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How to Set up a Nigerian Kitchen on a Budget

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Kitchen set up

Setting up a Nigerian kitchen can be a rewarding experience for anyone who loves the spicy, delicious, and diverse foods that surround Nigerian cuisine or want to give their Nigerian friends a semblance of home.

Remember, the Nigerian kitchen is known for its unique blend of spices and flavors. So setting up a kitchen that can handle this vegetarian-friendly yet meat-oriented type of cooking requires careful planning and attention to detail.

Don’t worry because, in this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to set up a Nigerian kitchen.

We will cover everything from the essential utensils and cookware to the ingredients and spices commonly used in Nigerian cuisine. At the end of this article, you should be ready to set up a kitchen acceptable to most Nigerians.

Essential Kitchen Utensils and Cookware

The first step in setting up a Nigerian kitchen is ensuring you have all the essential utensils and cookware. Here are some of the items you will need:

Pots and Pans

Nigeria is known for its naturally made seasonings, several soups, and mouth-watering dish & soup combinations. Therefore, you will need pots and pans in different sizes for cooking the variety of dishes that make up a typical Nigerian meal.

Some uses of these essential pots and pans include the following:A deep pot for soupsA frying pan for stir-friesA medium-sized pot for rice, etc
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A set of knives is also vital for setting up a Nigerian kitchen. You will need them for cutting vegetables, meat, and fish.

The essential knives you must have in your Nigerian kitchen setup are:A chef’s knife for chopping and cuttingA paring knife for peeling andA serrated knife for slicing through baked/cooked flour

Cutting Boards

Investing in quality cutting boards that can withstand all the Nigerian cutting techniques for preparing meat, fish, and vegetable dishes is noteworthy. The cutting board will help ensure your food is free from contamination through the kitchen table.

Examples of essential cutting boards that you need areA durable bamboo cutting boardA durable plastic cutting board

Spatulas and Ladles

You can only call your kitchen a Nigerian cuisine when it contains different types of utensils for stirring and serving food.

An example of essential spatulas you need are:An example of essential ladles you need are:
Turner spatula for flipping frying foodsOffset spatula for decorating cakesFish spatula for handling deep-frying foodsStainless ladles for easy portioning/serving of foodsHeat-resistant ladles such as rubber or silicone ladles for portioning/serving foods.


Bowls are an essential part of Nigerian kitchens. It is used for mixing ingredients, marinating meat, storing leftovers, and more. So you will need various sizes. We recommend you keep at first by purchasing bowls in the big, medium, and small sizes, then stock as required for the future.


Although most Nigerian kitchens prefer using a colander, some Nigerians use sieves to perform the work of a colander and sifter. A colander is essential for draining pasta and vegetables, while the sieve separates foreign particles from the flour.

When it comes to a colander, you need a stainless one (this one lasts longer than other types of colander).
For a sieve, the net part must be made of stainless steel material for it to last longer.

Protective accessories

The other kitchen utensils will eventually get hot and harm you when it touches your bare skin. I’m this case; you need something to cushion the effect on your skin.

You need one of the following essential protective accessoriesOven mittPot holderApronHeat resistant gloves


Most tasty Nigerian delicacies are made by blending spices. Traditionally, a mortar or flat stone is used. Fortunately, since the blender was introduced, mortars and flat stones have been used less frequently. Summarily, a blender is essential for making soups, smoothies, sauces, and more.

Baking Pans

Baked foods are also Nigerian delicacies—especially the simple and quick-to-prepare ones. To achieve the baked aspects of Nigerian foods in your kitchen, you need some baking pans.

It is okay if you have the below types/shapes of pans:Square cake panRectangular panRound panLoaf panCupcake panPie pan

Ingredients and Spices

The next step in setting up a Nigerian kitchen is ensuring you have all the necessary ingredients and spices. Here are some of the most commonly used foodstuffs, ingredients & spices in Nigerian cuisine:

Some foodstuffs are:

  • Rice: Rice is a staple in Nigerian cuisine and is used to prepare amazing recipes such as white rice, jollof rice, fried rice, and coconut rice.
  • Beans: Beans are also a staple in Nigerian cuisine and are used in dishes such as beans and plantain, beans porridge, and akara.
  • Plantains: Plantains are a versatile ingredient in many Nigerian dishes, such as plantain porridge, chips, and fried plantains.
  • Yam: Yam is another staple in Nigerian cuisine used in dishes such as yam porridge, yam fries, and pounded yam.
  • Cassava: Cassava is used to make fufu, a starchy dough-like side dish often served with soup or stew.

Some ingredients and spices are:

  • Palm oil: Palm oil is a reddish-orange carotenoid-rich oil derived from extracting the pulp of palm oil. It is imperative to prepare most Nigerian delicacies because it adds a distinctive flavor and color to any food.
  • Seasoning cubes or powder: Seasoning cubes are condiments of diverse ingredients that add a taste of meatiness and nutritious herbs to foods. The most popular Nigerian seasonings are Maggi and Knorr 😉.
  • Dried fish/stock fish: Depending on the type of fish, these dried and stock fish have a pale yellowish-white to dark brown color and can last almost unlimited time when kept in a dry room. Best of all, they add an attractive –not fishy– aroma to the food.

You can think of it as a chewable assortment that adds an extra tasty attitude to your food.

  • Iru (Ogiri): Iru is a traditional Nigerian seasoning that tastes meaty and aromatic. Mainly because it was hygienically and healthily made by being allowed to ferment naturally, then dried and smoked. The main reason it is a must-have in your Nigerian kitchen makeover is that it has a lot of nutrients (mostly protein) that are a part of the secret of growing well in Nigeria.
  • Nigerian spice blend: Staple foods such as the Nigerian Jollof rice, suya, and beef jerky (Kilishi/Yaji) are so popular that they are sold at almost all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Purchasing spice blends dedicated to each is a straightforward way to create a Nigerian feel in your kitchen.
  • Pepper soup ingredients: Pepper soup is a traditional Nigerian food that involves the combination of various Nigerian and popular ingredients such as chili pepper, black pepper, alligator pepper, ground pepper, dry pepper (yes, lots of pepper 🤤), fish, onions, and other optional seasonings.

Kitchen Designs/layout to Consider for the Ideal Nigerian Kitchen Set up

Kitchen Designs

The kitchen layout is a significant factor in setting up a Nigerian Kitchen –any kitchen. It determines to a great extent, the functionality of the kitchen and space management. However, in Nigeria, certain kitchen designs/layouts are adopted because they can store the plentiful amount of foodstuffs in a usual Nigerian kitchen.

These 5 kitchen layouts are described below:

  • The Galley Kitchen Design

Image Source: Flickrs

Also known as corridor kitchens, the galley lets you use small kitchen spaces optimally. It is characterized by two walls facing each other. When designing your galley kitchen layout, consider keeping the cooking unit/area on one of the walls, not both. This arrangement will help avoid traffic through the work triangle and prevent injuries or accidents.

  • L-Shaped Kitchen

Image Source: Wallpaper Flare

An L-shaped design solves the problem of maximizing corner space and is perfect for medium-sized kitchens. This versatile L-shaped kitchen consists of countertops on two adjoining walls that are perpendicular, forming an L. The “legs” of the L can be as long as you want, though keeping them less than 12 to 15 feet will allow you to use the space efficiently.

  • U-Shaped Kitchen

Image Source: Wikimedia commons

The U-Shape kitchen design is the most versatile Nigerian design used for large and small kitchens and it is similar to the one that Hilda Baci used to win her spot in the Guinness Book of Record 😉.

It operates with a large storage and countertop space along three walls, forming a U shape which increases storage space and makes the room more functional for food preparation and cleansing.

  • The Island Kitchen

This modern and popular Nigerian kitchen setup benefits large kitchens and prominent families. It incorporates a freestanding counter in the center of the kitchen, making it resemble an island and providing users with a central area for food preparation and serving.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Set up a Nigerian Kitchen on a Budget

How Do You Set up a Simple Kitchen?

To set up a simple kitchen –the L-shaped kitchen design– choose a corner in your house and divide it into 5 areas using the arrangements of cabinets and windows for identification purposes and ventilation.

How to Arrange Your Kitchen?

When arranging your kitchen, think of how the arrangement will serve you best. We recommend you designate specific places for utensils (using function as a code) and then clean them occasionally to avoid contaminating your foodstuffs.

How Can I Design a Small Kitchen?

Providing vast storage is one of the best layouts when designing a small kitchen. You can use cabinets, plate racks, & space-effective containers, and you can also add color. Remember, colorful cultural paintings can help give an instant Nigerian kitchen feel.

What Is the Basic Rule of Kitchen?

The basic rules of the kitchen are;
Keep things that can catch fire away from the stove and
Keep good food away from the sink

What Should Be Installed First in the Kitchen?

In a logical sequence, the walls should be installed before other necessary installments, such as the plumbing & electrical work, countertop & cabinets, appliances, sink & faucet, light, floor, ventilation, design, and other extra details.


Setting up a Nigerian kitchen requires careful planning and emphasizing enough storage space securely. To set up a Nigerian kitchen look alike, choose a kitchen design such as the island kitchen design –ensure it fits your home space.

Plus, you can create your Nigerian kitchen by filling your kitchen with Nigerian foodstuffs & ingredients (e.g., the Nigerian spice blend), getting the necessary Nigerian utensils, and learning how to cook Nigerian recipes.

If you want to put in more effort, consider personalizing your kitchen aesthetics by using unique African elements, prints, and cultural artifacts to add the feeling of a Nigerian kitchen.

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