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    If You Don’t Own These 26 Products, You’re Basically Telling Me You Don’t Know How To Cook

    A knife sharpener = a kitchen must have.

    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.

    1. An itty bitty knife sharpener, because nothing says "IDK how to cook" like smushing your veggies and dangerously sawing through hard fruits and meat with a dull knife.

    Hand using the sharpener

    Promising review: "Wow! I was going to buy some whet stones to sharpen my knives but I know I’d be too lazy to use them. Then I saw this gadget advertised on BuzzFeed and though I’d try it for the price. It works exactly as stated. It won’t restore knicked blades but it sharpens amazingly good. Knives that I’ve had for years I was able to sharpen and cut with ease." —Amazon Customer

    My colleague loves this lil' guy, saying it "totally ~transformed~ my hodgepodge of a knife collection, and probably saved my clumsy self from lots of close calls with dull knives." Read her full KitchenIQ knife sharpener review.

    Get it from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in four colors).

    2. A Lodge cast-iron skillet for achieving a delicious sear and crust you won't get on a regular nonstick stop trying. If you don't want to look like a total noob, don't cook all your food in the same pan; different ingredients and recipes call for different equipment and techniques.

    The cast-iron with a breakfast hash in it

    Cast-iron skillets may seem intimidating to first-time users, so check out our explainer on how to care for a cast iron before you buy to figure out whether it's the right cookware for you.

    Promising review: "If you want to sear and brown meat, fish, etc., there's nothing better than a cast-iron skillet. This Lodge skillet was pre-seasoned, which takes a lot of work out of using it the first time. I don't believe there's a better production cast-iron skillet in the USA (maybe the world?) than the ones made by Lodge. You will be able to pass this baby along for several generations!" —Thomper

    Get it from Amazon for $14.90+ (available in a variety of sizes and with add-ons).

    And! Don't forget to check out our picks for the best cast-iron skillets.

    3. A versatile Always Pan from Our Place that'll get the job done and look good while doing it. In the same way that you should use a cast-iron for certain foods, other recipes will call for a classic nonstick skillet — so make sure you have one. (This also has the added benefit of a steamer basket, a built-in easy-pour spout, and a nesting spatula.)

    Our Place

    Tired of soggy veggies when you're trying to not eat garbage for once (same!!). This spruce steamer basket ($30) is a fab add-on to your Always Pan. Use it to make perfectly steamed veggies; flaky, tender salmon; and mouthwatering dumplings (already craving soup dumplings).

    Get it from Our Place for $145 (available in six colors).

    Our team stans Our Place. Check out our Always Pan review to get seven people's takes on it.

    4. A meat tenderizer to make your $10 steak taste like it cost 10 times that. It's a simple step that can make your meat so much more satisfying, so you're really missing out if you don't own a tenderizer!


    Promising review: "This thing really works great. Takes only seconds to tenderize any kind of meat. I've used on pork, beef, and chicken and the results are these meats cook and taste so much better after being tenderized with this. Many people ask about dishwasher-safe. I have used it for a while and always put it in the dishwasher and it's fine. It's plastic and stainless-steel so I don't think the dishwasher can hurt it." —5280

    Get it from Amazon for $19.89 (available in two styles and four colors).

    5. A 3-in-1 burger press if you're firing up the grill this summer with — gasp! — regular burger patties. Sure, you can make boring hamburgers or you could bite into a cheesy stuffed burger. Don't make your tastebuds miss out because you didn't know this existed. (Pssst! You can even use it to make sliders!)


    Promising review: "Really well made product. It is sturdy and works great, I foresee this lasting for quite some time. It is very easy to use and can make stuffed burgers as well as regular burgers. I also bought the paper sheets recommended because then I can buy ground beef on sale and shape and freeze my own hamburger patties. It saves quite a bit of money to do it this way as opposed to buying already made ground beef patties, not to mention the taste is sooooo much better!" —deborah

    Get it from Amazon for $9.90.

    6. A Yonanas fruit soft-serve maker so you can magically transform frozen fruit into the dreamiest dessert. Reviewers swear it has the texture of ice cream or sorbet. And it's great for folks who have dietary restrictions. 

    The black device on a table with sorbet in a bowl under it
    A close up of a reviewer's yellow and red sorbet

    Promising review: "I saw one of these in action at a friends house like five years ago and thought it was just a made up memory, because making ice cream out of solely frozen fruit seems wild. But when I saw a TikTok about it I immediately went to Amazon and bought it. Literally this was the BEST decision of my life. I cannot believe still how amazing this thing is! It makes the creamiest, best tasting fruit ice cream ever. It’s easy to take apart and clean, and super easy to use." —DMCKAY

    Get it from Amazon for $40.84+ (available in five colors). 

    7. An air fryer because it'll satisfy your love of crunchy, fried foods but do it without all the grease. You can make all your restaurant faves — like chicken wings, crispy breaded eggplant, charred veggies, and even donuts — with this magical appliance. It's even great for reheating foods that usually get soggy in the microwave, like pizza!

    Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

    Check out my colleague's Instant Pot Air Fryer review and I can basically guarantee you'll want one before you even finish the article.

    Promising review: "After listening to dozens of clients and friends talk about their air fryers, I decided it was time to bite the bullet so to speak. Consumer Reports' rave reviews led me to the Instant Vortex Plus. I LOVE LOVE LOVE ❤️ IT! Everything seems to taste better cooked in an air fryer. Even salmon is more moist and flavorful. Plus food cooks more quickly than traditional oven or fryer methods. The Vortex is large capacity so it’s easy to cook two or more types of food at the same time. Do won’t regret it!" —Rosanne Heideman

    Get it from Amazon for $99.99+ (available in two sizes).

    8. And a set of magnetic air fryer cheat sheets for ensuring your foods emerge perfectly cooked instead of still raw or burned to a crisp because you guesstimated the cook time.

    Reviewer holding the sheet, which includes cook times for foods like chicken nuggets, french fries, apple chips, bacon, vegetables, and more

    Promising review: "So glad that I came across these very handy sheets. I love having this information handy and easy to use. The magnetic sheets are strong and stay in place well, even with the fridge door opening and closing a lot. It's handy having them right in view for quick reference. It helps us to use the air fryer more, as it's easy to glance over and time things correctly. I like that it is a dark color so it doesn't get messy as easily, and it has all the things we are most likely to use the air fryer for. The envelope the magnetic sheets come in is cute and would make a nice gift, perhaps in a basket or bag of related items. Happy to have these!" —Small~Town~Girl

    Get them from Amazon for $11.29+ (also available in white).

    9. A veggie dicer that'll uniformly chop your veggies so you don't ruin a recipe because you messily hand-chopped your onion and the smaller pieces burned while the larger pieces are undercooked.

    Four plates full of veggies that have been chopped with the dicer

    Promising review: "Use often. Works well. Love that I can quickly chop up vegetables to same size so they cook more evenly. Especially love if I’m doing a lot of onions for food prep. Note: does not work on tomatoes for those wondering. I give a quick rinse with hot water to clean up and air dry." —Lte

    Get it from Amazon for $29.98.

    10. Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel Seasoning to sprinkle on everything, and I mean everything. It's great dusted on top of avocado toast, eggs, bagels, chicken, fish, veggies, and the list goes on.

    Samantha Wieder / BuzzFeed,

    My colleague swears by this simple mixture of sea salt, onion, and garlic. Check out her Everything But The Bagel Seasoning review for more deets.

    Promising review: "Wow! Buy this. Just stop reading reviews and buy it now. Makes any dish better. I bought this over a week ago and have since used it on avocado toast, roasted veggies, crisped chickpeas, potato soup, grilled fish...just about everything!!! So delicious and no chemicals — just pure seasoning. I give 6 stars!" —agora1031

    Get it from Amazon for $5.

    11. And speaking of Trader Joe's, their Everything But The Elote Seasoning if you want to add the flavor of Mexican street corn to your favorite foods. This flavorful mixture of salt, chili pepper, cheese, chipotle, and cumin makes plain corn a treat, but it's also a tasty topping on popcorn, veggies, meat, eggs, and nuts — and that list barely scratches the surface.

    Trader Joe's

    Promising review: "You have to try this if you’re a fan of Mexican street corn. Oh dear god it is everything. I have tried it on scrambled eggs, sautéed vegetables and deviled eggs. Yum. The smoky buttery cheesy flavor is amazing." —ALEspo

    Get it from Amazon for $6.12.

    12. A 7-in-1 Instant Pot so you can actually eat dinner in a timely manner. It tenderizes frozen meat in minutes and makes mouthwatering stews in under an hour so you don't have to subsist on pasta when you come home late and can't be bothered to cook a real meal.

    The Instant Pot

    This do-it-all kitchen appliance is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker and warmer.

    Promising review: "This has seriously been a lifesaver!! I love all the different options and that you can cook things that would generally take lots of preparation and time very quickly. One of my favorite things to make in this is FROZEN CHICKEN! Yup! No need to defrost for hours. Just dump in some chicken breasts with flavoring of your choice (salsa, BBQ sauce, etc) and turn it on. Cooks in about 15 minutes depending on your chicken size. Then you just shred and eat :) It's also very easy to make soups and stews and a quick baked potato in 15 minutes too! It's also super easy to clean and the variety of different buttons makes it easy to cater the cooking as you need it." —Fahmida Ali

    Get the six-quart version from Amazon for $89.99 (also available in three- and eight-quart sizes).

    13. The ~Guac-Lock~ because no one wants to top their tacos with brown, sad-looking guac! This container pushes out the air that causes your avos to oxidize so you can enjoy guac and mashed avocados for toast for days without browning.,

    Promising review: "I love guacamole, but I'm the only person in my house that will eat it. Making guacamole for one is a waste of time, but making a standard recipe always ended up being a waste of guacamole. Enter the GuacLock. This DISHWASHER-SAFE (!!!!) kitchen gadget truly delivers! To be honest, I was skeptical and didn't expect much. I made guacamole three days ago and have enjoyed it every night since. No gross brown color. No off taste. On day three it was just as fresh as the day it was made. I've shared this product on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat; I feel like all of my friends need to know about this one. If you're actually reading reviews and trying to decide whether or not to add this to your cart. Stop. Just do it! You won't regret this purchase." —Allison Ingle

    Get it from Amazon for $18.83.

    14. And a dishwasher-safe OXO avocado slicer for anyone who believes avocados are an integral component of every meal — including desert. Cook safely with this handy tool and prevent avocado hand (a real thing, y'all!).


    Promising review: "I’ve owned mine for over three years now and use it regularly at home. The knife is more than sharp enough to cut an avocado in half quickly and easily but not sharp enough to cut skin. I’ve let my 10-year-old granddaughter use it all the time since she was 7. Pitting couldn't be easier or safer: three slightly rounded, blunted, recessed blades grab the pit, and the finger hole allows you to push it out easily. My blades are still fine after three-plus years. Then in one fast easy motion I have seven even slices of avocado ready for my sandwich or salad. I didn’t even need to scrape it out with a spoon." —Tony C

    Get it from Amazon for $11.89.

    15. A jar of Za'atar, a deliciously complex Middle Eastern spice blend that'll probably be gone before you know it — that's how good it is. This specific mix is made with thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac, and will make a mouthwatering addition to meats, bread, olive oil, yogurt, and more., Amazon

    Z&Z is a family-owned small biz that specializes in mouthwatering spices.

    Promising review: "This za'atar is the best quality I have found. I've also found that the balance of sumac and thyme to be just right. This instantly spices up my boring meal prep food and I put it on my chicken, meats, salads, yogurt, or just in olive oil — basically it makes everything taste so much better. I highly recommend it!" —TC

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in three sizes).

    16. A perfect egg timer to ensure that every egg you make from here on out is your preferred level of "doneness." (No more rock hard yolks when you dream of a runny center.) The face on the timer will change colors to indicate how cooked your egg is, removing any guesswork. Medium-boiled egg of my dreams, I'm coming for ya!

    egg shaped timer in a pot with eggs

    Promising review: "This thing is the Seriously, buy one. You won't regret it. Works the first time and every time after that. I was slightly concerned when I first got it out the package. The lines that tell you how hard or soft the egg will be cooked were really hard to see. Nothing like the videos I had seen. Never fear, toss it in the pot of water and voila! Easy to see the lines!" —gunmetalgreen

    Get it from Amazon for $8.23.

    17. A garlic press if the hassle of chopping garlic has put you off this tangy bulb vegetable. There aren't many dishes that won't benefit from the addition of garlic and this press removes all the inconveniences of mincing it so you really have no excuse to *not* toss some garlic into the pan. Your tastebuds will thank you!


    Promising review: "I wanted a garlic press that would help make using fresh garlic less of a hassle and this one fits the bill. I love to cook and want my garlic ready quickly. This instrument is heavy and does the job fast without much muscle. It's easy to clean as well and pops right into the dishwasher. Perfect!" —Laurie

    Get it from Amazon for $18.95.

    18. A digital food thermometer because you've hacked that poor piece of chicken so many times trying to see if it's still pink inside that you basically now have chicken nuggets. This will also give you peace of mind that you're not accidentally serving your family undercooked meat that could make them sick.

    Promising review: "This digital meat thermometer is the best I've ever had. I own others, but they are either too bulky to fit in the drawer or too hard to read. This one is small and lightweight; it's easy to pull out the probe and very easy to read the temperature. I purchased several as stocking stuffers for Christmas. They make a gift that will be appreciated for its size and ease of use, but most importantly, it will be a gift that gets used instead of put away in the closet." —Kat29

    Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in three colors).

    19. A Victorinox 8-inch chef's knife for the person who owns one knife. A properly stocked kitchen needs different kinds of knives for different kinds of cuts, just like you need different kinds of cookware. This classic blade will help slice and dice like a pro and can last you years with proper care.

    The knife next to a squash

    You'll want to pick up a knife sharpener too if you don't have one already.

    Promising review: "I decided to get another knife as a spare. Realized I've owned this one for 10 years. Still works great! I sharpen and hone it regularly. Hand wash or top shelf of the dishwasher. I'm sure it'll last another 10 years." —Danielle

    Get it from Amazon for $36.74.

    P.S. This won as our budget pick for the best chef's knife.

    20. A variety pack of microwaveable A Dozen Cousins ready-to-eat seasoned beans that'll prove once and for all that there's a better option than a sad frozen, flavorless burrito for dinner. Or, use them to zhuzh up leftovers so you can finally clear some fridge space.


    A Dozen Cousins is a Black-owned business founded by Ibraheem Basir and inspired by his the Creole, Caribbean, and Latin American flavors he ate growing up. The variety pack comes with Cuban Black Beans, Mexican Cowboy Pinto Beans, and Trini Chickpea Curry, Creole Red Beans, Refried Black Beans, and Classic Refried Pinto Beans.

    Promising review: "Canned beans from my local supermarket are always a disappointment so I stopped getting them. I don't have time to cook beans myself but A Dozen Cousins beans are fresh and taste terrific. I am trying to eat healthier and these are a great way to do that. I've been trying to avoid packaged, processed foods but the natural ingredients make these different. I can feel good about eating them. The beans are whole and not mashed-up like in cans. All of the varieties are seasoned well and versatile. I've had them on their own, in salads and in wrap sandwiches. I'm really happy to have found these and hope they continue to add new flavors and products. Do yourself a favor and order some. You won't regret it." —Amazon Customer

    Get a pack of six from Amazon for $24.99.

    My coworker Marquaysa Battle has taste-tested these beans and swears by 'em! Check out her A Dozen Cousins review for her thoughts.

    21. A tangy garlic sauce from EssieSpice to breathe new life into your leftovers. It's also a delicious addition to poultry, fish, soups, eggs, and even pizza, and it requires zero prep.

    Hand scooping sauce from the jar

    EssieSpice is a Black-owned spice biz started by Essie Bartels and inspired by watching her mother cook when Essie was a little girl in Ghana.

    Get it from EssieSpice for $10.

    22. An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven if one of your 2022 resolutions was to cook more. *slaps Dutch oven* This bad boy can cook you practically anything you want. Bread? Done. Stews? Done. An entire bird? Done. Braised meats and veggies? Done! Seriously, please stop asking.,

    Promising review: "This Dutch oven has everything, including looks and great cooking versatility. Everything comes out looking professional. It heats evenly, and I am happy with it. A great purchase." —Geri

    Get it from Amazon for $54.90+ (available in a variety of sizes and colors).

    23. A brown sugar bear so your baking plans aren't derailed by rock hard sugar. This will keep brown sugar moist for three to six months so you never have to put your cakes, pies, crumbles, muffins, or cobblers on hold.

    Promising review: "After multiple containers for my brown sugar and continuously throwing my brown sugar away due to giant hard lumps... I began to wonder why our brown sugar never lumped as a child... And that's when I remembered a weird brown bear in our sugar... After a quick Google search I found this! I soaked it in water for 30 minutes and then added to my lumpy brown sugar... Two days later there is not a single lump in my sugar! Yay!" —Sneezeloaf

    Get two from Amazon for $5.59.

    24. A magnetic kitchen measurement chart because sometimes that recipe calls for 250 grams of flour and you're just like...speak American, please...

    The chart

    Promising review: "This is such a game changer! It is easy to reference, and I love that it is magnetic. I stuck mine onto my fridge so it's readily accessible. If anyone else bakes like I do, I hate getting unnecessary cups/teaspoons dirty and this allows me to use the same cup for all my ingredients by seeing the conversion!" —Jessica

    Get it from Amazon for $7.87.

    25. A pack of reusable toaster bags for anyone who dirties every pan in the kitchen when they crave a grilled cheese at midnight. Now you can make your ooey gooey sandwich in the toaster instead of creating a pile of dishes you know you won't get to until the morning...if then.

    A sandwich in a toaster bag in a toaster

    These reusable bags are good for 50 to 100 washes and can hold pizza, chicken nuggets, and pastries. Plus they help prevent contamination if someone in the house can't eat gluten.

    Promising review: "Who can say no to a mess-free toasted panini in under four minutes? Or frozen chicken nuggets or fish sticks... The sky is the limit with what you can fit into each of these toaster-safe bags. This is a late-night grilled cheese made in two minutes from heaven!!!" —Corey Guy Tremblay

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $8.59.

    26. A set of magnetic measuring spoons that'll ensure you're really adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt instead of trying to fill half of the 1/2 teaspoon and hoping you got close enough.

    The measuring spoon set stuck to a magnetic strip on a wall

    Here's a two-pack of adhesive magnetic strips if you want the same look as the reviewer above!

    Promising review: "I was debating between this and a different brand that I have liked in the past. I'm glad I took the gamble on this one! It's really nice to have the 1/8 teaspoon! They fit nicely into our spice jars (standard grocery store spices), and they seem durable — my toddler was banging one on the counter quite forcefully and it shows no sign of denting or bending! Best of all, the magnetic strip in the middle sticks to our magnetic knife bar, so they are always handy when we need them! No more digging through the drawer!!!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a set of eight spoons from Amazon for $14.97+ (available in five colors).

    You, a bona fide chef, after reading this post:

    Spring Hill Productions

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.