23 Kitchen Essentials Every Millennial Needs in Her First Apartment

Ken and I recently moved into our apartment, and have spent the last few weeks setting up our space. One of the things that first drew me to this apartment was the kitchen: it’s airy, sleek, and has a lot of storage space. I’ve gotten really into cooking and baking in the last few years (who knew?!), so when Ken and I went shopping for our apartment, first kitchen essentials were first on the list. Here’s the basic list of essential kitchen items that Ken and I bought to set up our first kitchen.

When added together, these tools can be pretty expensive. But it’s important to remember that the kitchen is one of the most important parts of your first apartment; food cooked at home is healthier than take out, and you save a ton of money when you cook for yourself and don’t go out to a restaurant. If you’re looking to save money on these items, Goodwill and other second-hand stores often have used kitchen appliances and cookware that could use a second home.

A picture of my kitchen in my new apartment. First Kitchen Essentials for Your New Apartment

First Kitchen Utensils

Spatula — For flipping omelettes and burgers, and general use in the kitchen.

Spoon — A wooden spoon can last a long time and looks beautiful in your kitchen, too. Here’s a nice set of two.

Soup ladle — For soup, couscous, or other dishes that need to be served in a bowl.

A picture of kitchen utensils, a cheese grater, and a bottle of olive oil next to a stove. First Kitchen Essentials for Your New Apartment

Whisk — I whisk eggs when I’m making an omelette, and if you bake, this will come in handy too.

Knives – A good set of knives will serve you well and last a long time. A Chef’s knife and a paring knife will get you started.

Measuring cups and spoons — Measuring cups and spoons especially are very useful when you’re just learning to cook. If you’re looking to save money, go for just cups and not spoons.

Can opener — I once spent a summer in Jerusalem living with a can of chickpeas and no can opener. I never did eat the chickpeas. Don’t be like me; get a can opener.

A photo of cutting boards and a bottle of wood oil. First Kitchen Essentials for Your New Apartment

Cutting boards — A small set of cutting boards is essential, or you can get a larger one that latches on to your counter at Ikea. We have both and they are very useful.


Wine opener, bottle opener, and wine stoppers — Useful if you have company over, or if you drink occasionally but won’t be likely to finish a bottle of wine.

Salad tongs — Good especially in summer, when salads are more common table fare.

First Kitchen Cookware

Stockpot — Useful for soups, pastas, and big dishes. This one comes with a steamer (see below).

Saucepan — I use this to make oatmeal in the mornings. It’s also useful for boiling eggs or making sauces.

Skillet — We use these for omelettes, pancakes, and burgers, among other things. A two-set of a larger and a smaller skillet will get you far!

Colander — For draining your pasta without accidentally boiling yourself.

Baking sheets — Necessary for baking cookies or even preparing something like oven-baked asparagus. Important: Make sure that your baking sheets fit in your oven! We have a small oven, so not all sheets fit.


Steamer — Steamed vegetables are healthy and delicious. You can get a steamer that fits in your stockpot, as shown above.

Cheese grater — This is nice to have because you’ll save money on grated cheese, but it’s definitely not a necessity!

First Kitchen Linens

Dish towels — Getting a set of absorbent kitchen towels will be helpful for cleaning, wiping your hands, and God knows what else. We have a bunch and wash them weekly.

Oven mitt — Necessary for cooking, baking, and keeping your hands in the process. If you’re looking to save money, some thick dish towels will do the job in the meantime.


Table linens — Mindful meals are important to me, so when I set the table I like to have placemats and napkins, or a table cloth. These are up to personal taste, so browse your local kitchen or home store and see what you like. My table linens are from Minted.

Other First Kitchen Essentials

A photo of a sink surrounded by cleaning supplies. First Kitchen Essentials for Your New Apartment

Cleaning supplies — How you clean your kitchen depends on the space and tools you have. We use sponges and dish soap, cleaning wipes, and our dishwasher, which needs dishwashing fluid.

Storage containers — Especially if you plan to save time by cooking extra portions and eating leftovers later, plastic or glass containers are useful for storing food. We also use metal tins for coffee beans, oatmeal, and sugar.

Appliances — If you love coffee and want a coffee machine, or are a tea fanatic and just need a kettle, be sure not to leave those out! Other appliances to consider are a blender, a mixer, and a rice cooker, depending on your needs.

A photo of three metal tins in front of a cutting board. First Kitchen Essentials for Your New Apartment

These kitchen essentials should set up with a really useful and versatile kitchen in your first apartment. I’d love to hear from you; did I leave anything out? What’s a “kitchen essential” for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Sara Laughed

Author: Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a writer, programmer, and American in the Netherlands. This blog is about my life, discoveries, and mistakes. Follow along, and thank you for stopping by!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Hey girl! I keep trying to get to the first budget thing and it brings you to kitchen essentials instead:(
    Ya girl needs some serious assistance with budgeting so I would love to find it somewhere! S.O.S!!

    P.S first day on your page and I la-la-looovvee it!!!