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Kitchen Essentials When You Cook For One

Our list of kitchen essentials to make cooking for one easy and enjoyable. From perfectly sized single serving baking dishes to perfect pots and utensils.

a picture of a berry filled dutch baby, a deep dish cookie, and a small tray of lasagna.

“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. 

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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.

Let’s start with the essentials:

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.


  • An 8-inch (20-cm) ovenproof skillet
  • An 10-inch (25-cm) ovenproof skillet
  • A 1-quart (1-liter) saucepan
  • A 2-quart (2-liter) saucepan
  • A 6.5-inch (17-cm) cast iron skillet

See these and other similar items on our Cookware page.


  • A 5-inch (13-cm) baking dish
  • An 8.5-ounce (250-ml) ramekin
  • A 10-ounce (300-ml) ramekin
  • A 6.5-inch (17-cm) cast iron skillet
  • A 9.5-inch (25-cm) baking dish or loaf pan
  • A small muffin pan
  • A rimmed baking sheet

See these and other items on our Bakeware page.

a piece of catfish in a long baking dish.

Other Kitchen Equipment

In addition to the 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.

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We now have a One Dish Kitchen - Cooking For One Facebook Group!
The Cooking For One Facebook Group is a super active and friendly private group. Join us to share your favorite single serving recipes and find new ones too. 

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9 thoughts on “Kitchen Essentials When You Cook For One”

  1. 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!!!!

  2. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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.

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