From expensive mixers to fancy dishes, it’s hard to know which products are really worth their price – and which are not. Whether it’s high-end juicers or bestselling kitchen gadgets, we try to get to the bottom of what is worth spending and what is not.
“I’m generally skeptical of most kitchen appliances,” said Greg Parker, founder of Dabble Eats, who appeared on Food Network. “Some can be time-saving, but many are forgotten in about a month and take up valuable counter and storage space.”
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen with groundbreaking new tools, buy a gift for a foodie buddy, or just want to treat yourself to something new to cook with, we’ve rounded up 17 award-winning kitchen tools for you from. All of these have been recommended by people who cook for a living, have performed on cooking shows, or have been researched and tested by us.
“The Vitamix mixer is an indispensable workhorse in the kitchen. I use it for soups, sauces, purees and smoothies, ”says Parker. “It’s so time-saving and easy to clean. The basic models are powerful enough for the everyday hobby cook. ”
Turboblend 3-Speed Blender ($ 399.95; vitamix.com)
Turboblend 3-stage mixer
This blender features three low, medium, and high speed controls to create a range of textures, while the Pulse feature provides a quick boost of power to shredding ingredients so you can chop up soups and smoothies, as well as veggies, with this handy tool.
750 Series Professional Blender ($ 599.95; vitamix.com)
750 series professional blender
For professionals, this mixer offers five program settings: smoothies, hot soups, dips and spreads, frozen desserts and self-cleaning. This pre-eminent machine makes food preparation quick, easy, and consistent, which is tremendous when you are on a mission to improve your diet.
Rise 3300 blender ($ 549.95; vitamix.com)
Rise 3300 mixer
This powerful mixer is high-tech and has an integrated programmable timer and a practical pulse function, both of which are accessible via the mixer’s touchscreen. It also has a motor base that adapts mixing times to the container size you are using, and the ability to pair it with the Vitamix Perfect Blend app, which includes 17 programs and over 500 recipes.
However, Sabrina V., Founder of Discover Vegans, suggests looking at other blenders if you are on a budget and says, “There are just other more affordable alternatives out there. A Vitamix is a great mixer, but you can find other mixers that do the job for less! ”
See the best blenders for every budget
Instant Pot Ace Nova Cooking Mixer ($ 109.98; walmart.com)
Instant Pot Ace Nova Cooking Mixer
Instant Pot, the company best known for its multi-function pressure cooker that has taken the internet by storm, also makes a blender, and it’s the perfect budget buy for just $ 109. The mixer can cook food directly in the glass bowl with a heating element. You can cook, puree and boil soups. There are also three manual speeds for general mixing.
Both Parker and Sabrina agree that good knives are worth the investment.
“A high quality chef’s knife will be your best friend in the kitchen. Not only does it make cutting and chopping easier and more enjoyable, but it’s also much safer, ”says Parker. “A really sharp knife helps to develop the right knife skills and to limit possible accidents.”
Misono chef’s knife, 8-inch ($ 95; amazon.com)
Misono chef’s knife, 8 inches
An 8-inch knife is the cornerstone of any kitchen, and this Misono version (one of Parker’s Picks and an editorial favorite) is one of the best knives you can get for the price. You’ll find the Misono is almost perfectly weighted and spicy, and it cuts neatly through the toughest vegetables.
JA Henckels Classic Paring Knife, 4-inch black / stainless steel ($ 85; amazon.com)
JA Henckels Classic Paring Knife, 4 inch black / stainless steel
With 5-star ratings across the board, it’s no surprise this classic paring knife has been an integral part of our cuisine for a decade. Perfect for slicing garlic, chopping fruit and cheese, and removing blemishes, you will find hundreds of uses for this little powerhouse.
Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony Pakka Wood Handle ($ 159.95; amazon.com)
Shun Classic 8-inch chef’s knife with VG-MAX cutting core and ebony pakka wood handle
Another recommendation from Parker, this beautiful Shun chef’s knife is well worth the money. It’s made from an exclusive Shun steel formula with added tungsten for a sharper edge, more chrome for corrosion resistance, and additional cobalt and carbon for strength and durability.
Wüsthof Whetstone Sharpener ($ 39.95; amazon.com)
Wüsthof whetstone sharpener
The most important thing about good knives is that you need to keep them sharp. We have been using this whetstone at home for over a year and no longer have to take our knives with us to be sharpened by a professional. Just soak the stone in water before sharpening and use long, gentle strokes.
You can find more recommended knives here
Most home cooks have a couple of cutting boards on hand – what better way to make a cheese and sausage board? But did you know that a quality cutting board can cut your prep time and make meal preparation easier?
Parker explains, “One item that is often overlooked is a high quality cutting board. The right board allows me to spread out and have multiple items at the same time. You need something as big as your space allows. A nice board can also be left out at any time and increase the feeling of your kitchen space. ”
John Boo’s 18-inch-by-18-inch cutting board ($ 226.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Bed bath in addition
John Boo’s 18-inch-by-18-inch cutting board
“Maple is the perfect material for your cutting board – hard enough to stand, but not hard enough to affect the sharpness of your knives. Boos is a standard when it comes to brands, ”says Parker.
John Boos Boos Block Reversible Maple Cutting Board ($ 146.95; wayfair.com)
John Boos Boos Block indexable cutting board made of maple wood
This version is perfect for smaller spaces and has handles so you can easily move them around your room.
Ironwood Gourmet 28218 Square Charleston End Grain Chef’s Board, acacia wood ($ 47.59; amazon.com)
Ironwood Gourmet 28218 Square Charleston End Grain Cooking Board, Acacia Wood
Another gorgeous option, this acacia wood cutting board will do the job. We have used this brand at home and in the test kitchen for many years, and these boards will take a lot. The harder acacia wood is a little less gentle on your knife blades, but not so much that you should rule it out.
Mevell food grade mineral oil for cutting boards ($ 9.99, amazon.com)
Mevell food grade mineral oil for cutting boards
You never want to soak your cutting boards and blocks or put them in the dishwasher. Wipe them off and use food grade mineral oil like Mevell to keep them from drying out.
“I can’t live without my cast iron pan,” Sabrina told us, and while you might think cast irons are great for cooking steaks and other meats, they’re also great for vegan and vegetarian dishes like enchiladas, stews, and chilies.
Lodge Preseasoned Cast Iron Pan with Assist Handle Holder ($ 43.02; amazon.com)
Lodge upstream cast iron pan with auxiliary handle holder
If you can’t snag your grandma’s old cast iron, this highly rated pan is the next best thing. It is pre-seasoned deep enough to fry cauliflower or chicken, has a nice large pouring spout and comes with a handle holder for safety.
While there are many things that are a lot better when you spend a little more, there are plenty of little kitchen gadgets you can buy for a lot less.
Belugahots Silicone Spatulas, 5-pack ($ 9.95; amazon.com)
Belugahots silicone spatula, pack of 5
“A mini spatula is one of those items that has been used a million times,” says Parker. Scrape off bowls and containers to make sure you get all of your batter or sauce, mix and stir something quickly. You won’t know how you survived without one. ”This five-pack will keep you fit for a while!
Cuisinart Mini Silicone Pastel Spatula Set ($ 7.99; target.com)
Cuisinart MINI 3-piece silicone pastel spatula set
This colorful mini set from Cuisinart is perfect for every kitchen and every baker’s dream for bringing dough into small cups and more.
HaSteeL Stainless Steel Dough Bank Scraper Pastry Cutter ($ 9.99; amazon.com)
HaSteeL Stainless Steel Dough Bank Scraper Cookie Cutter
“A bench scraper is becoming one of your most common items,” says Parker. “From transferring items from your cutting board to your pots and pans to tidying up your work area, a table scraper has a multitude of uses.”
Five Two Ultimate Baking Tool Set ($ 49; food52.com)
Five Two Ultimate Baking Tool Set
This editor’s favorite set – we love the gorgeous silicone handles – comes with four tools supposedly for baking, but you’ll use the brush for basting and the scraper for everything from cleaning up leftovers to slicing bread.
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