Kitchn Love Letters

10 Essential Kitchen Tools Kitchn Editors Couldn’t Live Without in 2021

published Dec 24, 2021
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Credit: Cathy Pyle

A happy kitchen is one that doesn’t stress you out — which often means being equipped with the right tools to make life a little easier. While our editors have raved about all the items big and small that we’ve been using in our own kitchens throughout the year in our Kitchn Love Letters, we’ve gone ahead and selected 10 picks from 2021 that we use almost constantly.

Several of these tools, gadgets, and small appliances have also appeared on our best lists, including our roundups of the best saucepans, best butter spreaders, and best paring knives. Not only are we excited to bring these picks into 2022, but we also think they’d make welcome additions to your kitchen! We’re talking super nonstick cookware you’ll use everyday, a mini food chopper to cut prep time in half, and a high-performing blender to make mornings easier. Plus, many are from our favorite small cookware brands of the year like Misen and Made In, so you know you’re getting well-crafted kitchen gear. And as a special end-of-year treat, most of these tools are majorly discounted!

1 / 10
Made In

"Its nonstick surface is seriously slippery. Coated multiple times to be extra durable and resistant to degradation, this pan is my go-to for making any sticky egg dish, sautéed mushrooms and peppers, or delicate fish. Weekend clear-out-the-fridge omelettes and frittatas? The eggs slide right out. Seared salmon filets? No skin stuck to the bottom of the pan. If you’re sick of tearing through nonstick pans that don’t actually work, this pan will change your mind." — Danielle St. Pierre, Senior Commerce Editor

2 / 10
Bed Bath & Beyond
was $54.99

"Over the years, I’ve collected juicers, blenders, mixers, and the like, but time and time again, I find myself turning back to my tiny-but-mighty food processor. It’s so lightweight, I’ve even taken it on road trips; it adds no extra bulk and is a perfect all-in-one gadget when I know I’ll be cooking in an Airbnb or camping. Wherever I use it, this mini-appliance is something I really can’t cook (or live) without." — Stella Totino, Commerce Intern

3 / 10

"The first time I used this knife, it slid so seamlessly into the tomato I was cutting, slicing right through without getting stuck on the skin and squishing it. I was so blown away that I called my roommate in to the kitchen to show her. It’s also versatile enough for smaller knife work. The comfortable grip and sharp blade allowed my brother to deftly mince garlic without worrying about cutting himself." — Erin Cavoto, Commerce Writer

4 / 10

"A Tahdig is a multi-step dish which requires boiling and draining, frying and steaming, until finally, the moment of truth… the flipping of the pot. If done correctly, the Tahdig will slip right out, with a crisp and golden outer layer and fluffy rice on the interior. Usually, for good measure, you cool the bottom of the pan to shock the rice from the sides, but with the Caraway sauce pan, I didn’t bother. I wanted to see just how non-stick this pan truly is. Turning the golden heap of grains out onto the plate, I practically jumped with glee. The Tahdig slid out seamlessly." — Stella Totino, Commerce Intern

5 / 10
was $135.00

"Straight from the box upon arrival, I fell in love with the aesthetics of this sleek, stainless steel and aluminum pan. Hands-down my favorite part of this pan is its flat riveted handles, which are not only comfortable to hold, but smart and technically well-placed to provide balance, leverage, and support. This pan is basically a glorified heavy-duty baking sheet with handles, and it’s one of my current favorite pieces of everyday cookware." — Danielle St. Pierre, Senior Commerce Editor

6 / 10
was $119.99

"Making juices in my Ninja Foodi is not only way easier than setting up, using, and cleaning out an actual juicer, but it also liquifies and incorporates a lot of the fibers I was missing out on by juicing. In a matter of 10 minutes, I can make smoothie bowls for two, rinse the vessel, whip up some fresh OJ, and do a final cleanup. Now, I’m practically jumping out of bed for breakfast smoothie bowls and looking forward to whatever autumn veggie soup I can make for lunch. This Ninja Foodie Nutrient Extractor has easily become my most used kitchen gadget this year." — Kendall Cornish, Best List Writer

7 / 10

"This sleek and ergonomic knife has become my go-to for weeknight onion chopping, veggie prep, and citrus slicing. As someone with slightly smaller hands, I find Misen’s Paring Knife comfortable to grip, maneuver, and wash following dinner prep. My favorite use is chopping fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil. This easy-to-hold knife gives me major confidence during meal prep and has helped me master classic knife skills like Julienne cuts, chopping, cubing, and dicing." — Danielle St. Pierre, Senior Commerce Editor

8 / 10
was $79.99

"Above everything else, the one thing that really wowed me was how speedy this machine is. I was shocked to find that you don’t have to wait for the water to warm up after changing the reservoir or when turning it on first thing in the morning. Instead, the water instantly heats as it brews your coffee! My jaw honestly dropped when I tried it for the first time." — Erin Cavoto, Commerce Writer

9 / 10

"The Cuisinart TOA-60 has 7-functions; so although I purchased it for frying, I found I equally use its bake, broil, toast, and warming settings (I even used the warming setting for proofing doughnuts). In fact, we actually got rid of our old two-slice toaster and just use this bad boy now. Because I live in a city where the energy source is entirely renewable, using my TOA-60 in place of my oven for roasting and baking means I’m cooking in a more sustainable kitchen as a bonus!" — Stella Totino, Commerce Intern

10 / 10

"The serrations swiftly cut through butter, while the blade easily spreads it. The spreader works pretty well for cold butter and amazingly for room-temperature butter. The blade’s substantial surface area sweeps butter across toast in one fell swoop. And guess what else? I’ve found that it’s also ideal for scooping and spreading a thin layer of condiments, like mayo or mustard, onto sandwiches." — Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, former Tools Editor