RV Kitchen Essentials from a Full-Time Nomad

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Hi! It’s Kiaya again. In case you need a recap: I’m a TIA writer/editor who use to travel full-time in RV with my husband, two kids, and our big, hairy dog. I already gave you my Essentials for Full-Time RV Living. Today I’m sharing my list of RV Kitchen Essentials.

From RV Kitchen pots and pans to storage containers and s’more sticks, this list has everything you need to have a fully stocked and functional mobile kitchen. This list includes products I actually bought, plus a few items I wish I had.

I also share my favorite, easy RV meals and snacks, and items you do not need in your RV Kitchen. Here’s a snapshot of everything I’m sharing with you…

RV Kitchen Essentials

Alright, let’s start stocking your RV kitchen!

RV Kitchen Pots & Pans

At first glance, you think you can use all the same stuff in your RV kitchen as you do in your home kitchen – wrong! RV’s are mobile, and the cooking surfaces and storage tend to be smaller. All of these items were picked based on their size, quality, and durability.

CAROTE 11 pcs Non-stick White Granite Pots & Pans Set with Removeable Handles

RV Kitchen Essentials: space-saving pots and pans with removeable handles

Having enough space is the #1 struggle for RV’ers, especially in the kitchen. I bought these after my first week in the RV because the handles on my pots and pans were a storage nightmare.

I found this set after searching “detachable handle cookware”. The set had good reviews. I like that they were made from granite and not Teflon, and these pots and pans can be used on the stove, in the oven, or over an open campfire.

  • My Review: Great for an RV and great for a home kitchen. I’m super impressed with how well the non-stick has held up and the pans heat really evenly. These pots and pans being easy to store because of the removable handle is almost just a bonus with how good they are. I might be replacing my home kitchen pots and pans with these.
  • Video: Check it out on TikTok.
  • Where to Buy: The 11-piece set is only $69.99 on Amazon. Also available as 5, 10, 12 or 21-piece set, and color choices include white, red, blue, or multicolor.

4.5 qt. Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven

RV Kitchen Essentials: 4.5 qt lodge dutch oven

Not all RV’ers may encounter this problem, but our RV is more mid-level pricewise. The burners on our stove are smaller and the heat retention of cast iron has been essential for boiling pots of water and keeping pans hot throughout cooking.

  • My Review: Lodge is my favorite brand for Dutch ovens, but I have a confession…I have an Amazon Basics Dutch Oven in my RV. Technically, it performs fine. But the enamel chipped after only a month of use. It hasn’t affected my cooking…yet. But my Lodge Dutch Oven has been my go-to pot in my home kitchen for years and has no scuffs, chips or scratches even with heavy use.
  • Where to Buy: Normally $116.25 but on sale for $69.90 on Amazon.
  • Road Trip: Driving from Nashville to Atlanta, or vice versa? Stop at the Lodge Museum of Cast Iron, located between the two in South Pittsburg, TN.

MCIRCO 6 pcs Stainless Steel Baking Sheet with Rack and Silicone Baking Mat

RV Kitchen Essentials: 2-pack stainless steel baking sheets, silicone mats, and cooling racks

Measuring only 12.4 in. x 9.6 in. this baking sheet, mat and rack set will fit most RV ovens and cabinets.

  • My Review: I honestly use these every day in our RV. If I’m not using them in the oven, then I use one pan to hold ingredients before they go on the grill, then use the other when they come off. I also use them as platters. Because the size makes them so easy to clean this whole set still looks new!
  • Where to Buy: $21.99 on Amazon.
  • Storage Hack: I store my baking sheets, mats and racks with my similarly sized cutting boards in a $9 Mesh File Organizer from Target.

Which reminds me…

ROTTOGOON 3-piece Grooved Cutting Board Set with Vegetable Peeler

  • My Review: I LOVE a grooved cutting board. This set is also non-porous so it’s safe for preparing raw meat. Great set and still fits with my sheet pans inside my Target File Organizer that I keep them in.
  • Where to Buy: $24.99 on Amazon.

E-far 3 pcs Stainless Steel Baking Pan Set

I’m a casserole queen and I love to bake. This 3-pack of different-sized baking pans is perfect for all my baking needs. In the beginning, I tried to use my Pyrex. Nothing broke, every drive-day required prep to keep them safe, and it was too much anxiety.

  • My Review: Again, perfect. I went with the corrugated bottom, but they also have flat bottoms available. They’re lightweight and fit an RV oven.
  • Where to Buy: Available in flat bottom or corrugated on Amazon.

OXO Good Grips Silicone Baking Cups

Again, I have small children and one of them is incredibly picky. Being able to bake their treats I’d be 1) spending a fortune on store-bought snacks, and 2) not able to sneak nutrition into their favorite snacks.

However, I don’t have the space to accommodate all the different pans I need. I thought these stacking baking cups would be a great solution.

BLUE GINKGO Adjustable Over-the-Sink Colander Basket

My husband always tells me that his Italian Nana would be so proud of the amount of pasta I make him. That and I’m constantly washing fruit for my kids. A colander is an absolute essential for me and each time I try to go without one is just disastrous.

  • My Review: Stays in place, fits a variety of sinks, and shrinks up back small when you need to put it away.
  • Where to Buy: $19.99 on Amazon.

Progressive Intern Compact, Stackable Mandolin Slicer

Okay, maybe you don’t “need” a mandolin slicer, especially if you only camp a few weeks a year. However, I get really frustrated in the kitchen if I don’t have one. So, yes, to me this is essential, but this is also the best damn mandolin slicer and let me tell you why…

  • My Review: I like this more than my home kitchen mandolin slicer. It takes up so little space, plus it’s easier to use because it had a more ergonomic design and has its own little container to catch whatever you’re slicing.
  • Where to Buy: $34.99 on Amazon.

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Outdoor RV Kitchen Essentials

An outdoor kitchen setup is just as important if not more important when spending time in an RV. It’s a great way to spend time outside and more spacious than cooking inside your RV.

These outdoor RV kitchen essentials will ensure you have a fully operational outdoor kitchen whether you’re cooking for one or for a crowd.

Coleman Roadtrip Portable Foldable Grill

Some RV’s come with an outdoor kitchen, ours does not. I actually prefer that because you actually get to choose your grill. My husband also prefers open-air grilling compared to grilling up close to the RV.

  • My Review: This grill folds up perfectly to fit in the RV’s “basement”. You’ll actually see a lot of these grills at campsites because they are so convenient. My other RV’ing family member also has one of these and loves it. So far, this Coleman Roadtrip Grill has served us well.
  • Cons: This grill is a little small. It works for us, but the size is something to consider if you have a larger family.
  • Where to Buy: Various models and colors available between $160 to $250 on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
  • Accessories: Browse on Amazon.

16 oz. Coleman Propane Canisters

Remember how I mentioned you’ll see the portable Coleman Roadtrip Grills at every campsite? Well, you can also find the Coleman 16 oz. Propane Canisters at nearly every campsite store, but for a steep mark-up. Save money and buy ahead.

  • Where to Buy: Multiple packs available on Amazon.

Milwaukee 40 qt. PACKOUT XL Cooler

A good cooler is essential for the avid RV’er for multiple reasons. You will need one for the road trips. Also, RV fridges can be quite small. It’s great to have extra room, or even a place to hold drinks when you camp with friends or host gatherings.

  • My Review: Honestly, you just need a cooler. But I LOVE my Milwaukee 40 qt. PACKOUT XL. The cold retention is insane. It has kept ice cold all day in the sun on the 4th of July. I love the dry basket, the removable cutting board, plus more features. I also wrote about how much I love this cooler in my previous TIA RV Supplies article.
  • TIA Review: Milwaukee 40 qt. PACKOUT XL Cooler Review
  • Where to Buy: $249 (on sale for $199) at The Home Depot.

Kitchpop 10-piece Sheathed Knife Set

Knife storage is one of the more complicated issues in an RV (especially if you have little kids). I actually just have a sheathed pairing knife for my cooler, and keep the rest of my kitchen knives in a roll bag (more on this “Kitchen & Food”). However, this set is affordable, and all your knives are protected no matter how you store them.

  • Amazon Review: “Bought these for our camper. Perfect variety of sizes. Bright colors are pretty and help make it easier to identify the one you’re looking for in the limited space in a draw. Covers slide on and fit well making them safe to throw in a drawer.”
  • Where to Buy: $14.99 with Amazon Prime.

Cast Iron Outdoor Kitchen Camping Set

This is an item still on my wishlist, but I’ve spent a lot of time researching outdoor kitchen camping sets. I like this one because it has a good variety, plus a durable case to hold all that heavy cast iron cookware.

  • Amazon Review: words
  • Where to Buy: Sets range from $60 to $150 on Amazon.

Jolly Green Campfire Roasting Sticks for S’mores and more

I have kids and I’m addicted to s’mores. Plus, doesn’t everyone get a weird joy over roasting even simple foods like hotdogs on a stick?

  • My Review: Again, biased but love these. They are telescopic so they don’t take up much space when not in use and it comes with their own carrying case. They are also constructed well and don’t fall apart after only a few uses.
  • Where to Buy: $32.97 on Amazon.

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RV Kitchen Food & Drink Accessories

Your RV kitchen essentials extend beyond what you need to cook. Your additional food and drink supplies and accessories need to be durable, yet lightweight, space-conscious, and more. These food and drink accessories address all of these concerns.

Wrova Wheat Straw Plates, Bowls & Drinkware 

With a mobile home you want to limit glass, that includes plates and drinkware. If you camp only a few weeks out of the year you can get away with paper plates, but I really hated how much waste that would create when we lived in our RV full-time. To be honest, I used vintage McDonald’s plastic plates. Those are obviously no longer commercially available.

Instead, I choose a durable wheat tableware. Wheat straw is a plastic alternative that is microwave and dishwasher safe.

  • Amazon Review: “These plates are great! They are a perfect size for much of what I do in the kitchen. They fit great in the dishwasher and come out really clean. I didn’t really know what I was getting when I bought them, but they are perfect for whatever I need them for!”
  • Where to Buy: Shop Wrova Wheat Straw Tableware on Amazon.

Amazon Basics 10-piece Airtight Square Storage Containers (OXO dupe)

  • My Review: I use these containers to hold everything from my flour and sugar to all my kids’ snacks. The largest container actually works great as a cookie jar, and I often use the smaller ones to dump the second half of a bag of chips and such into so they don’t go stale before my family can finish them (no matter how long we forget about them).
  • Where to Buy: Amazon Basics 10-piece set for only $63.54 on Amazon (on sale for $47.54). Compare that to OXO 10-piece Square Storage Set for $109.

60-piece Heat-Safe Deli Containers with Lids, Variety Pack

For an RV you need food storage containers that are durable yet lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space. Deli containers are perfect because they are designed to survive heavy use in the food industry, plus they are heat-safe. When staying in an RV it’s also great to have items that are multi-use, which the size variety gives you.

  • My Review: These are my favorite food storage containers, hands down. I use these to hold hot items, freeze items, hold dry ingredients, hold my kids’ snacks. I even use one of the smaller ones as my butter tub. The size variety creates so many uses. Plus they are easy to clean, nestled inside of each other, and 60 containers and lids weigh about the same as a feather. Plus, they’re dirt cheap!
  • Where to Buy: Get out of Tupperware hell for only $23 from Amazon.

Amazon Basics Magnetic Knife Wall Storage

Again, with an RV you have to be creative with your storage. A knife drawer wasn’t an option because 1) not enough space, and 2) it would have been too easy for my kids to access. The wall magnet was a great solution because it’s compact, up high enough so my kids can’t access it, and made use of the wasted space on the wall behind the stove.

  • My Review: I’m honestly shocked by how strong the magnet is. The magnet has been a great way to safely store my knives yet access them easily throughout our stay at campgrounds.
  • Where to Buy: Only $25.99 from Amazon Basics.

Knife Roll Bag 

Now, I got a knife roll bag because I was too paranoid to leave my knives mounted during drive-days, but it’s genuinely a nice way to store your knives. If you’re not using a knife drawer then I recommend a knife roll bag because it will keep your knives confined and protected when not in use.

  • My Review: My Terrev Chef Knife Roll Bag was perfect for the amount and type of knives I owned. The buckles did a great job at holding the knives in place during even bumpy drives, and all of my knives are still in great condition.
  • Where to Buy: Unfortunately, my knife roll bag is not currently available, but there are tons of knife roll bags available on Amazon.

Faridabio Compact Silverware Drawer Organizer

Again, storage is always your main concern in an RV. This silverware organizer is great because it allows you to layer your silverware in a way that is accessible and functional.

  • My Review: This silverware organizer allowed me to clear up a whole other drawer. It’s honestly such a better way to store your silverware. It is a little harder to tell what’s in each slot if you don’t know. But I will probably upgrade my home drawer storage to this.
  • Where to Buy: Less than $20 on Amazon.

Adhesive Paper Towel Roll Holder

In general, most of the items you will mount will be adhesive. We’ve had pretty good luck with all of the adhesive items we’ve attached. What you need will depend on your RV setup. Personally, with the kids, my life falls apart real quick when I’m out of paper towels and I just assume everyone needs them as much as I do.

  • My Review: Our adhesive paper towel roll holder has held on throughout all our travels. The adhesive backing has also allowed us to easily install it in a space-saving space that might not have worked with traditional installation.
  • Where to Buy: Multiple styles to choose from for less than $15 on Amazon.

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RV Kitchen Pantry Essentials

Here is a quick, bulleted list of some items I recommend you keep in your pantry along with my reasons why.

  • Bouillon CubesPersonally, Better Than Bouillon is my favorite bouillon brand, but the glass and required refrigeration doesn’t work for RV life. I know, it’s sad. But I can live with this sacrifice.
  • RamenA boondocking staple. Our go-to drive-day/boondocking dinner is grilled cheese and ramen, with the ramen served in my favorite deli containers.
  • Fresh garlicNot everyone is a busy mom that loves the jarred garlic for adding some quick and easy flavor to dishes, but I am. However, like the Better Than Bouillon jars, jarred garlic can be problematic. So skip it.
  • Dry SeasoningsThis will vary from person to person. But I suggest limiting yourself to your top 10 favorite seasonings. My favorites are: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, Italian seasoning, cayenne, seasoning salt, lemon pepper, and obviously salt & pepper.
  • Shelf-Stable Milk: Not “essential”, but honestly great to have on hand. Drive-days can be stressful and heading to the store for pantry stables is usually the last thing you want to do after finally arriving at your campsite. My favorite brand is LALA.
  • Popcorn Kernels: I come from a family of popcorn fiends and I enjoy making stovetop popcorn with the kids. Plus, it’s great for camping and RV’ing. The only items you need are your Lodge Dutch Oven, oil, butter, and salt.

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Final RV Kitchen Recommendations

A few final words of wisdom regarding your RV Kitchen include…

  • Skip the Slow Cooker: Unless your RV has a ton of counter space or you can plug it in outside, the slow cooker was a hassle.
  • Plan & Make Drive-Day Meals Ahead of Time: Especially if you have a slide, you’ll just be fumbling around. You also don’t want to create an annoying amount of dishes. Just prep your food ahead of time and enjoy your driving breaks.
  • Airfryer vs RV Oven: RV ovens are kind of finicky and don’t have a ton of space as is. A good airfryer could work in place of a traditional oven in case you are looking at models without one or are planning a renovation. The biggest factor is whether you plan to boondock, which a gas oven might be a better option. But if you plan to always use electrical hook-ups you can trade-in your oven for an airfryer and more cabinet space.

RV Kitchen Wrap-up

That’s about all I can think of when it comes to RV kitchen essentials.

If you’re an avid RV’er let me know if I missed anything. Better yet, tell me what your go-to drive-day and boondocking meals and snacks are.

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