I'm popping in today to share my 10 essential vegan kitchen tools. These are my must-haves that I cannot live without. You'll use this stuff daily, if not weekly. If you're not vegan or plant based, no worries! This is a great list for building a set of kitchen tools for your new apartment, home, or college kitchen.
- $ - Under $50
- $$ - $50-$100
- $$$ - $100-$200
- $$$$ - $200+
Essential vegan kitchen tools to buy once
Buy these tools once, and never again. Let's rip off the band aid and hit the wallet hard early. Trust me, these are worth it.
1. High Speed Blender ($$$$)
This is probably the priciest item on this list, but well worth it. This is the Vitamix A3300 and don't know how I lived without it. It is one of the only items on this list that I use every. single. day. From my morning smoothie, to cashew cheese sauces, creamy soups, and more, it's also one of the most versatile items on this list. It's two appliances in one - the Vitamix does the job of a food processor too! These are the machines you'll see in smoothie shops - it is a serious piece of equipment, with a price tag to match.
If you're on a budget, you can get away with a nutribullet and separate food processor, but take note - with heavy use, my nutribullets only lasted about a year each. I went through 4 before investing in a Vitamix - at $99 each, it adds up quickly. Do yourself a favor and splurge on the nice blender.
2. Good pots and pans ($$$$) + 1 nonstick frying pan ($)
When I moved into my first post-college apartment, I knew I wanted to splurge on nice pots and pans. It's something you buy once in your life. I have this All Clad set, and love it. Good pots and pans will cook your food more evenly. If you're ballin on a budget, check TJ Maxx and Home Goods. Sometimes they'll have a piece at a great price. Personally, I waited until Williams Sonoma had a "buy more, save more" sale, and cashed in a gift card or two.
Pro tip: if food gets stuck on the bottom, a little bit of water, a dash of barkeepers friend and a little elbow grease will take care of just about anything.
Now, nonstick frying pans are a little tougher. I replace mine every year or so - when the nonstick coating starts to crack, it can release carcinogens (aka cancer causing particles). It's also very important to research your nonstick pan beforehand. I have a GreenLife pan and love it. It was under $50...so I don't feel bad about replacing it when it shows wear and tear. Other good options are here.
3. A good set of knives ($$$$)
A good set of knives not only makes the dullest task in the kitchen more exciting (chopping veggies, ugh), but it's also much safer to work with sharp knives. Nice knives will stay sharper for longer, if taken care of properly. I try to send mine away to be professionally sharpened once or twice a year. If I'm going away for a week, once I've finished cooking I'll send them off, and they're usually back before I get home.
I love these Wusthof knives - but go to your local cooking store and chat with the sales representatives. This is where it really pays to spend some time buying in store, holding each knife, and getting a professional opinion.
This set includes:
- Chef's knife - go-to for most chopping jobs
- Serrated knife - for slicing breads
- Utility knife - use for smaller, less intensive jobs like cutting up apple slices
- Paring knife - for removing the skin from a fruit or veggie, OR for extra small jobs like removing the green part of strawberries
- Kitchen shears - I've never been mad about having an extra pair of kitchen shears.
- Steak knives - well, I don't use these for steak, but they're dead useful as an in-between of my utility knife and paring knife.
Fill in the blanks with these affordable yet essential vegan kitchen tools
No sweat if they start to show some wear and tear, just replace them every few years.
4. Strainer(s) ($)
5. Prep bowls ($-$$)
In a list of essential vegan kitchen tools, I couldn't leave out prep bowls! These are SO key to staying organized while cooking. I like to have at least 2 prep bowls available - one for scraps and one for veggies. If you like to bake and don't have a stand mixer, you'll need one for wet ingredients, and another for dry. Below are my favorite tried and true options:
Melamine - I love these with the pouring spout. They're more durable than glass, but pieces can chip off if you drop them (speaking from experience...mine is still in use though!)
Glass set of 3 with lids - If you don't have storage containers, these are a great option.
Glass set of 10 - If you prefer to lay out all of your measured ingredients beforehand, I suggest this 10 piece set. I just splurged on these myself and am in love!
Mosser Colored Mixing Bowls - If you like colors, these mixing bowls are cute, but a little hard to find. Mine are pictured in pink above! I will warn you - they are a touch small for some baking jobs, so keep that in mind.
6. Sheet trays ($) & silicon liners ($-$$)
Sheet trays are SO versatile - from roasting vegetables, to making cookies, this is a great thing to have in your kitchen. I recommend getting something basic - no need to get fancy. I replace mine every year or so, just because I use them so much. If you think you'll use these a ton, they'll last a lot longer if you invest in a couple silicon liners for easier cleanup and a greener operation, instead of using parchment paper or aluminum foil every time.
7. A toaster ($)
8. Basic cooking utensils ($)
These utensils will make your life so much easier. Try to avoid metal, as it will scratch the coating of your nonstick pan, which is bad for your health AND your ears...nails on a chalkboard, no thanks. You can't go wrong with Oxxo - either of these sets will work: silicon or nylon. I also have some tongs, a grater for carrots, a vegetable peeler, whisk and can opener. I bought all of those at the grocery store, super simple.
9. Cutting boards ($-$$)
No need to spend a fortune here. I have this nonslip cutting board, and this larger cutting board (12x16). Prefer plastic over wood for ease of cleaning (they're dishwasher safe). Mine are 7 years old, and are still in great shape. I like having two in case one is dirty - not a big fan of doing dishes while I cook.
10. Kitchen towels/Oven mitt
If you're on a budget, try to buy these at the end of each season when the outgoing season's colors are on sale. I love the William Sonoma towels - they're great for wiping your hands, laying out for dishes to dry, and anything in between. These are a LIFESAVER when you're out of paper towels, and are a great way to cut down on your kitchen waste. In a pinch, towels can double as pot holders but I wouldn't recommend it.
Honorable mention essential vegan kitchen tools
Liquid measuring cups, dry measuring cups, measuring spoons - I like to eye-ball my ingredients when I cook, but if you're newer to the game OR plan to do some baking, go ahead and get these. They're inexpensive and will save you a lot of frustration when following a recipe.
Storage containers - for all of those leftovers! Try to stick with the same brand, and within that brand, the same type of Tupperware (e.g. easy find lids). You'll thank me later when it all stores nicely.
Garlic press - chopping garlic is the bane of my existence, so this is one of the only "one-use" tools in my kitchen
What's on your list of essential vegan kitchen tools?
What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!