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The Essential Kitchen Tools for Beginners

If you’re just starting to see what you’re capable of in the kitchen, navigating the vast amount of kitchen tools can be hard. You may be wondering, is it necessary? Can’t I whisk my eggs with a fork? (you can, but don’t).

The truth is, with the right knowledge and guidance, understanding the basic kitchen essentials required for a broad range of cooking doesn't have to be a hassle. And disclaimer - it doesn’t have to break the bank either! 

At Milly’s Store, we offer a vast range of cookware equipment suitable for beginners and professional chefs. We’ll go through the essentials in this article, allowing you to whip up an enormous range of delicious meals at home. 

Read on to discover the essential kitchen tools for beginners…

Why it’s essential to invest in the basics first 

For newbies who have a keen interest in developing their cooking skills, the amount you’ll be able to whip up with the cookware essentials will likely surprise you. There isn’t always a need to invest in the fanciest, most expensive cooking equipment - sometimes, you only need the basics. 

Trust us when we say it’ll save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration when you have access to the right kitchen tools. Your dishes will taste better, you’ll grow your culinary knowledge, and honestly? It makes the process much more enjoyable. 

We’re only going to cover the essential kitchen tools in this article, so if you find that you’ve got everything checked off, you can consider yourself to have a more than adequate kitchen tool setup. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into it. 

Essential cookware and bakeware 

A saucepan set 

Investing in a saucepan set is the most cost-effective way of ensuring you have access to the sizes and saucepan types required for various cooking methods. 

Cooking spaghetti or any other type of grain? You’ll need a saucepan. Thinking about trying your luck with a homemade stew? There’s a saucepan for that. Making gravy from scratch? You guessed it, you’ll need a saucepan. 

With a saucepan set, your cookware won’t only match, but it’ll also ensure you can simmer, boil, stew and cook grains (or other ingredients that require it) perfectly. 

You’ll need a milk pan, a frying pan, a stockpot and a small collection of multi-purpose saucepans to cover all bases. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with induction or ceramic hobs; you’ll be able to find a saucepan set tailored to your kitchen. 

We’ll go into more detail on the specific pans below. 


Circulon Premier Professional Non Stick 5 Piece Saucepan & Skillet Set

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Pro-tip - check out Stellar, Circulon and Kuhn Rikon cookware brands for the best saucepan sets. You’ll be investing in top-quality cooking equipment that’ll provide you with advanced features to easily whip up incredible dishes.  

Milk pans 

Perfect for: simmering and boiling

Milk pans are designed to simmer milk and are usually made to feature a ‘lip’ for efficient pouring. They tend to be smaller than other saucepan varieties and can be used for much more than just heating milk. 

You’ll be able to use a milk pan to whip up various homemade sauces and soups, and you can also use it to perfectly cook portions of grains and vegetables. 


Stellar 1000 Stainless Steel 14cm Milk or Sauce Pot 1.7L

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Multipurpose saucepan sizes  

Perfect for: simmering, stewing and boiling.

In any great saucepan set, you’ll find at least a couple of saucepan pots in different sizes that will cover a broad range of cooking requirements. So, whether you’re cooking for the whole family or just whipping up something quick for yourself, you should have access to the specific size required. 

When searching for quality saucepans, you should look for circular pans with tall and straight sides for optimum capacity, with beneficial features included, such as a useful handle and well-fitted lids to trap moisture.


Kuhn Rikon Allround 3 Piece Saucepan, Casserole & Frying Pan Set

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Frying pans

Perfect for: shallow frying, grilling, searing and sauteing.

Frying pans are shallow, flat-bottomed pans usually made to feature sloped sides and one, long handle. These pans are great for distributing heat evenly and are available in various sizes. They can also be made from various materials, with the most popular choices being stainless steel, cast iron, or aluminium.  

Frying pans are ideal for using in conjunction with various cooking techniques, such as frying, searing, simmering, grilling and sautéing. So, if your recipe includes one of those techniques, you can execute it perfectly with a frying pan. You can also purchase frying pans with lids, but you’ll need to double-check this is included, as not all do. In fact, frying pans with lids are most commonly referred to as sauté pans. 

Many people use a trusty frying pan for various purposes, so invest in a decent one, and you’ll be able to rustle up anything. From hearty English breakfasts to homemade pasta sauces, pancakes and beyond!

Pro-tip - for hassle-free cooking, check out non-stick frying pans.


Circulon SteelShield Non-Stick Stainless Steel C-Series Frying Pan 25cm

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Stockpots and casserole dishes 

Perfect for: large batches of cooking, simmering, boiling and stewing. 

Stockpots and casserole dishes are often mistaken as just a big saucepan. However, they are different types of cookware. However, confusingly - you’ll find them sometimes included within saucepan sets! 

A stockpot is a type of cookware designed for cooking large quantities of food. It’s designed to evenly heat and simmer ingredients for long periods, ideal for stews and broths.

As stockpots are designed for heavier-duty cooking and larger batches, you’ll find two handles on either side of the pot instead of one, which we commonly see with general saucepans. This is so you can lift the heavier weight of a stockpot easier. These cooking pots also tend to be deeper, with taller sides to accommodate this. 


Chasseur Cast Iron Casserole Dish & Lid 28cm, 6.3L - Matt Black

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A baking tray 

Baking trays are essentially flat metal sheets, and they are (by far) one of the most underrated kitchen tools! These handy pieces of multi-functional cookware will provide a base for ensuring your dishes are cooked on a flat and even surface, allowing the heat to circulate around the food so that it’s cooked to perfection. 

Don’t be fooled by the name, as although these trays are essential for bringing baked goods to life in the oven, they can also be used to cook various dishes. For example, baking trays are often used for pastries, pizzas and meat ingredients. 

You may have heard a baking tray being referred to as a baking sheet, and although the two are incredibly similar and can be used to perform the same tasks, a baking tray will feature rimmed sides, whereas a baking sheet doesn’t.


Stellar Hard Anodised Baking Tray 30 x 20 x 1.5 cm

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Essential kitchen knives

There are many different kitchen knives to choose from that’ll provide you with a specific purpose for certain ingredients. However, to master the basics, every chef should have access to the following:

  • A chef’s knife - a multi-purpose kitchen knife that can do just about anything. Also referred to as a cook’s knife, it can be used for various cutting techniques, such as slicing, chopping, dicing and gliding through ingredients. You’ll also find chef’s knives available in various sizes. 
  • A paring knife - also known as a peeling knife, this is a must-have for finer ingredients requiring closer attention! Paring knives provide unbeatable precision, suitable for detailed cutting and/or working with delicate ingredients, such as peeling potatoes and slicing fruits. 
  • A boning knife - for the meat lovers. Boning knives are ultra-sharp and designed to glide through tougher textures with ease. Great for preparing clean and precise cuts of meat. Perfect for swift removal of flesh, ligaments and other tissues from the bone.
  • A bread knife - essential for cutting through all baked goods and loaves of bread. A quality bread knife will have a long, serrated blade designed for controlled slicing through tough and delicate textures. 
  • A utility knife - a small, multipurpose tool designed for various ingredients and textures. It’s comparable to a chef’s knife, but it’ll come in handy for more delicate ingredients that require precise cutting and precision. 
  • A steak knife - designed to be the sharpest knife on the dining table, steak knives are essential for serving steak dishes primarily, but they’ll also be effective for other meaty textures. A steak knife will provide a clean and controlled cut, gliding through cooked meat textures with little effort, thanks to its ultra-sharp edge. 
  • A meat cleaver - If you’re a carnivore, save time and effort by investing in a quality meat cleaver (preferably a Japanese one). These cutting tools will give you excellent control and force, easily gliding through tough slabs of meat, bone and cartilage.

  • We recommend investing in a top-quality kitchen knife set from a trusted brand for beginner chefs. That way, you’ll have access to everything you need without spending too much time browsing around for specific knife types. 

    To check out our incredible range of kitchen knife sets, click here. Alternatively, to shop for kitchen knife sets with specially designed storage included in the purchase, click here.

    Essential utensils & storage 

    A chopping board

    Every kitchen needs a chopping board. They can be made from various materials; however, most chopping boards tend to be made from durable wood or plastic. 

    A chopping board will act as a protective barrier between your countertop and your knife to cut through your ingredients when preparing dishes. 

    This additional surface will also protect your knife from becoming damaged or dull from grazing your kitchen counter, and if you have particularly slippy countertops, a chopping board will reduce the chance of you losing your grip on the knife.

    Plus, if you’re preparing multiple ingredients on the go, a chopping board will help minimise the chance of cross-contamination - which is why they’re deemed essential in professional kitchens. 

    Cole & Mason Berden Extra Large Acacia Wood Carving Chopping & Serving Board

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    A utensil set 

    Similar to why investing in a saucepan set is better when first starting out in the kitchen, a utensil set will provide you with the kitchen tools you need to enhance your cooking skills. 

    A great kitchen utensil set should provide you with the necessary food preparation tools to perform various tasks, such as measuring or mixing various ingredients to complete your recipe. They’ll also help with keeping your kitchen clean and tidy, reducing the chance of any unwanted spillages occurring. 

    Just as a general note for beginners, utensils made from metal shouldn’t be used on nonstick surfaces. So, if you plan on using kitchen equipment that features this, we’d advise you to invest in silicone-headed tools instead. 

    Many kitchen utensils are readily available, but we’re all about covering the basics in this article. So, to make sure all the essentials are covered, you’ll need: 

    • Ladles, serving spoons and slotted spoons - for stirring, scooping and serving up liquid-based recipes (e.g. soup) of different textures and capacities. 
    • A spatula - for frying, mixing, blending, scraping and distributing ingredients evenly within a frying pan. Spatulas can also be used for serving. 
    • A slotted turner - similar to a spatula but designed with slotted openings for lifting and flipping ingredients. 
    • Kitchen tongs - designed to help grip and lift foods like spaghetti. Kitchen tongs are also used for mixing and blending ingredients for better distribution of components. 
    • Pasta strainer - required to effectively drain the boiling cooking water from pasta or spaghetti-based dishes. 
    • Rice strainer - designed to provide the same purpose as a pasta strainer, but for rice. So, the drain openings are a lot smaller to prevent grains from escaping from the strainer. A rice strainer can be used for virtually any smaller grain type, such as lentils and quinoa. 
    • Measuring cups and/or spoons - following recipes will never have felt easier. Measuring cups can be purchased in pairs and provide exact measurements for volumes of liquid or solid ingredients (e.g. milk, water, flour and sugar).

    Click here to browse our top-quality kitchen utensil set options, guaranteed to have everything you need to prepare food like a pro! 

    Knife storage 

    You'll need a great quality kitchen storage solution to save your kitchen knives from becoming worn and damaged before their time. These essential pieces of equipment will provide you with a dedicated storage space designed to provide kitchen knives with a suitable and efficient place for easy access. Not to mention, it’s dangerous to have your kitchen knives sprawled out all over the place! 

    So, when it comes to kitchen knife storage, popular options are either kitchen knife blocks or magnetic strips; however, blocks tend to be much better at keeping your knives in top condition and preserving their overall sharpness.

    This is because, with magnetic strips, your knives are exposed and kept out at all times, and they sometimes can have the potential to degrade your knife collection if not thoroughly cleaned regularly. 

    Global Stainless Steel Dotted Knife Block for up to 10 Global Knives - G-835/BD

    Shop knife blocks and other storage options today.

    Essential kitchenware and textiles

    If you want to cook the part, you’ve got to look the part! Well, not really - but kitchenware does serve a purpose. It’ll help protect your clothes from getting messy and help lower the chances of a cooking injury. 

    So, as a little kitchenware checklist, you may wish to invest in the following: 

    • Apron - keep your clothes clean and protect yourself from any spillages. You’ll look the part, too! 
    • Oven gloves - designed to protect your hands from scorching temperatures. Ideal for lifting pans from the oven or transferring pots from a heat source. A non-negotiable! 
    • Tea towels - great for keeping your station clean and tidy and wiping away accidental spills. Also great for tasks that require absorption, such as drying your kitchenware and cookware once you’ve finished washing up. 

    Our advice for beginners

    We understand that starting something new can be daunting, especially when it comes to cooking. So, we’ve included several pieces of advice for those starting out in the kitchen. 

    • Always check your hob type before purchasing cookware, as some will require specific types of pots and pans (e.g. induction hobs). 
    • Cookware sets are much more cost-effective when stocking up on the basics, so we recommend purchasing these essentials from a reputable cookware brand. 
    • Follow recipes until you’re comfortable with more advanced dishes. 
    • Research how to use specific types of cooking equipment.
    • Remember to sharpen your kitchen knives.
    • Take your time when it comes to preparing new recipes.
    • Always get into the habit of cleaning up after yourself as you go. You’ll thank yourself for this one once your dish is complete!
    • Always follow the care guidelines for specific utensils. For example, you should never put Japanese kitchen knives in the dishwasher!
    • Most importantly, have fun. Cooking can be an incredibly rewarding experience!

    Shop premium quality kitchen tools at Milly’s Store today

    We hope you've found our advice for beginners helpful. Cooking is all about having fun and experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. So, don't be afraid to make mistakes, as they are often the best learning experiences!

    And remember, you’ll find everything you could ever need for your kitchen here at Milly’s Store. So, if you’re looking for cookware you can trust to deliver exceptional, long-lasting quality from the best brands in the game, browse the rest of our website today. 

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