Ultimate List of Kitchen Essentials

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Curious about my favorite tools, appliances, and cookware? Then you’ve come to the right place because I’m sharing the ultimate list of my kitchen essentials. From bakeware to kitchen utensils, these are my go-to items for creating magic in my kitchen.

pantry storage and decor

If you’ve been following Inspired by Charm for a while, you’ll know that for me, time spent in the kitchen is time well spent. The kitchen is my happy place. I’ve developed and shared hundreds of recipes here, so having kitchen tools and equipment I can rely on is a must. This collection of kitchen essentials has been in development for years. I did the work so you don’t have to.

What’s Basics Do I Need In My Kitchen?

Before we get into this list, there are a few things I want to mention.

First – While this is a very comprehensive list, I am not suggesting that it is a list of EVERYTHING you need or must/should have. Items listed are just personal favorites. For example, I have three different sets of flatware. The average person doesn’t need this. Pick one. Another example: you may notice there’s no blender; that’s because I haven’t found one I love. I will be certain to update this post when I have new things to add to my kitchen-essentials list.

Second – Because this list is pretty extensive, I’m not going to go into great detail as to why I love each item. However, I will make a few small notes so you will understand why I want to recommend the items listed to everyone I know. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Third – I realize that it’s not ideal that every product is not pictured. I think this is one of those posts that’s going to develop and get better over time. Please bear with me. I wanted to get this post to you so for now, published is better than perfect. If there is any way I can make things easier to navigate, please let me know in the comment section below.

More Home Essentials:

Curious about more of my favorites that aren’t in the kitchen? You’re in luck, because I have more post like this! Check out some of my other favorites below:

With that being said, let’s get into my must have kitchen essentials. Whether you are stocking a basic kitchen in your first apartment or going all out for a new kitchen remodel, I hope you find this helpful.


When it comes to tableware, my goal was to find something that matched my style, something that I could dress up or dress down, and something that I could mix and match with. The dinnerware collection below checks off all of those boxes and then some. I also have no issues with chips or scratches. In terms of color, white is the obvious choice for me. Yes, colored dishes or patterned dishes can be so much fun, but I found classic white to be best. Why? It goes with everything and your food will always look beautiful on a classic white plate.

In terms of flatware, I have several sets because I’m extra. However, the classic silver set is my go-to everyday flatware. I threw in the others because I love them and if you did want an extra set, they are ones I would recommend.

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Glassware might be my favorite kitchen essential to talk about. The French wine glasses and the CB2 Glasses are two of my favorites in this collection. They are so inexpensive and can be used for water, wine, cocktails, etc. I will mention that they are delicate, which I honestly love, but if you are rough on glasses, please take note of this.

I’ll let the other glasses speak for themselves. Some are pricey and some are inexpensive. If they are pricey, it’s for a good reason; it’s because they are a show-stopper of a glass.

One other thing worth mentioning is that you can find beautiful glassware at thrift stores for basically nothing. If you’re looking to save money, shop your local thrift store for glassware. You will not be disappointed.

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Cookware and Bakeware

In terms of cookware, Staub is my go-to whenever possible. Their bakers and cast iron pieces are investments, but worth every penny. They should last you a lifetime. I also love the Goldtouch line at Williams-Sonoma for all my baking sheet, cookies sheet pan, muffin tin, etc. Are they are “better” than others? I can’t say, but I love how they perform and I love the color. I think I have most of the collection. They are not all linked below, but I did share some of my favorites.

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Kitchen Tools

Well-functioning kitchen tools are a must for any kitchen essentials list. When it comes to knives, Zwilling is a go-to for me. Their knife block sits on my counter and I have spent the last few years filling up my knife block with the knives I love and use the most.

The rest of this list is comprised of things I’m constantly reaching for when I’m in the kitchen. Things like a spatula, tongs, measuring cups, juicers, etc. These are either handy tools to make preparation easier or common tools that I feel work really well. Having the right tools that function well makes all the difference.

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I’d say that 95% of my serveware is white or off-white. Again, this is for the same reason I have white dinnerware. Food looks best on white. Exceptions to this rule are wood serving pieces and black serving pieces. I have a few of the wood or black serveware pieces sprinkled in below for a little variety. Certain foods can really shine on these surfaces as well.

You’ll notice the collection I listed below has various shapes and sizes. I think it’s nice to have a collection of varied pieces. You never know what you’re going to need. I also have some vintage ironstone and other vintage pieces I like to use for serving as well.

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Anytime I share a picture of my butler’s pantry, I always get asked about the wood-topped glass canisters I have for my flour and sugar. I get it. They are so pretty and they function really well too! For me, kitchen storage needs to be functional and pretty.

With the exception of my OXO Pop Canister which I use for dry storage, I try to use mostly glass wherever I can. I just prefer the look, feel, and how well glass cleans. (No red spaghetti sauce-stained plastic containers in this kitchen.) I’ve also listed things for storing leftovers, vegetables, fruits, etc.

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Small Appliances

Generally speaking, I’m a big fan of KitchenAid appliances. (Their new cordless hand mixer is a dream!) I adore this food processor. (FYI – I specifically bought this particular one because it’s the one Ina Garten uses and the “Queen of the Kitchen” wouldn’t use anything less than the best!)

I don’t have a ton of small appliances, but the ones I do have I really like and do use. Throughout the years I’ve tried many. These are the are the workhorses in my kitchen that never let me down.

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The start to a beautiful kitchen is a clean kitchen. These are some of the products and tools that I used, love and recommend.


I wasn’t sure if I should share pantry staples and ingredients, but there are a few that are must-haves in my kitchen, so I decided to included them in this list.


There are a few kitchen essentials that just didn’t fit anywhere else so I needed a miscellaneous section. This list contains items that are FUNctional (fun and functional) or items that are just a must-have for me. For example, my Sonos speaker is one of these items. Great tunes are a must in the kitchen so a good speak is essential.

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Finally, I wanted to add that not everything in your kitchen needs to be new in order to be beautiful and functional. In fact, some of my favorite kitchen tools are vintage finds. These are a bit harder to source in a blog post, but some of my favorite vintage kitchen essentials include:

I’ve found that vintage items were built to last. If they are still in good quality after 50+ years, you know they are going to last you a lifetime.

Side note: I talk a lot about vintage treasures here on Inspired by Charm. If you’re looking for more on this topic that goes beyond kitchen decor, tools, and accessories, check out these posts below:

I did my best to link things where I could, but the results will be a bit more general. When it comes to finding vintage kitchen essentials, I recommend checking local thrift and antique stores. For me, it helps to see and feel an item to know if it’s going to be a good fit for my space.

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If there is a tool, gadget, serving piece, etc. that’s not on my list and you’re curious about it, leave a comment below. Certain products may have skipped my mind. I’m also happy to test out other things that could be added to this best kitchen essentials list. There are a lot of pieces in the kitchen so there is still work to be done.

Curious about something else in my kitchen like paint colors, light fixtures, cabinetry hardware, countertops, etc.? Check out my kitchen remodel reveal. It includes a full source list at the end of the post.

With all that being said, I hope you found this list immensely helpful. As I mentioned above, the kitchen is one of my favorite places to be and I rely on quality products that do the job their designed to do. I can recommend each of these items with the upmost confidence.

Are there any kitchen essentials/favorites items you’d like to see or hear about? Let me know in the comments below.

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