I’m a Professional Kitchen Equipment Tester — These Are the 10 Things I Use the Most at Home

updated Jan 25, 2021
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Hi there, I’m the new Tools Editor at Kitchn! (Nice to meet you!) And that means I spend my days — and nights — playing with gadgets and gear to find the very best stuff for your home kitchen. It’s my job, so that you don’t have to waste your time or money on anything that’s not great. I mean, sure, you could buy any whisk, but don’t you want the one that perfectly emulsifies sauces, beats whipped cream into pillowy mounds, is easy to clean, and is durable? And how do you find that whisk out of the, say, hundreds of whisks on the market? That’s where I come in. 

I’m also an avid home cook. And, of course, I have my go-to kitchen gear. These are some of the things I use over and over again to make dinner, brew coffee, and prep this and that. They make me happy — and work so well that cooking (and life!) are easier because of them.

Here are 10 of my favorite items that I use the most at home.

1. Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer

Everything I make seems to have a little bit of lemon juice in it — and this citrus juicer extracts far, far more juice than any other press I’ve tried. It has perforations at the bottom that are arranged like a star, rather than the handful of scattered holes most other presses have. This directs the juice downward and eliminates any sideways spurts or sputters. It’s really just an all-around winner.

2. Technivorm Moccamaster 10-Cup Coffee Maker

I make coffee every morning (and sometimes every afternoon) so a great coffee maker is extremely important. I first heard of Technivorm when I was working at America’s Test Kitchen and pretty much everyone there owned one. The hype is real, though: It consistently makes amazing joe, is super simple to operate, and it keeps coffee hot for a long, long time. The thermal carafe model gets the most press, however I bought the hot plate version for $100 off of Craigslist because I can’t pass up a great deal. Mine is in the Stone Gray color, but I have my eye on the Pistachio Green, Butter Yellow, or Sky Blue one when it eventually comes time to upgrade.

3. GIR Silicone Spatula

I have enough spatulas to fill an entire utensil crock. However, my favorites have to be this skinny spatula for getting into tight spaces (ahem, jars) and corners; this large, long-handled spatula from Rubbermaid for reaching the bottom of my deep stand mixer bowl and Dutch oven; and this silicone GIR spatula for pretty much everything else. I will also give an honorable mention to these funfetti spatulas, which are not the best quality, but come in different sizes and make me happy every time I use them.

4. Great Jones Dutchess

I love my Great Jones Dutch oven so much I wish I owned one in every color. I use it a ton: for roasting, simmering beans, boiling water for pasta, making soup and pot roasts, and more. Made from enameled cast iron, The Dutchess browns beautifully and comes clean easily. I love the looped handles, which are easy to grasp. And while I have the pink one, which is no longer available, every color is a showstopper.

5. Nordic Ware Rimmed Baking Sheets

I think I own about 10 rimmed baking sheets. They’re my favorite for roasting, baking, prep work — you name it. The absolute best ones I’ve come across are from Nordic Ware. They’re warp-resistant, durable as heck, and will last for years. I use the half sheets the most often, but am also a fan of the quarter and eighth sheet sizes. Their compact nature makes them perfect for cooking for two and prep work, like toasting nuts.

Read more: Amazon Shoppers Are Obsessed with This Sheet Pan

6. Hexclad Skillet

I got this 10-inch skillet about four years ago and it’s easily the most-used skillet in my kitchen. I could go on and on about it, but here are some highlights: It’s oven-safe, dishwasher-safe, and basically a hybrid between a nonstick and a stainless steel skillet, so it’s both slick and durable (read: scratch-resistant!). I use mine for frying eggs, cooking fish, searing steak, making frittatas — the list goes on. My goal is to, one day, test this entire set, but for now, my single skillet will keep getting its daily workout.

7. Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

I have a whole lot of knives, but if I had to pick the ones I reach for the most it would be this Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s 8-Inch Knife and this Bob Kramer 8” Carbon Steel Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henkels. The Victorinox is super-sharp, lightweight, comfortable to hold, and I don’t have to worry about it too much because it wasn’t super expensive. My Bob Kramer by Zwilling knife was pricey, but it’s like the Ferrari of my knife collection. It cuts like butter and fits in my hand so perfectly, it almost feels custom made.

8. OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Boards

I love both the small and large versions of this plastic OXO cutting board. Their rubbery ends prevent them from slipping around too much on the counter and they have trenches built into their sides to catch drippings and juices. As far as wooden cutting boards go, I like this J.K. Adams Large Reversible Maple Carving Board. The flat side has a wide juice groove around the perimeter and the reverse side has a poultry indentation, which works perfectly for resting and carving my weekly roast chicken. 

9. MIU Fish Spatula

I use a fish spatula for almost every task that requires flipping or lifting: pancakes, burgers, fish fillets, transferring cookies from a baking sheet to a cooling rack, etc! Its slim, wide, angled edge makes it nimble and perfect for almost any food. I have two of these. I’m also a huge fan of these nonstick-safe fish spatulas for cookware and bakeware that scratches easily. 

10. Le Creuset Braiser

I reviewed braisers extensively for ATK, but was a fan of the pan way before that. A few years ago, I got a Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Braiser at a Le Creuset outlet store for a deeply discounted price (more than 50% off!) in a discontinued color. I love its wide, looped handles that makes it easy to lift into and out of the oven and its enameled cast iron interior that browns so, so well. Its lid makes the pan perfect not just for braising, but also for cooking vegetables and steaming greens. Its wide base and medium height walls are ideal for shallow-frying and dishes like skillet chili. I love roasting a chicken in it, too, and like other Le Creuset cookware it’s gorgeous enough to go from stovetop to table (fewer dishes!).