The minimalist lifestyle has gained popularity in recent years as more people look to declutter their homes and live with intention. Adopting a minimalist approach in the kitchen can help create a soothing, organized space that promotes mindfulness and efficiency. As we prepare meals for ourselves and our families, the kitchen tools and appliances we choose to keep should spark joy and serve a practical purpose.
In this blog post, we will walk through the key elements of a minimalist kitchen, including the must-have tools, appliances, and ingredients. We’ll also share simple tips for getting started on minimizing your own kitchen. A thoughtfully curated, decluttered kitchen can reduce stress, save money, and provide more free time for the things that matter most.
Pare Down to the Essentials: 10 Must-Have Kitchen Tools
When adopting a minimalist kitchen, aim to keep only the tools you use on a weekly basis. Any gadget that sits unused in a drawer or cabinet for months on end can likely be removed. As a general rule, if you have not used a kitchen tool in the past year, it is a prime candidate to donate or pass on to someone who may get more regular use out of it.
With a few high-quality essential tools, you can likely prepare most recipes and meals for your household. Here are 10 must-have tools to include in a minimalist kitchen:
- Chef’s knife – A sharp 8-inch or 10-inch chef’s knife can handle most cutting, chopping, and slicing tasks. Opt for high-carbon stainless steel.
- Cutting board – Choose a durable wood or plastic cutting board that is gentle on your knife’s edge.
- Mixing bowls – A nesting set of 3-5 stainless steel or glass bowls covers a range of mixing and prep needs.
- Measuring cups and spoons – A basic set allows you to accurately measure wet and dry ingredients.
- Mixing spatula – A heat-resistant silicone spatula is ideal for scraping bowls and pans.
- Wooden spoons – Keep 2-3 various sized wooden spoons for stirring and mixing.
- Vegetable peeler – Swiftly peel fruits and vegetables with a quality swivel peeler.
- Colander – Drain washed produce or pasta with a lightweight metal or mesh colander.
- All-purpose cookware – A 10″ skillet and a few saucepans (1 qt, 2 qt) can handle most stove cooking jobs.
- Storage containers – A matching set of glass storage containers helps store leftovers and meal prep.
With these 10 essentials, you’ll be fully equipped to handle everyday cooking tasks—from chopping vegetables to whipping up a family pasta dinner.
Multitasking Appliances: 3 Must-Have Kitchen Appliances
In a minimalist kitchen, appliances need to earn their spot on your counter space by performing more than one function. We recommend narrowing your collection down to these 3 multitasking appliances:
- Slow cooker: This set-it-and-forget-it appliance allows you to prep ingredients in the morning, then enjoy perfectly cooked meals in the evening. Soups, chilis, stews, and more all thrive in a slow cooker.
- Toaster oven: Toast bread, bake cookies, or roast vegetables with an adjustable temperature toaster oven. It serves as an oven when needed but in a more compact footprint.
- Immersion blender: Skip bulky blenders and food processors by using a handheld immersion blender. It blends smoothies, purees soups, and makes salad dressings right in your pot or bowl.
With just these three appliances, you can cook a wide variety of everyday meals and baked goods while saving cabinet space. Look for models with multiple settings and attachments to expand the functionality.
10 Ingredients to Always Have On Hand
Cooking with a minimized pantry of ingredients helps reduce food waste and saves money on your grocery bill. Make sure your pantry essentials provide a solid flavor foundation for improvisational cooking. Here are 10 ingredients we recommend always having on hand:
- Extra virgin olive oil – A heart-healthy fat ideal for sautéing.
- Sea salt & pepper – Season dishes with these table salt alternatives.
- Dried herbs & spices – Basil, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, and your favorite spices.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic flavors everything from sauces to roasted veggies.
- Onions – Chopped onions are the base of countless dishes.
- Eggs – Boil, scramble, fry, or bake these protein-packed staples.
- Canned beans – Stock chickpeas, black beans, and white beans for quick salads and sides.
- Rice – Brown or jasmine rice can be served with stir-fries, curries, and more.
- Oats – Use rolled or steel-cut oats for breakfast, baking, and as a binder.
- Frozen vegetables – Keep a rotation of spinach, broccoli, peas, and your favorites on hand.
Having these diverse ingredients on hand means you can pull together a wide range of healthy meals at a moment’s notice. Get in the habit of taking stock and restocking as needed each week.
5 Tips for Decluttering Your Kitchen
Transitioning to a minimalist kitchen doesn’t happen overnight. It takes intention and often happens gradually over time as you assess your habits and streamline tools and appliances. Here are 5 tips for decluttering your kitchen:
1. Audit your cupboards and drawers. Remove anything you have not used in the past 3-6 months. Be ruthlessly honest about what adds value as you take stock.
2. Store items you use infrequently. Keep lesser used servingware and specialty appliances out of the prime real estate in your kitchen. Store them in basements, garages, or closets to open up space.
3. Donate any duplicate tools or dishes. Pick your 1-2 favorite prep bowls, spatulas, pots – and donate the rest. You likely don’t need 5 different veggie peelers.
4. Pass on bulky appliances. Breadmakers, panini presses, and ice cream machines are space hogs. Donate them if they don’t get weekly use.
5. Organize with storage bins. Use lidded plastic bins to corral cooking utensils, pots and pans. This reduces clutter in drawers.
Editing down your possessions takes time and self-reflection, but the resulting space will feel instantly more tranquil and organized.
Adopting a “Less is More” Mindset
Transitioning to minimalist living requires both external and internal adjustments. A decluttered kitchen provides tangible benefits – saving money and time while reducing stress. But a “less is more” mindset yields benefits too. Studies show spending and consuming less boosts happiness and life satisfaction.
Here are ways to adopt more mindful habits in the kitchen:
- Practice gratitude before meals, giving thanks for healthy food.
- Dedicate time to enjoy cooking, free of distractions.
- Batch cook basics like rice or roasted veggies to enjoy throughout the week.
- Assign “zero waste days” to use up leftovers and reduce food waste.
- Compost food scraps to minimize what heads to the landfill.
- Host a swap event to trade unused kitchenware with friends and neighbors.
- Shop local farmers markets to reduce packaging and eat seasonally.
In the end, a minimalist kitchen is not about asceticism or deprivation. It simply provides a foundation to focus on cooking healthy foods, enjoying shared meals, and living sustainably – with more freedom, serenity and gratitude.
The Joy of Cooking in a Minimalist Kitchen
There is something deeply satisfying about preparing a nourishing meal in a clutter-free, peaceful space. The act of cooking engages our senses when we practice mindfulness – the aroma of garlic and onions sizzling in olive oil, the vibrant colors of in-season vegetables, the warmth and heft of a cast iron skillet in hand. Simplicity highlights these sensory joys.
Cooking from scratch also connects us to timeless rituals of everyday life. Chopping, sautéing, simmering and sharing food allows us to provide and care for ourselves and those we love. Minimalism strips away excess, leaving space to appreciate these primal pleasures.
A bubbling pot of homemade soup made with a well-used chef’s knife, a trusty wooden spoon, and fresh ingredients from the local farm is soul-warming on a winter night. And the clank of slotted spatulas against a set of seasoned cast iron skillets echoes summer, calling us to the table for a feast of garden-ripe tomatoes drizzled in olive oil.
Though a minimalist kitchen has fewer tools and streamlined cabinets, its warmth and sustenance overflow.
Final Thoughts on Embracing Minimalism in the Kitchen
Transitioning to a minimalist kitchen is a process of removing unused items and focusing on keeping only essential tools. But it also cultivates mindfulness, gratitude and a clearer sense of priorities.
Begin by outlining your kitchen vision – how you want the space to feel and function. Then edit your possessions accordingly, being sure to donate unneeded items. Pick multifunctional appliances and high-quality tools suited to your cooking style. Allow some flexibility, adding new pieces over time as needs arise.
Most importantly, create space to appreciate the sensory joys of cooking. Allow the decluttering process to strip away excess, so the craft itself shines through. A minimalist kitchen meets your household needs without overwhelming, so you can focus on creating nourishment and community.