We’re relying on home cooking more than ever, and these are the tools we can’t live without right now.

By Megan Soll
April 13, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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It goes without saying that our daily lives have been turned upside down lately. While we’re navigating taking care of ourselves and our loved ones and looking for ways to help the restaurants we love, one thing is certain: we’re cooking (and eating) more than ever. Our staff lives and breathes, well, cooking and eating, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite tools and appliances for making food and drinks and cleaning everything up as well. Read on for some of our favorite things in our own kitchens, from coffee makers to spatulas.

Bed Bath & Beyond / Crate and Barrel

Waffle Maker

Crate and Barrel

“I've made waffles approximately a million times since being home during quarantine, and this waffle maker is the best. Plates pop out for the dishwasher, and leftover waffles go in the freezer for breakfasts all week long.” -- Caroline Schnapp, audience engagement editor

Krups 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker, $60 at crateandbarrel.com

Mixing Bowls

Crate and Barrel

“This set of nesting bowls from Rosti Mepal are indispensable at the moment, I use them for everything from mixing cookie ingredients to letting focaccia dough rise. They’re dishwasher and freezer-safe, and even come with lids which is ideal for fridge storage. The no-slip rubber on the bottom is a great feature too.” -- Megan Soll, associate digital editor

Rosti White Melamine Mixing Bowls with Lids Set, $40 at crateandbarrel.com

Milk Frothers

Williams Sonoma

“If you’re questioning the point of a milk frother, ask yourself this question: why mix your coffee with flat, cold milk when you could be topping it off with warm, frothy milk?! This milk frother is a game-changer—it totally elevates my morning coffee (and mid-morning coffee, and afternoon coffee, let’s be honest). Plus, it’s weirdly soothing to watch milk spin around and get fluffy.” -- Nina Friend, assistant editor

Nespresso Aerocinno 3 Milk Frother, $100 at williams-sonoma.com

"Beyond loving kitchen classics like our electric kettle and trusty All-Clad pan, I'm also particularly partial to our Aerolatte milk frother. The tiny handheld device helps me create a creamy drink in 30 seconds max—and as someone who doesn't drink coffee, it's a nice boost for homemade matcha lattes." -- Bridget Hallinan, digital reporter

Aerolatte Handheld Milk Frother, $20 at williams-sonoma.com

Electric Kettle

Anthropologie

“As an Aussie, I don’t believe in stovetop kettles; who can wait that long for a cup of tea? I covet electric kettles, but it’s hard to find one that is functional and sexy. Enter Fellow. I’ve been a proud owner of their Stagg EKG Electric Kettle for some time, which makes perfect pour-overs at home. However, it’s a pain in the butt to use for anything other than coffee because you have to pour so slowly through the thin spout. (Not great if you’ve impatiently boiled water for pasta, or eggs, or tea!) That’s why I recently acquired the Corvo EKG as well—it has the same good looks but with a wide spout, gets hot fast, and holds a specific programmed temperature for an hour. And that’s a winner for a tea nerd like me who’s been drinking plenty of the stuff in self isolation.” -- Melanie Hansche, deputy editor

Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle, $149 at anthropologie.com

Le Creuset / Target

"Even in the Before Times, my fondness for GIR products was limitless. Their thoughtfully crafted and vibrantly colored silicone kitchen tools are a pleasure in the hand, madly durable, a cinch to clean, and most importantly—they actually work. The spoonula in particular is designed for maximum utility, combining the straight, tapered edge of a spatula with the deep bowl of a spoon to create a tool that's both precise and flexible, earning it a permanent berth in the VIP crock of utensils in arm's reach of the stove. If that weren't enough, GIR recently announced a buy-one-give-one program for their newly-developed silicone face masks with reusable filters, offering buyers an opportunity to provide one for a healthcare worker in need of PPE. BTW, GIR stands for "Get It Right" and I'm pretty sure they have, yet again." -- Kat Kinsman, senior editor

Get It Right Silicone Ultimate Spoonula, $12 at target.com

I've been obsessed with this bi-material spoon for years now (and I've given one to just about every family member and friend who has moved or gotten married or just likes to cook). It's sturdy enough to actually move food around the pan, or scrape cookie dough out of the bowl, but flexible enough to reach every corner and bend to the curve of every pan. It doesn't stain or hold on to smells, so I use it for jams and jellies as well as caramelized onions and red sauce. Now that I'm cooking 3 meals a day (and hey, some snacks) at home, it doesn't even make it to the dishwasher because I need it for every meal. -- Kelsey Youngman, associate food editor

Revolution Bi-Material Sauté Spoon, $20 at lecreuset.com

Bench Scraper

Williams Sonoma

"Now that I'm cooking pretty much nonstop, it isn't the chef's knife or the enameled cast-iron pot that I appreciate—it's my trusty bench scraper. Sure, it started out as a handy tool for gathering bits of dough and flour while making pie crust and bread. But now, it has pride of place right on my cutting board, where I use it like an extra-large hand to transfer chopped ingredients from my work surface to the pot, skillet, or sheet pan. Faster transfer and fewer dropped bits mean a few more minutes of leisure every day." -- Adina Steiman, digital deputy editor

Williams Sonoma Olivewood Bench Scraper, $20 at williams-sonoma.com

Dutch Oven

Le Creuset

My Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven was already a favorite piece of cookware in what I’m starting to call “The Before Times”, but since we’ve started organizing our lives around not leaving the house, it’s become even more indispensable. My husband uses it to bake this righteous, no-knead bread 3 or 4 times a week, saving us from extra trips to the grocery store; the Dutch Oven gives the bread an elastic, chewy crumb and a fantastically crackly, potato chip-crisp crust. It’s great for comforting dishes like Jacques Pepin’s mother’s beef stew, which toggle between stovetop and oven, and the enamel interior makes it safe for a quick homemade tomato soup and longer-simmered Sunday sauces. When I don’t want to dig out my roasting pan, I can even use it for roasting chicken. But it’s not just its utility I prize, it’s the pot’s beauty and craftsmanship, too. I get a little dose of happiness whenever I pull my Le Creuset out of the cupboard to cook with, and those small joys are no small thing, these days. -- Karen Shimizu, executive editor

Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, 5 1/2 quart, $288 (was $360) at lecreuset.com

Baking Sheets and Pans

Williams Sonoma / Sur La Table

“Baking is my ideal comfort activity, so i've been using this set more than ever before. I love how sturdy each piece is, which guarantees even baking every time.” -- Caroline Schnapp

Williams Sonoma Nonstick Essentials Bakeware Set, $100 (originally $162) at williams-sonoma.com

“Our baking sheets are more essential than ever, and this set from Nordic Ware does the trick for everything from sheet pan pizza to chocolate chip cookies (things I crave regularly while staying at home). These pans will never warp or rust, even when we use them every day of the week.” -- Megan Soll

Nordic Ware Sheet Pan Set of 2, $37 at surlatable.com

Yeti Cooler

Dicks Sporting Goods

“I’ve been trying to minimize my trips to the grocery store. Since I’m testing recipes from home, I need to plan ahead and shop for a week’s worth of recipe tests as a time. I got this cooler last year, and while it’s convenient to drag to the beach or a picnic, it’s become indispensable as a shopping companion and extra “fridge.” I can keep items cold in it for days, simply refreshing it with ice packs each morning.” -- Mary-Frances Heck, senior food editor

YETI Tundra Haul Cooler, $400 at dicksportinggoods.com 

Hand Blender and Tongs

Bed Bath & Beyond / Crate and Barrel

“Tongs are the best kitchen tool I own. I use tongs for everything, from flipping meat to mixing up pasta and sauce. This OXO set is my favorite. I'm also a big fan of our handheld immersion blender from Cuisinart which I'm using to pureé soups that don't quite need to go in a blender, but need to get creamier.” -- Oset Babur, associate restaurant editor

Cuisinart Smart Stick Variable Speed Handle Blender, $60 at crateandbarrel.com

OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs with Nylon Heads, $13 at bedbathandbeyond.com

Rice Cooker

Wayfair

“I own an Instant Pot, a little Le Creuset rice pot, and a Dutch Oven, all perfectly serviceable things to make rice in, but I've been so reliant on the small, not at all fancy rice cooker I've had for going on a decade. It does one thing: Cook rice, perfectly, with basically no effort. It also keeps it warm when I've forgotten all about the rice I was intending to put a fried egg on, or mix into a bowl of beans. When I'm having a bad day with the ongoing outside disaster, it's easy to make a simple meal without having to wash every dish I own.” -- Margaret Eby, senior editor

Black + Decker Rice Cooker, $24 at wayfair.com

Ceramic Bowl

East Fork

“I've found my goldilocks bowl and it's East Fork's “The Everyday Bowl.” No matter what I'm cooking, from soft scrambled eggs with toast and the collection of leftover veggies and herbs I need to finish, to a quick assembly of yogurt, granola, and berries, or some hearty soups and braises, or roasted chicken and radishes...they all just seem to fit perfectly in this bowl. And, no matter what I'm eating, serving myself a meal in something beautiful and handmade makes me feel just a bit happier and more connected.” -- Kelsey Youngman

The Everyday Bowl, $34 at eastfork.com

Essential Pan

Williams Sonoma

“My favorite kitchen tool (especially during this work from home time but really anytime) is this pan from Williams-Sonoma. The size and shape makes it perfect for cooking literally anything from stir-frying to sautéing to simmering. I use it at least once daily—sometimes more.” -- Erin Clyburn, copy editor

Calphalon Elite Nonstick Essential Pan, $80-$120 at williams-sonoma.com

Dishwasher

The Home Depot

Now that my family of four is cooking and eating six meals a day at home together (that's breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and evening snack--and yes, we are hobbits) we are going through A LOT of dishes. I have never been more grateful in my life for our dishwasher, which we bought this past winter. It's got three racks, including a shallow one up top for utensils and an adjustable middle one that allows me to put tall items, like the sheet pans we're using a lot for sheet-pan dinners, on the commodious bottom rack. It's quiet and efficient,  but most importantly, it lets me keep my hands out of the dish suds--I'm washing my hands plenty these days! -- Karen Shimizu, executive editor

300 Series Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher in Stainless Steel, $760 (was $850) at homedepot.com