C/O Hebrew Family League P.O. BOX 3172
Allentown, PA 18106
Call Us: (848) 207-6426
Email Us: info@lvkosher.org

Keeping a Kosher Kitchen

The purpose of this guide is to provide a brief overview on the steps involved in setting up and running a Kosher kitchen. This is not a comprehensive guide to keeping Kosher. For more comprehensive information, please visit the Star K, OU, Kashrut.com and Kosherquest web sites.

How to Keep a Kosher Kitchen – An Outline

by: Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner –


Keeping Kosher involves three jobs:

  • Preparing your utensils
  • Making sure to use Kosher ingredients
  • Making sure to keep dairy/meat food and their designated utensils separate from each other.

Before beginning to use your kitchen

  • Arrange with a rabbi to “Kasher” your kitchen, preparing its equipment for use with Kosher food.
  • Ask a rabbi whether your cookware or utensils require immersion in a Mikvah before they may be used.

The following are helpful hints for designing an easy-to-use Kosher kitchen:

  • Designate separate counter and refrigerator space for dairy and meat. If this is not possible, then make sure the shared spaces are easily cleaned between dairy and meat use.
  • Create a dairy/meat color scheme, and stickers for the handles of dairy/meat cookware. You may wish to post the color scheme in your kitchen, for your own reference and to help guests.
  • Purchase and label separate dishes, silverware, Tupperware and cookware for dairy and meat.
  • Purchase separate sponges and dish bins for dairy, meat and neutral (“Pareve”) utensils.
  • A self-cleaning oven is ideal; if meat/dairy spill on to its surfaces, you can run the self-cleaning cycle to restore its neutrality. Ask a rabbi about use of other oven types for meat and dairy.

Using your Kosher kitchen

1. Always make sure ingredients have proper certification; consult a local rabbi as to which certifying agencies are reliable. Please note:

  • Many common products do not require special Kosher certification. A list of such products may be found at Kosherquest.
  • Meat and chicken require certification to ensure they didn’t have certain wounds and diseases, and were killed and prepared properly.
  • Kashrut.com lists Kosher fish. Cut-up fish require certification even if taken from a Kosher fish, to be sure that pieces of non-Kosher fish have not been mixed in. Alternatively, watch the cutting to make sure the knife and cutting board are clean before your fish is cut.
  • Wine requires certification.

2. Remember that separating meat and dairy requires using separate utensils, too. Please note:

  • Take care to wash meat and dairy utensils in separate bins, and to use them only on their designated counters. The same dishwasher should not be used for both meat and dairy utensils.
  • Tablecloths may be used for meat and dairy interchangeably, so long as they are washed between meat and dairy in soap and hot water.

3. If you think you may have mixed meat and dairy or used a non-Kosher ingredient, call a local rabbi. Frequently the mix-up turns out to be innocuous, and there is no further problem. Don’t be embarrassed to call – errors happen in everyone’s home.

4. Bugs are not Kosher. Vegetables which are likely to be infested (leafy vegetables and herbs, broccoli and cauliflower come to mind) should be washed and inspected to remove visible bugs. A local rabbi will be able to advise you on methods of cleaning and inspection.

5. Israeli produce should be tithed before it is eaten. If you don’t know whether your produce has been tithed, look at page 226 of the standard Artscroll Siddur (prayerbook) for a brief English guide to tithing, or follow these Star-K instructions.