The Best Kitchen Tools We Bought for Less Than $50 in 2019
Stock up on Food Network staffers' favorite kitchen tools of the year.
If you love cooking as much as Food Network staffers, you’d probably agree with us when we say you can’t have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to kitchen tools. Whether you have three favorite spatulas or swear by that one wooden spoon your mom gave you years ago, the right tool makes a world of difference when it comes to whipping together the perfect dish.
Because we're always on the hunt for the best kitchen tools, we asked Food Network staffers to share the very best tool they bought during 2019. Read on to see if your personal favorite made the list — or what you need to add to your cart come 2020.
I’ll never get over Stasher bags. They’re the solution to wasteful, single-use plastic zip top bags. These reusable bags are made of silicone and — even better than your regular old plastic bag — can be frozen, boiled and even baked in the oven! Plus, they come in so many cute colors and sizes. I take a snack-sized bag full of apple slices to work every day. I just bought four more for my kitchen!
- Maggie Wong, Associate Editor, Snapchat
I often grab these extra-long wooden chopsticks instead of tongs. You can easily (and safely) move around frying food, use them to mix up a stir fry and lift and remove cooked food from a skillet or baking sheet. They can beat eggs and mix together batter. Also, you can use them as serving utensils.
- Leah Brickley, Senior Editor
After years of trying and failing to make spritz cookies with an old cookie press, I bought the OXO cookie press and took Vivian Chan's Butter Spritz Cookies class on the Food Network Kitchen app with my son for Christmas cooking baking last weekend — I felt like a superhero when the cookies came out in cute shapes with a tender crumb. The tool zapped each little tree onto the cookie sheet without a mess and was easy for him to use and feel like he was on Chopped Junior. Best $30 I’ve spent on a cooking gadget in a while and worth the smiles.
- Debra Puchalla, SVP, Digital Programming & Video, Food
I love decorating cookies, especially around Christmas time. Sugar cookies, gingerbread people, shortbread — you name them, I’m making them. But I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t have the steadiest of hands when it comes to pipping icing. Most times I squeeze my pipping bag wayyy too hard resulting in more of a mess than a masterpiece. That’s why I love these miniature decorating pens from Williams Sonoma. Each one is filled with color-tinted white chocolate and has an extra fine tip to give you the most precise lines, swirls and whirls with every squeeze. I always have two boxes in my cabinet for when I get inspired and can’t wait to use them while watching Dana Beninati’s Melting Snowman Bark class on the new Food Network Kitchen app.
- Michelle Baricevic, Online Editorial Coordinator - Food Network Magazine
I upgraded my cheese grater this year — it’s something I should have done years ago (we eat a lot of cheese in my house — I wrote a whole book about it!), but I don’t like to replace kitchen items that aren’t broken. When I saw this one, I realized how silly my old grater was, with its metal bottom that scratched surfaces, and I’d dirty an extra plate that I’d use to catch the cheese every time I grated. I love the cheese-catcher/container on this one, which also comes with a lid so I can grate and refrigerate. No wonder it's our top cheese grater pick!
- Michelle Buffardi, VP Digital Programming
When I was in high school, my parents surprised me with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it’s been my favorite kitchen appliance ever since. However, I absolutely hate dragging it out of the cabinet and trying to move it on the counters — it’s both heavy and clunky, which makes it difficult to move, awkward to clean and so-not-ideal for everyday use. However, my mom solved all those problems when she bought me these countertop appliance trays. This tiny tray is the perfect size to hold my stand mixer and it’s incredibly easy to roll on the countertops without scratching the surface. Pro tip? It’s also great for moving around your Instant Pot!
- Leah Scalzadonna, Associate Editor
This year I invested in a mini food processor by KitchenAid. It’s the perfect size for storing in my tiny kitchen but can still hold up to 3.5 cups, making pesto and hummus a breeze. This model comes in four fun colors, as well as has two speeds for coarse or fine results. And the best part of all, it’s under $50!
- Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer
This year, I picked up this small fish spatula, which is only 6 inches long. I find it so much more handy and versatile than the 9-inch one I already owned. The larger size always felt a little more unwieldy and clumsy; it couldn’t pick up one cookie off a sheet pan without bashing into another, and felt too big for flipping pork chops or pieces of salmon in a crowded pan. In this case, smaller is mightier, and I think you’ll find yourself reaching for it for so much more than fish.
- Lauren Piro, Editorial Director
I started with just a few POP containers and now have a pantry full of them. These guys have totally transformed my kitchen into something Instagram-worthy — not to mention highly-organized. They come in a range of sizes and styles, and I use them to store everything from pasta and coffee to chips and granola bars. Paired with all the amazing accessories, plus some labels for expiration dates and cooking times (pasta, lentils, rice), my pantry has never looked better!
- T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
I bought magnetic strip lights in a package of three and they’ve made cooking so much better! They’re not necessarily a tool, but they make things easier to see (and film for Instagram stories hah!) while I’m cooking. Plus, the little remote control means I can change the intensity and tone of the lights with the touch of a button. SO worth it for $25!
- Gabriela Rodiles, Social Media Manager
Fresh citrus juice is the secret to pretty much every dish and drink I make, and this citrus press is the secret to making that juice happen. Since picking it up, I’ve become a veritable lemonade stand (also serving lemon-ginger tea, margaritas, chicken Francese, lemon bars, my go-to vinaigrette…). This handy little juicer gets a better workout than anything else in my kitchen. I’ve tried a lot of presses over the years, and this is the first not to start immediately losing its finish (like the aluminum ones I’ve tried) or dropping seeds through the juice slits. Lemon is liquid sunshine, especially at this time of year, and this little press ensures constant rays.
- Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor
The best thing I purchased this year was, without a doubt, this popcorn machine. In my apartment, my roommates and I eat a lot of popcorn (I’m talking at least one serving a night!), so this countertop machine made our lives much easier — and much more exciting! With a kernel holder in the back, you can simply dispense one-to-four servings and air pop in minutes. We usually top ours with a little olive oil and salt, but the possibilities are truly endless each night!
- Rachel Trujillo, Associate Content Editor