We Scoured Ina Garten’s Instagram and Here’s Everything in Her Kitchen We’re Buying

published Oct 14, 2023
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Collage of Ina Garten surrounded by a woven storage basket, a microplane zester, dishes, a wooden cutting board, and a Le Creuset serving platter
Credit: Photos: (Ina Garten) Talaya Centeno/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock, Williams Sonoma, Cassandra's Kitchen, Bloomingdale's, Amazon

Love Ina Garten? It’s hard not to. For 28 years, the Barefoot Contessa has provided viewers with a foolproof blueprint on hosting, cooking, and living via food. Primarily shot in Ina’s East Hampton residence, the show revolves around preparing, cooking, and hosting lavish dinner parties for her family and friends. 

While at times her menus can feel a bit aspirational, what really resonates with viewers is her simplistic and hands-on approach. Forget staff and caterers — Ina does most of the legwork herself. She hand-harvests fresh herbs from her backyard garden, and consults with a close florist friend regarding her florals. No detail is too big or small, and Ina is never afraid to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty. To date, this remains true despite her show wrapping in early 2021. 

Since wrapping in 2021, the New York Times-bestselling cookbook author took to a new medium to connect with fans: Instagram. During the pandemic, she not only showed fans how to create her COVID-tini, but also walked her followers through her clean, modern kitchen renovation, documenting the entire process from start to finish. But the best part about her Instagram posts? You can follow her lead and re-create any recipe, meal, or project she takes on — or, at least, now you’ll be able to. From glass vases to multi-functional cookie cutters, we found 20 essentials you’ll need to live like Ina Garten.

1. Start with a clean slate.

Whether it’s an intimate lunch or an elaborate dinner, start with a clean slate: the right tablecloth. Stay true to Ina’s simplistic ways and prioritize a solid color over a printed one. While white linen is a classic choice, you can also opt for a pop of color, which she often does. A blue fabric like this one will add depth to your table setting without being overly distracting. Plus, it’ll add contrast, so your dishes and glassware will really stand out. 

2. Add napkins. 

“I do like real napkins, and I like the napkins that you don’t have to iron. So I get these linen napkins that you put in the washing machine, and you put them in the dryer for five minutes and then fold them up,” says Garten. So, while disposable napkins might be good, these machine-washable napkins will be even better. 

3. Keep your dishes simple.

Perfect your culinary creation by erring on the side of caution like Ina. Over the years, she’s repeatedly thrown her support behind white plates. White plates make your food look the best, and because all eyes will be on your culinary creation, you’ll want to add these two brands to your shopping carts — they’re a mainstay in her collection. 

4. Find your flatware.

No table is complete without flatware, and Garten’s silverware of choice is a brand called Chambly; she shared on Instagram that she uses it daily! However, if you can’t afford the higher-priced version, there’s no reason to fret: It’s just plain flatware. A solid dupe would be anything stainless steel like this set; it offers longevity and durability.

5. Invest in a variety of blooms. 

Ina turns to her close friend and florist, Michael Grim, for all things flower-related. However, she does make sure she has her hand in the selection process and again when displaying them. Instead of deciding on just one flower arrangement, Ina is known for having a variety of blooms housed in vases of different shapes and sizes. While there is no wrong or right way to stage them, follow Ina’s lead and move them around until you find what works for you (and your kitchen). 

6. Serve in style.

While Ina might construct the table setting to her liking, she often lets guests help themselves to food. However, to ensure the table looks as good as the meal tastes, she thinks ahead — with the right serving platters. The stoneware on this Le Creuset oval platter is dense enough to block moisture absorption to prevent cracking, crazing, and ripping, while the nearly nonstick glazed interior easily releases foods for a quick cleanup. 

7. Create a conversation circle.

Before taking your seat for the main course, kick things off the Ina-approved way with a versatile wooden cutting board. Stock it with Ina’s fresh go-to items like cheese, grapes, and cashews. This board is the perfect springboard for finger foods and creates an inviting atmosphere that encourages guests to interact. 

8. Store boards properly.

Organize your kitchen appropriately by making sure every item has a home. According to Ina, a foolproof way to do that is with a woven basket large enough to fit several large wooden cutting boards. An oval-shaped tray will work wonders on kitchen countertops, while a deeper tote basket will work impeccably in kitchen pantries. 

9. Switch your spoons.

Overpriced flatware isn’t something Ina says is worth the investment, and the same goes for tasting spoons. That’s why when it comes to tasting, stirring, or just placing out next to appetizers, remain mindful. An affordable set like these will get the job done. 

10. Invest in a good knife. 

Slice, dice, chop, and whatever else your recipe requires with a knife that’s worth its price tag. Do like Ina and opt for this 8-inch classic chef’s knife by Wüsthof. Yes, “they’re pretty expensive, but they last a lifetime. That’s why I say, ask for one as a gift or buy one at a time,” she says. 

11. Rethink how you use cookie cutters.

Cookie cutters don’t just make festive holiday treats; this baking tool is endlessly versatile. In an Instagram post, Ina posted a photo of her chicken pot pie with a heart-and-star-shaped pastry crouton. This whimsical pot-pie topping was concocted by using the cutters to shape the dough before placing it on a sheet pan, brushing it with egg, and baking until gold and crispy. 

12. Strategically select scoopers. 

Another baking tool severely under-utilized in our kitchens? Ice cream or cookie scoopers — and you can take the traditional scooper to the next level by using it to portion meatballs. Aside from providing the perfect individual-sized portion, it’ll also save time rolling them into balls. A win-win! 

13. Set the *right* timer.

After you’ve spent all that time measuring, mixing, and preparing your recipe, the last thing you want is for it to be over- or under-cooked. Set yourself up for success (like Ina!) with a trusty kitchen timer. After all, you don’t want to put something in the oven and totally forget about it. 

14. Cook food to perfection. 

Similarly, Ina believes the same goes for your oven temperature. While the dial might say one thing, the temperature inside your oven could be completely different. Why risk it? Instead, ensure success with the help of an oven thermometer. 

15. Master measuring.

A pinch of that or a splash of this might be the key to success for some recipes, but not all; in those instances, you can rely on a kitchen scale. Keep your ingredients properly portioned with the Salter Digital Weighing Scale. Slim and compact, this choice is easy to use and offers precision (and a 15-year warranty). 

16. Find a foolproof food processor. 

Another kitchen essential that gets a lot of use in Ina’s kitchen? This food processor — she loves it so much, she thinks it deserves a national holiday. This tool reduces the time it takes to slice and dice items and streamlines the process. It’s also exceptional for grating potatoes, breaking up breadcrumbs in her crispy mustard roasted chicken recipe, and even preparing tomato crostini and whipped feta. 

17. Season to your liking. 

Grind any spice or millable substance with the help of this peppermill — it’s the same one Ina uses day in and day out. Adjustable to fit any size, fine to coarse, it will season every item to perfection (or, at the very least, to your liking). 

18. Peel perfectly.

 One of Ina’s favorite peelers is actually one of the most affordable versions on the market: this Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler. For under $10, it’s impressive; the super-sharp carbon steel blade cuts cleanly and stays sharp. Just remember that peelers lose their sharpness over time, so you should replace them yearly. 

19. Don’t forget a Microplane zester. 

Another kitchen tool that Ina can’t live without? This Microplane zester from Cassandra’s Kitchen. “I love a rasp [a Microplane] because I love the zest of citrus fruit. And actually, now I do garlic on the rasp because it grates so finely,” she explained in an interview with Bon Appétit. 

20. Stick to a strainer. 

When it’s time to take gnocchi, noodles, or broccoli out of boiling water, Ina reaches for her long-handled mesh strainer. The wide stainless steel brim and rod make it easy to scoop out of any bowl or pot, while the long handle provides a comfortable grip that won’t leave your hands too close to the heat.