The 11 Best Kitchen Tools We Bought in 2020

published Dec 16, 2020
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Couple cooking together in kitchen
Credit: Portra Images | Getty Images

Quick: Name the single best thing you bought for your kitchen this year. It’s hard, right? Because you likely bought a bunch of handy tools and pots and whatnot. With many of us cooking more than ever this year, lots of us found gaps in our tool kits or had to replace things that broke halfway through quarantine.

Out of curiosity, I posed this question to my fellow Kitchn staffers and loved hearing about all their smart purchases so much I decided to gather them all up for you here. As you’d expect, lots of cookware made the list. So did a few small appliances. And someone even called out her new … shower caps. Let’s take a look.

1 / 11
was $545.00

“When my nonstick pans were chipped beyond belief (which made me anxious every time I pulled them out), I knew it was time to replace them. I settled on a set from Caraway, and I'm so glad I did. The smooth, non-toxic surface makes cooking (and cleaning up) so easy. Quarantine cooking fatigue is still very real, but having cookware I love makes all the difference in looking forward to being in the kitchen.” Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor

2 / 11

“My favorite new kitchen tool for 2020 is, without a doubt, my Corvo EKG Electric Kettle. I drink a lot of tea, and I love that this kettle lets you control the temperature of the water and that it boils super fast. Plus, it’s so stylish!” — Ariel Knutson, Features Director

3 / 11

“I do not know how I ever lived without an air fryer. And because I don’t have a microwave, it’s literally saved my life in 2020. I’m not even making fries and chicken nuggets in it. It’s just proven to be the easiest/best way to reheat things!” — Rebecca Longshore, Director of Audience Growth

4 / 11

“I’ve been ‘adulting’ for years now, but I didn’t truly feel like an adult until I got this 5.5-quart Dutch oven. Now that #WinterIsComing, this gorgeous enameled cast iron pot is helping me crank out the coziest soups, stews, and pasta sauces I can dream up. When it’s not in use, I leave it out on the stovetop because it’s just that pretty.” Lauren Masur, Lifestyle Editor

5 / 11
Pearl River Mart

“After seeing Grace Young’s stir-fry recipes and reading her articles, I was inspired to finally buy my first wok. It’s one part of my personal journey of reconciling with my Asian identity and I’ve long wanted to learn more about different Asian cuisines — especially China, where I was born. Getting a wok was one way of doing it, because many of the recipes call for using a wok! (I also got a rice cooker.) It’s so fun cooking with it and requires little maintenance (about the same as a cast iron skillet). It’s also so rewarding to see it slowly turn black, as it gets seasoned and used more.” — Andrea Kaufman, Social Media Editor

6 / 11

“I got a Hexclad pan and loooove it. I’m so happy to have one pan that heats evenly, has a stay-cool handle, and can be baked at high temps. Plus, it gets extra credit points for being dishwasher-safe.” — Caroline Schnapp, Social Media Manager

7 / 11
Sur La Table
was $440.00

“Okay, I technically got this knife for my birthday, but it’s the single best addition to my kitchen this year. It’s sharp as can be, has a supremely comfortable handle, and is gorgeous. Mincing an entire bunch of parsley, dicing an onion, julienning carrots, and even breaking down an entire chicken has never been easier. Carbon steel knives do require extra care (they have to be washed and dried immediately after use and even oiled if they won’t be used for a while) to prevent rust. However, over time, the blade will naturally oxidize or develop a patina that will not only prevent against rusting and discoloration, but, in my opinion, also looks super, super cool.” — Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, Lifestyle Editor

8 / 11

“I owe you guys a full review of this brilliant Vitamix attachment, but here’s the CliffsNotes: I loved it! I’ve been needing a new food processor, but didn’t really want to get another thing I had to store. Then the folks at Vitamix came out with an attachment that would work with the base of my blender. Brilliant! And this thing is no joke: It shreds cheese, makes pesto, and pulverizes peanuts into the smoothest peanut butter. It’s only silly that it took so long for this to come onto the market.” Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

9 / 11

“I never knew I had a bad bread knife (it was from a very respected brand that shall remain unnamed) until I used my brother-in-law’s bread knife. It sliced like a dream! There was no struggle! Just even, beautiful slices. Even better news: The knife is quite affordable. No wonder it made our list of Kitchn Essentials!” — Carey Polis, Interim Executive Editor

10 / 11

“Shower caps on a food site?! Yes! I bought some this year that I use not only for proofing bread, but also also for cookie dough or anytime I need to cover one of my big bowls. It feels so good not use plastic wrap or foil, and it keeps moisture in better than a kitchen towel. If one gets dirty, I just wipe it clean.” — Christine Gallary, Food Editor-at-Large

11 / 11
was $89.99

“I am a huge fan of seltzer water and have been buying cans and bottles of seltzer every week! It finally made sense to check out the SodaStream to see what all the hype was about. Happy to say that I’ve been using it daily to quench my seltzer needs! Not only is it cheaper than buying cans from the store, but also I no longer have to carry to them back to my apartment and the bottles are reusable. Highly recommend if you love carbonated drinks!” — Brian Wong, Social Media Strategist

What’s the very best kitchen tool you bought this year? Tell us in the comments below.