Cooking In The RV
I love cooking in my RV. There is something special about it. You might have half the space of a regular kitchen in a house, but when done with the right tools and accessories it’s not that bad. I have gone through a lot of kitchen accessories to find what I believe are the best. I haven’t tried every single product on the market, but the ones I am sharing with you today have gone through my trials and survived my tests.
Today I would like to share my 50 favorite accessories and tools I use in my RV kitchen. I will split it up into categories to make it easier to follow. It’s not only gadgets but small items related to the kitchen as well. I hope that together we can make cooking in the RV a more enjoyable experience.
Organization & Storage
A hammock in the RV? Oh yeah, unfortunately it’s not for you but your fruits and veggies. It keeps my bananas fresh and stops them from bruising. You can fit a lot of fruit in this hammock, and it looks cool in the kitchen. Just make sure you have enough space under one of your cabinets to hang it up.
I have put down Gorilla Grip liner in each drawer and on every shelf in my RV. I have also tried cheaper models, but this is the winner to me. It both feels and looks high quality, and it stays in place. The biggest issue I had with other models is that it often bunched up. It’s easy to cut and even though there is no adhesive it never slides around while going down the road. I have the gray version, but you have a few different colors to choose from.
You know how some cereal can get chewy when it has been open for a while? I use this kind of containers to stop that. I also use them for all sorts of pasta, oats, sugar, flour, and rice. The reason I like this brand is due to the snap locking lids that make them airtight, and I don’t have to worry about them opening if they would fall over while going down the road. They’ve gone up and down mountains without falling over though.
The fridge and freezer in most RV’s are just a big mess of items stacked on top of each other as you have limited space. These storage bins are there to help you organize them. What I do is that I have one container for deli meat, one for eggs, one for sauces and jams, one for condiments and then one for cans. Sometimes I have one empty and use it for whatever I have in the fridge. I recommend doing this because when you need jam, for example, you can take out the whole bin and then put it back again. It makes it easy to stay organized when items have their place.
Now you might say, Jesse we know that you love collapsible items, how come your food containers aren’t collapsible? It’s a good question and let me explain. I have tried several brands of collapsible food containers. All of them have had issues that have bothered me. Like melting in the microwave, lids not staying on, lids were bending, containers not collapsing easily, etc. I use food containers every day, and a small issue quickly grows to an everyday pain in the butt, although I might have been unlucky with my collapsible purchases. If you have found any great collapsible food containers, let me know.
I could talk about food storage containers forever, but at the end of the day, these have worked the best for me. If you can’t find these exact ones, I recommend going to IKEA and getting the JÄMKA model.
The good ol’ can rack works great in an RV pantry and is a nice space saver. It also helps the cans to stay in place and not roll around. With space for up to 36 cans and adjustable dividers depending on how big the cans are, it will be a very welcome assistant in your pantry. I haven’t had any issues with this rack sliding around when it sits on my Gorilla Grip liner mentioned above.
When I buy fresh berries, I like to wash them before I eat them, what I do is that I put them in this and rinse them. What’s cool is that this doubles as a container and a colander. Progressive makes a collapsible kind too, but mine didn’t last long so that’s why I can’t recommend it. This one has been working good though, and although not collapsible I often buy fresh berries, so it’s often filled with berries sitting in my fridge.
I love that I can rinse them and then put it in the fridge and water can keep dripping down into the bottom where there’s no fruit. Depending on what you put it in you can also put some water in the bottom yourself to keep moisture in and the adjustable vent lets you regulate air circulation. For example, I keep it closed when storing berries but open for grapes.
I have noticed when I have gone to RV shows that newer RV’s and trailers come with a glass/plastic lid that you can fold down to cover the stove and use as extra countertop space. In older RV’s like mine, the stove is always available, and the area can’t be used for anything else. That’s what this product is for. You put it on top of the stove to get some additional countertop space, and it hides your burners while not in use. When you’re using the stove and this is folded up, it will also act as a splash guard.
If you thought the black stove top cover was ugly, maybe this is more your style. It’s a little bit more stylish since it has a solid oak finish. It’s not recommended to use this as a cutting board, but you can put a cutting board on top of it so it’s something you can use as an extra counter top. Having anything that covers the stove while not in use is great. A neat feature is its rubber legs that lets you put it into place on the stove.
A simple product but a handy one. I have this inside one of my cabinet doors and it’s packed with grocery bags that I have saved. I reuse the bags as garbage bags so this gives me a nice little place to store them. It also comes in black. The only problem I have is that it’s not very often just one bag comes out of it when I pull it, but that is probably my fault, I still recommend it.
Even though I am 5’10” (not very tall by any means), there are places in my RV that I can’t reach. Like the top pantry, storage above my fridge, and also above my entertainment system. This stool helps with that and folds up and down for easy storage. It comes in handy almost every day and even though it doesn’t look super sturdy, it can take up to 200 lbs. It also works great for kids to reach up to the sink in the bathroom.
The Brita is a popular water pitcher that isn’t new in any way. What’s great is the filter that will clean the water by reducing chlorine taste and odor, copper and mercury. If you drink the water from the campground and it tastes strange, I recommend filling this up and putting it in the fridge for a few hours. You do have to change the filter and how often depends on how much you use it, but it works and always having cold water ready out of the fridge is lovely.
I keep my butter in the fridge and this is what I store it in. I only use this kind of butter for cooking and a different type to spread on bread and I love that this has measurements on it so I easily can cut the number of tablespoons I need. It comes with a butter knife that goes on the side but I haven’t used that much as it fell off every time I took it out of the fridge. It looks great and would work even better on the counter in a kitchen.
Fridge & Freezer
Refrigerators are lovely to have when camping, but the truth is that most RV fridges aren’t very good at keeping an even temperature throughout the whole fridge. That’s what this fridge fan is for. It helps air circulate so both the top and the bottom can be cold and stop food from spoiling. This model also has a charcoal pack in it that absorbs odor and smells. It runs on batteries and has an On/Off switch and I recommend turning it on if you have opened the fridge a lot or camp in hot temperatures. I often turn mine off when I go to bed to save some battery and as it’s usually much cooler at night outside, I don’t have to worry about my fridge being too warm.
A benefit I have noticed with having a fridge fan is that I can run the fridge on a lower setting as the fan helps cool the fridge down faster and more evenly. Therefore I am saving propane and electricity.
To make sure that my fridge and freezer stay at safe temperatures I have two of these. It’s easy to stand or hang in there and it’s easy to see if you have to turn up the setting or turn on a fridge fan to increase circulation. It’s just great to know that if I head out to the woods for a week or two, my food won’t spoil because of a warm fridge because I can monitor it.
This ice cube tray has a lid so you can seal the water in before putting it into the freezer. It might not sound like a silicone lid will keep the water from spilling but it does when used right. After filling it up with water, you have to push the excess water out and then it will create a suction style lid to stop the water from leaking. It works great for traveling as you can put it in the freezer and take off. I believe this is the best solution for ice cube trays in RV’s.
If this list would only include my top five items in the kitchen, this would be on it. Lodge makes incredible cast iron products and I own several of them. The 10-inch skillet is the one I always use for steak, pork, and hamburger and it does something special to the food and gets better and better with use as the seasoning gets thicker and thicker. I never wash this with soap, but with warm water and a cast iron cleaner that I will talk about down in the dishes category (#50). I recommend this for meats and stir-fry recipes.
What’s better than one space-saving kitchen tool? Five of them! This set comes with a cheese grater, a garlic grinder, a pizza cutter, a bottle opener, and a vegetable peeler. I use at least one of these daily and they have held up great. Something that is included now that wasn’t when I bought it is a silicone ring that can hold them all together. They do stack on top of each other without it though so it’s still easy to store them. I do miss a grater that is bigger sometimes but for this price with this amount of tools, it’s hard to complain.
Ever cooked anything in an RV oven? If not, let me tell you it’s an uneven mess. It heats up, but the heat doesn’t spread evenly throughout the oven and you often end up with hotspots on the food. Luckily, there are ways to make it a much more pleasant cooking experience, with a pizza stone. A pizza stone fits in most RV ovens and will help distribute the heat more evenly. It’s great for not only pizza but also frozen lasagna and cookies. I haven’t tried baking bread in there but if it works as good as with cookies it shouldn’t be a problem at all. It’s not recommended to leave this in the oven during travel as it will probably crack from all the bouncing. Still, this is a must if you plan on using the RV oven.
I love eating sliced eggs on my sandwiches in the morning and with an egg cooker like this, I can always have hard eggs in my fridge ready to eat. You can decide how hard you want them by adding more or less water with the included measuring cup. It also comes with a poaching tray and an omelet bowl. Note that you must be plugged in to use this but it uses less than 400 watts.
If there is one thing that absolutely every kitchen needs, it’s measuring cups. These collapsible measuring cups take up very little storage when not in use, and are easy to wash. The set includes 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 cup, making it a set of 5. Each one is a different color and they work great. I always used to have issues with storing my measuring cups as they would spread out everywhere in the kitchen, but these are easy to store and now I always know where I have them.
I used to live in apartment that had recently been renovated and they had put in an induction stove top. I quickly fell in love with how easy they were to work with since it would heat and cool so fast, making it easy to control the temperature of my food. As I moved out, it became one of those things that would really bother me with a regular stove. Gas works pretty good too but not as good as induction, at least for me. Rosewill has made this portable induction cooker that you can put in your RV. It has 8 temperature settings and can go from 140 to 450 degrees.
The thing with induction is that it works through magnetic induction instead of by radiation or thermal conduction. This means that you must have a set of pots and pans that can create that magnetic induction. Check out the next item for my recommendations on pots and pans to use with this.
Here is a 10 piece set that works great with induction cookers like the one above, of course it works great on all other kinds of stoves as well. These are designed specifically for RVs and boats due to how they stack. The two handles that come with this set are removable and you can choose which pan you want to put it on. Stainless steel is great to cook with as it doesn’t have the fumes that has been reported to come off of non-stick pans at a certain temperature (don’t quote me on that one). The fact that this set is easy to store is what makes it perfect for RVers.
Next up, a popcorn popper that goes into your microwave! Stop buying popcorn in bags and start making your own with just kernels. It’s collapsible for easy storage and makes really yummy popcorn. There are also a lot of different colors to choose from. My wife loves this thing, so I know for a fact that it works great.
If you have never used a salad spinner, you’re missing out, seriously! These are wonderful when making salads. You can wash a lot of salad at a time and the water flies right out of the salad when you pull the self-retracting cord. The problem with most salad spinners is that they’re often huge, which makes it hard to store, especially in an RV. What makes this one neat is that it’s collapsible. It works great when folded up, and goes into storage easily when folded down. If you’re going to have a salad spinner in your RV, this should be the one.
It appears that we’re on a roll here with collapsible kitchen accessories, but they’re so great! Believe me, I had doubts when I bought my first collapsible kitchen accessory. I didn’t think that they would work as good as the full sized non-collapsible options on the market, but it has been a very pleasant surprise and experience and now I can’t stop looking for them to save storage. This collapsible item is a colander and strainer set that comes with 3 sizes of colanders. 4, 2.5, and 2 quart. I use these at least once a week when cooking pasta and they work as advertised.
Oh dear Instant Pot, how would we ever survive without you now. My mother-in-law gave us an Instant Pot a few years ago and I honestly didn’t know what they were capable of. But let me tell you, I am now an Instant Pot fanatic and I use mine often to cook roast, spaghetti, chicken, stew, and rice. It works so much better than you think they would for all of the things they can do. I have written a specific post about Instant Pots (have I told you I love them yet?) and you can find that post here!
This hand blender is a tool I use nearly every day in the RV. It works wonders for making whipped cream, homemade mayo, smoothies, crushing tomatoes and herbs. It comes with three different blades and one whisk. It also comes with two containers that I use for storing already whipped cream in the fridge for example. Hand blenders are really capable at doing a lot of things for you.
Whenever somebody asks me what I think about those deals where you can buy 10 knives for $20 (people come up everyday on the street and asks me, just kidding) I always say the same thing, take that money and spend it on a couple of knives instead of on a collection of knives. Three good knives can do a much better job than ten bad ones. Chicago Cutlery makes high quality knives and I love this 3 piece set from them. It comes with one pairing, one utility and one chef knife. Since I bought them I haven’t once said: Oh, how I wish I had more knives!
What goes good with three good knives? Three good cutting boards. These reversible cutting boards from Gorilla Grip have been put to the test by me and survived. Three different sizes and although thicker than regular cutting boards, they’re easy to store. BPA free and non-porous cutting boards are lovely.
If it isn’t collapsible, it has to stack. And holy smokes, stacking is what this 13 piece set does best. I have in earlier posts mentioned this set as a great gift and I have my reasons. It comes with prep bowls, a colander, a strainer and measuring cups. When not in use, all items stack on top of each other, except the tea and tablespoons that go on the side or in one of the bowls. The amount of tools in this neat little package is incredible.
This stove wrap will protect your RV stove and make it easier to clean when you’re done cooking. It’s non-stick, non-flammable, and reusable. Just take it off when it’s dirty and rinse it in water, let it dry and put it on again. It can handle temperatures up to 550 degrees so it’s totally fine to leave it on while cooking. Stove tops are not fun to clean so the fact that this helps limit the mess makes it worth getting in my eyes.
Now here is one I bet you thought you’d never see, a collapsible electric water kettle. Does that even work? Yes, it sure does and if you’re a storage freak you need this! You can boil .6 Quart at a time which makes it usable for drip coffee or tea. This is one of the coolest products I have seen in a while and it’s perfect for the RV. No glass that can break, easy to store, and easy to use.
Here is one thing that the collapsible kettle works great with. This is the famous V60 coffee dripper in a set with a pot, scoop and filters. Nothing tastes as good as pour over coffee and it’s so easy to do with the V60. It’s made in Japan and can make 1-4 cups of coffee. Last but not least it comes in different colors so you can pick your favorite. My wife has tried a lot of different coffee drippers but this is the one that has stuck with us.
Microwave lids. What’s more interesting? Actually, there is a difference between a good microwave lid and a bad one. How tall it is, how big it is, how easy it’s to clean, and how much it costs. IKEA has made this one that I believe is one of the best ones. It’s tall enough to not touch your food, it fits in the little RV microwave, and it’s easy to clean. I hope it doesn’t make me a bad cook to admit that I use my microwave daily, it’s a great tool and as long as you have the power to use it in the RV, why not?
Eating & Drinking
If you’re looking for dinnerware that can take a beating and be just fine, you should take a look at Corelle’s products. I have had a set of these for over a year and not a scratch or a cracked plate or mug so far. They’re very lightweight and can be used in both the microwave and the oven. I don’t have the set with the lids but now I wish I do because I often use these as bowls when I grate cheese and the lids would work great for storage. There are a few designs to choose from if you don’t want clear white ones.
The set comes with four dinner plates, four appetizer plates, four bowls, and four mugs. These work excellent if you’re living the RV life and are tired of using paper plates.
I call these my Friday-night tumblers. The reason is that they are wonderful for beer and sodas. Sometimes I even drink coffee in them, but beware that the outside will quickly be as hot/cold as the liquid inside. They look great and come in a set of five that stack on top of each other for storage. They’re easy to clean and I haven’t had any rust issues. Of course the top feature of these is that they’re unbreakable. Highly recommended.
Even though I have realized by now that most people get by fine without trivets, these are too great and simple not to recommend. I put my pots and pans on top of these when I serve food and they’re so lightweight and easy to store that I just had to put them on the list. I am a big fan of IKEA’s products because of the price and how simple a lot of their products are. It’s good enough for what it is!
Of course I had to put a paper towel holder on the list! I love this paper towel holder for one big reason. It’s heavy at over 2 pounds. I usually don’t recommend small heavy items in the RV but hear me out. The weight on this lets me have this on the dinette at all times without worrying about it flying around the trailer while going down the road. It will stay where I put it. The weight also helps to make this one handed friendly. The tension arm together with the weight lets me grab just one sheet of paper with one hand.
If you have kids, you know that sometimes bowls will go flying off the table and even though I love and recommend Corelle bowls, I believe these are especially great for kids. They’re tiny with a 4″ diameter but that makes them perfect for toddlers. They’re microwaveable and will stack for storage.
Now, these on the other hand aren’t great for just kids. I use these regularly myself when having a small drink of water or milk. Just like with the bowls you can put them in the microwave and stack them for storage. I also like taking these on picnics when you know everyone is just going to want a small drink.
This is a nice cutlery set from the same IKEA collection. This 18 piece is perfect for kids and picnics. We’re trying to cut down on paper and plastic products that we throw away after one use, and these have helped us not only treat the environment better but also our wallets. The set includes six pieces of forks, knives, and spoons. They’re small but not too small for an adult. Easy to pack and easy to clean. We love the whole Kalas Collection.
We try to grill as much as possible because we love grilled food, and with the right tools it doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Weber makes a lot of hot grills, but their Q-models have to be one of the most popular ones. Even though we prefer charcoal, this propane grill is too good not to use. It offers a 280 square-inch grilling area which is enough to cook a meal for a whole family.
I believe the biggest reason people don’t grill so much is that they think it’s a lot to clean up afterward. But again, with the right tools it doesn’t have to be. Get a grill brush to clean the grates, put some drip pans under the grill, so the grease has somewhere to go, and you won’t have to do any more cleanup than when cooking inside the RV.
The Q2200 will cook your food evenly and let you know the temperature on the inside with its thermometer on the lid. Another neat feature is the electronic easy-start ignition. If you love grilling this is a must-have for the RV life. It’s portable enough.
A good grill needs a good table. This is tall enough to where you will have the grill right in front of you at the right height so you can worry more about your steaks and hamburgers than your back pain. It folds down for storage and has several shelves and hooks for all your food and cooking gear.
What I like about this table is how easy and fast it folds up and down. Camping tables that take several minutes to assemble will end up sitting in storage never used, so this table does a lot of things right.
I often talk about saving space in the RV and this dish drainer helps you do just that. It hangs over the sink instead of taking up space on the kitchen counter. The water from your dishes will drip directly into the sink. Last but not least, it’s collapsible! Yes, it’s a collapsible dish drainer. Don’t have any dishes? Well, fold down your dish drainer and put it under the sink. I’ve had huge dish drainers on my kitchen counter before that has been sitting there like a permanent ugly decoration, but this one is easy to hide while not in use.
Staying organized in the RV is so essential. In my world, everything must have its own space or it’s cluttered and messy. I put my soap, sponge, cast iron cleaner, and steel wool in this kitchen sink caddy. When we’re packing up to hit the road, we put the caddy in the sink.
This specific sink caddy has an adjustable panel and a non-slip bottom. The base is also removable so you can keep it clean.
Dishcloths are lovely if you like keeping your kitchen counter clean. Just add some water to it and you can wipe down counters and tables quickly. I hang mine on the kitchen faucet when I’m done with it, and it dries up fast. You don’t know what a good dishcloth is until you’ve tried these.
I received this as a gift and even though I praise the over-the-sink dish drainer above, I have used this more than I thought I would. When I only have a few dishes, I grab this and it will dry a few cups, plates and utensils while looking pretty darn cool. I have also used it to rinse grapes and vegetables. It rolls up for storage which is genius. If you’re only two people, this might be the only dish rack you need.
Clogging a drain with grease is one of the dumbest things you can do so having somewhere to dump grease from all kinds of cooking is fantastic. I used to cut soda cans open and dump my bacon grease in there but this is a much better solution. Just open the foil bag and let it all drip in. I also take a paper towel and try to get as much grease as possible out before I wash the pan in the sink. I store my grease can under my sink, so it’s easily accessible.
A few bags are included and then you can buy additional ones. You can use one bag until its full though as you just have to close it up when done.
I use this in my cast iron pans and stainless steel pans and it removes burnt meat within seconds. Have you ever made dutch oven potatoes and had potatoes burn in the bottom? Then you need this! This is another item that would make my top five items in the kitchen.
50 items later I hope you have found some inspiration for items you can add to your RV kitchen to make life a little bit easier. Let me know if you have any questions down below and please share your favorite items!