Posted Jul 28, 2015

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen

With young professionals packing up and leaving the comforts of the suburbs for the excitement of the city, small living spaces are becoming part of their daily life. But what was described as a “charming” or “cozy” kitchen in the apartment listing may actually be so cramped you struggle to move your arm enough to flip a pancake.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen

Fortunately you don’t need to resign yourself to eating out every day while you adapt to a more confined cooking space. With a plan and the right attitude, you can whip up meals like Bobby Flay in the space of a submarine galley.

Prep Your Ingredients

If you’ve ever watched a cooking show you know that TV chefs make creating a delicious meal look easy. The key, as it turns out, is preparation. Professional chefs prepare all their ingredients ahead of time so they can give all their focus to the cooking process.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Prep Your Ingredients

This is also a great tactic to use in small home kitchen space. If you have a recipe that calls for assorted chopped veggies, prepare those items ahead of time and place them to the side. You’ll find that your limited space opens up and allows you to focus your attention on matters other than space management.

Go Vertical

Just like how cities have skyscrapers to utilize space, you can get the same effect by piling upward in your kitchen. Stack shelves as high as they can go.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Go Vertical

Put items you don’t use that often on the top shelf and get out a step stool to reach them when needed. Use racks for pots and pans as a way to conserve valuable drawer space.


It’s important to stay organized when you’re working with a small space so you can completely utilize every square inch. You can’t afford clutter because there is simply no space for it.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Organize

To cut down on disorder, create a labeling system and group items by use. Try to keep frequently used items in easily accessible areas so they are quick at hand when you need them. Take some time to develop a system that works for you.

Get to Know Your Crock-Pot

If you’re also living on a tight budget, your new best friend is the crock-pot. With these wonder-devices, you can create delicious, inexpensive meals that leave leftovers for the rest of the week.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Get to Know Your Crock-Pot

Best of all, they take up little of your precious space. To use it, all you need is to prep your ingredients, throw them in, and—voila—you have mouth-watering meals like BBQ ribs, white chicken chili, or chicken ropa vieja.

Clean as You Go

Another important element of working in a small cooking space is sanitation. You’ll be using the same space to prepare meats, vegetables, and other cooking ingredients, so avoiding cross-contamination is key.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Clean as You Go

A good rule of thumb is to prepare raw meats after you prepare other ingredients. Cleaning up as you go also saves you cooking time. Nothing can slow down the cooking process more than a cluttered, messy kitchen.

Make Simple, No-Fuss Meals

That recipe requiring every wok, broiler, and pan in your kitchen may not be the best thing to attempt. Instead, consider simple, low-maintenance recipes that do more with less space.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Make Simple No Fuss Meals

Dishes like roast chicken, stir fries, and salads are inexpensive, delicious, and require little in the way of space and time.

Plan Ahead

Whether you’re having some friends over for dinner or trying to work around a roommate’s schedule, it is critical to plan ahead when working with small spaces. If you’re preparing a large meal, try to make side dishes ahead of time.

Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen - Plan Ahead

This helps you focus on what’s important later and prevents you from attempting to do too many things at once. Remember, you can always reheat dishes later—your guests likely won’t know the difference.

Cooking in a tiny kitchen doesn’t have to be a hair-pulling experience. With the right planning and organization, you can make delicious, home cooked meals free from stress and frustration, no matter the size of your kitchen.

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Tips for Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen

Jonathan Deesing is a moving expert and writer for moving resource site When he’s not playing moving truck Tetris, he’s enjoys beekeeping and puppy wrestling.

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