My Must-Have Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen essentials list

No matter how long you’ve been following me, you likely know that I absolutely love cooking. Getting creative in the kitchen is one of my passions and I love sharing easy recipes with you.

Having you all cook with me during Sunday suppers has been so much fun, whether it’s for a simple caprese chicken or a more involved risotto (both paired with delicious wines of course!)

Whether you’re new to cooking or consider yourself a whiz in the kitchen, this list of essentials will help you boost your meal prep game. These items will ensure that your experience in the kitchen is as fun and functional as it can be. They’ll make your life easier and simplify your cooking routines so you can spend more time eating with your family.

Check out the list below to find out what my 20 go-to kitchen essentials are!

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

must have kitchen essentials

This is one of my most-used kitchen items. I cook everything from soup to pasta in this cast iron dutch oven. Dutch ovens can be really expensive but I bought this Target dupe a few months ago and can confirm that it holds up well — and you can’t really beat the price!

Salad Spinner

must have kitchen essentials

If you aren’t using a salad spinner to wash and prep your greens, you’re doing it wrong. I freaking love this thing and swear that it makes the washing and drying process a breeze.

Metal Lemon Squeezer

must have kitchen essentials

I use fresh lemon juice for so many recipes so I love having a squeezer on hand. I can’t imagine making salad dressings without a lemon squeezer.

Salad Dressing Mixer

must have kitchen essentials

Speaking of salad dressings, this mixing container is something that I use daily! I love that I can make a dressing from start to finish in this and double a recipe and keep it in the fridge for a couple days.


must have kitchen essentials

A mandoline is a game changer to have in your kitchen. It makes it so much easier to slice ingredients thin. This is the one I have!

Wood and Stainless Steel Grater

must have kitchen essentials

You can never have too much cheese, right? This Target find was one of my best kitchen purchases as of late. It has a catcher to collect whatever you’re grating, making clean up a breeze.

Citrus Juicer

must have kitchen essentials

A juicer is another kitchen staple that can be super costly. This one is under $30 and works perfectly for citrus. I like to use mine to juice limes for margaritas.

Baking Dish

must have kitchen essentials

Le Creuset creates classic items that will last a lifetime (and probably your kids’ as well!) This square dish is perfect for baking just about anything and doubles as a beautiful serving dish that you will likely pass down for generations.

Wine Glass Set

must have kitchen essentials

My love for wine is no secret. These have been my go-to wine glasses for years and I’m always recommending them! Grab a set and host your own Wine Wednesday at home.

Serving Bowl Set

must have kitchen essentials

Every kitchen needs a serving bowl set for entertaining. Whether you have family over for an intimate celebration or are hosting neighbors for a small party, this set is perfect for snacks and will go with any decor. Target always has such great hosting finds — these bowls are under $40!

Food Processor

I know that food processors aren’t the most glamorous kitchen item, but they’re definitely workhorses that can help you create more flavorful dishes. This one has a large capacity and can be used for a huge variety of foods and sauces.

must have kitchen essentials

Cast Iron Skillet

Every home chef needs a cast iron skillet. These babies can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, for main dishes or desserts — honestly just about anything you can think of. This one is the perfect size for everyday use.

must have kitchen essentials

Wüstof Knife Set

A durable and sharp knife set is a game changer when it comes to meal prep. I love that this one happens to look beautiful on your countertop—just make sure it’s out of reach from your kids!

must have kitchen essentials

Edge-Grain Cutting Board

This wood cutting board has been my go-to for years and is truly worth the investment. I love that it’s big enough so I don’t have to use multiple cutting boards when chopping. It’s also great for serving small bites at parties.

must have kitchen essentials

Cutting and Carving Board Set

must have kitchen essentials

These are another great option at a lower price point — the set comes with three!

Wine Bottle Opener

must have kitchen essentials

You know I couldn’t live without a trusted wine bottle opener. This is the one I bought and promise it will save you the headache of dealing with a corkscrew. It’s the small things in life that make the difference (especially with young kids).

Mason Jars

must have kitchen essentials

You probably have mason jars in your kitchen cabinets already but if you need a restock, these are my favorite brand. I use them for homemade salad dressings and sauces.

Mason Jar Lids

must have kitchen essentials

These are the lids I use on my mason jars! They fit both regular and wide-mouth jars.

Frying Pan

must have kitchen essentials

For $100, I swear you’ll get your money’s worth from this pan. It’s such a pretty color and looks nice enough to leave out. It’s perfect for cooking everything from breakfast dishes to more hands-on dinner recipes.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

You guys know that I use my Instant Pot for so many different dishes. It’s by far the easiest way to prepare healthy meals when you don’t have much time.

must have kitchen essentials

Hi! I’m Erika and I live in Sonoma County with my high school sweetheart and two kids. Follow along to find home inspiration, delicious recipes, and the inside scoop on all things wine country.

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  1. 11.1.22
    Molly said:

    The best kitchen tool tip I ever got from you are the onion glasses. I am subjected to U2/Bono jokes from my family, but they are so worth it!