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1. A bacon sponge "unpaper" towel to help get the extra grease off of your fave breakfast side with a reusable kitchen tool!
It's 12"x11", and made of polyester and organic cotton. It's super absorbent but easily cleaned by soaking the towel in hot water and a degreaser soap like Dawn. After soaking, it can be washed along with your family's towels. Green City Living is a Denver-based Etsy shop that specializes in easy-to-use items to help you go a bit greener. They're currently donating 1% of sales to the Climate Emergency Fund.
2. A powerful dishwashing spray that, honestly, if you buy anything from this list, this should be it. You can spray down that casserole dish caked with enchilada sauce, let it sit, and you simply wipe and rinse away that saucy mess in a few minutes after you've conquered your meal. (Can you sense an enchilada theme here?)
I live in an apartment without a dishwasher, and I honestly use that as an excuse to order takeout food instead of cooking. But, as soon as I got my hands on a bottle of this stuff (regular Dawn is my go-to dish soap, BTW), I put it to use on both a saucepan I used to make homemade enchilada sauce *and* the casserole dish I baked those enchiladas, which had a ton of caked-on food. It really does work like I say it does! Like, scary well.
Get the starter pack from Amazon for $17.50.
3. An easy jar opener — easier than those rubber things — so you won't have to burst a blood vessel in your eye just trying to open a jar of fancy preserves you, tbh, spent way too much on at the *nice* food store in your neighborhood. I can't be the only one who's had to toss said fancy preserves because I can't get them open.
Hand wash when needed.
Promising review: "I have a similar adjustable jar opener from probably 40+ years ago and it finally wore out at the point I needed most. This new one works great! I had given up finding another jar opener that helps me so much with my arthritis. It is the only one I have found that does not expect me to twist with my painful hand/wrist." —Lorraine Redrock
Get it from Amazon for $9.99.
4. Or an under-cabinet lid opener can help pop open that jar of pasta sauce in a jiffy. Everyone can use this, but reviewers with limited dexterity especially find it helpful!
Promising review: "I have tried a million different tools and gadgets for help in opening jars of all sizes, and each one had its own issues! Finally, someone has invented the perfect jar opener that is simple and requires no space in your kitchen drawers or counters. There was one person who suggested placing the opener with the sharp end of the 'V' closest to you and with it placed in the front, in the right corner under your cabinet. I followed those directions and it works perfectly and easily. I have already placed an order for another one for a gift or my sister." —moorecats
Get it from Amazon for $18.99.
5. A rapid egg cooker to get your favorite breakfast or salad topping *just* how you like it, rather than tossing improperly cooked eggs (for the millionth time). Maybe you'll love it so much, you'll buy two(!) like my friend Marissa.
Promising review: "If hard-boiled eggs are at all a part of your life, this device will change everything. Reclaim lost hours, catch up on missed TV, reconnect with old friends and family — anything is possible with the free time you'll find at your disposal as you drop six eggs into this beast, press a button, and then walk away. What will you do? High-intensity exercise? Model building? Learn a second language? I hear your concern. 'What if I become so engrossed in my newfound love of taxonomy that I forget about my eggs?' Fear not, efficient chef. Like the trump of Gabriel himself, the unmistakable tone of this technological marvel could rouse the dead and will bring you running to your fresh-and-ready ova's side. The Dash Go Rapid Egg Cooker is what mankind has been working towards since the first roundish stone was shaped into a wheel. Witness the apex of human innovation! Did not love the poaching tray." —J. Mercer Crenshaw
6. A jar of the The Pink Stuff — a TikTok-famous cleaning paste made that'll handle all kinds of sticky, stuck-on situations like this nasty-looking kitchen faucet.
7. A set of TikTok-famous adjustable mug organizers can help you better use your kitchen cabinet space *and* also keep your mugs safer since they fit on top of a mug, creating a setup where you can safely stack a second mug on top instead of googling replacements.
Psst — if you want to see them in action, check out this viral TikTok of the mug organizers that's clocked millions of views.
Promising review: "I love these cup organizers. I have a small cabinet above where my coffeepot is and these have made it a pleasure to open that cabinet. All cups are organized and easy to get to. They stay right where they should be. No more stacking them inside one another and them falling over when I opened the cabinet. I also use these for some bowls in my dish set. Works great. I just ordered a couple more and I am going to use them for my china cabinet. I wondered when I first bought them because the price was a little high. Worth every penny and more. I can not say enough good about these." —ChefGirl
Get a set of six (to organize 12 mugs) from Amazon for $24.99 (available in three colors).
8. A trio lasagna pan so everyone in the fam will get their own fave version of lasagna for dinner without *too* much fuss. Nothing like your kid telling you at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday that they've gone vegetarian. With this, it'll be an easy dinner plan adaptation.
FYI, you can 6,000% use these for brownies, blondies, and bread, too. This is also great for making several kinds of lasagna at once if you and other fam members have different preferences!
Promising review: "I loved everything about this pan. It's versatile, I can put three different cake mixes in each well, or meat loaves, etc. I really love this pan! A very happy customer." —Lisa F.
Get it from Amazon for $17.99.
9. A colander spoon to let you scoop food straight out of the pot for a speed trip to Flavortown. Plus it'll be much easier to hand wash than a regular old colander.
It's made from toughened nylon and is suitable for use on non-stick cookware. It's resistant to temps of up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's dishwasher-safe!
Promising review: "I've owned this for just over a month and I don't know how I lived without it! From spooning potatoes into boiling water without a mess to draining a full can of beans and far, far beyond, this scoop is a must-have in the kitchen. I find myself reaching for it every day. It has easily replaced the other spoons/scoops that I would usually use. You cannot go wrong with this purchase!" —Jill Clement
Get it from Amazon for $6.99+ (available in three colors).
10. Affresh dishwasher tablets that'll get rid of residue that ends up creating odor and buildup on your dishes. Turns out, you don't need a new dishwasher, it just needs a proper cleaning.
Promising review: "After using this product, I am happy to report that my $5 investment saved me over $500. I was ready to replace my dishwasher due to super cloudy glasses, residue, and dishes just not getting clean. Then, I became aware that the water softener was no longer doing its job so I had the rental company replace it. Dishwasher performance improved somewhat. I decided to do two more loads before deciding to purchase a new one. Then I saw a product test review for Affresh. I was ordering some stuff from Amazon anyway so I added that to my order. When it came, I tossed one of the tablets into the bottom of the full machine per the instructions and ran the regular cycle. I did not expect the results I got! The glassware that I thought was permanently etched and ruined came out like new. Same with cutlery. The difference is unbelievable. I will use this faithfully every month, as recommended. I can even put it on my subscribe and save order so I will get a new pack every six months. I am amazed!" —Sheila
Get them from Amazon for $8.99.
11. A bottle of Mike's Hot Honey because you try so hard at whipping up homemade lunch for $'s sake but always make puppy dog eyes staring at your work pal's food when you eat together.
I've used this stuff and it is FANTASTIC. Just don't let them pour it in their morning tea! It's not that kind of honey.
Get it from Amazon for $9.99.
12. Or a truffle-infused honey to top off all sorts of stuff. Sometimes it's the condiments that really make a dish.
13. And a bottle of truffle seasoning you can throw on ALL kinds of meals and snacks, which might just be the motivation you need to eat what you already have at home.
My colleague Emma Lord (pictured above) is ready to divulge why this stuff is so great:
"Okay, I bought this on a whim because there's a sushi place down the street from me that makes truffle avocado sushi rolls and I was like, I need these in my life, but I also need money to live. I decided to DIY it with a regular $4 avocado roll and this seasoning and the umami bliss of it all basically exploded my brain. Since then I've tried it on eggs, on burritos, on potatoes, on chocolate mug cakes, pretty much every sweet and savory thing I can think of. The best part is you really get an excellent bang for your buck — it's so flavorful that I've been using this for months now and have barely made a dent in the container!"
Promising review: "Yes, I'm a truffle lover to begin with. And, of course, only a truffle is a truffle. But I gotta tell ya this delectable heaven-sent powder is one heck of a more versatile option. Utterly AMAZING on popcorn, in eggs, added to soups and sauces to layer flavors, veggies, PASTA...the list is endless (I think the only thing I haven't tried was sprinkling it on ice cream...although LOL). It is a bit salty, so I advise testing the waters first. But I just ordered my 9th and 10th bottle of the Truffle Zest." —Greengirl
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
14. A microwave pasta cooker that'll achieve al dente noods ready to top off with some jarred sauce for a super easy meal that doesn't require boiling water on the stove.
Promising review: "I don't want to get all gushy over a pasta maker, but man...I really love this gizmo! I like spaghetti — either with normal Prego-type sauce or sometimes just with butter and Romano cheese sprinkled on. But I'm lazy and impatient, and don't like things that take a long time to make, with a bunch of steps, and a big clean up afterwards. The Fasta Pasta is perfect for me. I get the exact amount of correctly-measured spaghetti; it's faster than boiling water in a big pot then having to watch and stir the pasta; the pasta comes out perfectly cooked every time; and the cleanup is a snap." —Smilin Sam
Get it from Amazon for $16.99.
15. A manual food chopper for quick work of herbs, fruits, veggies, and ice in case your knife skills could use some practice or you just wanna make food prep a lil' more fun.
It's also dishwasher-safe (top rack only!) so cleanup is super simple.
Promising review: "This is great for cutting lots of veggies super fast. All you have to do is rough chop down your veggies toss them in and give it four to five pulls for perfectly diced chunks for salsa or toppings on eggs or tacos. It comes with a handy cover too so all you have to do is rinse the blade and toss the container in the fridge or cooler." —Kevin B.
Get it from Amazon for $14.71+ (also available in green).
16. An instant-read meat thermometer to help you FINALLY cook the perfect steak while you're grilling so your cuts don't go uneaten. Or maybe just not give your family food poisoning!
Promising review: "Couldn't be easier to use really. I tested it with ice water and boiling water and it seems to be pretty accurate. I've already cooked some steaks using it and they came out perfect. Plan to use it a lot with my smoker and expect good results there too. I love that it has the magnets so I can stick on the fridge, the grill or the smoker and it's always handy. And you really can't beat the price at under $10!" —FCC
Get it from Amazon for $10.
18. A slim cutlery organizer to make room for the rest of the stuff you've been keeping in an unwieldy standing container on your countertop. Trust me, I have it and love it!
Promising review: "Yes, this little utensil tray is really that good! I went from using 12 inches of horizontal space in a lovely but huge wooden utensil tray to about using about 4 inches (whatever the width of this godsend is). It stores my butter knives, steak knives, spoons, forks, and a slew of little teaspoons. I'd guess that the max capacity for each slot is about 10 pieces. For example, I fit four butter knives and four steak knives into the first/knife slot easily, with good wiggle room. This is such a great design. Using this tray opened up about half of my 18-inch wide drawer, which allowed me to decompress the other drawers in my kitchen a bit. I highly recommend this item. It's worth every penny." —Kathleen Cooke
19. A fridge wall organizer so you'll better see your yogurt's expiration dates and don't have to dig to unearth your breakfast.
20. Pre-made simmer sauces that'll really zhuzh up that plain chicken breast you have thawing in the sink. Seriously, just dump that sauce on it once it's cooked in the pan! (Psst, they're also Keto- and Paleo-friendly but IMO don't taste like it.)
I've tried nearly all of these sauces and can vouch they dress up all kinds of stuff. If you're craving some takeout food you're too lazy to replicate at home, some of these (esp the Thai Coconut Sauce that's shown here) will help you get some of that taste without buying a million ingredients.
Promising review: "These sauces are magic. A high end trick added to our meal prep. Really tasty options. We have been doing meal prep for quite a while and the salt and pepper meals where getting old. We tried to incorporate skillet sauces into our meals and tried all the brands out there. They were ok but not very healthy. When I saw these on Amazon I had to try them (Keto and Paleo Certified) and they taste amazing. Now we have a different flavor each and every day and we can still keep the diet." —Fernando Pimentel
Get a three-pack from Amazon for $15 (available in a variety of combos).
21. A spicy vindaloo simmer sauce you can dump in a pan with chicken, veggies, whatever for a delicious result.
I'm not the BEST cook but adore a saucey dish. I've had great success with Maya Kaimal's shelf-stable sauces for making dinners that are super tasty, satisfying, and good enough to boast about on Instagram stories. Here, you can see me using my Always Pan where I threw in some bell pepper and chicken for a super saucey dish I served up with some long-grain rice I unearthed from my pantry. The directions are very user-friendly and not intimidating! If I can do it, you can do it.
22. *Reusable* toaster bags to help you achieve peak sandwich at home without firing up the stovetop *or* catching your toaster on fire! Gotta love a hot sandwich for dinner!
These are also a fan favorite for families with members who have Celiac disease or other food sensitivities.
Promising review: "Unless you are a 'foodie' and need to grill your sandwiches, this bag is a great way to get a warm sandwich — and if you have cheese on it, the cheese will melt. Just make your sandwich and put it in the bag. Put the bag in your toaster and you have a great sandwich! Its so easy, and when I am done, I just rinse the bag under the faucet. Great for kids who love grilled cheese without the fuss of 'grilling'!" —joycetv
Get a pack of four from Amazon for $7.99.
23. An excellent chef's knife will help you cut up those whole ingredients with finesse so that's one less thing you've gotta worry about. ICYMI, cutting with dull knives is extremely dangerous!
Promising review: "I was a butcher for years and always used good knives for my work. Now, I love to cook but can't afford pricey knives. I saw the other reviews here and was very skeptical. After using this knife for two months as my main kitchen knife, I couldn't be any more impressed with it. I use and abuse it, throw it in the dishwasher and use it and abuse it again, and it keeps coming back for more. I use it on bone-in meats, veggies, tomatoes... whatever, and it retains its edge and still looks brand new. I haven't had to sharpen it at all yet, and it is still razor-sharp. I highly recommend it." —HSHS Dad
Get it from Amazon for $14.49+ (available in eight colors and several sizes/types).
24. Or a KitchenIQ sharpener that'll handle dull kitchen knives for change when compared to pricier sharpeners.
I own this beaut and it's transformed my hand-me-down kitchen knives. Read our full review of the KitchenIQ sharpener (#4).
Promising review: "This cheap knife sharpener is great. It works better than my Chef's Choice sharpener. The Chef's Choice worked great for the first year. After that, it wasn't worth much. I figure I can buy three of these for something that lasts more than one year. Great for stocking stuffers at Christmas." —Ruth M.
Get it from Amazon for $8.57+ (available in three colors).