How to cook in a small kitchen, 7 magic tips and more

Cooking In small kitchenIf your kitchen is small, I mean really small, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create great meals in it.  Cooking in a small kitchen is all about being organized.

There is one well-known cook who creates great meals in a really tiny kitchen.  You might already have heard of her. It’s Annie Mahle, chef and owner of the Schooner J.& E. Riggin.  She prepares gourmet meals for 30 people 3 times a day in her little boat-kitchen during the summer season in Rockland, Maine.

Updated 2017

tiny kitchenCooking in a small kitchen can challenge your creativity and can inspire you to find your own recipes.  Ultimately you can find your personal and unique cooking style thanks to your small kitchen.

Books with great recipes for cooking in tiny kitchens can definitely help finding your own style. My favorite book is: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World by Cara Eisenpress. You might find another of the three here recommended books perfect for your and your cooking style.

If Annie Mahle can cook for so many guests in such a tiny kitchen,  it’s definitely manageable for you too to cook great meals in your small kitchen in your apartment, tiny house, RV or boat.  I poured over some of her advice and came up with 7 magic tips of how to cook in a small kitchen.

  • Thoroughly read recipes ahead of time.  It helps to organize your shopping list and your space requirements in your refrigerator/pantry.
  • Prepare ingredients ahead of time.  This might seem to add to your cooking time but actually it doesn’t, because you have to prepare the ingredients anyway.  Preparing ahead of time just gives you more free space in the kitchen.
  • Use all available space in your kitchen.  A cutting board on the top of the sink creates much needed space.  Also you can use the sink or corners of it (if it’s heat-resistant!) to temporarily place hot pots.  The table or even the top of your compact dishwasher can be used as additional space.
  • Stacking bowls and pans help use precious counter-top space effectively.  You can stack bowls with the prepared ingredients as well as pans while they are cooling or waiting to go into the oven.
  • Continuously clear counter-top space and clean cooking utensils.  Having a small kitchen means the numbers of your utensils, bowls and pans are kept low anyway.  By cleaning your utensils and pans/bowls while cooking you can keep sink and counter-top free for being used as working space.
  • A small kitchen might dictate a slightly different sequence of your cooking actions.  Finishing one thing before beginning another is one of this adapted cooking sequences.  Doing this can extend your cooking time, but it keeps you free from stress and your kitchen free from cluttered space.
  • Cooking in a small kitchen definitely boosts your creativity.  You might challenge yourself by finding out how you can use fewer dishes per recipe.  Also you can take advantage of a pre-heated oven by baking or roasting more than one thing at a time.

A small kitchen shouldn’t hold you back doing what you love to do.  Besides Anne Mahle’s tips here are three books helping to create great meals in tiny kitchens:

In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World

Cooking In small kitchen

Book Facts

  • Delicious and resourceful recipes for daily cooking and entertaining on a budget
  • More than just a guide to quarter-life cooking
  • Wonderful ode to the people we cook and eat with
  • Get the most out of your small kitchen

Customer review

The book begins with a list of basic essential equipment.  You’ll be surprised at how little you really need until you see it explained as well as they did.  Many of the recipes serve just 2 people.  They can be easily doubled or more, but are a great starting point.  All of the recipes call for easily accessible ingredients, even if the results are far from ordinary.

This book is available as Paperback and as Ebook.


Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens

Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens

Book Facts

  • Terrific compilation of doable dishes
  • How to prepare mouthwatering dishes in a 300-square-foot Brooklyn apartment
  • Rounded out with all manner of kitchen tips and ingenious shortcuts
  • 288 pages

Customer review

The recipes are not overly complicated and the author gives you tons of tips on how to save time and space.  But here is the best part: the meals you learn to make are actually extremely GOOD!

This book is available as Paperback and as Ebook.


The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen. Limitless Ingredients, No Time. More than 90 recipes so delicious you’ll want to toss your takeout menus

City Cook Book Big City Small Kitchen

Book Facts

  • Elegantly simple and practical guide to fitting great cooking into a busy life and a small kitchen
  • More than 90 recipes
  • Pulled-from-the-pantry dishes
  • 288 pages

Customer reviews

There are tiny boats with bigger kitchens than mine.  So it is tempting to order out or go out.  I am thrilled that this book can get me away from the take-out menus.  Until my kitchen grows, I’ll be cooking many delicious recipes from this book!

The City Cook understands the needs of urban dwellers (small kitchens, hectic schedules, etc.) and offers templates for organizing one’s meal planning.

This book is available as Ebook.

* Prices are good at the time the article was written, but subject to change without notice.


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