Woman standing at stovetop inside RV cooking spinach in a skillet

My RV Kitchen Essentials for Full-Time RV Living

Are you considering full-time RV living? If so, research is the best way to get ready. Preparation can help ensure life in the great outdoors is a success. It’s a lot to take on when you combine travel days with work and everyday living. So I’m here to help you with one critical part of RV life – preparing your RV Kitchen! A critical tip I recommend is that you avoid over packing. RV kitchens are small. Very small. Equally important, make sure you do pack the essential RV kitchen supplies.

Downsizing to an RV Kitchen


When we transitioned from a house to full-time RV living within 100 days. During that major life change, one concern of mine was cooking. We were leaving our house, which had storage space for easy access to all my kitchen appliances.

Now I have to make do without a lot of space. Will I have room for the rice cooker, slow cooker, and the coffee maker?

Spoiler alert: no, you won’t have room for everything. Don’t worry, I’ll help you identify the best RV kitchen accessories – those that are a must-have item.

Will I Enjoy Cooking in an RV?

I really enjoy cooking. That’s easily said when I prep our favorite meals on an open counter and season with lots of flavors from the large spice rack. It’s easy to whip up tasty meals when I have many different cookware options in a large pantry.

Well, I hoped that I’d love cooking in a tiny home, in tight spaces, and on the upcoming camping trip we had planned. That thought made me wonder how our food would taste when served on paper plates.

No matter, we had decided to live in the RV full-time so I had to find answers to all these RV cooking questions.

Woman cooking spinach in a skillet, one of her essential RV kitchen items.

Yes, I knew I had to make it work. I would find a great way to plan our RV road trip meals and creative solutions for how to use the limited space that could hardly be defined as a counter.

WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS, RV Cooking IS A JOY

Looking back I realize this decision we made was the best thing for our family. I’ve been preparing meals in our RV kitchen for over a year now. I’m sure there is a lot more to learn, but now I’m comfortable.

In fact, I love solving the puzzle, finding a perfect solution for how to fit all the groceries in an RV fridge. There’s a bit of joy in finding collapsible measuring cups.

And I’m at ease putting the dutch oven on the campfire grill. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy it when 5:30 rolls around and it’s time to cook!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes I’ve prepared in our RV:

Large pan of pasta with alfredo sauce, an easy recipe for RV cooking.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Penne Pasta is an easy RV meal.

OK, let’s get started. These are my personal favorite RV kitchen essentials (with some tips sprinkled in) that make mealtime a little less stressful.

My Favorite RV Kitchen Accessories


#1. Small Folding Table

Since we live in a 26ft. travel trailer, counter space is pretty laughable. Literally. I laughed when we toured this model and I saw the kitchen.

But, I knew this leap we were taking was going to require sacrifices. One of those is space.

RV COUNTERSPACE IS PREMIUM REAL ESTATE

The small piece of counter space we do have is taken up by a coffee pot, kettle, and a divided container for kitchen utensils and our silverware. Needless to say, there’s pretty much zero space to work with when it comes to meal prep.

It’s a great thing we bought this small folding table. It easily fits behind our couch and I use it for extra counter space for during prep. The perfect solution.

Adjustable Folding Table
$38.19

This table folds for compact easy storage. Adjust to 24", 26", or 28" height and use as extra counter space for meal prep, a side table, or work space.

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02/18/2024 11:51 pm GMT

#2. Large Cutting Board

The reason this is such a good idea is because it’s multi-functional. I use it as a cutting board and to create extra space for cooking. When I’m not using the stove, I place the cutting board on top. It fits perfectly and creates another flat surface for meal prep.

If I am using the stove, I place the board over the sink. We have sink covers, but they’re not as useful so we keep them stored. The cutting board, on the other hand, is always in use.

There are many size and material options available. Measure your counter, stove and sink area before purchasing a board. I recommend heavy duty plastic. Wood is porous and it’s difficult to sanitize in an RV (think raw chicken).

Large Cutting Board
$40.00

Durable plastic cutting board. 30.5" L x 18" W x 0.5" Thick

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02/18/2024 11:56 pm GMT

#3. Utensil Caddy

A silverware drawer is non-existent in the travel trailer model we own. I needed something to keep my utensils organized and easy to reach. A utensil caddy has been perfect for our needs. It’s where I keep the everyday silverware as well as cooking utensils like wooden spoons and spatulas.

On RV travel days, I simply place the utensil caddy and other loose items into a container on the floor. That’s pretty easy storage, right?

Utensil Caddy
$19.99
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02/18/2024 02:56 pm GMT

#4. Instant Pot

Let’s just take a moment of silence to appreciate what the Instant Pot has done for my life.

Potatoes, peppers and spices in an Instant Pot, one of the top 7 essential items for RV kitchens

I stayed away from the Instant Pot (or Instapot as I once thought it was called) craze for as long as possible. My sticks and bricks house kitchen was already filled with gadgets I had to have. Gadgets that made my life easier. Tools that helped me put the best meals in the world on the table. I thought the variety was essential to cooking a great meal.

Then something changed my mind. Though I don’t remember what that was or why I finally decided to purchase this amazing cooking tool, I am so happy I did!

I have used my Instant Pot for meals in our RV too many times to count. From Quinoa Tacos to hearty soups to cilantro lime rice, my family has enjoyed lots of tasty meals.

If you can buy only one item, this is it. It’s perfect for any RV owner. I personally think it’s the best gadget I purchased for our RV lifestyle.

INSTANT POT IS ESSENTIAL FOR RV LIVING

Here are a few of my top reasons why the Instant Pot is a must-have item for the RV kitchen.

  • It saves time as it cooks things way faster than on the stove
  • Using the oven heats up the RV really fast and that’s miserable in the summer
  • It’s only one pot I have to clean
  • I doesn’t take up too much space (considering it does the job of multiple kitchen tools)
  • Rice turns out perfect every time
  • Quinoa turns out perfect every time
  • Potato soup turns out perfect every time

You get the idea…

#5. An Electric Kettle

I’ll never forget about 8 years ago reading a post by Design Mom about two kitchen tools she used because of her time living in France. One of those was an electric tea kettle.

I immediately went out and bought my very first electric kettle. 🙂

Electric Kettle
$49.99
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02/18/2024 03:01 pm GMT

It had a permanent spot in our house kitchen and bringing it with us was a no-brainer. All five of us use it daily! I can’t imagine not having one now.

2 KEY REASONS I RECOMMEND AN ELECTRIC KETTLE

  • It heats water at least 4 times faster than our microwave, especially if the RV park has poor electrical connections
  • It uses less propane than a stove kettle. Propane is like liquid gold so the less I use, the better
Corn muffins in a muffin tin, one of my kitchen items for RV Life

#6. Muffin Tin

A muffin tin is essential? Yep! Hear me out. After more than a year on the road, I am still learning what my oven can and can’t do.

THINGS I CANNOT COOK IN MY RV OVEN

  • It can’t roast a chicken, turkey or any other large bird
  • It can’t cook more than one thing at a time because it’s TINY
  • It can’t cook thick cakes or bread all the way through without torching the bottom

THINGS MY RV OVEN CAN DEFINITELY DO

  • It can burn things
  • It can still make me laugh when I open it and realize how TINY it is
  • It can cook things in muffin form

Before we hit the road, I did learn that putting a pizza stone on the bottom shelf helps spread out the heat for a more even bake. That has proven to be a great tip.

But, cooking in an RV is different from using the oven at home. For several months I didn’t do any baking, which is one of my favorite things to do. Sad.

WHY A MUFFIN TIN IS GREAT FOR RV COOKING

Then one day on the road my family mentioned they had a taste for muffins. I made cornbread muffins. No, that wasn’t exactly the flavor they were dreaming about. But, the muffins baked perfectly in our RV oven! What a fantastic side dish for my veggie chili.

I was inspired! Even though our next meal was dinner, the very next dish I made was breakfast muffins. Then I baked cupcakes. And we baked brownie muffins.

Mmm, yes, you read that right. Brownies baked in a muffin tin. We topped them with ice cream and chocolate syrup. Delicious brownie sundae cupcake muffins! You should have seen my family enjoy the single serve Frittata bites and Meatloaf! That was one tasty meal after an all-day hike.

Baking your meals in a muffin tin takes less time (remember, less propane = happy), and the small portions cook more evenly.

12-Cup Non-Stick Muffin Pan
$11.20
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02/18/2024 03:26 pm GMT

#7. Electric Griddle

I almost didn’t add the electric griddle to this list, but I realized how often I use it. It takes up more space than I’d like, but it’s worth it.

With an electric griddle, I an cook an entire stack of pancakes at one time. I also use it to cook the breakfast chicken sausages my kids can’t get enough of.

Electric Griddle With Removable Handles, Black, 22-inch
$66.65

Non-stick electric griddle with removable handles. 22-inch, 6.5 pounds.

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02/18/2024 09:41 pm GMT

For an exhaustive list of everything I brought with me to set up my RV kitchen, check out my post all about RV Kitchen Accessories.


Are you a full-time RVer? Are there any RV kitchen gadgets you think should be included on this list? Or maybe you have some tips for how to create extra space in the kitchen or the RV fridge.

We always love hearing from our readers. Please include your comments below!

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21 Comments

  1. I have a tall cupboard that I store my griddle in standing up. I just put in two hooks and bungee cord it in place. Takes up hardly any room

  2. Thanks for sharing this post with us. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I have really enjoyed browsing your blog post. I’m happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Thanks for sharing this information.

  3. I traveled to Singapore in 2011 and they had electric kettles there – in the hotel rooms even! Was awesome and when I came home, I HAD to have one. Yes, it will be going with us in the RV.

  4. I have two electric kettles. One for the house and the other one goes in the motor home! Inexpensive and so worthwhile!

      1. If you’re looking for a replacement, my husband bought me one with a “keep warm” feature. It keeps the water hot enough for tea without the wait. I love it 2X more than my previous electric kettle.

  5. I love my Belgian waffle maker. I use it to make waffle cornbread quickly, and with all the crispy edges and dips it hold lots of juicy chili or soup. Really you can do all kinds of cookies and cake like creations in the proctor waffle baker!

    1. I would love a Belgian waffle maker. I had no idea you could make cornbread with it! That’s one of Todd’s favorite foods. Which brand do you recommend?

  6. Love your ideas and have incorporated some of those appliances into our mobile travels.

    A 26′ TT would be a luxury of space when compared to our 12′ A-frame camper where you really have to get creative.

    One thing we simply cannot travel without is an electric kettle which serves as our hot water supply (cooking, dishwashing, etc.). Speedy and works like a charm!

    We removed our (small 7 gal.) water heater to allow space for an extra marine-grade deep cycle battery for extra capacity from our solar collectors.

    Thanks so much!

  7. I was a travel nurse before I retired. Have a small George Foreman grill that takes up very little space. Cooks burgers, steaks, chicken breasts, and fish fillets. Cooks both sides at the same time. Easy to clean and uses electricity, not butane. I used a plastic tub for all my supplies.

    1. Hi Naomi,

      We actually had one of those grills before hitting the road…maybe it would have been a good idea to bring it along. πŸ™‚ It is always nice just being able to use electricity to cook since it is often the simplest solution.

      And we had our fair share of plastic tubs along for the ride, no doubt about that. Thanks for your comment and we wish you the best!

    2. I have a George Foreman also, with attachments. I grill, make paninis, individual omelets, etc. It is great, and I store it under one of the bench seats. Love the attachment that makes omelets, it also will make desserts!

  8. My #1 RV kitchen essential is an electric skillet. LOVE IT!!! Can be used for every meal time.

    1. Absolutely! We had some fantastic meals whipped up on that great little gadget, that’s for sure.

      Hope you have plenty of chances this summer to whip up some skillet meals of your own. Take care!

  9. I bought an Elite Platinum countertop toaster oven (managed to forget to bungee it to the cutting board on top of the propane stove so the door was broken, replaced it with an Oster one same features) it’s the one that holds a 12″ pizza, it has a convection setting, I made roast chicken, brownies, pineapple upside down cake, baked fish, well just about everything I’d do at home. It toasts, bakes, broils and I got both of them on sale for just under $50. We take it outside under the awning on the folding aluminum roll top table and I never use the rv oven except for storage. It could have been plugged into the outlet on the side of our Catalina Legacy trailer or our newer Thor Quantum motor home. The best thing is I can run an extension cord from the campground electrical stand, throw it under the rig and run the toaster oven from that without going through the rigs electrical system at all. Between my electric kettle, my Keurig, my toaster oven and my Instantpot, there is virtually nothing we can’t manage, and hubby has his Coleman Roadtrip LX, we eat better camping sometimes than at home.

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