ATK Kids

The Kitchen Equipment That Makes New Parents’ Lives Easier

From step stools and bottle cleaners to rimmed baking sheets and food processors.

Published Apr. 9, 2019.

Having a child means establishing new routines everywhere in your life—including the kitchen. To find out which pieces of kitchen equipment new parents rely on, we asked members of the America’s Test Kitchen staff who are uniquely qualified to answer this question: Those who have added to their families in the past few years.

Some new parents found that everyday products like an air fryer and a food processor moved to the spotlight after their children were born, while others have found that baby-specific items like waterproof bibs have been the most important. Find all of their answers below.

The Essential Cookbook That All Families Need

The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook

From purees to smoothies to family meals that everyone can enjoy, this cookbook includes the very best (kitchen-tested!) recipes to get you through the early years.
SAVE 34%

"My toddler loves cooking with me in the kitchen, but the biggest hurdle was getting her up high enough to reach the counter without worrying she would fall (I can only keep track of so many things at once!). I love the Little Partners Learning Tower for exactly that—a sturdy wood step-up stool that gets her to the counter and keeps her (at least slightly) contained. (My second favorite tool is a simple whisk. My daughter can and will whisk anything that is put in front of her.)"
— Molly Birnbaum
Editor in Chief of America’s Test Kitchen Kids and mom of Olive, 2 (pictured below)

"My five-and-a-half month old still isn't eating any solids, so I haven't been preparing food for her or us as a family yet. The one thing that has been upgraded to front-of-the-cabinet placement since she was born is my Bialetti Moka Express. I love packing it with (decaf) ground espresso and water and then anytime I have a moment and one hand free I can make myself a steaming cup of joe. Plus I get a moment of feeling like I'm back in Italy, which is pretty darn sweet."
— Katie Leaird
ATK Kids test cook and mom of Hazel, 5½ months

“For me, it’s the food processor. Turns out my baby likes food. From the moment he first tasted those puréed peas (he literally said, "Mmmmm"), I knew the food processor was going to be my new best friend. The Cuisinart takes care of anything from steamed vegetables to sticky oatmeal in seconds and purées them into smooth meals my kid just gobbles down. I throw the pieces in the dishwasher when I'm done and it's clean and ready to go for the next meal prep. Plus it saves me money by not needing to buy prepackaged baby food. It used to live in a cabinet, but these days it's earned a well-deserved spot on the counter.”
— Lindsey Chandler
Art Director and mom of Henry, 7 months

“Last summer we were getting a ton of produce every week from our local CSA. I wanted to give Jackson, our then one-year-old son, variety in his food, and knew he was ready to move on from steamed vegetables and pureed fruit. I would roast the vegetables from our weekly basket of goodies on our rimmed baking sheets and then cut them into small bite-sized pieces for our eager little eater. These sheets are great because they are sturdy and get our veggies nice and caramelized—an extra layer of flavor I think every budding child should get to know!”
— Ashley Moore
Cook’s Country TV test cook, food stylist, and mom of Jackson, 2 (pictured below)

Peach puree

“We use our air fryer every other day or so to cook quick meals for our 2 year old. He loves nuggets and fries that are ready in 10 to 12 minutes, and they taste much better than simply putting something in the microwave.”
— Jay Layman
Art Director and dad of PJ, 2

"If you use bottles, the Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer is the best way to dry bottles. You never have to worry about them drying and can sterilize whenever it's necessary. The Bumkins Waterproof Bibs are my favorite; they’re easy to wash, comfortable, and the perfect size to catch everything. Plus, babies and toddlers look really darn cute in them.

And a pro tip that I learned the hard way: It’s important to have your toddler’s plates and bowls suction to the highchair or eating surface so they focus on eating and not throwing the plate across the kitchen. I like these from Happy Healthy Parent because they come in different colors and are easy to clean."
— Natalie Vinard
Vice President of Digital Marketing and mom of Noah, 18 months

“The most-used item in our kitchen right now has got to be our kitchen scale. We find it much quicker and easier when mixing up formula to just measure by weight—plus it's more accurate. Our model is the inexpensive Ozeri that took home the Best Buy title in our review—it's nothing fancy, but it's super affordable and works well. Plus, it’s survived a bit of water spillage, which is definitely important with kitchen electronics.”
— Allison Boales
Deputy Art Director and mom of Eric, 6 months

“My Vitamix got plenty of use before I had kids, and now that I'm pureeing baby food, I rarely go a day without using it. The consistency of the food it produces is exceptional—fine and satiny, as if it passed through a chinois—and far superior to what any other blender can do. I also love the  lightweight but durable plastic jar, which is comfortable to hold and easy to clean, and the long warranty. It's a splurge, but one that you won't regret. Believe the hype.”
— Liz Bomze
Cook’s Illustrated Managing Editor and mom of Leo, 3, and Jake, 9 months

Vitamix 5200

This quiet, high-powered blender has top-notch blending abilities and easily handles everything from smoothies and soup to almond butter and purees.  
Buy Now

"We do breakfast for dinner pretty often. For one, it’s a quick way to get dinner on the table when my husband and I are tired after a long day of work. It’s also a great way to sneak more vegetables into our three-year-old’s diet. On those nights, I use my OXO Good Grips Non-Stick 12-inch Open Frypan to make the cutest little one-egg omelet that I stir some spinach or mushrooms into. The skillet is super slick and easy to clean, so it takes me even less time to clean up than it does to make dinner."
— Tabitha Rodrigue
Associate Design Director and mom of Gus, 3 (pictured below)

"My son is almost 2½ years old, and our go-to equipment in the kitchen has changed over that time. In the early days, this bottle dryer was in nonstop use. I love it because it’s two tiers, so it can hold several bottles, cups, and straws—items that typically just cycle on and off the rack instead of ever making it into a cabinet. I also relied on—and still rely on—a bottle brush to clean bottles, reusable pouches, and sippy cups.

Once we moved on to purees, I started using this personal blender from Ninja. I like the personal size better than using a full blender because of the size of the cups. I would use one cup-full to fill a few reusable pouches with puree, and that would last a couple of days. Pro tip for filling reusable pouches: Place them upside down in a jar to stabilize them when filling.

Along the way, I’ve realized how many everyday kitchen tools are important when cooking for a child. A small rubber spatula is vital for scraping purees from a smoothie maker. A pizza cutter is great for cutting non-pizza items like quesadillas, pancakes, and toast sticks into todder-size bites. And a paring knife gets constant use for cutting fruit and many other foods into small bites."
— Janet Taylor
Deputy Art Director and mom of Callum, 2 years 4 months

Which kitchen tools or equipment have been the most useful in the kitchen since the birth of your little one? Let us know in the comments. And for more on cooking for young eaters, check out these articles:

This is a members' feature.