Essential Cooking Tools

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High-quality, basic tools and equipment is the secret weapon of a homestead kitchen. More than anything else in the house, your pots...

High-quality, basic tools and equipment is the secret weapon of a homestead kitchen. More than anything else in the house, your pots, pans and utensils get the biggest workout; so go for quality over quantity, getting pots, pans and utensils that will last you a lifetime if well-cared for. The first list is basic kitchen tools for cooking and baking for 2-6 persons. The second list is specialty items that you might invest in as you begin making more and more things from scratch.


Stock your homestead kitchen with high-quality, essential tools and equipment needed to start making meals from scratch. Get specialty items only as need for foods you consistently make.

How To

Basic Kitchen Tools & Equipment

1. Pots and Pans

1 Sauté Pan (10”) stainless steel with sloped sides and a lid

1 Strait-sided skillet (11”) with lid

1 non-stick skillet (8-10”)

Cast iron skillets  (10” round griddle), and/or a set in place of metal pans (some with sloped and straight sides) Season before using.

2-3 Saucepans (1 ½ and 3-quart or a small 1 qt., medium 2 qt., and large 3 qt.) stainless steel with lids (a small with a pour spout is nice for tea water)

1 Large stockpot (6-8 quart) stainless steel with lid (with inset steamer optional but nice)

2. Baking Ware

2 Baking sheets, rimmed, stainless steel (called half-sheets)

1 Small baking sheet, rimmed, with inset broiler tray (optional)

2 Pie plates, glass

2 Round cake pans, metal or nonstick

2 Muffin pans, metal (12 cup each, stackable)

2 Casserole dishes, glass (2 qt. and 3 qt. or 8X11X2 and 9X13X2)

1 Square baking dish, glass (8X8 or 9X9)

2 Bread/loaf pans, glass (9X5)

1 Roasting pan & rack (with 2 inches tall sides), metal

Mixing bowl set (metal, ceramic, or glass)

3. Equipment

Toaster oven or Toaster (electric or stove-top, camping-style)

Blender (if you can afford it, a Blendtec or Vitamix is the best)

Immersion blender (hand-held blender), heat proof

Spice/coffee grinder

4. Utensils

Knife set (chef’s, paring, serrated, carving), knife sharpener, vegetable peeler, rolling pin, graduated dry measuring cups, graduated measuring spoons, liquid measuring cup (at least a 2 C. measure), metal spatula, wooden or heat-proof plastic spatula, flexible rubber spatula, colander, fine mesh strainer with handle, wood cutting board, wooden spoons, metal spoon, slotted spoon, potato masher, ladle, metal tongs, whisk, grater, kitchen timer, can opener, bottle-opener/corkscrew, salad dressing jar with no-drip lid, collapsible steamer, citrus juicer (non-electric), cooking thermometer

5. Canning Equipment

Mason jars (assorted quart, pint, &/or 8-ounce wide-mouth jars)

Lids (metal lids and bands)

Jar lifter

Large canning pot, 21 quarts (for high acid fruits, tomatoes)

Pressure cooker (for low acid beans, meats, vegetables)

6. Storage containers

A large assortment of different sized glass, stainless steel or PBA-free plastic jars with tight fitting lids to store all your grains, beans, flours, sugars, spices and homemade goodies like crackers, granola, and loose tea blends.

Specialty Kitchen Tools & Equipment:

1. Specialty Pots and Pans

Dutch Oven (enameled cast iron or all cast iron) with ovenproof lid/handles

Crockpot or Slow Cooker

Cast iron grill pan / griddle (goes over several burners)


2. Specialty Baking Ware

Bunt/angel food cake pan, metal

Tart pan, metal or ceramic

Ceramic baking dish

Rim-less cookie sheet, metal

Non-stick baking mat (Silpat)

Wire cooling rack

Ramekins, glass or ceramic

3. Specialty Equipment

Dehydrator (see How to Choose a Dehydrator)

Tortilla press

Pasta maker

Pizza stone and peel

Crock/ceramic urn with lid

Tea Kettle

Food processor, 9-14 cup capacity

Standing Mixer (with whisk, paddle, and hook attachments)

Popcorn popper (electric air popper or stove-top Whirly-Pop)

Grain/nut grinder (hand crank or electric)

Electric beaters

Bamboo steamer

Apple peeler/corer/slicer

4. Specialty Utensils

Specialty knives (santoku, cleaver, boning, etc.), kitchen shears/scissors, meat tenderizer/pounder, pizza wheel, pastry brush, pastry cutter, pastry bag, biscuit/cookie cutters, thermometers (candy, oven, fridge, freezer), pie spatula, zester/microplaner, potato ricer, citrus reamer, food mill, mandolin, mortar and pestle, apple corer, ice cream scoop, melon-baller, bench/pastry scraper/chopper, garlic press, kitchen twine


  • Aluminum: Avoid sets made entirely out of aluminum or non-stick. Go for stainless steel (with a copper or aluminum core is fine) or cast iron. Glass is a good option for people with metal sensitivities.
  • Jars: Save empty glass or plastic jars with lids to keep for homemade goodies like fruit leather, trail mix, seasoned oils and vinegars, etc.
  • Deep Fryer: Avoid buying a deep fryer. Having one only encourages bad behavior! A straight-sided stainless steel pot or cast iron skillet works equally well, but the oven is the best option for healthy snacks and treats.
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