A frequently-updated master list of favorites from our kitchen! These are things that have survived the rigorous testing of family meals, parties, and everyday home cooking. If I love it and use it often, you can find it here.
- Dutch oven – It lives on our stovetop from the beginning of fall to the end of spring because I use it almost daily. Good for roasts, stews, soups, braises… basically all comfort food. Plus, they’re pretty.
- Nonstick pans – Nonstick is so easy to cook with that once you start, it’s hard to stop. We have a whole set, but I recommend having at least a skillet for eggs.
- Cast iron skillet – If I could only have one skillet in my life, it would be my cast iron. I use it for everything from sourdough to steaks to stir fries to skillet cookies. They last forever, sear like no other, and are – despite popular belief – easy to take care of. (Also HIGHLY recommend this handle cover, coming from someone who has grabbed the fresh-from-the-oven handle too many times).
- Soup tureen – Since soup is an integral part of surviving winter in the Midwest, it’s nice to have a way to make it feel a little fancier! A soup tureen with a ladle is perfect for family-style soup nights.
- Covered casserole dishes – Prettier than the usual baking pans, and just as functional for leftover storage! I use these for everything from bread pudding to au gratin potatoes.
- Glass baking pans – Glass is nice because they work for marinades in addition to baked goods and casseroles. And lids make them so useful!
- Tart pan – An inexpensive way to make quiches and tarts look so fancy. I have a full-size pan, but have my eye on minis for individual tartlets.
- Food processor – Maybe the most treasured item in my kitchen. I use it for pastry doughs, slicing veggies, shredding cheese, making sauces and salad dressings, and so much more. It does it all!
- Kitchen Aid stand mixer – They are pretty and useful. Almost all of my baked goods start in here. It is also an essential if you want to make these homemade marshmallows. We also have the ice cream attachment and really like it!
- Slow cooker – I love my slow cooker. Good for hands off cooking and doing the bulk of meal prep ahead. You can find favorite slow cooker recipes here.
- Electric griddle – Grilled cheese, pancakes, french toast, quesadillas – we do it all on here.
GADGETS + TOOLS
- Salt cellar – For keeping kosher salt easy-access on the counter. Good for grabbing pinches or measuring out.
- Salad spinner – A life-changer if you’re making lots of salads, but also useful for washing other produce like grapes, berries, green beans, etc.
- Oil dispenser – So handy to have olive oil looking nice on the counter and ready to use. The drizzle is so good, and we now buy olive oil in bulk and distill it as needed into the drizzler.
- Garlic press – When you’re adding garlic to almost everything, the peeling and chopping can take up a lot of time. The garlic press makes this task so quick! PSA – you do not have to peel garlic before putting it in your garlic press.
- Microplane – Bought this for citrus zest, use it all the time for everything from cheese to chocolate to nutmeg to fresh ginger. It makes the most perfectly grated parmesan cheese!
- Rubber spatula – The most underrated kitchen utensil. It can do it all. The regular size and the mini are both so useful.
- Digital thermometer – Takes all the guess work out of cooking things perfectly. So nice to have for meats, but also useful for breads and baked potatoes.
- Kitchen scale – I use my kitchen scale all the time! So many foods are easier in to measure in weight (potatoes, chicken, etc.) and having a scale makes this so simple. Also useful for sourdough.
- Funnels – You never know how badly you need one until you need one. Regularly surprised by how much I use ours.
- Drawer knife block – If you don’t love dedicating counter space to a regular knife block and don’t have a good spot for a knife strip, a drawer knife block is so good. I also like that you can customize knives easily instead of buying a set!
- Good knives – Sharp knives make all the difference. A bread knife, pairing knife, carving knife, and chef’s knife is a good place to start. Be sure to hand wash and keep them sharp!
- Kitchen shears – Lots of things are easier to cut with scissors – herbs, pizzas, quesadillas, bacon, pie crust, etc.
- Wood cutting board – Wood cutting boards are beautiful and feel timeless. I keep ours on the counter for easy-access throughout the day, and use it for breads, fruits, and vegetables. Pretty enough to use as a serving platter, too!
- Cheese knife set – Essential if you’re ever doing a cheese board.
- Ice bucket – Because every party needs ice.
- Tiered tray – Vertical displays save space and look nice! I mostly use it for finger foods, fruit, and cookies, depending on the occasion.
- Beverage dispenser – We use these for casual get togethers and bigger events. So nice to have water easily accessible and not worry about refilling.
- Punch bowl – Does anything say “party” more than a punch bowl? Not the most frequently used item in our kitchen, but so festive it’s worth it!
- Glass food storage containers – Love that they’re oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe. And glass containers will last much longer than plastic, so are worth the upcharge to me.
- Weck jars – Salad dressings, butters, spreads, dips, jams, even casual glasses of wine are good in here. And they are stackable!
- Canisters with measuring cups – We have the flour and sugar sizes. They fit nicely in our cabinets (so don’t require counter space) and I love the convenience of having the measuring cup in it.
- Cocktail shaker – A must if you’re into making cocktails! They make cocktails super cold and water them down slightly as the ice melts during shaking. I also use mine for this state fair-style lemonade.
- Stacking mugs – Nice to have a set of matching, easily-storable mugs.
- Espresso machine – We have a basic one just for making espresso and love it! It uses pods and is so easy.
- Scrub Daddy – Once you go Scrub Daddy you don’t go back. All other sponges will feel so terrible in comparison!
- Bar Keeper’s Friend – The key to getting burnt-on food off of glass, stainless steel, or ceramic cookware. Anything that would usually need a long soak followed by elbow grease now just gets a sprinkle of this and everything wipes right off.