Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval
Credit: Food & Wine / Stacy K. Allen

Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval

Trusted product recommendations to upgrade the everyday.

At Food & Wine, we know that having the right gear changes the way you cook, eat, and entertain. Our readers want to be in the know and expect the very best. That's why we're committed to finding the highest quality products, whether it's the cool new cookware set everyone's talking about or that classic knife set the top chefs can't live without.

For nearly 50 years, Food & Wine has been a trusted resource for the finest recipes, unparalleled restaurant recommendations, and savvy product picks. And now, you can buy with even more confidence thanks to our Food & Wine Faves seal of approval. 

In order to earn our seal, items must stand up to our thorough research and expert evaluation both in our iconic test kitchens and in our editors' homes across the country. With every recommendation, we exhaustively examine design, construction, and performance so you can be sure our picks fulfill your kitchen needs and elevate your culinary repertoire.

Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval
Credit: Food & Wine / Fred Hardy

How We Find Our Faves

The Research

We start by narrowing our focus to the topics we know our readers care about the most, based on website traffic and search data. To determine which products to test, our team researches the market extensively, paying attention to trends, launches, and latest model releases, while also utilizing our own expertise. We also tap into our extensive network of chefs and tastemakers for their thoughts — and their favorites — to get the fullest picture of which items to consider.

Based on all of these insights, we devise a series of tests designed to assess each category of items on its most important factors. Thanks to years of culinary experience, our editors and recipe developers already have a firm grasp on what makes a great frying pan (or wine glass, or blender). For example, chef's knives should always be sharp, balanced, and comfortable to hold. They should be easy to use and make quick work of preparing ingredients. Each factor has a detailed scorecard to ensure everything is tested fairly and consistently.

Once we've finalized our product list, we purchase them and have them shipped to our lab or our testers' homes for assessment. Occasionally, we may receive samples, but this does not guarantee a positive review or even placement on our final list of recommendations. We will always disclose if we receive anything for free.

Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval
Credit: Food & Wine / Dera Burreson

The Tests

We have labs in Des Moines, Iowa; Birmingham, Alabama; and New York City that span over 100,000 square feet and include more than 50 test kitchens. Because more than 30 of these kitchens — and not to mention our testing team and several of our editors — are located in Birmingham, this is where most of the Food & Wine tests are carried out. 

Our team spends days unpacking, assembling, and testing each product side by side. We take a scientific yet creative approach to our tests, brewing a full pot of coffee as well as a shot of espresso in each coffee-espresso machine, for example, and giving them to a panel of blind taste-testers. To determine if a grill is heating evenly, we not only measure the temperature using an infrared thermometer, but also compare the grill marks on zucchini planks, chicken breasts, steak, and bread. Every item is rated using the same scorecard to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval
Credit: Food & Wine / Morgan Hunt Glaze

Along with the quantitative ratings and measurements, we collect qualitative insights that really matter, like how easy it is to move a smoker in and out of storage or how much elbow grease it takes to clean the crevices of a food processor. We pay special attention to the different types of cooks or kitchens that might get the most use out of each product. Toaster oven-style air fryers are more versatile than basket models, for instance, but they're also too large for some households and not as easy to use.

In addition to our lab testers, we have a network of experts who try out products in their own homes. This helps us get a sense of how products perform in an everyday kitchen setting, as well as how they hold up over time. Along the way, we capture images so you can see the item in use. 

The Faves

When we're done evaluating a set of products, we compare the ratings, testing notes, and price points and decide which ones deserve our seal of approval. Our top pick or "best overall" may not be right for every budget, kitchen, or cook, so we also award other relevant categories, such as "best value," best design," or "best for small kitchens." 

Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval
Credit: Food & Wine / Fred Hardy

In compiling our lists, we make sure to include important details about the tests, highlighting both the pros — features we found most useful or exciting — and the cons — any issues or concerns that came up. We explain exactly what went into testing, provide key specs like measurements or temperature ranges, and list the products that didn't earn our seal with an explanation of why they didn't make the cut. 

After a Food & Wine Fave is published, we don't forget about it. We regularly revisit our recommendations, checking to make sure the items are still in stock, keeping an eye on any upgrades or newcomers, and letting our readers know when a top pick is on sale. Our goal is to create a seamless experience and provide you with everything you need to make an informed purchase.

Our Expertise

Food & Wine is known as an undisputed culinary authority with insider access to the best chefs and tastemakers. Our team of experts includes recipe developers, professional chefs, and editors and writers with years of experience covering food and kitchen products. 

We make sure to match our testers' subject matter expertise to the products they assess. For example, we may include a professional baker in our baking sheet test, or ask a recipe developer who has created pizza recipes to jump in on our review of pizza ovens. At the same time, we know that not everyone comes into the kitchen with the same skill level, so we try to collect a range of perspectives in every test.

As part of our commitment to diversity, we try to include a variety of brands, like those that are BIPOC-owned, in our tests whenever possible. We also strive to ensure our testers themselves are reflective of the many different people who make up the world of food and drink.

Affiliate Disclosure

When you purchase through one of our links, we may receive a commission. However, we never recommend anything we don't truly back through careful research and testing. We purchase the majority of our products ourselves and are transparent about the rare sample received, never promising coverage or accepting input from brands. 

Food & Wine Faves Seal of Approval
Credit: Food & Wine / Fred Hardy

Safety Disclaimer

Occasionally, products may be subject to recalls, in which case we'll do our best to revise our reviews accordingly. Still, it's a good idea to look out for official announcements from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you have any questions about testing, please feel free to contact us at fwfaves@foodandwine.com