(Closed) *Please help this clueless newbie* – Kitchen Utensils

posted 6 years ago in Cooking
Post # 3
9677 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think kitchen utensils somewhat depend on what type of pots/pans you are getting.  For instance, I would avoid using metal utensils on nonstick type pans. 

But it’s a good idea to have a mixture of different things.  I would use nylon/plastic/wood type ones for any nonstick pans.  Stainless steel can be used on stainless steel pans.  And everyone needs some wooden spoons.  I use silicone spatulas. 

High quality stainless steel will definitely stand the test of time better than plastic if that’s what you’re looking for, and it looks more elegant.  You will have to replace nylon/plastic.  And wooden spoons I think are a necessity for everyone.

As far as other things.  I have both glass mixing bowls (good in the microwave) and stainless steel mixing bowls.  I’d take a copper one if someone was giving me a gift!! I would avoid plastic mixing bowls.

As far as other utensils, usually you will get what you pay for.  So in my experience, a $3 vegetable peeler just won’t be as good as one that is a bit more.


Stainless Steel: will stand the test of time, more elegant, great conductor of heat (goes for pans and utensils!), easy to clean, can scratch nonstick pans.

Wood: will not harm nonstick pans, classic, can break, can build up bacteria if you don’t clean it properly

Nylon: lightweight, unbreakable, can melt at high temperatures, can crack, some people question the potential safety.

Plastic: cheap, can melt at high temperatures, obviously looks cheaper too

Silicone: more heat resistant than plastic/nylon, more bendable so it’s not as good for serving.  Great for spatulas.

Check out some of these guides:



Post # 4
2195 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Sparkle_Bee:  I actually bought the Kitchen Aid set when we bought our first house, it is awesome. Has everything you would need in a kitchen!


Pots and pans go on sale a LOT, so be patient if you find a set you like. In the meantime, get a couple non stick pans and a med and/or large pot – that should cover your bases for a while. A couple cheap mixing bowls for baking and/or salads are good, and at least 1 oven safe piece is ideal. Oh – and cheap metal pans are great for chicken, fish etc in the oven. You can usually get a set of 2 for under $20.

I’d say, if you think you guys are in it for the long term and can see buying a house together in the future, get what you like and plan to use it in your next place. If you don’t have the funds, then go cheap and plan to save up for “upgrades” when you move out of the rental. Lots of places like Bed, Bath and Beyond have good sales on shower curtains, mats etc.

Don’t go too crazy shopping until you get in – I found the things I shopped for early weren’t nearly as handy as the stuff I NEEDED once we had been in the house for a while!

Congrats on moving in with the SO, that’s very exciting!

Post # 5
8041 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Sparkle_Bee:  I’d go through your mom’s kitchen and write down everything she has. Figure out what you use, what you don’t use, what can wait, etc. and prioritize, then head out to a few stores to start shopping.

I find that a lot of department stores here have specials on cookwear sets ALL THE TIME (I live in Canada and I see you do too – check out The Bay – they always have stuff on sale). A good set of pots and pans will cost around $1,000 when it’s not on sale… but you can get 50% off or more if you’re a smart shopper. I like the JA Henckels brand for cookware and knives. I also like Kitchen Aid.

I’d definitely splurge on the pots and pans and knives (buy one of those knife blocks). For things like can openers and spatulas I just went to IKEA and got some cheap and cheerful stuff. Plastic is ok for some things but realistically you get what you pay for.

Do you have a Dansk or Stokes in Ontario? I find a lot of the little kitchen goodies at those shops. Things like super cute tea towels, bowls, spoons (like for serving/cooking).

Don’t buy things like juicers or ice cream makers right away unless you know you’ll use them. Kitchen stuff adds up fast!

Do you have Winners in Ontario? I found a good deal on my cutlery set when I first moved out. 

Post # 6
9677 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

As far as pans, I prefer stainless steel pans.  But it is nice to have a mix.  Nonstick is good for some things where you don’t want any sticking, like omelets.  Good quality stainless steel will hold up better in the long run, but it takes some practice to learn to cook on them.  Nonstick are very easy to cook with.  My advice for pans if to try places like TJMaxx or HomeGoods.  They often have great pans that are 1/2 off retail price.

I would look for a larger frying  type pan (10″ at least) with high sides and a few smaller ones to get you started.  Also a large stock pot for soups, and a few small ones.  Get a variety.

I have some glass baking pans and some ceramic ones for casseroles, baked pastas.  A square one is nice plus a larger 9X13 one. Corningware is a decent brand and you can find some with covers which are great for leftovers.

For baking I would definitely get some metal cookie sheets/pans, a 9×13 cake pan, and a square baking pan.  Once you have those you can add the others later on: muffin pans, loaf pans, springform pan.

I would also look for some storage, I prefer pyrex storage dishes.  These are soooo handy!! Get a variety of sizes.

For utensils: get some spatulas, spoons, vegetable peeler, can opener, wisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons, strainer to get started.  I would suggest a variety of kitchen towels and dish towels.  I prefer cloth dish towels over sponges because I wash them.  Oh and some oven mitts, don’t forget those! Smile

Post # 7
9677 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I also agree with PP.  I would splurge on the pots/pans and knives.  Decent knives are great.  Cooking, cutting, and chopping is much more enjoyable with good knives because they make it easier.  You don’t necessarily have to get a whole set, but I would recommend a at least a good chef’s knife, paring knife, serrated knife (or bread knife- good for bread, or tomatoes, or anything with a delicate outside you don’t want to smash), and possibly some steak knives if you like to eat a lot of meat.

My advice is to find a store like TJMaxx or HomeGoods (Don’t know if you have those where you are, but surely there is something comparable??) if you are looking for good deals!!

Post # 8
2905 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

If you live anywhere near an ikea, I love their IKEA 365 pots and pans. You can buy cheaper ones, but the 365 line is still very affordable and durable. Avoid non stick coatings as they tend to chip and flake! 

I also like OXO brand utensils. Mine have held up to years of heavy use and runs through the dishwasher. 

Post # 9
1150 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I cook and bake a lot and I am fortunate to have a family and SO who support me in those activities by buying me things! If you are serious about learning to cook, your most important purchases will be pots/pans and knives. My suggestions for you:

-Good knives: I have a Wusthof Classic set and use them every single day. If you get good knives and take care of them, they will last for the rest of your life and beyond. I suggest going to W-S, Crate&Barrel, or similar to check them out and see how they feel in your hand. This is an item to splurge on. Get at least a chef’s knife (6-8″), a serrated bread knife (8″), and a paring knife (3-4″). You can always add more later.

-Pots/pans: get at least a 8″ skillet, a larger skillet (maybe with lid), 1-2 saucepans with lids, and a larger stockpot. You can check out cookware ratings on consumer reports and I’ve seen a lot of nice ones in TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s/ Home Goods (cuisinart, kitchenaid, all-clad)

-Enameled cast iron dutch oven, 3.5-5.5qts: I have a Le Creuset one but it is not necessary to spend that kind of $$. Lodge makes inexpensive ones, and you can also find the more expensive brands like LC and Staub in TJMaxx etc.

-Tongs, silicone spatula (for scraping batter), offset spatula for flipping things, whisk (silicone coated if you get nonstick pans), wooden stirring spoon, deep serving spoon

-Microplane grater- the best! Also a peeler, can opener, digital thermometer, and at least one cutting board.

-Measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls (glass)

-Cookie sheets (2), loaf pan, glass casserole dishes (2 in different sizes), muffin pan, pie dish, round or square cake pans depending on your preference

-Food storage- I have glass Pyrex containers in various sizes with dishwasher safe lids and I love them.

-If you are serious about baking, get a digital scale. It’s a lifesaver! I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Escali-P115C-Digital-Multifunctional-Chrome/dp/B0007GAWRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354292338&sr=8-1&keywords=escali

TJMaxx and its sister stores are great places to find this stuff (really, everything except the knives). If you have any more specific questions, please don’t hesitate to PM me! Cooking and baking is one of my favorite things to do in my spare time and I have built up quite an arsenal 🙂

Post # 10
1681 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Currently working on my wedding registry! I always forget things that I need and am adding all the time. Here are the things I know I need in a kitchen! We’re getting almost everything from Target. Hope this helps you think of things you may have missed:

Canister Set (flour, wheat flower, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar)

Mixing Bowls (glass 3 sizes)

Dishes (dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, mugs)

Serving Bowls/Plates

Cup/Drink Set

Silverware + Serving Spoons

Pots & Pans


Griddle Pan

Stock Pot

Cast Iron Skillet

Knife Set

  • Butcher knife, serrated, carving, paring
  • Steak knives

Baking Sheets

Muffin Pans (mini set & regular)

Pyrex Casserole Dishes ( 2-9×13, 1-8×8, 1-deep dish)

Pyrex Storage Containers

Cutting Board (bread board + silicone boards LARGE)

Olive Oil Drizzler/Sprayer


Pot Holders

Hand Mixer

Air Popper

Toaster or Toaster Oven

Fire Extinguisher

Meat Thermometer (instant digital read)

Spice Rack

Wine glasses

George Foreman Grill


Little tools:

  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheese/Vegetable Grater
  • Pampered Chef Brand Garlic Crusher (I swear it’s the only one worth buying!)
  • Vegetable Scrubber
  • Measuring Spoons/Cups
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Can Opener
  • Cork Screw
  • Whisk
  • Ice scream scoop
  • Cookie dough scoop


Post # 11
11271 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@Sparkle_Bee:  since you are in toronto you will have a canadian tire store nearby.  they always have amazing sales on their pots and pans sets.  large full sets for 50, 60, sometimes even 70% off.  bakewear sets and serving bowl sets go on sale all of the time too for 50% off.  a few weeks ago i picked up a cuisinart knife set as a xmas gift reg $200 for $49.99.  watch their flyer every week.  you need a lot of stuff so why pay full price?

Post # 13
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I like to have a few good quality multi-use items. For example, and nice chef’s knife will crush garlic perfectly well and still cut your veggies. My list of essentials:

Three stainless-steel pots (small, medium, large) with the thickest bottoms you can afford.

A couple of frying pans, at least one large. I personally hate non-stick frying pans because of the chemicals they can give off and the way they wear out even if treated with kid gloves. I LOVE my cast iron. It cooks better, is healthier, and you can use stainless steel utensils.

About utensils: Mine are mostly vintage/ antique hand-me-downs. I LOVE them- the spatulas especially. If you can find nice, springy but still firm steel spatulas, get them. The last thing you want to happen when you’re flipping a fish filet or burger is to have the spatula give way and dump your food. I’ve never found a plastic one that I like. My ultimate utensil list: 1 spatula, 1 stainless steel ladle for soups, assorted wooden spoons (they’re cheap, so I usually throw mine out if I think there’s something growing in it), tongs, and a whisk. Obviously other utensils can be added, but you can cook just about anything with the above items.

I like glass (Pyrex) mixing bowls. If I’m whisking, beating, stirring, etc., they’re heavy enough to stay still better than steel.

Knives: I only have three. A very good (and very old) chef’s knife, a decent paring knife, and a filet knife. They serve me well. If you don’t want to be constantly washing them, more is better, but you don’t necessarily need any more than 2 or 3 knives even if you do a lot of cooking. I cook every single day- and it’s all from scratch.

A couple baking sheets and some pyrex baking pans/ casserole dishes are super useful.

I like to have two cutting boards- one for meat, and one for vegetables. The meat cutting board is plastic so I can be sure to kill all the germs. I try to be very careful when it comes to avoiding cross contamination.

I lived for a long time without a food processor or blender; they aren’t that important in the foods that I cook. An inexpensive alternative is a food mill. You can only run mushy foods through it, though; boiling will make most things mushy. I mostly use it for applesauce and potatoe soup.

I don’t cook or bake with thermometers except for an oven thermometer. It takes a lot of practice to tell when food is done properly, so if you’re new to cooking, probe thermometers are a lifesaver.

Measuring cups and spoons are useful for baking. So is a rolling pin, and various other baking pans.

That’s pretty much my kitchen! It’s horribly long, I know. I’ve found a system that works well for me; if you cook differently, my system might not work so well for you. I hope this helps:)

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