Adulting might be overrated, but it still has to be done. One of the key components of adulting is cooking your own meals and perhaps even hosting dinner parties with friends. Postmates and Uber Eats may be an alluring option, but there’s nothing like the satisfaction of making your own meal, saving money, and developing your own culinary prowess. But before you whip up simple or complicated dishes, you need a kitchen that is prepped for success. Here are 12 kitchen essentials that you #NEED.

1. Place Settings ($250 for the set pictured): Sure, you probably already have a basic set of dinnerware. But what about when you host holidays, out-of-town guests, or your significant others’ parents? If you’d like to whip out the *good stuff* for a formal dinner, pull together some Aoosy Rose Gold Flatware ($70), Prouna Marble Plates and Bowls ($125 for a set of four), and LinenMe Rose Napkins ($60 for four).

2. Vremi 15 Piece Nonstick Cookware Set ($90): This highly reviewed cookware set, also available in multicolor, comes with all the basics to be able to cook everything from omelets to spaghetti to chili. At its reasonable price point, you will have to replace it after a couple of years, but if you clean them well and don’t stretch the nonstick lining, you’ll get a ton of good use out of it. This set also comes with spatulas and serving spoons, so you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your buck.

3. Pyrex 3-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set ($20): Don’t be fooled: No kitchen is complete without a set of proper measuring cups. “Eyeballing it” is not only quite literally a recipe for disaster, but let’s be real… it’s also totally overrated.

4. Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Deep Skillet ($175+): Yes, this is quite an investment piece. However, if you’re serious about cooking, this piece is worth its weight in gold. From pan roasting to stovetop frying, this skillet will last you for years.

5. Dexas Flexi Cutting Boards ($20, set of four): Cutting boards are an absolute must, and you need to have separate cutting boards for raw meats and poultry versus fruit and vegetables. There has been much debate over cutting boards and whether plastic boards or wood boards are safer. No matter which option you choose, simply ensure that your cutting boards are kept clean and replaced often. At a price point like this, replacing them as need be isn’t cost-prohibitive.

salt pepper grinder

6. Willow & Everett Salt and Pepper Grinders ($28): Throw that old, dry pepper out. A kitchen dish that’s adult-level delicious always contains freshly ground spices like Himalayan salt and peppercorns.

7. Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Strainer ($20): A colander is absolutely a kitchen essential, and this snap-on strainer makes cooking pasta as easy as can be.

8. Stainless Steel Cheese Grater and Vegetable Slicer ($20): A cheese grater slash vegetable slicer is a kitchen necessity! This is an inexpensive and multi-purpose option that will come in handy time and time again.

9. Oven to Table Rectangular Baker ($20+): Essentially an upscale version of the classic Pyrex dish, these rectangular bakers will look good on your countertops when serving casseroles, baked meats, or whatever culinary creations your heart desires.

10. 10-Piece Glass Mixing Bowl Set ($40): From baked goods to salads, to custom spices, to trail mix, you’ll need mixing bowls time and time again. This absolutely essential set comes with multiple sizes to meet any and all cooking adventures.

11. J.K. Adams Pig Cutting Board ($35): You can monogram this cutting board for a small upcharge and personalize it for your home. Even if you decide to stick with plastic cutting boards, a piece like this serves as a bit of practical and charming decor in your kitchen.

12. Libbey Stemless Wine Glasses ($23 for a set of 12): Why stemless? More sipping, less tipping!

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