Natural Kitchen Essentials List: My Most Used Tools and Appliances

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Natural and Organic Kitchen Items
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After I wrote about what I keep in my purse, I had several requests for a similar post about what my kitchen looks like and what appliances/health tools I regularly use. Below is the list I wish I’d had before I got married so I could have put most of these items on my wedding registry.

Natural Kitchen Items

I feel that it is important to note that I cook 2-3 times a day and we don’t often use a microwave. All of the items I have in my kitchen now are heavy duty and have multiple uses. Many of these items are pricey but we carefully budgeted for them and most have extended warranties. I should also note that because I am constantly experimenting with new recipes for the blog, I have some appliances and tools I would not have originally thought to register for or purchase.

1. Appliances/Big Items

Besides the usual refrigerator and oven/stove, I have a variety of small appliances that I use on a regular basis.

  • Vitamix: We have had a Vitamix since early in our marriage and it has been used multiple times a day for years! We use it daily for smoothies, sauces, blending coffee with healthy fats, chopping, etc. If I could only have one of the appliances on this list, I’d keep the Vitamix. While I really think a Vitamix beats all other blenders, here are my experiences with other blenders that also pass the test.
  • Food Processor (I have this one): I didn’t put this on my wedding registry because I thought “how much would I really use a machine that just chops and mixes?” Turns out, I would use it a lot. I thought it would be fun to chop everything by hand at first, which was true for a couple of years, but now when I cook for a crowd (just the family, not to mention guests) the food processor is really helpful. I also use this often for chopping items for soups, slicing cabbage for sauerkraut, pre-chopping salad items for the whole week, etc.
  • Mixer (I have this one): Another one I didn’t get early on because I didn’t think we’d use it much (especially since I don’t bake that often). While it is still not my most used kitchen tool, I do use it pretty often for blending things like homemade marshmallows or the dough for coconut flour biscuits, etc. Before we got this mixer, I just had the hand-mixer version and it worked really well too.
  • Dehydrator (I have this one): We went through several of the cheaper plastic type dehydrators but the Excalibur is considered the gold standard of dehydrators. Dehydrators are great for drying fruits and veggies, making beef jerky or salmon jerky, and more. My kids especially like apple chips made from dehydrated apples and strawberries. This appliance mainly gets used in the summer when there is excess produce that needs to be preserved.
  • Ice Cream Maker (I have this one): Not something I thought I would use all the time, but surprisingly we do. We make ice cream recipes like this strawberry gelato, or butter pecan ice cream, but this is also just a great way to get extra healthy fats and nutrients into my kids without a fight. I can even just blend watermelon and pour it in to make a sorbet. For ice creams, I try to add coconut oil, egg yolks, and butter for good fats.
  • Crock Pot/Slow Cooker (I have this one): This is one item I had from the beginning. I’ve actually gone through several cheaper ones that wore out before I finally sprung for a high-quality one. This particular Crock Pot is also supposed to be tested to be free of lead (which is supposedly present in the crock of some slow cookers).
  • Immersion Blender (I have this one): I use this all the time for pureeing soups in the pot, mixing pancake batter, etc.
  • Water Filter (We have this one): Not an appliance per se but we use this daily to filter our water for cooking and drinking as it is the best water filter option I’ve found. We used the Berkey Water Filter for years before we sprung for this 14-stage under-counter filtration system. The Berkey is still a great option if under the counter isn’t possible. If you’re wondering why a 14-stage water filter would be necessary, check out this post and you might be convinced.

2. Cookware and Bakeware

I cook all the time, so quality cookware is really important to me. I only use cookware that is natural/eco-friendly and also pretty easy to clean. This left only a few options, but my few versatile pieces get used all the time!

  • Instant Pot (I have this one): You know those last-minute dinner blues? The Instant Pot can cure them. It makes soups, stews, and casseroles, hard boils eggs, ferments yogurt, and the most tender cuts of meat you can imagine. Food is ready in about an hour or less, and you can even saute right in the pot before pressurizing, saving extra dirty pans. Try it, you’ll be glad you did! Check out my full review on Instant Pot models (and why it is a healthy way to cook) for more details.
  • Caraway – I use their 3 qt. saucepan several times a week as well as their frying pan to make eggs, crepes or fry up some veggies. They are easy to clean and are safe for the family without any toxic chemicals leaching into your food. I also use their bakeware when making desserts or breakfast muffins.
  • Ceramic Skillets (I have these): These cook evenly and are really easy to clean. The only downside is that they are breakable so I have to be careful when cleaning them. I use these especially for eggs as they don’t stick, but also for foods like stir-fries or meats. (Note: Ceramcor has offered to give WM readers a 10% discount on all orders. Here are the details.)
  • Always Pan – I love the Always Pan when I am making scrambled eggs, stir fry, or need to steam some veggies. The pan is very easy to clean and you can either wipe it down with a wet rag or throw it into the dishwasher.
  • Cast Iron: A few good cast iron skillets can last forever. I use these for anything that has to go from stove to oven or for meats, bacon, sausage, etc. Another advantage is that trace amounts of iron are left in food to boost the body’s iron levels.
  • Enameled Cast Iron: I have a Dutch oven and soup pot that are coated cast iron and use these for stove or oven roasting or cooking.
  • Large Stock Pot: I have a restaurant grade 5-gallon stock pot that I use for bone broth and for pre-cooking large batches of food.
  • Glass Baking Dishes: for everyday cooking and baking
  • Steel Food Service Baking Pans (I have these): Since we try to cook in bulk when possible and since I now often have to cook large amounts even for single meals, these come in handy. I use them for roasting veggies, cooking large amounts of food, and serving to large groups. They can also double as a roaster for large cuts of meat.

3. Kitchen Tools

Besides the bigger items like the appliances above, I have a variety of smaller kitchen items that I use all the time. I actually had a lot more of these smaller items and have weeded out single-use items, especially those that took up a lot of room. The ones that made the cut and that I still have:

  • A French Press (I have this one): is great for making coffee or tea without them coming in to contact with plastic like they would in many coffee makers. I also find that I like the flavor of coffee and teas made in a French press much better and this is much smaller to store than a full-size coffee pot. We also use a Chemex quite often and you can check out our whole coffee setup in this post.
  • A Fermentation Crock (I have this one): There is usually something in some stage of fermentation on my counter and a crock like this makes fermentation much easier. I use this most often for sauerkraut.
  • Quality Knives (I have these): Knives are still one of the most used items in my kitchen. From chopping veggies for omelets to meat or veggies for dinner, these get used all the time. I’ve even invested in teaching the kids to use them (with the help of this awesome online course) as it’s a valuable life skill.
  • Tea Kettle (I have a glass one, a cast iron one, and a steel one): We drink a lot of herbal tea in our house and I also just love the look of a tea kettle!
  • A Julienne Peeler (I have this set): I use this to peel carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, etc. into noodle shapes to use in place of regular noodles in recipes. This is also a job that my older kids can help with in meal prep.
  • A Crinkle Cutter (I have this one): Not too sharp and makes fun shapes so my kids can use them to help with meal prep. I keep this and a bamboo cutting board and the kids get to take turns helping cut veggies for meals. They also are able to get this out and a carrot or cucumber and cut slices for a snack whenever they want.
  • A Mandoline (I have this one): When I don’t feel like using the food processor, this is great to grate, slice, or cut (warning: it’s sharp!).
  • A Kitchen Thermometer (I have this one): For testing the temperature of meats, etc.
  • A Candy Thermometer (I have this one): For testing the temperature of mixtures for marshmallows and cough drops, etc.
  • Bamboo Cutting Boards (I have these): An eco-friendly alternative to plastic cutting boards and a less breakable alternative to glass cutting boards. I use these daily.
  • Bamboo Cooking Utensils (I have these): For use in anything I’m cooking.
Items for a Natural and Organic Kitchen - Registry Ideas

4. Random Items

5. Jars

I use jars for everything so they have a category of their own. We use them for storage, drinking glasses, fermenting things like beet kvass or water kefir, and salsa, as well as for second ferments of kombucha. I love glass jars and have a collection of sorts in my kitchen:

6. Other Items

In addition to these kitchen items, the following unusual items can often be found on my kitchen counter:

There are lots of other additional kitchen items, but these are by far the ones that I use the most regularly.

What’s in your kitchen? Are there any great kitchen tools that I’m missing out on? Do you have some of these same items? Share below!

My essential natural kitchen items, cooking tools and health appliances for my natural and organic kitchen. Also great ideas for a wedding registry list.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

161 responses to “Natural Kitchen Essentials List: My Most Used Tools and Appliances”

  1. AIDA Avatar

    Hi! I am currently doing my research on juicers, and I was curios to know the one you have in your kitchen, or which one do you recommend?. I know the best one is Norwalk, but not sure if we need such a heavy duty one… Thanks!!.

  2. Regina Osborn Avatar
    Regina Osborn

    I love the kitchen list. We aren’t quite there yet but getting close. We also have the
    Excalibur dehydrator.n Absolutely love it! We do all our own onion, garlic, tomato powders, cut cherry tomato’s in half (make a wonderful snack in place of chips), herb blends and anything else we can think of to try.

  3. Lily Avatar

    I would replace the slow cooker with an Instant Pot pressure cooker! It has a slow cooker function so you get the best of both worlds. I loooove this thing! I get teased about how much I love it, in fact.

  4. Jeremy Avatar

    Hello,
    having these items in your kitchen,have you noticed any cognitive enhancement compared to the cheaper more toxic products you have used in the past,if you’ve ever even used them. Also,how’s that dehydrator? Thinking of obtaining one for fruit?
    Thanks

  5. linda Avatar

    Do you know if silicone baking mats, cups and pans are safe to cook with?

  6. Carolyn Avatar

    I was looking at a vitamix, and it’s plastic. Don’t you put hot liquids in this if you’re blending coffee and soups? Did they used to be made with glass or something? All the ones I saw were plastic.

    1. Kim Davis Avatar
      Kim Davis

      I’m a few years late with this, but Vitamix containers are made of acrylic, not plastic.
      Absolutely no BPAs. ?

      1. Charlotte McKinley Avatar
        Charlotte McKinley

        They now use Tritan plastic, which isn’t thoroughly researched. I don’t feel like it’s safe. I wish they’d come back out with the optional SS pitcher! I just went with the Waring Pro (USA!) because it has almost no plastic and your food touches the glass and blades.

  7. Jillian Avatar

    I loved the list, it has many things Im wanting like bamboo cutting boards, Vitamix, and Excalibur. However Im super surprised to see that there wasnt a juicer on the list! Is there a reason for that?

  8. Sara Avatar

    I love the list, it gave me kitchen gadget envy. Some of the things I continue to hear about or see come up when looking at primal or paleo recipes especially is the use of a food processor. I’m the type that declutters regularly and really hadn’t used my food processor more than one summer since I bought it so I recently got rid of it. Would a high power blender do some of the same things a food processor does? I have a blender that does get much use and have considered purchasing a Vitamix or Blendtec. Would one of these be able to handle the same load that a food processor would?

  9. Lauren Avatar

    I have a lot of the cooking appliances & untensils and such. I was wondering about the crock for fermenting. What is good about that verses just using a mason jar?

  10. Rachel Walsh Avatar
    Rachel Walsh

    GREAT list! So helpful in creating a healthy home. Does anyone have any idea where one can find affordable eco friendly kitchen chair cushions? I have looked everywhere (online, in stores…).

  11. Katie Gamble Avatar
    Katie Gamble

    The link for the Berkey Water Filter isn’t working. Can you please fix it? I’ve been looking into getting one and am super excited to see that you use one too! 🙂

    1. Ann Avatar

      What type of spatula do you recommend? I’m referring to the kind you use to get the last of the pancake batter out of the bowl. Thank you for this great list!

  12. Angela Burch Avatar
    Angela Burch

    I can’t believe no one else asked this yet… how big is your kitchen/ cabinet/ storage space!?!?!? All of those items sound wonderful but in my apartment, near galley, kitchen I’m lucky to store my small crock pot, and the blender and food processor are always on the counter, taking up precious space there! Truly though, you’re blessed to stock such an awesome kitchen. I am curious as to how you store those larger items though, especially since you cook so often. Do you lug them out for each use? Or are you fortunate to have counter space to keep the most used items convenient? On a sidenote, you’re such an inspiration to me and I really appreciate the information that you give. I recommend you all the time to my family and love seeing their surprised looks when I mention information they didn’t know that i got from your site. Take care!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I have some counter space but not much cabinet space, so a lot of that sits out on the counter all the time. Also, since many things like the mason jars are used for everything, they don’t take up as much space…

  13. Christina Avatar
    Christina

    Thanks for your list, Katie! What oil do you use to season your bamboo cutting boards? (Mine have cracked on me!)

  14. chantel Avatar

    Well, I thought i had posted and then it disappeared. I also use the following (frequently):
    Electric Pressure Cooker–I use the Cuisinart brand. It’s especially great during the summer months as it doesn’t make the kitchen hot like a crock pot. I use it multiple times per week and I make bone broth in it.
    Box Grater–It’s old school but i actually prefer it to grating in a food processor.
    Hand Mixer–I got a Breville one for a wedding gift (wasn’t even on our registry). I use it frequently for scrambled eggs, grain-free pancakes/baked goods.
    Simple Electric Citrus Juicer (not to be confused with those massive ones that people use for green drinks)–I bought a Juiceman brand one at Target for like $20. I use it to squeeze lemons/limes. It’s amazing how much more juice I can extract with it, plus it’s quick and easy to clean so I have found it to be far more usefull than those hand-held manual ones.

  15. Jody C Avatar

    I really enjoyed your list and might have to add a few things to my Wish List. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is an electric kettle. I use it at least once a day or more and I like that it automatically turns off after the boil. No scorched kettles. I also love my Bosch Mixer. Back when the kids were home, I made 5 loaf batches of bread with it. Now we eat very little bread, but it’s still a favorite kitchen tool.

  16. Stacy W Avatar

    My husband recently discovered Hydro Flask (he bought it in 40 oz). He loves it and bought me one too…can’t say enough good things about this flask. It keeps your beverage cold (or hot) for hours even if you leave it in the car all day. I will usually fill it up in the morning, add a few ice cubes and by the end of the day, there’ll still be remnants of ice left. LOVE, LOVE it!

  17. Liz Avatar

    Great list 🙂 I never thought I would use an ice cream maker either, but I picked one up in a thrift store for $3.80 and have loved it. Even the expensive ice cream at the supermarket has so many nasty additives.

    I love glass jars as well, but mason jars are super-expensive in Australia, so I just reuse all the jars that come through my house. They are great for food storage, drinking glasses and fermenting.

    I would love a food dehydrator to make homemade dried fruit and jerky. One day…

  18. Rachel Avatar

    A labor of love! Thanks for sharing, Katie! My Amazon wish list just doubled. Lol.

  19. Meg Sylvia Avatar
    Meg Sylvia

    Awesome list! And right in time- I’ll be moving in the next month and need to stock the kitchen from scratch 🙂 My sister recently invested in the Vitamix and uses it at least once daily, so I think that’s a great suggestion.

    I think buying a decent crock pot is also great for those who don’t have a lot of time to cook- just throw the ingredients together in the morning and come home a meal. I’ve been on the hunt for good crock pot recipes, if anyone knows of some!

    1. Christina Avatar

      I’m currently researching a waffle maker. Do you have any recommendations? I’d like to get one with removable plates so it’s multi purpose. I know you have a waffle recipe, so I was hoping you’d have a recommendation.

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