Our most-loved kitchen items

28 January 2020

After staying in two different homes over the holidays (and doing a little cooking in each), I came home to our kitchen with a new appreciation for some of our everyday tools (and a few items to add to our wish list that I loved using as a visitor!). Since we cook at home at least six dinners a week, I thought it might be fun to share some of our most-loved and most-used kitchen work horses. Whether you’re adding items to your wedding registry, building up your own mealtime arsenal, or looking for an idea for the next time your mother-in-law asks you for a gift idea, I hope this is helpful!

I’ve already waxed poetic about our Le Creuset dutch ovens (and the funny story of how we bought our first one), but they easily deserve the first spot on this list. We have a round 5 1/2 quart (my favorite) and a shallow round 3 1/2 quart. We use the biggie for making soups, stews, pastas, braised meats, risotto, orzo, and much more. I probably cook with it 5/7 nights a week. It goes from stovetop to oven to table beautifully, and is so easy to clean. Pick a color you love, because you’ll have it forever :)

Speaking of easy-to-clean: one of my favorite Shark Tank discoveries is the Scrub Daddy. His smile accurately expresses how easy he makes dishwashing!

We registered for a Calphalon cookware set and use many of the pieces daily (particularly the small and medium sauce pans and the stock pot). These are also easy to clean, which I love, but my favorite feature might be the glass tops, which makes it easy to see what’s bubbling at a glance! Our set is very similar to this one except ours are silver, not black.

More registry big dogs: our KitchenAid mixer (ours is black) and our food processor. The food processor got daily use in our seasons of making purees, but even now it earns its spot for making salsa, tikka paste, and just generally chopping stuff.

We don’t have a huge collection of one-off tools, but there are two that I’d recommend: an immersion blender and a griddler. We use the immersion blender for soups often (plus the mini chopper it comes with is really useful, too!). The griddler is great for grilled cheese, pancakes, and quesadillas in a pinch. The plates go in the dishwasher, which, if you can’t already tell, is an important attribute in our home.

I don’t have a ton to say about knives except that you should have them and keep them sharp :) I would recommend specializing with a great bread knife, and we love these little paring knives, too. This is the best peeler.

Now for a few things that I have no brand loyalty to, but would recommend saving a spot for in your kitchen: a blender, crockpot, simple wooden spoons, a citrus reamer, a big (for pasta) and little (for berries) strainer, a set of nesting mixing bowls (ours are very similar to this), mini silicone spatulas, several plastic cutting boards, and a slim plastic slotted spoon (I don’t love the bulky ones).

Finally, two things I’d like to add to our mix: a compost bin (this one is in my cart) and a lovelier dish rack.

TL;DR: I really, really love our Le Creuset.

I’d love to hear: what’s your number one kitchen item? Everyone’s cooking patterns and favorite recipes are so different, and I’m curious to hear!

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January 28, 2020 7:53 am

Good post! I found myself nodding along with many of the things you recommended! I think my absolute favorite is my KitchenAid Mixer. A very close second is an apple slicer that I got from Ikea. Super cheap, and makes slicing up apples for my four kiddos a breeze! :) . https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/spritta-apple-slicer-green-90152999/

January 28, 2020 8:28 am

Yes, yes, yes! I LOVE our Le Creuset dutch oven so much, and it also gets daily use in our home! I don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer yet, but I think it will be the next addition to my kitchen! :)

January 28, 2020 8:49 am

I agree! These are all must have items. My next favorite item would be my poached egg maker. I love a good poached egg on toast and that little tool saves me time and dishes.

Kelly Strawberry
January 28, 2020 9:33 am

My favorite is our parmesan cheese grater (probably $10 Amazon purchase). It’s like the ones in restaurants where you turn the handle and it grates the parm right over your plate! We use it way more than I ever thought we would.

January 28, 2020 9:46 am

I’ve had a Le Creuset dutch oven on my wishlist for years. We received a Giada De Laurentiis dutch oven for our wedding and it’s going on 8 years old and still works great! Still though, I’d like a Le Creuset so I can pass it down to my daughter one day. Being that my roots are in the South, it’s just an understanding that I’ll pass down dutch ovens and cast iron skillets. It’s dreamy! Maybe they do that everywhere? I’m not sure. It’s big deal in my family. Adding the griddler to my wishlist too!

January 28, 2020 10:00 am

Oooh, hello pretty dish rack! I will ditto many of these–Le Creuset (the matte navy came out right as we were registering and we’re still obsessed with how beautiful it is!), immersion blender, and two strainers in particular. I will also add the Instant Pot, which we are pretty new users to and I was VERY skeptical of at first! Fast forward to the week it saved THREE dinners (when I forgot to defrost meat early enough/check cooking times ahead of time to know when to start prepping something) and I became a believer ;) We got rid of our crockpot when we bought it since it has a slow cooker setting, so I also appreciated that it wasn’t an additional item to store–just an upgraded replacement!

January 28, 2020 10:24 am
Reply to  Lisa

Yes to both. A Dutch oven is a necessity! My mom has pretty much as pieces in the classic blue. And an instant pot has been my dinner savior many times when forgetting to thaw meat. Haha

January 28, 2020 10:23 am

Instant pot! It was totally replaced a slow cooker and has saved me many times. Definitely the easiest was to make a roast. I also just made steel cut oatmeal in it and it’s definitely a simpler way to make an already easy breakfast.

January 28, 2020 1:55 pm

We have the same Dutch oven, color and all. There’s a Le Creuset outlet near our house in STL, that makes adding to our collection tempting. I’d say this is a favorite, and then our wonderful set of knives! We purchased these last year for our ninth wedding anniversary. I had no idea what we were missing with knives that do their jobs well! I also adore my cookie dough scooper, which I just got for Christmas. Hooray for equally sized cookies :)

January 28, 2020 3:13 pm

I definitely agree with everything on your list! I got my husband a Sous Vide for Christmas a couple of years ago, and this has turned into quite the culinary workhouse. It cooks food to a specific temp exactly, no matter how long it is left. We use it primarily for fish, steaks, and pork. It leaves food juicy/tender and you just have to sear for a minute. Super easy, super delicious.

January 28, 2020 4:39 pm

One of our newest additions is our Breville milk frother. It’s for sure not a necessity, but we love it and it has mostly cut out my coffee shop latte budget.

But I have to ask – with 2 adults and two littles, how have you right sized recipes so that you’re cooking 6 dinners a week?? For now it’s just me and my husband and I probably cook around 3-4 dinners a week and then we eat the leftovers for packed lunches and other dinners throughout the week. I think if I cooked 6 dinners a week, my fridge would be packed with leftovers for at least a week. I’d love your tips for right sizing the meals you cook and what do you do with all the extra leftover ingredients? Sadly, in the U.S. the portions we’re forced to buy in the grocery store well exceed what’s needed for one night’s meal (at least in my experience). Dish the secrets!!

Megan Buchheit
January 29, 2020 2:13 pm
Reply to  Em

I’d love to hear more about this and any words of wisdom you have about meal planning, especially since I know this is one of your yearly goals this year! Any new insights are always helpful :)

January 29, 2020 2:53 pm
Reply to  Em

Makes total sense and I’d love to continue the conversation through another post! My husband and I often wonder (since it’s just the 2 of us) if we make too much at dinner because we find ourselves growing tired of eating the same thing after a couple of lunches and dinners of leftovers. Maybe that’s why it feels like making 6 dinners in a week would be an abundance for us. On the flip side, I, too, often feel the need to make larger portions so that we can ensure enough is around for our packed lunches.

February 2, 2020 1:19 pm

Love this! I invested in a set of handmade ceramic mixing bowls last year from Mollie Jenkins Pottery and it’s made cooking so much more fun (and they look so nice in open shelving). Not a necessary splurge at all, but makes such a difference in day-to-day meal prep!