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What kitchen tools and utensils should I get for my first kitchen on a college budget?

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I am a college student and after this summer I will be cooking for myself for the first time. There are lots of kitchen tools and sets but I don't have the space or money to buy everything I need. What are the most important things for me to buy?

This one looks nice and probably is a good starting place but I think I will need more stuff for baking and cooking as well.


23 Members Answered

member since mar 2016

This would be great for starters.

These are very nice measuring cup. They don't take up much space.

 These are nice to have for mixing and storage for leftovers.

 You will need these to cut up food. 

 You will need a chopping board.

 This has just about everything you will need to get started it even has a pizza cutter and can opener.

@pmurphey I hope this will help you get started. Good luck

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pmurphey 3 years ago

Wow thanks for the detailed post. Great find on the stackable measuring cups, those will be very useful

Ron RJ Rush replied to 3 years ago

Wow thanks for the detailed post. Great find on the stackable measuring cups, those will be very useful

@pmurphey Your welcome  they are really great. 

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Jessica Brazell 3 years ago

Microwave oven, baking pans.


member since mar 2016

A small convection oven would be ideal. You can cook so many things in it for 1-4 people. It can be used as a toaster oven, a regular oven, a broiler  And best of all, it doesn't take up too much space.

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Barbara U 3 years ago

Honestly, if I were you I'd go to some thrift stores and garage sales too to see what you can find cheap and also ask around. Maybe a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparents have some items you can use also! Then buy what you need after that. Good luck and happy cooking!

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mom of 2 girls ages 40 and 15

@pmurphey this is a rice cooker and a steamer cooker I have cooked roasts chicken and soups in this  

I'm cooking chicken in ours right now!

member since may 2016

I think that you could find the basics items at a dollar shop like 99 cents or dollar tree. For other things like glass or pan, plates , they have a lot of good things at ikea. Also check the clearance part at Homegoods stores.

Spatula, pans, knives, and can opener are the most useful items. Buy only things that you will use and things less important or less used , buy them at the dollar shop to spare money. ..

Marki Bondarev 3 years ago

Also look at the clearance part of target or Walmart stores

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23. Fur mama, Proud Aunt, Product Reviewer, and Freebie lover!


You will definitely need one of these. You can cook almost anything on it and they make them in various sizes so that you can find the right size for you that won't take up much counter space. I can't live without mine, I use it several times a week!

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Self Employed Looking for new Hobbies


Lots of great ideas and insight of items you will be needing. In college I pretty much just had the basic a couple pot and pans, a set of cheap knives, some silverware, and only a few dishes. One thing that I wish that I had was a garlic press!! I love using fresh garlic when cooking so this tool is super handy and relatively inexpensive dependning on the brand and quality you go with. I have the pampered chef one and it is a bit pricey but i love it. I also showed you a cheaper one!

Photographer, Designer, User Experience Specialist, Audio Engineer, Kitchen & Cooking Nerd.

1. A good set of kitchen knives. Don't skimp, they'll last forever, if you take care of them.

Pricey, but these are my faves.

(I also wrote an article about knives.)

2. 1 good cast iron pan. You can do just about anything with one. No need for a non-stick pan, a baking pan, or a roasting pan. you can do it all in cast iron.

You can spend $$ on an expensive one, but also cheaper ones aren't bad. Cheaper ones are heavier because they're made buy machines. Expensive ones are hand-made and lighter, and will last A LOT longer. 

Learn how to season a pan if you get one. Also - get a pot-holder or two.

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member since may 2016

I am not sure how much space you have but you may want a crock pot for some easy meals! You can get some very small ones for great prices. 

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pmurphey 3 years ago

Great idea! I hear these are great for cooking lots of things easily


member since nov 2015

Will you have a full kitchen?

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pmurphey 3 years ago

Yes but not too much counter space or cabinet space. I'm also sharing with 3 other people


Social Media Manager at Shopswell, runner, travel junkie, and bacon eater.

I know it's a bit of a splurge but this multi-sectional pan is awesome. You can cook up to five different foods at the same time. If you don't have a full size stovetop to work with, this would be ideal.

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member since may 2016

Here is a list of basics .....If your just starting to cook for yourself make sure you pick up a basic pot n pan set, maybe a baking set ( although i lived without one for awhile ... just make sure your pots n pans are oven safe ! )  and there is a set of kitchen stuff for not a bad price that comes with all kinds of gadgets that will come in handy ... the all you need to worry about is dishes and silverware and a few glasses for drinks ..... you can add in things here n there as  you get more established and settled and upgrade to better stuff after you get some practice in  (  don't spend alot on your first set of pans and when you burn something black and its gotta be tossed you won't feel as awful lol ) 

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Mom of two boys. California.

Make sure to get a can opener!! :) Best of luck to you 

I love to find great online deals

member since nov 2015

a microwave or toaster oven is essential. I love my microwave, but with a toaster oven you can bake unlike with a microwave and they don't take up that much space. Measuring spoons, spatulas, a cutting board, there are actually quite a few things, but if space is an issue, then it's best to decide what types of foods you'll be cooking and how you will be cooking them, that way you can decide what you need. And if you drink coffee, I'd recommend a Keurig.

Product review blogger, Nail tech & Stay at home spouse

Honestly i would try the dollar tree, then amazon then wal-mart. And compare the 3 before making your choice. I know how hard it is to be on a budget. Yes still needing every day things that you will use. 

member since nov 2015

George foreman grill-- we love ours!   oven safe pots and pans, pizza pan, silicone spoonulas, oven mitts,  Keurig personal,  nonstick cooking vessels, silpats, lock n lock for storage

I hope to have fun here and learn at the same time.


Stay at home mom and disabled I like to spend time on my computer and shop

These are a must have to use

I <3 Shopswell


Here is a great affordable start up set at a great price 

member since mar 2016

A ceramic paring knife.  They are small and easy to use.  I get mine at Harbour Freight.

ceramic knife

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