Like many 20-somethings, I was fortunate enough to move back into my parents' house during the start of the pandemic. And perhaps the best part of moving home is that I was spoiled with direct access to my mother's impressive cookware collection. An incredible cook and entertainer, she has kitchen cabinets filled with quality cookware that would make any food-obsessed person squeal with joy. (Think gorgeous dishware, vintage serving pieces, and prized decades-old Le Creuset Dutch ovens, which she keeps in pristine condition.)
Two years later, I'm now moving out to my own apartment. And as a commerce editor who loves to cook and shop, I'm on a quest to upgrade my solo kitchen with luxe, chef-worthy items that can compete with my mother's collection. From a game-changing nonstick pan and versatile spatula to fun drinking glasses and, yes, a vacuum, I've scoured both big names and smaller stores for my favorites. Some items in this list have been sent to me from brands, while others have been items I've grown to love and cherish over the years.
I know there's still plenty of time (and products) to build out my own kitchen collection, but here are the seven upgrades I'm starting off with.
Finding drinking glasses that are affordable, sturdy, and stylish can feel like quite the hassle. Fortunately, Our Place’s 12-ounce drinking glasses are the perfect solution. They’re dishwasher-safe, made from recycled glass and sand, and come in a host of beautiful hues. Plus, they hold a nice amount of liquid, making them perfect for cocktails, iced coffee, and everything in between.
To buy: $50 for a set of four at fromourplace.com
No matter if you’re a seasoned home cook or an amateur in the kitchen, Misen’s Essentials Knife Set is a no-brainer. It comes with a serrated knife, paring knife, and chef’s knife, which can handle anything from slicing breads and chopping veggies to cutting proteins. Each piece has a comfortable and sturdy handle, razor-sharp blade, and easy-to-hold grip.
To buy: $150 (originally $180) at misen.com
Sure, Le Creuset’s Dutch ovens are all the rage, but don’t sleep on its nonstick skillets. This pan, which is available in 9.5-, 10-, 11-, and 12-inch sizes, is my favorite nonstick skillet on the market. I have the 9.5-inch option, and nothing sticks to it. I use it for frying up eggs, blistering tomatoes, or even grilling salmon. It’s a great multi-use pan that is also super easy to clean.
To buy: $120 at surlatable.com
A high-quality grater is an absolute must in any kitchen, and I’m a sucker for this one from Microplane. It grates everything evenly, and its thin build makes it easy to scrape any excess bits. Use this tool to add an extra layer of fresh shaved Parmesan, lemon zest, or grated garlic to your dishes.
To buy: $16 (originally $20) at amazon.com
While a Dyson vacuum isn’t necessarily a cooking tool, I guarantee the Dyson V8 will change your kitchen forever. It scoops up every crumb and dirt particle from your kitchen floor and deep cleans all cracks and crevices in your home. I love its thin design and interchangeable heads, which can be used in hard-to-reach places by your stove or on your countertop. I promise that despite its high price point, this product is a worthwhile investment.
To buy: $430 at target.com
This no frills $8 silicone spatula is one of my absolute favorite cooking tools. You can use it for the more obvious baking tasks like mixing batter or decorating fluffy cakes, but I love to use it for scrambled eggs and stir-fry. The curved edges and sturdy handle give a great grip on the stove, and you can pop it right in the dishwasher afterward.
To buy: $8 at amazon.com
Our Place’s coveted Always Pan makes a great stovetop addition, since it’s aesthetically pleasing and does the job of eight pieces of cookware. I use it to fry extra-crispy chicken wings, stir flavorful pasta sauces, and pull together delicious sauteed vegetables. I opted for the zest color, which adds a nice pop of yellow to my otherwise neutral kitchen. (It’s sold out, but you can choose from six other in-stock colors, like salmon-hued spice or sage green.
To buy: $145 at fromourplace.com
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