A white Norpro battery operated flour sifter.

Why didn’t we think of that?!

One of my favorite tools is my battery-operated flour sifter. I bake a lot and absolutely detest sifting flour. One day I made a comment (actually a complaint) about hating to sift and that I wished someone would invent an electric sifter. I had no idea such a tool existed. I didn’t think any more of it and then what was under the tree at Christmas? I appreciate it every single time I use it!—Susan Hall

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Norpro Battery-Operated Flour Sifter, $15 on Amazon.com

A set of two baking sheets and a wire mesh rack.

The sheet pan that will go the distance with you

I love Chicago metallic sheet pans because they’re incredibly sturdy, have lasted for over 15 years, and I use them for everything (roasting vegetables, making cookies, creating sheet pan dinners, etc.). They’re definitely my go-to when I need to warm things as well. I use them practically every day. —Deborah Wallace

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Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Professional Baking Sheet, $20.04 on Amazon.com

A stainless steel ice cream scoop.

The ice cream scoop that’ll make you the envy of everyone

There were eye rolls when I showed up at home with a $20 ice cream scoop. But once you’ve tried it, you can’t go back. It has a rock-solid build and the antifreeze inside the handle absorbs the warmth from your hands and uses it to move the scoop smoothly through the frozen ice cream. (It really shines with homemade ice cream stored in loaf pans—it makes these perfectly rounded scoops with almost no effort—and it’ll also crush a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.) Always hand wash it as the anti-freeze will explode if exposed to the heat of a dishwasher.—Jack Van Amburg

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Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop, $20.15 on Amazon.com

A black Bamix deluxe immersion hand blender with various attachments.

There’s no job too small for this immersion blender

My item that I would be lost without is my Bamix hand mixer, which is at least 30 years old…and still kicking. I really like the 2 speeds and changeable heads along with the little encased chopper bowl for small cuttings of cilantro or onions for salsas.—Debbie Gigliotti

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M150 DeLuxe Immersion Hand Blender, $230 on Amazon.com

An Instant Pot Duo Nova.

Your kitchen butler, at your service

I use one of my Instant Pots at least once a week—and usually more often. For someone who works full time, it’s a godsend of an appliance. I can plan dinner and program it to cook during the day while I’m away. And with the delay start and auto turn off, I’m assured that things rarely overcook. In the summer, it won’t heat up the kitchen, and in winter I can use it for comforting soups, stews, and such. Every Sunday I make the eggs for my on-the-go breakfast for that Monday to Friday. Today I have beans soaking for cooking a vegetarian chili for tomorrow. Cheaper (tough) cuts of meat can be brought to fork-tenderness. I even make yogurt in it. I’d give up a lot before I give up my IP! —Helen Doberstein

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7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo Nova, $100 on Amazon.com

Joule Sous Vide on white background

“Essential” kitchen equipment? My Joule sous vide! I love love love it for making homemade yogurt weekly. I also use a Thermapen (see above) to test the temperature of the milk in a flash! Love having sous vide eggs around to plop on top of shakshuka for breakfast. I also use it for poaching chicken or steak to stash in my fridge for salads for dinner. And it’s the very best way to cook an expensive cut of meat like a filet—no chance of overcooking it! —Linda McElroy

Besides prepping all my meats and items for my freezer, I use my sous vide to make weekly batches of yogurt, cook the best eggs, act as a double boiler for cheesemaking, keep jarred soups and sauces warm for parties, use as a proofing chamber for bread dough, and more. The unattended cooking time that doesn’t result in scorching, squishing, or squandering is the best sort of cooking advantage! —Ilda Costa-Sarnicki

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Joule Sous Vide, $250 from Breville
A Work Sharp knife & tool sharpener Ken Onion Edition.

The cutting edge of knife maintenance

I love my Global knives as well as my handcrafted blades from a local knifemaker. But you really need to keep the edge on each knife. This device lets you easily adjust the setting for the proper angle for Asian as well as Western knives. (I keep my Globals at 16 degrees and my custom western knives at 22 degrees.) The Work Sharp is crafted by a fourth-generation family-owned company, and I use it every couple of weeks.—Craig Relyea

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Ken Onion Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener, $130 on Amazon.com

A silver garlic press.

Always on my mind

I think if I had to pick just one tool, it would be my ZYLISS Susi Garlic Press. I’ve owned one since I was a young bride, teaching myself to cook watching Julia Child and Jacque Pepin. With this tool, you don’t even need to peel your garlic. Just put a clove or two in, squeeze, and you have perfectly minced garlic. An amazing tool to release frustration as well! Two for one.—Lisa Bennett

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Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press, $23 on Surlatable.com

A red Mk4 Thermapen.

Better than ever before

The Mk4 Thermapen does everything the classic Thermpen does—and then some. Anyone who owns the classic Thermapen knows that when you set it down, it goes to sleep. And that to awaken it, you have to (frustratingly) fully close and then reopen the probe. With the Mk4, you can leave it open and simply pick it up from the counter—especially useful when your other hand is whisking caramel or holding the grill lid open. Speaking of, the new backlight makes grilling outdoors at night a cinch.—Jack Van Amburg

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MK4 Thermapen, $99 from Thermoworks

Chef'n Freshforce Lemon Juicer Side View

When life hands you lemons…

My “one use” item I can’t imagine cooking without is my lemon squeezer–can it be considered two use if I also use it for limes? I used to squeeze my lemons by hand, but with my old hands, the lemon squeezer is great and saves the seeds!—Elizabeth Mason Hill

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Chef’n FreshForce Lemon Juicer, $25 on Surlatable.com

A bright green lime juicer.

Sometimes you just need a single talent

I have the green ChefN for limes. Can’t make a pitcher of margaritas without it! It can be used for lemons as well but it’s not as efficient. ChefN makes a yellow juicer for lemons and an orange one for oranges. They work better than an electric juicer. Love it.—Lisa Bennett

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Chef’n FreshForce Lime Juicer, $20 on Surlatable.com

Get It Right Premium Silicone SpatulaSimple is as simple does

I love my GIR silicone spatula. It’s made from a single piece of silicone so it doesn’t come apart (which means no gross gunk buildup!) and is also dishwasher safe.—Valerie Shiba

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GIR 11-inch Skinny Silicone Spatula, $13 on Amazon

All products featured on Leite’s Culinaria are independently selected by our staff.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Taste of Portugal, our first spice blend, is bursting with the flavors I grew up with: smoked paprika, garlic, citrus, bay leaf, piri piri chiles, coriander, red wine, and more.

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  1. A slow cooker. That is the best thing that you could want to get for the kitchen in my mind. Especially when you have full days at work, you aren’t that keen to cook when you get home (you need to be in the right mind), but also are reluctant to spend money for delivery. Those apps (UberEats, Deliveroo et al.) can suck away your cash before you know it, that I know from experience.

    Best yet, the way I approach cooking is learning the ropes and thinking ahead all the time. Slow cookers do that, where you prepare it all the night before; afterwards, even in a stupor you just need to click that button on. Plus few things beat walking through the door and getting the scent of a meat stew wafting throughout the house.

  2. Of the ones listed, I’ve got sheet pans & a garlic press. I love my micro-plane & use it often.

    1. Great minds…! Martha, would love to know some of your most reliable and loved kitchen tools. Perhaps we’ll do a listing of some of our readers’ favorite kitchen tools!