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15 Smart Kitchen Investments You Won’t Regret

From a Dutch oven to a next-level dish rack, these pieces of kitchen equipment are worth spending some extra bucks on.
By Published Sept. 18, 2020

I don’t love spending money, but I do love investing in my kitchen. It’s my happy place: where I go to unwind after a long day and where I start my mornings. And I, like the rest of my ATK Reviews team, believe that having great kitchen equipment can make cooking easier and more fun. 

I’ve spent a lot of time and cash curating my kitchen and finding products I love and ones that turn out to be just so-so. I wanted to share with you 15 of my favorite kitchen investments so far. Some are little, some are big, but all make me happy to use them. And I hope they will do the same for you.

1. A nice dish drying rack

I think I coveted this dish rack by Simplehuman for about three years before I finally bought it. Even so, $80 is a lot for a dish rack (my husband, bless his heart, was surprisingly on board when I suggested we use a gift card we got from our wedding to buy it). However, now that we have it, I won’t buy another dish rack again—even if it’s way cheaper. I love its stainless steel finish, its wine glass and cup holders, and its rubber feet that keep it from sliding around on the countertop.

2. Coffee machine

I have this coffee maker by Technivorm. I do have an espresso machine (which is hands-down one of my favorite pieces of equipment in my kitchen), but the Technivorm is what I use most mornings, when I usually don’t have time to wait for my espresso machine to heat up. It makes perfectly smooth drip coffee, is super easy to use, and the carafe keeps coffee hot far longer than we need to drink the whole pot. I got mine brand new off of Craigslist for $100, which makes me love it even more!

3. Water kettle

If you can’t tell, I love coffee. My other favorite piece of coffee-related equipment is my gooseneck kettle, which I bought to use with my pour over coffee maker. I have this kettle by Bonavita, and it offers excellent control. I also love that you can set it to a specific temperature and it will stay there for a while (60 minutes, exactly), like when you’re getting dressed for the day or taking the dog on a walk. For non-coffee things, I have a Le Creuset kettle which lives on my stovetop.

4. Dutch oven

We’ve gone on and on about why a Dutch oven is one of the most versatile pots you can have, so I won’t go into that except to say that it’s true. It took me years to finally fork over the cash for a Dutch oven I loved. Even so, Le Creuset was a little out of my price range. I ended up buying The Dutchess by Great Jones in the pink color (we reviewed this Dutch oven as part of our cookware set testing). It cleans easily, browns really well, and its matte finish is gorgeous to boot.

5. Braiser

There is a Le Creuset outlet store near me I like to frequent in case there’s a good deal. Last year, I found a braiser there on super-sale, since the color was being discontinued. It ended up costing less than $100 and it’s one of my most-used pans. You can read more about why I love my braiser here.

6. Carbon steel skillet

Full-disclosure: I got my Blu Skillet Ironware 13" Fry Pan for free in our annual equipment giveaway. Besides looking like a work of art, it browns wonderfully and keeps getting more nonstick the more I use it. I also love its helper handle which makes moving the skillet into and out of the oven and around the stovetop easy.

7. Stand mixer

You’re probably not surprised to see a stand mixer on this list, right? I have this one and it’s invaluable for all the baking and bread-making I do. I also have this KitchenAid pasta attachment. I love making fresh pasta and the attachment makes it so easy.

8. Blender

I pined after a Vitamix for years, but I couldn’t justify the price. I think it was our second Christmas dating when my now-husband surprised me with my dream blender. So, yes, technically I didn’t buy this for myself, but I still consider it one of my best kitchen investments. We use it every day: to make smoothies, nut butters, soups, and more.

9. Food processor

When my hand-me-down Cuisinart food processor finally bit the dust last year, I got myself the Breville Sous Chef. I use it for a lot of prep work: grating a large amount of cheese, slicing a ton of veggies, making pizza dough. I don’t think you need me to tell you how great a good food processor can be!

10. Rice cooker

I love my rice cooker because it’s a set-and-forget sort of situation. I make rice three to four times a week and start the rice cooker when I get home, then clean the house, go for a run, whatever! The rice will be perfectly done when I need it.

11. June Oven

I adore my June Oven—and you can read why here

12. Carving board

The J.K. Adams Maple Reversible Carving Board is amazing. The poultry-shaped divet works perfectly for resting and carving my weekly roast chicken—and the large well that runs around the outside collects any of the bird’s juices, preventing them from ending up on the countertop.

13. Digital instant-read thermometer

I have anxiety about under-cooking protein, which makes my Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 essential. I also use it for taking the temperature of bread (no underbaked insides for me!).

14. Utensil crock

I bought a few cheap utensil crocks before I landed on this one by Le Creuset. It’s beautiful and durable and keeps all of my essential utensils close by. I wrote about what I keep in my utensil crock here.

15. A nice trash can

We got this trash can last year after being fed up by both the cheap one we had and our separate recycling bin. We have it in the rose gold color, and love both how it looks and how easy it is to use.

Honorable mentions: This sink caddy, this container I use for storing coffee beans, this coffee bean scoop, and this timer that makes it a snap to keep track of multiple things at once.

Access the ATK Reviews team's complete list of equipment reviews and taste tests as a member of our websites, and check out these articles with some of the team's other picks: