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21 Overlooked First Apartment Kitchen Essentials Checklist

Are you moving into your first apartment? Congratulations! This new beginning is exciting, but setting up your kitchen can be a bit daunting. You might already have a list of kitchen essentials, but there are always those handy items that slip through the cracks.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the must-have kitchen items that are often forgotten but are essential for a fully functional kitchen in your new apartment.

First Apartment Kitchen Essentials

21 first apartment kitchen essentials

Let’s dive into these often-forgotten essentials to ensure your kitchen is fully equipped from day one.

1. Basic Cookware

Starting with the right cookware is essential for any aspiring home chef.

Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet is a versatile kitchen tool, perfect for searing, baking, broiling, braising, and more. Unlike non-stick pans, it improves with age and use, becoming naturally non-stick over time. It’s an investment piece that will last for years.

Baking Sheets

Baking sheets are not just for cookies; they’re a versatile tool for everything from roasting vegetables to baking fish. Opt for heavy-duty sheets that don’t warp at high temperatures for consistent cooking results.

2. Utensils and Tools

The right utensils can make cooking and food preparation much easier and more enjoyable.

Vegetable Peeler

A good vegetable peeler is crucial for quick and easy peeling of fruits and vegetables. It’s a small tool, but it significantly speeds up your prep time and is much more efficient than using a knife.

Can Opener

A reliable can opener is a must-have in any kitchen. Whether it’s for opening canned beans, tomatoes, or coconut milk, a good can opener should be easy to use and durable, ensuring hassle-free cooking.

Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen scissors are a multi-functional tool often overlooked. They’re perfect for cutting herbs, trimming fat off meat, or even opening food packages. Their versatility makes them an indispensable tool in the kitchen.

Meat Thermometer

A meat thermometer is essential for ensuring your meats are cooked safely and to your desired level of doneness. It takes the guesswork out of cooking meats, especially for beginners.

3. Bakeware

Don’t forget these essential bakeware items for your sweet and savory baking needs.

Loaf Pan

Perfect for bread, meatloaf, or pound cakes, a loaf pan is an often-overlooked but essential bakeware item. It’s versatile and ideal for both beginners and experienced bakers.

4. Storage and Organization

Proper storage and organization tools can make your kitchen more functional and pleasant to use.

Food Storage Containers (Glass and Plastic)

Quality food storage containers are crucial for keeping leftovers fresh and organizing meal prep. Glass containers are great for heating food in the microwave, while plastic ones are lightweight and convenient for on-the-go meals.

5. Prep Tools

Efficient meal preparation begins with having the right tools at hand.

Salad Spinner

A salad spinner is a game-changer for quickly washing and drying leafy greens. It ensures your salads are crisp and not waterlogged, enhancing the overall quality of your dishes.

Cutting Boards

Having multiple cutting boards, preferably in different materials like plastic and wood, helps prevent cross-contamination and keeps your food preparation safe and hygienic. They are fundamental for any chopping, slicing, or dicing tasks in your kitchen.

Mixing Bowls of Various Sizes

A set of mixing bowls in various sizes is crucial for meal prep. Whether you’re mixing a salad, marinating meat, or whisking together cake batter, having the right-sized bowl makes the process much smoother.

Mortar and Pestle

For those who love cooking with fresh spices, a mortar and pestle is indispensable. It’s perfect for grinding spices or making pesto and adds a traditional touch to your kitchen.

6. Appliances

These small appliances can significantly enhance your cooking experience with convenience and efficiency.

Electric Kettle

An electric kettle is a must-have for quick boiling of water for tea, coffee, or cooking. It’s more energy-efficient than boiling water on the stove and is a real time-saver.


While mentioned earlier, it’s worth reiterating the importance of a blender. Perfect for smoothies, purees, and even soups, a good blender is a powerhouse appliance that can transform the way you cook and eat.

Hand Mixer

A hand mixer is essential for baking tasks like whipping cream, beating eggs, or mixing cake batter. It’s a compact and versatile alternative to a stand mixer.

7. Miscellaneous

These miscellaneous items are often forgotten but play a crucial role in your kitchen’s functionality.

Spice Rack or Organizer

A well-organized spice rack or organizer not only saves space but also makes it easier to find what you need quickly. This helps in keeping your spices fresh and your kitchen clutter-free.

Paper Towel Holder

A paper towel holder might seem trivial, but it’s a practical addition to any kitchen. It keeps your paper towels handy for quick clean-ups and helps maintain an orderly and tidy kitchen space.

Trivet for Hot Dishes

A trivet is necessary to protect your countertops and tables from hot dishes. It’s a small investment that can save you from costly damage to your surfaces.

Cooking Oil and Spray

Having a variety of cooking oils and non-stick spray is essential for different cooking techniques. They not only prevent food from sticking but also add flavor to your dishes.

8. Cleaning Supplies

Keeping your kitchen clean and hygienic is as important as the cooking itself.

All-Purpose Cleaner

An all-purpose cleaner is essential for keeping your kitchen surfaces clean and hygienic. It’s versatile and can be used on countertops, appliances, and more.

Broom and Dustpan

A broom and dustpan are essential for keeping your kitchen floors clean. Regular sweeping helps maintain a tidy and pleasant cooking environment.


Setting up your first apartment kitchen is a journey filled with discovery and excitement. With this checklist, you’ll be well on your way to creating a kitchen that’s not only functional but also a joy to cook in.

Remember, these essentials are not just tools; they are the building blocks of many happy memories and delicious meals in your new home. Happy cooking!

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