The ultimate list of 34 best kitchen essentials every cook needs
Our pick of the best essentials for kitting out your kitchen, tried and tested by the BBC Good Food reviews team.
Kitting out your kitchen properly will revolutionise the way you cook. But it can be hard to know where to begin and what to buy when there’s so much choice available.
Whether you're buying for a starter home, university halls of residence, a gift for a loved one or just want to overhaul your own kitchen collection, there are key pieces of kit that will be fundamental to successful everyday cooking. We’ve put together a list of budget-friendly kitchen must-haves, tried and tested by our team, that impressed us because of quality and value for money.
In this collection we've covered kitchen gadgets and appliances that will help make cooking more fun and efficient, so get ready to discover some new ultimate cooking equipment and utensils. Once you're all sorted with the kit, check out our guides to the best recipe books to inspire you to get started in the kitchen.
For more of our favourite kitchen gadgets to suit every budget, visit our reviews section to find over 400 buyer's guides, from the best slow cookers and best blenders to the best microwaves and best food processors.
The best kitchen essentials every cook should have
Salter Megastone 3-piece pan set
Best budget saucepan set
Suitable for all hob types, Salter's three-piece saucepan set has an effective non-stick coating that makes both cooking and cleaning simple. 16cm, 18cm and 20cm pans with lids are included in the set with a speckled design. They're part of the same wider collection as the Megastone frying pan, another top buy. Read our full Salter Megastone 3-piece pan set review.
- Read our guide to the best saucepan sets
Smarter bean-to-cup coffee machine
Best smart bean-to-cup coffee machine
Smartphone connectivity isn't something you necessarily think you need from a bean-to-cup coffee machine, but it's one of those functions that once you have it, you'll never want to go without again. It lets you remotely start the machine to grind and brew fresh coffee or set a time for its automatic switch-on. This model comes with three interchangeable panels in black, grey and white for swapping the design to suit your kitchen. Read our full Smarter coffee machine review.
- Read our full guide to the best bean-to-cup coffee machines
Barista & Co Core All Grind
Best slimline coffee grinder
Awarded best slimline grinder by BBC Good Food experts, this would not only make an excellent gift for coffee lovers but is a practical grinder for kitchens where space is at a premium. This burr grinder has a 40-point adjustability for precisely changing the coarseness of ground coffee. A handy measurement scoop and cleaning brush also fit within the lid. Read our guide to the best coffee grinders.
Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister
Storing your coffee beans in an airtight container will help prolong their freshness and flavour. This jar has an integrated hand pump to remove excess air along with a vacuum seal. Read our full guide to the best gifts for coffee lovers.
Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 air fryer
Best large-capacity air fryer for small kitchens
If you have a few mouths to feed but not a lot of kitchen space, this Instant Vortex is an XL air fryer with a manageable footprint that's packed with presets. You can air fry 1kg of chips or roast a 1.8kg chicken in its drawer-style compartment. Bake, dehydrate and grill functions are also on offer. Read our full Instant Vortex 6-in-1 air fryer review.
- Read our guide to the best air fryers
Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer
Best blow-out multifunctional air fryer
Got a larger budget to spend on an air-fryer? This multifunctional Ninja health grill circulates hot air efficiently to help you achieve a crisp result with a similar texture and flavour to fried foods. Dehydrate, bake, roast, grill and reheating functions are on offer in addition to zero-oil air crisping. The non-stick griddle component helped us achieve those iconic char lines. Read our full review of the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer.
Kitchen Pantry brass measuring cups
Bring a retro note to your kitchen with this nest of solid brass measuring cups, including ¼ cup, ½ cup and 1 cup measures. The smart leather tag at the end means they can be hung up for easy storage. Read our full guide to the best baking gifts
Mason Cash mixing bowl
This earthenware bowl is a modern take on the classic, featuring embossed leaves and woodland creatures across its exterior that double up as grips. It's 29cm across, making it a perfect bowl for big bakes and proving dough.
Joseph Joseph Folio chopping board set
Best chopping board set
The 'library' design of these chopping boards keeps the boards stacked and separated for using with different ingredients. It's a stylish way to keep them organised in a busy kitchen.
Read our full review of the Best chopping boards
Kenwood HM220 electric hand mixer
Best electric whisk
Electric whisks can be used for everything from making cake batters to even mashing potato. The Kenwood is a well-built and durable electric mixer which comes with stainless-steel beaters. It’s not too heavy to hold for long periods plus it fits comfortably in your hand.
Read our full review of the Best whisks
Jean Patrique digital kitchen scales
Best budget kitchen scales
A compact, easy-to-store set of simple digital scales offering imperial and metric measurements on an LED display. There’s no option for measuring liquids with these, but if you’ve got a trusty measuring jug, this set will do the rest.
Read our full review of the Best kitchen scales
Lakeland 10-piece stack-a-box set
Ace storage solution
Plastic containers are a game changer for storing and transporting food. A multipack like these stackable boxes by Lakeland are a budget-friendly way to go about investing in a range of sizes. They’re fridge, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe.
More like this
Available from Lakeland (£11.99)
Greenpan Venice Pro anodised ceramic non-stick sauté pan
Best eco-friendly sauté pan
The Greenpan Venice skillet has a mineral-based Thermolon ceramic coating that’s toxin-free at both room temperature and when heated. It also emits 60 per cent less CO2 during production, so for the environmentally conscious this is a kitchen must-have.
Read our full review of the Best sauté pans
Prestige stone quartz square grill pan (28cm)
Best budget grill pan
A great grill pan will cook ingredients evenly whilst giving them defined grill lines and the smoky flavour synonymous with chargrilling. The Prestige impressed with its ability to transfer heat evenly across its large base. Plus the non-stick coating is remarkably easy to clean. Great quality and a reasonable price.
Read our full review of the Best griddle pans
Microplane fine grater
Fine Microplane graters are an easy way to grate hardy ingredients like garlic, ginger and nutmeg. They're also great for zesting citrus fruits. When it comes to adding flavour and zing to dishes, a Microplane could become your best friend.
Judge Sabatier IV knife block set
Best knife set for under £100
You don’t often see a knife sharpener built into the side of a knife block. This set by Judge Sabatier features a 9cm paring knife, 14cm boning knife, 15cm cook’s knife, 20cm carving knife and 20cm bread knife, plus the aforementioned sharpener.
Read our full review of the Best knife sets
AnySharp knife sharpener
Super smart knife sharpener
The AnySharp knife sharpener is a nifty little gadget with a suction pad base. Importantly, it feels safe to use and when tested, achieved a very sharp knife with just three pulls. An instant kitchen classic.
Read our full review of the Best knife sharpeners
Lakeland SharpPeel julienne peeler
Genius julienne peeler
Bypass the need for fiddly chopping and make matchstick-sized strips in one quick motion, thanks to this genius julienne peeler by Lakeland. Its precision blades are incredibly sharp so making spaghetti-style substitutes feels as simple as peeling vegetables.
Available from Lakeland (£5.99)
Read our full review of the Best peelers
MasterClass quarry marble pin and stand
Stylish rolling pin
The weight of marble makes rolling out ingredients like pastry just that little bit easier. The aesthetics of a marble rolling pin also makes them deliciously stylish kitchen essentials. If you’re looking to buy a new rolling pin, this one by MasterClass is a budget-friendly bit of kit.
Available from Amazon (£21.99)
Read our full review of the Best marble rolling pins
Mason Cash medium pestle & mortar
Best all-rounder pestle and mortar
Pestles and mortars are surprisingly versatile bits of kit. This one by Mason Cash has a good capacity for its overall size and a large mortar making it easy to grind spices, mince garlic and bruise herbs efficiently. They make any kitchen look that little bit classier.
Read our full review of the Best pestle and mortars
Thermos stainless steel 1.2 litre flask
Best overall flask
In our test of flasks and thermos cups, this Thermos flask was rated 10/10. Although it could do with a second cup for sharing out hot drinks whilst out and about, even once filled to its 1.2 litre capacity it still managed to feel light to carry and comes with a 50-year guarantee.
Read our full review of the Best thermos flasks
Russell Hobbs 24381 Inspire four-slice toaster
Best all-round toaster
A simple and reliable four-slot toaster, the Russell Hobbs made some of the most evenly toasted slices out of all the toasters tested by the BBC Good Food team. It scored 4/5 stars in our test of the best.
Read our full review of the Best toasters
Dualit 700W hand blender
Best hand blender for practicality
This kitchen essential hooks over the hand to give you grip and control whilst using it. A 1-litre jug with measuring markings comes as part of the set, along with a whisk and mini chopper. The attachments are also dishwasher safe.
Read our full review of the Top hand blenders
Tefal Ingenio Essential 14-piece pan set
Best large saucepan set for small spaces
Over time it’s easy for cupboards to get cluttered with pans new and old. This set has detatchable handles and stackable lids, meaning the entire set can be stored within the footprint of the largest pan.
Tefal Easy Soup
Best basic soup maker
A soup maker lets you make delicious soup without the faff. Depending on the function, they can cook and blend a variety of soups. The manual of this Tefal maker comes with a bunch of recipes to get you started. You can also make lassi drinks and smoothies.
Read our full review of the Best soup makers
Tower Bottega kettle
Best traditional-look kettle
A kettle is a true kitchen essential. This Tower Bottega was a tried and tested favourite from our review and the distinctive design brings character to the kitchen. A matching toaster is available and it comes in different colourways.
Read our full review of the Best kettles
Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 TAS 140x
If easy to use is what you're after from a coffee pod machine, the Bosch Tassimo is perfect. Its scanner reads the barcode of compatible pods and adjusts its settings in order to produce a great drink, every time.
Read our full review of the Best coffee pod machines
Pyrex Prep & Store glass bowl with lid
Best-value mixing bowl
A kitchen classic, Pyrex has a strong reputation for its high quality and versatile glassware. The bowl is not only oven, fridge, freezer and microwave safe, it also comes with a silicone lid for sealing prepped ingredients into an airtight container for storing. Perfect for popping in the fridge for later.
Panasonic SD-B2510 breadmaker
This lightweight breadmaker sits landscape on the countertop and offers a variety of presets and customisable settings. It's one of the most affordable options we rated, but still took the award for best breadmaker. Read our full Panasonic SD-B2510 review.
- Read our full guide to the best breadmakers
Cuisinart iced dessert maker
Best-value ice cream maker
Rated 5/5 stars by the BBC Good Food team, the Cuisinart is an easy to assemble and super-quiet ice cream machine that can produce 1.4 litres of quality ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt in one go. You get incredible results for a thoroughly reasonable price.
Read our full review of the Best ice cream makers
Siemens iQ300 freestanding dishwasher SN23EC14CG | C
Best all-round freestanding dishwasher
With 13-place settings capacity, WiFi enabled and voice control compatibility and VarioSpeed function to shorten the run time of cycles, this a modern appliance boasting bells and whistles, that doesn't compromise on the basics.
Read our full buyer's guide to the best dishwasher brands and models to buy.
Hotpoint H1NT 811E W 60/40 fridge freezer
Quiet Mark-certified budget fridge freezer
Large white goods are often the most expensive bits we buy for our kitchens. However, it is possible to find a spacious and practical fridge freezer. One characteristic of this model we particularly love are the flexi shelves. Tall items like wine bottles can be accommodated by sliding the front half of the shelf underneath the back half.
Read our full buyers guide of the Best fridge freezers
ElectriQ HSL600 juicer
At under £80, this model is excellent value for money. It produces smooth, relatively foam-free cold-pressed juice and happily chomps its way through hard vegetables like carrots and woody kale. We found the machine harder to clean than some other models, but it's perfect for anyone new to juicing or looking for something budget-friendly.
Read our full review of the Best juicers
Smeg BLF01 50s retro style blender
Best blender for style and substance
Rated 5/5 stars by the BBC Good Food team, the Smeg BLF01 isn’t just a stylish-looking piece of kit. The jug has a 1.5-litre capacity and four speeds to choose from. Its 800W motor created one of the smoothest drinks out of all the blenders tested. To find out more, see our full reviews of the best blenders.
Best trifle bowls
10 of the best kitchen scissors to buy in 2021
8 of the best kitchen sieves
On test: the best measuring sets
Best measuring spoons
More on budgeting
10 budget food buys
12 ways to cut your food costs
How to use cheap cuts of meat
Visit our budget section
Best microwaves to buy
Best slow cookers to buy
Best dishwashers to buy
If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.
Comments, questions and tips