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Andrea G


Kitchen Must-Haves


January 5th, 2021


Written by The Serious Eats Teams on

All year long, our culinary team rigorously tests tools and equipment to help you cook better, whether it’s with an outdoor wok burner for serious wok hei, a stainless steel skillet for perfect pan-roasted meats, or an essential upgrade to any gas grill. To that end, we have a lot of recommendations for every kitchen size and budget.

Of course, there’s another side to this, and that’s you. Knowing what you add to your cart informs us about what you’re into (better baking pans!) and not into (slow cookers). So this time of year, we like to take a look back and see the equipment that you felt was worthy of a spot in your kitchen.

Below you’ll find the most popular Serious Eats–recommended tools, the ones our readers shopped for again and again in 2020. Already got ’em? Let us know what you think!

The Thermapen

There are a lot of reasons for keeping an instant-read thermometer in the kitchen, from reducing food-poisoning-your-guests paranoia to ensuring your meat is cooked to actual perfection (and a safe temperature!). When it comes to speed and precision, the Thermapen trumps all others. It’s the one we reach for when we’re testing recipes and the one we get super-excited about when it’s on sale. It’s no surprise the Thermapen is also one of your most-shopped-for tools this year.

Poultry Shears

Poultry shear popularity explodes over the holiday season. That’s likely because you all have realized that spatchcocking your Thanksgiving turkey is the absolute best way to achieve a juicy, not-overcooked bird. With the ability to slice through tissue and slippery fat, these poultry shears cut out (hehe) the competition in our review. But don’t just use them around the holidays. Use them for better roast chicken, too. There’s nothing better than a spatchcocked roast chicken on a cold Friday night.

An Ultra-Deep Cake Pan

Stella has produced a fair amount of cakes in her day. That’s likely why we all consider her recommendations gospel. Case in point, her favorite cake pan, an eight- by three-inch anodized aluminum pan from Fat Daddio’s, is one of our top-selling pieces of equipment this year. That additional depth will help your cakes rise taller and fluffier. Plus, it’ll help keep messier (drippier) baked goods, like sticky buns, from dripping into your oven. In fact, all of Stella’s cake recipes are developed for this type of cake pan. Luckily, getting one will only set you back $11.99.

A Detroit-Style Pizza Pan

With more time at home in 2020, lots of you got a chance to dive into the world of dough, from sourdough to focaccia, and pizza crust, too. Perhaps that’s why so many of you picked up a Detroit-style pizza pan for Kenji’s recipe. While you could make this pizza in an 8×8 cake pan, this particular black anodized aluminum pan ensures an extra crispy crust and delightfully browned cheesy bits.