Cooking For Two: What You Need & What You Don’t

lazy luxury

When it comes to the kitchen, two is my sweet spot. Even when Erik is traveling, I still cook for two and will have leftovers the next day.

Two can be a funny number really.

A lot of things in the kitchen, from sets to sizes, are really designed for 4 and more. Even recipes, more times than not, you’ll see it mentions “serves 4” or 6, or even 8. And I get it. More times than not, “for two” is generally temporary.

Especially since conjoining spaces, our kitchen is very much designed for two. If we are being totally honest, we don’t want children {ever} so it will be just the two of us for a verrrry long time. Soooo that being said & after a LOT of trial and error, I basically have cooking for two DOWN.

Almost everything we have makes cooking for two a real breeze so I figured I’d share my must haves for entertaining & cooking for two!

And if you’re living solo & only cooking for one? The same things work just as well – think cooking for two as yourself & then some leftovers or lunch the next day. In fact, I lived by myself for over 10 years {& loved it btw} in Houston, Dallas, & San Francisco before joining spaces this summer. Despite being in any relationships, I was cooking for myself often.

What’s also great about all the above is that they are PERFECT if you live in a city like San Francisco or New York where space is a luxury.

When I lived in Texas, I had SOOOOO much random kitchen stuff. I had the space for it, & basically got whatever I could get {I’m looking at you, random Target runs}. I was also working in the restaurant industry so I was given some restaurant quality {aka HUGE} items during my time in the biz. One thing I realized very quickly upon moving to California, is that bigger & more is not always better.

It’s no surprise I lost the luxury of space here. In my very first studio in San Francisco {any OG C@S’ers remember?}, my kitchen was awful. Seriously, it was TINY – smaller than my closet.

That said, I cooked a LOT there – here’s a throwback post! It was also in the beginning stages of this blog so I was cooking a LOT and trying new recipes and techniques. Space didn’t stop me.

In fact, despite how small that kitchen was, I LOVED cooking there & actually look back on that time fondly. I would love turning up my music & just cooking the night away. I also started completely over with my kitchen supplies. I got rid of everything I had from Texas and streamlined everything.

SO- I thought I’d do a blog post on what I could not live without in a small kitchen! Everything listed below has traveled with me from move after move.. some I even stocked in Erik’s kitchen before we moved together so I wouldn’t have to keep bringing them over.

Below is everything I could not live without for cooking for two. I use almost everything daily. They are multi-functional, scaled down in size, and save space and time from cooking!


 buy the duo here

I’ve talked about these for years now & should really dedicate a full blog post to them. This was the first thing I purchased when I moved into my first studio. When it comes to cooking for two, quarter sheet pans are your BEST FRIEND. Not only is the size perfect, but it’s just so efficient. You can use one to roast vegetables and the other to roast meats. It keeps things separate & you can’t beat the size. Any quarter sheet pan will do, but I really love the GoldWare line from Williams-Sonoma! Honestly, even if you’re cooking for more than 2, these are FANTASTIC {great for entertaining prep too}, especially if you have picky eaters. Erik hates garlic & onions, so sometimes I make a separate tray for him and one for me if I am loading up on the alliums! Also great if you live with a vegetarian and aren’t one yourself.


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The options to these are endless, and they are perfect for cooking for two. Some of the options include: fritattas or a breakfast bake for two; meatloaf, lasagna for two, casseroles, shepherd’s pie, even a small form of macaroni & cheese! Really fun to get creative with these. Again, love the GoldWare brand from Williams-Sonoma!


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Fun fact, but Erik & I ask these for the holidays every year when people ask what we want. I don’t know how we keep losing them! Regardless, these are great. Any leftovers, he can take to work the next day, but also great for storing grains or any freezer storage. We like to make either lentils, couscous, rice, or quinoa in the beginning of the week in bulk & keep it in the large one of these.  Since it’s just the two of us, making in bulk is super easy & only takes one container. I also like to use them to store produce & cheeses vs using plastic. I love all the different sizes since I do find a use for ALL of them. This is one set that’s worth having.


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Since I’m only cooking for two, when it comes to chopping & pureeing, it’s very much in small form. It’s only 4 cups vs 7 or even 11 cups, inexpensive, & takes little counter space. This thing has never done me wrong & I never found myself wishing I had a bigger one. Here is a similar one to mine that has been discontinued & refurbished – the one linked above is a newer, highly rated & cheaper model


buy here

We really love our George Foreman & this was what Erik used a lot when he was dining solo. Not only does it cook very healthily, but the size is perfect for one or two. With the fires last month, we were not able to use our grill & the grill pan makes things WAY too smoky inside so we’ve been using it for the past few weeks. It’s really great for limited kitchens or even a dorm, but can make cooking for two easy when you just don’t want to deal. Since it grills on both sides, it also shaves off cooking time.


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This may sound silly but finding the perfect bowls were a bit of a challenge. I needed them to be sleek enough to photograph but also the perfect size. We’ve been making a lot of “bowls” lately {think grains  + veggies + proteins} & the size to these are PERFECT. I also really like the holder as it makes storage super easy. I also use them to hold lemons!


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Not only are French Presses inexpensive & super user friendly, they make the perfect cup of coffee for two! I used to have a HUGE coffee maker, & it was just too big and too much maintenance. These are easy to clean & keep sanitary, look chic on the table, & again, makes the perfect amount for two. You can also use them to steep loose tea or even hot lemon ginger water. I also love the design to this one.


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THIS from AllClad is one of my all time favourite things I have ever bought – I got it in 2015 and it still is going strong. Basically, it’s a metal lid that not only helps seal in flavour but it fits on EVERY single pan. In fact, when Erik & I moved in together, we got rid of every single pan lid we had & use solely this. Not only does it help majorly with space, but it’s impossible to lose {somehow I was always losing my pan lids}. It’s a little pricy but worth every penny.


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Okay so these are actually pastry bowls, but I use them constantly when I’m cooking. Not only is the size perfect for prepping for two, it makes cooking a breeze. Basically, I prep everything I’m using & fill the bowls with everything I need before I even start cooking & throw it in as needed. If something calls for a chopped pepper, I can have it all diced and in the bowl ready to go. Since cooking for two for the most part will call for just one or 1/2 of a vegetable, the size is perfect… & you can store what’s left in the above GlassLocks! They’re also the perfect size for portion control. Sometimes I’ll do a small scoop of ice cream in one to keep from overindulging. Also great to pour a lil oil, lemon, garlic, & chile flakes for a dipping sauce for a fun lil appetizer sitch!


buy here

I love these bowls! They are beyond useful & all stack inside each other, so they take up little space. I use them for marinating meats, mixing doughs, or shaking up some vegetables with spices before roasting them.


buy here

I’ll admit, I used to think I didn’t need one. I could just use my hands & fish out the seeds if needed {hell, sometimes I just left them}. Erik got this for Christmas last year & I’m obsessed. I love that there are various sizes inside it, so it’s a multi tasker, but you get SO MUCH MORE JUICE out of the fruit vs using your hands. I’m a convert! Fun for cocktails too 😉


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Okay I know this sounds silly but this exact one is the BEST out of all the ones on the market. Seriously, we love ours. Not only is it sleek & looks great in a steel sink, but it has a section to hold a dish wand – so many of them don’t! It also keeps things off from around the sink so really helps save with space.

Also, I thought it may be helpful to list out things I’ve bought over the years that I either never used, found too big for our little home of two, or unnecessary

sets of any kind: whether it’s baking or pots or pans, I find you’re better off buying a la carte. Not only does it take SO MUCH SPACE, but there will be items you just do not need.

–  large baking sheets: these are just far too big for two! Great if you are cooking for 3 or more, but we very rarely use ours, even for baking.

round baking pans: again, these are too big for cooking for two. Even with leftovers, it’s far too much. If we want something like a shepherd’s pie, cheesecake, or regular pie, we are better off using ramekins for a single serving or the loaf pan mentioned above.

this relates to the above, but a knife set: We have one and to be honest, it’s an eyesore & takes up too much space… not to mention it comes with a TON of knives we just don’t need. I can get into a whole post on this but all you really need is a: chef’s knife, paring knife, bread knife, carving knife, & steak knifes… not all the other bells and whistles

coffee machine: I know I mentioned it above, but I could not get rid of my coffee machine fast enough. Not only is it a LOT of maintenance and hard to clean, it just makes far too much coffee and there was too much waste.

microwave: this may be a surprising one, but for two & especially for one, I rarely need my microwave. I ended up giving mine away for free & Erik never had one since he lived in SF. Our new place came with one but that said, we rarely use it. For leftovers & anything reheated, we use the stove or oven {i find it tastes better too!}

– garlic press: this may shave off time, but it’s a little bulky & you can do it all with a knife with a little more control. I find garlic through a press to be a bit overpowering… and even though I love garlic, Erik HATES it. Not to mention, the pieces can be a bit too small for cooking – you’re better off using a knife to smash or cut the garlic or even a microplane.

–  large crock pot: this is way too big for two. Not only does it take up a ton of room but I just don’t cook in large enough quantities for it. If you are big on meal prepping {think 5 chicken breasts at once for the week}, then it’s great, but it’s something we rarely do.  I also never liked keeping mine on when I was at work. It made me irrationally paranoid lol but also, especially now since I work from home, I feel like I can use my oven or a stove in the same way for less space. That said, I am considering getting a small 3 quart or even 1.5 quart slow cooker to play around with. We’ll see. I also found this one that looks interesting. Basically think slow cooking various things: a main course, sides, etc. I’m thinking of experimenting with that since even though it’s big, it’s such a multitasker & might be helpful for holidays or if we ever are entertaining? idk but I’m intrigued!

inspiralizer: I bought mine in 2015 when spiralizing vegetables was trendy but not as accessible. These days, grocery stores & especially Trader Joe’s sells various spiraled veggies for like 1.99. Not only does this machine take up space, it is a lot of work and it’s a LOT of cleaning. Not to mention, you can use a peeler like this to do something similar with peeler that has a julienne side like this.

Okay that’s all I could think of! I’m sure this list will continue to grow and evolve so I’ll make a part two or three as it happens.

I hope this was helpful!! I’ll also make a post on how I grocery shop, how I store things, & of course more recipes & tips. If there’s anything you want to see, let me know. I’m also thinking  grocery hauls might be fun for IGTV… thoughts?

Do you have any must have items for small kitchens or cooking for two? Anything that’s efficient, multi-tasking, & saves space is a win in my book!


PS – check out my Amazon shop! Listed here, I have all of the kitchen items we use {most mentioned here} & it’s really streamlined for parties of one or two. Even if you are cooking for more, it’s the essentials for EVERY kitchen. Enjoy! x

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.6.20
    Real_little_housewife_houston said:

    You definitely have all the items needed for two! I still need to get a french press ..the universal lid is a great idea!

  2. 2.6.20

    Such a cute idea for a post! I love my citrus juicer for that perfect fresh squeezed orange juice 🙂

  3. 2.6.20
    Sara Flanagan said:

    Totally agree with your list! Especially the mini food processor. Mine gets a ton of use! Thanks for sharing 😊

  4. 2.6.20

    This is great!! Cooking for one or two is tough. Love that you shared the essentials.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. 2.6.20
    Stacy Davis said:

    OMG, you just inspired me to clean out my pantries and start using my stuff! Thank you so much for all the tips:)