Building your vegan kitchen for everyday cooking and baking? From cookware to appliances, these vegan kitchen essentials will get you started.
We all have to start somewhere with cooking! It can be easy to get enticed by all of the fancy cooking gadgets on the market, but it's so important to start with the essentials first, especially if you're on a budget.
For everyday vegan cooking, you won't need any special tools. But once you start experimenting with tofu recipes, vegan bread baking, or even more advanced recipes like making your own vegan cheese, there are some tools and appliances that will make it easier.
You can find all of these items online, department stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, or your local cooking store. I've added them all (and more) to my Amazon storefront.
🔪 Must Haves
If you're a beginner or only have so much money to spend, stick to this list. These kitchen tools are absolute staples for vegan (or any kind of) cooking.
You can make SO many recipes with a just a knife, cutting board, and some basic cookware, and it's totally possible to find these items on the cheap.
Going back to basics, a good chefs knife is all you really need for the majority of your recipes. It doesn't need to be expensive either—you can get a well-made chef's knife for $15-20.
Recommendation: Cuisinart 7" Santoku Knife
A big wooden cutting board for slicing fruit, veggies, bread, and meat alternatives is essential for all your veg-centric recipes. The bigger the better so you have plenty of space to chop.
In a vegan kitchen you don't have to worry about keeping meat cutting boards separate so you don't necessarily need multiples. However, it's nice to have a few different sizes and reserve one for chopping ingredients with strong flavors, like onions.
A large wooden, metal, or plastic spoon is great for stirring dishes as you cook and for serving your meals once ready. It's also helpful to have a slotted spoon for boiling foods.
Recommendation: Daily Kitchen Cooking Spoons
Spatulas (two kinds)
You need a silicone spatulas for mixing, baking, and scraping bowls, and a metal or plastic spatula for flipping vegan pancakes, tofu, and more!
I like using a metal spatula to cut underneath the food for a clean flip, especially when cooking tofu.
If you tend to be more of a "a little bit of this" and "a sprinkle of that" type of cook, or you don't do much baking, you might be able to get away without measuring. But if you're following recipes, learning to cook, or love baking, measuring cups and spoons are essential.
I like using a Pyrex glass measuring cup in 2 and 4 cup sizes for liquids or large ingredient amounts, and measuring cups and spoons for other ingredients.
A vegetable peeler is essential for your potatoes, carrots, and other root veggies. Don't make Vegan Mashed Potatoes without it!
Recommendation: OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler
Pots, Pans & Bowls
My go-to pan is my large cast iron pan. In fact, it just stays on my stovetop most of the time since there's no sense of storing it away when I use it at least once a day.
It's excellent for sautéing, pan frying, stir frying, and getting a nice crispy edge on your tofu, seitan, and veggies. You can even bake casseroles, bread, and pizza in it. I use it for my Vegan Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza and Vegan Shepherd's Pie!
Recommendation: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 12"
I also do much of my everyday cooking in a saucepan with a strainer lid—boiling pasta, sautéing small portions, making sauces, and steaming veggies. The built-in strainer lid is so much more convenient than using a colander.
Recommendation: Cooks Standard 6-Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot with Lid
Even if you're not a baker, baking sheets are great for roasting vegetables and potatoes, making baked tofu, and baking bread. You can grease them with oil, or line them with parchment paper or foil.
Every cook needs a few mixing bowls for mixing, baking, making sauces, and serving salads. It's nice to have a couple different sizes, small to medium, and large.
Recommendation: Besli 3-Piece 18/8 304 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
🥣 Nice to Haves
The cooking tools in this section are not absolutely essential for everyday cooking, but as someone who cooks a lot, they've all made tasks quicker and easier! I use all of these tools at least once a week.
I almost put this in the must haves list because it's one of my most-used kitchen gadgets, and it will be for you too for all your citrus, garlic, fresh ginger, and spice grating needs.
If you do a lot of baking, you'll love how easy it is to grate lemon zest and fresh nutmeg. Vegan Pumpkin Muffins with fresh nutmeg, anyone?
Recommendation: Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester Grater
Get all the juice out of your lemons and limes with a citrus juicer. I like the kind with an attached bowl that catches the seeds and collects the juice because it's less mess and you don't need another tool to strain out the seeds.
Recommendation: Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer
If you regularly cook tofu, you know how messy pressing the tofu can be with paper towels and heavy objects. It can also be used for pressing the water out of veggies like frozen spinach or shredded potatoes.
Recommendation: EZ Tofu Press
Kitchen shears are scissors meant for food use. Sometimes I don't feel like taking out the knife and cutting board, and the kitchen shears are great for quickly slicing some veggies (like green onions), fresh herbs, or leftover pizza.
I use them all the time when making my 10 Minute Wonton Noodle Soup.
Recommendation: KitchenAid Multi-Purpose Scissors
Food processors are excellent for making smooth sauces, homemade hummus, pesto, and purees like pumpkin puree. And if yours comes with grater attachments, you can shred cabbage and carrots for dishes like Vegan Coleslaw.
Recommendation: Cuisinart Pro Custom 11-Cup Food Processor
💎 Splurge Worthy
If you're an avid vegan cook, you may want to add one or more of these appliances to your vegan cooking kit. Maybe drop a hint around the holidays to get one of these as a gift?
Every vegan baker needs a KitchenAid stand mixer equipped with the standard paddle attachment for batters, a dough hook for bread and pizza dough, and a balloon whisk for whipping up aquafaba vegan meringue.
Recommendation: KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan Series Stand Mixer
👎 Not Worth It
Many of these tools serve a singular purpose (or as Alton Brown of Good Eats likes to call them, "unitaskers") that could be replicated with another tool you probably already have.
While I don't own or personally recommend any of these items, this is just my opinion, and maybe you would get way more use out of a juicer or air fryer. I'm also not one to talk because I have an ice cream maker and air popper for popcorn.
Garlic presses have one purpose that can easily be replicated with other tools, and they're a pain to clean.
Instead, smash your garlic with the side of your chef's knife, then finely chop it, or use your Microplane grater.
Special Cake Pans
How many times are you actually going to use that heart-shaped cake pan, or checkerboard cake pan? You can achieve the same result with a round or square cake pan and a knife, and you'll appreciate saving the space in your kitchen cabinets.
Recommendation: Wilton 9-Inch Round Cake Pans Set, 2-Piece
Maybe you use your juicer every day and it's worth it to you, but I'm talking to the people whose juicers are collecting dust. Juicers are so difficult to clean and create so much fiber-filled pulp, so think about how often you use or would use one before getting one.
Save your money and use a blender instead (that way you get the fiber too!), or buy a prepared juice on occasion.
Special Knife Sharpener
You don't need a $200 gadget to keep your trusty kitchen knife sharp. A simple whetstone or sharpening stone will do the trick.
Recommendation: Knife Sharpening Stone
This one will probably be divisive, but unless you have the space to store it and plan on using it regularly, you don't need an air fryer. Using your oven to roast at high heat is pretty much the same thing, and you already have an oven.
These vegan kitchen essentials will have you well on your way to having a well-stocked kitchen ready for any vegan recipe!
You can find all of the items mentioned above on my Amazon storefront, as well as more recommendations for vegan ingredients and specialty items.
What is your favorite kitchen tool?