RV kitchens can be an adjustment, especially if you’re coming from a fully stocked kitchen with all the bells and whistles. Don’t fret – these items are going to make cooking in your new RV kitchen a lot easier. Don’t tear your hair out about space or size; just get the right tools so you enjoy cooking in your kitchen.
Stove Top Oven Kit
If you don’t use your oven a lot in your everyday life, you might not find this helpful. But I love baking, and it was one thing I struggled with a lot when traveling in our RV. A stove top oven kit lets you use less fuel and make thing faster and better than using your RV’s oven, if it even has one. (Some don’t!) If used outside, you don’t heat up the entire RV in the summer when you want to bake. This Coleman Camp oven is about a foot square, for $40.
Even if you’re not baking, baking soda can be used to deodorize your fridge or rooms, clean, fix a clogged pipe with some vinegar, and more. It’s an all-purpose item that must have a place in your kitchen!
These seem a little silly, but if you cook on a grill or on an open fire, these are so vital. Get gloves that go fairly high up – at least cover your wrists – and ones that are rated to a high heat. Being able to reach out and grab a hot handle without worry makes cooking so much more pleasant. It’s easy to underestimate just how hot a campfire can be.
To economize your storage space in your RV kitchen, nesting dishes are great. Nesting bowls for food prep, serving, and eating are a must for your kitchen space. Look for a set of unbreakable mixing bowls in a variety of sizes that nest, plus measuring cups and spoons that fit right on top. Also look for cups and plates that nest. This reduces space so that instead of a series of shelves, you can make due with one or two.
Knives with Guards
If you’re going to be cooking in your RV, you’re going to need a good set of knives. I recommend investing in a handful with full cover guards because you’re in an RV. Knives and tools shift and move as you drive around, and having those covers is so important!
Lightweight Cutting Boards
The less space your cutting boards take up, the better. I have a handful of lightweight, super flexible plastic cutting boards that live in my RV kitchen. I can cut different things without risking cross-contamination, and they take up almost no room. I started with a beautiful, but very heavy and bulky, wooden cutting board. It was replaced quickly.
RV fridge bars are essential in your fridge. These extendable, adjustable bars help keep everything from rolling around unnecessarily. There’s nothing like stopping for the night and realizing your pickle jar shattered, and you have to spend 20 minutes picking glass shards out of your fridge before you can make dinner.
RV Refrigerator Fan
Speaking of your fridge, consider investing in a camping and RV refrigerator fan if you’re going to be camping during the summer. These fans help circulate air evenly, which means your RV is ultimately using less power to cool it. It also works great in your freezer if you have to defrost it!
If you’re not interested in doing dishes inside, well, I can’t blame you. The small sink is frustrating at best, and if you don’t have a large grey water tank, it can be an annoying process to keep emptying it out every few days.
Having a heavy-duty washing basin is great. You can wash all your dirty dishes outside, store food in the heavy-duty plastic while they’re empty, or to shuttle ingredients inside and out if you’re cooking outdoors. Because you can store things in it, it doesn’t take up useless space. Plus, you can spend more time outdoors (washing dishes, prepping food, etc). Dump the dirty water down a campground sink or use biodegradable soap so you can dump in the woods, and you’ll also reduce your grey water output.
These little tension rods look just like regular tension rods for curtains, but they are only about a foot long and stretch up to about 20 inches. Just like the fridge bars, these extendable tension rods fit within your RV cabinets and help keep everything in place. You don’t want to take a long trip without them; otherwise, you could be resetting your cabinet every night. They are a real timesaver.
Mini Stacking Ice Cube Trays
There’s a good chance that a traditional ice cube tray isn’t going to fit into your freezer. Even if it does, a lot isn’t going to fit in addition to it. Instead, invest in a set of mini ice cube trays that stack. Your drinks will stay cold (extra nice when you’re sitting outside!), and you’ll have more freezer space.
Gripping, Hanging Spice Racks
Once again, another tool to keep everything in place. You can purchase a spice rack that mounts to the inside of a cabinet, and uses little grippers to hold your spices in place. This is essential if you cook a lot, and saves space inside the cabinet too.
We’re big fans of smoothies now. These little immersion blenders (aka stick blenders) work great and take up less space. They are also super for making blended soups! Wall Mounted Paper Towel Holder
Wall-mounted paper towel holders save precious space on the countertops and are very convenient.
Keep a good stock of sturdy dish towels. Need to dry something? Use a towel. Need to clean something – like, really clean it? Use a towel. Need to grab something hot and I can’t find my gloves? I’ve got a towel for that!
Keep a handful of chip clips available at all times. A good, sturdy clip will prevent bugs from getting into your things and help keep food fresher, longer. And they actually come in handy for other things too, like keeping cords out of the way.
Cast Iron Skillet
You need to purchase at least one of these. If you take care of it, it will probably outlast your RV. I can cook on the open fire, over a grill, on my propane camping stove, or inside my RV. It can go in an oven; it can go anywhere. If your skillet is properly seasoned and cared for, nothing will stick, and it will heat consistently. They aren’t hard to care for. Don’t soak it for too long, and rub it down with oil periodically to keep it from rusting.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Okay, okay, so maybe you want two pieces of cast iron in your kitchen. A dutch oven will let you bake, cook, and more. I love making bread in my dutch oven, but you can stews, roasts, and more. If you get one with a lid that doubles as a skillet, you’re ahead of the game – and most real cast iron products will have this.
Easily overlooked, several serving spoons will make serving and eating with friends and family a lot easier. It’s also more sanitary than everyone shoving their own forks into the serving bowls.
Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker
This is pretty new to the RV scene, and I almost didn’t include it – but using a pressure cooker in your RV is actually really pleasant. Just like the bonus to your stove top oven set up, a pressure cooker won’t heat up your whole RV. You can make full roasts in under an hour, make beans from dry to done without overnight soaking, and so much more. An Instant Pot takes up a small amount of space, and you can do a lot with it. If you haven’t tried one, it’s really worth it – and now they have a smaller, 3-quart size.
French Press Coffee
Coffee is not a negotiable situation for us, no matter where we are. Our RV is no exception. A traditional coffee pot takes up way too much space. Instead, we opt for a French press coffee maker. We discovered these while on a trip to Europe before they were very well known in the US. They are great for RVing! Heat water on the stove, outdoor grill, or even an open fire, and you can get a good, reliable cup of coffee quickly (no filter needed!).
AeroPress Coffee Maker
If you don’t like the French press, check out an AeroPress machine. These are even smaller and make a really excellent cup of coffee (or espresso!). You can’t make it while in motion, though. But if you don’t want to rely on gas station coffee or instant, gritty coffee, either of these coffee choices are great.
Unbreakable Beer Mugs
I don’t think I need to explain this one. Pouring your bottled beer out into a cold mug from the fridge really enhances your experience, and again – betting something that is shatterproof means you don’t have to worry about it rolling around anywhere.
Collapsible Dish Strainer
I found an incredible over-the-sink dish drier that folds up tight for easy storage. It’s awesome, and I encourage you to seriously consider getting one. After all these years, I still hate doing dishes, and I hate drying dishes. Being able to let them hang out and drain over the sink is very appealing, and it folds up pretty small. Or, you can store it in your cabinet as an organizer. Can Opener
Have one to go in your RV specifically. If you get one with a bottle opener, you’ve got two issues covered in one.
Don’t be like me, and forget that you need soap to wash dishes in your sink. Scrub Brush
I like having something small with a suction cup on the one end, so it sticks to the sink by itself and doesn’t have to be put away anywhere.
An easily forgettable item, trash bags are a must! You can’t rely on your campground’s facilities.
Food Storage Options
Don’t forget about leftovers! I like having a small selection of Tupperware containers that stack neatly together, so they take up minimal room when I’m not using them. Ziploc bags are also a great choice. Aluminum Foil, Plastic Wrap, Etc