw.  It is a good idea to change spoons after the meat becomes cooked.

The most used item in my kitchen is a good set of tongs with plastic tips; you also need two of these.

Lastly, you will need a couple of dishwasher safe cutting boards. If you can only buy one, just flip and use both sides. Use one for meats and the other for everything else.  Good knives are a must but they can be added to your collection later, as you can afford them.

If you can splurge on one knife, I would recommend you buy a 7” Santoku knife. This is another of my most used items.

I hope your kitchen continues to grow as you cook more and more.  I’d love to hear your feedback and tips you can share with other first-time buyers starting their kitchen.

Home – Where your story begins.  Bon Appétit!


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