The Only Aprons You’ll Ever Need, According to Pro Chefs

published Oct 29, 2023
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Young woman baking cookies at her kitchen
Credit: Olelole / Getty Images

While cooking has never been my strong suit — my husband has happily taken on the role of home chef — I’ve always appreciated the beauty of making a gorgeous meal from scratch. Because my husband loves to cook, I’ve been wanting to splurge on a nice apron for his upcoming birthday. Throughout my research, I’ve learned that not all aprons are created equal — even if they serve a similar purpose. From bakers to grill masters to hosts who only make light bites, every cook needs a trusty apron to keep them clean while preparing a delicious meal. So, I set out to find the very best of the best. 

I reached out to Ericka Sanchez, a recipe developer, food stylist, and cookbook author, and Jakob Miller, former chef, barbecue expert, and founder of Barbecue Pals, for their expert insight so cooks of every kind can look and feel like a total pro.

“A good apron should be crafted from high-quality materials that are both durable and comfortable to wear for long hours in the kitchen or by the grill,” says Miller. “Adjustable straps are essential for achieving a perfect fit, while pockets come in handy for storing small tools, recipe cards, or even your phone.” Here are the experts’ picks for the best aprons for every kind of chef.

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The Best Apron for Bakers

Baking is messy and can even be dangerous when you're handling hot pans. Sanchez recommends the Grand Fusion Apron with Built-in Oven Mitts not only for its useful front flaps that double as oven mitts, but also for its thick and durable canvas fabric and large pocket to fit baking utensils or your phone. “I tend to misplace my oven mitts all the time, but because these are built in to my apron, I don't have to worry about that anymore!” she says.

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The Best Apron for Grilling

Barbecue enthusiasts and grill masters will love The Grill Master Apron by Apres, which comes highly recommended by Miller. It’s made of a heavy-duty, flame-resistant fabric to protect you from any sparks, hot grease splatters, or accidental flare-ups that can occur while grilling. It’s also extra-long for full coverage, and features multiple spacious pockets for your grilling tools, thermometer, sauces, and even your phone to have at hand while you work the grill like a pro.

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The Best Apron for Prepping and Light Cooking

Whether you’re prepping tamales all day for a holiday dinner, or just whipping up a simple pasta salad and bruschetta, a lightweight apron is a must. Sanchez loves a traditional Mexican mandil, which essentially feels like a comfortable oversized tank due to its pull-over design, but protects you from splatters and stains. It also has roomy pockets for your phone, recipe cards, or a couple of cooking utensils. Best of all, they come in different colors and embroidery designs to give it some flair and personality.

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The Best Apron for Stylish Chefs
Sur La Table

Unlike a restaurant chef, a private chef is out in the open for everyone to see. A clean and sleek appearance is often appreciated when it comes to private chefs, which is why Miller recommends the sophisticated yet functional Tilit Contra Chef Apron. It has an adjustable strap and welted front pockets for utensils and falling scraps, and it's made of a lightweight waxed cotton. Best of all, this apron was featured in the popular show The Bear.

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The Best Apron for Messy Cooks

Making a mess is a universal act, regardless of your talent or experience in the kitchen. If you’re particularly messy, Miller recommends the Caldo Line Twill Apron that can withstand spills, splatters, and stains so your clothes can stay protected. As a bonus, it has a towel loop, a pencil and phone pocket, and a utility pocket so your apron can stay organized (even if you’re a chaotic cook!).

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The Best Apron Overall
Hedley & Bennett

The perfect apron blends functionality, durability, and style, which is why both Miller and Sanchez recommend Hedley & Bennett’s aprons. Whether you're a professional chef or a passionate home cook, the Essential Apron will keep you looking sharp while providing the protection you need. If you’re not a fan of the over-the-neck style, the Crossback Apron is just as attractive and practical.

What’s your favorite apron? Let us know in the comments below.