Most-Used Cooking Tools, Kitchen Appliances You’ll Have Forever, and
Worthy Pantry Upgrades
There’s always a significant uptick in time spent in the kitchen during the holiday season (we blame the gingerbread cookies and brie en croûte), and inevitably we start to notice some nagging kitchen inefficiencies—things we swore we’d get to before next year. Here’s your sign to upgrade that kitchen gear now. Invest in a few high-quality, gold-standard items and your time in the kitchen will be more productive and way more fun. Start with whichever kitchen drawer or meal calls to you.
These are our most loved and most used items in the kitchen.
You don’t need a whole fleet of knives to do some serious cooking, but there are three key ones: a serrated knife (for bread and tomatoes), a chef’s knife (for everything from mincing herbs to carving a chicken), and a paring knife (for slicing limes for cocktails or delicately deseeding fresh chilies).
Recommended Reading:Our Place Knife Trio goop, $145SHOP NOW
For everyone who doesn’t cook because cleaning up is a drag: Nonstick ceramic cookware can make that part a little easier. No more sticky messes from fried eggs and grilled cheese. This set is equal parts functional and beautiful, with stay-cool gold handles.
Recipes to try:goop Home 10” & 12” Fry Pan Set goop, $100SHOP NOW
A mandoline produces incredibly satisfying uniform slices. It’s great for delicately shaved fennel in salads, even slices of radish to pickle, and perfect rounds of potatoes for a gratin or chips. We also like using it to produce thin shards of Parmesan to top a Caesar salad with. But do be mindful when you’re using it, as accidents can happen. And don’t be a hero. You might think you have a few extra slices in that nub of shallot or carrot, but it’s not worth the risk. Save those scraps for stock instead.
Recipes to try:Cuisipro Hand Held Mandoline goop, $48SHOP NOW
A must-have for any kind of prep work, these bowls are doubly useful because they have lids, so that extra vinaigrette can get popped in the fridge for future use.
Recommended Reading:Rosti Mepal Margrethe Nested Mixing Bowls goop, $60SHOP NOW
Chefs claim they couldn’t live without this tool. The fine grater does an amazing job of zesting all types of citrus and grating garlic, ginger, fresh turmeric, fresh chilies, hard cheeses, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and even chocolate.
Recipes to try:Microplane Premium Classic Zester goop, $15SHOP NOW
After bingeing episodes of The Great British Baking Show, you may find yourself inspired to start baking and in need of this set. The gold is luxe, a step up from the more industrial stainless steel, and the pieces are both durable and versatile—use them for cookies, galettes, roasted veggies, and sheet pan dinners.
Recipes to try:Nordic Ware 3-Piece Gold Nonstick Sheet Pan Set goop, $75SHOP NOW
One of the most versatile pieces you’ll ever own. If well seasoned and maintained (it’s deceptively simple), it can do it all. Fried eggs, seared steaks, potpies, roasted veggies—not to mention it can handle direct contact with fire, making it a dream for camp cooking.
Recommended Reading:Smithey Ironware Co. No. 12 Cast Iron Skillet goop, $200SHOP NOW
If you’re going to own one giant pot (and you will be so glad you do), consider one that will last forever (seriously, you will be passing this thing on to your grandkids). Use it for big pots of stew and Sunday gravy, and because it’s oven-safe, you can even roast a whole chicken in there. If you’d like to try your hand at bread baking, this is a crucial piece of cookware—the lidded pot traps steam, which ensures your crust will have just the right amount of crunch and chew.
Recommended Reading:Kana Milo 5.5QT Dutch Oven goop, $135SHOP NOW
Breaking down a whole chicken is a no-waste technique that allows you to really use every part. That task is made much easier with a sharp pair of shears. We also use them for cutting flowers and snipping herbs—they’re especially handy for garnishing with chives.
Recipe to try:Zwilling x goop Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors goop, $60SHOP NOW
It’s an excellent everyday board and ideal for carving roasts because of its large surface area and those grooves for catching juices. A bigger work surface will make you an organized master chef before you can say “mise en place.”
Recommended Reading:Epicurean Butcher’s Board goop, $70SHOP NOW
Use this shallow version of a Dutch oven for one-pot meals. And it happens to make a pretty serving dish, too.
Recommended Reading:Staub 3.5 QT Braiser goop, $330SHOP NOW
Appliances You’ll Use Forever
Some investment pieces will bail you out of a jam several times a week. And for years to come.
The Coffee Grinder
The real secret to exceptional coffee is in the grind. It should be ground to order with a burr grinder like this one from Fellow. They have impeccable home-brewing gear that also looks very cool. This, plus some really good beans (we’re partial to our blend), makes for a delicious morning routine.
Recommended Reading:Fellow Ode Brew Grinder goop, $299SHOP NOW
Stand mixers are usually reserved for wedding registries or house-warming gifts. And yes, it is an investment piece, but it’s very useful and you’ll only ever have to buy it once. We like it for cake batter, cookie dough, frosting, and making all kinds of yeasted dough. There are several attachments, like a meat grinder and a pasta roller, that you can add down the line as you expand your repertoire.
Recipes to try:Smeg Stand Mixer goop, $650SHOP NOW
Yes, this is a very fancy toaster. The genius move here is that this toaster is designed to toast and steam at the same time—maintaining a moist interior while delivering a shatteringly crispy crusty exterior. Toast is the obvious choice, but it can work wonders on everything from day-old pastries to leftover pizza.
Recipes to try:BALMUDA Balmuda The Toaster goop, $299SHOP NOW
A powerful blender has many uses: smoothies, nut milks, vinaigrettes, hummus, pestos, soups, and nut butters to name a few. It’s a miracle for meal prep.
Recipes to try:Beast Health Beast Blender + Hydration System goop, $185SHOP NOW
Because it’s easier to clean, we like this handheld blender for smaller jobs. It can also be a much safer option for blending hot food—it’s portable, so you can blend directly in a pot instead of undertaking a messy transfer into a blender base.
Recipes to try:Smeg Hand Blender goop, $240SHOP NOW
Storage and Organization
Optimizing the way your kitchen runs will make for more efficient and happier cooking.
If you’re cooking a lot, you’re bound to have leftovers—lucky you. These bags are a sturdy reusable answer to single-use plastic bags. We love them for freezer-bound surplus and for keeping cut-up veggies fresh and at the ready for snacking. Bonus: They’re dishwasher-safe.
Recommended Reading:Stasher Reusable Half-Gallon Storage Bag goop, $20SHOP NOW
The Pantry Overhaul
The Blisshaus system is both aesthetically pleasing and really very functional. You’ll always have a sense of what you have on hand, and you might even better understand what items you use more often than others. This can help you waste less and shop more efficiently.
Recommended Reading:Blisshaus x goop goop Essential Pantry Set goop, $335SHOP NOW
Save your scraps: a plastic-free alternative for preserving that half of an onion or bit of leftover cheese.
Recommended Reading:Snacksheets Reusable Vegan Food Wraps goop, $18SHOP NOW