One of the biggest adjustments for many new or casual RVers is downsizing from their relatively spacious home kitchen with normal appliances to a tight RV kitchen with limited storage and sometimes underpowered appliances. It can force you to reevaluate how you cook and just how much equipment you really need. But it can be a bit confusing figuring it all out, and no one likes being caught without a crucial piece of equipment on a family camping trip. That’s why we’ve put together this list of your must-have RV kitchen items to ensure you’re able to cook delicious, healthy meals no matter where solar-powered RV life takes you.
So many of us have kitchens crammed with various appliances, from toasters and coffeemakers to immersion blenders and dehydrators. Without tons of cabinet space, those living in an RV or travel trailer will likely need to whittle their RV kitchen gadgets and appliances down to essentials like these.
1. Cast Iron Skillet
There’s a reason some families pass cast iron skillets down through generations. They’re among the most versatile, durable, and affordable additions to your kitchen. They retain heat extremely well, can be used to cook over campfires and stoves alike, and are practically indestructible under normal use and care. With a simple seasoning process, they’re also essentially nonstick.
2. Oven-Safe Skillet with Lid
An oven-safe skillet can work double duty in your small space camper kitchen. On the stovetop, it can sauté, fry, and accomplish various other tasks. It’ll also stand up to the direct, all-around heat of your RV oven, allowing you to braise and bake anything you can dream of.
3. Ceramic Baking Stone
Ceramic baking stones can be an excellent way to make your own pizzas or other baked good on the go. They retain heat extremely well, providing your baked items with an even cook over their entire time in the over. It can also function as a work surface when not used in the oven, providing some additional versatility.
4. Instant Pot
Downsizing your kitchen means focusing on versatility, and there are few kitchen appliances more versatile than the Instant Pot. It’s a combination pressure cooker, crockpot/slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, and more. Some models can even make yogurt or other specialized items! There are also nearly unlimited recipes available online and in Instant Pot-focused cookbooks, all designed for one-pot meals, minimizing your cleanup. You can run one of these with just one lithium battery and AM Solar’s 1200W inverter kit
Regular bread is all well and good. But a little toasting can take even the humblest sliced bread to a new level, adding flavor and texture to sandwiches or on its own as a breakfast or snack. Many electric toasters or toaster ovens can be quite slim, or those who prefer to cook over an open fire can find specialized campfire toasters that hold your bread.
Do you find yourself preparing meals for a crowd? Ever fantasized about whipping up some food at a diner? Then a griddle can be an excellent RV kitchen accessory. From electric-powered countertop models to propane-fueled standalone outdoor models, griddles offer a new dimension of cooking thanks to their large surface area. It’s perfect for cooking large batches of food, from eggs to fajitas to steaks, making it a great choice for larger groups or families.
Dishware and Glassware
Eating off of paper plates with disposable forks and knives can get old quick. But no one wants to have to tote their entire china cabinet with them on every RV road trip. Keep these items around, and you’ll never be short come mealtime.
1. Mason Jars
Remember what we keep saying about versatility? Mason jars fit the bill to a T. They’re great for storing leftovers, dry goods like flour or rice, canned goods, or even liquids like salad dressings and marinades. Plus, they can serve as funky, hip drinking glasses, further reducing the glassware you’ll need to bring with you.
2. Water Filter
Let’s be honest. Not every RV park or campground has the best tasting or smelling water. And in most cases, RVers have no idea about the quality of water or pipes bringing it to them. That’s why it’s good practice to have a water filter with you, whether it’s jug-style, fitted onto your faucet, or installed as a whole-RV filter system. At a minimum, you’ll enjoy water that’s more pleasant to drink while also avoiding potentially harmful contaminants.
3. Silverware Set
Plastic forks, spoons, and knives may be fine for an occasional meal. But in the long run, you’ll spend more and have a worse dining experience relying on them all the time. Instead, invest in a sturdy, affordable silverware set, one that includes enough utensils for not only your usual traveling crew but a few extras as well.
4. Plates and Bowls
The same goes for real plates and bowls versus their plastic or paper plate cousins. Over time, the cost can really add up, as can your overall amount of trash and waste. You also won’t have to worry about foods soaking through or cutting through your plates or bowls with your utensils. Some extras are always welcome, especially for visitors or when you don’t feel like washing dishes.
It can be difficult to figure out the essentials among the many kitchen utensils and gadgets crammed in drawers and on racks at home. Here’s a good starting list of those items you’ll need to keep your kitchen running.
1. Collapsible Strainer
From draining pasta to washing vegetables, a strainer is necessary in many recipes and food preparations. But they can be bulky and hard to efficiently store even in the best cabinets, making them a liability in your RV kitchen. Collapsible strainers or collapsible colanders solve this problem by returning to a relatively flat shape when not in use, allowing them to be stacked or otherwise stored without difficulty.
2. Collapsible Measuring Cups
Everything we just mentioned about strainers is also true for measuring cups. You can’t get by cooking without them, but they can often cause issues in kitchen drawers, making them difficult to open. Opt for collapsible cups and save yourself some space and hassle.
3. Glass Measuring Cup
As convenient as collapsible measuring cups are, sometimes you’ll need to measure liquids or have other tasks that only a glass measuring cup can take care of. They can be easily stored and also function as a mixing vessel for some recipes. These affordable items come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to pick the one best suited for your storage and space needs.
4. Knives with Covers
A good knife makes many recipes significantly easier – as well as making them safer for the cook. Invest in a quality knife, but one that can be stored with a cover. This not only protects you and others but also prevents the sharp blade from getting dulled by the jostling of RV travel. Some knives even come with sharpeners built into their covers, killing two birds with one stone.
5. Cutting Boards
Slicing, dicing, and chopping vegetables, meats, and other food is a key part of just about every recipe. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you bring a cutting board along. Whether you opt for a sturdy decorative one or a flexible plastic one that’s easily stored, they’ll all make your food prep much easier than trying to cut your materials on a plate or other surface.
Whether you’re lighting a campfire, grill, or stove with a busted igniter, lighters are a key piece of your RV kitchen arsenal. Small Bic-style lighters work just fine, but longer ones (including those with bendable necks) are even better and can help protect your hands from heat and flames. They often come in packs, meaning you’ll have spares or can stash one with the grill while leaving the other in the kitchen.
7. Can Opener
Canned food can be an RVer’s best friend. You can put nearly everything in cans, and it often lasts nearly forever. But you’ll need to ensure you’ve got a quality can opener to make your food easy to access. They can range from slim, hand-cranked models to more powerful countertop electric models. Consider additional uses as well – many can openers also function as bottle openers too.
Storage and Organization
Just as important as bringing the right things with you is keeping them organized! Here are a few items to grab to help keep your kitchen items stored and arranged properly.
1. Dish Drying Rack
A compact dish drying rack can be a lifesaver for an RV kitchen. You’ll save time letting your dishes air-dry, as well as the cost of paper towels or time spent cleaning dishrags. The rack itself can also function as a storage spot for commonly used utensils or dishes, keeping them close at hand.
You may not have a ton of cabinet or drawer space in your rig. But using hooks, you can open up entirely new dimensions of storage throughout your RV kitchen. These can be either simple stick-on hooks to hold things like potholders, spatulas, or other lightweight items or more securely drilled in to support pots, pans, or other items. Hooks can help turn formerly wasted space under or on the side of cabinets into useful storage space.
Enjoy Meals From Your Dream Kitchen On Wheels
Everyone cooks differently, and you may need more or less than this to keep your RV kitchen humming while on your next road trip. Still, these items are a perfect start to your mobile culinary life and will ensure you never find yourself forced to opt for greasy fast food or primitive campfire recipes. If you want a kitchen that more closely matches your home, with an induction cooktop, we recommend at least 400Ah of lithium and a 3000VA inverter kit. Check out our 200Ah lithium base kit and lithium add-on kit , along with the multiplus inverter for 30A RV and multiplus inverter for 50A RV
Bon Appetit, RV chefs!