How to stock a vacation rental kitchen

Cook up a remarkable stay with the right vacation rental kitchen inventory

A fully stocked kitchen is arguably one of the biggest perks of staying in a vacation rental. Many travelers enjoy preparing their own meals on vacation, which allows them to save money, eat what they want, accommodate dietary restrictions, and eat healthier.

If you’re managing your own vacation home, make sure your kitchen is up for almost anything your guests are hungry for. While you don’t have to hunt down novelty kitchen gadgets fit for Gordon Ramsay, nothing will irritate guests more than not having something they consider a staple. Here’s a vacation rental kitchen checklist covering necessities that most guests will want and need.


Small kitchen appliances

Even in the smallest of vacation home kitchens, guests rely on certain appliances to cook up basic meals (or simply reheat them). Here’s what we recommend stocking to make your kitchen a fully functioning space when hunger strikes.

  • Coffee maker (plus coffee filters and instructions)
  • Coffee grinder
  • Toaster
  • Microwave
  • Blender
  • Slow cooker
  • Rice cooker
  • Waffle iron


Tableware and flatware

A general rule to follow: Provide twice the number of glasses, bowls, and plates that accommodate your vacation home’s maximum capacity. For instance, if your home sleeps 4, then provide 8 plates. This allows guests to enjoy more meals before having to run the dishwasher, while also leaving enough tableware and flatware for entertaining.

  • Spoons (set of 8)
  • Butter knives (set of 8)
  • Forks (set of 8)
  • Steak knives
  • Water glasses
  • Wine glasses (we recommend stemless, which are harder to break)
  • Large plates
  • Small plates
  • Bowls
  • Coffee cups
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic plates
  • Pitcher
  • Large serving bowls and plates
  • Serving platters (at least 2)

Vacation rental kitchen inventory tip:

Opt for matching, minimalist dinnerware, such as all-white bowls, plates, and mugs. It’s a simple, smart way to make at-home dining feel more streamlined and sophisticated for your guests. A jumble of mismatched pieces will make every meal look messy and cluttered. Choosing matching tableware is also more efficient—you’ll find it easier to purchase replacements.

bright kitchen in tucson, az with fun wallpaper

Cookware and bakeware

Cooking meals together is faster, easier, and a lot more enjoyable when you have the right vacation rental kitchen supplies. Provide your guests with a variety of pots and pans so they’ll be ready to create whatever they’re craving. But, first consider how much storage space you have. Start off with a non-stick pan, an essential for basic cooking, like scrambling eggs, pan-searing fish, or making pancakes. Plus, look for dishwasher-safe items and spare yourself the hassle of scrubbing off your guests’ leftovers after every stay.

  • 1 1⁄2-quart covered saucepan
  • 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 8-quart covered stockpot
  • 4-quart covered sauté pan
  • 10-inch non-stick skillet
  • 8 1⁄2-inch skillet
  • Baking dish
  • Muffin pan
  • Casserole dishes
  • Roasting pan
  • Cookie sheets (2)
  • Pizza pan

We've got your kitchen covered—and much more.

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Kitchen utensils and accessories

This is where things can get confusing for the do-it-yourself vacation rental homeowner. There are numerous kitchen tools—some vital, some optional. It all comes down to what your guests are cooking, so provide the tools that are used most often in recipes. A quick way to make your kitchen experience more gourmet? Purchase kitchen utensils all made from the same materials, such as wood, plastic, Teflon, or stainless steel. A consistent look gives the appearance of a high-quality collection, making your guests’ experience feel even more luxurious.

Vacation home essentials:

  • Sharp knives (at least 3)
  • Ladle
  • Slotted spoon
  • Whisk
  • Kitchen shears
  • Cutting boards (2)
  • Knife sharpener
  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Mixing spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Oven mitts
  • Strainer
  • Can opener
  • Wine/bottle opener
  • Beer bottle opener
  • Cooking thermometer

Vacation rental kitchen inventory extras:

  • Pancake spatula
  • Cheese grater
  • Potato masher
  • Potato peeler
  • Pizza cutter


Outdoor cooking and dining

Whether it’s a BBQ on the deck or a poolside picnic, if your vacation home has opportunities for outdoor entertaining, arm your guests with sturdier kitchen tools and dinnerware so they won’t be tempted to use your indoor kitchen items. Outdoor grilling uses extreme heat, which requires utensils that are larger, more durable, and made of heat-safe metal. Plus, avoid broken glasses and plates outside by providing a set of plastic, melamine, or unbreakable tableware for alfresco dining.

  • Grill brush
  • Metal spatula
  • Metal tongs
  • Metal fork
  • Lighters
  • Dishwasher-safe plastic plates
  • Dishwasher-safe plastic bowls
  • Dishwasher-safe plastic cutlery
  • Dishwasher-safe plastic cups


Kid-friendly items

Catering to families? Then consider a child’s needs when stocking your vacation rental kitchen. After all, parents (or you) don’t want their children carrying breakable plates and glasses. Similar to your outdoor dinnerware, offer plastic or unbreakable items for the little ones. It’s unlikely that parents will travel with a full tableware set for their children (or bring their own high chair), so win them over by supplying what’s needed for the whole family to dine safely together.

  • High chair
  • Sippy cups
  • Kid-friendly and dishwasher-safe plastic plates
  • Kid-friendly and dishwasher-safe plastic bowls
  • Kid-friendly and dishwasher-safe plastic cutlery
  • Kid-friendly and dishwasher-safe plastic cups
butcher block counters cover white cabinets in idyllwild, ca vacation home kitchen

Starter spices, condiments and pantry supplies

No guest wants to run out to buy salt or a new bottle of cooking oil, only to use a small portion and leave the rest behind. Go above and beyond to help make your guests feel at home (and not dashing off to a convenience store) by stocking on a few basic staples. It’s a major convenience that your guests will be grateful for.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Cooking oil


Leftovers

Leftovers are inevitable, so supply your guests with a few ways to store their food. Plus, make it easy for them to carry meals on the go. We recommend labeling your containers clearly on the bottom so that guests don’t accidentally take them home.

  • Plastic or glass food containers
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sandwich bags
  • Aluminum foil


Cleaning and maintenance supplies

Help guests keep things clean and free of germs and grime. Stock your kitchen with the essentials for wiping down countertops, tables, and other dirty surfaces. As an extra measure to keep children and pets safe, consider keeping cleaning solutions and toxic cleaners either on a high shelf or under the sink with child safety locks.

  • Hand soap
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Kitchen towels
  • Paper towel holder
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Garbage bags

Vacation rental kitchen inventory FAQ

A fully stocked kitchen is the ultimate convenience for your vacation rental guests. It includes all the basic supplies and essential equipment needed to cook and serve most meals. A fully stocked kitchen doesn’t refer to food, spices, or condiments (though you can go the extra mile and provide starter amounts of staples like oil, salt, and sugar). Instead, it gives guests the tools to quickly and effortlessly create whatever culinary experience they want, from extravagant dinners to quick lunches to midnight snacks.

Today, there are endless options to satisfy every type of coffee drinker, from those who want a quick jolt of caffeine to coffee gourmands. To narrow down your choices, we recommend first considering the amount of available counter space in your kitchen and your maximum capacity. Plus, how much are you willing to spend? Traditional drip coffee makers could be best for brewing coffee for several people at a time, while pod-style coffee brewers are great if you’d like to give each guest their own choices. Just remember to provide the appropriate-sized filters, operating instructions, and a starter supply of coffee pods.

In short, yes. There are bound to be spills and crumbs in the kitchen. So, help your guests keep the space spotless and sanitized by supplying them with cleaning essentials, including sanitizing wipes, sponges, all-purpose cleaner, and paper towels.

Want to make your kitchen and the rest of your vacation home stand out even more? Learn about our design packages and services.

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