Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items

March 24 | meggyfin
Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items
This is a pretty accurate photo of what we have for our kitchen… nothing but a Le Crueset pan and a small dog.

My fiancé Mike and I don't cook. Like not. At all. But we'd like to change that! But how?

Luckily, we recently had long-term house sitters who found our kitchen very much lacking in basic amenities. So I asked them what our kitchen needed. They turned around and said… basically, everything.

If you are also cooking-challenged, and want to use your newly married lives as an excuse to start learning how to use your kitchen, here are the things that a newbie should register for:

Blender/food processor/juicer

Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items
Vitamix 5200 blender
Apparently a Vitamix does it all, right? I love one-stop registering.

Toaster oven

Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven
How cool is this easy-reach toaster oven, from Hamilton Beach!?

Update your pots and pans

All-Clad 8-Inch and 10-Inch Fry Pan Cookware Set
I call this pan set "the wedding registry special." It's been on my registry once before, and on all of my friend's registries as well. Ten years later, I'm registering for these bad boys again.

Splatter screen

Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items
Splatter screen
When my house sitter friends suggested a "splatter screen" for our registry, I had to ask wtf that was. They responded, "It's a screen you put over a frying pan. They have totally changed my feelings about pan-frying things from 'makes a mess of kitchen and clothes and isn't worth it' to 'the best way to cook most stuff.'" Okay! Splatter screen added.

Garlic press

Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items
Oye Stainless Steel Garlic Press
I'm more of a "squeeze-y garlic from a tube" kind of gal. But this one seems cheap and easy to clean, so I'll give it a whirl.

Citrus press

Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items
Viatus Citrus Juicer
Okay, I know we do in fact need one of these, if only to make awesome cocktails. 😉

Aprons

Wedding registry ideas for the cooking-challenged: The must-have kitchen items
"Let's Cook" Apron from Etsy seller BagApart
Every newbie cook DEFINITELY needs an apron. Because learning how to cook gets messy AF.

Slow cooker

Black & Decker Slow Cooker with Built in Lid Holder
A slow cooker as cute as this one just might convince me to, well, use a slow cooker! You have to click through to see the other color options too.

Le Creuset ANYTHING

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron dutch oven
Okay, I have one of these Le Creuset dutch ovens and I've used it for making so many things. PLUS it's a really convenient way to bring something yummy to a party. On top of that, picking your Le Crueset color is a time-honored wedding registry tradition in my family. I'm very much a Flame girl.

A fancy set of knives

Nuvita 6-Piece Stainless Knife Set
If you're not cooking a lot, you don't need a 12 piece knife set. I was drawn to this simple and affordable, yet unique, knife set to start off with.

Drying rack for pots and pans

Saganizer Collapsible Compact dish drying rack

Finally, now that you'll be cooking more, you'll have more dishes. So get a dish dryer that you don't mind having out on the counter.

Ready to add these things to YOUR registry?

Almost everything on this page came from Amazon, because their wedding registries are super easy for everyone to use, and even include a universal registry option — so you can register for stuff from ANYWHERE online, using Amazon.

Want to kick off YOUR Amazon registry by adding all these things?

Setup your wedding registry today

Help me out, what else am I missing? What kind of must have kitchen items are you adding to your registries?

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  1. No KitchenAid mixer? I thought that was a standard default on ANY wedding registry. 🙂 (Also basically the most important item on my wishlist.) Did you know you can shred chicken in it? Cook chicken breasts, throw in mixer, turn switch, 15 seconds later shredded chicken. Magic!

    2 agree
    • Agreed! I've discovered that it also makes the best, creamiest mashed potatoes ever!

      1 agrees
      • Even if all I used my KitchenAid for was mashed potatoes (makes them creamy without dairy since I'm lactose intolerant), it is worth the price for me! Looking forward to using the attachments I have this summer to process all my CSA fruits/vegetables/herbs.

      • Definitely not! The base model is what I have. It cuts mixing time in half for baked goodies. Also makes great mashed potatoes, shredding chicken and some cuts of beef a snap.

        The only additional attachment I have is the bowl for making ice cream and frozen yogurt. Which is not necessary (and not going to lie, takes up quite a bit of space in the freezer, where it must be kept at all times). But making my own frozen treats is a fun thing to do every now and again. I also don't have any extra room to keep another huge appliance that is a self contained ice cream maker.

        Plus KitchenAid guarantees them for life. Even though they are bullet proof and built to last. Its nice to know if something does stop working right or needs fixed, it'll be taken care of.

        1 agrees
      • If you don't have much counter space and don't bake much, a stand mixer may just be in the way. You can swap the stand mixer for a relatively cheap and small hand mixer that will tuck away in a cabinet or drawer. It will do most things a stand mixer will (beat eggs, whip cream), but be out of the way most of the time when you don't need it. Then you just have to not lose the beaters.

        I've always wanted a stand mixer, but never had the space. And I am the kind of person who every once in a while makes something that requires either a stand mixer or an extra set of hands. I've had my hand mixer since I left home at 18 and its perfect for occasional fancy pants baking.

        1 agrees
    • I do love Kitchen Aid mixers. But they're expensive and I find a food processor much more useful. Mincing vegetables, slicing anything, shredding anything, I use mine all the time. The only time I find the KA mixer worth it is at the holidays, and I do almost 100 dozen cookies. Though if I had the counter space to keep them out all the time, I might feel differently. As it is, I have just enough for a cutting board and a dish rack.

  2. These are all great suggestions but I have an additional one.
    I learned to cook way before I had money ( or a registry ) to buy much kitchen equipment and buying things piecemeal has taught me a valuable lesson : I don't like to buy things in sets.
    Buying things in sets means I get 1-2 really valuable items … and then a bunch of shit the manufacturer is trying to convince me is valuable because they have stock they need to shift. I would much rather have only what I love, even if it costs me more and even if it doesn't match. It's worth it to me not to have various flotsam in the kitchen.
    Case in point: the traditional knife set pictured above. Only the chef's knife, bread knife and paring knife are useful to me. I want multiples of those, not those useless knives in the center. So my knife block has 3 chef knives, 3 paring knives and a bread knife.
    Another case in point : any set of pots-n-pans which invariably seems to have 2-3 high-sided "sauce pans" and a variety of frying pans, none of which are non-stick. The sauce pans are too small to make much of anything in and the high straight sides are actually counter-productive for making sauces. (Go look at a saucier or a reduction pan.) I suspect they were important a long time ago, before microwaves existed, for warming small bits of food up. Maybe? I dunno. Other than boiling eggs I can't think of a use for these fuckers.
    The frying pans are equally problematic. Yeah I have a stainless steel/copper core frying pan when I want to brown something and then make a sauce. But I only need 1. The rest need to be non-stick and I only use two sizes — 8" and 12". I need multiples of those, not extra stainless steel pans.
    You might not deem the same things "useful", but when you're evaluating these sets, take a good hard look at them and ask yourself if you wouldn't rather buy in piecemeal what you exactly need.

    1 agrees
  3. You could easily forgo the toaster oven if you have a oven and a microwave (which are pretty standard in kitchens these days). I've never owned one, and never felt the desire for one. However a couple more things to add to your list : Silicon spoons/spatulas, at LEAST two cutting boards (I'd recommend one wooden, one plastic), a casserole dish, and a couple dish towels and dish cloths. I once was doing dishes at a friends house, and not only did she not seem to own a drying rack, but only owned one dirty already damp dish towel. So I had to awkwardly stack all the wet dishes to dry (luckily we live in a very dry climate so I wasn't worried about them drying, but I was more concerned about drunk people knocking them over). Instead of a garlic press, I recommend a garlic tool that is pretty much a big plastic weed grinder. It works extremely well, with a lot less waste.

    1 agrees
    • "You could easily forgo the toaster oven if you have a oven and a microwave (which are pretty standard in kitchens these days)"

      Okay, so I thought the same thing too. But apparently not! TWO separate pairs of house guests have asked about a toaster oven specifically. Not sure why, but apparently a toaster +microwave combo just won't cut it anymore. 😉

      Also thank you for all the rest of your items! I added a bunch to the registry!

      • I've been cooking all my life and never needed a toaster oven, but I live where it is really cold and I don't mind warming up the kitchen to heat up the big oven. However, if you really like toasted breakfast sandwiches- like melting cheese/etc into bread or if you live somewhere hot and don't want to heat up the house with the oven just to make some pizza rolls, totally go for the toaster oven.

        I would like to add a few things to your list though: a glass cassarole dish/cake pan with a lid (and preferably handles). You'll want something that can go from oven to table and the lid can just pop right on for storing leftovers or taking to a party. Also a heavy duty pair of kitchen shears- these fuckers can do anything, from de-boning a chicken to slicing herbs, just make sure to wash them regularly. Also, not to put too fine a point on it but having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen is SO important, no matter what level of cooking you are doing. So get one and if you have one, check the date on it to make sure its still good. Take a minute to read the instructions on yours as they are often not as straight forward as you would hope and see if it is suitable for grease fires (many are not).

        1 agrees
    • An oven will do everything a toaster oven will. But I miss having a toaster oven for things I don't want to heat the whole oven up for. Like toasted sandwiches or reheating pizza.

      1 agrees
    • I always thought "toaster oven" was American for "toaster". I was very confused to see the device above! Learn something every day 🙂 We've always done fine without one (obviously) and we don't own a microwave, either. It's pretty easy to reheat things in an oven or on the hob, and besides, cold pizza is the best pizza!

      I do think it's useful to have some fancy tools for fancy occasions – I love our ice cream maker even though it only comes out twice a year – but a good rule of thumb if you're a beginner cook is to compare the amount of space it would take up if it lived on the kitchen side all year round versus frequency of use. Because a gadget goes into a cupboard, it very rarely comes out.

    • Cutting boards – YES. I have two and that's somehow still not enough. This weekend we were cleaning out my grandpa's house and found a pig-shaped cutting board tucked in the back of a cabinet. He told me he made it in high school shop class, then gave it to me. Now I have an AWESOME third cutting board. 🙂

    • Agree! At our apartment we had no stove so we used the toaster oven constantly. Now that we've purchased a house that has an oven the toaster oven has been sitting in a cupboard and hasn't been used once. If we get to a year in our house without using it, it's getting donated.

  4. Remove the slow cooker and add an InstantPot instead. It's a combination slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, rice maker, etc., etc., etc. I've pressure cooked a whole raw chicken in 25 minutes of cooking time (with a little more time on each side of that to pressurize and depressurize.) It's amazing!

  5. Combination PSA and amused observation: the citrus juicer is being used backwards in that stock photo! XD

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