Baking Sheets (x2):
It’s always good to have at least 2 baking sheets so that you can bake 2 dishes at once, or you can swap one tray for the other when making batches of foods (like biscuits and cookies). To keep them clean and easy to clean up, wrap the top with tin foil, then you can just throw the tin foil away without mess.
Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just so long as you can get cans of beans/tuna open with it, you’re good.
A chef knife is your very best friend, and is absolutely the most versatile knife at your disposal. If you only have this knife, and you keep it sharp, you will be able to make tons of dishes.
Cutting Boards (x2):
You need at least 2 cutting boards so that you have one you can use to chop veggies, and one you can use to prepare raw meats. That way, you don’t have to keep washing the same one multiple times to avoid cross contamination.
Frying Pan, 10-12″:
This is the most versatile stovetop pan. Choose a non-stick coated ban over the stainless steel. The coated pan is more forgiving, and you will be able to make dishes like scrambled eggs without making a huge crusted mess on the pan. Remember not to use any metal utensils on coated pots and pans as it will ruin them.
Keeping your knives sharp is crucial. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone over to a friend’s house and struggled to use their knives when I am helping to cook a meal. When knives are dull, it takes longer to prepare a meal, and can be very dangerous. Do yourself a favor and get a cheap, hand-held knife sharpener. There are tons of sharpeners with good reviews on Amazon for under $10.
Large, Double-handle Pot w/ lid:
This pot will be used to cook larger portions of food such as pasta, mashed potatoes, soups, and stews. I recommend getting this one in plain steel without the non-stick coating so that you can use metal mashers, whisks, and submersion blenders. It should have a thick bottom so that food cannot get burned easily.
These are used a lot in baking, and are very useful in measuring out food proportions.
Similar to measuring cups, these are used mostly in baking, and like and can also be used to measure food proportions for things like oils.
Metal Mixing Bowls:
Try to get a set of about 4-6 bowls that nest inside each other. These will be great for food prep, marinating, and mixing. I prefer metal because you can just toss them in the dish washer to get them clean without worrying about them getting warped like plastic can.
Small, Single-handle Pot w/lid:
This pot will be used to make small sides, boil eggs, cook small portions of pasta, etc. Best to get this pot with non-stick coating. Remember not to use any metal utensils on coated pots and pans as it will ruin them.
Spoons and spatulas are used to stir and remove food from pans so that they will not burn. I like wood because plastic utensils can melt very easily, ruining your meal, and wood is much cheaper than silicon. If you can afford silicon though, I suggest you invest in a set.