Kitchn Love Letters

The $25 Kitchen Buy That Makes Me a Better Cook — And Keeps Me Organized

published Aug 2, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

An entire post dedicated to … prep bowls? Yes! They’re simple glass bowls, they’re all the same size, they don’t seem like much to write home about (or write about in general), but these 4.75-inch stackable bowls are high on my list of kitchen favorites. They make cooking a breeze by helping me stay organized, tidy, and on-track.

These handy vessels come in a set of six, and I simply grab the entire stack whenever I’m getting myself situated in the kitchen. Then, instead of creating piles of chopped ingredients on my cutting board — which I’d have to then tediously work around as my dinner prep progresses — I can simply relegate each item to its own little bowl. I like to use one bowl for scraps, while the rest hold my diced onions, sliced garlic, torn herbs, grated carrots, oozy tomatoes, chopped nuts, or whatever else is on deck for the evening. 

When sauces or pastes are involved, I find it convenient to dispense what I’ll need into my trusty prep bowls for later use instead of fiddling with measurements while I’m mid-stir. This is especially useful in high-heat cooking situations when things move fast — like when I’m making mapo tofu and reaching for the doubanjiang and fermented black beans over my sizzling wok.

Credit: Summer Rylander

I suppose this could all just be read as an argument for mise en place, but it’s hard to deny that organized prep leads to more efficient, intentional cooking. Have you ever put dinner on the table only to realize you forgot to add the tomato paste, or the tablespoon of honey, or the sprinkling of herbs that was supposed to get added at the last minute? I have done all of the above. I’m not saying that these basic, affordable, barely-take-up-any-room stacking bowls will minimize your mistakes — but I also kind of am.

If convenience and accuracy aren’t enough to convince you, note that these bowls are also the perfect size for doling out snacks, whisking a couple of eggs for a scramble, or serving dips and spreads. They’re ultra-durable and dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is a snap and there’s no harm done if someone stacks a little too vigorously. 

I guess you could say that I’ve been “bowled over” by them. (Sorry!)

Do you have a set of prep bowls you love? Tell us about it in the comments!