13 Necessities for the Modern Kitchen

Photo: Williams-Sonoma
Get the best kitchen set-up possible with these 13 must-have culinary items.

We fancy ourselves knowledgeable when it comes to outfitting both your home and your kitchen. When it comes to whipping up a delicious brunch or savory dinner, here are the goods you should have on hand for your daily culinary adventures.

  1. The Juicer

    lemon juicer
    Photo by Williams-Sonoma

    Fresh squeezed citrus is an obsession of ours, especially during the winter months...okay, all the months. Since keeping it simple is best, a coated aluminum handpress will get out the last drop while sparing you the hassle of picking out seeds.

    Shop Now: Open Kitchen lemon press, $14, Williams-Sonoma.com

  2. The Food Savers

    silicone food huggers
    Photo by Food Huggers

    Never deal with messy plastic wrap again! These ingenious silicone covers are ideal when saving leftover fruits and veggies or covering open jars. Each pack comes with four sizes, so you'll be ready to cover everything from a lime or tomato to an aluminum can.

    Shop Now: Silicone food huggers, $13 for set of 5, FoodHuggers.com

  3. The Do-Everything Blender

    vitamix blender
    Photo by Vitamix

    With smoothie bowls being all the rage for breakfast, a good blender that can do just about anything is a kitchen must. If you're not sure where to start, the Vitamix 5200 standard is a classic and you can add on accessories as needed. Go forth and blend!

    Shop Now: Vitamix 5200 standard blender, $450, Vitamix.com

  4. The Chef Knife

    shun knife
    Photo by Shun

    Before you cook anything, you're going to need one knife that's the jack of all trades: a chef's knife. Known as the master chef's knife in Japan, the kiritsuke 8-inch will be your go-to when it comes to every cooking need—from slicing vegetables to deboning proteins (even fish!). While a knife set is great, it can be costly. This one knife will do just about everything for you, plus it's made from carbon steel and ebony Pakkawood for a modern spin on the traditional Japanese knife. Chic!

    Shop Now: Classic Kiritsuke 8-inch knife, $213, Shun.KaiUSALtd.com

  5. The Garlic Press

    garlic press
    Photo by Walmart

    While your trusty chef knife can do the job, you may want a quicker option. This sleek garlic press will ensure perfectly chopped cloves of garlic, no matter how many you need to spice up dinner. The best part? The pullout sieve allows for easy cleaning, so there won't be any of that gunk left behind.

    Shop Now: Kuhn Rikon garlic press $46, Walmart.com

  6. The Mixing Bowl Set

    glass mixing bowls
    Photo by Crate and Barrel

    Every chef needs a set of good mixing bowls. We love this minty-green glass set that will add a retro vibe to your countertops. While they look great and will be coveted by the next generation, you can try stainless steel when looking for a lighter option.

    Shop Now: Hand-pressed glass bowls, $70 for set of 3, CrateandBarrel.com

  7. The Spiral Maker

    spiral cutter
    Photo by Microplane

    Substituting classic pasta with vegetable noodles, like zucchini, is a healthy option you can now try yourself. Designed specifically for spiraling vegetables, this cutter will be put to good use as you cut back on bulking up for winter.

    Shop Now: Microplane spiral cutter, $15, Microplane.com

  8. The Grater

    cheese grater
    Photo by Microplane

    Whether you're a cheesemonger or crave fresh batches of nutmeg, this multisided grater will do the trick. Plus, its compact size is ideal for tinier than tiny kitchens.

    Shop Now: Microplane cube grater, $20, CrateandBarrel.com

  9. The Cast Iron Pan

    cast iron pan
    Photo by Lodge

    Once you've mastered the slicing and dicing, you need a solid frying pan that will stand up to your cooking needs. We strongly believe in the value of a good ol' cast-iron pan for its ability to go from stovetop to oven without breaking a sweat—you can even bake in them! Seriously, treat them right (meaning season them properly) and this utilitarian kitchen tool will serve you for years to come.

    Shop Now: Nine-inch cast-iron skillet, $19, Lodgemfg.com

  10. The Cooking Utensils

    silicone cooking spoons
    Photo by JosephJoseph

    Silicone utensils are essential if you want a heat-resistant option that won't damage nonstick pans. We're loving this colorful option from JosephJoseph. An integrated spoon rest prevents messes on your counters, while a compact stand keeps them organized and easily accessible.

    Shop Now: Elevate silicone utensils, $50, JosephJoseph.com

  11. The Storage Solution

    glass containers
    Photo by Container Store

    These may not be the first option for a kitchen with, let's say, one cabinet (we're eyeing you city dwellers), but we are fans of using glass when it comes to storing everything from dry goods to leftovers. Why? The glass will never absorb any funky smells or colors. Bonus tip: We love using glass bottles like these for storing filtered water in the fridge—plus, they look more stylish on the dinner table than the actual water filter.

    Shop Now: Le Parfait storage jars, from $6, ContainerStore.com

  12. The Coffee Maker

    chemex coffee maker
    Photo by Crate and Barrel

    A trend we're seeing in the home, especially the kitchen, is a return to more traditional, back-to-basics methods. One in particular we're loving is the trend of pour-over coffee. This glass and wood brewer is simple in design but big on flavor retention, meaning you can brew in the morning and refrigerate any leftovers for later without disappointing your taste buds.

    Shop Now: Chemex coffee maker, $46, CrateandBarrel.com

  13. The Filtration System

    water purifier
    Photo by Berkey

    The purest of water is an absolute “yes” for every home and after discovering this water filtration system, we've become total converts. Not only is it powerful enough to purify stagnant pond water (as if you would ever need such a thing), the filters last for three to five years! Because, honestly, who remembers to buy a new filter every three months? For the average household, we'd recommend the 2.25 gallon size, so you won't have to constantly refill.

    Shop Now: Big Berkey water filter, $300, GetBerkey.com