Skip To Content

    22 Things That'll Help Makeover Your Nightly Dinner Routine

    Small ways to help transform your cooking.

    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. Naturally, an Instant Pot or Crockpot multi-cooker, because there's basically no other way to put from-scratch chicken tacos on the table in 15 minutes.


    Promising review for the Instant Pot: "Never used one of these before and OMG. I am absolutely IN LOVE. Meats come out like they're from five-star restaurants, and its quick cooking time is amazing. This was recommended to me by a friend, and it's quickly becoming a staple tool for my weekly meal-prep Sundays." —Elizabeth

    Promising reviews for the CrockPot Multicooker: "Absolute game changer. I don’t know why I didn’t buy one sooner. You can do it all in just one pot, and it’s so easy to clean. I have more time to do other things rather than stand over the stove. I’ve already used it three times in less than a week." —Michelle Holliman

    "My husband and I are always busy and trying to get dinner fixed at a reasonable hour can be difficult. We use it as a pressure cooker and it cooks a roast in 38 minutes. As a slow cooker, it cooks evenly and we really love it. It's much easier to clean and it will last longer. Our previous crock pots had ceramic liners and they've cracked and/or chipped." —Leigh Ann Ross

    Here's our full Instant Pot review.

    Get the six-quart size of either on Amazon: the Instant Pot for $69.95 and the Crockpot multicooker for $75.45. (And check out a bunch of recipe ideas for inspiration!)

    2. Or if you're not interested in trying a pressure cooker, a simple slow cooker that lets you dump a bunch of ingredients in at once, basically ignore it, then come back a few hours later to a hot, delicious meal.


    Promising review: "I absolutely LOVE this Crockpot. It is programmable for high, low, and warm. It also has a timer so it comes in very handy when you are cooking on a time schedule. I have a full time job, so making a home cooked meal ready for my family can be difficult as work and life can be unpredictable. It's six-quart so it's large enough to make enough to feed like six to eight people if needed (depending on what you're making). Many of the recipes I make require six to eight hours. Since I often leave very early in the morning and am not home until late in the evening, those meals were always a challenge until I bought this. In the morning before I leave for work I simply set the CrockPot on low or high for six to eight hours (depending on the recipe) and when the timer is finished, it automatically switches it to "warm". No more overcooking meals!!" —Whitney

    Get one on Amazon for $35.47, and for recipes, check out 264 Slow Cooker Ideas For When You're Not Sure What To Make.

    3. A classic cookbook — it's packed with literally thousands of recipes that, besides being incredibly delicious and never too complicated, will teach you how to cook along the way.


    Promising review: "This is a massive, encyclopedic work about cooking. There is so much information in here. I've tried several recipes already, to positive results. In particular, the Yogurt Biscuit recipe was earth-shattering. I've been trying to make homemade biscuits for some time now, with marginal success at best. Who knew that the secret is yogurt?

    He seems to write this book as a stepping stone on your journey to successful cooking. He doesn't want the book to be the be-all end-all of your cooking repertoire. He wants it to be an educational experience that unlocks your own potential as a skilled cook. I love this book so far and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone." —Boxman

    Get it in hardcover on Amazon for $19.60 now, or pre-order the 20th Anniversary Completely Revised Edition for $33.30 (out on October first).

    4. A top-rated, restaurant kitchen favorite, super sharp—chef's knife so you can significantly speed up your prep no matter your knife skills.

    BuzzFeed Reviews

    Unlike some knives, it's dishwasher safe; I'd recommend putting it in the top rack (and away from any metal or glass) to keep the blade sharp!

    Promising review: "I’ve only been using this knife for a short while now, but I’ve really put it to the test, like butchering leg of lamb and slicing tomatoes paper thin for an amuse-bouche. I’ve used several chefs knives over $150, and I am just as satisfied with this knife. Right out of the box, it comes razor sharp ready to use with a 15 degree angled blade on either side of the knife allowing it to cut through any ingredient with ease. It's well engineered; perfect junction between the handle and blade making a pinch grip super comfortable, a wide side of the knife making it easy to move ingredients between board and pan or bowl, and overall balance that doesn’t tire you out after long amounts of time. Lastly, unlike my expensive chefs knives, this can go straight into the dishwasher and come out looking as good as new." —Jordan

    Get it on Amazon for $33.49.

    BTW, it's the BuzzFeed Reviews pick for best (cheap) chef's knife, so you know it's good!

    5. And a Scrap Trap to catch all of the extra bits before you toss 'em in the garbage disposal...OR to hold everything you're about to dump into the pan.


    Either way, it makes your life a little easier.

    Promising review: "It's roomy, so it holds lots of cooking scraps, packaging, zip tops — loads of room to hold, and takes up ZERO counter space! That's really important for me, because I have not so much a kitchen as a galley. It's like living on a boat, and counter space is at a huge premium, so a thing like this which allows me to just brush stuff from counter into the bucket without having to hold it or make room for it while I'm trying to prep my meals — man, it's awesome.

    The design is smart. The lip is narrow, however: be aware that if your drawers are thicker than about 7/8", this will not fit. However, there's a nice indent to accommodate your drawer handles, and a built-in pocket to hold the scraper that comes with it: it's a sturdy plastic card with a brush on one end for crumbs and flour or sugar, and a tapered side for sweeping bigger bits into the bowl. When you're done, you just pop the card back into the slot, and it's always where you need it." —Gail B.

    Get it on Amazon for $17.65.

    6. A handheld knife sharpener because it will fiercely hone each and every blade you own until they're back to their peak, like-new sharpness that makes it a thousand times easier to slice and dice.


    Promising review: "I use this on my high-end German knife and it performs as well as any expensive sharpener. If your 'good' knife requires some fancy sharpener, perhaps the knife is the problem. I use this on three large kitchen knives as well as paring knives, and it keeps them all in tip-top shape. I do a lot of chopping, so having every knife tomato-ready is great. If you want an expensive sharpener, be my guest; for me, I'd prefer to spend my time USING sharp knives, rather than adding undetectable macho-sharpness I don't need. Find a couple of good videos before you start — the instructions are ok, but don't actual demonstrate all the features!" —Pete

    Get it on Amazon for $5.99 (available in three colors).

    Elizabeth, one of our editors, owns one of these and loves it — you can read her full knife sharpener review for more!

    7. Plus a pair of cut-resistant gloves, so you can use your newly sharp knives (and other somewhat ~dangerous~ prep tools, like mandoline slicers) with complete confidence.


    Promising review: "My wonderful wife frequently uses a mandolin in the kitchen. When she gets into julienning, I'm just waiting with car keys in hand to take her to the ER. So, as a proactive measure, I purchased these. They are quite comfortable. They stretch with excellent elasticity. She loves them and I feel more comfortable that she is wearing something that can protect her. She has used these gloves dozens of times. Not a single issue and she has washed them with the kitchen towels. No problem. For about $10, it's a great safety tool for the kitchen." —Jon

    Get them on Amazon for $11.49 (available in three sizes).

    8. A veggie chopper to slice and dice onions, celery, and even tomatoes in a matter of seconds, *without* the risks of super sharp knives.


    It comes with a small dicing blade, a bigger dicing blade, a spiralizing blade, and a wider "ribboning" blade. And it's top rack dishwasher safe!

    Promising review: "Meal prep requires hours for some items. This product can do the same prep cutting in minutes. Onions, leeks, any veggies you may need to cut. I tried nuts-not a good idea...other things cut clean, smooth not a flattened mush like some cutters make. Cleaning the small grate can be a challenge — blades are sharp, be careful. I use a stiff brush on the dull side, rinse it well and allow to air dry. For things like this a few minutes with a brush, air dry after food prep. I used the spiral blade for a ribbon of cucumber part of the meal presentation; looked very nice. Best time saver I've used since working as an intern-chef. Worth the time and money." —NetAdmin

    Get it on Amazon for $19.99.

    9. Or a food processor, which was literally invented to chop, shred, and slice all kinds of foods with the ~power of electricity~.


    Promising review: "I got this a month ago and I'm loving it so far. It shredded my cheddar cheese block (it worked great once I figured out the pressure to use). I've finely chopped onion, mixed meatloaf, shredded lettuce, sliced carrots, and I've put the bowl in the dishwasher numerous times. Everything has come out great." —D.G.

    Get it on Amazon for $155.62 (14 cups). Or if you don't have the space (or the budget) for the full-size, get a mini version for $28.30 (21 ounces, which is 2.6 cups), also on Amazon.

    10. A microwave steamer that can cook a full meal of fish and veggies in five minutes or less — or just a perfectly al dente side of pre-chopped broccoli — so you can spend your valuable time accomplishing everything else you want to get done.

    Promising review: "It has been perfect for putting together quick dinners with healthy steamed veggies. Could not be easier or simpler to use. Goes in the dishwasher, although top rack is probably best. Probably the best part: it allows you to use the cook top for making other parts of dinner rather than worrying on a pot getting up to a boil and timing and so forth. So you can get dinner done and also have the vegetables or even small potatoes ready via the microwave and reach the goal of having everything ready at the same time. RECOMMENDED." —APC Reviews

    Get one on Amazon for $14.56–$15.93 (available in three sizes).

    11. A compact airfryer to turn veggies, frozen fries, chicken wings, and more into a fast-food-worthy meal in no time — and with less oil.

    Promising review: "This air fryer is fantastic. It saves me from having to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen just to cook some frozen fries, etc. It cooks quickly and gets the food very crispy. It is very compact in size (about the same size as our coffee maker) and so it doesn't take up too much room on the counter. There are just two of us in our family, so the size is perfect. If you have a larger family, you would want to purchase a larger one." —Joy Hardin

    Get it on Amazon for $59.99+ (available in five colors).

    12. A cookbook that's already done all the meal-prep planning for you, so you can enjoy incredible dinners with (somewhat) minimal work.

    James Ransom / Food52

    Promising review: "If you’re an aspiring foodie who enjoys cooking seasonally and aren’t daunted by the idea of spending a couple hours of your weekend cooking meals for the week ahead, you will love this book. I’d been in a food rut since the birth of my baby, and I wondered if I’d ever have the time to cook the kinds of adventurous meals I’d enjoyed making before. Amanda Hesser and co-author Merrill Stubbs showed me the way! By cooking one or two main dishes ahead of time and combining them with different components to create a variety of meals, you can make the most of your time and ingredients throughout the week. I appreciate that dessert is always a part of the menu, and that several options are given for simplifying your weekly meal plan if you find yourself short on prep time. Thank you for helping this foodie and new mom find joy and confidence in the kitchen again!" —Emily G.

    Get it on Amazon for $18.77.

    13. A pair of scissors — they make prepping fresh herbs incredibly fast, so you'll actually use all of the ones you buy.

    Which means all of your dinners will have *that* much more flavor. BTW, these scissors helped an home cook cut herbs at the same speed as a cooking school trained—Tasty chef! And you don't even have to worry about cleaning them after — they come with a cover that makes it easy.

    Promising review: "These scissors are the best tool ever! Instead of chopping up my fresh herbs and scraping them into whatever dish I'm making, I just hold the herbs over the dish and clip away. Fast, convenient, no mess, no fuss. In the morning, when I'm preparing a fresh salad to take to work, I just snip the fresh basil into the salad instead of having to drag out the knife and cutting board. If you flip the cover of the scissors around, the slotted side slides out the bits stuck in the scissors. Quick, easy and no waste. Love it!" —Amazon Customer

    Get them on Amazon for $9.99.

    14. A set of eight prep bowls with lids so you can actually start practicing ~mise en place~, or simply organize your regular prep.

    Promising review: "I'm usually rushing to cut or chop up something or look for and measuring spices, etc. in the middle of cooking. So, these, for me at least, have been perfect. They hold about 4 oz. and they seal very well. I've pre-chopped onions, garlic, ginger and stored them in my refrigerator for recipes I want to make in the next day or two. The lids are tight and they never leave an odor in the refrigerator. I've used plastic storage containers but they are generally too large and the chopped veggies don't seem to last as long as they do in these little glass cups. Plus, I don't have much counter space and these take up very little. Since they are all the same size and stack well I don't have to work around them. Makes pre-assembly and organizing ingredients easy and makes cooking a lot less stressful." —W. Oliver

    Get the set of eight (with lids!) on Amazon for $15.79.

    15. A subscription to Cajun Crate, a monthly delivery of full-sized products exclusively from Louisiana guaranteed to bolster the flavor of whatever it is you're cooking.

    Cajun Crate / Cratejoy

    It comes with recipes and product guides, too, so you always know how to use each and every product.

    Promising review: I'm excited to try everything that came in my first box! Even the Cajun chicken and dumpling mix, which I usually don't care for. And the Slap Ya Mama Hot sauce is going straight to my hot sauce loving friend! Thank you! —Kristen

    Subscribe on Cratejoy for $33+ per month.

    16. Or a subscription to a full-fledged meal delivery kit, like Sunbasket, which serves healthy, mostly organic meals.

    Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

    They offer all sorts of meal plans too: you can select vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, pescatarian, diabetes-friendly, lean and clean, quick and easy, or just the default chef's choice. Hannah, a Tasty writer, sampled eight different meal delivery kits last year, and this was her favorite by far — here's her Sunbasket review.

    Subscribe starting at $11.99 per serving.

    17. A three-sectioned nonstick skillet so you can make a full meal for just yourself while only dirtying one pan.


    Because when you're the only one cooking and eating, you're the clean-up crew, too. It also works fabulously for breakfast foods, and is oven and dishwasher safe.

    Promising review: "There’s no words to describe how awesome this thing is. Had it for maybe a year now. It’s long lasting and still highly effective. I love making hamburgers. Takes about five to ten minutes. Throw the meat on there and bacon, fried egg on the other side and grill up the buns. All comes together on one skillet. Superb." —Stephanie M.

    Get it on Amazon for $32.22.

    18. A sushi roll making kit that includes several fool-proof tools to make it quick and easy to not-cook your favorite raw (or vegetarian!) rolls right at home.


    The kit includes: a base to set your nori on, a training frame and non-stick rice spreader to help you put down exactly the right amount of rice, a rolling mat to help you get that perfect cylinder, end caps for extra perfection, and a cutting guide for even slices every time.

    Promising review: "Sushi made easy! I'm an avid sushi eater and wanted to get into making my own. This kit makes the rest of the process easier. The guide helps immensely to get the right amount of rice on the nori sheet. Make sure your rice is cool otherwise it can stick to the nori and make it harder to spread. I never fill the whole sheet as the image shows because the nori tends to overlap anyway. Also make sure not to pile on the rice above the frame. The absolute best part of this kit is the cutting guide, I've never been successful at cutting sushi the other way and this makes it perfect every time! Really a great value and I couldn't recommend it more." —Duudettes

    Get the set on Amazon for $9.99.

    19. A full-size cookie sheet, so you can embrace the gospel of ~sheet pan dinners~: where you toss some meat and veggies together with oil and seasonings or sauce, and simply bake for a bit.


    Add some rice or quinoa, and you've got yourself and easy dinner! For recipe inspo, check out Sheet Pan Dinners That Will Save You Serious Time, Delicious Sheet Pan Dinner Ideas, and Easy One-Tray Oven Dinners. And get the recipe for this Sheet Pan Chicken BBQ from No. 2 Pencil.

    Get the cookie sheet on Amazon for $18.89 (21"x15"; of course, it's' an excellent choice for baking cookies, too).

    20. The "Fasta Pasta", aka a microwave cooker that makes preparing a batch of your favorite noodles MUCH easier and faster — you don't even have to wait for the water to boil.


    All you do is measure your servings of spaghetti using the holes in the lid, add it to the cooker with some water, and microwave it for 12–20 minutes (depending on how much pasta you're cooking). And yes, it's dishwasher safe.

    Promising review: "I love to make pasta, but hate boiling a giant pot of water on the stove just to cook it. Now, I prepare it all the time; this makes it so fast and easy! It is great for making pasta salad in the summer, when I don't want to have to turn on the stove. I love this so much, I actually purchased one for my stepdaughter and my best friend as well. Well-made and dishwasher-safe, I have used mine for well over a year and it is still in perfect condition. Never want to be without this again!" —SpikeysMommy

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    21. An indoor grill that lets you make flavorful chicken breasts, burgers, steaks, veggies, and more all without leaving your kitchen *or* heating up your oven.

    If you're like me and live in an apartment or condo with zero space for an easy gas grill, but love grilling, this product's practically made for you.

    Promising review: "Seriously, I love this grill. Recently moved into city and can't use my grill so thought I'd give this a try. Man, it's amazing how well this works considering what it is and what it costs. I really can't see why anyone would have ANYTHING negative to say about it. No, it's not a Traeger Grill and clearly has its limits but the first two meals I cooked on it looked fantastic and tasted even better. Seriously, if you've been on the fence about this grill get off and just buy it. You won't be disappointed." —AdventureChuck

    Get it on Amazon for $58.70.

    22. A rotating oven that transforms your favorite frozen foods into crispy fries, perfect chicken nuggets, and (of course) delivery-worthy pizzas.

    You can even put a few fries and six nuggets and a personal-size pizza on at the same time, and everything will still get perfectly cooked.

    Promising review: "What we've cooked on it so far: jalapeño poppers, frozen fish filets, frozen pizzas, and egg rolls. It cooks about as fast as the food would inside a conventional oven. It browns well, tastes great, and it's easy to clean. It cooks everything well through the middle with no cold spots. It's very versatile, so don't just think of it as a pizza maker. We got ours because our conventional oven isn't working currently, and cooking everything on the toaster oven, stove-top, or in the microwave just wasn't cutting it. That's another thing: there's a lot more room ON this thing than there is inside of even the larger toaster ovens. The best fifty bucks I ever spent!" —Claire Rowe

    Get it on Amazon for $47.02.

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

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!


    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.

    Need A Shopping Buddy?

    Get great products - from pros in the fine art of buying stuff online - delivered to your inbox!
    Newsletter signup form