We all know we need to cook more—it’s healthier, cheaper, and just generally better for you. That being said, sometimes it’s hard to get yourself in the kitchen to whip up a nice meal when you’re tired from a full day of work and parenting (or a long day of relaxing, we don’t judge). Fortunately, thanks to the power of Amazon, we’ve discovered an array of cooking tools and accessories that make us excited to get back in front of the stove to create some culinary delights.
1. Give yourself an extra hand (or two) in the kitchen.
A good set of tongs is like having an extra set of hands when you’re cooking, and with these Polar Pantry tongs, you get double the help for the price of a single pair. These tongs have turquoise silicone-tipped points, which means they won’t scratch your bakeware, dinnerware, or delicate wooden or ceramic dishes. Make easy work of flipping meat and poultry, tossing salads, mixing pasta with sauce, grabbing hot things out of the oven, and wilting greens—all while adding a stylishly bright pop of color to your kitchenware!
2. Discover a new use for beeswax and eliminate the need for plastic wrap.
Give these delightfully twee beeswax wraps from Beetome a try and feel good about saving the bees and helping the environment at the same time. Designed to adhere directly to food and to seal leftovers in containers, these wraps work best when they’re at room temperature (when they’re at their most malleable). Naturally anti-mold and antibacterial, beeswax wrap can be rinsed with cold water and used repeatedly. Beeswax wrap can be used to preserve all kinds of foods, but since it’s a highly breathable substance, it’s particularly effective when used to wrap cheese in place of plastic wrap or cheese paper for storage.
3. Stop horsing around with pasta measurements.
Cooking too much pasta seems to be a universal problem, especially if you’re trying to make pasta for one or two people. This whimsical little pasta measurer couldn’t be easier to use and it lets you know exactly how much dry pasta is needed based on the number of people eating. Plus, the more you use this little gadget, the more likely you’ll be able to eyeball pasta measurements (although you may find yourself reaching for the I Could Eat A Horse pasta measurer out of sheer appreciation for its cuteness). Capable of measuring up to four portions of spaghetti, this adorable measuring tool also comes in a T-Rex-themed version (perfect for any dinosaur and pasta-loving people in your life).
4. An Extra-Safe Mandoline for All Your Slicing Needs
If you’ve ever wondered how food bloggers and stylists get their veggies looking picture-perfect, the answer is (drumroll please) a mandoline slicer. This affordable mandoline slicer is a particularly impressive model thanks to its numerous safety features and the fact that it will drastically cut-down (get it?) on prep time. With three interchangeable stainless steel blades, this mandoline can grate, slice, and julienne with ease. This deluxe set includes a spiralizer, a cheese grater, a straight blade, a julienne blade, and a cut-resistant glove (mandolines have infamously razor-sharp blades). Use this mandoline slicer from Prep Naturals to make homemade coleslaws and other chopped salads, quick pickles, crudites, homemade vegetable chips, grain bowls, ramen dishes, and pie fillings.
5. A Kitchen Timer That Keeps On Ticking
If you’ve ever used your phone as a cooking timer, you’ve probably also had the misfortune of not hearing the alarm on your phone go off, leaving you with an overcooked, inedible waste of food that had to be thrown out. Avoid future kitchen disasters with this stainless steel kitchen time from LEMEGO, a mechanical timer that doesn’t require batteries or a power outlet to work. Made of attractive durable stainless steel, this timer can be set for any amount of time between 0 and 60 minutes and has an alarm that’s loud enough to be heard in another room.
6. A Super Stack of Super Useful Items
Consolidate the contents of your cupboard with this impressive stack of nesting baking essentials from Vremi. This 13-piece set contains a large mixing bowl with a non-skid bottom, a colander, a fine-mesh sieve, a bowl with a pouring spout, measuring cups, and a standalone keyring of measuring spoons (all measuring equipment is marked with both imperial and metric increments). Made of BPA-free, dishwasher-safe sturdy plastic, this nesting stack of versatile culinary equipment will save valuable kitchen space (as well as all the money needed to buy the pieces individually). Looking for gift ideas? This nesting set is a natural for weddings, first apartments, and new homeowners.
7. An Elegant Bento Box For Everyday Use
There are many benefits to bringing your own lunch to work; it’s easier on the wallet, gives you far more healthy options, and reduces the waste inherent to pre-packaged foods. You’re a mature adult with sophisticated taste and it’s officially time to leave the brown bags behind and graduate to this stylish bento box from GRUB2GO. Composed of two leak-proof sections that are perfectly sized for healthy portions, this bento is microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe. This bento box also comes with a single set of utensils, an elastic strap to prevent potential leaks, and an e-book featuring plenty of bento inspiration to get you started.
8. This Cheerful Set of Blue Mugs
Looking for some flower power in the kitchen? These beautifully patterned mugs are a surefire way to serve some much-needed cheer and warmth on early mornings before work. Whether you’re a fan of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or matcha (hello gorgeous!), these mugs are elegant enough for company but also casual enough for everyday use. For best results, handwash these Nicola Spring patterned mugs with a mild detergent and a non-abrasive cloth to maintain their vibrant color and keep them free from accidental chips and breakage.
9. A 3-Pack of Knives You’ll Want to Use All the Time
If you already own a chef’s knife and a serrated knife, this compact 3-piece knife set from Ecotony will complete your inventory of necessary cutlery (just remember to keep them sharpened). This set includes a paring knife, a peeling knife, and a longer utility knife; the bright green handles add a pop of color to your knife collection and are ergonomically designed for easy use. Don’t underestimate the importance of small knives! They can be used to peel and finely dice stringy vegetables, remove the seeds from tomatoes, slice cheese and charcuterie for a cheeseboard, and most importantly, they’re an essential tool for recreating Chef Jacques Pépin’s lion teeth and tiny pigs from lemons at home.
10. Get your caffeine fix at home for a fraction of the cost.
In case you’re a millennial and haven’t heard, your out of control coffee spending habits (and affinity for avocado toast) are ruining any chances you might have of future financial success. But don’t panic, this Bodum’s for you! Less expensive, easier to use, and faster than an electronic coffee maker, a French press is a fantastic way to drink as much coffee as you’d like without putting a significant dent in your wallet (or retirement savings). This particular Bodum makes 34 ounces of coffee (or loose tea) which is the perfect amount for two people (or, if you’re like me, one caffeine lover).
11. A Sheet Pan That Can Do It All
Buy one, two, or even three of these incredibly useful Bellemain sheet pans for your kitchen and get ready to use them for all kinds of kitchen projects. Made from extra-strong aluminum, these sheet pans evenly distribute heat and won’t warp (a common problem with too-thin baking sheets). These sheet pans aren’t non-stick, so you’ll need to make sure they’ve been greased or lined with a Silpat, parchment paper, or aluminum foil before using. These rimmed pans are ideal for sheet pan dinners, whole chicken and other large cuts of meats, cookies, meringues, bars, broiled or baked fish, and roasted vegetables.
12. A Hand Blender That Fits In Your Kitchen Drawer
The season of comforting, creamy soups is almost upon us, and this powerful little hand blender from OXA Smart will help the soup-making process go that much smoother. Forget waiting until your unblended soup has cooled down before messily transferring it to a regular, stand-up blender and switch to pureeing ingredients directly in the stockpot. This hand blender can also work its magic with individual smoothies, makes quick work of pesto, and whips up a delicious chunky salsa or tomato sauce in seconds. This hand blender also comes with a whisk attachment, which means you can give your arms a rest the next time you make whipped cream, meringue, or hollandaise sauce.
13. A Surprising Kitchen Tool the Professionals Swear By
Anyone who works in a professional kitchen will tell you the importance of having a dry side towel (or two) handy at all times. Side towels can be used to maintain a strong grip, grab hot handles and dishes, and dry your hands. Several years ago, I had an accident involving a dull knife and an uneven cutting board that resulted in several stitches on my middle finger; I now take the precaution of placing a damp kitchen towel under the cutting board to prevent slippage (and I keep my knives sharp). These basic flour-sack kitchen towels from Utopia Kitchen can also be used to dry and store greens (gently roll up and store in the crisper), to tidy up portioned food before serving, and for general kitchen cleaning.
14. Protect yourself from burns with these extra-long oven mitts.
Made from flexible silicone that’s heat-resistant up to 450 degrees, these oven mitts will protect your skin from burns if you’re removing food from a hot oven, grabbing multiple scalding dishes at once, barbecuing, or draining large pots of steaming pasta. Lined with a quilted cotton-polyester blend and available in seven different colors to suit any taste (or kitchen color scheme), these extra-long mitts are a wise investment for any home cook. To clean, remove the cloth lining, hand wash, and hang to dry; the silicone shell can be easily washed in the dishwasher.
15. Show off your colorful side with this whimsical serving tray.
With its bright chevron pattern, this serving platter from French Bull will add a funky pop of vivid color to any dinner party. Made from scratch- and shatter-resistant melamine, this tray is perfect for people who seemingly break dishes just by looking at them (not that I would know anything about that), so go ahead and use this tray outdoors if you’re barbecuing, camping, or having a picnic. If you’re looking for the full psychedelically patterned dishware experience, French Bull also makes appetizer dishes, soft cheese and dip spreaders, and serving spoons.
16. Make muffins and more with this versatile tin.
Baking is definitely not my favorite thing (at least, having to do the baking itself, I obviously love eating baked goods) but I use my muffin tins ALL. THE. TIME. Some of my favorite uses include making miniature versions of the following entrees: crustless quiche, meatloaf, lasagna, shepherd’s pie, and vegetable gratin. I also use my muffin tins to hard boil eggs for a crowd, make puff pastry or egg roll wrapper appetizer nests, and set frozen yogurt bites with granola. This muffin tin from USA Pan is coated with Americoat non-stick silicone coating, which also happens to be PTFE, PFOA and BPA free. Treat this muffin tin like you would any non-stick product, using a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth and mild detergent to clean.
17. Use this mat to protect yourself when standing.
If you’re like me and you spend a significant amount of time standing in the kitchen, an anti-fatigue mat is one piece of equipment your entire body will thank you for. This NewLife anti-fatigue mat is five-eighths of an inch thick and made from non-skid ergonomic foam, which provides support for your feet, calves, hips, and back while you’re preparing food or doing the dishes. Those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen will also advise wearing supportive shoes (there’s actually a good reason why professional cooks wear Crocs and it has nothing to do with controversial fashion choices). When you’re working, make sure you move around as much as possible—even gentle foot and leg movements help with blood circulation and muscle soreness.
18. Catch the cast iron wave.
One of the most useful pieces of cookware of all time, cast iron pans can be used to roast meat and vegetables, make Dutch pancakes, frittatas, and paella, and are quite possibly the absolute best tool for reheating pizza ever. At 12” in diameter, this pre-seasoned Calphalon cast iron pan is the right size for almost any kitchen project. Cast iron cookware can last a lifetime, so it’s important to take good care of your skillet by following proper cleaning, seasoning, and storage protocol.
19. The Only Non-Stick Product You’ll Ever Need
There’s a reason that Silpat’s non-stick baking mats are beloved by professional chefs and bakers all over the world: They’re durable, reliable, and can withstand an impressive range of temperatures (from -40 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit). Made from food-grade silicone, Silpat baking mats eliminate the need for parchment paper, aluminum foil, and greasing agents such as oil or cooking spray. Whether you’re baking chicken breasts, broiling fish, roasting vegetables, or baking cookies, Silpat non-stick mats will prevent the frustrating problem of stuck-on foods. Silpat mats can be cleaned with hot soapy water, or do as I do and wash them upright in the dishwasher propped up between some tall plates or cutting boards.
20. A Cute Apron for Every Body
If you’ve ever splattered tomato sauce all over the front of a favorite white shirt or doused your black pants in flour, you’ll appreciate this functional and adorable option from DII. Made from 100 percent machine-washable cotton and available in several different patterns and colors, this apron has extra-long 36” straps, making it a great fit for almost everybody (literally). Fans of matching kitchen accessories will be pleased to discover that DII offers the same prints across a wide variety of products, including tea towels, tablecloths, and oven mitts.
21. The Magical Dishwand That Will Make Kitchen Cleanup a Snap
I freely admit there was a time when I doubted the total awesomeness of Scotch-Brite dishwands. How life-changing can a sponge on a dish soap-filled handle really be? As it turns out, very. Is hand-washing dishes easier and more efficient? Absolutely (although a word to the wise, sticky melted cheese can quickly ruin a dishwand, so let it cool and peel it off the dish before washing). After the dishes are done, you can use the dishwand to scrub your sink. Sprinkle baking soda over the sink first for a deep clean. These dishwands aren’t strictly for the kitchen. I like to fill the extra handle with equal parts dish soap and white vinegar and use it as a shower and tub cleaner, too. The dishwand can be left in the shower and used to quickly give the area a once-over every other day or so, and this can also be repeated in the bathroom sink and along the countertops—just wipe any soap residue away with a damp towel.
22. A Knife Sharpener That Does It All
There are many good reasons to keep your knife blades sharp, but according to the American Knife & Tool Institute, safety should be your first priority, “Sharp blades are actually safe blades. It takes less energy to make a cut with a sharp blade.” If your knives are in really rough shape, it’s wise to take them to the professionals for an initial sharpening, but after that, you can keep up the maintenance with this easy-to-use sharpener from TIDALY. This ergonomically designed sharpener has a non-stick cushion on its base, making it extra-safe to use for at-home sharpenings. The three different sharpening slots are meant to be used in succession; the first slot works to repair and straighten blades, the second slot helps maintain shape, and the third slot is meant to give the blade a final polish.
23. A Humble Microplane (That Can Do Almost Anything)
Use this coarse microplane to finely grate aromatics or to rub them into a thick paste (this is especially useful when making salad dressings, marinades, and stir-fry sauces). The fine teeth on this microplane can work its magic on entire lemons, limes, and any other citrus fruits in under 30 seconds, leaving you with delicate ribbons of pungent, pith-free zest. What else can you do with a microplane? For starters, you can shave chocolate directly onto desserts and hot drinks, grate a miniscule amount of fresh nutmeg over cheese sauces, and offer the tableside experience of freshly grated hard cheese the next time it’s pasta night.
24. The Tumbler Most Trusted By Restaurants
A restaurant industry darling for decades, Duralex is the original inventor of tempered glass (tempered glass is 2.5 times stronger than regular glass and if it does break, the pieces are rounded and less likely to cause an accident). I can personally testify to the strength of these glasses, having dropped them numerous times onto my stone kitchen floor only to have them bounce right back, free of any chips. Duralex glasses are also non-porous, which means they’re less likely to harbor bacteria and lingering smells. Safe for the microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator, these chic tumblers are also resistant to thermal shock (which means you don’t have to worry as much about pouring ice-cold water into a still-hot glass straight from the dishwasher).
25. Use this holder to keep your place and prop up recipes.
We’ve all been there, carefully following a recipe from a beloved recipe book only to have the book snap shut mid-instruction. Instead of overextending the spine and marking the pages with food-stained hands, let this recipe holder from Greenco do the work for you (ditto for following recipes on your iPad or tablet). Made of lightweight bamboo, this attractive holder folds into a compact rectangle and can be filed away with cutting boards and lids when it’s not in use. If the stand itself bears a few cake batter casualties, it can be washed with warm water and a gentle dish detergent.
26. A Beautiful Teapot With a Built-In Infuser
If you love a good morning or afternoon cuppa, this beautiful teapot will add a touch of elegance to your teatime ritual. Rather than having to fiddle with tea balls and strainers, this teapot from Hiware has a stainless steel infuser built directly into the pot. While this teapot can technically go through the dishwasher on the top rack, the manufacturer recommends hand-washing whenever possible to prevent breakage (although this teapot does come with a two-year warranty). As a collector of gourmet loose teas, this gorgeous teapot has brewed countless comforting cups of tea for myself and my guests. For a super-special treat, I’ll brew some of my very special (and very pricey) British Rose Pouchong tea, a delicate floral blend that is rumored to have been a favorite of Princess Diana’s.
27. Get your groove on while you’re cooking.
While technically not a kitchen appliance, this sleek little Bluetooth speaker from Anker gets a ton of use while I’m cooking. Available in five different colors and finishes, I’m always grateful for some auditory entertainment when I’m doing dishes or cooking, especially when I’m tending to time-consuming dishes like risotto, ratatouille, and prep for stir-fries. When I’m not getting inspired by The Kitchen Sisters Present podcast from Radiotopia (or any other of my favorite entertaining foodie podcasts) I listen to audiobooks, music, and guided mindfulness exercises.
28. This retro-chic pitcher is perfect for iced tea.
Have you been keeping an eye out for a vintage-inspired pitcher with modern-day features? Look no further than this 68-ounce diamond pattern glass jug, which can safely hold liquids up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (meaning ice tea can be made directly in the pitcher with boiling water—no more waiting around for 24-hour cold brew). If you’re a fan of big-batch cocktails containing plenty of fresh fruit, herbs, and ice cubes, this pitcher from JCPKitchen will allow you to serve concoctions of all kinds in style thanks to its filtered mouth (you can also flip the top up so the pitcher’s wide open).
29. Serve cheese in style (and with minimal crumbling).
Cheese and charcuterie boards are definitely having a moment thanks to social media, and this serving kit from Proper Goods will have you rushing to the nearest deli or cheese shop to make your own. While the whole chalk-on-slate look has been popular for the past couple of years, there’s actually a very practical reason why chalk labels are preferable to upright cheese labels: Sticking a cheese flag into a crumbly piece of fromage will likely cause the entire block to collapse. Large enough to accommodate three to four pieces of cheese plus additional accouterments, this kit also makes a thoughtful gift for your cheese-loving friends.
30. Toaster Bags
If you’ve ever come across the popular grilled cheese hack on social media that involves melting cheese on bread with the toaster tipped sideways and felt tempted to try it, don’t. Instead, buy a 12-pack of toaster bags from Kitchemy and make as many toaster-grilled sandwiches as you’d like! Each non-stick bag can be reused up to 50 times and—in addition to making grilled sandwiches—can also be leveraged when heating up leftovers in the toaster, microwave, toaster oven, or panini maker as they can withstand heat up to 500 degrees.
31. Get your pantry in order with these sleek bag clips.
Say goodbye to that ever-expanding collection of stray rubber bands you’ve been using to secure bags and say hello to these sleek stainless steel clips from DanziX. Stale chips, spilled coffee grounds, and exploding bags of not-quite-sealed rice will be a thing of the past when you have a collection of these clips handy. I also like to use these all-purpose clips to keep newer or not-as-frequently used recipe books open to the correct page (while they’re propped up on my foldable stand). With many reviewers saying these are the best clips ever invented, there’s no reason to rely on iffy closure methods any longer!
32. Discover a magnetic method for organizing your spices.
One of the best kitchen storage solutions ever invented, these magnetic spice tins from Nosiva are a godsend for spice storage. Not only do the magnetic tins keep your spices tidy, but they also help prevent accidental overstock (I’m currently guilty of having four bags of ground cumin in my cupboards at this very moment). With 96 pre-printed spice labels and 24 blank labels for custom blends and rare spices, this kit will forever change the way you organize your herbs and spices. These tins can also be used outside of the kitchen and are ideal for storing small office supplies and toiletries (stick them to magnetic surfaces such as filing cabinets or the back of your medicine cabinet).
33. Never deal with too-cold butter again.
Trying to spread ice-cold butter on toast is one of life’s greatest frustrations (okay, not really, but it is annoying). You can keep your butter at room temperature without worrying about spoilage thanks to these charming butter dishes from Sweese. They’re available in six vibrant hues and are sealed with a beautiful beechwood lid (which also doubles as a small cutting board). While this butter dish is meant to keep butter at room temperature, it can also be used to store blocks of firm cheese in the refrigerator.
34. A Cleaning Concentrate That Smells Like Heaven
I’ll be honest, the first time I bought this Mrs. Meyer’s multi-surface cleaner it was 100 percent because it was basil-scented, which is something that’s hard to find in perfume and beauty products, let alone cleaning supplies. This multi-purpose cleaner doesn’t quite replicate the smell of actual fresh basil but it does smell wonderful: faintly sweet, herbaceous, and clean. This cleaner is a concentrate, so you’ll need to mix 1 gallon of water with a fourth cup of cleaning solution (or make just enough to fill these pretty and reusable spray bottles). It’s safe for most surfaces including hardwood, laminate, granite, countertops, and bathroom tiling—as long as they’ve been sealed. Keep in mind that although this cleaner contains ingredients with natural antibacterial properties, it isn’t actually considered an antibacterial spray.
35. Keep everything nice and neat (including the kitchen sink).
Buying a sink caddy may not seem like the most exciting purchase in the world, but trust me when I say that this little gadget will instantly declutter your kitchen sink area (and look good while it’s working). This OXO Good Grips caddy sits right on top of your counter and can hold sponges, dishwands, scrub brushes, and a narrow dish soap dispenser. If you have larger items to store, the divider insert can easily be removed to make extra room. Best of all, there is a small reservoir underneath the caddy where water can drain off, which will extend the life of sponges while keeping unpleasant odors at bay.
36. A Cute Set of Multi-Purpose Ramekins
If you’ve ever ordered crème brûlée from a restaurant, chances are it was served in a ramekin, a small ceramic dish that can withstand the high heat of an oven and the force of a culinary blow torch. These pretty little Lifver 5-ounce ramekins are dishwasher safe and ideal for home cooks looking to try their hands at a classic homemade brûlée. Ramekins are great to have on hand for mise en place (a French culinary term that means “everything in its place”) when you’re cooking at home, especially for minced aromatics. Ramekins can also be used to neatly display dips, jellies, and mustards on cheese and charcuterie boards.
37. A Food Processor With All the Power (and Half of the Size)
There’s no denying the impact a food processor can have in the kitchen: They can chop, mince, pulse, and blend ingredients quickly and without very much effort on the cook’s behalf. They can, however, take up plenty of kitchen counter real estate. This little 3-cup food processor from Hamilton Beach gives you the best of both worlds: powerful chopping action without a too-large size or extra-heavy base. When not in use, this compact food processor can be stowed away with all of its parts. And while we’re on the topic of parts, the food processor bowl, blade, and lid are all dishwasher safe.