Who Needs These 10 Awesome Kitchen Tools? Everyone!

Who Needs These 10 Awesome Kitchen Tools? Everyone!

I can’t tell you how many pounds of butter I’ve gone through in the past month making pies, cookies, sides and stews, but I can tell you that I’ve once again gained newfound appreciation for all the amazing cooking tools I’ve somehow stuffed into my tiny galley kitchen. I have plenty of love for affordable kitchen tools under $25, but right now I wanted to also shine a light on some of the key investment pieces (no, not like a standard oven) that have made all the difference in cooking during this holiday season.

I will even claim that this gorgeous kitchen equipment — from knives I’m obsessed with to the best electric beaters and apron I’ve ever used — makes me a better cook. When I love the tools I’m using, I notice I take more pleasure in the cooking process. And I’ll bet anyone who’s spent time making a meal can agree that tasks are a lot easier to accomplish with the right, well-crafted tool. 

I’m sharing my running list of favorite kitchen upgrade items below — I hope, of course, that you love them too. And do keep an eye out for holiday and seasonal sales, whether you’re eyeing a gift for yourself or for someone else (lucky them). Happy cooking!


I had an inexpensive pair of electric beaters that always gave me trouble — ditching it for this Breville Handy Mix Scraper was one of the best decisions I made, especially during this season of abundant baking. This mixer seriously does it all: It comes with whisks, creamer inserts and dough hooks! It has a built-in light so you can see what’s in the bowl! There’s a stopwatch feature so you can see how long you’ve been mixing and a pause button that keeps track of your speed settings and time while you take a break to scrape down the bowl! The cord base can rotate to get out of your way! And it has a convenient storage situation where you can keep all the beater wands!

You’re receiving price alerts for Breville Handy Mix Scraper Hand Mixer, Silver, BHM800SIL


I have lusted after Shun Premier knives for over a decade and finally bought two for my new kitchen: the 8-inch chef’s knife and a 3.5-inch paring knife. Over Black Friday, I added a 7-inch Santoku blade to the mix. I adore the way the rounded handles balance, and the stunning, wavy pattern on the forged blade boasts an edge designed to hold sharpness far longer than average. That’s good for me, because the sound of knife sharpening sets my every tooth, bone and neuron on fire.

Shun Premier knives come in gray and brown wood handle options. The Classic knives are cheaper and also very good (yes, I’ve tried them out, too). But my heart belongs to the Premier line for the way they feel in my hand, and the extra aesthetics on the blade (69 layers of Damascus steel, if you’re wondering). I store them in a drawer with a blade guard case to protect the knife sharpness (and my fingers). Here are other recommended chef’s knives as well.

Screenshot by Nina Raemont/CNET

I’ve owned an immersion blender for years, but recently upgraded myself to the Braun MultiQuick 7 for its robust design, powerful motor and fun extras, like a mini food processor attachment (like, for making quick work of onions and herbs) and a balloon whisk attachment for quickly whipping or whisking without having to go full-bore with the electric beaters. 

I use this tool constantly, to process soups right in the pan, make salsa in the included beaker, whip cream into soft peaks and make quick work of pulverizing onion without hefting the food processor to the counter. It’s also wonderfully easy to clean and dry, and small and light enough to pull out from the pantry any time I need it. I can’t recommend it enough.

You’re receiving price alerts for Braun MQ7027X Multiquick 7 ACTIVEBlade Technology Hand Blender

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I may have spoiled myself buying the Google Nest Hub smart speaker display for my kitchen. I have it set up on a riser shelf on my counter, next to a phone stand where I can also keep my phone away from the worst of tea splatters and flying onions. I use the Nest Hub for everyday things like checking the weather as I’m making my morning cuppa and playing music (with song lyrics!) while I cook. I use the two hands-free timers multiple times a day, and look up recipes on the screen (you can follow these step-by-step). 

There’s also an extra function where you can program the Nest Hub to forgo the “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google” wake word when you look at it and start listening to you with just a glance (Google calls this Look and Talk). That’s ultra convenient for saving some time and breath every time you want to ask for unit conversion measures, adding to or canceling a timer and skipping to the next track.

Read our Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) review.


You’re receiving price alerts for Google Nest Hub (2nd gen, Sand)


Zojirushi has an excellent reputation for countertop appliances that hit the high-water mark. I’ve been beyond happy with my Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker since I bought it earlier this year. My pantry is stuffed with six kinds of rice and at least four other grains I routinely cook up. The settings are easy to use and whether I wash the grains or not, whatever I’m making comes out evenly cooked. Plus, it plays a song when starting and ending a cycle, which is much nicer than a loud beep or buzz.

The Neuro Fuzzy in particular takes up more counter space than the most compact models, and rice can take an hour for a typical cycle of even cooking. But there are lots of settings, including a quick cook mode, and cleanup is easy. (Here are meals you can make in the rice cooker other than rice.)

You’re receiving price alerts for Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker: $185


Buying the Breville Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven (BOV845BSS) was one of my best kitchen decisions. It toasts, it broils, it roasts. And since it has a convection oven function, you can totally skip the separate air fryer — and cook more stuff at once. I love the countdown clock that takes the mystery out of when your food will be done, and I love that I can bake a single batch of cookies or toast walnuts faster than a standard oven, and without having to heat the whole thing first. Plus, the brushed stainless steel body looks pretty great on my countertop.

You’re receiving price alerts for Breville Smart Oven Pro toaster oven: $260 (Save $90)

Screenshot by Nina Raemont/CNET

Le Creuset dutch ovens are all the rage (I actually really love my Staub Cocotte), but one of the best gifts I ever received was this Le Creuset casserole dish that can go straight from oven to table (to fridge!) while cooking food evenly and looking awesome. I would buy this all over again, and gift it, too. It comes in a range of striking colors, and shockingly cleans easily — with a little soak in soapy hot water and a dirt-cheap pan scraper. I’m the kind of person who excels at ruining dutch ovens with burned-on spots. After a couple years, this dish has remained spot-free, even after roasting dark, sticky stews (yum!).

You’re receiving price alerts for Le Creuset Stoneware Heritage Covered Rectangular Casserole, 4 qt. (12″ x 9″), Oyster

Screenshot by Nina Raemont/CNET

A workhorse apron is worth its weight in gold. I’m thankful I finally stumbled on Hedley & Bennett, which makes a seemingly endless supply of thick, sturdy aprons I now can’t fail to miss seeing seemingly any time I walk into a restaurant. If these aprons can handle the stresses of a professional kitchen, they can handle the flying sauces and batter in mine. I bought myself two styles, including a Cookie Monster print that never fails to make my inner child giggle. The apron’s neck loop is adjustable, there are a lot of pockets, and so far the waist straps haven’t gotten scrunched, twisted or mangled in the washer or dryer.  

Screenshot by Nina Raemont/CNET

I’m not the kind of wine enthusiast who owns a different glass for every varietal — not yet, anyway. Instead, I opt for one all-rounder that will work beautifully no matter which bottle I open, erring on the side of big, bold reds. I’ve been using these “Burgundy” glasses from Schott Zwiesel for years, and my Amazon search history told me I bought them five times, twice for myself and three times as a gift. Yes, I do drink white wine, rose and sparkling out of them (gasp!), and they all taste terrific. Better in my mind to drink from a glass with a too-big bowl than a cramped glass that stifles all that great wine nose.

You’re receiving price alerts for Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Forte Stemware Collection Claret Burgundy Red Wine Glass, 25-Ounce, Set of 6

Screenshot by Nina Raemont/CNET

If you don’t use an electric kettle yet, drop everything and get yourself one. This indispensable kitchen savior rapidly heats water for tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and it gives you a head start on boiling vats of water for pasta, blanching or anything else you need. I’ve owned and gifted a lot of electric kettles, and most work about the same way. This Zwilling Enfingy Electric Kettle has a sleeker, more sophisticated look and variable temperature controls. I also like that it’s got a cool-touch exterior that won’t burn you when you pick it up. 

There’s no viewing window for water height and you have to feel comfortable with capacitive controls that you press and hold, but these aren’t deal-breakers for me by any means.

You’re receiving price alerts for Zwilling Enfingy electric kettle: $120

For even more top kitchen picks, see our best kitchen gifts under $25 and best stainless steel frying pans.