I’m assuming most people reading this blog have kitchens with at least bare-bones essentials: a refrigerator, cooktop, convection microwave (or conventional oven and microwave), and running water. Beyond that, I inventoried items in my RV kitchen to come up with the following list of basic kitchen essentials.
If you are outfitting your RV kitchen for the first time, check the kitchen in your home to see what extras you may have on hand.
Basic Kitchen Essentials for Serving Meals
- Corelle service for 6 has dishes that are light-weight, microwave-safe, and break and chip resistant, but if they go flying out of the cabinet after hitting a pothole, you may lose a few. (See number 6 on the list of 10 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Your One-Butt Kitchen.) This 18-piece set has service for six, which includes dinner plates, bread plates, bowls, and soup/cereal bowls.
- I have two Large Plastic Bowls in my one-butt kitchen. One is used as a serving bowl, and the other contains produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, like onions, potatoes, and apples, which sits in the sink when we are driving. You could also use Collapsible Prep/Storage Bowls.
- This Salad Bowl has a great design for RVing. The top of the bamboo lid has a place to store the fork and spoon. The reverse side serves as a cutting board. It’s big enough to hold a tossed salad for four people. It’s especially handy for taking a salad to a pot luck at the campground.
- Plastic stackable tumblers will take up less room in the cabinets. These tumblers come in several sizes.
- This Stainless steel travel mug can be used for hot and cold beverages. It comes with 2 lids, a straw, and a cleaning brush. Be sure that the base of the mug fits into your cup holder so you can enjoy your beverage on the road.
- Double-wall insulated glasses are good for wine, cocktails, hot coffee, and other drinks. Even though these glasses are supposedly tough and durable, I’ve managed to break one. I store them in mesh sleeves that protect Asian pears.
- This set of silverware and steak knives has service for 8 and some serving utensils.
- If I’m feeding more than 4 people or we are dry camping and water is scarce, I’ll use disposable plates. I’ve recently started using these biodegradable and compostable palm leaf plates made from naturally fallen Areca palm leaves. This Square Palm Leaf Plates Set (50 Pack) contains 25 each 7-inch and 10-inch plates.
Basic Kitchen Essentials for Food Preparation
- Since things in an RV get jiggled around a lot, covers on knives will help protect the knife edges and anything they might rub against. 6-Piece Kitchen Knife Set with Sheath Covers has 6 knives of various sizes with covers.
- Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats can make food prep and cleanup easier. When you’ve finished cutting onions, for example, hold the mat above the pan, dump the diced onions into the pan, and rinse off the mat for easy cleanup. A set of two is plenty for an RV kitchen.
- Make short work of peeling carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, and other veggies with a Vegetable Peeler. It can also be used to shave parmesan cheese.
- Since a lot of my recipes use crushed garlic, a Garlic Press gets a lot of use in my one-butt kitchen.
- For recipes that call for minced garlic, chopped nuts, and various other diced foods, a Manual Food Chopper works great.
- This Collapsible Measuring Cups and Spoons is another space saver.
- To rinse fruits and vegetables, this Collapsible Colander Strainer comes in handy. I also have a set of 3 Fine Mesh Strainers.
- This Can Opener is my preferred opener for most cans, but I have an old fashioned Can Punch Bottle Opener that I use for chicken stock. If you are a wine or beer drinker, you’ll need a 3-in-1 Can Opener, Cork Screw, and Bottle Opener.
- A Zester and Grater and Boxed Grater are handy for recipes that call for zest of lemons, grated onion, grated cheese, and that sort of thing.
- Herb Scissors or Herb Roller Mincer will make short work of slicing cilantro, Italian parsley, and other herbs.
- Silicone Basting Brushes are great for brushing butter, olive oil, or barbecue sauce on food before or during cooking. The silicone brushes are easier to clean than the old fashioned bristle brushes, and you don’t have to worry about a stray bristle ending up in your food.
- This Rubbermaid 1-Quart Pitcher is perfect for a batch of cocktails or salad dressing.
- A microwave plate cover keeps food from splattering all over the microwave. This Collapsible Microwave Plate Cover/Colander does double duty as a plate cover and colander.
- This Egg Separator provides an easy way to separate the yolk from the white.
- A Whisk will come in handy for blending ingredients.
Basic Kitchen Essentials for Stovetop Cooking
- This set of Pots and Pans is stackable, which means they save space. The 10-piece set includes 2 skillets, 2 saucepans, a stock pot, 3 interchangeable lids, a slotted spatula and solid spoon.
- When my old non-stick skillet started sticking, I checked reviews on Cook’s Illustrated. I bought the one they rated the highest out of the 10 they tested. This 12-inch, Non-Stick Skillet with Lid made by OXO Good Grips comes in several sizes. I have 10-inch and 12-inch skillets in our motorhome. A Cast Iron Skillet can be used on a grill or campfire, as well as on the stovetop.
- This 11-piece Silicone Kitchen Utensils Cooking Set contains a ladle, pasta fork, spoonula (a combination spoon/spatula), slotted spoon, tong, slotted turner, large spatula, whisk, small spatula, basting bush, and silicon baking glove.
- When we are on the road, we make our coffee in a French Press Coffee Maker. The double-wall, stainless steel construction will keep our coffee hot for two hours. Of course, we have to have a Tea Kettle to heat the water.
- A 2-Burner Griddle is handy for making pancakes or lobster grilled cheese sandwiches. I use an aluminum grill griddle by Nordic Ware that doesn’t take up much room.
- We’ve had several instant read meat thermometers, but none are as fast and accurate as teh Javelin Pro Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer. We like it so well that we gave them to several people on our Christmas list last year.
Basic Kitchen Essentials for Cooking in the Oven
- An Oven Thermometer is necessary for two reasons. First, it indicates when the oven is preheated to the specified temperature. Second, it shows the actual temperature, which seldom matches what’s on the dial. My oven takes at least 10 minutes to preheat, and it’s usually about 10 degrees hotter than the dial.
- A Pizza Stone on the rack helps distribute the heat of the oven. Without it, food is likely to burn above the heating element and be undercooked on the sides.
- An 8 x 8-inch Porcelain Baking Dish can be used to make casseroles, brownies, or other baked items.
- If you are going to do any baking, an AirBake Cookie Sheet and an AirBake Cake Pan are highly recommended. Amazon explains, “2 Heavyweight aluminum sheets surround a layer of air. Air reduces the temperature of the metal that comes in contact with the food.” With the food sitting directly above the heating element in an RV oven, it’s much less likely to burn.
- Three of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts (Grace’s egg muffins, green chili quiche, and sausage egg muffins) require a Jumbo Non-Stick Muffin Pan.
- In addition to pies and quiches, a Pyrex Pie Pan is the perfect serving dish for several happy hour favorites including Buffalo chicken dip and pepperoni pizza dip.
- A rimmed baking pan is essential for roasted veggies and other dishes. This Baking Pan with Rack also comes with a silicone pad.
Basic Kitchen Essentials for Cooking Outdoors
- A Charcoal Grill or a gas grill allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, which is one of the primary reasons to have an RV, right? If you’ve got an RV, unless you drove it off lot yesterday, chances are you’ve already got a portable grill. Maybe it’s time for an upgrade. We had a small, portable propane grill for about 10 years. If it was windy outside, we couldn’t use it because the wind would blow out the flames. It also didn’t get hot enough. Jim recently saw a review of portable grills in Consumer Reports and decided it was time for a new one. He bought a Nexgrill Portable Propane Gas Grill at Home Depot which had a “Best Buy” rating. He loves it! (The link is to Home Depot since it was cheaper than Amazon. I do not have an affiliate relationship with Home Depot.)
- Roasting anything over a campfire is sure to up the fun factor on any camping trip. This set of six Roasting Skewers is great for making s’mores or roasting hot dogs. The skewers extend to 34 inches to keep kids and adults a safe distance from the fire. When you are done with them, they retract to 10 inches and fit neatly in a small bag for easy storage.
- The best part of cooking in an RV is getting to enjoy food and drink with family and friends in beautiful locations, right? This Director’s Chair with Side Table provide a place to set your drink while you balance a plate of yummy food in your lap. For pure relaxation, we’ve also got a set of Zero Gravity Recliners.