Moving into your new home will be a breeze with these must-have first apartment kitchen essentials.
Are you moving into your first apartment and feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of items you’ll need? Don’t panic, you’re definitely not the first person to feel this way.
Moving into your first home is one of the most exciting things you’ll do, but also one of the most stressful. This list of 67 first apartment kitchen essentials is the list I wish I’d had before my first big move. It will guide you through everything you’ll need to have a fully functioning kitchen in a simple and easy-to-follow way and give a selection of my favourite products to make shopping for your new kitchen that little bit easier.
first apartment kitchen essentials
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food prep essentials
Preparing your favourite meal will be impossible without some food preparation essentials. When searching for these essential items for your home focus on quality.
I allocated more money from my first apartment budget to this category of items and I definitely don’t regret it. Good quality knives, chopping boards and grater will make cooking so much easier and will save you the hassle of replacing poor quality items after a year or two.
food prep essentials list:
- Chopping boards – A couple of good-quality chopping boards are a must-have in every kitchen. I opt for plastic so that I don’t have the hassle of remembering to treat a wood board every few months.
- A good knife set – I use the IKEA 365+ cook’s knife, breed knife & utility knife and they are honestly the best knives I have ever used.
- Mixing bowl – When it comes to mixing bowls I prefer glass. They are sturdy and don’t stain when used with strong spices.
- Measuring cups – Joseph Joseph products are great for space-saving kitchen essentials. This set of nesting measuring cups will take up virtually no space.
- Measuring jug – I use the OXO good grips measuring cup because you can read the measurements from above which makes it SO much easier to use.
- Apron – If you are a messy cook an apron is a kitchen essential you’ll definitely need. This stylish apron from H&M would look great in any kitchen.
- Scales – I have had my simple Salter Electronic scales for more than 10 years and they still work great.
- Grater – My OXO good grips grater was one of my best kitchen purchases. After nearly two years it is still super sharp despite being used daily.
- Pestle & mortar – If you are as obsessed with guacamole as I am you’ll definitely need a good quality pestle & mortar like this granite one.
When it comes to cooking essentials it is usually the small items that are forgotten about. This is until you are standing at your hob cooking your first meal and realise you have no colander to drain your pasta.
cooking essentials list:
- Frying pans – Most kitchen essentials lists will tell you that you need frying pans in various sizes. For me, a steel frying pan and a non-stick pan have been plenty.
- Pots & saucepans with lids – If you’re not planning on applying for Master Chef anytime soon a couple of simple steel saucepans with lids will be all you need.
- Wok – A wok is a must-have in your kitchen if you love cooking stir-fry dishes as much as I do.
- Colander – A collapsible colander like this one is an ingenious way of saving space if your new kitchen is on the smaller size.
- Strainer – A simple stainless steel sieve is a great item to have to hand in a kitchen. If you are a keen baker a set of three like these ones may be for you.
- Baking tray – When it comes to baking trays investing in a good non-stick tray rather than a couple of average ones will save you money and time in the future.
- Oven dish – Oven dishes are super versatile for cooking. Opt for one that has a lid so that you can pop leftovers straight into your fridge.
- Pizza tray – Would any kitchen be complete without a pizza tray? This super affordable pizza tray is non-stick and is as good as when I first purchased it.
- Oven mitt – It goes without saying that an oven mitt is essential for every new apartment kitchen. I find fingered silicone gloves much easier to use.
- Heat proof mats – I use IKEA’s HEAT cork stands because they look great styled on my worktop. If I had to choose again I’d opt for a material that is easier to clean such as silicone.
- Splatter screen – A splatter screen is probably something you think you can live without until you have to scrub food and oil off your cupboards and walls.
- Spoon rest – A spoon rest is a super handy invention which will help stop pools of sauce gathering on your worktop every time you pop down your spatula.
You’ll struggle to make any of your favourite dishes without a handy kitchen utensil or two. Before buying any utensils check what is recommended for your pots and pans. There is nothing worse than scratching your new, expensive frying pan.
kitchen utensils list:
- Spatula – The king of all cooking utensils and a must-have in every kitchen. I like to use a nylon slotted spatula as it is safe to use on all my pots & pans.
- Silicone spatula – A silicone spatula will be a great addition to your kitchen drawers. Their soft, flexible material makes them ideal for scraping every drop of food from your bowls or pans.
- Slotted spoon – You won’t realise how useful a slotted spoon is until you’re trying to scoop potatoes from a pan. They are usually inexpensive so definitely worth purchasing.
- Solid spoon – A solid spoon is super useful for mixing and serving sauces and other wetter dishes.
- Tongs – A pair of silicone tongs will make flipping and serving food a whole lot easier.
- Pasta server – If you’re a spaghetti lover you’ll definitely want to get a pasta server.
- Vegetable peeler – If you’ve read to this point you’ll probably not be surprised to see another OXO product. I use their Softworks Peeler and find it really easy and comfortable to use.
- Whisk – Any keen baker or scrambled egg lover needs a whisk in their kitchen drawers.
- Scissors – A good quality pair of kitchen scissors is a must-have for any new kitchen.
- Can opener – The OXO Good Grips Tin Opener is by far the best can opener I have ever used and is so easy to use even for a lefty like me.
- Potato masher – For the ultimate light and fluffy mash potato you’ll definitely need a potato masher.
- Lemon squeezer – A squeeze of lemon or lime makes many dishes taste better so having a lemon squeezer to hand is a great way of elevating your meals.
- Pizza cutter – A good quality pizza cutter will have you sitting down and eating your pizza much quicker.
- Garlic press – If you love adding garlic to your food a garlic press is a must-have to save you time and energy.
Store & organise kitchen essentials
Most of us have dreamed of having perfectly organised pantries and kitchen cupboards like the images we have seen on Pinterest. If that is you then you’ll need these store and organise essentials.
store & organise essentials list:
- Food containers for leftovers – A few food containers are a must-have in most kitchens for storing leftovers. Opt for a transparent material so that you can easily see what is inside.
- Sealing clips – Keep your food fresher for longer with a selection of sealing clips that easily secure open packaging.
- Resealable bags – Resealable bags are ideal for keeping food fresh. IKEA’s ISTAD bags are great because they can withstand extensive washing so last years.
- Ice cube trays – Ice cube trays are super versatile and can be used for much more than just making ice. Opt for silicone to make it easier to remove items when frozen.
- Spice jars – For picture-perfect kitchen interiors decant your herbs and spices into some simple, matching spice jars.
- Salt & pepper shaker – A stylish salt and pepper shaker looks great on any dining table and is perfect if you love having friends over for dinner.
- Coffee, tea & sugar tins/ jars – Not only do these jars look perfect styled on a worktop they also help speed up the process of making your morning coffee.
- Dry food contains – Matching dry food containers is a game changer for organising a kitchen. They look great and keep your food fresher for longer.
- Utensil organiser – Whether you are storing your utensils in a drawer or on your worktop you will likely need an organiser for storing them.
- Cutlery organiser – I use the Joseph Joseph Cutlery Tray and LOVE it. It takes up virtually no space compared to traditional cutlery organisers.
- Pots & pan organiser – My Joseph Joseph Expanding Cookware Organiser is one of my favourite purchases I made for my new apartment kitchen. It makes accessing my pots and pans super quick and looks great in my cupboard.
Eating & Drinking essentials
Without glassware and dinnerware, you’ll struggle to throw those dinner parties you’ve always dreamed of. Stamp your personality into your kitchen by choosing items that reflect your style and taste. Keep it timeless with a set of simple white plates or go bold with a vibrant, lively print; the possibilities are endless.
eating & drinking essentials list:
- Dinnerware – A dinnerware set will usually include bowls, side plates and dinner plates. The quantity of each will depend on your needs, how many people you cook for and how frequently you wash up.
- Cutlery set – A good quality cutlery set is worth the investment. I have brought cheap cutlery sets in the past and the handles fall off or they rust within the first year.
- Mugs – For an avid coffee and tea drinker like me a set of large mugs is a can’t live without item.
- Glassware – Good quality glassware will last you a lifetime (unless you are as clumsy as me). I recommend starting with a set of highball glasses, some wine glasses, and obviously some champagne flutes to toast your new home.
- Corkscrew – Some meals need a glass of wine so it is a good idea to keep a corkscrew in your drawers for this type of emergency.
- Bottle opener – Avoid the embarrassment of having friends over and then realising you’ve forgotten to buy a bottle opener.
cleaning kitchen essentials
Having to clean is the unfortunate downside to moving into your first home. But having key pieces on your first apartment kitchen essentials list will make the process a whole lot easier and quicker.
cleaning essentials list:
- Tea towels – Having a stack of tea towels to hand is essential for any kitchen.
- Soap dispensers – Decant your soaps into a couple of well-designed soap dispensers on your sink to boost your kitchen’s style.
- Dish drainer – Even if you exclusively use a dishwasher a dish drainer will likely still be very useful. Opt for one that is stylish and easy to clean.
- Dustbin – The Joseph Joseph Totem Bin is one of my favourite bins out there. Its simple design will make sorting your waste a breeze.
- Recycling bins – When choosing the quantity and size of your recycling bins consider how much recycling you produce, your local recycling rules and how far you have to travel to empty your bins.
- Washing-up bowl – A washing-up bowl will save water and protect your sink from damage. Remember to measure your sink before purchasing a bowl so that you don’t get a bowl that is far too big for your sink.
- Dish brushes – A dish brush is super handy to help tackle those pesky stains that the dishwasher can’t budge.
- Rubber gloves – Protect your hands when washing up with a pair of rubber gloves. It will stop your skin from getting dry and will help protect you from accidental cuts from sharp objects.
- Kitchen roll holder – An undercabinet kitchen roll holder like this one is super convenient and will help free up valuable worktop space.
- Dustpan & brush – Keep a dustpan and brush in your kitchen to make cleaning up accidental spills that little bit easier.
essential Kitchen Appliances
A first apartment kitchen essentials list wouldn’t be complete without the all-important kitchen appliances. What is an essential appliance varies depending on your needs so consider what you do in your kitchen before making any of these big purchases.
essential kitchen appliance list:
- Kettle – My Breville Kettle was one of the first purchases I made for my kitchen because I knew I wouldn’t make it through moving day without a cup of coffee.
- Coffee maker – Avoid the temptation of expensive coffee trips with a coffee machine at home.
- Microwave – Although not necessarily essential, a microwave can be very useful and worth the investment if you have the space for it.
- Blender – A small blender is a great tool to keep in your kitchen. I use the Breville Blend Active which is perfect for making smoothies and cocktails.
- Toaster – My kitchen is on the smaller side so I opted not to purchase a toaster and to use the oven instead. However, if I moved a toast would be one of the first things I’d buy.