11 Next Level Kitchen Tools For Your Shopping List

11 Next Level Kitchen Tools For Your Shopping List

Once you have the essentials in your kitchen, then the fun really begins. That’s when you can start adding special equipment that makes cooking and baking easier and more stylish.

The following is my eclectic list of next-level kitchen tools. Some of the items on this list are things that I never thought that I would buy, and now that I have them, I cannot live without them.

Beautiful Handmade Wood

The Riley Land Collection is curated by Joseph Riley Land and each piece is sourced by him directly from the maker. The beautiful wooden biscuit cutter is a must have for any baker. If you make biscuits, or if you’ve always aspired to make biscuits, this is your new family heirloom.

The biscuit cutter is “ hands-down, my best selling item. It is my star…” said owner and founder Joseph Riley Land. Fittingly, the wood that the biscuit cutters are made from comes from his family farmland, and his neighbor Mr. A. makes them. The cutters come in black walnut, cherry and ambrosia-maple wood, as well as four sizes, the Riley/Land Biscuit Cutter, the Fat Cat, The Kittenhead, and the Cathead biscuit cutter. The biscuit cutters start at $18.

I think a few premium wood cutting boards are the most important upgrade in your kitchen after three really good knives. There are lots of cutting boards on the market—some are disposable and some are family heirlooms. If you invest in a really good cutting board, and take care of it, it will last you a lifetime. Two companies that make handcrafted cutting boards that are as beautiful as they are functional are The Boardsmith, and Stella Falone.

The Boardsmith is proud to be a “Mom and Pop” family business and they make each board by hand, paying careful attention to details like woodgrain direction and seamless joinery. This craftsmanship is recognized by many chefs and they have a loyal following. They use hardwoods including maple, cherry, and black walnut sourced from sawmills who use sustainable forestry practices (FSC). They will also engrave a name, initials or logo on the boards which is a very nice touch for yourself or your favorite cook. The boards start at $125 and can be purchased at theboardsmith.com

Do you love music and food? If so, there is a Stella Falone cutting board or paddle for you. Stella Falone was established by Bob Taylor, co-founder of Taylor Guitars. [ICYDK, Taylor Guitars is the leading acoustic guitar brand and they are played by many of the superstars in the music world, including Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Shawn Mendez.]

In an effort to minimize waste, Stella Falone uses the leftover pieces of Ebony and American-walnut wood from making the guitars, to make kitchen products. The cutting boards and wooden paddles are super-premium and absolutely gorgeous. The paddles and boards start at $59 and can be purchased at stellafalone.com

Clothes for the Cook

Every cook needs a bad-a** apron. And Apres Supply Co., is just that company. These are not your average, everyday aprons. The owner and creator of Apres aprons, Michael Wendland, was looking for a special apron as a gift for his wife, and when he couldn’t find what he was looking for he decided to create his own.

The aprons are made from premium materials including leather, waxed canvas, premium denim, recycled cotton, and premium cotton blends as well as brass grommets and heavy duty trims. And this could be the last apron that you ever buy, because they have a lifetime guarantee—something I have never heard of in the apron business. Apres offers free exchanges for the lifetime of the product, but the real reason to love it is that it’s both fashionable and functional.

If you’re looking for a seriously heavy-duty apron, the Premium Grill Master is like a Barbour coat for the outdoor cook. It is made of 16oz waxed recycled cotton with leather trims and interchangeable straps. You have an option to personalize the apron and it include a bottle opener.

The Premium Pizza Master apron is made of lighter-weight 10oz recycled cotton canvas and features two faux-fur lined pockets. If you live in the Northeast, Midwest, Canada or another cold and blustery area, you can put your hands in your pockets while you are waiting for your pizza or steak to cook, and keep them warm. Even if you don’t need the fur-lined pockets for warmth, they feel good and are a nice touch.

The premium aprons are competitively priced at $115.00 but there are other choices that start at $89.00. The aprons ship for free to anywhere in North America and come in a premium black gift box. They can be purchased at apressupply.com.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are two of the biggest rituals that come out of the kitchen. And, coffee snobs have long loved the French Press. Top on their list is the Frieling Double-Walled Stainless Steel French Press. The 100{d2b09b03d44633acb673e8080360919f91e60962656af8ade0305d5d8b7e4889} stainless steel French Press is double walled to keep the coffee hot longer. In fact, it keeps coffee hot four-times longer than glass French presses.

This fall, Frieling launched a double-walled French press in six colors so that you can add a pop of color to your morning ritual. The lacquered French presses hold 34 fluid ounces, have a double screen to filter out maximum sediment, and a no drip spout. The French Press can also be used for looseleaf tea and is a “top tip” for tea aficionados. The presses have a suggested retail price of $99.95.

Once you use an electric tea kettle to heat water for tea or your French press, you will never go back to a stovetop kettle. It is so much faster than waiting for the water to boil (on the stove).

If you’re looking for an electric tea kettle that looks as good as it performs, SMEG fits the bill. This is one of those appliances that I swore that I didn’t need. And then I fell in love with my red SMEG mini Tea kettle. The mini version offers the same 50s design in a compact size that is especially welcome when space is limited. The kettle sits on an anti-slip 360° chrome base and has a double-wall structure with a stainless-steel lining and water level markings inside.

The internal water level indicator is very helpful. I found that just above the minimum water mark is good for one cup, and filling it at the maximum water level is good for 3 cups of hot water. The mini SMEG electric kettle is available in seven colors including white, black, cream, pastel blue, pastel green, pink and red. The Mini kettle is available at Williams-Sonoma.com for a suggested retail price is $149.95. The SMEG Basic full-size kettle has a 56-ounce capacity and starts at $189.95.

The Ice Cube Makes The Drink

The cocktail ice-cube tray just got personal. Ice cubes make a big difference in your drink, especially if you are drinking whiskey on [one] rock. Siligrams has upgraded the silicone ice-cube mold with personalization. The trays are custom-made with your monogram, company logo, or a unique design.

The silicone ice-cube trays are easy to fill, and it is easy to release the cubes one-by-one as you need them. Siligrams makes the customizable ice cube trays in three square cube sizes as well as a “whiskey ball” mold, ice shot-glass mold and other shapes. You can also opt to buy the trays with or without a lid. But if you are going for a monogrammed ice cube tray, I say go all the way and order a lid. I really like the matching silicone lid that fits over the ice tray as it keeps the ice pristine. The trays start at $29.00 with free shipping and take about two weeks to customize.

Perfect Rice and Oatmeal Too

I admit that that until a few months ago I was the person who said they would never buy a rice cooker. I didn’t want another appliance that I only used a few times, but I finally had to come to grips with the fact that I am the world’s worst rice cooker, and I needed some help. My ‘in-the-know’ friend, Anthony, recommended Zojirushi and I soon discovered that if you buy the right rice cooker, you can also use it to cook oatmeal and grits among other grains.

You can also set the cooker on a timer and have hot oatmeal waiting for you in the morning. The rice—for the first time in my life—is fluffy and dry, and waking up to hot Scottish pinhead oatmeal is a game changer.

I purchased the 3-cup, Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer with both a GABA brown and steel-cut oatmeal setting. The rice cooker also has technology that they call fuzzy logic technology, which allows the rice cooker to cook all kinds of different grains, and ensure a consistent finished product even if you put too little or too much water in the machine.

The 3-cup capacity will make approximately 6 cups of cooked rice. It is lightweight and has a retractable cord which makes it very easy to store. Suggested retail is $157.99.

Smart Appliances

Using an app on your phone and wireless cooking thermometers are not new, but the CHEFiQ Smart Thermometer is the thinnest one on the market, and it is very smart. The diameter of the thermometer is important because you want to make as small a hole in your food as possible. The larger the hole, the more the internal juices can escape.

Besides the size of this clever device, it tracks the internal temperature in real time while your food cooks, and alerts you when it is time to take action. It is heat-safe up to 572°F and has an internal food temperature range of 32°F to 225°F making it a great choice for smoking barbecue meats that you want to temp over 200°F. The thermometer is safe to use on the grill, in the oven, and even in air fryers and deep fryers. The packaging is very sleek and the charging case is super premium with a cool silicone tray in the lid that fits 2 thermometers like a glove.

The thermometer was developed to work with the CHEFiQ app and that’s what makes it really smart. Using the app, the thermometer has the ability to guide you through the cooking process. Follow a few prompts such as type of meat, type of cut, thickness, cooking appliance, etc. and the thermometer will map out your recipe step-by-step, like GPS for cooks. The alerts include when to flip the food, if necessary, when to pull it off the heat and how long to let it rest.

Like all smart appliances, it needs to be fully charged and it takes some time to set up before your first use, but that’s true for any smart wireless appliance. The key to success is positioning the probe which needs to be fully inserted at the thickest point of the food so that none of the stainless steel is showing. Beware that inaccurate placement can cause inaccurate readings.

The app is user friendly and you can tell it was designed with the help of really good cooks. I have used it many times because the CHEFiQ Smart Cooker is my favorite pressure cooker, and the thermometer uses the same app. The app has hundreds of recipes created in-house by their expert test kitchen staff of former chefs, food magazine editors and recipe developers. The recipes work and there is a great variety.

Even if you cook for a living and don’t think you need one more recipe I guarantee you’ll find one that you will make over and over again. For me, it is the brilliantly simple and delicious Mushroom Bisque that I have made more times than I can count. The CHEFiQ thermometer and Smart Cooker will enhance your cooking experience and make you a better cook.

Besides the recipes, the multi-pot has an integrated scale for weighing ingredients, more than 100 built-in presets and functions for virtually every cooking need including sous vide.

It’s a smart appliance, and what that means is that it just keeps getting better as the company creates updates. You don’t have to buy a new appliance, you just update your smart cooker with the over-the-air firmware updates and this is exactly the same for the thermometer.

The suggested retail price for the CHEFiQ thermometer is $99.99 and the suggested retail price for the Smart Cooker is $199.99

Turn Your Kitchen into an Ice Cream Shoppe

Making ice cream at home has never been easier and the new Ninja Creami Deluxe 11-in-1 Ice-Cream Maker now makes frozen boozy drinks. The Creami is known for turning just about anything into ice cream, including cans of fruit. It is fun to use and makes a pint at a time so you can experiment with just about anything that you want to eat creamy, cold and frozen.

The premise is simple. You freeze the base for 24 hours—ice cream custard or whatever you want to make into a frozen treat/ice cream—and the paddle of the Creami literally “creamerizes” the contents. The new Creami Deluxe can also spin slushies, make Italian ice, frozen yogurt and creamy coffee drinks. There is a setting for mix-ins and this is where the fun begins. Make a simple base like vanilla and add your favorite toppings, candy, sauce etc., to unleash your inner Ben and Jerry and customize it how you like it.

For those who prefer it super creamy, there’s a new re-spin function to make a creamier soft- serve style ice cream. The Creami Deluxe has a suggested retail price of $249.99

If you are someone who doesn’t want to make your base for from scratch, check out the iconic Serendipity frozen hot-chocolate mix, or the HIJINX ice cream mixes.