Kitchen Basics: Cookware You Need When You Start Cooking

So I put a survey out to my email list and have been answering them on video! And to be completely honest... I'm not that great on camera (yet!) so I'm summarizing the videos here. This is breaking down this great question I got:

"I need to start cooking, presently I can fry an egg, that's it. So to get started what are the basics I need to set up my kitchen? Seasonings and non perishables, cooking utensils etc etc......"

I turned the answer into a four part video playlist, and this post will expand and supplement part three: Knives and Cookware You Need to Start Cooking.

So here goes! This post will cover the items I cover in the above video with links to the best places online to pick them up.

More...

The Amazon links below are affiliate links which means I'll get a small commission at no added cost to you if you buy anything. Amazon certainly isn't the best place to buy things though, so I link out to the best sites for you to buy from. 

Knives

Honestly... I'm not comfortable recommending a specific knife since they're as much a matter of preference. There simply isn't one best knife. Sure, I have my preferences and think you should get a 10" chefs knife if they're not too big for you over an 8". You can spend hundreds of dollars on a high end chef's knife, but you can also find some great ones in the $60 - $90 range. 

Instead of me suggesting a knife that might work for you, fill out this form and I'll follow up to help you find the right knife. 

Care for your knives with a honing rod...

It's okay, you won't need to learn how to do this

But no matter what knife you have or end up with you'll have to maintain the edge of the blade , and that's where a honing rod comes into play. 

​I did a bunch of research on steel vs ceramic and different grits and ultimately settled on the ceramic Idahone 12" Fine Grit Rod

idahone 12 inch ceramic knife sharpener

Two good places to buy:

Both have similar pricing, see which one has cheaper shipping for you when you buy

And pick up the "supereaser" on either site while you're at it. This will clean the ceramic rod easily. 

Idahone Supereraser

idahone 12 inch ceramic knife sharpener

You could also get "Barkeepers Friend" from Amazon, I just like reducing the bottles of liquid around my kitchen.

Cookware: Skillets, Dutch Ovens, & Sheetpans

I will always recommend traditional skillets over nonstick. You'll become a better cook and you'll build stronger flavors. To start with either get a 12" black steel, cast iron, stainless steel, or aluminum skillet/frying pan. Personally, I prefer black steel or cast iron. and you can get a great pan for less than $50 usually. If you're on a budget, then aluminum frying pans are a great option and are used in restaurants all over. 

Check Out My Two Favorite Pans on Amazon Below

Dutch Ovens

​Dutch ovens will do the work of a stock pot on the range when you're making... stock... and stews or soups, and then you can throw them right in the oven for roasts and even artisanal breads. The classic cast iron needs some love keeping it seasoned, but you can really beat it up. Whereas the enameled cast iron is easier to maintain and... well... it's really pretty. Both of these are lodges and they're honestly one of the best deals, especially for enameled which can get really pricey.

Check out the Lodge Dutch Ovens on Amazon below: 

Sheet Pans

Sheet pans are going to be what you do most of your cooking in the oven on. You'll want to get two "half-sheets"  which should fit very comfortably width wise... or... hotdog style on an oven rack, and depending on your oven you might be able to get two on a single rack hamburger style.

The standard size you'll want is 18 x 13 inches and this is what you'll find in most stores. The smaller quarter sheet pans are 9" x 13", and a full sheet pan is 18" x 26" - you won't find the full sizes at most stores focused towards home cooks as they don't fit in most home ovens, but you will see them at restaurant supply stores... so if you're shopping at those (which you should, they're great!) just be mindful and ask for a "half sheet" or double check the measurements. 

  • Get two 18"x13" sheet pans
  • They don't need to be nonstick or expensive. $10-$15 each.
  • I just use parchment paper if I need it, but if you'll be more comfortable you can pick up silicone baking sheets like these 

Baking/Cooling Racks

When you get your sheet pans get at least one cooling rack that matches the size, two if you have the budget for them. I use these if I'm cooking chicken wings (for example) so they sit above their drippings, rather than in them. And you'll use them often in baking as cooling racks so your delicious goods cool uniformly and don't get soggy bottoms!

Cooling / Baking Racks to Match Sheet Pans

Have questions on any of these products, or any other products? Feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

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