How to Set Your Kitchen Up Like a Chef

Cooking and eating are necessary parts of all of our lives. If you enjoy cooking, optimizing your kitchen to have all the essential tools can make every meal smoother. Ready to set your kitchen up like a professional? No matter how experienced you are, these tips for stocking and organizing your kitchen will make you feel like an absolute pro in the kitchen.

Items Every Kitchen Should Have


The first step to achieving your dream kitchen set-up is to cover the basic tools you may need. This kitchen essentials list is a great starting point.




A sharp, high-quality chef’s knife is your most valuable asset in your kitchen. Invest in a great knife, have it professionally sharpened, and you can cut almost anything. Plus, a sharp knife is safer than a dull one.


After you have a good chef’s knife, some other pieces of cutlery you may want to add to your collection include a serrated bread knife and a paring knife. If you buy a lot of whole fish, a fileting knife can also be helpful, but not as necessary unless that’s a regular part of your diet.


Cutting boards


Plastic or wood? The debate is endless. No matter your choice, a sturdy, well-cared-for cutting board is almost as foundational as the knife you use! Large cutting boards are excellent if you frequently make larger meals with many different ingredients. According to Serious Eats, a minimum of 12 by 18 inches is the most efficient for home cooks. 


Mixing bowls


Making a cake? Use a mixing bowl. Mixing up a big salad? Use a mixing bowl. Combining hamburger meat with your secret seasoning? You know the answer: mixing bowl! A couple of large bowls are indispensable in the kitchen. The larger size is more versatile, though finding a place to store them can be difficult.


Measuring spoons and cups


Measuring cups and spoons are a must-have. Keep various sizes, shapes, and materials on hand until you find a favorite. For example, you may prefer small plastic measuring cups for flour and larger glass measuring cups for liquids.


Pots and pans


Pots and pans are another great place to invest in quality materials. Whether you choose stainless steel, copper, nonstick, or aluminum, sticking to one material across your cookware can be helpful. The most basic pots and pans you should consider buying include:


  • Saucepan
  • Stockpot
  • Frying pan
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Saute pan
  • Baking pans: 13×9 casserole dish and 8×8 square baking dish


Look into cookware sets with multiple pots and pans to maximize your budget. With these items, you can cook almost anything!


Cooking utensils


The longer you cook, the more preferences you’ll develop. Utensils are no different! Spatulas, a ladle, whisk, and wooden spoon are good places to start, but you may find that you want more specialized utensils when you learn more complex recipes or work with more delicate ingredients.


Baking basics


While the pots, pans, and utensils mentioned above can be helpful for baking, baking could have its own dedicated shopping list. If you plan to make bread, cakes, or pastries, these tools can help:


  • Kitchen scale for precise measurements
  • Cake pans – two or more identical pans if you plan to make multi-layer cakes
  • Cupcake pans and liners
  • Loaf pans
  • Cooling racks
  • Cookie sheets, which can be helpful for other purposes, including roasting vegetables


These tools are just a starting point. As mentioned above, as you learn more and start making more advanced recipes, you’ll begin collecting specialized equipment like bannetons, offset spatulas, and maybe even a stand mixer!


Storage containers


You put a lot of work into cooking your food, so you’ll want to keep those leftovers. Glass containers are often microwavable, and some can even be put in the oven (be sure to check). Plus, they tend to be more durable than plastic. However, they also tend to be pricier. Professional kitchens are overflowing with plastic 32-oz deli containers, also known as quart containers, for a reason.


Must-have kitchen appliances


Appliances can be a personal preference: some folks can’t imagine life without their stand mixer, while others are determined that hand mixing is the secret to their famous recipe. Here are a few that should make your top list for a major kitchen upgrade:


  • Oven and cooktop or stove
  • Refrigerator and freezer
  • Microwave
  • Blender and food processor
  • Rice cooker
  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • Slow cooker


How to Organize a Kitchen


Are you wondering how to organize a small kitchen? Or are you just unsure where to put all those pots and pans? Setting your kitchen up like a professional is as much about efficiency and organization as it is about having the right tools. Keeping a good flow in your kitchen is essential to efficient, low-frustration cooking. 


1. Make dedicated spaces with relevant tools in reach


Having dedicated spaces can make it easy to stay organized. What does that look like? Every time you cook, have a specific “station” where you peel, chop, and prep. Have another space for using certain appliances, like a blender.


Once you have your dedicated workspaces, store the items you need there so that they’re within reach. For example, your chopping station should have knives and cutting boards. Don’t forget small bowls and ramekins if you use the mise en place method.


2. Use drawer and cabinet organizers


Keeping your kitchen cabinets and drawers organized can be the difference between flipping a perfect omelet and digging through drawers, looking for that spatula while your eggs burn to the pan! Drawer organizers can help keep smaller items like utensils from rolling around loose in a drawer, making everything easier to find when needed.


Cabinet organizers work the same way, allowing you to stack pots and pans cleaner and neater. You won’t have to hunt for a matching lid or your favorite saucepan.


3. Utilize vertical storage, too


Vertical storage is handy if your space is limited. Hang pots and pans above the stove. Some go-to utensils can even go on the wall. If you don’t have much countertop space to spare, consider utilizing the top of your fridge for larger appliances. Have limited cabinet space? A bookcase can provide great storage space for pots, pans, bowls, small appliances, and more.


Bonus tip: Set aside a comfortable place to eat


Wait, what does that have to do with cooking like a chef? Having a comfortable dining room table and chair for enjoying your meals lets you do just that: enjoy them. Setting aside a spot you only use for eating (that means no junk mail piled on the table) gives you a special place to enjoy the meal you worked hard to prepare!


CORT Furniture Outlet Has Your Necessities

You don’t have to be a professional chef to enjoy the benefits of a well-stocked, well-organized kitchen. Just a few simple steps and some necessities will make you feel ready to cook for royalty!

If your kitchen or any other room in your home is missing necessities, turn to CORT Furniture Outlet. With discounts of up to 70% off retail prices and many items available for same-day pickup, shopping used has never been so easy! CORT Furniture Outlet has kitchenware, furniture staples, and so much more in an ever-changing inventory. Visit your local CORT Furniture Outlet in-store or online today.

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