As a college student living off-campus for the first time this summer, I've been slowly figuring out what works for me in the kitchen.  It's been interesting to start from scratch and figure out what I consider necessary cooking-ware that I've had to go out and buy opposed to the easy-access to a surplus of baking ware I experienced when living at home with my parents during high school. If you're looking for some tips for what to get when moving into a new place or are just starting to get comfortable in a kitchen, read on for my top ten kitchen essentials. 

1. Cast Iron Skillet

bread, flour, dough
Emily Hu

I frickin' love my skillet. If I could only have one piece of cooking ware, this would be it. It's so versatile! You can sauté anything in it, make curries, scrambles, pancakes, even soups or bread! Most are oven safe and many come with a life-time guarantee, which is great if you are a bit clumsier (like me) though they are very difficult to break-which is another bonus. 

2. Pasta Pot with Lid

soup, vegetable, meat, broth
Jocelyn Hsu

A deeper-dish pot, around a quart, is great for making pastas, rice, soups, and so on. Make sure to get one with a lid so you can properly cook your grains. 

3. Sauce Pan

meat, vegetable, saute
Alex Frank

A smaller sauce pan is good for more than just sauce. Roast veggies, scramble eggs or tofu, make some omelets or crepes, even whip up a curry sauce. The possibilities are vast! A sauce pan is super handy to cook up a quick meal. Get one with a slight lip to make sure everything stays in the pan.

4. Lipped Baking Sheet

cake, dairy product, sweet
Alyssa Robertson

Having at least one baking sheet is essential for any cook. Whether baking cookies, roasting veggies for a one-pan meal, or even making sheet-pan pizza, this kitchen tool is necessary for any place with an oven. I prefer the lipped pans for roasting vegetables, they don't slip and slide off as much. I haven't found any baking difference for cookies when using a lipped versus regular baking sheet.

5. Muffin Tray

chocolate, caramel, muffin, cake
Kayla Pichichero

While not completely a necessity, I think muffin trays are an under-utilized pan. Besides muffins, you can make mini cupcakes, personal apple crisps, mini soufflés or breakfast egg bakes, and more. 

6. Mixing Bowl

cherry, blueberry, berry, cherry pie, Kitchen, Bowls, fresh cherries, making food, Baking, dessert
Julia Gilman

A larger bowl is great for mixing doughs, whisking things to make custards or creams, dressing salads, or anything that requires combining a lot of ingredients. It's a hassle to try to mix things in the same size bowls as what you use to eat, so be smart and get at least one larger bowl that you can mix things in. Plastic or metal are my preferred ones, but clear glass can be nice for making bread. Figure out what size and material works best for you based on your cooking habits.

7. Measuring Cups

milk, dairy product, cream, flour, sweet, dairy, dough
Katherine O'Malley

I know it can be tempting to eyeball a recipe, but while cooking is an art, baking is a science and it's necessary to get your baking ratios correct if you want those chocolate cupcakes to actually rise properly and not look like sad, squashed brownies. A simple set of measuring cups including 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1/4 c, 1/3 c, 1/2 c, and 1 c should be enough. 

8. Good Knives

wine, coffee, beer
Allan Mai

I. Can. Not. Emphasize. This. Enough. Invest in a good set of knives! Having a nice set of knives handy in your kitchen can make cooking soooo much easier. There's three I consider essential to have. The first is a sharp, smaller 3 inch blade for most of your cooking needs. I use this one the most for chopping veggies, fruit, tofu, and so on. The second is a longer 3-5 inch serrated knife. This is great for cutting bread and vegetables with tough or slippery skins like eggplant and tomatoes. The third is a larger, block knife for heavy-duty chopping. This one I use mostly for large root vegetables like potatoes or yams where the smaller knife just doesn't cut it. (Pun intended). 

9. Handy Utensils 

wine, tea, coffee
Jocelyn Hsu

Besides your average kitchen cutlery (knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks) there's a couple things I find really helpful in everyday cooking. First and foremost: get yourself a can opener! You never know when you'll need to open a can of something, and it doesn't always have a handy-dandy tap on the top for easy opening. A few other basics include a metal or spatula, wooden spoon, and ladle for soups or curries.  

10. Blender

blender, smoothie, chia seeds, yogurt, frozen strawberries, tea, ice, sweet, juice
Caroline Ingalls

A blender is another super versatile tool that you can use for so many more things that you think. Besides the traditional smoothies, you can use a blender to make your own hummus, pesto, pancakes, and more! Wanna give it a shot? Check out these yummy oatmeal blender pancakes for your next breakfast.