This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Living on your own doesn’t mean giving up delicious meals! Setting up your kitchen for one can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to help. This essential checklist equips you with the perfect tools to whip up single servings with ease. From must-have knives to clever gadgets, we’ll guide you through everything you need to conquer the kitchen and become a single-serving cooking pro!

“People who love to eat are always the best people” – Julia Child

Not everyone starts out loving to cook. For some, including famous chef, Julia Child who confessed that she didn’t know how to cook until she was in her 30’s, learning and loving to cook takes time. 

I think it is safe to say, however, that we all do love to eat and perhaps that is why you are here. 

If you’re cooking for one, you don’t need a lot of fancy gadgets or special utensils to cook for yourself but it’s crucial to have the right sized pans and baking dishes. 

an orange posset with oranges slices on top.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

The size of the dishes used in the recipes found in on this website, One Dish Kitchen are very important. With each recipe on the site, I reference the baking dish size and the pan size I use. The recipes are developed and tested using the dish that is recommended. For best results, please dishes that are of a similar size.

When cooking and baking single serving recipes, the cook time is often driven by the size and depth of the food in the dish. If you use a dish or pan that is larger than the one recommended, the food may cook more quickly than the recipe called for.

Here is a list of the most used pots, pans, and baking dishes for the recipes on One Dish Kitchen. All of these items can be found on our Store pages.

RELATED: Best Small Baking Dishes

Cookware and Recipes

See these and other similar items on our Cookware page.

Bakeware and Recipes

See these baking dishes on our Store Page and other items on our Bakeware page.

a piece of catfish in a long baking dish.

Other Kitchen Equipment

In addition to the starter kitchen essentials, there are a few other tools you might like to have on hand.

  • An immersion (or stick) blender for pureeing soups
  • A digital scale for measuring pasta and other ingredients
  • Kitchen knives – Look for a Chef’s knife for chopping, a Paring knife, and a Bread knife.
  • A hand mixer
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Mixing bowls
  • A good cutting board with a large surface and made of thick, indestructible material
  • A silicone spatula
  • A balloon whisk
  • A spaghetti serving spoon

See these and other items in our Kitchen Essentials page.

a cutting board with a small knife and cut asparagus, potatoes, and garlic scattered on the board.

Practical Considerations

Equipping a kitchen, even as a solo cook can be expensive. You don’t have to purchase everything at once, however. Purchase items as you need them. Also shop discount stores and thrift stores for kitchen items. These stores are great places to find small baking dishes and gently used pans.

See our FAQ page for additional information on baking dish sizes and for examples of the dishes we use, please visit our Store page.

Red 5-inch square baking dish with One Dish Kitchen branded paper sleeve around it.

Make 80+ Recipes With This Dish!

Ideal for home chefs, this individual square ceramic baking dish is safe for oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. Simple to use & easy to clean!


I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Sandi says:

    Hi Joanie, I was so thrilled to find your You Tube channel !! I have your cookbook but I LOVE watching you on your You Tube channel. Seeing you make cooking dishes look so easy inspires me to try different dishes instead of making the same meals repetitively. Thank you!

  2. Connie says:

    I was hoping to find your recommendations for an oven thermometer for an electric oven.
    Please sende your choice….there are many choices on Amazon but not sure which ones are best.

  3. Gary Greene says:

    A couple of suggestions chicken fried steak, and gravy, swiss steak all for one or two servings.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you, Gary. We will add them to our list of recipes to possibly work on.

    2. Fredrica Greene says:

      This was my husband’s name and chicken fried steak was one of his favioite dishes.

  4. Teresa Martin says:

    I am SO thankful for this site!!!!! I love to cook but don’t like having huge amounts of leftovers. Plus the Cajun recipes are a major bonus. Who knew you could make bengeits with crawfish. Nothing like combining two of my favorite foods in the whole world. And red beans and rice? Oh my, I think I am in recipe heaven!!!!

  5. Kathy says:

    I don’t have any Ramekins so I will need to get some. How do I know what size? Right now I am into the cooking for one recipes.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Kathy, we list the size of the ramekins and baking dishes we use in each of our recipes. You can also take a look at the dishes we recommend on our bakeware and cookware pages.

  6. Vicki says:

    I am so happy I found your website! I have struggled eating hot homemade meals since my husband passed five years ago. I don’t like wasting food & this is the first time in my life It’s been just me. So I am excited about finding your website! Thank You so much!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so glad you found us, Vicki. I hope you find many new recipes you love.


    Where can I get that small blue slow cooker that I’m seeing in some of your FaceBook videos?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Hi Evelyn, the blue slow cooker is made by Hamilton Beach and is called their “Party Crock”. I believe it has been discontinued. I use the 1.5-quart slow cooker in our new slow cooker recipes. This one can be found on our bakeware page.