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Tips for cooking in small kitchens and kitchenettes

With real estate costs and the appeal of tiny homes both on the rise, small kitchens and kitchenettes are becoming a fact of life for many. Compact kitchens can be claustrophobic, and in larger cities like New York it isn’t uncommon for people to use their ovens for storage space as opposed to stews. For those who do cook in their tiny kitchens, however, there are ways to make a small space feel like a full-sized prep kitchen. Should you find yourself in a smaller kitchen space, here are a few tips to improve the situation without doing a full kitchen remodel.

Plan ahead

Before attempting any meal in a smaller space, it’s always a good idea to develop a game plan. Knowing which elements of your meal will require what prep, what pot or pan, what cook time and which appliances will prevent you from running out of space–or patience. Keep anxiety levels down by doing your preparation in advance so that cutting boards won’t consume precious counter space later on.

Clean while you cook

If you’re working with a small kitchen, chances are your kitchen sink is tiny too. Not only do dirty dishes shrink an already tiny space, having to jump immediately into cleaning can also ruin the satisfaction of successfully cooking a masterful meal. As you finish with a pot, or plate, or utensil, clean it in the moment so that when the meal is done all that’s left to do is rest and digest.

One pot wonder

Some compromises will have to be made when working with a small kitchen, but there is no shortage of delicious recipes that only require one pot. Comfort foods like goulash and macaroni and cheese can be perfected with only one pot, but so can healthier skillet meals! Fall is the perfect time for one-pot cooking, as most soups can be made with minimal equipment.

Every inch of space counts

Those who cook in small kitchens will tell you that every inch of space is a valuable asset. Cooking in the oven? Use the stovetop as an overflow for your countertop space (with burners off, of course!) and suddenly the kitchen doesn’t feel quite as cramped. Got a drying rack for dishes taking up precious prep space? Move it to a dining room table until you need it again. For longer-term solutions, consider creating more usable storage space with open or floating shelves. Not only do they create more room in your kitchen cabinets, they also make for great decor!

Get creative!

These tips only scratch the surface of the countless ways that you can make a small kitchen more accomodating, so don’t be afraid to get creative and try new tricks as you go. As you become more comfortable in your small space and figure out the best possible kitchen layout you can experiment with new recipes. Making the most of your limited space can only make you a better and more confident home cook!

Now we’re cooking

Small kitchens can feel confining, and adapting to a smaller space takes time, but it can present a fun challenge that ultimately strengthens your culinary chops. And should you eventually find yourself liberated by more kitchen space (complete with marble countertops and a kitchen island, maybe?) having honed your craft in a mini kitchen will allow you to take your cooking to the next level.

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