How to Cook in a Teeny-Tiny Kitchen

My kitchen is tiny. There are 2 cabinets, one large lazy susan sized cabinet that has to hold all pantry food, and one drawer. ONE. And let’s talk about all the things that I have that have to fit into said tiny kitchen. I have a blender, food processor, pressure cooker, 2 huge boiling water canners, a stand mixer, and right now, a borrowed juicer. And a coffee maker. And the thing that makes cold-pressed coffee. And those are just the big things! As you know, I like to cook a lot, and I absolutely refuse to be held back by our miniature oven and stove. We’ve come up with some creative ways to store things, and added a lot to this kitchen.

Here’s solution number one: peach crates as shelves. This is where we keep all of the dishes (excluding glasses) and things like disposable aluminum roasting pans, plastic baggies, tin foil, parchment paper and the like. I think there’s also a stray veggie steamer down there. Jason used to use these crates as bookshelves, and they’re just perfect because they’re deeper than most shelves and can accommodate large plates and things. On top is a little wine rack that holds 10 bottles. When we first moved in, I was sure that this setup wasn’t going to be stable enough, but no one has knocked it over yet, so I’m guessing it’s okay (knock on wood).

In this corner, we installed those wire shelves to hold appliances and canned food. It’s pretty high up there, but I can reach the food processor without a chair, and the jars are easily accessible when you stand on the counter. (That’s totally acceptable in my book.) The blender, one of the two dutch ovens that I own, and pot lids live up here too. I really love that hanging produce basket. It’s not the best place for it, but our ceilings are too high to hang anything from, and the wire shelving was really the only option. It’s a great place to keep potatoes, garlic, citrus fruits, and onions. Unfortunately, the stand mixer has to stay on the counter because it’s too heavy to put on the shelves. It tucks away nicely in that corner. The magnetic knife holder is also one of the best things that anyone has ever thought of. No counter space, and it holds everything from knives to bottle openers to scissors.

This is my favorite thing in the whole kitchen. I’m going to have one of these in all the kitchens that I have from now on. As you can see, I keep almost everything with a hook on this pegboard. I’ve got 2 pans, 2 pots, a bundt cake pan, colander, vegetable steamer (why do I have two of those?), strainers, 7 coffee mugs, a funnel, box grater, and all my utensils (including spatula, wooden spoon, slotted spoon, wooden spatula, ladle, pasta grabber, tongs, measuring spoons, rubber spatula, whisk, and microplane zester). We used spray paint to paint the pegboard a dark gray color, and framed it with little pieces of wood. It’s absolutely amazing and makes that wall space super useful. I have no idea where we would put things without this.

This is on a tiny piece of counter that’s to the right of the stove, and I keep all the things that I reach for all the time in these chef’s squeeze bottles. I have grapeseed oil, olive oil, canola oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. I can’t tell you how much easier this small idea has made my life in the ktichen. It’s so easy to reach for a labeled squeeze bottle instead of digging for the right thing in the pantry. Also, it’s way easier to get liquids into a pan or onto a salad when you can squirt them. I ordered these from Amazon for $11.

Counter space is precious in this kitchen. But, there are certain things that just need to be out and accessible and ready to use. For me, spices are one of those things. So, I use this clementine box to try to restrain all of my spices in this space to the immediate left of the stove. Sometimes they’re sort of precariously balanced on top of each other, and Jason can’t ever find anything, but I know where things belong. For example, I can tell you that under that thyme on the front row, there is a little thing of ground mustard. I don’t know how I keep track of these things, but it works. I also put things that I have big containers of into smaller jars and store the rest in the pantry. I have a ton of spices. It’s kind of absurd.

This corner is (obviously) where the refrigerator is. There is a cabinet back there, and I keep unused jars and other canning supplies in it. It’s really hard to get to. On top of the cabinet are the boiling water canners and the pressure cooker. Also, paper towels. And that huge thing you use to carry cakes. And the box for the food processor (which is also where all the extra attachments live.) I really love the bulletin board with the hooks on in that we have. It’s great for lunch boxes, grocery bags, bike helmets, aprons, and all kinds of things.

Last but not least, the chalkboard! I keep a running grocery list going, and this is the perfect place because it’s on the back of the door to the apartment so I have to look at it every time I leave home. No forgetting things to buy.

Here’s a view of the stove. Under the oven, there is one of those drawers that holds 2 cookie sheets, a muffin tin, casserole dish, loaf pan, cake pans, and several other pans and clay things that you can bake things in. The teapot and the huge dutch oven stay on the stove all the time.

This, my friends, is my one and only drawer. It holds all the silverware, serving spoons and forks, lighters, jar lids, can opener, and lots of other strange things. Generally, I’m just lucky if it closes. It’s the little things that keep you going.

In a tiny kitchen, you really have to maximize space. It’s all about saving space and really thinking about what you have and why you have it. I really think you can do anything in a tiny kitchen, and I haven’t run into anything I can’t do yet. I also (if you can believe it) have a list of more things that I want to include in the kitchen, but I do have to plan where I’m going to keep them before I get them.