Most-Used Cooking Tools, Kitchen Appliances You’ll Have Forever, and
Worthy Pantry Upgrades
Most of us are cooking a lot more than we ever have, which might mean certain kitchen inefficiencies have become more noticeable or annoying. When you invest in a few high-quality, gold-standard items, it can make your time in the kitchen much more productive and way more fun. We gathered our favorite tools, appliances, and storage solutions along with cooking resources and recipe ideas—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:Sori Yonagi Essential Kitchen Knife Set goop, $400SHOP 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. Plus, this set comes in beautiful colors.Caraway Ceramic Cookware Set goop, $395SHOP NOW
Chefs claim they couldn’t live without this tool. The fine grater does an amazing job of zesting all types of citrus, grating garlic, ginger, fresh turmeric, fresh chilies, hard cheeses, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and even chocolate.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 look is classic, and the pieces are durable and versatile (savory stuff like lasagna and potpies work well in here, too).Falcon Enamelware Bake Set goop, $115SHOP NOW
Having bowls like this at the ready helps you stay organized and arrange your mise en place before you start cooking. These are doubly useful because they have lids, so your extra vinaigrette can get popped right in the fridge for future use.
Recommended Reading:Rosti Mepal Margrethe Nested Mixing Bowls goop, $60SHOP 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’re one of the many people trying your hand at baking sourdough bread right now, 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:Staub x goop 7-Quart Round Cocotte goop, $360SHOP 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.
Recipes to try:Zwilling x goop Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears goop, $60SHOP NOW
This shallow version of a Dutch oven is just the right size for a one-pot meal. And it happens to make a pretty serving dish, too.
Recommended Reading:Staub 3.5 QT Braiser goop, $320SHOP NOW
Beautiful for serving crudités or charcuterie and well-crafted for regularly prepping your mirepoix. The ultimate double-duty kitchen item.
Recommended Reading:Hawkins New York Oak Cutting Board goop, $100SHOP NOW
Some investment pieces will bail you out of a jam several times a week. And
for years to come.
Since you’re not going out to coffee shops right now, it’s a fine time to invest in a quality coffee maker. This, plus some really good beans (our food editor’s pick is Sightglass), makes for a delicious morning routine.
Recipe to try:Moccamaster KBG Coffee Maker goop, $339SHOP 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, frostings, and making all kinds of yeasted doughs. There are several attachments, like a meat grinder and a pasta roller, that you can add down the line as you expand your repertoire.Smeg Stand Mixer goop, $490SHOP NOW
If you have an outdoor grill you’ve been loving during this time, consider this the next step. It makes fantastic pizza, but that’s just the beginning. Because the pizza oven has very controllable high heat, you can use it for deeply caramelized roasted vegetables, steaks, ribs, and pork shoulder.Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Outdoor
Pizza Oven + Peel goop, $329SHOP NOW
A powerful blender has endless uses: smoothies, nut milks, vinaigrettes, hummus, pesto, soups, and nut butters, just to name a few. It’s a miracle for meal prep.Vitamix Vitamix Ascent Series 3500 Blender goop, $600SHOP NOW
This might seem like extra credit, but it has its time and place. 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.Smeg Hand Blender goop, $180SHOP NOW
The German-engineered appliance does so much that it’s almost like having a personal sous chef. It’s multifunctional (it’s a slow cooker, rice cooker, blender, teakettle, sous-vide, and food processor—just to name a few), and it comes with cleverly intuitive digital features (with Wi-Fi capabilities), including recipes recommendations, grocery lists, and meal-prep ideas.Thermomix Thermomix TM6 Thermomix, $1,499SHOP NOW
Storage and Organization
Since you’re cooking a ton, now is the time to optimize the way your kitchen runs.
Cooking more equals more leftovers (we hope). 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
You may have become reacquainted with your pantry and decided it could use an 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.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:Studio Cue Bee’s Wax Food
Storage Paper goop, $22SHOP NOW