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Ever since I decided to make cooking and baking more of a focus and a hobby than just something I do throughout my life, I’ve started investing in some better cookware. Since I’ve had some people ask what I use, I’ve decided to make a page dedicated to the gear I use. You don’t have to use any of it specifically to make any of my recipes, but some of it will certainly help.
KitchenAid Artisan 5-Qt. Stand Mixer
This mixer is definitely one of my most prized kitchen appliances. I was hesitant about wanting to invest in a good stand mixer, but It’s very well worth it. It’s easy to clean after using, it’s powerful, and it comes with all the attachments you’d need to make anything on this blog (at least so far!)
I used to mix everything by hand before this. This has very much cut down on the time needed to mix, beat, or knead. This mixer is probably the main reason I’ve branched out enough to make breads.
My KitchenAid gets used in a majority of my recipes, even the simple ones just for the ease of use. You might not NEED it, but I highly recommend it.
Ninja Blender and Food Processor
The Ninja blender was the first addition to my many kitchen appliances. Years ago we seemed to burn out blenders every six months or so because of the number of smoothies or milkshakes we’d make for dessert. The Ninja has been going strong for the last 6 years.
This model gives you the option of two different sized pitchers and food processors. The blades are very sharp and need to be cleaned carefully, but usually rinse clean under hot water. I haven’t needed to sharpen them yet.
This is yet another appliance I’d recommend just for its durability, versatility, and the fact it’s still going strong after years of constant use.
This immersion blender was a gift from a friend a few years ago. At the time I didn’t have any plans to use it, but the first use opportunity came around not too long after.
The blender cup doesn’t see too much use as it’s much easier to blend things directly in the bowl or pot, especially if the food is still hot. This blender works great for things like soups or mashed cauliflower and potatoes.
Although I personally don’t use it as often as some people, It’s very handy to have when the need arises.
I’ve had this instant pot for almost a year now. While researching Instant Pots last year this giant caught my eye. It’s able to do everything from air frying and pressure cooking to rice making and slow cooking, so it gets quite a bit of use.
In my kitchen, this one machine replaced a crock pot, a rice cooker, a deep fryer, and a toaster oven. It saves a ton of space, and does just about everything just as well.
I won’t lie, the idea of pressure cookers was intimidating. This Instant Pot makes it VERY easy. It’s also smart enough to have backup safety systems so it’s not terribly dangerous, either.
Cookware and Bakeware
Nordicware Baking Sheets (Half Sheets and Quarter Sheets)
As you can tell, my baking sheets are well used. I was on the hunt for sturdy baking sheets with various sizes, rimmed, and that wouldn’t warp over time like my old sheets did. So far, these have held up admirably.
It’s obvious that they still stain a bit, particularly when cooking things that spatter oil around. But, I use these to roast veggies several times a week, and they’ve worked great.
These glass bowls are more than just for show. I used to be one of those people that get out ingredients as I read the recipe and measured it then and there. Turns out that prepping these things ahead of time is much more efficient (who would’ve guessed?).
The large bowls easily hold about a cup and the small bowls hold up to 3 tablespoons worth of ingredients. They stack nicely for storing and are easy to clean.
They look great in my pictures, too, but I’ve ended up using them for my casual cooking as well. The small ones are great for sauces too!
I always thought of springform pans as something fancy that only serious cake makers used. I impulse bought one on a day out with no plans for it since I had never really made a cake outside of box mixes and glass baking dishes before.
Turns out, springform pans are much easier to use and cakes aren’t very difficult. This pan will be getting quite a bit of use.
I love this pan. It has a nonstick bottom, and it’s easy to lock and release. My one gripe is that it’s easy to scratch the bottom with a knife, so you’re best off moving a cake to another surface before cutting to serve.
Amazon Basics Silicone Baking Mats
Baking as often as I do, I got tired of cutting and using parchment paper and aluminum foil all the time. I kept hearing about silicone baking mats and decided to give them a try. They were a gift from my partner one year for my birthday and I’d say he’s gotten more than his fair share of cookies in return as thanks.
While parchment paper and foil is still useful for some things, I’d say these mats replaced them in most cases. They help keep the baking sheets cleaner and provide a nice nonstick surface. I often use them when dealing with things on the countertop as well such as tortilla making and sugar cookies. They make it much easier to deal with dough as it doesn’t stick like it would on just a floured countertop or large cutting board.
These mats fit perfectly in the larger baking sheets, too.
Cooling racks are another must-have in any kitchen. Useful not just for cookies, but for cooling pies, meats, and any other hot dish or pan. While not as fancy as some of the other cooling racks out there, these work perfectly for what they need to do.
They’re sturdy and stack on each other well enough for storage. I’d say these are a good addition to any kitchen.
I have a separate rack for baking things that drip, as well as silicone racks that fit inside roasting pans. All three have their uses, but these are probably the most commonly used in my kitchen.
Common Kitchen Tools
Smithcraft Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
I’m one of those people that never seem to be able to find the size of the measuring cup I need and get tired of having to rinse between uses for needing the same cup for some other ingredient.
The best thing about these, other than the amazing nesting ability for storing, is the odd sizes that I’m pretty sure many people dislike needing to measure out, like 3/4 cups or 2/3 cups. This set has you covered with having a cup specifically for 3/4 and 2/3 cup sizes!
The cups are very sturdy and won’t have the handles bending or breaking when trying to scoop out heavy ingredients like flour. They rinse and wash clean nicely. Store well. Probably one of the best kitchen tools to have on hand and I’d recommend these to anyone.
Wildone Magnetic Measuring Spoons
These magnetic measuring spoons are easily one of my favorite things to use in my kitchen. Not only are they fun to play with, but they’re super useful. Again, as with the measuring cups, I got tired of cleaning off my old spoons to use them again for something else. Also needing to measure out spices only to have the spoon be too large to fit in the spice jar was quite annoying. These spoons solve both problems, by having two ends, one of which is narrow enough to fit in small openings.
The colors make the sizes instantly recognizable, which is good, because my one problem with them is the labels rubbing off over time. Magnetic stacking makes for easy storing, at least. I don’t use the leveler much, but everything else gets plenty of use.
These are one of the best purchases I’ve made and would highly recommend these to anyone.
OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatula
A good silicone spatula is another must-have in my kitchen. Mine get used nearly every night. Stirring, scraping, mixing, these can do it all. The grip is comfortable, they don’t get gross or hold water after washing them, and they’re flexible enough to scrape bowls and jars easily.
Honestly, I don’t have anything negative to say about these. Other brands I’ve tried out, especially the ones with removable heads, are usually a lot worse to use. These are the best ones I’ve tried out.
Another tool in my kitchen that gets used often is my cookie scoop. Not only is it great for measuring cookie dough, but any other things that should be roughly the same size such as filling muffin tins or scooping dollops of pie filling. I also use it to fill my piping bags much of the time, as it’s sometimes less messy than using a spoon or spatula.
The cookie scoop is sturdy and the handle is comfortable.
In a pinch, you can also use this the same way you might use a melon baller, though the inner scraper might get in the way of some uses.
Cuisinart Mesh Strainers (3-Set)
Another handy thing to have available are mesh strainers. I bought the 3-pack because I had no idea what I’d use them for, and as it turns out it was a very good choice. I’ve used these for washing fruits and veggies, draining pasta or meat, and as a sifter. Different sizes make it easy to use them for different things.
The small one is used daily to strain my morning tea. The larger two often get used as a sifter depending on the amounts of stuff being sifted. the way they nest together makes them able to all be stored on a single hook.
I very much recommend having these on hand as they also have many uses.
The steel scraper is one I don’t use too often, but what it does, it does very well. The small ruler on the side is nice when trying to make things all one size. I often use it to cut various doughs to weigh them into equal portions. It serves the purpose of lifting rolled dough off a surface without damaging the counter or mats, too.
Again, not a tool I use too often, but it’s a very nice addition to have on hand when the situations for it do come around.
Victorinox 4-Inch Paring Knife
And now, one of the most important things in my kitchen: my paring knives. The first one was given to me via a Secret Santa. Within a month I’d ordered two more.
I use them constantly for cutting veggies and smaller cuts of meat. The handle fits my hand nicely and gives me quite a bit of control over what I’m doing. I own both the 3 inch and the 4 inch knives, and my partner loves the larger chef’s knife he got from the same brand.
The knives are still very sharp after almost a year of constant use. These are a must-have in any kitchen where food is prepared. They’re easily the most-used knife in my kitchen, in any case.
Books and Cookbooks
This is an incomplete list of the books I’ve bought and used (or just read through) for my cooking journey. I’ll gradually add more to this list as I buy and try them, but for now, here are the books I’ve found most helpful, useful, enjoyable, or just plain delicious (the recipes, not the books).
The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt – Kenji is one of the modern great chefs and his work is incredible. This book is packed with excellent recipes, tips, and useful information for just about anything. I’ve barely scratched the surface in my reading and I already know I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a new food science book to read.
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat – This book is one of the most-recommended books I’ve seen for aspiring chefs, home cooks, and anyone who wants to understand more about the theory and chemistry behind cooking. This is another one that I have barely scratched the surface of reading, but every time I pick it up, I learn something useful.
The Elder Scrolls Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel – Rather than linking directly to the store page for this one, that links takes you to my review of this book specifically. It’s nowhere near on the same level as the above two books, but it’s a fun gimmick cookbook and the recipes are pretty good. You can read more of my thoughts in-depth in the link.
The items on this page are tools, appliances, and books I have, I use, and I love. None of these links are paid for; I recommend them because I use and like them, not because someone pays me to say so. That’s also why I took the pictures myself.
As such, expect this page to grow and change as my use of tools and cooking implements changes. I’ll add items, I’ll remove any that I no longer recommend, and I’ll add comments if something new comes up.
Also, if any of you see a tool in a recipe I mention but don’t have listed, feel free to ask me about it! I chose a selection of my most important, most-used kitchen items for creating this page, but it’s far from everything I ever use.
Finally, feel free to ask me any questions! I’m always available to give my thoughts and recommendations on kitchen tools and items.