Moving into a new apartment soon? Need help figuring out what you need? With a lot more space than a traditional double dorm room has, there are a ton of details to nail when you move in that might feel overwhelming. One big adjustment is cooking your own meals and maintaining your kitchen space. There’s no reason your move shouldn’t be fun, though. This article covers some of the must-have cooking essentials to remember to pack so we can get you all set to be a master chef in your new kitchen!
1. Mason Jars
Talk about multi-purpose! The mason jar has a million different uses, making it number one on the list of cooking essentials. Mason jars can be used as drinking glasses or coffee mugs, as they often are in restaurants, but can also be used to store a homemade salad dressing or even leftovers. Since they’re glass, you don’t have to worry about any chemicals from plastic Tupperware containers and can feel a little better about your carbon footprint. Running late to class? Mason jars are perfect for preparing overnight oats or other snacks to grab and go on the days you’re running short on time. Larger ones can be used to store bulk items like flour, rice, or nuts. You can also use them to conveniently organize cooking utensils you want on hand. Of course, they’re super cute and look more organized than a bunch of packaging.
2. Mixing Bowls
Even if you don’t plan on cooking or baking much from scratch, a couple mixing bowls are a must-have. For the casual cooker, they’re great for throwing together a quick and simple salad or for storing larger amounts of food. On the other hand, they’re important for someone who’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Mixing bowls are necessary for many cooking tasks, including marinating, mixing things like homemade granola, or preparing everyone’s favorite, cookie dough. They can also be used to serve dishes when having company over, like a salad or bowl of fruit.
3. Oven Mitts
Although you might not think of a set of oven mitts as being essential, trust me when I say they will make your life so much easier. Instead of having to run around the kitchen or to the bathroom to find a towel every time you need to get something hot out of the oven, having a designated set of mitts with a set place will make cooking much less stressful and allow for everything to run smoothly, which is important when working with a hot oven. Oven mitts are easier to use than a towel as well, so they’ll help to make sure you don’t get burned. They’re definitely worth throwing on your packing list, and you can even find some super cute ones!
4. Cups for Hosting
A few super cute cups to offer drinks to company can make all the difference! Make sure you have serving dishes that you’re confident in sharing with friends and family when they come over. If you want to make your guests feel classier, glass is the way to go when hosting- they feel like such a step up from plastic. This is a place to really have fun with your cookware. You can go for a clean and minimal look, or an ornate and playful style. You’ll feel great and all grown up pulling out nice glassware when you have people over.
5. Oven Trays
Oven trays will be your best sidekick. Being able to pop something in the oven quickly is a lifesaver, even if you think you won’t be cooking much. You’ll even use them for a frozen pizza! They are essential for roasting vegetables or even chicken. They’re also great for baking if you decide to treat yourself with some homemade desserts. Another fun way to use them is to bake your own granola on them. Since they’re a large, flat surface they can also be used for organization while meal prepping or preparing ingredients. Oven trays are super easy to store because you can keep them in the oven when you’re not using it. You’ll hardly notice they’re there and you’ll be happy to have them when they come in hand.
6. Saran Wrap
Cling wrap, plastic wrap, saran wrap – whatever you might call it – is definitely something to put on your shopping list. You’ll want to have it on hand when storing leftovers so that you can cover plates and bowls. Since it’s plastic, you can mark your food with a sharpie if your roommates have a habit of eating your snacks. You can also use it to take snacks on the go or bring food over to a friend’s party. A less traditional purpose for saran wrap is using it to wrap ice and make a makeshift ice pack. It’s also great for pulling a prank or two on your roommates!
This is another item that you may not think of off the bat. Although spatulas might not seem as important as plates or forks, they are used for an enormous number of recipes. They’re essential if you’ll be hosting brunch for your besties – you’ll need one for eggs, pancakes, breakfast potatoes, etc. A spatula can be used for both mixing and for spreading, making it super versatile. Almost anything you make in a pan you could use a spatula for. It’s a good idea to have two for if you ever need to use one for two separate steps in a recipe at once. There are tons of cute designs to choose from, too!
Of course, colanders are super useful for draining pasta, but they can also be used to wash produce. They can be used when washing fruits, vegetables, and lettuce. Washing produce in a colander allows the water to drain easily. Keeping a larger one in your arsenal as well as a smaller one is a good idea for washing fragile fruits like berries. Colanders can also be used to throw ingredients in if they need to be set aside for a while.
What are some of your cooking must-haves? Comment down below with any of your go-to’s!
Sophomore at Boston College studying neuroscience and English who's interested in genetic counseling, poetry, and loves to bake!