The kitchen can be a place of comfort and joy when cooking is something you look forward to. But for many of us, the kitchen has become more of an obligation than a creative outlet. We grab pre-packaged snacks instead of prepping our own meals, and takeout has replaced home cooking on busy weeknights. If you want to rekindle your relationship with your kitchen, it just takes a little intention and commitment. With some planning and a positive attitude, you can become friends with the kitchen again in no time.

Clear Out the Clutter

If your countertops are covered in appliances you never use and your cabinets are stuffed with expired cans and boxes, it’s no wonder cooking feels like a chore. Take some time on a weekend to clear out anything you don’t need. Donate unopened groceries that are past their prime, recycle any packaging or containers you won’t use again, and find a home for infrequently used appliances.

With a clean slate, you’ll have room to work and can better see what you actually have on hand. It also eliminates some of the visual clutter that can make cooking daunting. A clear, organized kitchen helps inspire creativity.

Start Small with Easy Wins

Don’t try to go from not cooking at all to preparing multi-course meals every night of the week. Start small with easy weeknight dinners like stir fries, sheet pan meals, or crustless quiches. Having a few simple go-to meals you can make quickly and confidently helps build momentum.

You want your first attempts back in the kitchen to end in success, not burnt dishes or frustration. Build up from quick 30 minute meals to more involved recipes as your skills and comfort level grow. Small victories keep your confidence up.

Let Tools Be Your Friends

No need to meticulously chop and prep everything by hand. Embrace tools that make cooking easier like food processors, immersion blenders, spiralizers, and crisper drawers. Getting ingredients prepped quickly leaves you more time to tend to the fun parts of cooking.

Meal delivery kits are another great way to have the ingredients and instructions for delicious recipes conveniently shipped to your door. Take advantage of whatever helps make cooking feel less intimidating.

Cook in Good Company

Cooking solo can feel lonely, especially when you’re just getting started. Invite friends or family members over for a casual cooking night. Assign each person a different dish or have everyone work together on the same menu. Cooking together is collaborative, not isolating.

It creates memories in the kitchen you’ll look back on fondly. You can also learn tricks and techniques from each other. Companionship makes cooking more celebratory.

Allow Imperfection

When attempting a new recipe, it may not come out perfectly the first time. That’s okay! Embrace the learning process and accept imperfection. Cooking is an ongoing skill that takes practice, just stick with it.

Focus on what went well and what you could improve next time. Each experience in the kitchen expands your abilities. Don’t be deterred by minor mistakes.

How to Become Friends With the Kitchen Again – FAQs

How do I make cooking feel less like a chore?

  • Cook recipes you’re excited about, not ones you feel obligated to make
  • Invite others to join you in the kitchen
  • Put on fun music or a podcast while you cook
  • Use time-saving tools so prep work is faster
  • Sip a glass of wine or chat on the phone as you cook

What are some easy wins to build momentum?

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Salad with pre-cooked chicken
  • Quesadillas
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup

What are go-to pantry items I should have on hand?

  • Canned beans, tomatoes, tuna
  • Rice, pasta, quinoa
  • Good olive oil and vinegars
  • Spices like garlic powder, cumin, chili powder
  • Lemons and limes
  • Onions and garlic
  • Eggs
  • Frozen vegetables and fruits

Should I start with new recipes or family favorites?

It’s smart to start with recipes you’ve made before successfully so you build confidence with easy wins. But also treat yourself to a new recipe periodically to expand your skills and try new flavors. Find a balance between familiar dishes and new culinary adventures.

How can I stay motivated after a cooking flop?

  • Take a break and try again another day
  • Identify what went wrong and improve that skill
  • Stick to recipes until your techniques improve
  • Focus on the parts that did go well
  • Order takeout and be gentle with yourself


Rekindling your relationship with cooking takes small steps: decluttering your space, starting simple, utilizing tools, inviting company over, and allowing imperfection. But the rewards are invaluable. Home cooking provides nourishment, saves money, and connects you back to food traditions. Most importantly, it can be an act of joy and creativity. Be patient with the process and before you know it, you’ll have fallen back in love with home cooking.