The Best Cheap Kitchen Finds We Bought in 2021

published Dec 31, 2021
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Credit: Sarah Wintle

With the year drawing to a close, we’re reflecting on all the ways we made our kitchens a little bit more organized, functional, and all-around enjoyable in 2021. We’ve already rounded up tons of favorites, like the top kitchen essentials of the year and storage solutions our readers loved, that we’re definitely going to bring into the new year. While there were splurge-worthy finds like the Our Place Always Pan, there were also plenty of inexpensive picks that made serious differences. Here, we’re talking all about our favorite cheap kitchen finds of the year that we used over and over (and over) again.

Ahead, you’ll find several game-changing Amazon cleaning products that readers couldn’t get enough of, including the Full Circle Cast Iron Brush and Scraper that’s responsibly made and fantastic at cleaning and maintaining your beloved cast iron pans. Naturally, we’ve included tons of affordable storage solutions, like our favorite lid organizers and shelving units. And of course, you’ll find picks that are just downright fun, like an iced coffee chiller and an easy butter spreader. No matter what, these under-$25 finds might be exactly what you need in the kitchen to start off 2022 right.

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You’ll be shocked at how much this $3 tool will improve your baking, just like it did for one of our contributors! Whether you’re making cookies, pizza dough, pie crust, and just about any other sticky mixture, this dough scraper will be a lifesaver. Use it to scrape the sides of your bowl while mixing, cut butter for pie crust, shape or divide dough, and so much more.

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was $20.99

Ask anyone who knows their way around a kitchen — a multipurpose thermometer is a godsend, especially when it’s an instant-read digital model. This stainless steel probe will give an accurate read up to 572 degrees in three to five seconds for a pot of oil ready to fry, candy on the stove, or a steak on the grill.

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These microfiber cloths have impressed the Kitchn team when it comes to cleaning counters, polishing stainless steel appliances, wiping up spills, and dusting. Our contributor Ashley wrote that they're also much sturdier than more expensive microfiber cloths, even after many cycles in the washing machine. At under a dollar per cloth, these might be the best kitchen towels for keeping your space sparkling clean.

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The Container Store

We all know that storing the lids for all your pots and pans can be tricky — and especially noisy when pulling them out! Instead, we found this Container Store Maple Rack for under $10 that will fit your lids with ease and style. It'll even double as a great storage option for cutting boards, serving platters, and baking sheets thanks to the tall poles that will hold them in place.

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We can think of over a dozen uses for this versatile stacking basket, whether you use it in your pantry or right out on your countertops. Some ideas? Use it as a catch-all for citrus, potatoes, dish towels, or even small snack packs. The solid wooden base ensures nothing will fall through and gives it a rustic farmhouse look that defies the very reasonable $10 price point.

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These knives are professional chef approved and guaranteed to make all your food prep so much easier. Stainless steel blades and comfortable wooden handles make up this surprisingly reliable cutting tool. The 6.5-inch blades work for pretty much any cooking task, from effortlessly slicing through squash or root veggies to speedily chopping mounds of onions.

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Our readers were obsessed with these handy cleaning brushes that come in a five-piece set for just $14. The pack contains a mini nesting dustpan and brush, along with three multipurpose grout brushes. They are all ergonomically designed to keep your hands out of the way while the durable, flexible polypropylene bristles get down and dirty. And go ahead, let them get as dirty as you want, because they clean easily with soap and water or on the top rack of the dishwasher. You can purchase with the confidence that they're also expert approved here at Kitchn.

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was $8.99

This pocket-sized gadget, which has nearly 40,000 Amazon reviews and a five-star rating, is truly a game changer. It has two slots and a grippy bottom, so it won’t slide around on your countertop when you pull your knives through. The coarse slot has carbide blades to sharpen dull knives, and the fine slot, made of ceramic rods, provides touch-ups for knives that are already sharp.

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was $14.99

Another smart way to store your lids is with this Joseph Joseph organizer that attaches to the inside of your cabinet doors, saving you so much space. We tested this clever storage solution and had just one word: Whoa. They're very simple to install (no drilling required) with just the super-sticky 3M tape that's included. Each one hold a variety of sizes, so they'll accommodate all your cookware lids, even heavy enameled cast iron.

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For under $25, you can actually double your pantry space or cabinet space with this compact dual-shelf organizer. While the organizer is great for storing dry goods and pantry items, the perforated, breathable design of the plastic bins keeps produce like onions, garlic, potatoes, or citrus fresh, whether in the fridge or on countertops. One of our contributors now owns four sets, utilizing them under the kitchen sink, on the counter, and even in the bathroom.

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was $24.99

Our readers adore this gadget that helps iced coffee lovers keep their beverages cool without watering them down. This patented gadget is the easiest, most efficient way to chill your hot coffee or tea, especially if you’re usually running out the door in the morning. All you have to do is fill the designated area with water, leave it in the freezer, then remove it when it’s frozen and fill the mug with your beverage. You can brew your coffee any way you please — French press, drip, or pod machine — and then simply pour it inside. You can even use it for wine or cocktails.

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was $24.97

This measuring spoon set quickly became one of our favorite baking tools of the year because of the dual-sided design and magnetic storage feature. Amazon reviewers rave about how easy they are to use because there's no ring holding them all together. Plus, you can easily alternate between wet and dry ingredients without having to worry about wiping down your spoon in between measuring. The narrow end works perfectly with small spice containers.

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Not only was this scrubber brush one of our readers' favorite Amazon buys of the year, but it was also one of our most popular products overall! We tried it out and were very impressed: It's responsibly made, thoughtfully designed, and does a great job of keeping our cast iron in tip-top shape.

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We tested several butter spreaders this year, but this dishwasher-safe condiment spreader was easily a favorite. It makes spreading butter (even cold butter!) a breeze. The sandwich knife's serrations swiftly cut through butter, while the blade easily spreads it. It’s also ideal for scooping and spreading a thin layer of condiments, like mayo or mustard, onto sandwiches.

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Looking to cut down on kitchen waste in 2022? Ditch your sandwich bags for this reusable option from Stasher. Each bag is made from BPA-free, food-grade silicone and self-seals to keep food fresh to store, marinate, or sous vide. You can even pop it into the dishwasher or microwave, making it super versatile.