It’s that time of year where I find myself spending more time in the kitchen. There’s soup to throw on the stove regularly and roasts to put in the oven. There’s all manner of holiday baking and of course we’re making batch after batch of addictive spiced nuts.
I’m grateful for the tools that help me create great meals that don’t take all day and for the ones that are a part of our morning rhythms. All this baking and cooking had me thinking about what other people consider to be their kitchen must-haves and I thought you might be curious about mine.
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I use mine all the time because it’s easy to get out, easy to clean, and easy to put away. They come in stainless steel and all kinds of pretty colors. I use mine to purée soups and sauces, make homemade mayo, whip cream, blend hummus, mix pancake batter, and more.
These heirloom-quality pots are gorgeous, versatile, and really freaking expensive. I resisted getting one—even on someone else’s dime; mine was a generous gift—because of that, but I use it five days a week in the winter. Friends swear by Lodge, if you’re looking for something less expensive.
I know I go on and on about these but they truly are amazing. I use the recipe from from Vivian Howard’s cookbook, This Will Make It Taste Good, and follow her method EXACTLY. They’re inexpensive to make (though pricey at the store), wonderful to have on hand, and make a great gift.
This was a Black Friday impulse buy a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. It makes it so darn easy to make chicken stock, braised vegetables, hard-boiled eggs (that I can actually peel!), pots of beans, and cauliflower soup without me having to babysit the stove. It also helps me put healthy meals on the table, faster.
From year to year, I forget how magical it is to have big planters filled with fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, and basil just out my kitchen door.
I have my cherished go-to cookbooks, of course. I’ve also been working my way through Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Vivian Howard’s This Will Make It Taste Good: A New Path to Simple Cooking.
This HIC Lasagna Pan has served me well for years. We have two and use them constantly.
I used to only use this to line my pans for baked goods, while sticking to foil for roasting meats and veggies. But I stopped reaching for foil altogether a while back because I like the parchment results better. (We get ours from Grove; this is my referral link and it gets new customers a free gift set and free shipping on their first order.)
A reader alerted me to the existence of parchment paper baking sheets, which make it even easier!
Chipotle peppers in adobo.
I love just a dash of these for adding smoke and heat to countless recipes. We buy them canned; then keep them in the freezer for easy access. The frozen peppers are a cinch to chop.
A good knife will transform your relationship with cooking. This was a Cooks Illustrated recommendation years ago, and (bonus!) it costs just half what other top-rated brands do.
In the summer, I tend to eat some kind of salad for lunch everyday. A salad is better in the right bowl, and I’m so glad a kind friend gave me these pretty and functional salad bowls. My kids love them, too.
When it comes to serving those salads, I use ones from local company Louisville Stoneware. They have the perfect options.
Better Than Bouillon.
I first learned about this from a chef friend; it is MAGIC. I used to be a homemade chicken stock purist, but I became a convert a couple of years ago when I was halfway through making a big batch of lentil soup and realized we were out of stock and I didn’t have time to make more. I subbed in Better Than Bouillon, and the results were so good I’ve never looked back.
I get mine at Costco but more flavors are available online.
This is a trick because I don’t love my current scale, even though I brew my daily coffee by weight and vastly prefer weighing to measuring when baking. If you have one you LOVE, please tell me about it in the comments?
I use these small bowls from Target for meal prep, snacks, dips, condiments, and even the occasional art project.
After making coffee with the pour-over method for years, Will and I bought a very nice coffee maker as a pandemic gift to ourselves. We love our Moccamaster! Trusted sources told us it brewed pour-over quality coffee in three mostly hands-off minutes. They were right.
I program this to heat automatically a few minutes before I wake up. It’s such a little thing, but it makes it so much easier to get out of bed on cold, dark mornings. It heats the water fast, and then it keeps it hot for a full hour. We’re basically always ready to pour a cup of tea.
I love discovering new spices and seasonings—they give new life and interest to familiar dishes. These are the latest fun and inexpensive addition to our culinary repertoire.
Will and I stumbled upon this unusual travel “mug” at a Southern coffee shop and instantly fell in love. The Keep Cup is glass, which makes it easy to wash, and it doesn’t retain that coffee smell or taste. I’ve had mine for years now and it’s still working great.
I also love my Drink Tank. I started using it for cinnamon tea (I love Harney & Sons hot cinnamon spice), and now it smells so strongly of cinnamon that I don’t use it for anything else. But that’s okay, because in cold weather I am more than happy with the cinnamon.
What are your kitchen must-haves? Please share which items you can’t cook or bake without in the comments.