this post is all about the basic, timeless items I use in my homestead kitchen that anyone can get started with!
I may be compensated for links in this post at no additional cost to you. I only ever recommend and link items that are tried and true to me, or that are on my wishlist because I already use and trust the brand.
This is probably one of the questions I get most often: where did you get (insert kitchen item) or what do you use most in your kitchen?
So – I decided to put together a list of my tried and true favorites for my homestead kitchen!
This list is by no means comprehensive – and you won’t find the more advanced and expensive items on here, because I want it to be a starting place and not really overwhelming. Swapping just a few things out at a time is the way to go in my opinion.
what makes a kitchen a homestead kitchen?
Well, I don’t know if there’s any definitive answer to this. But here’s what it means to me: A homestead kitchen is a place where quality tools are used to prepare and preserve real, whole food.
I’m not one to think I have to do everything by hand at all times and throw all of my machines out the window, but I do believe its good to know how to cook and live by hand just in case! And its actually pretty therapeutic to make bread from start to finish with just your hands, a bowl, and a heat source.
Also – a note about the quality tools part. If you follow me on social media or read my posts here, you’ll know I’m really passionate about the effect of chemicals on the body. That’s why you won’t find any plastic or cheap materials on this list or (mostly) in my kitchen. Yes, I realize that sounds super snobby but I promise its not about that. It’s just that, once you know what you know, you make changes to do better for your family. (I wrote a blog post that talked a LOT about this)
1. Cast Iron Cookware
There are a lot of benefits to cooking with cast iron. Its pretty much indestructible and can be brought back to life from rusting, burning foods to the bottom, and pretty much any offense with elbow grease + tallow, lard, or oil)
There are two options here: traditional cast iron vs. enamel coated.
I have both, and I prefer traditional. Because as pretty and easy to clean as my enamelware is, I’ve had it start to chip off into my food – no bueno.
Traditional cast iron is cheaper, the most durable and timeless, but it does require a bit of maintenance. Life observation: everything I have that is true and worthwhile requires work and occasionally tests me. In fact, I’m super leary of stuff that doesn’t need any thought, intentionality, or patience.
You have to season cast iron for it to be usable and have that non-stick effect we all need in our lives. And even if a piece comes labeled “pre-seasoned” – still season it.
Ok, so here are my favorite cast iron pieces in my kitchen. However, I’d recommend just hunting down a basic 8″ skillet at a resale shop and practicing seasoning and cooking with that first. Then, if you end up liking it and actually using it – start building your collection!
- Loaf pans – I switched from my worn down old wilton pans to these bad boys a few months ago and I LOVE them. But here’s the thing…sandwich loaves need a second proofing in the pan before you bake them. So DON’T preheat these in your oven before adding your shaped loaves. Confused or intigued…Here’s a video and post on how I make basic amish bread in mine.
- Double sided griddle & grill – Ok – not to play favorites but this is my favorite. In fact, it never (almost) leaves my stovetop. I use it daily to make pancakes, reheat stuff, make the best grilled cheese in the world (according to me), make toast, grill steaks, I mean the list is endless. Get you one and fall in love with it.
- Basic 10″ skillet – I have a few. Here’s one of my favorite enamel coated ones. I love having an eclectic and colorful kitchen. It’s not themed, just functional. This bad boy is non-stick IF you heat it up first, then add oil or butter and let that heat, THEN add your foods. My husband can not figure this out and loathes cooking with these. This brand is Cooks Companion and it is SO hard to find! So no link on this one but you can get a 10″ skillet – enamel coated or traditional cast, pretty much anywhere! Here’s a basic Lodge…that will last forever and never let you down.
- Dutch ovens. Ok guys, I have SO many of these in all sizes its insane. But they are so great!! From making bone broth to sourdough boules, to stews and soups and roasting things. You get it. I have traditional cast and enamel coated and love them both. You can see a red one in one of my pictures behind the bone broth if you scroll up, and here’s one of my big daddy I use for shoulder roast. I also have a legit vintage 5 quart camping dutch oven just like this one that I found in one of the sheds here on the farm.
2. Glass Jars
These are so, so versatile they are an absolute must for me. Glass jars can be used for fermenting, storage, measuring, drinking out of, and more!
I ditched plastics and cups for mason jars a few years ago and thats all we drink out of. They’re cheap, don’t leech chemicals, and easy to replace when one breaks.
I have many sizes and variations, so I’ll share some of my favorites.
- Wide mouth quart jars – these are probably my favorite for canning and storing bone broth. I drink out of them too – a great way to make sure you’re getting enough water each day is to just keep track and drink four a day. Yes, a gallon of water. Its a lot but keeping the kidneys flushed is really important especially for coffee drinkers like me!
- Wide mouth 16 oz. – These short & squat little jars just make me happy and I love storing spices or seeds in them as well as making little smoothie bowls!
- Tall wide mouth 24 oz. jars – these are my faves for bringing drinks in the car because they fit in cup holders well, they’re also good for canning asparagus. These and pint jars are also what I use as measuring cups. They have hash marks on the side that make it easy!
- Sets of Mason Craft & More storage jars – My mom actually got me these from Costco and I LOVE them! So much that I’ll probably be ordering more. In the ones below I have dark chocolate chips, coffee beans, and freshly ground flour.
I also have one with shivakraut fermenting in it right now…
- My sourdough starter jar – I get a lot of questions about what kind of jar this is, so I linked the exact one! It’s a half gallon storage jar with stainless lid. But I cover my starter with a flour sack cloth then set the lid with the rubber seal removed on top to leave room for air to get in but not bugs! This is where my starter lives unless I’m washing it, in which case it moves to a different jar or stoneware bowl.
- Jelly jars – these are the jars my kids drink out of. I even have straw lids for when I make them smoothies. See them there behind my vitality oils?
- Pint jars – these are a must too. For canning, storing, etc. I store my capsules in them and use them for pickling smaller batches of peppers or beets.
3. Wood Utensils
Hand carved wood will never leech chemicals into your food and is so much more durable than manufactured alternatives. Plus, its just so pretty and I love the feel of it when cooking!
On my list of musts:
- slotted, stirring, and scooping spoons
- a rolling pin
Once again – not comprehensive but a good place to start! I was gifted a tamper (and SO many jars) from my great Aunt Val that belonged to my great grandmother (its the one in the shivakraut picture above) and also this rolling pin and several spoons from Johns grandma. They were made by his great grandpa. For some amazingly beautiful hand carved wooden utensils, check out my friend Liv’s Etsy shop – she carves all of them herself but I think they go really fast so you may have to stalk her shop frequently to get some.
4. Flour Sack Towels
These are life. I use them for everything. And when they are tattered and torn beyond repair I cut them into strips and use them for garden ties. I have them in blue fringe too.
5. Stoneware mixing bowls & crocks
They’re just a classic. I have four bowls and two crocks that I found in a shed here from the days of old and I use them for everything!! I think they look pretty in the kitchen too. You can scroll back up to the photo of my kitchen to see the crocks with my utensils in them. This Lehman’s set is on my wishlist because you can never have too many mixing bowls and I run out often when I have lots of stuff going! Here’s my big bowl:
So, thats it! Those are the basics that add timeless, non-toxic character to any homestead kitchen and will allow you to store, make, bake, prep, ferment, measure, preserve, drink, or do just about anything you need to do!