10 Kitchen Essentials That Will Change Your Life

 October 19, 2020

My friends and family are always asking me what they REALLY need for their kitchen. These days, there are so many fun kitchen tools and gadgets on the market – and don’t get me wrong, I want all of them. Nothing excites me more than opening up new kitchen tools and gadgets and putting them to use right away. But at the same time, I can’t stand clutter and I don’t want to have a kitchen full of things that only come out once a year. I want function. If you do too, then this post is for you!

So what do you REALLY need? 

Of course that differs from one person to the next, so I will just speak for myself. These are the items that I use at least 3-5 times each week. They are the items that truly make my life so much easier!

No. 1 – A Good Blender

Your splurge: 

I am obsessed with my Vitamix blender. It’s definitely an investment, but it is a very well made piece of equipment that will last you for years and years. I make smoothies in it every single day, and also use it for soups and even in my baking recipes (have you tried my Healthy Apple Spice Oatmeal Pancakes?!?)! You’ll be surprised how many recipes you can avoid using a bowl to mix ingredients, and use your blender instead. It’s one less dish to clean!

Your budget option:

I really love my Nutribullet also, and it is a more affordable than a Vitamix. Of course, it is much smaller, and while it does have a powerful motor, it’s not a Vitamix. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not good – this works great, I have one and still use it, it just doesn’t have the full functionality of a Vitamix!

No. 2 – Air Fryer

Ahhhh, a good old fashioned air fryer. If you have been following me on Instagram for any length of time, you know that I am obsessed with my air fryer, and that’s an understatement. I use it to roast fruit – yes, fruit! And I use it to make the best chicken wings known to man-kind, meatballs, fish, and even my expensive New York steaks. Yes, you can put a $40 steak in an air fryer, and it will be the best steak you’ve ever had in your life, making you rethink ever firing up your grill again. I would not steer you wrong.

Your splurge:

As you check out the two options I’m sharing with you, the difference is really the basket size. I love the Philips brand and won’t veer from that. But with the option above, it’s an XXL basket, which means that you can feed a family of four-ish, without having to air fry in multiple batches. The downside? It does take up a lot of kitchen space, so if you don’t have much storage space, go with the option below!

Your budget option:

Like I said above, I can’t recommend the Philips brand enough. It’s high quality and I know I will have my air fryer for many years to come. This one is a fantastic price and it will easily serve 1-2 people in a single batch of air frying (depending on what you make, of course). If you have a family of more than 2, just know that you might have to air fry in multiple batches.

No. 3 – Instant Pot

Your splurge:


This one here has all the bells and whistles. In addition to it being an instant pot, this one also roasts, bakes, and it functions as a dehydrator as well.

Your budget option:

This is the one I have. It’s less expensive than the one listed above, and to be honest, you really don’t need all the bells and whistles unless you absolutely need them. A regular instant pot – like this one – does so many fantastic things, just grab yourself this one and be on your merry way. It’s the best $79 you’ll ever spend!

No. 4 – Mixing Bowls

Every kitchen needs a good set of mixing bowls. A good set of mixing bowls will last you a lifetime, and you will use them for everything. So if you are one of the two people on this planet using your cereal bowls as mixing bowls, it’s time to level up.

Your splurge:

I have this set of All Clad stainless steel mixing bowls and I’ve had them for years. Stainless steel is non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about any toxic crap seeping into your food. This set comes with 3 bowls and it’s priced at $99. If you want quality, snag this set.

Your budget option:

But guess what I found for you guys? I found you a very similar stainless steel set of mixing bowls, and these have lids. And they are from the brand Cuisinart, which is known to make quality goods and appliances. The price point? Only $35! I think I am going to order myself a set too!

No. 5 – Cooking Utensils Set

It’s a no brainer. You need a good set of cooking utensils. If you have a random mixing spoon and a random ladle, how about tossing both and upgrading to a matching set? These days, there are so many options, of all price ranges, that are both functional and stylish.

Your splurge:

This is the set I have, and I got it as a wedding gift. It’s pricey, but it’s All Clad, and All Clad makes quality products. Meaning, I won’t need another set in my lifetime.

Your budget option:

Looking for something less expensive? I don’t blame you. Check out this silicone set that I found on Amazon! I loved it so much, I bought it for my sister, and she uses it every day.

No. 6 – Bakeware Set

A standard bakeware set is an absolute must – at least if you are making my recipes (wink wink!). I recommend always having at least two baking sheets, an 8×8 pan (perfect for brownies and blondies), a muffin pan, and a loaf pan. Any other pieces that come in your set are “nice to haves,” but what I’ve listed above are the musts.

Your splurge:

For the splurge item, I listed a set from Williams Sonoma that is every cook’s dream – it has all the bells and whistles, and almost any pan you’ll ever need in your cooking/baking career.

Your budget option:

Again, Cuisinart coming through with a great deal! For $43, you get a classic baking set!

No. 7 – Food Processor

A good old food processor is an appliance that every kitchen should have! You will use it to chop vegetables, nuts, make energy balls, nut butter, and so much more. It will greatly speed up your meal prep routine and make cooking faster! And if you are like me, and your knife skills aren’t the best, a food processor is great to have.

Your splurge:

When it comes to size, I always say the bigger the better. Now get your mind out of the gutter! But it’s true, if you are going through the expense of purchasing a food processor, you might as well get the largest container you can afford. For me, that would be a 13-quart option. The one I’ve linked for you here is the one I have, and I am obsessed.

Your budget option:

Check out this 8-cup Cuisinart food processor! It’s beautiful to look at, comes in a few colors, and comes with a powerful motor. This is a great budget friendly option!

No. 8 – A Pan That Can Do it All

Your splurge:

I have this beautiful 6-quart All Clad pan, and I love it. It is very expensive, there is no doubt about that. But if you are looking for a professional pan that will last you a lifetime, you might want to think about investing in this pan.

Your budget option:

In this case, the budget option is the BEST option. If you have been following me on Instagram for a while, you know that I am obsessed with my Our Place Always Pan. In fact, I love it so much, I have three…all different colors. This is the first pan that I’ve owned that is truly non-stick. It also comes with a convenient steamer basket and a paddle spoon. I have been using it for almost 6 months and it is still as non-stick as it was on day one!  And also, once I purchased this, I threw away my Green Pan, which only stayed non-stick for like month – if that.

No. 9 – Measuring Cups and Spoons

You need a food set of measuring cups and also some measuring spoons. Even if you don’t love to follow recipes exactly, it’s nice to have these on hand to measure your ingredients properly.

Your splurge:

Again we have All Clad coming through with a pricey set of measuring cups, but damn they are nice. We got them as a wedding gift, and I couldn’t be happier with them. They are pretty too, which gives them a few bonus points. Would I purchase them myself? Not sure! There are so many more cost effective ones on the market!

Your budget option:

I am actually digging the budget option! It is stainless steel and comes with so many different cups and spoons, you have everything you need right here at a great price of $29.

No. 10 – Coffee & Espresso Machine

Coffee and espresso is a big deal in our household. I always prefer coffee, and my husband prefers espresso. So we each have our separate machines, which we absolutely love. Investing in a great espresso machine and/or coffee machine is the ultimate gift you can give yourself – it’s guaranteed to start your day on the right foot!

Your splurge:

This machine right here is a real splurge for a home espresso machine. But while pricey, there are many on the market that are 2 and 3 times more expensive. And, we absolutely love this machine. It pulls the perfect shot and froths the best milk!

Your budget option:

Friends, if you don’t want to spend every penny you have on a fancy machine, get yourself a Nespresso, immediately. I purchased one for myself and my life has been changed. No need to change coffee filers, like you do with a standard coffee machine. And, you can purchase pods in so many varieties so you never get bored. This holiday season, I stocked up on the Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee from Nespresso and I AM IN HEAVEN! I’ve also linked the Nespresso machine that I purchased. It comes with a milk frother that works wonders!

Hope you loved this post! I love quality products, and I always want the best bang for my buck, and if you do too, then these items will change your life! xx

LIFESTYLE - KALEJUNKIE 10 Kitchen Essentials That Will Change Your Life


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