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    20 Things That Might Actually Make You A Better Cook

    These kitchen products are a whole lot cheaper than culinary school.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Perhaps you're a novice home cook trying to improve your skills, or maybe you're a more advanced chef looking for some new kitchen tools. These are the kitchen products that reviewers say actually helped them become better cooks.

    1. A copy of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything The Basics cookbook, which will teach you all the fundamental cooking techniques plus hundreds of beginner-friendly recipes to hone your skills.

    2. An excellent yet seriously affordable chef's knife with a super comfortable non-slip grip and a razor-sharp blade that makes mincing, slicing, dicing and chopping veggies, herbs, meats, and seafood both effortless and enjoyable.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I had been a pretty serious home cook for a years before I decided to finally get myself a decent knife to work with. I enjoyed eating good food but the process of cooking felt arduous most of the time. While chopping or cutting my hand usually wound up getting tired and I would frequently get blisters from the grip and pressure I needed to apply to the blade. With the Fibrox Pro the difference was night and day. I was looking for recipes that required more ingredients to be chopped because working with the right tool makes the job so much more enjoyable. If you are a home chef, this is probably the single nicest kitchen upgrade for any budding cook." Matt

    Get it from Amazon for $30.94.

    3. And a triple-slot knife sharpener for keeping your tools in tip-top shape. No dull edges in this kitchen!

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I'm so glad I bought this knife sharpener. I sharpened each of my knives easily and quickly. I noticed a huge difference while cooking and chopping. After sharpening, it was so much easier to cut through food." — L. Muas

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    4. A meat tenderizer that will make even cheap and tough cuts of meat taste delicious and slice like butter.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I use this product to tenderize round steak, and it works perfectly. The meat gets so tender that we don't need to use knives. You can slice right through it with a fork. It's a great product that I highly recommend." — Estelle Howe aka mama howe

    Get it from Amazon for 11.97.

    5. A Spicewalla spices and seasonings starter set, which includes 18 flavorful and beautifully packaged spices from thyme to coriander, so you can cook adventurous dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "Spicewalla is fantastic! The spices are in a different league when you compare them to competing brands like McCormick’s. The freshness of these spices makes a world of difference and a little bit of spice packs a huge flavor. This pack is a great way to start your kitchen off right. With Spicewalla's high quality spices, food never tastes bland." — Asneed

    Get it from Amazon for $74.99. Read the full review here.

    6. A compact and easy-to-store rice cooker that prepares grains and steamed veggies for you, so you can focus your attention on the main course.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "This gadget makes cooking rice so much easier and has saved me so much time in my nightly dinner prep. Be sure to read the manual for tips on making rice just the way you like because different kinds of rice should be cooked differently. This rice cooker doesn't take up a lot of counter space either. It's easy to clean up or to store in fridge for leftovers." JLM

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99.

    7. A nonstick wok for making easy, family-friendly meals like fried rice, stir-fries, and even scrambled eggs with minimal effort.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "This wok is a dream. It's large, sturdy, and it cooks food evenly and quickly. I think I use this pan more than any other in my kitchen now. It can cook so much more than stir fry! You can whip together scrambled eggs, your favorite protein, flavorful sauces, and more." —Jake F.

    Get it from Amazon for $16.01.

    8. A set of sturdy yet flexible silicone spatulas designed for scooping and scraping, so you can get every inch of cookie dough out of the mixing bowl and even the most stubborn edges of scrambled eggs in a nonstick skillet.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I somehow managed to avoid buying silicone spatulas for a long time, until I found these. Now that I have them, I don't get how I managed without them. I use these for mixing cake batter and getting the last bits of food from a small container. These are made well and they do great in the dishwasher, but they also rinse off easily under just running water without much scrubbing required. I wish I'd bought them sooner." —A. M.

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $11.99.

    9. A clip-on colander that easily strains anything from pasta to vegetables and makes spills and splatters a thing of the past.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Where has this been all my life?! I cook dinner nearly every night after a long day at work, and this gadget makes it a little easier. Just clip it on any pot or pan, drain fat from meat or water from veggies or pasta, then finish the meal. The best part is it's super easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher." conversio

    Get it from Amazon for $10.90 (available in seven colors).

    10. A mandoline slicer, which comes with six blades, including a spiralizer and grater, perfect for cutting vegetables uniformly for roasting, sautéing, or simply tossing into a salad.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "This is a fun tool that will get a ton of use in my kitchen. It makes cooking easier and everyone in my family can pitch in using it. The mandoline slicer is simple to use, easy to clean and small enough to store without taking up much space. My favorite blades are the grater and the thin mandoline. I make a lot of salads so I'm constantly slicing ingredients, and the grater has made chopping onions so much easier. I am eager to make some veggie noodles with the spiralizer." — Aria N. Wint

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    11. A copy of Samin Nosrat's cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which lays out the elements that go into creating balanced and tasty dishes, along with recipes you'll want to make on repeat.

    12. An OXO Y-shaped peeler that will make preparing even the toughest vegetables like winter squash and pumpkin a breeze. Bring on the creamy butternut squash soup and perfect mashed potatoes.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "This is hands-down the best vegetable peeler that I have ever used in my entire life. The grip is firm so you know that you can peel away at just about anything. It is extremely effective. I would recommend this peeler to any serious home cook." Herbert Fawkner

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

    13. A programmable and multi-use Crock-Pot so you can cook sophisticated and gourmet meals without having to spend all day in the kitchen. Just place your ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and let dinner cook itself.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I have been raving about this slow cooker for a month now since I first got it. I typically use it five times a week, and it hasn't failed me yet. It makes it easier to cook on a busy schedule because I load it in the morning before work, and then set the timer. My food never comes out overcooked and it's warm and ready to eat when I get home. I have a two-hour commute and this product really makes life so much easier for my family!" — Rose

    Get it from Amazon for $108.12 (available in two colors and four sizes).

    14. A versatile Lodge cast-iron skillet that you can transfer directly from the stovetop to the oven, ensuring your chicken thighs are delightfully crispy and steaks are impeccably seared.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "This is my first cast-iron skillet. Previously, I had used non-stick and stainless steel. I have to admit, I was always intimidated by cast-iron because of the care it requires, but after cooking with this Lodge skillet, I realize how wrong I was. This cast-iron skillet is perfect for cooking dishes that require stove top-to-oven cooking (and side note, it saves me time on cleaning multiple pots and pans). I was worried that meat would stick to the cast-iron pan, but it didn't! It produced the perfect sear that my previous skillets could not even compete with. I was also concerned that this skillet would be difficult to clean, but I was amazed when I only had to use a bit of water and some light scrubbing and rinsing to clean up food scraps. I can't wait use this product regularly in my kitchen." —madmaia

    Get it from Amazon for $4.99+ (available in nine sizes from 3.5"-15").

    15. A set of four nonslip, extra-thick yet flexible plastic cutting boards so you can prepare meat, seafood, poultry, and produce separately, keeping your cooking spaces — and food — clean and safe.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I do a lot of cooking and these are great to use. They make it easy to keep everything separate when slicing and chopping veggies and prepping meats. They don't side around on my counter tops either." —Amazon Customer

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $14.99.

    16. An at-home AeroGarden so you can grow fresh basil, cilantro, thyme, and other herbs at home, turning your home-cooked meals into farm-to-table feasts.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "This product was very easy to set up. The light is bright but I keep it on my desk and use it as a lamp, it takes up the same amount of space as a desk lamp, and I get fresh plants on my desk too! It's so nice having fresh herbs at my fingertips, especially in the winter months when out an outdoor garden is out of the question." —Ted

    Get it from Amazon for $99.99.

    17. A Blue Apron subscription, which delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes right to your doorstep. Whether you're a novice chef or just trying to cook more at home, you'll learn new techniques and add new meals to your repertoire.

    18. An Anova sous vide precision cooker that prepares things like steaks and salmon to eggs and vegetables at a low temperature so food always comes out perfectly tender and never overcooked.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "Despite many recommendations to buy this sous vide cooker, I resisted buying one for years. Now that I have one, I wonder what was going through my mind. This sous vide is a wonderful and almost foolproof way to cook. I've tried making Porterhouse and NY Strip steaks, pork chops and pork tenderloins, chicken breasts and thighs, and even hard boiled eggs. The only slight fail were the eggs. Everything else came out perfectly cooked. This product is relatively small and lightweight so it fits in just about every pot. The water heats up in minutes to the desired temperature and then holds there for as long as you need to cook." —Thomas E. Hudson

    Get it from Amazon for $96.94.

    19. A lightweight precision food scale that will turn any amateur baker into a serious one. Homemade sourdough and baguettes, here you come.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: I am thrilled with this purchase. Since I have started weighing flours, sugars, and other ingredients for breads and cakes, my baked goods have been coming out amazing. I have had to adjust some of my recipes to account for weight vs volume or measured cups, but overall getting this product has been an enlightening experience. This scale does an amazing job. It's so simple, so easy, and I've even started making excellent bread like ciabatta and baguettes. —wildflower

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99 (available in eight colors).

    20. A set of nonstick silicone baking mats so whether you're roasting vegetables, chicken, or baking cookies, your food doesn't stick to sheet pan surfaces.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I use these baking mats for everything! I have made cookies, chicken breast, meatballs, and baked veggies, and everything comes off easily. These mats keep my really nice baking sheet looking really nice." —Jessica R.

    Get a set of six from Amazon for 18.75.

    Looking for more great Amazon finds? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.

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