First Apartment Kitchen List – For Houses Too

This is a very exciting time if you are getting ready to move into your very first apartment or house. The feeling of having your own space for the first time is definitely something you will never forget. My first apartment kitchen list will get you started with one of the main areas in an apartment or house to get settled in and start enjoying yourself needs to be in your kitchen. This is the spot where you will be able to not only cook what just you like, but you will get to experiment and try new things as well. Not all of these new things will you like when you are done with them, and that will also happen from time to time. Being prepared to try anything is the main idea here. So let’s talk about what are all the things you may need in your first kitchen.

Safety First

Safety is the very first thing you will need to keep in mind when you are in the kitchen. No matter your age or how long you have been in a kitchen you still have to keep safety in mind. This should be the number one thing thought of at all times in the kitchen. Here are some of the reasons why:

Fires are dangerous to you, your apartment and other tenants, and your home. From 2014-2018 172,900 structural fires were started by cooking. This is an alarming number. These tips can help you prevent fires:

  1. Have a fire extinguisher, and understand how to use it. The American Red Cross suggest reaching out to your local fire smoke alarmdepartment to inquire about training.
  2. Never ever leave food unattended. Leaving food cooking unattended increases your risk of starting a fire in the kitchen.
  3. Have smoke alarms installed. If you live in an apartment, make sure that you have the recommended amount of functioning smoke alarms. If you do not contact your landlord or property management. If you are in a house, do the same if you are renting. If you own then install or call a handyman to install these. Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace all batteries at least once a year. Smoke alarms do save lives.

Just a few other safety tips for the kitchen.

  1. Do not put metal into your microwave. This will cause damage to your microwave and potentially start a fire.
  2. Oil and water do not mix. Water is a higher density than oil and will go to the bottom of the pan you are cooking in. Also, water has a lower boiling point than oil and this will cause the water to boil and burst up through the oil. When the oil is splattered out of the pan from the water steaming out, if the oil touches a flame, like a gas burner or even an electric burner this can cause a fire.
  3. Keep potholders in your kitchen. You might even want to have two sets of these as I have found some of them are just better than others. You can use a towel like people do on the kitchen shows, but having extra fabric hanging around the oven isn’t the best idea.
  4. Store foods in appropriate areas. Do not let refrigerated items sit out and get hot. This will cause bacteria to grow and will make you very sick.

Pots And Pans

You will obviously need some pots and pans for your kitchen, unless you plan to microwave everything, and no one wants to eat microwaved food all the time. Cooking your own food can be very rewarding. You’ll want to make you have just a few of what I would consider essential pots and pans on hand to get started.

  • 3 quart saute pan with lid.
  • 6-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids.
  • At least a 10in by 15in flat pan.

Is this really all you need? As far as pots and pans go, I say yes. For your first apartment or home kitchen I recommend these four items. Especially if you live alone. If you live with someone else you may need to add more to this list, but these items are what you will need. In my own kitchen, with a family, I use these pots and pans all the time.

Mix, Chop, and Stir

Now we are getting to the fun part. I love my cooking utensils. Over the years I have found some that I like more than others. The main idea we are trying to achieve here though is getting you what you need to get started in a kitchen. Over time, you will develop your own preference for certain items.

  • Spatula
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Solid Spoon
  • Tongs
  • Measuring Spoons/Cups
  • Can Opener
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Knife Set
  • Scissors
  • Set of mixing bowls

I do understand this list is quite short as well. When you first start in your own kitchen however, you do not need too many utensils. Your collection will grow over time naturally by acquiring new items. You may only have one spatula and you may have to wash it and reuse it while cooking a meal but that is quite alright.

Flatware, Dinnerware, and Glasses

Is there anything wrong with plastic silverware? Absolutely not, but I do recommend a decent flatware set. Plastic silverware will continue to cost money over time, unlike a one time purchase of flatware and create more trash for you in the long term. I do not like doing dishes, but I would rather spend a couple of minutes and wash flatware than to spend money over and over again on the same thing.

Dinnerware is again something I recommend as a one time purchase and wash/reuse item. You can also use sturdy paper plates instead of glass but this will leave you spending more money consistently.

Drinking glasses are probably one of items that made me feel most grown up in my first kitchen. Being able to drink out of a glass cup without anyone looking over my shoulder and reminding me not to drop it was very new feeling. Amazing how something so little can make you feel like a grown up. You can choose to have throw-away cups but I believe by now you know where I stand on that.

You will have to make your own decision about these items. If you want to spend a little more money upfront on these or spend less to get the throw-away items that also do not require washing.

cups and flatware


Microwave – A microwave is a very valuable appliance in the kitchen. You can use this for almost everything from heating water for a quick bowl of oatmeal in the morning to warming up leftovers or even warming up a quick frozen meal. The microwave is meant for quick convenience. Microwaves heat things from the inside, unlike an oven that heats food from the outside.

Toaster Oven – This toaster oven can be used to bake, broil, toast, and warm reheat. This appliance is a great alternative to heating up your big oven. Not only does that take much more time but it also uses more power or gas than a small countertop toaster oven. *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

These are my personal favorites for a first-time kitchen whether it is in either an apartment or a house. Most people go straight for the regular toaster but I prefer an appliance I have spent money on, be able to do perform more than just one function.

Little Thought Of Items

I’m am going to toss out a list of items I think are mostly not thought of when you start planning for your first apartment or house kitchen. You can decide which of these you will need or not need.

  1. Dishtowels
  2. Dishcloths
  3. Dishwashing sponges/scrubbers/pot scraper
  4. Dish drainer
  5. Trash can
  6. Potholders/oven mitts
  7. Salt/pepper shakers
  8. Cutting board
  9. Ice trays if you do not have an icemaker

When you are planning for your first kitchen some of these little items are forgotten about until you need them. I ran into not having potholders and ice trays my very first kitchen. It was not fun trying to use a towel to get hot food out of the oven. That is partially why I talked to that earlier.

Getting Settled In

I hope that my first apartment kitchen list has gotten you prepared with everything you need to think about to get a good start in an apartment or a house. Keeping safety in mind is a top priority. You can start gathering your pots and pans, utensils, flatware, dinnerware, glasses, and appliances ahead of time if you know you will be moving soon. I recommend this as you will be able to spread out the cost over time. Another way to save money is to thrift shop for most of your items. Everything does not have to be brand new and does not have to match for your first kitchen. You can purchase new, matching items as you get more established and comfortable with what you will/will not use and what you find most beneficial in your kitchen. These items are not the same for everyone, so only through experience will you know what is best for you.

Do you have one item you forgot about for your first kitchen or any of these you haven’t thought about yet? I would love to hear your story.

Eat Well

Here is another post about tips to keep your kitchen clean.

10 thoughts on “First Apartment Kitchen List – For Houses Too”

    • A vegetable brush is a great tool too. I did not even think of it, mainly because I have never owned one. There again everyone will figure out what is more important for them personally to have with the experience and time of being in their own kitchen.

  1. Hi Cheyenne,

    Your first apartment kichen list is truly complete and detailed. In the way you have organized it by sub-categories, it is straightforward not to miss anything. I will bookmark and share this article because it will come handy very soon; this is precisely what I was looking for. Thank you!

  2. What a great post! Thanks for sharing, I especially like how you have started with safety first. I agree with you, the feeling of excitement when moving into your first house or apartment is awesome. I enjoyed reading your post, and I just wanted to say how helpful this information is, so thanks, once again.

  3. I like how you put safety before anything else, the fire distinguisher and smoke alarms and the warnings about oil splashing. A new cook do not necessarily think of all these.
    A good list, as well.
    I missed a colander and a garlic press back in my first kitchen, even after what I though was a careful planning 😉 It was decades ago and the only reminder I could lean on was my own list.
    It was funny, as my hubby asked for spaghetti and I promised him the best one he ever had, of course. I needed pressed garlic for the sauce, but, lacking the press, I crashed it and cut over and over, until it almost became a paste. One problem resolved.
    Then I had to drain the pasta. I could of course just move a little the lid and drain through the small gap, but as I held the whole pan with the water and lid upside-down, it slipped out of my hand and almost all the spaghetti went down the drain. We ended up spreading the meat sauce on bread slices and my hubby very cutely said these were the best “spaghetti” he ever had. We still do it sometimes, with toasts 😉

    • Oh gosh, that is unfortunate. I have to say that is how I drained pasta for a very long time. At least you came out of that experience with a great memory.

  4. Although I have lived in so many places that I literally lost count, I am building my home now and the first room to be built is the kitchen, so it is like moving into my very first own place. Having lived in many different houses and appartments taught me what I like and don’t like in kitchens, and I definitely love having a lot of space.
    Safety is important, and since I live in the middle of nowhere, a fire extinguisher will go on my to buy list as soon as the kitchen is built.
    Although water and oil indeed do not go together, I like to add splashes of water to vegetables I am frying on low heat, to make them steam, it makes them tender. It’s just some splashes, that is not dangerous, is it? I think they evaporate quickly. I just want to make sure 😉
    The rest of your list is also very useful. Your website comes at such a good time for me, you are really helping me plan for the kitchen I am building!

    • I am so glad I can be helpful to you. Building a new home is so exciting. I would imagine small little drops of water with low heat is alright. I wouldn’t do it over high heat or with too much oil.


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