You don’t need a lot of gear to cook. Truth be told, you can feed a big family just fine relying on nothing but the basics. As you spend more time in the kitchen, though, you begin to notice things that can use improvement. You can’t help but think how your chopping board dulls your knife a bit too much. Or how it’s annoying that making a single dish can leave you with a pile of dirty pans and dishes.
When you’re at that point, it may be time to start thinking of improving the quality of the time you spend in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are many simple upgrades you can make to bring improvements to your overall experience. Here are some of them.
Steelmade Flat Top
If you do most of your stovetop cooking on a pan, chances are, you’ll have an easier time just doing that cooking on a giant griddle. That’s exactly what Steelmade makes – giant griddles that go on top of 30-inch stoves, allowing you to saute, stir-fry, pan-grill, sear, and do all the other things you will do on a regular pan or skillet. Except… you know, with a giant cooking surface, so you can cook them all at the same time. Fry eggs on one corner, make toast on the other, and crisp up some bacon all within the same time frame. Heck, you can even make pancakes and heat some leftover chicken in the fridge while you’re at it. It’s incredibly convenient.
It’s designed for spot-cleaning, too, so you just add water on the surface while it’s hot, scrape any bits of food into the drain holes, let it dry, and wipe a thin coat of oil on top for seasoning, so it’s ready for the next batch of food you’re cooking. The main downside is the fact that it’s so large, it’s annoying to take it off when you need to use the stove for other types of cooking. Beyond that, it’s a great upgrade to any kitchen where pans and skillets get the most mileage.
No-Trax Sani-Tuff Rubber Chopping Board
Wooden cutting boards are pretty. Plastic ones can be very practical (and even funny). For best results, though, it’s a good idea to ditch both in favor of rubber chopping boards, like this half-inch thick model from No-Trax. Made of high-density antimicrobial rubber, it weighs a substantial 3.2 pounds, so it prevents warping as well as most wooden boards, while the rubber material absorbs knife strokes without fighting back, so it does no damage to the edge of your knife.
You know how chopping boards look downright ugly after a while with knife cuts all over? With a rubber cutting board, you can just sand the surface and get a pristine-looking board once again. Only catch is, they require hand washing, so you’ll have to pick up the sponge for a bit.
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Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
Those bubbly pizza crusts you get from wood-fired ovens is impossible to recreate with anything but actual wood-fired ovens, so you need one of those Ooni ovens in your backyard. If you want to keep all your cooking indoors, though, Breville’s specialty pizza oven is the next best thing. While it still won’t quite give you that dead-on Neapolitan pizza look every time, its 750 degree Fahrenheit temperature will get you close enough better than any oven you can fit in the kitchen. There are a variety of settings for different pizzas, too, so it gives you different heat profiles that perfectly match the moment, whether you’re making Naples-style wood-fired pies, deep pan pizzas, or a frozen pizza you picked up from the grocery freezer. Fits pizzas up to 12 inches.
Joyce Chen Unlimited Scissor
If you find yourself tearing through tough items like chicken bones and lobsters with your chef’s knife, chances are, you’re not doing your trusty blade any favors. It’s one way to quickly dull the darn thing. To preserve your knife for longer, hang it up for a while and use these scissors, which can cut through the toughest kitchen fare with relative ease. Yes, it’s expensive for a pair of scissors, but there’s good reason chefs, horticulturists, and metalsmiths have used this extensively for the last couple decades.
- Unlimited scissor lives up to its name with a multitude of uses
Anova Precision Cooker Wi-Fi
Sometimes, you just want to cook something fancy. Problem is, cooking fancy usually requires a lot of work and a bit of a mess. Just go the sous vide route to get fancy while keeping things clean and simple.
You’re probably familiar with how it works by now. You put your meats or vegetables inside a vacuum-sealed bag, put this device in a pot of water, and drop the bag in. From there, you just let the device maintain the perfect temperature for the food item, cooking it inside its bag without drying out. It’s the easiest way to cook any food at the precise temperature required.
This WiFi-equipped version, by the way, can be controlled completely from the companion app, so you can have dinner cooking while you’re feeding birds in the backyard. And yes, it’s powerful enough to cook for up to eight people.
- Perfect results every time: never over or undercook your food again. The Anova precision cooker sous...
Breville BSB510XL Control Grip Immersion Blender
Want to do most things a food processor or a countertop blender can do without taking up counter space? Get an immersion blender. Yes, it can’t do everything those two appliances can do, but a good immersion blender sure can do most of them. And for plenty of home cooks, that’s enough.
This model from Breville can puree fibrous soups and blend icy smoothies well enough to replace a space-hogging blender, while the included chopping bowl allows you to work its blades through piles of herbs, nuts, and cheeses with ease like any food processor. It also improves on other immersion blenders with a powerful 280-watt motor, 15 speed settings for precise control, and internal ribs that ensure food falls on the blade instead of the bottom of the pot, so there’s no splatter.
Benriner Mandoline Slicer
Yes, mandoline slicers are scary. Yes, we know people who cut themselves using these slicers, too. If you’re willing to take the necessary precautions when using them, though, they’re serious time savers, allowing you to cut your vegetables in a fraction of the time it will take when using a knife. When you’re cooking something that calls for lots and lots of thinly-sliced veggies, this thing will save you plenty of prep work. This particular model can make slices of varying thickness and sizes, too, so your cut vegetables don’t have to all look the same.
Kurouto Walnut Magnetic Knife Rack
No, you don’t need to store your knives in a magnetic rack. If you’re looking to free up space on the kitchen drawers, without having to use a knife block (they’re gross), though, a mounted rack will let you keep your sharp blades at an erstwhile unused section of a wall, allowing you to optimize your limited space in the kitchen. If you have a collection of nice kitchen knives, it’s a great way to show them off, too.
- Unlike magnetic knife holders made of stainless steel, Walnut magnetic knife strips won't dull or...
Microplane Classic Zester
After you get your head around basic dishes in the kitchen, you start looking for small things you can do to level up the taste of everything you cook. One of those ways is zesting various food items on top to give it just that extra hint of flavor. This bladed tool can zest practically any citrus fruit, as well as grate cheese, ginger, and hard spices for adding complexity to the simplest dishes.
- Ultra Sharp Made in USA blades: Microplane uses photo-etched technology to make ultra sharp grating...
Gelpro NewLife Kitchen Floor Mat
While ergonomic mats are more of a commercial kitchen thing, they have been slowly making their way to home kitchens, as well. Aside from preventing fatigue while you stand in front of the kitchen counter (or the stove), this quarter-inch thick mat’s textured bottom will ensure you never slip, while the beveled edges will never curl, so you won’t trip on it, either. Plus, they’re waterproof and stain-resistant, making them way easier to clean than the rug you usually keep in the kitchen floor.