Kitchen Essentials

Oh, man.

So many times, people have asked me, “Hilah, what’s the secret to cooking great eggs?” or, “Hey, Hilah, how can I make perfectly julienned carrots?” or “Hey Mami, can I get in your jeans?” and the answer is always, “Get some good equipment.”

Here’s the elemental items of any kitchen, in my opinion:

Kitchen Essentials Video

Kitchen Essentials! Here is the only equipment you need to start cooking!

  • 8-Inch Cast Iron Skillet Once well-seasoned , a cast iron skillet will be your best friend in the kitchen. Durable as hell, oven and grill-safe, smooth as silk, and very affordable — cast iron is my all-time favorite cookware.
  • Knife. For a good “starter knife” I like this J.A. Henckels 8-Inch Stainless-Steel Chef’s Knife. It’s a good size and weight and keeps its edge well. If you have a little more money to spend, I really love this Wusthof 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. A bit heavier in the handle, with a sturdy blade, it is my go-to knife and will last you years and years.
  • Stockpot with Lid A big pot has many uses. Boiling pasta, making soup and chili, even canning if you’re ever curious to try that
  • Go ahead and get a sturdy metal spatula (or “turner”) like this since we’re not messing around with those non-stick sissy skillets. With a spatula you can flip pancakes and grilled sandwiches, turn steaks and chicken, and toss things around in a stirfry.
  • Cutting Board I strongly recommend a large wooden cutting board as opposed to glass or plastic and I’ll tell you why. Wood looks better longer, is easiest on your knives, and no matter what you’ve heard, it does not harbor bacteria from food prep. Glass cutting boards wreak havoc on your knife edge, and are dangerously slick. Plastic ones just look bad, sorry.

Some “next-steppers” items I find extremely useful are:

  • Locking Tongs I seriously use these every day for turning meat in the skillet to tossing a salad or a stirfry. These are also indispensable for safe deep-frying. Of course if you want dangerous deep-frying you’d just use your hands.
  • Sauce Pan with Lid Anywhere between a 2-3 quart size is great for all sorts of things from rice to, yes, sauces. Get a metal or Pyrex bowl that fits nicely inside it and you have yourself a double-boiler which is helpful if you ever want to melt chocolate or make a Hollandaise sauce like a fancy person.
  • A Big Spoon and a wooden spoon or two are great for not only stirring that sauce you made, but also serving it. Maybe a ladle, too, if you make a lot of soups.
  • Paring Knife A little paring knife is the safest way to stem strawberries and other tasks that require precision and not cutting your finger off.
  • Bread Knife If you like to bake bread, or buy unsliced bread or bagels a heavy, serrated knife like this is gonna come in handy.
  • Break-Apart Kitchen Shears are great for snipping herbs quickly without getting out a cutting board, opening packages, and de-boning chicken. This particular set, I love because the blades separate for thorough cleaning.
  • Finally, get a Colander if you like making pasta. Of course, you can always strain it by just cracking the lid a smidge and pouring the water out but that’s a good way to burn the hell out of yourself and accidentally dump your pasta all down the drain.


  1. Zeb on January 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Lovin your cooking show so far! Can't wait for the fish tacos! I really have no idea what to expect!

  2. Aurelio Cabrera on June 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Please do a True Cuban Spanish Caribbean Paella .Gracias

    • Hilah Cooking on June 12, 2010 at 1:10 am

      Hi! I’m not sure what you mean, but I love Spanish paella. That would be a good one.

  3. Whats It on January 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Hilah…. I don’t have a spatula but I found a very flattened and dried piece of Zombie on 45th street the other day. Can I use that as a spatula?

  4. Midori on April 10, 2012 at 2:02 am

    hi hun you’ve inspired me to get one i got one yesterday i use a little bit of soup but i season it like you said =] after wards i hope i didn’t ruin it :[

    • Hilah on April 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Hi Midori! I think you should be okay as long as you can get it seasoned. One of the best things to do is just start using it to cook high-fat things like bacon, sausage, and pan-frying. All of those things will help get is seasoned better.

  5. Sara on September 1, 2013 at 11:38 am

    First video! Hilah, I wanted to thank you for all the recipes and inspiration. You’re my favorite youtuber 🙂

    Warmest greetings from the Netherlands

    • Hilah on September 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Sara! Thank you for writing! I am so happy to hear that you like my recipes. 🙂

  6. Rouhollah Mazarei on December 18, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Hi, you are fantastic, FULL of energy. Also this site and all cooking stuff. … (add some extra lines of praises).
    There is a broken link in this page (kitchen-essentials->Kitchen Shears).

    And sorry for typos or something like that. English in not my primary language.

    Wish you the best.

    • Hilah on December 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Thank you, Rouhollah! I fixed it and updated the post while I was here. 🙂 I’m so happy you like my site!

  7. Josh on February 2, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Today is my birthday and I got a “10 inch” Lodge cast iron skillet. I’m 31 and stepping up my K game. For now on, I will make everything from scratch using your videos. I’m super stoked that I have to season it with bacon, fried chicken, sausage gravy, n shizzle. wesome vids, great personality!

    Cheers from oklahoma,

    • Hilah on February 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Wheeee! Happy Birthday, Josh! Keep me updated on your culinary adventures!

  8. Randle on May 26, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Now I’m a really creepy troll cause I just commented on this video over on YouTube. Oh well! I’m late to the party. I feel okay though, since my first video (but not my first post :/) was about cooking essentials too. Sorta.

    • Hilah on May 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Ha! Not a troll at all, Randle. 🙂

  9. Jeff on July 1, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    You rock. Thanks for teaching a starving old man how to cook!

  10. Yuki on July 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Heya Hilah! Thanks for the awesome website, you seriously make me fall in love with cooking more with every episode. I noticed that you’ve got a really nice wooden cutting board– do you have any tips on how to maintain it? (I’ve had a few in the past that I had to get rid of since I cut them up all fuzzy at the top, yikes…!) Thanks!

    • Hilah on July 31, 2014 at 8:09 am

      Hi Yuki!
      Thank you! 😀
      Yes, to care for a wooden cutting board, you will want to wash with hot water and a gently scrubber after use, then dry with a cloth. Don’t leave boards wet or soaking, don’t use soap and definitely never put a wooden board in the dishwasher. To help keep them smooth, rub a little mineral oil on them occasionally. You can buy cutting board oil at kitchen supply stores, or just use unscented baby oil. Hope that helps!

      • Yuki on July 31, 2014 at 11:01 am

        Awesome! I have definitely been doing none of those things and will start right… NOW!

  11. Christina on November 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Hello there! You recently made an Apple Cake and used a great little grater. I was wondering where I could pick one of those up. Would you know the brand or store I might be able to start my search at?

    Thank you!

    • Hilah on November 30, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Christina!
      I think I used one made by Microplane. I just looked and they are on Amazon under the “Elite” series name. Ooh, fancy!

  12. John M on November 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Hilah, accidentally stumbled across your bean burger video on YouTube.. I can safely say I have never laughed and enjoyed a cooking video as much.
    It was hilarious and educational .. a rare combo 🙂
    It brought me here.. you have a great website, so helpful.

    I dont know how you are not on tv!
    Anyway, thanks from Dublin.. nice to get an insight into some american dishes.

    John (30, single)…

    • Hilah on November 30, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Thank you, John!! 😀

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