Kitchen Essentials: Splurge and Save

Nonstick Square Griddle | Nonstick Square Grill | Shun Knives | Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set | Round Dutch Oven

Being a chef and having an extensive career in the culinary world, I am most comfortable and love being in the kitchen! I have always preferred creating sauces, entrees, sides, and appetizers over baking. Time spent in the kitchen is relaxing, cathartic, and truly where I enjoy spending my day. You have seen me previously share my kitchen essentials, but I wanted to share my must-have kitchen items at different price points. I’ve included some of my favorite kitchen splurges, as well as a lower price point alternative for each! Whether you are stocking your first home, buying a housewarming gift, or looking to upgrade something you already own, these kitchen staples will give you the easiest and most enjoyable kitchen experience! 

Pots and Pans

Investing in high-quality pots and pans is the first splurge I would recommend in any kitchen as these pieces are critical to the culinary process and to achieve success. They are durable, distribute heat evenly, and make cooking more enjoyable. However, you can also find fabulous and effective pans at a lower price point but again, I always suggest investing in cookware. Purchase one piece at a time if that’s your budget. However, purchasing in sets is much more cost effective.

Splurge Set: Calphalon Premier Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

Save Set: KitchenAid 10-piece Nonstick Cookware Set

Splurge Frying Pan: Calphalon Elite Nonstick 12″ Pan 

Save Frying Pan: Select by Calphalon 12″ Pan


When buying knives, I recommend prioritizing quality over quantity. Invest in a few high-quality knives that will last longer and perform better. Splurging on a good chef’s knife is worth it! I have had my Shun knives forever and, when maintained, they will truly last a lifetime!

Splurge Chef’s Knife: Shun Premier Western Chef’s Knife, 8″

Save Chef’s Knife: Henckels Classic 8 in Chefs knife

Splurge Knife Set: Shun Classic 6-piece Knife Set

Save Knife Set: Emojoy 6-piece Kitchen Knife Set

Cooking Utensils 

Basic cooking utensils are an easy place to save when building your kitchen gear. There are great options at all price points. I have found that my higher-end spatulas last longer and don’t need to be replaced as often. 

Splurge Set:Williams Sonoma Signature Nonstick Utensil 8-Piece Set

Save Set: Umite Chef 8-Piece Kitchen Utensil Set

Splurge Turner: All-Clad Precision Nonstick Turner

Save Turner: KitchenAid Classic Slotted Turner

Cooking Boards 

Choosing a good cutting board is so important for both safety and functionality. When selecting a cutting board, you should consider size, thickness, and any special features like juice grooves or non-slip bottoms. There are great cutting boards available at different price points. 

Splurge Wooden Board: Boos Block Maple Cutting Board

Save Wooden Board: Teakhaus Edge Grain Cutting Board

Splurge Plastic Board: OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Plastic Cutting Board Set

Save Plastic Board: Farberware Plastic Cutting Board Set

Slow Cookers

My crockpot is easily one of the most frequently used appliances in my kitchen. It’s such a convenient tool, especially for busy home cooks. This is a tool I would recommend a splurge.. Consider the size, shape, and features you desire within your budget. The  model I use features programmable settings, a removable insert for easier cleaning, and a sturdy lid to prevent spills. I must admit, I have both of the models listed below and highly recommend both. I have tested multiple menu items in both and I love both.

Splurge Crockpot: All-Clad 6.5-Quart Slow Cooker

Save Crockpot: Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker

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