The Kitchen Tools We're Using and Loving Right Now
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: “You know those days when you make a cup of coffee or tea then get busy and forget about it only to return to a sad, cold mug? This new cup that connects to your phone via bluetooth ensures that you never have a cold cup of Joe again. It rests on a charger when not in use and turns on the second you pick it up. Then on the Ember app, you can decide how hot you want your beverage to be via your personal preference or the preset suggestions. Your drink then stays at that temperature until your very last sip — a truly life-changing experience. While the price tag can seem a little steep, once you give it a try, you will no longer be able to drink out of a regular mug again — it’s that worth it.”
BUY IT! $130, urbanoutfitters.com
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: “You’re probably familiar with Silpat’s silicone mats for baking cookies, but now the company has developed a collection of molds to make mini loafs (pictured), mini and regular-sized muffins, mini fluted cakes and Madeleines. The nonstick, flexible material optimizes heat conduction so every end product is consistently cooked to perfection. Plus, each mold is dishwasher safe!”
BUY IT! $49.95, williams-sonoma.com
Ana Calderone, associate food editor: “All-Clad is known for making pots and pans that are durable, versatile (you can take from the stovetop to the oven seamlessly), and downright beautiful. Though I didn’t think it was possible, the brand managed to make a line even more stunning with the copper collection, sold exclusively at Williams-Sonoma. And the best part is, the 10-piece set, 5-piece set, and this multi-purpose saucier are all currently on sale now. But be warned: Because all copper is susceptible to oxidation, it’s wise to keep some copper cleaner on hand so your cookware can shine for years to come.”
BUY IT! from $199; williams-sonoma.com
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: “Living in an apartment in the city means space is limited — especially in the kitchen. Thankfully, streamlining kitchen tools has never been easier. Potluck sources products directly from the same factories that make equipment for restaurant kitchens so you know each piece is of the highest quality. The site currently offers four different sets, depending on what you’re looking for — like the Essentials Bundle, which includes stainless steel cookware, a knife set, and 12 necessary kitchen utensils like a spatula, grater and colander. Plus, the sets make for a perfect, affordable gift (hello, wedding registry!).”
BUY IT! Starting at $60, cookpotluck.com
Ana Calderone, associate food editor: I’ve tried dozens of blenders but this is my all-time favorite. I love the versatility of it. The big blender is the perfect size for making two or three smoothies, while the travel mugs, which pop right into the base so you can blend and go, are essential for busy mornings. It might look small—perfect for my limited counter space—but it’s still super powerful.
BUY IT: $78; amazon.com
Shay Spence, food editor: “Okay, so truth be told I’m not exactly the ‘juicing’ type—a bacon, egg and cheese is way more my speed. In an attempt at a more balanced diet, though, I got one of these…and I’ve become pretty much obsessed. It gets every last drop of juice out of any fruit or veggie, and you can choose whether you want a fine or coarse strain (I like mine very fine, and this one makes a super smooth juice.) And did I mention the rose color looks gorgeous on just about any countertop? You’ll have to make a lot of use of it to justify the price tag, but that probably won’t be a problem once you get started.
BUY IT! $459; amazon.com
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: I’ll admit the color of this pan is what first caught my eye—who else is tired of grey pots and pans filling their cupboards? But the best part was how evenly it cooked pizza dough. The perforated pan created the perfect crisp (even for cauliflower pizza crust!) and the nonstick design made it super simple for cleaning. Win-win-win!
BUY IT: $15, bedbathandbeyond.com
Ana Calderone, associate food editor: I’ve been wanting to jump on the zoodles (zucchini noodles) train for a while but been unwilling to commit to a clunky countertop spiralizer. This hand-held version is my saving grace. With three different blades you can turn zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, you name it, into ribbons, spaghetti or fettuccini in seconds (seriously, it couldn’t be easier). My favorite is the spaghetti option—I throw the noodles in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes (just until the veggie is softened but not mushy) and toss with some pesto and whatever else I have in the fridge like leftover chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Yum.
BUY IT: $24.95; amazon.com
Sonal Dutt, food & lifestyle director: “I live in a tiny New York City apartment with a teeny-tiny New York City kitchen—so any cooking gadget or tool that enters my door needs to be worth the counter or drawer space it takes up. And this OXO Scoop has certainly earned its keep. It’s called the Coffee Grounds Cleaning Scoop, but don’t let the mono-use name fool you—it’s one of my favorite multi-tasking tools. The long handle and flexible head lets me reach deep into the blender or a Mason jar—and, yes, a coffee press—to scrape out every last bit of food or sauce. Bonus: It’s incredibly easy to clean because food slides right off the silicone.”
BUY IT: $8; amazon.com
Sonal Dutt, food & lifestyle director: I love these heat-resistant spatulas as much for their durable, flexible heads (to get into those tight corners of a pan) as I do for their colorfully quirky designs created by stars like Faith Hill, Jeff Bridges and Alton Brown. (I’m particularly obsessed with Questlove’s hair comb design—c’mon!) The best part: Sold exclusively at Williams-Sonoma, proceeds from sales benefit No Kid Hungry, which aims to end childhood hunger in America. Pictured from left to right: Designs by Kristen Bell, Faith Hill, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka, Giada De Laurentiis, American Girl, Questlove, Jeff Bridges, and Ayesha Curry.
BUY IT: $12.95 each; williams-sonoma.com
Mark Marino, Contributing Editor: Get ready to say bye-bye to bags! This cheery baby gives off no chemical smell, requires no oil—so it’s healthy, right?—and pops 10 cups of corn in about 2 minutes. Just pour in the kernels, close the flaps at the top and let the microwave do the rest. The best part is that the easy-to-clean silicone bowl doesn’t conduct heat, so you won’t need to let it cool down before you dive in. Score!
BUY IT: Microwave Popcorn Popper; $18, amazon.com
Ana Calderone, associate food editor:
I’m a bit of a cupcake fanatic (see here, here, and here). So when I got my hands on this tool my world was kind of rocked. The scoop measures and dispenses the precise amount of batter you need to make a standard-size cupcake. Genius! Though I like to think my creations were pretty perfect to begin with, now I know they are.
BUY IT: $8.95; williams-sonoma.com
Grace Gavilanes, writer-reporter: I’ve been trying to eat healthier these past few months, and this spiralizer makes it all the more easy. While I’m not the best at making the meals I cook look super pretty, this tool does the hard work for me in slicing veggies into spirals — three types, to be exact (Thick Ribbon, Thin Spaghetti, Shoe String). I haven’t been this excited for salads and zucchini spaghetti in a REALLY long time.
BUY IT: $24.99; amazon.com
Ana Calderone, associate food editor: Cherry season is in full swing and I for one am taking full advantage. The only downside to the sweet fruit is eating around those annoying pits, but with this handheld tool, my problem is solved. You simply insert the cherry into the nook, point it at a bowl, pull the trigger and out pops the pit. Not only is it fun to use, it makes cherries that much more fun to eat.
BUY IT! $9.95; williams-sonoma.com
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: There’s nothing better than using effective (and affordable!) kitchen tools and these knives have an added bonus — their super fun, rainbow design. I used the biggest one (with the blue handle) to cut up a watermelon and I was amazed how easy it was to slice right through. Each knife also comes with a plastic shield, making them perfect for transporting to an outdoor picnic when a plastic knife just won’t cut it.
BUY IT: $17.99, walmart.com
Don Kinsella, associate director of photography: I have been fortunate enough to test this in my home for the past few weeks and I say fortunate because this thing really works. It’s easy to use and seems to grind up the coffee really well for my coffee maker. The early mornings are not my best time of day to say the least so the fact that this is easy to use is key. You just pour the beans in the hopper at the top, set your level of grindedness (totally a word) from ultra-fine to extra-coarse, the number of cups you want and press start. It grinds just enough then stops all on its own which is great because I’ve already just about exceeded my pre-coffee level of attentiveness at this point. The only drawback is that it’s loud, but it kind of serves as a bit of an additional wake up call—so I would say this is a winner!
BUY IT! $39.99; amazon.com
Mark Marino, Contributing Editor: Cleaning a skillet is no easy task — at least it wasn’t until now. The Ringer is a sheet of chainmail that acts like an abrisive, easily scrubbing away gunk without stripping the pan’s seasoning. And the best part? It’s safe enough to use on glassware, cookie sheets, casserole dishes and more kitchen cookware!
BUY IT! The Ringer, $14.99; amazon.com
Sonal Dutt, food & lifestyle director: While riding a packed subway last month, the woman beside me leaned over and asked what perfume I was wearing because, according to her, “It smells so amazing.” My response: onions and garlic. This is the life of a food editor—always smelling like whatever concoction of ingredients we’re experimenting with that day. While some fellow commuters may appreciate that distinct eau de garlic, I would rather not have that be my signature scent. (Sidenote: Next time you see me, ask about the day I spent cooking 20 pounds of bacon and had three different guys ask for my number.) That’s why Method’s kitchen gel hand washes are my new kitchen essential—in one wash, it removes almost every food smell I’ve encountered (yes, even onions, garlic and fish). Plus, the gel formula doesn’t dry out my hands like other soaps—which is great for someone like me who’s constantly at the sink. The gels come in four light scents: Basil, Lemongrass, Thyme and (my personal favorite) Clementine.
BUY IT: $3.99 each; target.com
Mark Marino, contributing editor: “I love cold brew coffee because it’s less bitter than regular iced coffee, but spending more than $4 daily for a 20-oz. cup with my name misspelled on it sure adds up to a lot of beans. That’s why I’m buzzed about the Brumi Pour Over & Cold Brew To-Go Bottle, which lets me do my brew inexpensively and effortlessly. I just pour in some water, add 4 tablespoons of coffee to the filter, pour in more water, and let it all steep in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I’ve got a smooth sip that’s ready to carry with me on my commute. The best part is that the Brumi bottle also makes hot coffee, so I can save money year-round and never again have to worry that a barista will hand me a cup that says ‘Mart.’”
Buy It! Brumi Pour Over & Cold Brew To-Go Bottle, $37; food52.com
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: I’ve never been much of a tea drinker until I discovered this portable tea press. You simply put a couple scoops of tea in the bottom of the container (right) then fill it with hot water up to the designated line to allow it to steep. Take the plastic insulator (left) and put it inside the container pressing down so the filter at the bottom allows the water through while the tea is trapped at the bottom. If you want iced tea, add ice to the middle portion of the plastic insulator before inserting and pressing down. Then you’re ready to walk and sip! No messy tea bags or needing to find a trash can to discard.
BUY IT: $35, davidstea.com.
Jessica Fecteau, writer/reporter: This tool completely changed the way I eat an avocado. In seconds, I can safely slice it open, pluck out the pit and scoop out the insides—all without making a mushy mess on my counter. Chef’n’s flexible loop works on any avocado by squeezing the outside to fit its shape, which means I’ll be eating guacamole in no time.
BUY IT: $9.95, surlatable.com
Shay Spence, deputy food editor: In the summer I am all about my charcoal grill, but now that fall is around the corner I’m coming to terms with the fact that most of my grilling will soon be happening indoors. After years of trial and error with grill pans that are either impossible to clean or don’t heat evenly, I’ve finally found one I love. This pan is sturdy yet surprisingly lightweight so it heats up quickly, and gets those perfect grillmarks on meats and veggies for Instagram-worthy food photos. The best part is it’s totally non-stick, which makes cleanup a breeze. It’s a bit on the pricey side, to be sure, but it’s worth the investment for how often you’ll use it — and you won’t need to replace it for many years to come.
BUY IT: $139.95; williams-sonoma.com
Sonal Dutt, food & lifestyle director: Each year, KitchenAid unveils a new limited-edition stand mixer design. And, folks, feast your eyes on this 2017 beauty. The new monochromatic mixer with all-black finishes—including a cast-iron matte black finish, black stainless-steel bowl and all-black accessories—is just oh-so-sleek. Seriously, I feel fabulous just having it on my countertop—even if I don’t actually mix anything in it. (Although, for the record, I made Fixer Upper Chip and Joanna Gaines’ chocolate chip bundt cake recipe last night and, I swear, it looked more chic than any other cake I’ve baked.) The company is only making 500 all-black models, and each one is individually numbered on the trim band so you know it’s official. Not surprisingly, they’re going fast. Stars like Jordin Sparks, Minka Kelly, Kristen Cavallari and Tamron Hall have all requested models, too.
BUY IT: $999; kitchenaid.com
Maria Yagoda, writer-reporter: If you’re like me, you buy bottles of wine under $10 when you’re trying to stick to a budget (or plan on making a giant vat of sangria.) Using an aerator, a devise through which you pour your wine into the glass, actually improves the wine’s flavor. We swear its powers can even work onthe $5.99 bottle of pinot noir that’s been gathering dust in your cabinet.
BUY IT: $13 each; amazon.com
Elliot Stokes, deputy art director: My leftovers look good in these colorful nesting containers. Perfect for smaller spaces, the 6-piece set features snap-together lids and are microwave safe.
BUY IT: $35, store.moma.org
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