Basic Kitchen Equipment

Tools from an old kitchen
If you are new to cookery, sneaking up on the kitchen and exploring the world of home-made, hand-made food, here is some useful information on Basics in the Kitchen…


that you will see in recipes
c = cup (either dry or liquid, as the recipe indicates)
t = tsp = teaspoon; approx. equivalent to 5 ml
T = tbl = tblspn = tablespoon; approx. equivalent to 15 ml


Best results come from using appropriate measurements; sometimes you can get away with being casual, but do start with following instructions for the first few times through a recipe.

Dry measuring cup set – usually four, nested (1/4 cup, 1/3 c, 1/2 c, 1 c); unless stated otherwise, measure level, not packed
Liquid measuring cup – two-cup or four-cup size; place cup on a level surface and observe level lines
Measuring spoons – usually a set (1/8 t, 1/4 t, 1/2 t, 1 t, 1 1/2 T, 1 T)
If your recipes require it, a small kitchen scale; very low weights are for spices.

Note that “cooking” and “baking” are different styles of cookery: “baking” requires the scientific approach where quantities are measured; “cooking” is more of an art where some basic principles are followed but it is easier to be creative in measurements and ingredients.


There is some basic cooking equipment you should have, in addition to a refrigerator, stove, and running water; there is certainly a lot of specialty equipment you can add, but don’t bother until you know you will use it enough to take up the space. I recommend starting with the first list of basics, and then determine what else you need by the recipes you actually try. And buy quality equipment, either new or used.

My basic equipment fits into a dishpan; this is what goes on camping trips, so I can cook -anything-!

dishpan, w small bottle dishsoap
wood cutting board
paring knife in sheath
8″ chef’s knife in sheath
straight-edge wood spatula
pair of chopsticks (stirring, beating, whipping)
can opener
measuring spoons (nesting)
measuring cup (nesting)
two nesting 2-quart (or litre) saucepans with lid
small pot for boiling water
8″ cast iron frypan
linen tea towels (dry faster than cotton)
a second dishpan (one for hot soapy water, one for hot rinse water)

And, because I make chapatis, a dowel-style rolling pin.

My home kitchen adds a few more essentials:
stainless steel steamer
mortar and pestle (heavy brass for seeds, ceramic for herbs)
sieve (for straining or sifting)
serrated bread knife (great for tomatoes!)
pastry blender (for biscuits! you could use two knives)
wire whisk

And then there is baking equipment:
jelly roll pan
2 cookie sheets
1 8×8 cake pan
1 9×13 cake pan
muffin tin

(I highly recommend acquiring a hone and learning how to sharpen your own knives! Or find a trustworthy person to sharpen them for you. A sharp knife is less likely to slip and cut what it ought not.)

This page will change as I remember to add things for you. šŸ™‚


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