How can I Keep a Kosher Kitchen?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Silverware should be kept separate from cooking utensils.
Silverware should be kept separate from cooking utensils.

Many practicing Jews observe kashrut, a set of laws set out in the Torah, or Jewish Bible. Kashrut discusses which types of foods are allowed to Jews, with foods that meet the requirements being called kosher. Some people like to set up a kosher kitchen to ensure that kashrut is being observed in the home. Establishing a kosher kitchen can be challenging, and you should plan to dedicate several days to it.

Kosher food is prepared based on the Jewish dietary laws found in the Torah.
Kosher food is prepared based on the Jewish dietary laws found in the Torah.

Kashrut is quite complex. The basic rule of thumb is that meat, or fleishig, and dairy, or milchig cannot ever be mixed or served together, requiring separate pots, utensils, and plates. Other foods such as vegetables and grains are pareve, which means that they are neutral and can be served with either. Jews following kashrut do not eat fish without scales and clearly defined fins, any animal that does not have cloven hooves, and certain types of fowl. A kosher kitchen will help keep your household kosher.

A rabbi can be helpful in determining what items can be made kosher in a kitchen being converted to a kosher kitchen.
A rabbi can be helpful in determining what items can be made kosher in a kitchen being converted to a kosher kitchen.

If you are setting up a new kitchen, the task of making it kosher is relatively easy. Designate separate cabinets for meat and dairy. Store cooking implements, pots, and pans in these cabinets, and mark these tools so that you can see if they are being used for meat or dairy. In the dining room, designate separate cabinets for silverware, plates, and placemats: it helps to get different patterns.

According to Jewish dietary law, dairy should be kept separate from meat.
According to Jewish dietary law, dairy should be kept separate from meat.

If you have a double sink, designate one side for meat and one side for dairy, and use dish racks to keep dishes from making contact with the sink. Ideally, two cooking ranges should be used as well so that you can ensure separation between meat and dairy. If this is not an option, avoid cooking the two at the same time. Divide the fridge, making sure that meat and dairy containers are tightly sealed so that cross contamination is avoided.

Fruits and vegetables are considered parve in kosher kitchen.
Fruits and vegetables are considered parve in kosher kitchen.

If you are converting an established facility to a kosher kitchen, be prepared to replace some foods, plates, and cooking implements. Start by emptying out the kitchen and scrubbing it down thoroughly. Check with a rabbi to see which dishes, pots, and utensils can be made kosher, usually by scrubbing and boiling. Divide and label the kitchen as above, observing kashrut while you set up and use your kosher kitchen.

Cumin has a deep-rooted history as a common spice and is mentioned in both Testaments of the Bible.
Cumin has a deep-rooted history as a common spice and is mentioned in both Testaments of the Bible.

Keeping a kosher kitchen can be an important part of religious practice for some individuals. Ensure that all the foods brought into the kitchen are kosher, and keep dairy and meat separate. Make guests are aware of the kosher kitchen, and be prepared to give a quick orientation to anyone using the kitchen for the first time. If unsure about any part of the process of making a kosher kitchen, or concerned about violating kashrut, consult a local rabbi.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon38367

Very good, easy to understand info. Thanks!

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    • Silverware should be kept separate from cooking utensils.
      Silverware should be kept separate from cooking utensils.
    • Kosher food is prepared based on the Jewish dietary laws found in the Torah.
      By: James Steidl
      Kosher food is prepared based on the Jewish dietary laws found in the Torah.
    • A rabbi can be helpful in determining what items can be made kosher in a kitchen being converted to a kosher kitchen.
      By: Anyka
      A rabbi can be helpful in determining what items can be made kosher in a kitchen being converted to a kosher kitchen.
    • According to Jewish dietary law, dairy should be kept separate from meat.
      By: lidante
      According to Jewish dietary law, dairy should be kept separate from meat.
    • Fruits and vegetables are considered parve in kosher kitchen.
      By: Barbara Helgason
      Fruits and vegetables are considered parve in kosher kitchen.
    • Cumin has a deep-rooted history as a common spice and is mentioned in both Testaments of the Bible.
      By: manaemedia
      Cumin has a deep-rooted history as a common spice and is mentioned in both Testaments of the Bible.