Whether your kitchen is huge with an 8-burner range and double oven or tiny with a hotplate and toaster oven, ensure you have these 6 essential items to help make your cooking easier, faster, and more delicious!

1. Cast iron pans

While nonstick pans are all the rage, what you really want to cook on your stovetop with is cast iron. Not only is cast iron healthier than typical nonstick pans because it doesn’t involve the dangerously controversial Teflon, but it’s also great for browning meats, fish, and vegetables. Did we also mention that if you season it, it can be non-stick too?

Furthermore, cast iron can actually benefit you nutritionally. Whenever you make food in a cast iron pan, a slight bit of the iron transfers from the pan to your food. Don’t let this disgust you — it’s actually healthy, especially for people who are anemic (those with low iron in their blood).

2. A stand-up grater

Pre-shredded cheeses are known to have added compounds that are, well, not exactly made out of cheese. That’s why grating your own cheese is far superior.

A standup greater should have a sturdy bottom for quickly grating large blocks of cheese. Some even come with a small attachable container so you can easily catch all of the shreds. Finally, you’ll find that most standup graters feature a slicing feature on one side. This will make perfectly thin and even slices of your favorite cheeses.

3. A set of ceramic knives

Ceramic knives are rather controversial in the cooking world because so many chefs love their stainless steel knives. While there is certainly a place for stainless steel, ceramic knives are amazing because they create such easy, crisp slices, and the knives never get dull — even with years of use.

The drawback of ceramic knives is that they can chip or break over time, but if you don’t abuse them, you should still get years of quality use out of them.

4. A quality salad spinner

Many people think that a salad spinner is an unnecessary tool for the kitchen. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Salad spinners are extremely useful for washing and drying lettuce. Take out the colander basket, put your lettuce inside, rinse it in the sink, then place it back into the main salad spinner container, and pump the spinner to eliminate excess water.

This is the first and most obvious use of a salad spinner. But this tool can actually be used for far more as well!

For instance, use it to dry recently cooked macaroni and other pastas. Or use it for other types of vegetables you may want to dry before coating in oil or marinade.

We made the distinction that you should have a “quality” salad spinner at home because so many of these products are lightweight and flimsy. Choose one made out of stainless steel that is durable, rustproof, and large enough to accommodate large amounts of lettuce and other foods.

5. An immersion blender

Immersion blenders are a godsend when you need to blend soups, sauces, and salsas.

They make cooking dishes like corn chowder and potato soup especially easy because you don’t need to transfer hot mixtures from your Dutch oven to a blender in painstaking batches.

As a side note, you can also use your immersion blender to make smoothies, shakes, and frothed milk for your cappuccinos at home!

6. A large slow cooker and a small slow cooker

Why two slow cookers?

Most meals have at least two dishes, and using your slow cooker for one while also having to dirty pots and pans for another is too painstaking.

Therefore, get one large cooker for main dishes like soups, stews, and pot roasts with vegetables. Then, get a small slow cooker for cooking side dishes alongside your main dish (or for beans, sauces, etc.).

How to Find the Best Deals on Kitchen Essentials

When it comes to finding the best deals on kitchen essentials, it’s important to spend adequate time researching each product and shopping around for the cheapest prices. For nearly all of the items listed above, you’ll find a range of price tags.

Some of the more expensive items should certainly be purchased at the higher quality range, meaning you’ll want to look for discounts on sites like Coupons Captain to avoid paying full price. On the other hand, some items can be purchased at budget cost, and the quality won’t be any different than if you purchased the same items at elite, high-end home goods stores.

At any rate, take the time to find the products that best suit your needs, and don’t hesitate to reach out to product manufacturers and read buyer reviews to find the best of the best. Having a well-stocked kitchen with useful tools will make meal prep for you and your family so much easier than you’ve ever imagined. Happy cooking!