These Cooking Essentials Will Make Even Non-Chefs Feel "Cheffy"

If your local Thai place could fire up your regular delivery order just by hearing the sound of your voice, it might mean that you haven’t logged a ton of hours in the kitchen, until now. No judgment. These days, many of us are getting a crash course in culinary arts, doing our best to make a cohesive meal from pantry staples as we dream of future Pad Thai. We’ve rounded up some essential kitchen gadgets that are sending our community members happily into the kitchen, offering meal-prep solutions that are perfect for pros and non-chefs alike. Now, if we could talk about that never-ending supply of dirty dishes…

Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

“I use this sturdy pot multiple times a week for all sorts of recipes: cooking soups, soaking beans, steaming mussels, frying potatoes, baking bread. It’s incredibly versatile and I love how heavy-duty it feels. Plus the enameled finish makes it easy to clean. But best of all, it costs so much less than other similarly built Dutch ovens.” – Katie Macdonald

Calphalon Precision Nonstick 13-Piece Knife Block Set

“As much as I love being in the kitchen, my least favorite part about cooking has always been chopping. My biggest issue was that the food would get stuck on the knife and mess up my flow. But these innovative knives have a nonstick coating and longitudinal ridges that prevent food from hanging on to them. I’ve chopped everything from meat to fruits and vegetables with the knives and can happily report that every type of ingredient will stay put on your cutting board, no matter how fast you are chopping.” – Rebecca Carhart

CorningWare 6pc Bakeware Set White

“These casserole dishes may look simple, but trust me, you’ll use them for everything! Growing up, my grandmother used her set nearly everyday to prepare home cooked meals for my family. When I moved into my first apartment after college, she gifted me my own collection, which I now use daily to cook and store my favorite dishes. These versatile casserole dishes are microwave- and dishwasher-safe, and can be used in the oven, freeze, and fridge, too. I love to use my set to steam veggies in the microwave, reheat leftovers, and whip up casseroles and sides. Their elegant and minimalist look ensures that they blend into any kitchen, and makes them perfect for serving up dishes at parties, too.” – Jessica Mattern

Crock-Pot 4 qt. Count Down Slow Cooker

“This crockpot is the only thing standing between me and a takeout menu. I find the cooking a healthy, big batch meal at the beginning of the week ensures I’ll stay on track and I’ve found a crock pot is the easy way to do it. It’s affordable and helps to create delicious meals with minimal effort on my part.” – Stephanie Perry

Zyliss 3-Piece Knife Set

“I use at least one of these knives every day without fail. Although they’re seriously affordable, they get the job done. I use the yellow paring knife for precision chopping, the red serrated knife for slicing tomatoes or bread, and the green chef’s knife for everything else. I love that they’re color coordinated and each come with their own protective case for safe storage.” – Christie Calucchia

Over-the-Sink Roll-Up Drying Rack

“When I’m cooking a new recipe or working in the kitchen, I have a hard time focusing on what I’m doing if my countertop is covered with dirty dishes. This predicament is exactly how I discovered this convenient roll-up drying mat that’s designed to fit over my sink instead of taking up even more space as bulky dry racks tend to do. If living in a small Brooklyn apartment has taught me anything, it’s that counter space is valuable— and now I can use more of mine for chopping, mixing, and meal prepping.” – Jayla Andrulonis

The Book of Tapas

“My mom will be the first to tell you that I am not a cook. My mom is a cook through and through but I am certainly not. Recently though I have been trying, mostly because during quarantine I have no other choice. I bought this book while out with my parents for dinner at Little Spain in Manhattan and I finally opened it last week, months after it came home with me. Not only are the recipes easy to follow and delicious but they’re also comforting. My whole family is Spanish and not being able to eat their food once a week like I do during normal circumstances is hard. I also am missing Spain more than ever, especially as I wait to see if I’ll even be able to go this summer. To me the most important thing about cooking is that it should bring you happiness. For me the only way cooking sparks joy is by channeling my culture and my family with every dish. But my tortilla is definitely no where near up to my grandma’s standards. Which means I guess I’ll just keep trying.” – Tara Gonzalez

We think you deserve to buy only awesome things. We've asked the most discerning women out there to share what they honestly, truly swear by so you can get on with life and find your next favorite product, faster. What do you SwearBy?