When you watch any cookery show, the chef involved seems to have a million and one different gadgets. All of these expensive things sat in their pristine kitchen. And yes, if you have lots of money to spare, there are very expensive things you can buy to use to cook with.


But, you don’t actually need half the things they use during their shows. I was thinking about this earlier, and what would be considered essential in the kitchen. Frugal cooking, at that! Because having some good, sturdy essentials in your kitchen can go a long way to helping your cooking and budget.


So, here’s my list of kitchen essentials to help you with your frugal cooking:

  • A large, non stick frying pan. Something that could be used for a stew, a stir fry or for that bacon sandwich as a treat. Non stick means that you should use less oil to coat the pan as well, so saving money there as well. A pan like this would work well in the kitchen.
  • A paring knife, a chef’s knife and a bread knife. These three different knives will be able to do most jobs in the kitchen. Whether you need to chop vegetables or slice a loaf of bread, these three are different sizes so will do the job.
  • Vegetable peeler. I know there’s some debate about peeling vegetables or not, as some of the goodness is lost when they’re peeled. However, we do peel our veg here at The Frugal Cottage so a vegetable peeler is a must.
  • Wooden chopping boards. Again, for chopping and preparing veg, to cutting bread, chopping boards are essential. I love wooden ones, and have three of these. We also have this set of plastic ones as we got them as a wedding present. Either way, chopping boards (more than one) of some sort are important.
  • Measuring jugs, one small and one large. So useful to have for measuring ingredients in recipes, and also for portion control. One smaller one is useful for small amounts of liquids. A larger one for making sauces in.
  • A casserole dish. We have two, one oval and one round. They are cast iron and very heavy. But, they are great for cooking bigger portions and for slow cooking in the oven. I’d love a Le Creuset round casserole dish one day, but they’re so expensive. We’ve got Debhenems own brand version instead!
  • A spatula/fish slice. Something to flip things in a saucepan! These are so cheap but if I can’t, for whatever reason, find mine, it’s such a pain. Definitely an essential.
  • Wooden spoons, plastic serving spoon. Things again to use in saucepans, to stir whilst cooking and then to serve up when ready. Ours are all from a supermarket so were very cheap and have lasted well (so far).
  • Kitchen scales. I would not be without my electronic kitchen scales. Again, when following recipes and needing to measure out, I know exactly how much I need so that I can keep portions down. I have this one which I would highly recommend. It does take batteries, but they last ages.
  • Metal tongs. Very useful for turning meat, pulling apart meals and serving up spaghetti. Ours look like these ones, with plastic ends. Either way, very useful!
  • Tin opener, bottle opener and scissors. Surely most people have these in their kitchen? I know a lot of branded tins now have a ring pull, but as we mainly buy non branded stuff, a tin opener is a must.
  • A colander for draining pasta, spaghetti and bigger amounts of vegetables. A win win situation! We use ours nearly every day for various items. It looks like this which sits in the kitchen sink so nice and safe.
  • A mixing bowl. More than one if you’ve got the space, but definitely one at least. So handy for making cakes, mixing salads and storing leftovers!
  • Baking trays. Again, more than one if you can. I recently got a glass one, which I am liking! I didn’t know you could get them until recently.
  • Freezer bags. Very useful to portion things up for the freezer, like meat or if you’ve batch cooked a meal.
  • Storage containers. Keeping things fresh and minimising waste is so important. I like to store things like pasta/rice/oats in glass containers.


Then, these things are not essential but will save you money and are useful to have too:

  • A slow cooker. I’ve written before about how I think everyone should own a slow cooker. I honestly believe this! They make cheaper cuts of meat much more tasty, and there’s nothing better than coming in after a long day at work and there’s a meal bubbling away for you. They don’t cost too much and use very little electricity for the amount of time they’re on for.
  • An electric whisk. As someone who does a lot of baking, it makes life a lot easier if you have an electronic whisk instead of by hand. Ours was another wedding present from our gift list – I asked for lots of sensible items! We have this one, but in cream.
  • A food processor. Again, not essential but a nice bit of equipment if you have the space and money for it.

Kitchen Essentials For Frugal Cooking - The Frugal Cottage


I think this is quite a comprehensive list of kitchen essentials. Things that will make your life easier in the kitchen and save you money in the main run. It will also help you minimise waste.  I’ll be the first to admit that I love looking at kitchenware and dining ware. But, if you are looking to condense what you need in the kitchen, this would be what I recommend.


Finally, linking into this nicely, is that my first course launches on Monday, all about reducing your food spend and minimising food waste. Check out this post if you want to know more!


What other items would you recommend? Please add them in the comments! 


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