Home cooking is a creative and fulfilling process that involves more than just preparing meals. Through this process, you can express your culinary creativity and create memorable meals that delight the senses and nourish the soul. 

To tackle every recipe, you’ll need the right tools and appliances in your kitchen. The right knife for the right task, or the right frying pan for the right dish, has a tremendous impact on the final product. 

With that in mind, we bring you this JCPenney guide that outlines all the kitchen tools and equipment you need to prep, cook, and serve like a pro. These kitchen must-haves will streamline your cooking process and help ace your meals with ease.

Knives and Cutting Tools

Knives, the workhorses of the kitchen, make your meal preparation tasks a breeze. Here are some essential knives and cutting tools every home cook should have:

Shop Chef’s Knives

A chef’s knife is the most valuable kitchen tool that you can use to chop, slice, dice, and mince all types of vegetables, fruits, fish, and meats. The most sought-after variation of a chef’s knife is the Santoku knife. Santoku knife blades are usually forged or stamped for durability.

Shop Carving Knives

A meat carving knife features a long blade ideal for slicing cooked meats like roasted chicken, smoked ham, or fried turkey. As it’s much thinner than a chef’s knife, a carving knife lets you carve thin and precise slices.

Shop Cheese Knives

As the name suggests, cheese knives are designed to cut through all types of cheeses. They let you cut cheese without any sticky mess and make serving a whole lot easier.

Shop Serrated Knives

Serrated knives, also known as bread knives, let you slice different types of bread with crispy crusts. Most of them have an offset handle to prevent your knuckles from hitting the cutting board.

Shop Paring Knives

A paring knife is extremely versatile and can be used for many food prep tasks, from peeling vegetables and chopping fruits. You can also utilize it to devein shrimps and slice hard cheese.

Shop Cleavers

The wide, long blade of a cleaver makes it one of the largest knives to have in your cutlery kit. Its surprisingly thin and lightweight blade is perfect for crushing garlic, slicing meat, and even chopping vegetables.

Shop Slicing Knives

The long straight blade of a slicing knife helps cut through cooked meats like smoked hams and sirloin steaks with ease. Some knives even feature Granton edges to ensure the meat doesn’t tear while cutting.

Shop Boning Knives

A boning knife allows you to conveniently separate meat from bones, which helps reduce the amount of wasted meat.

Shop Kitchen Shears

You can use a kitchen shear to pan dress a whole fish, butcher chicken, cut pastry dough, and chop herbs. It’s one of the most utilized tools in any kitchen.

Shop Knife Sets

Knife sets are the largest options and include a chef's knife, paring knife and other essential knives. These sets usually come with other useful knife accessories, such as versatile kitchen shears that serve many practical purposes in the kitchen.

Measuring Utensils

The right measuring utensils help you measure ingredients accurately, which is particularly essential for baking recipes. Here are some essential utensils you should have:

Shop Measuring Spoons

Measure small quantities of ingredients like spices, salt, and baking powder using measuring spoons. These are also great for liquid ingredients like vanilla essence or lemon juice. They come in sets with graduated sizes ranging from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon for precise measurements of small amounts.

Mixing and Prep Bowls

After measuring utensils, come the next prep essentials - mixing and prep bowls. They help organize ingredients and mix batters and doughs. Here are some essential mixing and prep bowls to consider:


Mixing bowls come in a variety of sizes and materials, including stainless steel and glass. Use them to mix ingredients, marinate meats, toss salads, and so much more! We recommend having a selection of mixing bowls in different sizes, so you have the right bowl for every task.

Prep bowls can be used to hold pre-measured ingredients. They're keep ingredients organized and within reach while you're cooking.


A skillet or frying pan is your versatile, to-go pan for sautéing, frying, searing, and pan-roasting both meats and vegetables. Choose pans with non-stick, stain-resistant aluminum for even cooking and easy food release. Select fry pan sets in multiple sizes to cook food in all quantities.

Shop Skillet & Fry Pans

A skillet or frying pan is your versatile, to-go pan for sautéing, frying, searing, and pan-roasting both meats and vegetables. Choose pans with non-stick, stain-resistant aluminum for even cooking and easy food release. Select fry pan sets in multiple sizes to cook food in all quantities. 

Shop Saucepans

A saucepan is a small to medium-sized pot with a lid that’s used to cook sauces and boiling pasta. It's ideal for tasks that require gentle, even heating, such as simmering sauces and cooking grains.

Shop Stockpots

Use a stockpot to make one-pot meals and boil large batches of pasta or grains. Choose stockpots with aluminum-encapsulated base as it heats quickly and spreads heat evenly.

Shop Cookware Sets

Cookware sets are a great starting point to have a versatile assortment of pieces in your kitchen. Sets will usually include a fry pan in two sizes, sauté pan, saucepan and stock pot.

Kitchen Appliances

Like cookware, kitchen appliances are equally important warriors for streamlining meal preparation and cooking. There’s an array of kitchen appliances to consider. Here are some of the most essential ones:

Shop Blenders

Make smoothies, soups, sauces, and purees using a blender. You can choose a countertop blender or an immersion one with soft touch buttons to make operation easy and comfortable.

Shop Food Processors

A food processor, your multipurpose appliance, can be used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It helps you perfect pesto sauces, shred cheese, and chop vegetables with ease.

Shop Stand Mixers

If you love baking treats, a stand mixer is your go-to appliance. It can be used for baking tasks like whipping cream, beating eggs, and even kneading dough. Choose the ones with a tilt-back head for easy access to the mixing bowl, and a splash guard that prevents messy countertops.

Shop Ovens

Whether you need to bake, broil or rotisserie, an oven is all you need. Select ovens with preset functions that make cooking a breeze. The best part is that you can even use to reheat leftovers without having to heat up the entire kitchen.

Storage Containers

Storage containers are one of the most underestimated kitchen essentials. They help you organize your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer efficiently. Here are some essential storage containers you can stock up on:


Food storage containers come in handy to store leftovers, meal prepped ingredients, and pantry staples like grains, flour, and sugar. Pick containers in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, like plastic, glass, and silicone. Select containers with airtight seals and stackable features for space efficiency.

Mason jars are versatile containers used for storing homemade jams, pickles, sauces, and dry goods. They come in various sizes, ranging from small jelly jars to large quart-sized jars, making them perfect for a wide range of food storage needs. Mason jars are also ideal for canning and preserving fruits and vegetables.


Once all the above-mentioned cookware and appliances are in finalized, it’s time to move towards utensil sets, colanders, graters, and other essentials. Choose tools with lightweight stainless-steel handles that provide a safe and comfortable grip when stirring, scooping, and mixing. You can also opt for utensil sets crafted from durable beech wood for a safe and secure grip. 

 By stocking your kitchen with these essential tools and appliances, your cooking experiences are sure to be more enjoyable and rewarding. So, add to cart these items and embark on culinary adventures that are sure to delight. Happy cooking!