Whether you’re at the beginning stages of adopting a plant-based diet or looking for inspiration to ignite your culinary adventures, our list of healthy kitchen must-haves will help you discover just how easy and fun plant-based cooking can be when you have the right tools!
Some folks think that vegan cooking is intimidating especially if you are leaving the oil out and really cooking healthy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right tools in hand, making delicious meals with vibrant colors and tons of flavor can actually be easy and a lot of fun.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the links provided below are affiliate links. However, I assure you that I only promote and endorse products that I personally own and use in my own kitchen. Read my full disclosure here.
The most essential kitchen tools
You might be curious about the potential cost of a fully equipped kitchen and whether it is within your reach. Thankfully, there’s no need to spend a ton of money starting out, and you will likely have many of these basic items already in your kitchen.
Some of the more expensive tools on our list can be purchased refurbished or second-hand which can save a good bit of money.
You may find yourself not needing some of these tools often, so you might not even want to buy them at all. For instance, I rarely use a food processor, but my blender gets used every single day at least once but more often 2 or 3 times. So, I use my blender and a mandoline/chopper for all my chopping needs.
When making your selection, consider the kitchen tools that align best with your current lifestyle and the kinds of meals you aspire to create.
Keep in mind that many food preparation and cooking techniques, such as pressing or steaming, can be accomplished without the need for specific tools. For instance, I only recently purchased a tofu press because I’ve always used my cast iron frying pan.
Although it may take a bit more time, it’s advisable to make use of what you already have. As your culinary skills develop, you can gradually invest in more specialized items that you know will be put to good use.
We really do have something for everyone, no matter what your budget might be. Explore the following list of kitchen tools that are not only useful and enjoyable but also largely budget-friendly, enhancing the ease of plant-based eating regardless of your current circumstances.
If you are looking for some recipe inspiration, take a look at some of our favorite plant-based cookbooks that will get those creative juices flowing, and I’ve included a few simple recipes below as well.
Basic small kitchen tools list
By now, you might have already begun gathering a few essential tools to assist you in preparing your own nutritious meals in the kitchen. Even with just these fundamental items, you have the capability to create beautiful and healthy dishes.
We Recommend: Heat-Resistant Spatula Set 600°F
We Recommend: OXO Good Grip Measuring Cups & Spoons Set
We Recommend: OXO Good Grip 2-Piece Tongs Set
We Recommend: OXO Good Grip Citrus Squeezer
We Recommend: OXO Good Grips Whisks Set of 2
We Recommend: OXO Stainless Strainer
We Recommend: All-in-One Veggie Chopper Mandoline Slicer
We Recommend: Victorinox 8-Piece Knife Set
We Recommend: Gorilla Grip Cutting Board Set
We Recommend: OXO Good Grip Kitchen Scissors
We Recommend: OXO Mixing Bowl Set
We Recommend: Tofuture Tofu Press
We Recommend: KitchenAid Variable Speed Immersion Blender
We Recommend: Mueller Electric Hand Mixer
We Recommend: Rubbermaid BPA-Free Storage Containers
We Recommend: Houlu Large Soup & Serving Bowl Set of 3
We Recommend: 8″ Ozeri Stone Frying Pan
We Recommend: Cuisinart Stainless 7-Piece Cookware Set
Baking equipment tools
There are a few products on the list that are specifically for baking and roasting in the oven. Since we cook oil-free, these items are invaluable for keeping food from sticking. Just be aware that all of the nonstick silicone baking wares will need a baking sheet underneath for support.
We Recommend: 5 Piece Silicon Baking Pans Set
We Recommend: Silicone Nonstick Baking Mats Set of 6
We Recommend: Wildone Stainless Baking Sheets Set of 3
We Recommend: Reynolds Parchment Baking Sheets
Bigger ticket must-have appliances
The following are higher-priced items that you don’t have to purchase right away, but they will make your life so much easier in the kitchen. I own all of these and highly recommend putting them on your Christmas and birthday list. You won’t be sorry, I promise!
My high-speed blender is the #1 most used and invaluable tool in my kitchen. Blenders are essential for making sauces, dips, smoothies, dressings, and even soups. Since we use cashews and nuts in sauces, a good-quality blender is a must for getting a creamy texture. Low-power blenders will just not cut it.
I use mine so much that I created a whole post on Vitamix recipes that you can make in it. The possibilities are endless!
We Recommend: Vitamix 5200 Series Blender
I will admit that it took me a while to decide to get an Instant Pot when the new craze first hit a number of years ago. It is basically a pressure cooker that is electric and much safer than its stovetop predecessor. What eventually won me over was that it is great for making one-pot meals fast.
I love my slow cooker, but an Instant Pot does the same thing only much quicker. It even has settings for sauteing and yogurt making.
We Recommend: Instant Pot Duo 6 QT
I use absolutely no oil in mine even though the instructions that come with it say to use a little. We are avoiding all oil and you don’t need even a drop to cook in an air fryer.
There are so many things you can make in an air fryer and I use mine so often, I wouldn’t want to be without it.
We Recommend: Ninja Air Fryer 4 QT
The reason I love my rice cooker so much is because I can set it and forget it. No watching or stirring is required, and when it’s finished the cooker will keep the rice warm until we are ready to eat without scorching or sticking.
Rice isn’t the only thing you can make in a rice cooker either. I cook other grains like quinoa, bulgur, farro, and more in mine. I do suggest buying one with a lockdown lid because the others can boil over.
We Recommend: Aroma 8-Cup Steamer
Crock Pot/ Slow Cooker
I have always loved a crock pot because you just toss everything in it and go on about your business while the house fills up with the most delicious aroma. Then, after 4-8 hours of cooking slowly and marrying up all the flavors, dinner is ready when you are.
We use the slow cooker for chili, soups, and even lava cake. There are so many crock pot recipes to choose from, you’ll find no shortage of recipes to make in it. Leave it cooking overnight or while you’re at work, and come home to set the table and eat.
We Recommend: Crock Pot 6QT Programmable
I am just going to be transparent here and tell you that I personally don’t use a food processor often, but this list seemed incomplete without mentioning it because I know so many people that swear by theirs.
Blenders are great for making things smooth like sauces, and I purchased an additional low-profile canister for mine that actually does pretty well with pulsing veggies. For chopping and slicing I tend to use my mandoline/slicer. However, food processors are great for breaking things down and combing like for energy balls and batters.
We Recommend: Cuisinart Processor 14-Cup
Let’s talk about stand mixers for a minute, and allow me to confess. This is one piece of equipment that I personally don’t use. Gasp! I know, I know. The thing is that I’m not much of a baker. I do bake cookies, cakes, and muffins sometimes, but major baking is just not my thing.
However, I realize that stand mixers are great for whipping and creaming up recipes, but I tend to use my little handheld mixer to do that.
I think the biggest perk to having a stand mixture is that you can set it and walk away while it does all the work. That’s why it’s still a great tool to own, so this is our recommendation.
We Recommend: KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer
The bottom line
I hope that you found our collection of plant-based kitchen tools helpful and discovered something that rekindled your enthusiasm for cooking and preparing healthy vegan meals more frequently.
Just by stocking your kitchen with the basics, you’ll be able to get started cooking healthy plant-based meals for yourself and the family. As you gain confidence in the kitchen, try to continue adding a few more tools from the list that will help you save time and effort and make cooking more enjoyable.
Guides to help in the kitchen
Now that you are beginning to get an idea of the kitchen tools that will be most beneficial, let’s take a look at some helpful guides that will get you more comfortable in the kitchen.
- Beginners Plant-Based Grocery List
- Top 15 Spice for Your Plant-Based Kitchen
- Cooking Healthy Grains
- Vegan Baking Made Easy
Recipes to use kitchen tools
Need some ideas for recipes that aren’t difficult to make? These will help get you started cooking with all those new kitchen tools!
For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.
About Terri Edwards
Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy. I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…