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. Tanya S Avatar
    Tanya S

    Question 🙂 Until I am able to purchase a juicer…will our food processor work?

  2. Robin Nunez Avatar
    Robin Nunez

    Hi, I’m looking for a griddle that won’t leech chemicals and I’m having a hard time finding one. Please help.

  3. Meredith Avatar
    Meredith

    Does anyone have a recommendation for safe flatware? We need new spoons, forks etc. and I’m not sure which stainless steel ones are safe!

  4. Kerry Avatar

    Where did you get the wooden spoons in the picture? The link provided isn’t what is in picture.
    Thanks!

  5. Linnell Avatar
    Linnell

    Hi Katie! What do you use as a muffin pan? All I can seem to find are non-stick, which we don’t use.

  6. Lily Avatar

    What do you think of glass straws? Do you have any recommendations?

  7. Cassie Avatar

    Do you have an electric kettle or coffee maker? I’m finding it difficult to find aluminum free products with good reviews. I’ve been following you for years and you are my go-to resource. I trust your judgement and research. Thank you for all you do! You are appreciated!

  8. Kimberly Avatar
    Kimberly

    Hi Katie,
    What do you recommend for dinnerware? I am looking for unbreakable, outdoor friendly plates, bowls, etc. Plastic/melamine is OUT, obviously. Any suggestions?

  9. Meredith Avatar

    Hi Katie, We make a lot of chicken soup and currently have a stainless steel, copper bottom large pot. We have had it forever and I want to replace it. Is the large stainless pot you recommend for bone broth, etc. that is on amazon safe to use and doesn’t leach anything? This is the pot you referred to: Update International (SPS-20) 20 Qt Stainless Steel Stock Pot w/Cover

  10. Iulia Avatar

    Great post! Can you recommend a panini press? I can’t find anything good 🙁

    Thank you!

  11. Michelle Cancilla Avatar
    Michelle Cancilla

    What kind of strainer do you recommend? Stainless steel or silicone? Any particular brand? Thank you in advance.

  12. Danielle Avatar

    What type of toaster oven would you recommend? I’m trying to find one that doesn’t have non-stick coating inside and finding it very hard to find one that meets that requirement.

  13. Karen Avatar

    What do you use to flip pancakes? I realized I still use my BLACK PLASTIC (Bad! According to your recent podcast!) spatula from when we were first married.

  14. Jeremy Avatar

    Thanks for this great list!

    A question: for the food processor, do you find the 11 cup work bowl is sufficient. We are looking to buy a new food processor, and seeing your recommendation, we’ll likely get the same one. However, we’re wondering if we should do the 14 cup cuisinart model. What are your thoughts on the size?

    Thank you for your advice!

  15. Gidget Avatar

    Thanks so much for your posts! Wondered if you have looked at the Epicurean cutting boards vs the bamboo for healthiness?? Wanting to cleft a couple of new boards and it’s the glues/remains that I’m concerned about. Thanks for your help!

  16. Jennifer Avatar
    Jennifer

    Could you please tell me if you have ever researched a Vitaclay slow cooker. They look lovely however the clay comes from China which makes me a bit nervous even though it is advertised as “organic” and ” lead-free”
    Your thoughts?

  17. Amanda Avatar

    Are the cutting boards linked in this post free of formaldehyde (and other toxins)? I couldn’t find that info on the amazon listing, and I wondered if anyone had looked into it.

  18. rebecca Avatar
    rebecca

    thank you for alllll the work you do, so I can come here and confidently know I am choosing the healthiest brands out there. in the photo above there is a lovely stack of white mugs with black rim…..are those just photo pretty OR a mug you use?

    we have duralex plates and bowels…what are your thoughts on this brand? lead and cadmium free for real?

    xo

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