When I moved into my first apartment, I thought I had all the kitchen essentials and then some. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I often found myself wondering why I didn't already have certain items, so I ended up buying more kitchen tools throughout the following year.

To save you the trouble I experienced, here are 10 must-haves for your first apartment kitchen.


spinach, basil
Irene Kim

Whether you fancy yourself a cook or not, a medium saucepan is a must. It's what you'll use to cook prepacked instant noodles and make caramel sauce from scratch.

Non-stick frying pan

vegetable, parsley, meat, egg, sauce
Jocelyn Hsu

When buying a frying pan, make sure you get a non-stick one. It'll make cleaning up so easy. Whether you're making greasy bacon or shakshuka, it'll be a breeze to clean.

Cutting boards

Jocelyn Hsu

Yes, cutting boards, with an S. You want at least 2; one for your raw meats and seafood and another for your produce.

Chef's knife

meat, fish, pork, beef, ham, fillet, seafood
Jocelyn Hsu

Speaking of cutting, you'll want a nice chef's knife for your kitchen too. These knives are easy to handle and super versatile. You can use them to cut fruit or dice onions.

Wooden cooking utensils

soup, cream, bread, dairy product, milk, vegetable
Jocelyn Hsu

Get yourself a set of wooden cooking utensils, including a spoon and spatula, to make cooking painless. Plastic utensils aren't great because they may not be heat-proof, and metal utensils are too hot to the touch once your food is boiling.

Kitchen scissors

Jocelyn Hsu

You don't want to use the scissors you use to cut paper or open packages on your food. Keep a pair of scissors in your kitchen to easily open food packages.


ladle, tea
Jocelyn Hsu

Make sure you buy a whole set of utensils! This includes forks, spoons, and knives. Chopsticks too, if you use them. When you have friends and family over, they're going to want to use real cutlery.

Plus, the more you have, the less often you have to wash your dishes.


coffee, tea, cappuccino, espresso, milk
Jocelyn Hsu

It's pretty obvious that you need plates and bowls to eat with, but people tend to forget about glass cups and mugs. Make sure you have plenty of each.

#SpoonTip: If you're low on cabinet space, opt for mugs over cups because they can be used for both hot and cold drinks.

Baking sheet

chocolate, sweet, cookie, goody, chocolate cookie, cake, pastry, candy
Jocelyn Hsu

Baking sheets are incredibly handy because you can use them for a lot of different foods. Make lemon and herb salmon, chocolate and caramel toffee, or classic chocolate chip cookies.

Toaster oven

pizza, chicken
Jocelyn Hsu

Don't just get a toaster; get a toaster oven. You can heat up day-old pizzas, make this cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar-baked grapefruit, and do so much more. The possibilities are endless.

With these 10 kitchen essentials, you'll be ready to make the most out of your first apartment kitchen.