Today, we’re shouting our love from the roof tops! Ten food bloggers are sharing the tools, gadgets, cookbooks, and equipment they can’t live without in their Top 5 Kitchen Must Haves!
I’ll admit, I’m kind of a snooper. I love seeing what other people order at restaurants, peeking at my airplane buddy’s reading material, and getting behind-the-scenes looks at people’s home and work life. Recently, I was pondering my Top 5 Kitchen Must Haves, when I found myself wondering what kitchen tools other food bloggers find indispensable.
Well, today my curiosity paid off for all of us. We all get to be snoopers for a bit, because I’m sharing the most loved kitchen items from 10 different food bloggers. These items make our lives easier, our cooking happier, and our brains saner. They’re great Christmas ideas for anyone you know who loves being in the kitchen. Here, you’ll find a range of items from under $10 to several hundred. There’s something for everyone, so before you head out to brave the Black Friday crowds, round out your list with these beloved kitchen goodies from some of my favorite food bloggers.
Courtney’s (That’s ME!) Top Five Kitchen Must Haves
1. Wusthof 8 inch Vegetable Knife– This knife is at least half the reason I’ve been able to avoid getting a food processor. The holes in the blade allow you to chop through onions and potatoes without the slices sticking together, making prep work a breeze. This knife gets pulled out every day, sometimes multiple times a day.
2. 4 Piece Microplane Grater Set– Here’s the other reason I don’t have a food processor. These graters have changed the way I cook. They make grating cheese, zesting citrus, and mincing garlic a breeze, plus they’re a steal at less than $40 for a set of four!
3. Adjustable Grain Salt and Pepper Mill – You know you’re an adult when you find yourself gazing longingly at a pepper grinder. It took us a year to finally splurge on these, but I’m so glad we did. These beauties never leave my stove. I love having seasoning close at hand, and the flavor of fresh ground black pepper simply can’t be beat. Two other brands of grinders failed us before we found these William Bounds mills and never looked back.
4. KitchenAid Stand Mixer– I simply couldn’t have a Top 5 list without including old faithful–my stand mixer. This thing is like a third arm in my kitchen. Without it, I’d probably have massive biceps, but I also might never make homemade whipped cream again. The other plus? These things last a LONG time. Mine is a hand me down going on 20 years and it’s still chugging along!
5. Pampered Chef Prep Bowls– We got these as a wedding present, and I honestly didn’t think I would ever use them. I was so wrong. I use these handy little glass bowls for everything from measuring liquid ingredients to melting butter in the microwave to storing leftover egg yolks in the fridge.
BONUS- King Arthur Flour Cookie Scoops– I don’t use these every day, but when I need them, I’m so glad they’re around. I broke at least three different cookie scoops trying to scoop frozen cookie dough before I finally caved and bought this set. It has been so worth it!
Erin from the Law Student’s Wife
1. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It may be cliche, but I can’t imagine life without this kitchen workhorse. From bread kneading, to cookie batter beating, to ice cream making, this beauty does it all. With the right attachments, I could save the world.
2. Baker’s half sheets. Some of the most bang for your baking buck, ever. I use these inexpensive pans almost every single day and have owned the same ones for years. They are perfect for roasting, making sheet cakes, and even double as a tray to my food props from room to room.
3. Silpat baking mats. I line my sheet pans with these every time I use them for no-stick + no-fuss clean up. Simply toss the mats in the dishwasher and save yourself the pan scrubbing.
4. Dutch oven. If ever there is a fire in our home, I’m leaving my wallet and taking this beauty. From soups, to big pastas, to oven roasting, it cannot be beat for its versatility, even cooking, and presentation too.
5. USA Baking pans. I’ve used dozens of brands of baking pans, and USA are by far my favorites. They cook evenly, are easy to clean, and create perfect edges to my brownies and quick breads every single time. These are the two sizes I use the most: the 8×8 and the 8.5 x 4.5.
Heather from Heather’s Dish
1. Food Network Nested Mixing Bowls– I love having simple white mixing bowls that I can use in the microwave if needed, and the simplicity really lets the food shine!
2. OXO Whisk– I really really love my stand mixer, but for most things I find using a simple whisk gives me extra satisfaction. Plus it keeps my dishwashing to a minimum!
3. Le Creuset Dutch Oven– I love cooking in this thing! It browns all the things like a dream, and the fact that it heats through so evenly makes for consistent dishes every time. Plus it’s pretty, amen?
4. Crock-Pot Slow Cooker– Especially at this time of year I love using my slow cooker, although it’s great in the summer too. During the winter I use it almost exclusively for soups and stews, and in the summer I like to make pasta sauces and chicken stock.
5. Professional grade sheet pans– It doesn’t always have to be professional grade, but with the amount of use I get out these it’s good that they hold up under pressure. I have a full sheet pan, half sheet pan and quarter sheet pan and use them all multiple times per week!
Annalise from Completely Delicious
1. KitchenAid Glass Mixing Bowl – I love that I can see through to the ingredients inside and has a spout for pouring. Plus, it’s so pretty!
2. OXO Digital Scale – I use it for everything, from measuring baking ingredients to making sure I have equal amounts of cake batter in my pans.
3. ChicWrap Plastic Wrap– It may seem silly to love plastic wrap enough to include it in my Top 5 kitchen must-haves, but this is high-quality, professional stuff and I love it. And it even comes in it’s own cute reusable box.
4. A Cast Iron Skillet– Every cook needs one in their kitchen! I use my skillet to sear meat, cook perfect pancakes, and even use it for baking rustic cakes
5. Offset spatula – This simple little tool can make your baking so much easier. I have a set of 3 and they get plenty of use in my kitchen.
Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain
1. Paring Knife: I think the paring knife gets over looked in the kitchen. I use a pairing knife to peel and cut potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, onions, etc. If you are looking for a great one, I always use Global knives because of the smaller handle.
2. Jacques Pepin New Complete Techniques Book: Can you say life savor? This book is like my trusty sous chef. Whenever I have a question, concern, or need a pep talk, Jacques is there to guide the way!
3. Mini Food Processor: Forget the big, bulky food processors.They are so 2003. The mini is where it’s at. I use it to make breakfast smoothies, soups, spreads, you name it. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it.
4. Cast iron skillet: Every cook needs a cast iron skillet. I use mine every other day because no matter what I make, sweet or savory, the food just tastes better.
5. Sense of humor: If you can’t laugh at spills and fails then what’s the point in being in the kitchen! Laughter makes food taste better.
Stephanie from Girl Versus Dough
1. My KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It is by far my most-used kitchen item. I use it every day for kneading dough, beating cake batter, shredding meat, etc. I know my arms would be so buff without it but I don’t care — I love it and it’s never leaving my kitchen counter.
2. GIR Spatulas. I actually just became a recent convert to these but I’m never going back. Not only are they super durable, they come in a variety of sizes that are perfect for any use — for example, a skinny spatula to get into the peanut butter or mayonnaise jar without it getting all over your hands. Genius.
3. My cast-iron skillet. If you don’t already own a cast-iron skillet, drop everything and get one! It’ll change your life (OK OK, maybe not your life, but definitely your food). I keep mine permanently on the stove so it’s ready at a moment’s notice to cook the best eggs, meat and sauteed veggies, but I also use it all the time for baking frittatas, cornbreads and cakes. It’s a workhorse of a skillet and it always delivers.
4. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Of all the cookbooks I’ve recently acquired (and I’m kind of a cookbook addict, so there are many), I find myself going back to this one again and again. Deb’s was one of the first blogs I discovered when I hopped onto this crazy food blogging train, and the recipes in her book are just like those on her site — personable, accessible and delicious. They’re easy to make but the results don’t “seem” easy, which makes the dishes perfect for anything from entertaining to a cozy weeknight in.
5. Vollrath Baking Sheets. I got two of these for Christmas a couple of years ago and I am still over the moon about them. They’re restaurant-grade and hold up to anything I throw at them (OK I don’t actually THROW my food, but you know what I mean) — cookies, sheet cakes, breads, etc. And the aluminum non-stick surface has never failed me. Highly recommend.
Melanie from Melanie Makes
1. OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop – If an item found in your kitchen drawer needed a spokesperson, it would be me and this amazing cookie scoop. I love it so much I have two! Obviously amazing for cookies, I also use it for meatballs, to fill pasta, muffins – it’s my go-to kitchen gadget.
2. Vietnamese Extra Fancy Ground Cinnamon – Holiday baking calls for a lots of cinnamon and this one from Penzey’s is my absolute favorite. Full of flavor and so much better than anything you’d ever purchase from your local grocery, I always purchase it in the larger size bag so I can easily refill the jar I keep in my cabinet.
3. Cozi App – Yes, I’m considering an app as a kitchen pick as it’s my go-to for being organized for all the holiday cooking happening in my kitchen. I love that it allows to me to create different grocery lists for different stores. I may or may not have four different lists going on at one time depending on where I’m shopping… It’s also awesome as my husband also has the app on his phone so I can easily have him drop by the store while he’s out and he knows everything I need.
4. Silpat Silicone Baking Mats – I use one of these mats on an almost daily basis. A great substitute for foil or parchment, they keep your baking sheets looking like new and can be thrown in the dishwasher for an easy clean. They come in several sizes for whatever baking sheet you use most.
5. Fridge Storage Bins – An organized fridge is a MUST in my kitchen, especially around the holidays! I currently utilize three of these bins in my fridge and will likely add another in the near future. I have a bin for yogurt – tubs of Greek and plain as well as yogurt for my children – a bin for cheese and a bin for meat. I love how it keeps everything nice and organized and you can pull the entire thing out if necessary.
Lori from Foxes Love Lemons
1. All-Clad Saucier Pan – This is one of those things that I didn’t *think* I needed until I received it as a gift, but now it’s one of my favorite pans and I can’t imagine life without it. You know when you’re making a sauce, and little bits of the sauce get stuck in the “corners” or the pan, where the bottom meets the sides? And you have to run a spatula around it to get the crusty bits out? Not with this saucier! It has a sloped bottom, so you can whisk and stir sauces with ease! I also use it for stovetop mac and cheese, rice dishes, and melting chocolate!
2. OXO Steel Angled Measuring Jigger – My husband and I love relaxing after work with a round of cocktails, and this angled jigger was SUCH an upgrade over the old novelty shot glasses from our college days. It ensures a perfect, consistent cocktail each time, and the pour spout means NO STICKY COUNTERS. Win.
3. Luxardo Cherries – Speaking of cocktails, spoil someone you love with a ridiculously luxurious jar of cocktail cherries. One jar should last them for nearly a year, and they’ll never be able to go back to those bright red grocery store maraschinos ever again. You’ll have created a monster. Mua ha ha.
4. Tivoli Model One Radio – If you know a cook in need of a great kitchen radio, this is the one, because 1.) It’s completely adorable and comes in a variety of colors and 2.) This thing pumps out GREAT sound. You can really crank it up and have a dance party while you cook. Use it for listening to the radio, or plug in an iPod or smartphone using an aux cable.
5. Zojirushi Travel Coffee Mug – I received this mug as a Christmas gift last year, and after I used it for the first time, immediately ordered them for several other people I love. I kid you not: pour hot coffee into this thing at 8am, and it will still be hot at 3pm. Not warm. It’ll still be HOT. Perfect for those of us who like to take our time and sip hot coffee allllllllll day long. Also great for tea, hot chocolate, and iced beverages, too! Oh, and you can throw it in your purse or work bag UPSIDE DOWN with zero fear of leaks.
Susan from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
1. OXO Good Grips Bench Scraper– I absolutely love my bench scraper between scooping up chopped vegetables, to dividing dough, to cleaning up my cutting board. It’s a simple tool that I use on a regular basis and it never gets put away.
2. Le Creuset Iron Handle Skillet – some people can’t live without their cast iron skillet handed down from their grandmother, I can’t live without my Le Creuset. It cooks food beautifully, looks pretty on your stovetop and makes a great skillet cookie plus cleans like a gem (and you can use soap for anyone who’s weird about cleaning cast iron).
3. Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Cook’s Knife – It’s a cliche but you need a good and comfortable chef’s knife in the kitchen. My preference goes to Wusthof but you should really buy what feels comfortable for you. Also I own 3 chef knives at different price points, they are all great knives.
4. OXO Cookie Scoops – Cookie scoops get a big workout in my kitchen. I use all 3 sizes and they are great not just for cookie making. Use them to portion out batter for muffins or cupcakes. To scoop ice cream or the tiny one for melon balls.
5. Za’atar Spice Blend – The last one isn’t a kitchen tool but a seasoning! Everyone should have their go-to seasoning and mine is Za’atar. It’s a Middle Eastern spice mixture made from thyme, marjoram, oregano, sesame and sumac. Each blend uses different amounts but it’s wonderful on so many different things – from roast chicken, lamb, pita chips, hummus, nuts, savory yogurt. Use your imagination!
Nancy from Gotta Get Baked
1. Microplane Zester/Grater– Before I bought myself one of these, I used to grate citrus fruits with my huge cheese grater. It worked but it was a pain in the butt dragging it out and washing it just for a little bit of lemon zest. I love my Microplane grater – it’s slim, convenient to store, zests citrus fruit like a dream and is easy to wash.
2. French Rolling Pin– The rolling pin I used to have was a hand-me-down from my big sister. It was made out of marble, weighed five pounds (give or take) and was a nightmare to use. I hated using it so I rarely ever made anything that needed to be rolled out. About a year ago, I bought myself a beautiful French rolling pin made of rock maple and it’s changed my baking life! The wood is super light and rolling the tapered edges under my palms feels incredibly intuitive.
3. Good mixing bowls- I have four sets of bowls: glass, metal, melamine and plastic. When you cook and bake as much as I do, you always want to have a clean bowl within arm’s reach (while the pile of dirty bowls keeps growing in the sink behind you).
4. Offset Spatula for frosting cake- I used to use the back side of a steak knife to frost my cakes until I started taking my cake decorating seriously and bought an offset spatula. While my frosting jobs still look pretty amateur, this tool is fairly inexpensive and makes cake decorating so much easier.
5. Nordic Ware Cake Pans– I don’t work at Nordic Ware nor am I affiliated with it in any way so I’m naming the company only because of how much I love it. Their cake pans are amazing. Super sturdy, incredibly well made and they ensure that I have a perfect cake each time. I own two 9 inch round cake pans, one bundt pan and one mini bundt pan. My collection is sure to grow simply because of how beautiful their bundt pan designs are. I want to own all of them!
What about you? Share your Top 5 Kitchen Must Haves in the comments!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you buy a product after clicking on the link, a small portion of the profits will go back to NeighborFood and the other bloggers represented here. Thank you for supporting us!