Whether you’re setting up your first home or kashering your kitchen for the first time, I hope this guide will give you practical direction for equipping your kitchen. I found no such resource specifically for kosher kitchens, so I thought I’d write one. This is the guide I wish I had when I was cluelessly plunking things onto my wedding registry. (Please note: This is not a halakhic guide—it’s not about how to make your kitchen kosher. For that, please consult a local qualified authority.)
Stocking a kitchen with equipment is a highly idiosyncratic task, so please don’t take this list as prescriptive—ignore what doesn’t work for you, add what does. Keep in mind that I took years to stock my kitchen, but the “essentials” list in each category is all you need to get started. In general, I color code (or shape code) things, red for meat, blue for dairy, green for parve.
Also: This list reflects the fact that we rarely eat out and make most of our meals at home. I have what I’d consider a regular-sized kitchen, probably on the smaller side as American kitchens go (not counting NYC!). I keep absolutely everything, with the exception of my meat microwave, in my kitchen, including all of my Passover dishes (they live in two large upper cabinets). It’s definitely not a minimalist kitchen, but I’m rather obsessive about organizing it, so all the stuff below fits comfortably in my cabinets. If I’ve omitted something that you find essential, I’d love to know. Leave a comment below and I’ll add it in.
The links (affiliate) are to models that I own and like, or current models that are similar. I also recommend looking at the reviews on Wirecutter to get up-to-date, thorough recommendations for kitchen items (no affiliation).
Skillets and Pots
Like many people, I started off with pots sold in a set. Though it seems like a good deal, I wouldn’t recommend it. You get pots you rarely use in the set, that you then have to store (not to mention the lids). And you’re missing pieces you do need, like my #1 pick below. So, my take is that you’re better off purchasing individual pieces. I don’t have any expensive pots, like all-clad ones. But, the midrange ones (linked below) are a major upgrade from the inexpensive, supermarket variety.
2 Large, straight-sided skillets with lids – meat and dairy
This is my personal workhorse stovetop pan. If I had to have just one pot in my kitchen, it would be one of these (and it would be designated meat). I use my meat skillet all the time and my dairy one often. My dairy skillet has a glass lid, which is handy for shakshuka and other egg-poaching situations. An all-metal skillet, like the one at right, can go into the oven, too.
2 Large pots – meat and dairy
One for meat, one for dairy, large enough for boiling pasta and making soup. I prefer ones with stay-cool handles.
2 small pots – meat and dairy
These are good for making sauces, boiling things, and lots more everyday kitchen tasks. I’d recommend a 2.5 or 3 quart as your basic pot (a quart is a little less than a liter). Some people like to have a medium-sized pot. I rarely find a use for one, but you might want a medium in addition to the small.
Small frying pan – dairy
Of my dairy pans, a small, nonstick skillet is my most frequently used. You may want more, depending on how you use them.
2 large colanders – meat and dairy
For draining pretty much anything, you’ll need one of each. I like a footed one so I can put it down in the sink and pour into it.
Nice to have
Dutch oven – meat
Usually made of enameled or ceramic-coated cast iron, these heavy pots hold heat especially well and can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven. As well as general cooking tasks, they’re also good vessels for deep frying (hello, Chanukah) and are perfect for food that you want to leave on a plata (food warmer) from Friday till Shabbat lunch.
Cast iron or carbon steel skillet – meat and dairy
Nothing sears like cast iron (or carbon steel, which is similar, but lighter and easier to maneuver). They can usually go from stovetop to oven, too. I use my dairy one more often, but a meat one is great to have also
Fine mesh strainer – meat and dairy
I end up using these for lots of kitchen tasks, from straining custards and sauces to sifting cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Both small and large ones are useful; they’re often sold as a set. The smallest strainer can double as a skimmer (spider) for draining fried things.
Carbon steel wok – meat
If you like Asian food, it’s worth it to get a carbon steel wok. You can cook many cuisines in it that turn out amazing. It needs to be seasoned, but that’s easy to do. It should come with instructions. Get yourself a wok spatula while you’re at it. Some people also like to deep fry in a wok; I have an electric deep fryer (see below), so I use that.
Double-burner griddle – dairy
If you make pancakes, latkes, and fritters relatively often, this is a game changer. Instead of hovering over a pan all morning long while everyone demands more pancakes, finish the job in two or three batches and sit down with everyone.
Double boiler – dairy
For melting chocolate and other delicates. You might have a mixing bowl that will work already. The insert (far right) is on the small side, but it’s easy to store.
Steamer basket – meat
I have two kinds of steamer baskets: one is a couscousier style and one is a bamboo Asian style steamer. Nothing makes dumplings or couscous (as well as other grains, couscous style) as well.
Baking Dishes + Pans
Rimmed sheet pans – at least 2 each, meat and dairy
I use these constantly for roasting vegetables, baking, and assorted other oven tasks. I now have 3 meat and 5 dairy rimmed sheet pans and there are often times when all of them are in use. I recommend getting a cooling rack that fits inside, one each for meat and dairy. I use the dairy one for cooling and glazing bakes, and the meat one for roasting meat and draining fried food. I also like having a sheet pan lid, which I use for chilling or freezing cookies.
13″x9″ / 33×23 cm baking pan, ceramic – meat and dairy
These are good for a whole range of tasks. On the meat side, they’re good for roasts, braises, and large casseroles (like chicken pot pie or moussaka). On the dairy side, they’re good for lasagna, also casseroles, pasta bakes, and lots more. Plus, lots of cakes, bars, and sweet buns are designed to be baked in this size pan. I like ceramic pans that double as servingware. If you bake a lot of cakes this size, you might want an aluminum one.
8″ / 20 cm square baking pan, ceramic – meat
Great for savory bakes, like pashtida, and for serving vegetables and side dishes. I like my Everyday Square Baking Dish from Crate & Barrel. The one at right is similar, in red.
8″ / 20 cm square baking pan, aluminum – dairy
I commonly use this size pan for snack cakes as well as savory baking. It’s also good for warming food up and smaller portions of things like fish.
Springform pan, 9″ / 22 cm round – dairy
I use this as my default cake pan. Why not use a pan that makes it easy to attractively serve a cake? I have a glass-bottomed springform made by Norpro that I like. It doesn’t seem to be available so I linked the one I have for Passover, which is fabulously nonstick and all-around excellent.
Nice to have
Muffin pan – dairy or parve
I’m constantly cranking out muffins, and you can’t make ’em without these. Plus, cupcakes. I have silicone pans that are great for certain jobs (mini meatloaves, mini frittatas/egg muffins), but the metal ones bake much better.
Loaf pan, standard or long – dairy or parve
A loaf pan is useful for quick breads, like banana bread or pumpkin bread, for snack cakes, and for panned bread, like sandwich loaves. I like the long loaf pan in particular (linked at right); it’s the size common in Israel. I have a pean to it here.
Pie pan, glass or aluminum – dairy
For pies, but not just, like, apple pie, think savory as well. You might prefer a metal one (or ceramic); if I had just one, I’d go with glass.
Oven-safe mesh grid cooling racks – dairy and parve
Not quite a baking pan, but almost, these racks are a multipurpose item. They are, of course, great for cooling cookies and cakes, but I also use mine for making no-flipping-required crispy oven-fried things. Plus, they’re ideal for draining fried food without letting it get soggy.
Tart pan(s) – dairy
You can bake tarts in a pie pan, but they turn out impressive in specially-made fluted tart pans. I’m a fan of tarts, usually savory but also sweet, and have a regular round tart pan as well as a rectangular one, both designated dairy. Look for tart pans with removable bottoms for easy serving.
8″ / 20 cm round cake pans – 2-3, parve or dairy
I don’t use these as often as my trusty springform, but you’ll need them for layer cakes, which are fun and celebratory. The slightly larger 9″ / 22 cm round also works for most recipes, but I prefer the 8″ / 20 cm. You’ll want 2 for a layer cake, possibly 3, since many recipes make three layers. Of course you can slice a single layer in half, but that involves…slicing a single layer in half, evenly.
Silicone baking mats – parve and dairy
I don’t use these for everything (vegetables don’t roast well on them, I find; for that, I use parchment paper). But, they are outstanding for baking cookies and breads, and they are in constant use in my kitchen. I have a few different brands; my favorite is linked at right.
Specialty shaped pans
If you have the storage space, these are a fairly inexpensive and fun addition to your kitchen. Some of mine are a doughnut pan for baked doughnuts, a mini bundt pan, a stuffed pancake pan (aebelskiver/appam/paniyaram pan), and a silicone half-sphere mold. Each cost less than the equivalent of buying one batch at a bakery. Mine are all dairy.
Bundt pan or tube pan – parve or dairy
These aren’t necessary, but they’re a great upgrade to your baking gear. Bundt pans make simple cakes look like a celebration. I also like the old-fashioned tube style pan.
Unglazed oven and lidded bakers – parve or meat
These are actually among my favorite items in my kitchen. They are borderline miraculous, cooking food perfectly. They’re not quite versatile enough to make the essentials list, but I can’t recommend them highly enough and they’re in constant use around here. They look terrible after heavy use but they only get better with age. I have one that’s a sheet pan style (similar to this one, by the same company), which I mainly use for roasting vegetables. I have another, lidded baker (similar to the one linked, but mine is from the wonderful Breadtopia) that’s perfect for artisan-style breads and roasting chicken and other meat.
Jelly roll pan – dairy or parve
This useful, small rimmed baking sheet, as well as its intended use for making roulades (cake rolls), is actually the perfect size for smaller roasting jobs, like a few fish fillets. It can also be used for sheet pan cakes (like Texas sheet cake) and slab pies. Mine is dairy; you might prefer to keep yours parve.
Ramekins + dessert cups – dairy
Good as dessert dishes as well as for dips and sauces. Also useful for individual-sized cakes (like lava cakes), creme brulee, and other desserts served in cups. I also have dessert cups (one set for small bites and one for larger portions).
Cake pan for the Instant Pot
You may want a cake pan sized for the Instant Pot. Get a mini springform or push-bottom pan if you plan to make cheesecakes, which are amazing in the Instant Pot. I have a 7″ / 18cm pan with a removable bottom that I like.
Cutting boards – 1-2 each meat and dairy, parve if you want
Another item in constant use. I have and like those pictured, but I will note that I’ve never had one that lasted more than a yearish. I like having small ones as well for lighter jobs, like cutting up fruit for the kids.
Chef’s knife – meat and dairy
This is your workhorse knife. You can use it for 90%+ of all knife tasks. I don’t have any expensive knives. They’re all middlebrow and work great because I’m a little obsessive about sharpening them. The one I have is part of a set, which, as with pots, I wouldn’t recommend getting; but I think it’s the same model as the one linked. See Wirecutter here for upgrade recommendations.
Serrated knife – meat and dairy
You need this for certain produce, like tomatoes. Doubles as a steak knife.
Bread knife – parve
The other basic kitchen knife. If most of your bread is parve, you only need one. (You can use a serrated knife for slicing rolls if they’re specifically dairy or meat.) If you make dairy breads, you might want a dairy-designated bread knife. We actually have one of each.
Vegetable Peeler – meat, dairy, parve if you want
Vital for, well, peeling vegetables. My favorite vegetable peeler is at right. It’s sharp and effective.
These will be your constant kitchen companions. Overly heavy, slidey, non-stacking, too-small or large bowls are frustrating. I like having a glass set (at left) for my dairy mixing bowls, because the largest bowl in the set is useful for making granola and big-batch pancakes, and I can microwave them. For my meat mixing bowls, which I never need to nuke, I prefer metal bowls (at right) with silicone bottoms that don’t slide. My sets come with lids which are a big bonus. PS, I’m not a fan of the common Pyrex set, I much prefer their other style one, linked at right.
Silicone spatulas – meat and dairy
The kind that you mix with. I recommend getting ones that are one piece of continuous silicone, because they’re easy to clean. No crevices, thank you very much.
Silicone turners – meat and dairy
For turning all manner of thing when pan frying. I also have a mini turner (it’s called a cookie spatula) that is super useful.
Tongs – meat and dairy
You’ll reach for them constantly. Get yourself some!
Whisks – meat and dairy
Glass (liquid) measuring cups, 1 set meat, 1 dairy
Another item in constant use. I recommend the set that comes with 1-cup, 2-cup, and 4-cup measuring cups. You can get by with just one 1-cup measure of each, though. I like the 4-cup measure as a small mixing bowl with a lip. Good for dry ingredients that get mixed into wet. I use both the 1-cup and the 2-cup constantly. I actually have two sets for each, that’s how much use they get.
Metal (dry) measuring cups – 1 set dairy, 1 set meat
Even if you prefer measuring things by weight, these are essential. I’m not sure why the set I have highlighted at right is massively superior to any other I’ve tried, but it is. Worth the higher price tag, promise.
Measuring spoons – 1 set dairy, 1 set meat
Another essential in your measuring arsenal. This set has lots of measures, including those that many sets don’t, which is useful. It’s marked clearly, despite not being color-coded. My favorite set that I’ve tried.
A must-have that makes it so much easier, and more accurate, to measure dry ingredients, especially flour. I have an old generic one I’ve been using for years, but everyone recommends the Escali and I’d upgrade to it if my current scale goes to the big kitchen in the sky.
Can opener – parve
I prefer a hand-cranked one. If you wind up using a lot of milk products that are canned you might need a dairy one. You may want to get a wine bottle opener too.
Oven mitts – dairy and meat
Self-evident, though it’s trickier than it should be to find a decent set. I like heavy, washable fabric mitts with silicone grips.
Kitchen scissors – dairy and meat
Just put one in each of your utensil bins/drawers and be happy that you did!
Nice to have
Rolling pin – dairy
I like my tapered French style rolling pin for dairy, and a smaller, Asian style rolling pin for meat.
A simple, manual one is inexpensive, easy to use, and works wonders for your cooking.
Citrus juicer – meat and dairy, or one parve
I can’t recommend the hand-held style more highly. You can squeeze it one-handed right into whatever you’re making without the seeds. You can also get the reamer style which often has a handy measuring cup attached.
Microplane grater (zester) – meat and dairy, or parve
The best tool for zesting citrus. It can also finely mince garlic and ginger. I have and use one of each.
Countertop garbage receptacle
I can’t remember where I picked up this tip, but it’s life changing: use a restaurant sixth pan on your countertop as a garbage bowl. Something about the shape makes it so handy. Mine lives out in the open near my main kitchen workspace, that’s how much I use it.
Soup ladle – meat and dairy
It’s kind of annoying that you need one of each, but you do (assuming you make both meat and dairy soups).
Because nothing mashes stuff better, and mashed stuff (not just potatoes, but definitely them) is wonderful.
I use these for cutting up meat and fish. I have one for meat and one for dairy.
Set of round biscuit cutters – dairy
This will get you through all sorts of baking, from biscuits to cookies to doughnuts and more. Handy for hamantaschen.
Instant-read thermometer – dairy
Handy for getting the internal temp of meats, baked goods, candy, and pretty much anything.
Probe thermometer – meat
These make it easy to monitor food temps. You can stick the probe in your turkey, steak (on the grill), or hot oil and always know exactly what’s going on in there.
I like silicone brushes for brushing challah and pastries with egg wash. As with spatulas, look for those that are made in one piece so they’re easy to clean.
By rights this should be a kitchen staple rather than a specialty item for anyone who bakes with any regularity. It cuts dough like nothing else, and makes scraping dried dough off your work surface effortless. While you’re at it, get yourself a handy bowl scraper to get all the bits of dough out of your mixing bowl, or a set that comes with both, like the one at right.
Extra, but fun. We have Star of David (at right), Torah, and Hebrew letter shaped ones that get used throughout the year, plus generic shapes like hearts and some Chanukah cutters. Most Judaica stores will carry Jewish-themed ones.
Grill mat – meat
This makes grilling all kinds of foods, including small or delicate ones, so easy. Easy to clean up, too.
Food processor -meat, dairy (optional)
While strictly speaking it isn’t essential, it’s by far my top pick for small kitchen appliances. If you have only one food processor, I’d make it meat. This way you can chop and grate vegetables, make fillings, and knead savory doughs. If you can swing it, a second, dairy one is also fantastic.
For my dairy food processor, I have the Cuisinart DFP model pictured at right. For my meat one, I have the newer Cuisinart line that was sold at Costco, similar to this one. They are both good and the Costco model has some nice perks, like the blade auto-locking when you tilt the work bowl, and a full set of accessories. That said, I like the DFP model better. You have to buy the accessories separately, and they are annoyingly prone to breaking. But it’s sturdier, more powerful, more pleasant to use, and overall better in my experience.
Hand mixer – if you don’t have a stand mixer
Though it drops down to “nice to have” if you do have a stand mixer, I still use mine frequently. I find it better for whipping small amounts of egg whites and whipped cream, and sometimes it’s faster and easier for general mixing.
Plata (food warmer)
Essential for heating up food, or keeping it warm, for Shabbat and yom tov. For years we used a model with silicone casing that folds up for storage, similar to this one. I now have a different space saver model which I also like. If you have the storage space, you can get a full-sized version (at right).
Hot Water Urn
You’ll need this for hot beverages on Shabbat, but it’s also handy throughout the week for instant boiled water for tea and cooking. Look for one that has a manual pump for use on Shabbat and chag. I like that my new one stays in the locked position unless unlocked.
Nice to have
Stand mixer (plus extra bowl and attachments)
Especially if you bake challah regularly or just generally enjoy baking, your stand mixer will get a lot of use and make your life easier. It also has a lot of attachments that can be useful. I have one bowl and set of accessories that’s dairy, and a second bowl and dough hook that are parve. I have the professional series mixer (the lift bowl model, linked at right) but the tilt-head model is also good.
Immersion (handheld) blender – meat
Use this for blending tasks like pureeing soups and sauces right in the pot, blending tahini or hummus, and whipping egg whites.
Blender – dairy
There are some things only a blender will do. I have a compact one with small containers for making silky sauces or small-serve smoothies, which is my recommendation (at right). You might prefer a full-size one. I know a lot of people who swear by their Vitamix.
Rice Cooker – meat
I love my rice cooker. It’s one of the most used small appliances in my kitchen. It cooks rice and all sorts of grains to perfection and without needing my attention, and vegetables can be steamed over the grains while they’re cooking. My model is actually a multi-cooker that has a useful saute function as well as a slow-cooker mode that serves as my regular slow cooker. It’s designated meat.
Instant Pot – 1 meat, 1 dairy (optional)
Great for quickly cooking beans and lentils as well as meaty stews, plus boiling eggs and other prep, the Instant Pot gets a lot of use in my kitchen. I use both my meat and dairy one fairly often, though if I had just one I’d make it meat. I use the yogurt function on my dairy pot, plus for making vegetable stock, whole grains, and more.
Slow Cooker – meat
If you don’t have another multi-cooker with a slow cook function, you’ll probably want a slow cooker for Shabbat and other occasional use.
Microwave – 1 dairy, 1 meat
I find it easiest to have a dedicated microwave for each. It’s possible to use one for both meat and dairy, though it requires a lot more attention/work. My bigger, better microwave is dairy and lives in the kitchen. My smaller, cheaper microwave is meat and lives on top of a minifridge in the family room.
Toaster or Toaster Oven
We have a four-slot bread toaster that gets tons of use. You might prefer an oven over a slot toaster. I recommend leaving it parve, though you might want to have yours dairy, especially a toaster oven.
Espresso machine or coffee maker
Well, I consider this essential, but your mileage might vary. I have a Saeco espresso machine that was one of their mid-range models at the time, but is no longer available. (It still makes outstanding espresso many times a day.) The one at right looks like a comparable model by Breville.
Ice cream maker or attachment
Making your own ice cream is surprisingly doable and a boon to those of us who like flavors that are next to impossible to find kosher (Earl Grey anyone? Black sesame? Tahini?). I have the Kitchenaid ice cream attachment for my stand mixer, which works very well for me. For recommendations on stand-alone ice cream machines, see Wirecutter.
Pasta machine or attachment
Definitely an extra, but a fun one. A stand alone, hand cranked machine is surprisingly affordable. I have the Kitchenaid pasta attachment. I use the regular roller for making sheets of pasta for lasagna. I either hand cut them for noodles, or make them into ravioli.
When my husband wanted to get a deep fryer, I thought it was a preposterous idea, but now I’m a true believer. It makes it a lot less messy (and odorous) to fry, and the food cooks perfectly and comes out dry rather than greasy. Ours is set up in a sheltered spot in our (Los Angeles) outdoor kitchen area. I also have a compact fryer designated dairy, good for sufganiyot, other doughnuts, and fish. It sets up right on my counter and doesn’t use much oil.
If you like waffles, you’ll need a waffle maker to make them. I like that ours has removable plates that can go in the dishwasher. We definitely use it regularly enough to justify having it.
Grill – meat
If you have the outdoor space, a grill is wonderful to have. Nothing cooks food like it (though you can passably broil things in your oven!). Up-to-date recs here. We didn’t spend all that much on our grill, in the $300 range at a local hardware store, and we love it.
If at all possible, it makes kosher life so much easier to have a double oven, one for meat and one for dairy, especially if you enjoy baking. It still makes me laugh that my kitchen designer innocently asked me, “Are you sure you want a double oven? Most people only use them once or twice a year.” Every day and twice on Friday, pal. Many people who don’t have a double oven have a main oven they use for meat and a toaster or countertop oven for dairy. Countertop ovens keep getting better and better. My sister has a cool one she got at Costco. Many ovens, and most double oven models I looked at, have a Shabbat mode programmed in (which is most useful for yom tov, not Shabbat, despite the name). This information is often buried deep in the manual. The mode basically overrides the automatic shut-off. Mine also disables the touch panel so that you can’t adjust anything once it enters Shabbat mode. (The only thing you can do is turn it off.) I rarely use Shabbat mode, though. I prefer cooking ahead and reheating on a plata (food warmer).
As with ovens, most current refrigerators have built-in Shabbat-friendly features. The main thing to look for is a locking mechanism for the lights. I lock mine in the on position right before candles. Basically all fridges today have a child lock for the water dispenser, which comes in handy on Shabbat as well.
Some people have two full dishwasher, one for each. Some people hand wash one set of dishes. We have the Fisher & Paykel double dish drawer. We use the top drawer for meat (it’s taller, for our larger meat dishes and pots) and the bottom for dairy (easy for the kids to put away). We definitely run the dairy drawer more often.
Dining & Serving
Set of flatware – meat and dairy
This is worth investing in. As in, get a good quality, large set, larger than you think you need. Otherwise you will be constantly frustrated and unable to find matching pieces when you need to add more. A good set will probably come with several serving pieces as well, which are really useful. Obviously, you want two sets that are easily distinguishable. My meat set is rounded and my dairy is squared. You can also get different colors.
Set of dishes – meat and dairy
You’ll want a fairly large set with dinner plates, lunch plates, soup/cereal bowls, dessert plates, and small bowls. I’d say at least 8 place settings, 10-12 is better. Honestly, we don’t often host large crowds, but somehow we end up needing the larger set. Both of my sets are white, but one is round (dairy) and the other is square (meat).
Many of my baking dishes double as serving dishes, and my recommendations reflect that. (It’s why I suggest ceramic bakers above under baking pans, plus a Dutch oven can double for serving.) I also have a few other dedicated serving plates, for large meat items, plus for decanting roasted things from sheet pans and cooked things from pots. Some of my favorite pieces are from CB2, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Etsy, and the now-defunct Le Souk.
Large serving bowl – meat and dairy
Good for salad, stews, saucy things, grain mains, and lots of other serving situations. Get one in classic white, or choose a painted ceramic one that matches your style. Or both, they’re useful.
Medium serving bowl – meat and dairy
Good for rice, veg, and sides.
Large platter – meat, possibly dairy
I use these for large roasts, grilled meat, and savory pastries, like burekas. Sometimes I arrange a whole bunch of roasted veg on one platter.
Cake stand and dome
An extra for sure, but a useful one to have. I use my glass cake dome a lot. Not just for cakes, but for all sorts of baked goods. It keeps them fresh and displayed on a regular plate on the counter. You can buy the stand and dome as a set, or as separate items.
Easy to forget about, yet essential. I have decorative ones (look for them at Judaica stores or on Etsy), and cork ones that I use for everyday tasks that get replaced when they’re grungy. (Ikea also makes a good pack of them.)
Tablecloths and runners
I like making my own runners, and for tablecloths, it’s worth having a number in your collection if you often host on Shabbat and holidays. I’d start with a white tablecloth, a dark tablecloth, and a colorful, patterned one that matches your style.
I use lots more organizational items in my kitchen than what’s included below, but these are my top utilitarian picks that I wish I’d had from the start.
Set of glass storage containers with lids – meat and dairy
For leftovers. Also good for storing homemade sauces and dips. My sets are color coded like the sets at right, for meat and dairy.
My favorite ones are made by Oliver’s Labels, and I also love the ones made by The Kosher Cook. (All the stuff made by Kosher Cook (no affiliation) is great quality and very handy.) You can sometimes find these in the kosher section at a chain supermarket, and at any kosher market.
Plastic open storage bins
It took me forever to find this solution, Multi-Purpose Bins from the Container Store, for corralling packages of noodles, specialty flours, energy bars, and other snacks. These work so well for that and can be repurposed many different ways.
Sealing pantry containers
Produce saver containers
I like these containers, which have a built-in filter that doesn’t need to be replaced, for extending the shelf life of berries and lettuce especially.
A Note About Parve Equipment
This is an where personal preference really comes into play. Many people I know like to have a parve cutting board, knife, vegetable peeler, a pot, and baking dish, plus sponges for clean-up. Personally, I have a minimal amount of parve stuff in my kitchen, mostly for baking challah, plus a can opener.
Also: I make most of my parve desserts on dairy equipment. I almost always serve dessert separately from the main meal, on the coffee table in the living room or on the patio table. (Pesach is an exception and gives me headaches in this regard.) If I make a dessert that has dairy in it, I label it as such with freezer tape and a sharpie. We’re really used to this, so we just assume that a dessert is parve baked on dairy equipment unless otherwise noted. Some people aren’t comfortable with this due to the potential for confusion, but it works for us.
I have a fairly large cookbook collection, most of it stained, dog-eared, and generally well-loved. This is definitely a subjective area; check cookbooks out of the library, then buy the ones you love. In particular, I’d suggest getting a few “all-purpose” cookbooks (my picks follow, geared toward the kosher cook) as well as books dedicated to cuisines you enjoy (for me, that includes Indian, Thai, Mexican, and many more). I’m not including my Hebrew favorites below, but if there’s interest, I’d be happy to.
I also warmly, liltingly recommend the (paid) recipe manager app Paprika (no affiliation). I use it to store all my recipes, notes, photos, plus clipped recipes I want to try from the internet. It displays clearly on my tablet, prints out beautifully formatted, and if you make all your friends and family download it too, you can share the recipes to them with one click on any platform you use for texting, or via email.
Martha’s American Food by Martha Stewart. I’d never have thought that this book would be frequently used in my house (I don’t love American food!) but it is, with tons of stellar basic recipes like carrot cake, cornbread, and, yes, apple pie. I love the way it’s arranged: regionally, plus a chapter for all-American.
The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook. I realize now that Dean & DeLuca are kind of evil, but I just can’t ignore the generational fact that they taught me and everyone I know how to eat. This cookbook is a treasury of global savory recipes. If you want to make bruschetta, gado gado, or do something interesting with that tilapia, it’s all here. (There are no desserts; Dean & Deluca purchased their amazing baked goods from various vendors, many of which they stiffed, apparently. I don’t know for sure but I strongly suspect William Greenberg was chief among them, and for that we now have the William Greenberg Desserts Cookbook, which is pretty good but not all that I wanted it to be).
Kosher, Jewish + Israeli
Einat Admony‘s new cookbook, Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking is my pick for best Israeli cookbook in English. It delivers just what the title promises: recipes for the way Israelis actually eat at home. This is exactly what I think about when I think about comforting, delicious home cooking.
Spice and Spirit (the Chabad cookbook) can be old-school, but it’s sort of like having a Yiddish grandma in book form, with all the (mostly-Ashkenazi) basics plus lots of good ideas.
Gil Marks‘s The World of Jewish Cooking. I have and love many of Gil Marks’s books, a lot. But this one is a great place to start, including as it does a great selections of his his globally-Jewish vegetarian recipes as well as meat classics and authentically Jewish desserts. Keep in mind this is not a 21st century cookbook with lots of photos and thoughtfully formatted recipes. It’s black and white print formatted like a paperback novel. None of that diminishes its absolute wonderfulness.
The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook – a world of breads, in one book.