Small kitchen? No problem: 6 tips to get the most out of a cramped cooking space

·5-min read

Fall is just around the corner — and with the change in season comes not only preparing for the colder months ahead, but getting back into a routine with your family. From hearty yet healthy recipes that will delight even the pickiest eater to tips on how to make your home more comfortable, Canadian Tire is making sure you’re Ready For everything the season has in store.

Family enjoy cooking together in a small kitchen
Photo via Canadian Tire

As temperatures start to dip, our inclination to stay indoors and cook up some nostalgic fall dishes goes way up. For condo dwellers and those with small kitchens, however, the cooking part is easier said than done.

The reality is, most people don’t have the luxury of an expansive kitchen for prepping big meals. In a small kitchen, dirty pots and pans can easily pile up, and a lack of counter space to prep ingredients can result in major kitchen chaos.

If this is a scenario you can relate to all too well, don’t despair. There are a number of easy (and inexpensive!) ways to solve your small kitchen cooking woes. Here are a few creative ways to make whipping up a feast in a cramped space more manageable.

1. Add additional prep space

For Living Kitchen Cart with Wooden Top via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

If you’ve ever attempted to prepare a big meal in an itsy bitsy kitchen, you’ll probably agree that lack of prep space was the biggest hindrance. Especially if you only have a cutting board’s worth of space to chop up loads of veggies and prep your protein.

You can solve this problem, and give yourself a tad more elbow room, by adding a supplemental prep space. A rolling kitchen cart is a godsend for those with little to no counter space. When cooking, simply roll your cart over, then stow it away when it’s not in use. The For Living Kitchen Cart with Wooden Top is an excellent option that offers a sizeable surface to prep on, as well as storage underneath that’s perfect for housing small appliances, extra dishware or pantry items.

2. Clean as you cook

Family cleaning together, doing chores in a small kitchen
Photo via Canadian Tire

Like any life scenario, allowing things to build up can result in an overwhelming situation. To avoid this while cooking in a small space, it’s important to clean as you go. Not only will this tactic help reduce stress and mess, it will also free up space to continue prepping other dishes.

A great item to have when you’re washing dishes is the Madesmart Folding Drain/Dish Rack. A standard dish rack can be bulky and take up lots of valuable counter space, but this collapsible version compresses right down so you can store it virtually anywhere.

3. Opt for multi-purpose cooking tools

Family making meals together in the kitchen with a dutch oven
Photo via Canadian Tire

Another great solution to cooking in a cramped kitchen is to streamline your appliances and utensils. Opt for a few select multi-use pots and pans rather than a large set with sizes you may not need. A dutch oven is a great multi-purpose cooking vessel that can simmer on your stovetop or slow cook in the oven. You can even use a dutch oven to bake bread.

A deep, wide pan like the PADERNO Classic Non-Stick Jumbo Cooker, 3-qt is another excellent multi-purpose option that’s worth the investment. You can use it the same way you’d use a classic frying pan, but this pan is deep enough to also handle stews, soups and sauces, allowing it to become a true one-pot solution.

4. Get inspired by one-pot meals

Family cooking one-pot meal together using Canadian Tire cookware
Photo via Canadian Tire

One-pot recipes are a gift for those with tiny kitchens, allowing home cooks to whip up a delicious restaurant-quality meal without losing their sanity.

These one-pot meals are often made in crock pots, dutch ovens or an Instant Pot®, but don’t be fooled by how low maintenance these recipes are. For instance, you can make a classic French dish like coq au vin or beef stew without the hassle of dirtying multiple pots and pans. Soups are another excellent single-pot recipe that can serve as either a main course or a starter.

5. Downsize your appliances

Cropped shot of man, chef cook using hand blender while preparing a meal. Young woman, girlfriend in apron pouring olive oil in the pot, helping him in the kitchen. Cooking at home. Web Banner
Photo via Getty Images

Bigger isn’t always better, and this rings especially true if you’re cooking in a small space. Declutter and free up counter space by swapping large kitchen appliances like a food processor or stand mixer for something that does the same job but only takes up half the space.

The KitchenAid Variable Speed immersion blender is a solid alternative to a bulky food processor, while a hand mixer can sub in for a stand mixer. You can also opt for a good old-fashioned whisk and a small hand chopper if you don’t mind putting in the elbow grease.

6. Maximize your vertical space

Canvas Evelyn Cabinet and Kitchen organization via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

When setting up your small kitchen, it’s a good rule of thumb to build upwards. Pot racks, floating shelves and tiered storage solutions or a tall cabinet will help you maximize your limited kitchen real estate.

Utilizing the inside of your cupboards is another great way to get the most out of your kitchen. For example, you can hang an over-the-door pantry organizer on the inside of your cabinet to store and organize spices, sauces and dry goods.

You can further maximize your cupboard space using clear stackable organizers and tiered shelving. Not only will it be easy to see where everything is at a glance, you’ll also be able to pack in a lot more items without it becoming unruly.

Fall is all about getting back into a routine, and Canadian Tire is here to make sure you’re Ready For Fall. Whether you’re looking for tips on how to prepare your home and lawn for the cold weather or delicious, healthy recipes that will make nights a breeze, we’ve got you covered.

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