Okay, and maybe a couple nice-to-haves
Hurrah, you have an apartment! But sorry, that means you have an apartment kitchen, which in my experience are uniformly tiny, with weird layouts and minimum storage space, obscuring the best kitchen gadgets in narrow drawers and uneasy piles. You'll get creative in your kitchen gadget organization, but soon you'll start looking long and hard at your choice to stick a popcorn maker in the slim space between the top of your cabinets and ceilings, since it means you have to stand tip-toe on the edge of your shallow counters and hope that your short career on the diving team in elementary school has given you the balance for this particular task. (No? Just me?)
So, it's important to simplify, and to identify what kind of kitchen gadgets you really need. Not what you want, or what looks cool, or what you think you'd maybe like to take or a spin once. We're going for the gadgetry basics. Now, your basics might include a spiralizer or a rice maker, but for most people, that's not the case. So we're highlighting the bare necessities. This isn't boring though. This is exciting! It's an opportunity to hone in on the most important tools and get the best version of those things. There is no time for mediocrity when you are choosing kitchen gear. Or in general, really. Remember that.
So here are the absolutely necessary kitchen gadgets for your apartment kitchen:
I have this exact food processor—yes, in that zippy red color—and its diminutive-but-capable size makes it perfect for stowing away (and pulling out to make pesto or drop biscuits or anxiety-fighting scrambled eggs). I didn't realize how many uses I had for this thing until I had one. A note: it's easier to clean than you think it is. Promise.
I know it's tempting, but you do not need a KitchenAid stand mixer. You can ooh-and-aah over them, but it will just take up unnecessary space on your counter or in a cabinet or on your floor. A hand mixer will do exactly what you need it to do—like whipping up pancake batter—without taking up precious real estate.
Anything a blender can do, an immersion blender can do just as well. It's not as bulky as a blender; you don't have to dirty another dish to blend things; and it is very, very powerful—like, blend up frozen fruit for your morning smoothie powerful. There are ones that are fancier, but all you really need is in this guy.
It's not the most exciting, but you need a solid, no nonsense vegetable peeler. Trust me, or trust the nearly 2,000 glowing reviews on Amazon.
Again, a can opener is not the most exciting, but since you can make literally any meal from just a can of beans and some imagination, you need this. And this one is sleek enough to not get caught in your utensil drawer.
My love of Microplanes is well documented on Extra Crispy, and I will not shut up about how great they are until each home cook has one of these babies in his arsenal. Use it for dusting your breakfast pasta or quiche with parmesan, fill your scones or muffins with zest, grate some ginger to put pep in your step. Buy this and thank me later.
This is controversial—especially considering how close you will probably come at some point to slicing off the tip of your finger with one of these things—but I swear by mandoline slicers and think they're necessary. They make chopping so much faster, and they make everything you slice very uniform which appeals to my aesthetic sensibility. You'll have the prettiest Spanish tortilla or ratatouille ever. Plus, they're very thin, which means you can just slide alongside that mess of cooking supplies without disrupting a thing.