What do RV’ers need in their kitchens? Here is a list compiled from many opinions of full-timers regarding what they have, use and or wish they had. I first created this list a year ago but have since updated it for 2016-2017. With Black Friday looming once again here is a summary of items we have found invaluable in our kitchen over the six years we have been full timing.
For those of us living in small spaces with limited storage space and continually moving around we have acquired things that fit this lifestyle to a “T.” Most of these items will either be lightweight or take up little space as those are the two major factors we had to consider when purchasing kitchen items for our RV’s. Many items are items you would use in any kitchen but some are a bit more specialized for this lifestyle. A few items mentioned will simply be those that make life much easier for us in our confined spaces. So what are they?
Common Kitchen Needs – Of course everyone needs silverware and plates, bowls, cups and the basic utensils. So I won’t recommend any particular silverware or basic utensils since most people will just bring those they currently have with them to their RV. But if you don’t already have them make sure you have a good set of SHARP knives.
Now we kept our glass dishes and glasses and simple figured if we were going to live in an RV it should be homey. However, many folks get rid of their dishes and glassware and but Corelle Dishes and plastic glassware including those cool plastic stemless wine glasses.
Collapsible Kitchen Items – We have several of these Items such as a the collapsible strainer, the collapsible measuring cups and the collapsible salad spinner. These collapsible items take up so little space and are easy to clean and sanitary. The colors of the measuring cups also makes it easy to grab the one you want… well, that is after you remember which color goes with which measuring cup!
We use this all the time when baking as it can be used in the oven, microwave, toaster oven or even freezer. This simply turns any baking sheet into a non-stick surface without having to use oil or cooking spray. It can also be used as a flexible cookie sheet. They are flexible so are easily stored anywhere!
We love these flexible silicone spatulas that are heat resistant so they won’t warp or melt like plastic ones do. Also since they are solid silicone they have no crevices like wooden ones for bacteria to collect and grow. We like having multiple sizes so we can get all the goodies out of any size container with one of these!
Below are some other kitchen tools that make our life easier and help keep our non-stick pots and pans protected. These are rated up to 480℉ for handling heat. Now while we don’t have this complete set we do have several of these tools and if I were starting all over this is the set I would want in our RV. Add to this a Silicone Whisk Set and the utensil list is pretty much complete.
We currently still have heavy cutting boards but I would trade them in for a set of these flexible cutting matts. By purchasing a set of these matts in assorted colors with nifty food icons means we could use separate mats for different raw foods thus avoiding any cross-contamination. Cool! I really don’t know why we don’t own these… maybe I should get us a set for Christmas!
Another item we have that we love for their durability and light weight are our Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls. They are light weight and easy to use and with the polished finish they are easy to clean as well.!
Since we are both short our must have is a Folding Step Stool. Without this much of our storage would simply be unusable. It is great for reaching the higher cabinets and cleaning those otherwise out of reach places. Sharon also loves it for resting her feet on when we are traveling since her feet don’t touch the floor when she is seated in the passenger seat.
One of the things we quite often reach for is our Hand Held Blender. While this is not the one we have this Hamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender is an almost exact duplicate of the one we bought five years ago. With the attachments we are able to do everything from puree sauces, chop a small amount of vegetables or nuts and even beat egg whites to a a peak. So this is also used as our mixer. We wouldn’t leave home without one…
While we don’t have one of these many of our RV friends swear they couldn’t live without an Electric Frying Pan. We simply don’t have the storage to have one of these so we list it here simply because so many others love their electric fry pans. They do make them as small as 7 inches which has tempted us but we still have never purchased one. We love our Cast Iron Skillet. Ours is a small 8” skillet but they make larger ones as well. While these break the rule of lightweight items, we really wouldn’t be happy if we didn’t at least have a small one of these to cook with. Best of all they now sell these pre-seasoned making them ready to use right away!
Another item we don’t have that a lot of RV’ers say they love is a toaster oven. Storage is the big issue here for us but for those with more storage space you may want one of these! I think if we were to have one we would probably buy this one - Hamilton Beach 31334 Easy Reach Toaster Oven. We do have a regular toaster because sometimes we crave toasted bagels! We store ours inside our oven when we travel.
A bulky item we do have but really love is our countertop double burner. The one we currently have has two burners, one at 600 watts and one at 900 watts. We love using this as it frees up counter space and also, let's be real… why pay for propane to use our gas stove when we mainly receive electricity for free. Our one complaint is that it takes a long tome to boil water on 900 watts so I would prefer more wattage. In fact when this one dies we will likely buy one of the newer induction burners. While these are pricier than the one we have the safety it offers is more than worth the additional cost. And we would get one that ranges up to at least 1800 watts as well.
Two items we don’t have but wished we did!
A couple of other small appliances that are nice to have are a compact blender and a nice coffee machine. While we have items that perform these tasks these are two items we would love to get! For RV'ers short on storage space it pays to find a good compact blender. Having yourself this powerful micro blender means not missing out on smoothies or your favorite frozen cocktail. The Ninja Master Prep is, we feel, the one to get for RV’ers but a lot of folks love their Magic Bullet Blender. Not too small and not too big this blender can whip up favorite beverages in its 48-ounce pitcher. After all any bigger and you might just imbibe a bit too much!
Coffee drinkers typically find space for their favorite coffee maker. We are still using our old trusty Cuisinart while many others make space for their Keurig's or Expresso coffee machines. We figured we would use the Cuisinart until it died. So what would we like to have to replace it? We would love to have a the Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker. This compact coffee maker uses an air pressure brewing process to make 1 to 4 cups of American or espresso style coffee. Boy, as coffee lovers, we would love to have one of these!
While this is not a comprehensive list we thought this would be a good time to share per the request of some of our readers a list of some of our favorite items and a few items we would love to have as well… Hey, fellow RV'ers, chime in with what items you have in your kitchen that you simply can’t live without?
Some items other RV’ers mentioned in the comments and emails are below:
Crockpots can be a real time saver and are great for those days of traveling. We prefer the smaller 4 quart size but there are many other sizes up to 7 quarts in size. Great for making many meals and especially useful for impromptu pot lucks!
Many also mentioned a rice cooker and although we agree they always make perfect rice we don’t have one since we usually make our rice the old fashioned way by boiling water on the stove. If I had more storage I would probably have one though just like I would have a bread machine like the one made by Oster.
Three larger specialty items were mentioned a lot and although we have one of them I really never considered it part of the kitchen but maybe it really is. That item would be the BBQ Grill. There are two great products to choose from for RV’ers. We currently use the Coleman Grill and love the dual cooking grills it has. One slotted one for cooking meat and another flat one for grilling vegetables. However, many swear by the Weber which I admit may be a better grill but until mine dies I won’t consider replacing it.
Other specialty items we don’t have but many others do are the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W and the Portable Ice Maker for the Countertop. Now from what I had heard about the Instant Pot I definitely want to get one of these but something else that it replaces will have to break first. However, many RV’ers swear by their Instant pot and from the reviews it sounds like a great RV product! As for the portable icemaker we don’t need one since our refrigerator already makes ice. But for those that don't have one this one is of the Amazon best sellers.
Some odds and end that maybe every RV'ers won’t need but many we know have these items and use them frequently. A Pizza Stone not only comes in handy for making great pizza but you can leave it stored in the bottom of your RV over (if you have one) and it will help distribute heat better in those small ovens. Also for the wine drinkers you will need a nice compact cork screw and some nice stemless wineglasses.
Now I am sure this list is still not comprehensive so add any of your favorite items in the comments below….