Did you spend your college years dining on Easy Mac and ramen noodles? Don’t worry–we all did. But now that you’re a full-fledged adult and getting ready to move into your post-grad apartment, you may want to stock your first kitchen with essentials to prepare (yes, we mean cook) meals that require more than a microwave.

The Necessities

Pots and pans are crazy expensive, but a couple are really all you need for your new apartment. You’ll want both a small and larger style pot and pan, a couple cookie sheets and maybe a cupcake tin (these are much handier than you might think). Don’t forget about measuring cups, large spoons and spatulas, a knife set, oven mitt, kitchen towels and mixing bowls. If you’ve got some space, investing in a wok is well-worth it. These can be used for making eggs, mixing pastas, grilling veggies and much more.

Small Appliances

Beyond the normal list of kitchen items that you’ll need, small appliances are a must-have in a first kitchen. If you’re not a big cooker, a grill or griddle should make it to the top of your list. These little gadgets can cook pancakes, sandwiches, chicken, burgers and more. They can easily be stowed away when not in use, unlike other items like toaster ovens, which are great for novice bakers but you’ll need plenty of counter space.

Blenders are also super helpful because you can whip up a smoothie for breakfast, soups for dinner, dips and more. They are kind of a pain to clean, but to make the process easier, fill it up a quarter of the way with hot water and a drop of dish soap, put the top on and blend for a minute. Then do a cycle of just water.


Small plastic containers are ideal for so many things in your new apartment: leftovers, lunches and keeping baked goods fresh for longer. Plus, Tupperware is better to use than plastic bags that you’ll just throw out because it’s reusable. Tupperware is also great for storing veggies or splitting up ground turkey or beef into appropriate portions.

A Few Tidbits

Now that your first kitchen is equipped well enough for Martha Stewart, we’ve got some simple rules that will help you get through those first meals:

  • Always remember that recipes are great, especially when you’re first learning how to cook, but you can easily make them your own by adding or subtracting an ingredient.

  • The freezer is your best friend. When you put leftovers in the fridge, they get lost in the abyss of the refrigerator. Use those plastic storage containers you invested in and toss any leftovers in the freezer–that’s another day you don’t have to cook and you’ll save some money too.