Published on March 29, 2021

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The more time I spend at home, the more I cook. And the more I cook, the more I realize how essential some of my kitchen tools are—and how much I definitely do not need a corn peeler. (I mean, have you ever met a professional chef with a corn peeler?) Instead I’ve found myself gravitating toward the same group of reliable products over and over, which made me aware of how little you actually need to whip up a *chef’s kiss* meal. 

Each of these handy items has helped me get through lockdown cooking, from the best sheet pan on the planet to my favorite containers for storing leftovers. Here are my top 10 quarantine—and beyond—kitchen essentials.

The Multipurpose Marvel

Not only does this slim spatula fit into jars to scrape out every last bit of jam, peanut butter, and miso, it’s also handy for stirring soups and flipping fish. And I just toss it in the dishwasher when I’m done. 

The Ziploc Replacement

Truth: I haven’t bought plastic self-sealing bags in years. That’s because Stashers are my go-to for storing extra rice, opened cheese, and even canned tomato paste, which I dollop by the tablespoon into a tiny bag before throwing it in the freezer. They’re dishwasher safe and insanely durable. 

The Stovetop Savior

A Dutch oven helps with almost everything, from heating up vegetables to deep-frying falafel. And Staub’s is the perfect round size (the oval ones don’t fit on all stoves) and always washes clean, even when I’ve overcooked (read: burned) the onions. 

The Roasting BFF

A good sheet pan, as in one that doesn’t warp, is a game changer. I finally swapped my near-black ones for this cute green version that’s so nonstick it doesn’t even require parchment paper. 

The Finest Cut

A friend gifted me this knife years ago, and it’s still the first one I reach for when it’s time to prep veggies and slice, well, anything, from cake to oranges. It’s light but sturdy, and I hone it every few months or so to keep it extra-sharp.

The Clear Winners

I only store leftovers in clear containers because my personal theory is that if you can’t see it, you won’t eat it. These glass ones have clear lids, so I always know what I have left, which saves me from mindlessly ordering takeout because “I have nothing in the fridge.”

The Fancy Factor

Cloth napkins make every meal feel a little more special, even on nights where I mess up the lentil stew so badly that it’s the consistency of refried beans. (True story.) I spotted these linen ones on a trip upstate and the stitching makes even a #KitchenFail better. 

The Techy Necessity

The Google Nest Hub is basically my sous-chef. I can display recipes onscreen, and as soon as I run out of an ingredient, I can ask the Hub to add it to my Google Keep shopping list. It also plays my Spotify while I stir. 

The Best Boards

When I moved into my new apartment, I splurged on cute cutting boards that are great for prepping fish (I don’t use my wood one for that), but they warped in the dishwasher, so now they slide around when I’m using them. Then I discovered this one with grippable feet, and it’s the only one I reach for when it’s time to chop. I even bought a mini one for smaller tasks. 

The Salad Saver

Making the same salad over and over again can be a bore, but I recently discovered vinaigrettes that are so much better than anything I could make on my own. The Garden Heat version makes even romaine taste like a party. 

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