The Best Kitchen Tools and Appliances That Are Worth the Splurge

If you're a serious home cook, these items will stand the test of time.

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Vitamin and Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Amazon / Bed Bath & Beyond

Building a well-stocked and efficient kitchen is something that takes time. For many of us, there are specific pieces of kitchen equipment that we replace and upgrade as we evolve as a cook. If you're ready to swap out that hand-me-down pan or stained plastic cutting board for something chic and high quality, then we're here to help.

We researched offerings from the top brands and curated a list based on our own experience at home and in the test kitchen. In every category, we prioritized quality materials and craftsmanship, brand reputation, performance, and longevity. From a centerpiece-worthy roasting pan to the blender that professional chefs have in their kitchens, this high-end equipment is worth every penny. Here are the best kitchen tools that every serious cook should own.

Best High-Powered Blender: Vitamix 5200 Professional-Grade Blender

4.7
 Vitamix 5200 Blender Professional-Grade

Courtesy of Amazon

If you make a lot of pureed soups and sauces from scratch or enjoy a morning smoothie, then a high-powered blender should be at the top of your wish list. There are less expensive options out there, but a professional-grade Vitamix works quickly and efficiently and gives you a smoother consistency than just about any other blender. Naturally, it's the brand that most of America's chefs use in their homes and professional kitchens.

This particular model earned our top recommendation when we tested multiple Vitamix models side by side in our test kitchen. It's incredibly intuitive, with a simple knob that adjusts power levels from 1 to 10, plus a pulse lever. Not only did it blend a super-consistent kale-and-fruit smoothie, but it also created the creamiest peanut butter from a couple of cups of unsalted peanuts. That's thanks to its tall, narrow jar, which handles smaller batch sizes much more efficiently than its wide-mouth counterparts. To clean, simply blend soap and water.

Price at time of publish: $549

Best Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 qt.

4.5
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 qt.

Amazon

Be it a big batch of soup, a loaf of no-knead bread, or braised chicken legs, a Dutch oven can be used to cook just about anything. There are many brands that make these enameled cast iron pots (and at all different price points), but Le Creuset makes one of the best.

While definitely an investment, this Dutch oven is stylish, incredibly well-made, and will last a lifetime; it's no wonder it's a popular choice for wedding registries and big-ticket gifts. The 7.25-quart size is big enough to handle most jobs, but it won't take up too much space in your kitchen. It's also available in round and oval shapes and a range of other hues and sizes, from 2 quarts to 13.25 quarts.

Price at time of publish: $450

Best Food Processor: Cuisinart FP-13DGM Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor

4.9
Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor

Amazon

You might be wondering if you need a blender and a food processor, but they are used for very different jobs. A food processor makes prepping a big batch of stuffing or five pie crusts a breeze. It is best used to expedite any project you would do with a knife. This well-built model from Cuisinart is outfitted with a 13-cup bowl plus a 4-cup inner nested work bowl for both large and small batches, whether you're making prepping Thanksgiving dinner for twenty or just enough pesto for two.

Additionally, you'll get a stainless steel dicing disc, adjustable slicing disc, reversible shredding disc, large and small chopping blades, and a dough blade to make quick work of just about any task—not to mention a handy storage case for all the accessories. The removable parts are dishwasher safe, so cleanup couldn't be easier.

Price at time of publish: $200

Related: See More of Our Favorite Food Processors

Best Roasting Pan: Mauviel Copper Roasting Pan with Rack

Mauviel Copper Roasting Pan with Rack

Amazon

If you're the one in your family who always hosts Thanksgiving or who likes to wow your friends with a jaw-dropping roast, then a quality roasting pan is a must. This copper beauty from the French family-owned company Mauviel is sure to become an heirloom. The thick copper and stainless steel walls distribute heat evenly and allow it to be used on any stovetop or in the oven. The easy-to-grip handles enable a seamless transition from oven to table, where it makes a worthy centerpiece.

Best Wooden Cutting Board: John Boos Reversible Walnut Cutting Board

John Boos Reversible Walnut Cutting Board

Walmart

Every kitchen needs a sturdy wooden cutting board. Boos blocks are heavy and durable and have handles on the sides, which makes them easy to lift. With hand-washing and occasional oiling, these boards will last forever. They also look beautiful on a kitchen countertop and are perfect for large cheese or charcuterie spreads. A quick tip: When picking out a cutting board, make sure that it will fit in your sink!

Price at time of publish: $216

Best Chef's Knife: Shun Hikari 8-inch Chef's Knife

Shun Hikari 8-inch Chef's Knife

Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

There is no tool more essential than a chef's knife, and it's worth your money to invest in a good one. We've written about this insanely sharp Japanese-style knife from Shun a few times, but that is because it is Just. That. Good. We use this knife in our home kitchens and in our test kitchen and it holds up to rigorous use. The forged steel blade also keeps its edge longer than a European-style blade. Despite its durability, this knife does require some special care. Be sure to only hand wash it and either sharpen it yourself every now and then or send it away to have it professionally sharpened (Shun will even do it for free).

Price at time of publish: $330

Best Stand Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl

kitchenaid-artisan-design-stand-mixer-glass-bowl

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

A stand mixer isn't a necessity for every home cook, but once you have one, you can't imagine life without it. KitchenAid is nearly synonymous with the term stand mixer, and for good reason. The brand's classic model makes big batches of cookies and cake batter a cinch, plus the many optional attachments (we're talking about you, pasta roller!) add unlimited potential. Even your initial purchase includes a flat beater, wire whisk, and dough hook to cover the basic mixing tasks.

A heavy appliance (the weight helps it stay put while mixing with its powerful motor), you won't want to move it around for storage. However, it's also attractive, so you'll want to show it off on your counter anyway. Plus, it comes in so many colors that you can customize it to your preferences.

Price at time of publish: $500

Related: All the Best Stand Mixers We Recommend

Best 9-by-13-inch Baking Dish: Revol Porcelain Rectangular Baking Dish

Revol Porcelain Rectangular Baking Dish

Sur La Table

If you like to entertain or are super into one-pan meals, then you'll want a quality ceramic baking dish. While most roasters are made of cast iron or ceramic, this modern take from Revol is actually porcelain. The material is oven safe up to 572, but it shouldn't be used on top of the stove. The large 3.8-quart baker measures 9 x 13 inches, which is the standard size for most lasagna or casserole recipes. It's also a great vessel for roasting chicken or baking desserts. Bonus: it comes in classic white or sexy matte black—either of which would look great on a set table.

Price at time of publish: $120

Best Stainless Steel Skillet: All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Skillet

All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Skillet

Sur La Table

Stainless steel cookware is durable, conducts heat incredibly well, and gives you that perfect sear every time. When it comes to stainless steel, All-Clad is a trusted brand that's worth the splurge. Though also available in an 8-inch version, this 10-inch skillet is the perfect size for searing a ribeye or roasting a whole chicken—the oven-proof handle helps it go from stovetop to oven to tabletop. When it's time to clean up, wash by hand or toss it in the dishwasher; unlike other cookware types, this pan is perfectly dishwasher safe.

Price at time of publish: $150

Our Expertise

Julia Heffelfinger is a cook, writer, and food stylist with a decade of experience creating culinary content. Formerly the Associate Food Editor at Food & Wine, her job included covering trendy new food products and kitchen staples. Since its initial publication, this piece has been updated with the freshest and best models so you can be sure your investment is worthwhile.

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