34 thoughtful cookbook gifts for any occasion

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26 cookbooks for every type of home cook update 4x3

To me, there’s no better gift to give or receive than a great cookbook. A cookbook with beautiful photos, thoughtful narratives, and foolproof recipes can feed the imagination, transport your giftee to another city or country, and inspire them to get creative in the kitchen. There are cookbooks out there to suit every type of cook, whether novice or expert, and feed all interests from TV show cookbooks to comprehensive tomes on the science of cooking.

Every year, hundreds of new cookbooks make their way onto bookstore shelves. Here are our favorite cookbooks, new and old, to gift this year.

Here are 34 of the best cookbooks gifts for every type of cook:

For the traveler interested in culture and cuisine

Cook Real Hawai'i

“Cook Real Hawai’i” by Sheldon Simeon, $25.49 available at Amazon

A finalist in two different seasons of “Top Chef,” Sheldon Simeon co-authored a cookbook with Garrett Snyder, transporting readers to the tropical islands of Hawaii. The book dives into stories of Simeon’s family, as well as the state’s history and cultural traditions. With 100 recipes throughout the book, this personalized guide to Hawaiian cooking has something for beginners and advanced cooks.

For the friend who knows all the words to “Lady Marmalade”

LaBelle Cuisine best cookbooks 2021

“LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About” by Patti LaBelle, $26.99 at Amazon

Patti LaBelle is not only the Godmother of Soul and a musical icon, but she is also a New York Times bestselling author for her cookbooks. Her newest cookbook, “Labelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About,” has recipes centered around LaBelle’s family’s Southern roots. With comfort-food favorites like potato salad and peach cobbler, she showcases a variety of her recipes that are full of personal touches. 

For the cook always on the go

Full Plate best cookbooks 2021

‘The Full Plate” by Ayesha Curry, $15 at Amazon

Ayesha Curry and her husband, basketball star Stephen Curry, have three children and busy schedules. She created her newest cookbook with her energetic household in mind, and it features 100 recipes that take under an hour to make. “The Full Plate” is perfect for anyone who wants to spend less time cooking while still ending up with delicious meals.  

For the family member who watches “Fixer Upper”

Magnolia Table

“Magnolia Table” by Joanna Gaines, $16.59 at Amazon

Joanna Gaines and her family rose to reality-television stardom through the show “Fixer Upper.” The house-flipping matriarch released a cookbook highlighting 150 of her family’s favorite recipes, including garden-to-kitchen seasonal meals. Other recipes are from the family’s restaurant, Magnolia Table, in Waco, TX.

For the person who can’t get enough of Disneyland

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook best cookbooks 2021

“The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook” by Ashley Craft, $11.99 at Amazon

Technically unofficial, this cookbook will transport you directly into Disneyland. You can replicate a variety of food found in Disney theme parks. It features 100 recipes of iconic Disneyland treats and snacks, including the famous Dole whip, beignets, and more. 

For the friend who cooks with the seasons

my shanghai betty liu best cookbooks

“My Shanghai” by Betty Liu, $31.79, available at Amazon

This debut cookbook from Betty Liu (who somehow found the time to author it amid her general surgery residency) is an homage to seasonal cooking and her family’s roots in the Chinese regions of Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. I picked up this cookbook up in my local bookstore and couldn’t put it down (and ended up bringing it home with me). The chapters are organized by season and explain the influence the weather, holidays, and traditions have on the recipes prepared throughout the year. I love the stories Liu relates about the inspirations behind her recipes, like climbing a mountain to eat Double-Mushroom Noodle Soup at a temple, foraging spring bamboo shoots for Oil-Braised Spring Bamboo, and the bowls of breakfast noodles her father would make her before test days. I’ve already made the Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes four or five times, and I can’t wait to dive into more of the recipes as the seasons progress. 

For the cook who wants to master their grill

rodney scott best cookbooks

“Rodney Scott’s World of Barbecue” by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie, $18.14, available at Amazon

My best friend (and fellow cookbook collector) recently texted me raving about this cookbook and the genius of Rodney Scott’s Loaded Pork Skin “Nachos,” Pit-Smoked Turkey, and whole-hog approach to Carolina barbecue. Scott’s positivity and passion shine throughout the book, and you’ll learn lots about southern foodways and the history of Carolina barbecue along the way.  

For the parent planning their next trip

dishoom best cookbook

“Dishoom” by Shamil Thakrar, $17.29, available at Amazon

Whether it’s London or Bombay that is your giftee’s next destination, “Dishoom” is required reading before they jet off. The popular Dishoom restaurants in London are inspired by the Irani cafes of Bombay and serve “tipples,” snacks, and mains like Mango Kulfi, Pav Bhaji, and Roomali Roti. In “Dishoom,” you’ll learn to cook the restaurant’s entire menu, and be taken on a tour of Bombay’s cafes (complete with a map) along the way. 

For the coworker who has *opinions* on babka

jew-ish best cookbook

“Jew-ish” by Jake Cohen, $15.79, available at Amazon

At Insider Reviews we have lots of opinions, especially about food, and a recent debate centered around the merits of cinnamon versus chocolate fillings for babka. I like Jake Cohen’s philosophy in “Jew-ish,” which is that babka is delicious no matter what you fill it with. “Jew-ish” is a thoughtful collection of recipes centered around Cohen’s Ashkenazi heritage, his own self-discovery in the kitchen, and the Persian-Iraqi traditions of his husband. Cohen celebrates the origins of Jewish dishes, while also putting his own twist on the classics. You’ll see this in action in his recipes for Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies, and yes, You Can Go Your Own Way: Babka Edition.

For the family member intimidated by their new Instant Pot

instant pot best cookbook

“The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook” by Jeffrey Eisner, $10.78, available at Amazon

Insider Reviews reporter, James Brains, is currently testing Instant Pots and other multicookers for an update to our guide to the best electric pressure cookers. He’s been using recipes from this cookbook and reports that they’re easy to follow, have plenty of photos, and are delicious to boot. The book features more than 750 photos detailing step-by-step how to make the 100+ recipes, and makes a great gift for anyone who is curious about Instant Pots but hasn’t taken the plunge yet.

For the history buff

Jubilee cookbook

“Jubilee” by Toni Tipton-Martin, $20.07, available at Amazon

Toni Tipton-Martin’s personal collection of African-American cookbooks spans more than 400 titles and her knowledge of American food history is on full display in “Jubilee.” Through recipes and stories, she relates the history of Black folks who shaped American cuisine into what it is today, from those who cooked under the confines of brutal enslavement to the chefs who ran White House kitchens. “Jubilee” is a masterful work of American history, as told through food.

For the person who loves pie but fears making it

pie academy best cookbook gifts

“Pie Academy” by Ken Haedrich, $18.17, available at Amazon

A compendium of 255 pie recipes, “Pie Academy” is likely the last pie cookbook you’ll ever need. It has nearly a dozen recipes for different types of pie crust, a troubleshooting section for when things don’t go as expected, and chapters organized by seasonality and filling type. It’s guaranteed to be a hit with the pie lover in your life, especially one who is interested in making pies but has always found them a bit daunting. 

For the home cook that also loves to read

black white grey best cookbook gifts

“Black, White, and The Grey” by Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano, $15.69, available at Amazon

While not a cookbook, “Black, White, and The Grey,” tells the story of one of the most celebrated restaurants in America: The Grey in Savannah, Georgia. Mashama Bailey, who is Black, and John O. Morisano, who is white, relate the story of how they turned a dilapidated formerly segregated Greyhound bus station into an award-winning restaurant. The dual memoir touches on race, community, and friendship, with some delicious food anecdotes along the way.

For the friend who wants to master the essentials

my korea

“My Korea” by Hooni Kim, $22.94, at Amazon

Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim’s debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book’s tagline is “traditional flavors, modern recipes,” and that is an accurate summation of what you can expect to find in this cookbook — from Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan’s Spicy Rice Cakes. When I first laid my hands on this cookbook, I wanted to make (and eat) every single recipe. If you’re looking for some solid foundation recipes, “My Korea” delivers.

For the person with quarantine cooking fatigue

Indian ish

“Indian-ish” by Priya Krishna, $18.25, available at Amazon

In her debut cookbook, Priya Krishna (contributor to Bon Appetit, New York Times, and others) offers up beloved favorite recipes from her Indian-American family, including Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Malaysian Ramen, and what her dad calls Indian Gatorade (Shikanji). The recipes are largely vegetarian, creative, fun, comforting, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who feels stuck in a rut with their cooking in 2021. 

For the person who spent 2020 mastering sourdough

new world sourdough

“New World Sourdough” by Bryan Ford, $14.17, available at Amazon

This was the year of the sourdough starter, and few people are as well-versed in fermented breads as Bryan Ford, blogger and baker. We’re not just talking about your classic sourdough boule; Ford is well-known for demonstrating the breadth of what you can do with a sourdough starter: from Sourdough Pan de Coco to Sourdough Discard Battered Fried Chicken.

For the cousin who’s just learning to cook

salt fat acid heat

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” by Samin Nosrat, $16.67, available at Amazon

In this beautifully illustrated cookbook, chef and New York Times columnist Samin Nosrat outlines the foundations of cooking, from when to salt your chicken to how to make the perfect focaccia. All the information is presented in a fun, engaging way alongside original illustrations you’ll want to frame and hang in your kitchen.

For your family member who loves “Emily in Paris”

la buvette

“La Buvette” by Camille Fourmont and Kate Leahy, $14.25, available at Amazon

“La Buvette” is part cookbook, part guide to French living. Interspersed with recipes from the cookbook’s namesake cafe are beautiful pictures of Paris, tips about shopping in France’s vintage markets, and instructions on how to dry flowers. The cookbook is a lovely escape into Parisian living, perfect for any Francophile dreaming of a visit to the City of Lights. 

For your friend who knows all the best restaurants

xian foods

“Xi’an Famous Foods” by Jason Wang, $22.51, available at Amazon

Xi’an Famous Foods started as a small family-owned market stall in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. Its hand-pulled cumin lamb noodles have become so loved that there are now 14 locations all around New York City. In this cookbook, the son of the family and CEO of the business Jason Wang divulges some of the recipes that made his family business famous, as well as other classic dishes from Xi’an in western China.

For the fan of the ‘Great British Baking Show’

Baking Kim Joy

“Baking with Kim-Joy” by Kim-Joy, $14.89, available at Amazon

Fans of GBBO will likely remember series nine runner-up Kim-Joy’s adorable and creative bakes, like her giant chocolate planet filled with “space turtles,” or her “Silke the vegetarian mermaid” pie. Kim-Joy brings the same color and fun to her bakes in her debut cookbook, which includes Pigfiteroles in Mud, Tazhong Cat Buns, and a version of her Space Turtle Cake. 

For the person experimenting with a plant-based lifestyle this year

vegetable kingdom cookbook gifts

“Vegetable Kingdom” by Bryant Terry, $17.39, available at Amazon

James Beard Award-winning chef and food activist Bryant Terry offers 150 vegan recipes in his most recent cookbook. Instead of trying to imitate meaty dishes, Terry’s book celebrates the vegetable and all its parts: skin, husk, flowers, roots, and all. You’ll find recipes for Pea Shoot and Peanut Salad, Grilled Spring Onions with Lemon-Thyme Oil, Cornmeal-Fried Oyster Mushroom Po’Boys, and more. A special hallmark of Terry’s books is that they often contain a playlist to listen to while you’re cooking, and “Vegetable Kingdom” is no different, featuring recommended tracks by Duke Ellington, Santana, Björk, and more.

For the sometimes-vegetarian

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“Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, $19.75, available at Amazon

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi were both born in Jerusalem in the same year — Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This cookbook is a unique, cross-cultural homage to the vibrant flavors of the city in totality with more than 100 recipes. 

For the hummus lover

falastin

“Falastin” by Sami Tamimi, $19.59, available at Amazon

Longtime Ottolenghi collaborator (and co-author of “Jerusalem,” another of our cookbook picks), Sam Tamimi, crafted his latest cookbook as an homage to Palestinian food. The book is rich in recipes, from multiple variations of shakshuka and hummus, to verdant salads, and colorful dips. Along the way, Tamimi tells the culinary history of Palestinian food — from the home cooks feeding their neighbors in refugee camps to the restaurateurs cooking for tourists in Bethlehem.

For the friend who lives for the next Li Ziqi video

The Breath of a Wok

“The Breath of a Wok” by Grace Young, $27.28, available at Amazon

Grace Young, a self-described wok therapist and advocate for the future of America’s Chinatowns, has been teaching the next generation the ins and outs of wok cooking. I bought my first wok on her recommendation and it’s easily my favorite pan to cook in. Her book “The Breath of a Wok” outlines key techniques for cooking in this versatile pan, like making use of the hot and cool zones and using the large bowl of the wok for deep frying.

For the person who recently moved

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“Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm” by Molly Yeh, $19.54, available at Amazon

Molly Yeh is the star of Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm” and winner of the Judges’ Choice IACP Cookbook Award. “Molly on the Range” explores home, family, her Jewish and Chinese heritage, and Yeh’s Midwestern farm life. You’ll find recipes for Sufganiyot, Chicken Potstickers, Challah Waffles, and more.

For the person who gets all their news from Twitter

Chrissy Teigan book

“Cravings” by Chrissy Teigen, $15, available at Amazon

Supermodel, mom, and prolific tweeter Chrissy Teigen is also the author of two cookbooks. Her first, “Cravings,” is a celebration of all things comfort food and includes selections from her Thai-American upbringing (Jok Moo), recipes from her husband John Legend (John’s Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Honey Butter), and favorites inspired by her travels to Italy and beyond (Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe). The book is filled with anecdotes and Teigen’s signature humor, and the recipes are delicious and approachable.

For the person who can’t get enough of “Cravings”

Pepper Thai Cookbook

“The Pepper Thai Cookbook” by Pepper Teigen, $16.63, available at Amazon

If your giftee already has and loves “Cravings” and “Cravings: Hungry for More,” they’ll be thrilled to know that Chrissy Teigen’s mom Pepper is getting a cookbook of her own. Pepper is a beloved fixture in both of Chrissy’s books, on her website, and on her YouTube channel, where she has her own mini-series: Pepper’s Corner. You can expect “The Pepper Thai Cookbook” to include dishes like Pad Korat (the version of Pad Thai served in her hometown of Korat), Pad Thai Brussels Sprouts, and Nam Prik Sloppy Joes. This cookbook is shipping in April, and already gearing up to be one of the most anticipated cookbooks of 2021.

For the pint-sized cook in your life

ATC kids book

“The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs” by America’s Test Kitchen, $11.49, available at Amazon

I worked for America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) for seven years and was privy to the care its team puts into each and every one of its cookbooks. ATK’s series of cookbooks for kids is the epitome of that detail and care; every one of the recipes in this volume was tested by pro chefs and kid cooks. The recipes are specifically designed with kids in mind, outlining when to get an adult for help with handling hot ingredients or sharp tools. This is the book I wish was available to me when I was a child, and I’ve gifted it and the kid’s baking book to every kid I know. I love getting reports from their parents about a new recipe they cooked or discovered.

For the person always posting pictures of their cheese board

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“Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion” by Shelley Westerhausen, $15.38, available at Amazon

In her best-selling cookbook, author and food blogger Shelley Westerhausen shares 40 casual yet chic spreads (complete with meat and drink pairings) that anyone can make and enjoy. It’s also a visual cornucopia that’s just as satisfying to flip through as to use when hosting get-togethers when it’s safe to do so.

For the friend who likes to Instagram all their food

ottolenghi flavor

“Ottolenghi Flavor” by Yotam Ottolenghi, $27.03, available at Amazon

Yotam Ottolenghi is owner and chef of some of London’s most beloved cafes and restaurants. His recipes are some of the most colorful and beautiful out there, and his latest cookbook is no exception. “Flavor” is filled with mostly vegetarian recipes that not only pack a punch visually but flavor-wise, too. Ottolenghi and his co-authors expound the building blocks of flavor in three sections: process, pairing, and produce. The result is more than 100 ‘gram-worthy recipes from Spicy Mushroom Lasagna to Iceberg Wedges with Smoky Eggplant Cream.

For the self-described dessert person

dessert person

“Dessert Person” by Claire Saffitz, $22.02, available at Amazon

Claire Saffitz may be known for her wildly popular Gourmet Makes series on YouTube, but she’s a pastry chef at heart and her affinity for baked goods is out in full force with her new cookbook “Dessert Person.” In this cookbook, you can find creative recipes for Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, and Malted Forever Brownies. It’s sure to please the dessert lover in your life.

For the person who had to cancel their vacation last year

pasta grannies

“Pasta Grannies” by Vicky Bennison, $18.99, available at Amazon

Each episode of the “Pasta Grannies” YouTube series is an escape to a different region of Italy, where local grannies (or nonne) teach the audience to prepare and cook a regional dish — from classics like Spaghetti alla Carbonara to a pasta shape from Sardinia only three women know how to make. This cookbook takes some of the most popular videos from the series and turns them into tangible recipes you can cook at home. Between watching the video and cooking from the book, you can transport yourself to a little corner of Italy without leaving your home.

For the person homesick for their grandma’s cooking

In Bibi's Kitchen

“In Bibi’s Kitchen” by Hawa Hassan, $18.69, available at Amazon

This cookbook centers around grandmothers (or bibis) from eight south and east African countries. Throughout the book, we get to know the women whose recipes are featured and learn about their personal history and the history of their country. Along the way, you’ll find recipes for Eritrean Doro Wat, Tanzanian Date Bread, Kenyan Kachumbari, and more. It’s the kind of cookbook that makes think about your grandmother.

For the person who lives by a cookie-a-day philosophy

100 cookies

100 Cookies by Sarah Keiffer, $20.99, available at Amazon

A good ol’ chocolate chip cookie never goes out of style, but if you have a cookie lover in your life, consider gifting them this homage to baked goods. You’ll find recipes for the classics (including four different variations of chocolate chip cookies) as well cookies you’ve probably never had before, like Banana-Espresso-Cacao Nib cookies.

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The 7 best KitchenAid attachments we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The best KitchenAid mixer attachments can make a variety of foods and replace several appliances.
  • Our favorites include a pasta maker, a meat grinder, a spiralizer, a food processor, and more.
  • Don’t own a KitchenAid mixer? Check out our guide to the best KitchenAid stand mixers.

When it comes to mixers, KitchenAid stand mixers are in a class of their own. In addition to mixing batters and kneading doughs, these mixers work with a wide array of attachments.

If you own a KitchenAid already, you are only one attachment away from making your own pasta, straining and grinding fruits and vegetables, making sausage, spiralizing vegetables, creating homemade ice cream, grinding your own flour, or turning your mixer into a food processor.

Most of the attachments in our guide work with all KitchenAid mixers. The Pasta Extruder Attachment is the only accessory on our list that doesn’t fit every model.

We pored over the expert and user reviews to find out which attachments are worth buying based on value, long-lasting performance, and versatility. We chose the KitchenAid attachments for our guide after assessing the most common positive and negative attributes of the most popular accessories available.

Here are the best KitchenAid attachments:

The best KitchenAid attachment for pasta

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 pasta roller cutter

With the KitchenAid 3-Piece Pasta Roller & Cutter Attachment Set, you turn your stand mixer into an all-inclusive homemade pasta maker.

Pros: Built to last, easy to use when you follow the directions

Cons: Takes a little practice to get the pasta just right

If you have ever had fresh pasta, you know the pre-packaged dry stuff doesn’t compare. With the KitchenAid 3-Piece Pasta Roller & Cutter Attachment Set, you turn your KitchenAid stand mixer into a one-stop pasta shop. This set comes with a pasta roller that rolls six-inch sheets of pasta to eight different thicknesses, a fettuccine cutter, a spaghetti cutter, and a cleaning brush. All of the pieces are made in Italy.

How does it work? First, you prepare the dough using the mixer, then you flatten the dough and feed it into the rollers on the 2-speed setting. This will knead it. You repeat the rolling process until the dough is smooth and pliable. You slowly decrease the thickness of the dough until it is at your desired thickness. Then, to make the noodles, you either feed it through the spaghetti cutter or the fettuccine cutter.

It took me some practice to get the dough just right to feed it through the rollers, but once I got the hang of it, it was easy and fun. I’m impressed with how durable the pieces are. They feel heavy duty, and I haven’t had any issues with them in the two years I’ve had them.

I also appreciate that the attachment provides an excellent rolling and cutting speed, and the attachments are easy to switch out. 

The best KitchenAid attachment for straining

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 fruit and vegetable strainer set and food grinder

Whether you want to make your own sausage or you have a bounty of garden produce to process, the KitchenAid Fruit & Vegetable Strainer Set with Food Grinder Attachment can handle a broad range of tasks.

Pros: Handles any soft meats, fruits, vegetables, or cheese

Cons: Made of plastic, not suitable for all meats

The KitchenAid Fruit & Vegetable Strainer Set with Food Grinder Attachment is really two accessories in one set. The strainer converts cooked pears and apples into sauces for immediate consumption or preserving. Making fresh tomato sauce is also a popular use.

The grinder comes with fine and coarse plates for making fresh hamburger, processing vegetables for salsa, and grinding your own cheese. These accessories work with any KitchenAid stand mixer, and if you want to make sausage, we recommend adding the Sausage Stuffer Kit Attachment to your order.

This attachment can even be used to create a sorbet base to use with the Ice Cream Maker Attachment.

The best KitchenAid attachment for spiralizing vegetables

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 spiralizer with peel core and slicer

The KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment with Peel, Core & Slice is ideal for low-carb eaters, paleo dieters, individuals sensitive to gluten, and anyone else who wants an easy way to peel, slice, core, and spiralize vegetables, fruits, and more.

Pros: Mostly metal construction, convenient storage for the four blades

Cons: Stops short of spiralizing the entire vegetable

The KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment comes with a versatile system of four quick-change blades plus a peeling blade. The blades include:

  • Fine Spiralizer Blade for sweet potatoes, beets, and zucchini
  • Medium Spiralizer Blade for sweet potatoes, potatoes, and zucchini
  • Spiral Slice Blades for Small and Large Cores for zucchini, apples, beets, and pears
  • Spiral Peeling Blade for potatoes and apples

All of the pieces fit into a simple storage case, and the set comes with a one-year replacement warranty.

The attachment is also backed by a respected manufacturer and made of durable metal so it’s long-lasting. This attachment is useful for peeling potatoes and the quick-change blades make meal preparation simple and fast. While a hand crank spiralizer, typically takes a couple minutes to spiral a zucchini, with this attachment it’s a matter of seconds.

However, a few buyers have noted the device leaves about half an inch of the vegetable at the end, and the thinnest the spirals get is about 3/8-inch thick.

The best KitchenAid attachment for extruding pasta

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 pasta extruder

If you are looking for an easy way to make fusilli, rigatoni, macaroni, bucatini, and several other types of pasta, the KitchenAid Pasta Extruder Attachment is the best attachment for you.

Pros: Sturdy design, intuitive assembly, fun to use

Cons: Expensive, hard to clean

The KitchenAid Pasta Extruder Attachment provides a fun way to make traditional Italian dishes at home. It comes with a combo tool, cleaning brush, six pasta plates, a wrench, pasta ring, and auger and hook. All of the pieces store snugly in the included case.

How does the Extruder differ from the 3-Piece Pasta Roller & Cutter Attachment Set? There are four major ways. First, unlike most other KitchenAid stand mixer attachments, the Extruder only works with certain models. On the Amazon page, you can type in your model number to see if this attachment is compatible with your machine.

Another way they differ is that the Pasta Roller & Cutter is basically only good for making two types of pasta: fettuccine and spaghetti. The Extruder allows for many other options. Also, the Pasta Roller & Cutter requires less effort to use and clean up. However, the Extruder is also more expensive.

A negative is the pasta ring breaks easily. To avoid this, you should skip the dough recipe found in the user manual since it produces a dough that is stiff and could lead to problems. Instead, consider using a recipe like this. Also, do not put too much dough in the attachment at once. 

The best KitchenAid attachment for milling grain

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 all metal grain mill

If you use your KitchenAid mixer to make bread and are always looking to improve the flavor profile, the KitchenAid All Metal Grain Mill Attachment will be a real game-changer.

Pros: Easy to clean and use

Cons: Loud, has trouble with larger tasks

The KitchenAid All Metal Grain Mill Attachment is designed to mill any non-oily, low-moisture grains, such as barley, rice, rye, wheat, millet, buckwheat, oats, and corn. Do not put coffee or peanuts in this attachment because it could damage the grinding mechanism. Before you use the attachment, clean it with a mild detergent to remove any oils used to protect the device from rust. Also, the mill is not dishwasher safe so use the brush that comes with the kit to clean it off or wash by hand if you need to.

The mill can produce cracked to extra fine consistencies. The mill features symbols for the finest grind and the coarsest grind, and there are several notches in between. First, you choose a setting, put the grain in the hopper, and start the mixer at speed 10. If the grind is not precisely to your liking, adjust the knob until you get it as coarse or fine as you want. If the mixer appears to be overheating, turn it off for at least 45 minutes before continuing.

Those who enjoy multigrain bread and cracking grains for porridge will like that this accessory can mill very coarsely. However, be wary of milling massive amounts of grain on the finest setting at high speeds.

Be aware that the mill seems to work best with newer models in the Professional and Artisan series and is geared toward the home baking enthusiast who needs about two or three pounds of flour per week.

The best KitchenAid attachment for food processing

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 commercial food processor

Drastically decrease the time it takes to prep ingredients for your meals by using the KitchenAid Commerical Food Processor Attachment to slice, shred, and julienne vegetables, cheeses, and fruits.

Pros: Streamlined design is easy to clean, durable

Cons: Unlike your standard food processor, it does not mix food together

The KitchenAid Commercial Food Processor Attachment (model KSM2FPA) comes with shredding, julienning, and slicing discs. Plus, the ExactSlice System has a lever that allows you to adjust the thickness of the slicing. It is made out of plastic with metal blades and comes with a one-year replacement warranty.

This attachment does everything a top-quality food processor does, without the need for a new appliance that takes up extra space in your kitchen.

This Commercial Food Processor Attachment is the pricier sibling of the similar KSM1FPA. The main differences between the two is the higher-end KSM2FPA comes with a storage case, commercial-style dicing kit, and currently costs a bit more. If you purchase the KSM1FPA and find you cannot live without the storage case or dicing kit, you can purchase them separately.

The best KitchenAid attachment for meat grinding

best kitchenaid attachments 2021 metal food grinder

If you like burgers, sausages, and other dishes that call for ground meat, the KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder is a must-have attachment.

Pros: Produces better tasting and more affordable ground meat, easy to clean, works well for sausage making

Cons: There’s a small amount of wasted meat

The KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder Attachment is not the first mixer attachment that can handle meat, but it is the first put out by KitchenAid that is made entirely of metal. This makes it ideal for heavy-duty grinding projects and ensures long-term durability.

The attachment comes with the main housing, a removable tray, a grind screw, the blade, three grinding plates, the collar for securing the plates, a plastic sausage stuffer plate, small and large plastic sausage stuffer tubes, a food pusher, and a cleaning brush.

KitchenAid sent me the grinder to test, and I fell in love with it. I no longer buy ground meat. I do it all myself, and the results are always far superior to what you would buy pre-packaged at the store. I keep my grinder in the freezer so it’s always ready to go when I want ground meat. It’s important to chill the grinder to protect against temperature increases that could lead to bacteria growth while grinding.

One of my favorite creations was half pork jowl bacon/half beef burgers. I also made beer bratwurst for the first time with spectacular results.

And, cleanup was a snap. All of the metal parts should be washed by hand, and I recommend cleaning the grinder immediately after use or rinsing it off at least. Otherwise, bits of meat dry onto it and are hard to remove.

I’ve used this attachment for three years now, and I haven’t seen any degradation in performance.

Read our full review of the KitchenAid Meat Grinder Attachment.

Learn how to grind meat and make sausage with your KitchenAid and attachments. 

See more great kitchen buying guides

kitchenaid artisan

The best KitchenAid mixers

The best KitchenAid mixers serve as an indispensable tool as you bake cakes, pies, bread, cookies, and other delicious treats. They can knead the toughest dough for long periods of time, and they are versatile enough to make pasta and sausage. We’ve rounded up the five best models in our buying guide.


The best blenders

When selecting a blender for your kitchen, you’re going to want one that’s powerful enough to do whatever job you need, whether it’s creating a simple smoothie or crushing ice. Although blenders all seem to perform the same task, there are a few different types, each with its own unique features: conventional, multi-function, personal, and immersion. These are our favorites.


The best food processors

One of the unsung heroes of this electronic kitchen revolution is the humble food processor. While not as common as electric ranges and microwaves, a food processor is one of those appliances that will leave you wondering how you ever lived without one. Here are the best options.


The best juicers

The nutritional benefits of starting your day with fruits and vegetables are undeniable, but so is the financial hit of being a juice bar regular (if you go five times a week, we’re talking hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars a year). With a juicer, however, you can offset the cost of your healthy habit by squeezing your own greens at home. These are the best juicers on the market.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We tested 9 popular bread machines – these are the 3 best ones you can buy in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A bread machine is a valuable kitchen tool if you enjoy making bread at home.
  • Most bread makers require quick prep work and take about three to four hours to make the bread.
  • We tested nine machines, and the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is our top pick.

While I like the concept of making bread entirely from scratch, the lag time is significant between realizing that warm carbs are what’s missing in my life and actually holding a freshly-baked brioche. Many recipes involving yeast require kneading, refrigerating, or babysitting, making spur-of-the-moment bread out of the question. That is, unless, you have a bread machine.

Most bread machines require about 10 minutes of prep time, which is mostly spent measuring ingredients and putting them into a pan. After that’s done, you pick a setting, turn on the machine, and three or four hours later you (ideally) have a warm, golden-brown loaf. But with so many bread machines on the market, how do you choose the right one?

“At a minimum, I’d want a machine with a standard cycle, a whole grain or whole wheat cycle (if you enjoy whole-grain bread) and a dough cycle, which simply mixes and kneads the dough, then keeps it warm as it rises,” said P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.” “After that, you can make pizza crust, cinnamon buns, or any number of yummy treats.”

That’s why I put each bread machine in this guide through a series of tests to see how they handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, sunflower seeds and flax seeds), and gluten-free bread. I also assessed the ease of use, setting options, baking times, noise levels, and special features like pre-programming. You can read a more in-depth explanation of my testing methods here, and a few tips for getting the most out of your bread machine here.

The 3 best bread machines of 2021

Our testing methodology

The inside of a bread machine, showing the basket for dough.

Before I began testing, I spoke to Marsha Perry, the writer behind the popular Bread Machine Diva blog, and P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.” Both have decades of experience testing and adapting bread machine recipes and providing their respective readers with bread machine tips. 

On their recommendation, I followed the recipes featured in each bread machine’s guidebook, since they’re calibrated to accommodate unique temperatures, mixing speeds, proofing techniques, and baking times. In future testing rounds, I plan to see how each machine fares using a universal bread machine recipe. I baked, at most, two loaves of bread per day in each machine, waiting several hours between baking sessions to allow the breadmakers to cool completely.

Here are the criteria I looked for during each test:

Bread quality: A bread machine has one job — to make good bread. I tested how each one handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, a combination of sunflower seeds and flax seeds, to see how the machines dispersed mix-ins of different sizes), and, for the machines with a gluten-free setting, gluten-free bread. I used the same ingredients throughout testing, all of which are basic items you’d find at any grocery store.

I dialed the crust setting to “Medium” on each breadmaker. White bread was baked on the “White” setting (sometimes labeled as “Basic,” depending on the machine), wheat bread was baked on the “Whole Wheat” setting, and gluten-free bread was baked on the “Gluten-Free” setting.

Each loaf of bread was then examined for consistency of texture, a golden color throughout, and an even rise; points were docked if the domed top fell. I cut several slices of bread from each loaf to look for air pockets and under or over-baked spots. 

Size: Most bread machines take up a lot of counter space, so while it wasn’t a deciding factor, extra consideration was given to more compact options.

Capacity: While every bread machine I tested — aside from the Zojirushi Maestro — was built with a two-pound loaf in mind (aka the size you’d find in a grocery store), I made note of the models that had the ability to bake loaves in three or four different sizes; one pound was the smallest I saw, and 2.5 pounds was the largest. 

Noise: Extra noisy machines were dinged, as were ones that “hopped” across the counter during the kneading cycle. The top three picks above all operated at a low hum, and were, as far as I could tell, motionless.

Unique features: I noted setting options (some machines had special cycles for things like jam, yogurt, and pasta dough), especially fast baking times, and special features like pre-programming or auto-dispensers for mix-ins. 

The best bread machine overall

Zojirushi bread maker, with a black top and stainless steel body.

This bread machine kneads thoroughly, bakes evenly, and, unlike many of its competitors, turns out standard-sized loaves. 

Pros: Produces standard-sized loaves that rise evenly and are a consistent color, a wide variety of settings, ability to customize your own settings, pre-programmable, 1-year warranty

Cons: Expensive, takes up a lot of counter space

The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is my top pick for home bakers, thanks to its stellar reliability and variety of settings. After putting nine different machines through three rounds of tests (or two, for machines without gluten-free settings), I found that this was the only one to turn out perfectly domed, uniformly browned, and consistently fluffy bread with evenly distributed mix-ins every time. To check for consistency, I made two more loaves of white bread after those initial tests, and both were slam dunks. 

It was also one of the few bread machines to pass the gluten-free test with flying colors, producing bread that was similar in color, size, and texture to your standard white loaf. For her own experiment, the Bread Machine Diva blog’s Marsha Perry — who name-checked the Virtuoso Plus when I asked her for a bread machine recommendation — made one gluten-free loaf using the “Gluten-Free” setting and another using its regular “White” setting, and said the first loaf was markedly better. 

The Virtuoso Plus’ custom bread cycles feature is especially helpful for those who have moved beyond the machine’s guidebook recipes. Interestingly, Hamel of King Arthur Flour uses her Zojirushi’s “Jam” cycle to make risotto — a technique that I’m curious to try.

The Virtuoso Plus can be pre-programmed (a feature that worked perfectly and allowed me to wake up to the smell of fresh bread during testing), and the machine’s 5-minute power backup means you won’t automatically lose your bread-in-progress if the power flickers, as Hamel noted.

The Virtuoso Plus also stops kneading when you open the lid, which is useful if you want to add mix-ins to your bread. And if you need to measure those mix-ins, the machine comes with four nested measuring cups, one liquid measuring cup, and a double-ended measuring spoon — add-ons that are unnecessary, but appreciated. 

This machine makes two-pound 9-by-5 loaves that are, as I mentioned, about the size and shape of sandwich bread you’d find at the grocery store. Timing-wise, the white and wheat loaves of bread took about 3.5 hours to bake, while the gluten-free loaf was done in 2.5 hours. The clock displays the time your bread will be done, rather than the hours left, which I found helpful when planning my day. 

I’ve been using this model at least twice a month in the four months since my initial testing, and find that it still runs smoothly, with no discernable changes in quality of bread, reliability of programming, or noise levels. 

All of this being said, the Zojirushi is on the expensive side, so if you’re just trying out bread-making before you fully commit to the hobby, I’d recommend our budget pick. It’s also probably not the best choice if you have limited counter space, as the other machines in this guide are more compact.

The best bread machine on a budget

Oster bread machine, an all white body with curved edges.

The Oster Expressbake is a solid starter machine that mixes, kneads, and bakes evenly, and with 13 settings, it’s notably more versatile than competitors within its price range. 

Pros: produces bread with an even rise, makes three loaf sizes, affordable, compact, fast baking time, variety of settings, window, pre-programmable, 1-year warranty

Cons: Somewhat noisy, loaf size isn’t quite standard, slightly thicker crusts than our top pick

The Oster Express Bake‘s name refers to the fact that it can turn out a two-pound loaf of bread in less than an hour on its Express Bake setting (our top pick‘s “Rapid” cycle takes about 2.5 hours). While the results are certainly better than your standard grocery store loaf, I found that bread baked on this machine’s namesake setting turned out denser and shorter than loaves made on its Basic cycle (a near-universal bread machine problem, according to experts we spoke to). 

But most people don’t choose a bread machine based on its ability to bake two loaves of bread in the time it takes to watch an episode of “The Bachelorette,” and Express Bake results aside, the Oster’s white, wheat, and gluten-free loaves of bread were the best — golden brown and evenly risen with a fine crumb, a smooth, domed top, and evenly distributed mix-ins — out of the five machines in its price bracket that we tested. The only flaws that placed its loaves under the Zojirushi’s in testing were their unconventional shape (shorter in length and taller in height, with bread slices whose tops stick out slightly from your average toaster) and thicker crusts.

The Oster was also a bit more finicky in terms of exact measurements; when I relied on measuring cups instead of a kitchen scale, my loaves turned out flatter on top — a problem I didn’t have with our top pick. And while this machine’s gluten-free bread was solid, it was a bit less soft than the Zojirushi’s. 

I also tested the Express Bake’s predecessor and found that loaves baked in the original turned out slightly darker on the sides and paler on top. The brand swapped the Express Bake’s Bagel Dough setting for Pasta, which isn’t necessarily an improvement but does seem more practical, given the complicated process of making bagels from scratch.

Like the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus, the Oster Express Bake comes with a liquid measuring cup and a double-sided measuring spoon (but no set of nested dry measuring cups). It’s less bulky than our top pick, although perhaps not ideal if kitchen space is tight (if compactness is a priority, check out the Zojirushi Maestro, below). It can be pre-programmed and will beep instantly after finishing its bread cycle before switching to the warm mode for 60 minutes, then beeping again and automatically shutting off.

The best compact bread machine

Zojirushi Maestro, a tall and narrow white body with a loaf next to it.

The Zojirushi Maestro is specifically calibrated to bake excellent one-pound loaves of bread, making it a solid choice for one or two-person households. 

Pros: Produces an even bake, perfect for small households, variety of settings, ability to customize cycles, pre-programmable, compact, 1-year warranty

Cons: Loaves are oddly-shaped, bread can be difficult to remove from pan

Since I’m typically baking for one or two people, most standard two-pound loaves of bread go stale before I can finish them. (In other words, I’ve made a lot of croutons lately.) Typically, bread machines offer 1.5-pound loaves as their smallest option, and those that do begin at one pound aren’t necessarily calibrated to excel at loaves that small. When I tried making a one-pound loaf in Cuisinart’s Compact Automatic Breadmaker, for example, the results were dense, with a thicker crust than I would have liked. 

Zojirushi’s Maestro, however, is designed with small households in mind, and during my tests, it consistently turned out solid one-pound loaves that ticked every box on my bread checklist: golden-brown color, domed top, fine crumb, evenly risen, and evenly-distributed mix-ins. That being said, the Maestro’s pan is aligned vertically, meaning its loaves are oddly-shaped — even cube-like – and the bread is a bit more difficult to pry from inside. 

I appreciate the fact that Zojirushi didn’t scale down its flagship breadmaker’s features just to make smaller loaves; the Maestro can be pre-programmed in advance and includes a 5-minute power backup (as mentioned in our Virtuoso review, this can really save your loaf in the event your power flickers). 

The Maestro’s narrow dimensions make it easy to store in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen. It’s also the only bread machine I tested that features a convenient top handle, making it easy to transport. Its interior top handle, however, isn’t as solidly constructed; I yanked it off the first time I pulled the pan from the machine (although it popped back in easily).

What else we tested

Three bread machines with stainless steel bodies that we tested next to each other on the counter.

What else we recommend and why

Breville Custom Loaf ($299.95): This was a close second to the Zojirushi, but my first attempt at white bread came out slightly darker at the sides than on top, and the gluten-free bread wasn’t quite as fluffy as our top pick’s. The Breville Custom Loaf has 13 automatic settings, nine customizable settings, and two features we didn’t find in any other machine: a paddle that collapses after kneading, so there’s no paddle-sized hole when you pull the baked bread from the pan; and a fruit and nut dispenser that will automatically add any mix-ins at the appropriate time in the bread cycle. I’d recommend this machine for confident bakers who are interested in programming their own bread cycles to match go-to recipes.

Cru X GG Bred ($169.95): A collaboration between Cru and Ghetto Gastro, a collective of chefs who use food to empower communities and advance social justice, the Bred was definitely the boldest, sleekest, and most compact out of all the machines we tested. And, with 15 settings, it was also one of the most versatile. Since the bread it produced was on par with the significantly cheaper Oster Express Bake, it didn’t make the cut, but perhaps you’re willing to pay a little extra for an appliance that’s attractive enough to leave out on the counter.

What we don’t recommend and why

Oster Express Bake (older model, $68): While the previous iteration of the Oster Express Bake is still available online, we found that the newer version performs better in terms of producing evenly-baked bread. And, importantly, the latest Express Bake includes a gluten-free setting – a feature commenters on retail sites had been asking for. 

Cuisinart Convection Breadmaker ($154.95): With 16 settings, this is one of the most versatile machines I tested. However, while my white and wheat loaves were top-notch, both of my attempts at gluten-free bread resulted in collapsed domes. 

Cuisinart Compact Automatic Breadmaker ($129.95): Again, my gluten-free bread didn’t rise as I had hoped, and the machine’s white and wheat loaves of bread weren’t quite as professional-looking as those from the latest version of the Oster Express Bake. 

Hamilton Beach Artisan Dough and Bread Maker ($75.32): The white and wheat loafs came out slightly underbaked in the middle, while the gluten-free bread was denser compared to the ones our top three picks made.

Getting the most out of your bread machine

best bread machine

Don’t throw out the manual

Most breadmakers come with a few recipes, and they’re often tucked away in the back of a guidebook. These are crucial since they’re calibrated to work well with that particular machine’s features and specifications. “Once you’ve made some of those and understand how the machine works — how much flour it can handle, how long each rise cycle and bake cycle are — you can start to adapt any of your own favorite yeast bread recipes to bake in the machine,” P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour, said. 

Have fun with the dough cycle

By taking care of the mixing and kneading, it allows you to start a little closer to the finish line if you’re making other yeast-based baked goods. The Bread Machine Diva’s Marsha Perry recommends it for pizzas and dinner rolls.

Experiment with settings

But master the basics first. “If your machine is programmable — that is, you can program in your own mixing kneading, rising, and baking times — you’re golden,” Hamel said. “Your machine is then simply a mini oven, ready to bake macaroni and cheese, apple crisp, bread pudding, cheesecake — even soup, stew, or lasagna! Once you get to know your machine, and if it has that ‘homemade menu’ capability — it becomes so much more than a machine that bakes bread.”

Use good ingredients

“Cheap ingredients yield a crummy (rather than crumb-y) final product. Flour and yeast quality are super-important,” said Hamel. “You don’t have to use bread flour in your bread machine, so long as you use flour with a protein content higher than 11.5% or so.” All of my bread were made with King Arthur bread flour and gluten-free flour (both of which I purchased before reaching out to PJ) and Whole Foods 365 whole wheat flour.

Invest in a kitchen scale

Bread machine baking is all about precision, and measuring your ingredients by weight will clear up any confusion as to whether or not that tightly-packed cup of flour is more like a cup and a half.

FAQs

Is bread from a bread machine different from oven-baked bread?

Yes. In terms of appearance, most loaves made in a bread machine will have a hole in the bottom where the mixing paddle was. Taste-wise, bread machine bread is pretty universally light and fluffy. 

“You won’t be making crusty artisan bread in your bread machine (though you can certainly make the dough for them on the machine’s dough cycle),” Hamel said. “Bread machine bread may taste a bit yeasty, but beyond that, it’s up to you to add flavor with spices, herbs, dried fruit, and nuts. Most bread machines won’t deliver loaves with the rich, nuanced flavor of an artisan loaf, since that flavor comes from a series of long rises, some of which may be in the refrigerator. Bread machines simply don’t have that capability.”

How long does homemade bread last? 

If kept at room temperature, homemade bread will be noticeably stale by day three. If you’re pretty sure you’re not going to finish an entire loaf in that amount of time, you can always wrap a portion tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. 

How do I store homemade bread? 

If you’re storing homemade bread for a day or two, plastic or foil will help lock in moisture. Since direct sunlight can cause bread to overheat, it’s best stored in a cool, dry place like a bread box or cupboard. 

Any tips for keeping homemade bread fresh?

There is one slicing technique that can help extend the life of your bread. As Hamel wrote on the King Arthur blog, “If you start slicing at one end, you’ll always be dealing with an open-end ‘leaking’ moisture. But if you slice the loaf in half down the middle, cut a slice from one of the halves, then press the two halves back together before wrapping, no open surface will be exposed — which means less chance of moisture evaporating.”

Check out our other great guides for home cooks

The Best KitchenAid Stand Mixers
Read the original article on Business Insider

Get paid to make picnics

Reading Time: 9 mins

Picnics have always been a firm favourite. There’s nothing like enjoying the Great British Summertime surrounded by your friends, soaking up the rays, munching on strawberries and cheese sandwiches.

This year, with people being encouraged to meet others outside, picnics have become a popular and pandemic-proof way to catch up with loved ones. Out of this has emerged an opportunity to make extra income, or even set up a whole new business, surrounding the pop-up picnic experience.

 

 

Setting it up

business plan

Firstly, you will need to establish a niche for your picnics.

Are you going to do a particular theme?

Or, perhaps, you may cater to each individual client depending on their preferences, or a particular occasion?

You may even pick a handful of occasions you want to specialise in. For example, hen dos, baby showers or birthdays.

Utilise photo sharing websites and begin to note down some set up ideas. Websites including Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr have thousands of photographs you can draw inspiration from. If you search ‘Picnics’, you’ll be thrust into a world you never knew existed. You can save these pictures to go back to as you begin to develop your ideas further. From these, you can decide particular concepts you want to include in your picnics, from the colour schemes and decor of your picnics, to the type of food and beverages you will serve.

Your set up doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. It’s beneficial to have a rummage in your local charity shops or at boot sales, to pick up low-cost decor and seating. Similarly, you could search second-hand websites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and even Freecycle and get unique pieces to give your picnics a special edge.

A key decision in the process is to decide how many people you are willing to cater to at one time. As you build your business, you may wish to start small. You may choose to only cater for up to six people at a time, and as you find your footing and become familiar with the process, you may choose to expand this number. This, of course, is entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel.

Finally, you should decide the location of your business. Are you going to provide picnics within a 2-mile radius of where you live? Are you willing to travel for clients? Again, this is up to you and dependent on access to transport and the ease of which you are able to get to a new location.

 

Services to offer

people eating food

You could also begin to think about the type of service you’d like to offer to your clients. You may opt to offer the making, set up and removal of the picnic only, or you may choose to go the extra mile and offer your waiting services. For example, topping up people’s drinks, offering them hor’deurves and nibbles as they enjoy themselves. Additionally, you may opt to be a ‘host’ as such, organising games or quizzes for the guests.

Some picnic businesses aim to create an entire experience, rather than just a picnic. A fun idea could be to offer a ‘bottomless brunch’ for your guests. This could include unlimited top-ups of prosecco for a set amount of time. Some restaurants charge as much as £40 per head for 90 minutes of brunching fun. You could also cater to special occasions such as graduations, going the extra mile to provide graduation-themed decor, such as cupcakes decorated with graduation caps or banners reading ‘Class of 2021’, for example.

 

What should you include?

picnic setup

Starting with arguably the main part of a picnic (besides the prosecco!), it’s important to think about the type of food you will offer. Are you going to go for a traditional style picnic, with sandwiches, scotch eggs and strawberries? Or maybe you’re more inclined to deliver a ‘luxury’ picnic, making a proper meal with tear and share bread or a side salad. Perhaps you could mix and match, catering specifically to the requests of those organising the event.

Charcuterie boards are an easy way to incorporate a bit of luxury into your picnic. Mixed meats, cheese, olives, pickles, grapes, bread and crackers neatly organised on a large platter for people to pick and choose as they wish. Enjoyed with a nice glass of red or a bottle of bubbly, it’s an achievable way to offer something unique without breaking your budget.

It’s imperative your picnics look appealing. Not only for the sake of taking aesthetically pleasing photographs in order to draw in clientele, but to impress your guests, encourage them to use your services again in the future and wow them in a way that spreads the word about your business. As mentioned previously, your decor doesn’t have to break the bank. Search your local charity shops for cushions, blankets and even little coffee tables to create a unique and magical atmosphere.

 

How much should you charge?

calculating costs

It’s a good idea to have a base fee. This is used to cover the cost of food and the ‘rental’ of your décor, seating and utensils. A charge of £100 or so could be requested for groups of up to 6 people, with an extra £10 requested for every additional guest after that. Alternatively, you may want to charge per head and quote each client with a price dependent on their requirements.

Extra services and add-ons, such as occasion-specific decor, for example party hats or balloons, may incur extra costs. You may be asked to provide a birthday cake, some extra bubbly, party games or party favours, for which you could include additional charges.

 

How can you get the word out?

spread the word

The internet is your best friend. Creating a website or a social media page to offer and promote your services is a good place to start. Try to ensure your website has a review section, where people can leave comments about their experience. It could also have a star-rating scale so others can see how highly your business is rated by others.

Social media, particularly where you can share photos, is extremely useful. You can share beautiful photos of your picnics to catch the eye of potential clientele and encourage them to book your services. You may wish to invest in a good camera or editing software, to ensure your photos are high quality and appealing.

Do a trial run with your friends and family and ask for their honest feedback. Invite your loved ones to experience a complimentary picnic. Don’t go overboard on the spending, as you aren’t getting paid, but allow yourself to give enough of an experience so you can test the waters.

What did they like? Was there anything they weren’t so keen on? Ask them how much they’d be willing to pay for the experience, and whether there was anything they thought was missing. They may also give you constructive feedback on your hosting skills. Don’t take criticisms too personally. They will aid you in shaping and fine-tuning your picnics.

When your business is up and running, make sure to interact with your guests. Be friendly, polite and get to know them, building relationships through interactions that leave them with a long-lasting, positive impression. Thank them for their custom, make sure they have everything they need and ensure they’re enjoying the experience. Go above and beyond. High client satisfaction will lead to them using your services again, as well as telling others about you.

 

Do you need any training?

food preparation

It’s not imperative to get any sort of training to start a pop-up picnic business, but it is a worthwhile investment, particularly if your business takes off. The Food Standards Agency offers free online courses in food allergen training, as well of loads of advice on food handling and safety. The Safer Food Group offers qualifications in food hygiene from £12, and Essential Food Hygiene also provides a range of fully accredited courses from £10. Having these will give your business more credibility, helping your clients feel reassured that their food is being made and handled to a correct standard.

 

Sarah Pearson: Owner of a London picnic business

business owner

We had the opportunity to interview Sarah Pearson, a seasoned cake baker and decorator. Always having a desire to be a party planner, she has recently turned her career decorating cakes into a new picnic business venture.

After years of putting her creative skills to good use, making beautifully crafted birthday cakes for friends and family, Sarah was asked to help out with a few children’s birthday parties in the summer months. These parties were located in local parks, in which the children would be given picnics and play in the sun together.

“My own daughter was born in winter, so I was never able to plan summer parties outside for her,” Sarah tells us. However, she loves the idea of giving children a wonderful picnic experience to remember. After chatting with another mum at the school gates, they created something wonderful – a pop-up picnic experience.

We asked Sarah how the idea began to develop. “I love to create, I love seeing people’s reactions, and I love helping people out, take the pressure off”, she tells us. “I threw a picnic party for a family last year and they had such an amazing time. They want me to do another party for them again this year. They have a newborn baby, so with me organising the picnic the pressure is taken off them”. You can tell she is passionate about what she does, and it’s refreshing. She continues, “I’m really excited and I have great belief in it”.

Sarah bought herself a trailer, which she uses to transport everything she needs for the picnics. This includes decorations, food and any extras requested by the clients, such as blankets. In terms of what she charges, there is a base fee, with an additional small fee per hour of the party. This pays for her time, as well as the set-up and clean-up of the picnic. How much to extra charge, depending on what each person wants to eat or drink, is also calculated.

She suggests it’s easier to work out a cost per person. Everyone is likely to want different items or have various dietary requirements. She caters to gluten, dairy and even sugar free diets. “If you cater to people’s needs and give them what they want, it’s easier to judge how much food you will need to buy for the picnic. There’s also far less waste that way,” she advises. “I’d also suggest creating a set menu if you can. This helps with calculating the costs as well as making the food preparation more manageable”.

She makes traditional picnic food mostly – sandwiches, sausages, carrot sticks – but is happy to go above and beyond. If a client wants pasta, she’s happy to make pasta. She doesn’t mind if someone wants to swap or change an item on the set menu. She wants her clients to be thrilled with the food they are served.

Sarah also caters to particular themes. “We are doing a mermaid themed party next week,” she gushes excitedly. With the help of Pinterest, she has been able to get creative, with sea themed decorations and fruit platters. Of course, there will be an expertly decorated mermaid birthday cake. She’s also excited to begin expanding her themes, looking to do afternoon tea options.

Although Sarah is currently based in the Hyde Park area of London, she is hoping to expand her business geographically. Similarly, although she has mainly done children’s birthday parties, she’s eager to branch out to adult parties and occasions. She’s flexible, and will host indoors if preferred, or if the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor event.

“I’ve done food hygiene courses previously, and I’m hoping to update these skills soon,” Sarah informs us. She is planning to start renting a kitchen space, meaning high standards must be met, and rules and regulations followed.

Finally, we chat about the future of the business. “Even just talking to you is making me excited about it all,” her tone is happy and upbeat. “We are looking to get an official name for the business and set up social media pages too”. She has a plethora of ideas, and having her own picnic business is a venture she genuinely enjoys.

You can follow Sarah’s cake decorating business, Cakes In Kensington on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

The post Get paid to make picnics appeared first on MoneyMagpie.

The 8 best baking cookbooks, according to 2 award-winning bakers

  • Baking cookbooks can help you perfect your pie crust, sourdough bread, or chocolate chip cookies.
  • We tapped expert bakers Joanne Chang and Amber Croom to share their favorite baking books.
  • The books cover the basics as well as how to master French pastries and temper chocolate.

It’s no secret baking is a science – only the right ingredients interact properly to create chewy cookies, flaky pie crust, and airy cakes. Pastry chefs work hard to get those measurements right, and many pass on their knowledge in beautiful cookbooks. But which ones belong on your bookcase?

I reached out to James Beard Award Winner Joanne Chang (owner of Flour Bakery and Myers + Chang in Boston) and “Chopped Sweets” Winner Amber Croom (owner of And 4 Dessert confectionary studio in Baltimore) to find out which cookbooks every beginner and expert home baker needs. Many of the picks are classics that have been around for years, with the best now in its second, revised edition.

Chef Joanne Chang at her bakery
Chef Joanne Chang at her Boston bakery, Flour Bakery + Café.

Chef Amber Croom competing on Food Network's 'Holiday Baking Championship'
Chef Amber Croom competing on Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship.”

For those who learn better by watching, I also combed through hours of videos to find the best YouTube channel for upgrading your baking skills, plus an online platform that brings some of the best pastry chefs’ classes right into your kitchen.

These baking cookbooks belong in any kitchen library, whether you’re looking to perfect your chocolate chip cookies, want to become an authority on French patisserie, or simply love a great homemade loaf of sourdough.

10 great expert-recommended baking books and online baking resources:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The best overall baking cookbook

Best overall cookbook - "Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites" by Elisabeth M. Pruett and Chad Robertson

“Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites” by Elisabeth M. Pruett and Chad Robertson

The original edition of the “Tartine” cookbook was published in 2006 and became an instant classic among pastry chefs, home bakers, and fans of the legendary San Francisco bakery. “It’s gorgeous, the pastries are both familiar and special, the recipes WORK,” says Chang. “It’s so inspiring to read and I love every page.” For the award-winning 2019 edition, Pruett and Robertson doubled the number of recipes with all-new photography, making this a must-have for any cookbook collection.

The best beginner baking book

Best cookbook for beginners: "BraveTart - Iconic American Desserts" by Stella Parks

“BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts” by Stella Parks

While new bakers may dream of macarons, it’s easier to start with simple American recipes and slowly learn the science behind your bakes. Those two reasons alone are why “BraveTart” is the perfect cookbook to start exploring in the kitchen. Parks not only incorporates great stories for each recipe; she composes each one in a way that professional chefs and home bakers can use, says Croom. “BraveTart is amazing — all of the pastries you grew up with as a kid, but made by a master baker,” adds Chang.

The best bread baking book

Best cookbook for breadmaking - "My Bread - The Revolutionary No Work, No Knead Method" by Jim Lahey

“My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method” by Jim Lahey

Jim Lahey turned the pastry world upside down with the publication “My Bread,” which proved bread machines and exhausting kneading techniques aren’t necessary. “He started a bread revolution with his way of baking bread and every loaf I’ve ever had from this book tastes just like it does in his bakeries Sullivan St Bakery,” says Chang. More than a decade later, its flawless recipes are still a must-have for anyone who wants to bake bread at home.

The best cake baking book

Best cookbook for cakes - "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Berenbaum

“The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Berenbaum

Every home baker has a story about a cake disaster since they are incredibly tricky to get right. Rose Levy Berenbaum’s classic “The Cake Bible” has taught a whole generation of bakers the mistakes to avoid, and everything else you need to know to turn out delicious cakes. “It has every single cake you can ever imagine and Rose is generous with her expertise and knowledge,” says Chang. “I’ve learned so much about cake baking just from reading and baking through this book.”

Th best chocolate baking book

Best chocolate cookbook - "Chocolate Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts" by Ferrandi Paris

“Chocolate: Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts” by Ferrandi Paris

Chocolate makes gorgeous desserts that are a delight to eat, but it can be quite temperamental and frustrates even the most expert of pastry chefs. “Chocolate,” from the famous culinary school Ferrandi Paris, gives readers step-by-step instructions to master the medium. “It covers everything from utensils to tempering chocolate,” says Croom. “It’s like going to a chocolate academy without the price tag, but in book form.”

The best French pastry baking book

Best cookbook for French pastries - "The Art of French Pastry  A Cookbook" by Jacquy Pfeiffer and Martha Rose Shulman

“The Art of French Pastry: A Cookbook” by Jacquy Pfeiffer and Martha Rose Shulman

Mastering patisserie takes time, patience, and a lot of butter. Jacquy Pfeiffer, the founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, created “The Art of French Pastry” as a comprehensive guide that helps readers with the fundamentals and gives easy-to-follow instructions. “You can tell from every recipe in the book that Chef Pfeiffer has years of teaching classic French pastries,” says Croom.

The best pie baking book

Best pie cookbook - "The Book on Pie - Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies" by Erin Jeanne McDowell

“The Book on Pie: Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies” by Erin Jeanne McDowell

Erin Jeanne McDowell, whose work is regularly featured in “The New York Times,” Food 52, and on Food Network Kitchen, is one of America’s foremost experts on pies. In this pie cookbook, “she covers everything you could ever want to know about creating the perfect pie,” says Croom. That includes everything from making the flakiest crusts and picturesque decorations to mastering savory pies.

The best whole grain baking book

Best cookbook for baking with whole grains - "Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours" by Kim Boyce

“Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours” by Kim Boyce

Baking with whole-grain flours can help home bakers create delicious desserts beyond the usual all-purpose flour. “Good to the Grain” features 75 recipes that cover a dozen different whole-grain flours, from buckwheat to teff. “You will learn so much about how different flours enhance both taste and texture of baked goods,” says Chang. Boyce does utilize white flour in her recipes, so this is good for those beginning to experiment with different flours.

Th best baking online courses

Best online courses - The Butter Book

The Butter Book

Created by Chefs Sébastien Canonne and Jacquy Pfeiffer, The Butter Book is a portal to everything a burgeoning pastry expert needs. It houses more than 170 baking video lessons, articles, a glossary, and courses on bread making, classic pastries, and cake decorating. The platform is available for $25 a month, or $200 for a year.

The best YouTube channel for baking

Best Youtube: Food52

Food52

Food 52’s YouTube channel is great for exploring new desserts or figuring out your latest baking mistake. The channel features two baking-focused series, “Bake It Up a Notch!” with Erin Jeanne McDowell and “Our Best Baking Lesson.” Baking projects do come up in their other series though, like Sohla El-Waylly’s “How to Make Any Type of Pound Cake” or Rick Martinez’s lesson on buñuelos.

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I took 11 MasterClass cooking classes from celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Dominique Ansel – here’s why they’re worth a subscription

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masterclass cooking classes dominique ansel strawberry tart
  • MasterClass is an e-learning platform that provides classes taught by celebrities and experts.
  • It offers classes from famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Dominique Ansel, and Gabriella Camara.
  • I took 11 MasterClass cooking courses and made everything from Beef Wellington to huevos rancheros.

If you don’t have experience making complete meals day after day, it can feel overwhelming to search for a reliable recipe, complete multiple tasks at once, or roast everything long enough without burning or overcooking your dinner.

A MasterClass subscription gives you access to over 17 cooking courses from celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, and Alice Waters.

What is MasterClass?

For $180 a year, or $15 each month, MasterClass gives you unlimited access to online courses from celebrities and world-renowned experts. It can be a pricey investment, but each course includes multiple lessons via episodes – sometimes as many as 36 videos – as well as a full-color PDF workbook featuring recipes and tips.

Additionally, there’s a community forum for each class where you can post questions, get extra info, and potentially interact with the instructor.

Also included in your membership is access to classes in film & TV, music & entertainment, writing, business, design, sports, and more.

For a full rundown of MasterClass, read our review here.

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All of the courses we recommend produced mouthwatering meals in our tests and can be followed easily in your home without special equipment or ingredients.

Here are the 11 best culinary arts and cooking classes you can take at home with MasterClass:

“Modern Italian Cooking” with Massimo Bottura

Massimo Bottura

“Modern Italian Cooking” with Massimo Bottura packs a lot of information and skills into this 14-lesson course that takes basic ingredients and turns them into a gourmet dish.

The class is taught by the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star establishment widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world. Most recently, Bottura has gained additional notoriety during the pandemic with his free Kitchen Quarantine series on Instagram.

In this four-hour course, Bottura covers his modern twist on classic Italian dishes, incorporating causes that are important to him such as reducing food waste. He also invites members of Il Tortellante, a fresh pasta workshop for disadvantaged kids, to help make tortellini.

So far, I’ve made two dishes from the course. First was the Sogliola al Cartoccio, or Mediterranean-style sole. Due to grocery shortages during the pandemic, I had to substitute some ingredients, but the finished product was beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Plus, it was relatively easy to make and didn’t take long.

masterclass cooking classes massimo bottura meditteranean sole

The other dish I made is less of a dish and more of a new habit. Bottura talks about a “Broth of Everything,” a vegetarian broth he makes using vegetable scraps. I started doing this using a gallon bag stored in my freezer. Once it was full, I dehydrated it overnight in the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning, I put all of the dehydrated, aromatic scraps in a stockpot along with some herbs and simmered it for six hours. The resulting broth is like liquid gold, and yes the name suggests, I use it in everything.

‘French Pastry Fundamentals’ with Dominique Ansel

dominique ansel

If you’ve ever wondered how to make the mouth-watering treats available at your favorite pastry shops, “French Pastry Fundamentals” with Dominique Ansel is a good place to start.

In his 17-lesson class that runs about three-and-a-half hours, Ansel, the inventor of the cronut and winner of several James Beard Awards, walks you through the steps of how to make mini madeleines, fruit tarts, a chocolate cake, bonbons, and croissants. He also delves into how you can use your new skills to make your own inventions. The class is supported by a 59-page, full-color workbook and an active discussion forum, where you can get help. While I was testing the class, Ansel hosted a live lesson which was really fun and informative.

I chose to tackle the four-lesson recipe for Ansel’s strawberry tart. Though you can complete the whole process in a full day of baking, I decided to do it over the course of a weekend.

masterclass cooking classes dominique ansel strawberry tart

I’d never made anything like this strawberry tart before and was a bit intimidated, but Ansel did an excellent job of putting me at ease. The only ingredient I couldn’t find was NH pectin, and I didn’t like the prices online so I used apple pectin instead, even though he says not to. The glaze didn’t come out as beautiful as it could have been, but the resulting tart was still visually-appealing and absolutely delicious. When I shared a picture of it with my local foodie group, I got several requests for the recipe.

‘Cooking I’ with Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay Cooking Class

Even if you’re just starting to find your way around the kitchen, “Cooking I” with Gordon Ramsay has a lot to offer with a balanced collection of lessons ranging from kitchen layout to making his famous Beef Wellington.

masterclass cooking classes gordon ramsay red wine poached egg mushrooms asparagus

With Ramsay’s history of laying into chefs and restauranteurs who don’t live up to his standards on his various TV shows, I expected brusque advice and harsh instructions going into Cooking I, the first of his two MasterClass courses. However, this ended up being far from the truth – Ramsay exhibits the gentleness you see on the cooking competition for children, “MasterChef Junior.”

In the 20-lesson class, Ramsay gives a little history of how he got to where he is today. He covers the basics, including kitchen layout, knife skills, making pasta, and scrambling eggs before delving into fancier dishes.

masterclass cooking classes gordon ramsay beef wellington

I decided to take a crack at the Wellington, which took me about four hours. My favorite part of the process was learning how to make crêpes. The first couple I made were horrible, but by the fourth and fifth, I felt like an old pro. The Wellington looked amazing and tasted darn good – definitely restaurant-quality. In fact, I’d previously ordered a beef Wellington at an English restaurant and it didn’t compare to the flavor and quality of my effort. I plan on making this for special occasions in the future.

‘Mexican Cooking’ with Gabriela Camara

Gabriella Camara MasterClass

I absolutely loved the flavors of the huevos rancheros recipe Gabriella Camara shares in her Mexican Cooking MasterClass. It also encouraged me to make salsa verde for the first time, which was easy and delicious.

masterclass cooking classes gabriella camara huevos rancheros

Her course is rather short compared to others – only 13 lessons and less than three-and-a-half hours of content. Also, the skills you learn don’t really translate to other cuisines.

Still, if you’re interested in learning how to make authentic Mexican dishes, including tortillas, this course is worth your time and money.

‘Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs’ with Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller MasterClass

There’s a lot to like about the first of Thomas Keller’s three MasterClass courses. First of all, it provides more material than any other culinary class: 36 lessons, nearly 7 hours of video, a 119-page full-color workbook, and an active discussion forum.

masterclass cooking classes thomas keller omelette

Keller’s emphasis on “tools of refinement” can be a bit much for beginning cooks, though I now find myself regularly putting in the extra effort to make his omelet recipe.

‘Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces’ with Thomas Keller

thomas keller

“Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces” with Thomas Keller is designed for the hardcore carnivore, with all you need to know to make inspired dishes using beef, poultry, lamb, and other meats.

Keller is best known for The French Laundry, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Yountville, California (and arguably the best in the world). This is the second of Keller’s three MasterClass courses, and it offers an overwhelming amount of content.

He explains different cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb and what they are used for as well as how to wet- and dry- age. He touches on the different ways of cooking meat, including pan-roasting, frying, oven-roasting, braising, and grilling. In the process, he offers recipes that are accessible yet refined.

masterclass cooking classes thomas keller chicken arugula salad

My favorite recipe was the Chicken Paillard with Arugula Salad and Sauce Vierge. I had an easy time making it, and everyone in the family enjoyed it. I was struck by how well the chicken and Vierge complemented each other. My teenager said it was his new favorite chicken dish and my wife was impressed by the presentation, so it’s now in our regular rotation.

‘Mixology’ with Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana

MasterClass

This mixology course focuses on making top-notch alcoholic beverages using readily available ingredients and equipment. There’s four and a half hours of content and a beautiful 53-page PDF giving recipes and more details about the drinks.

As a teetotaler, I was bummed that Marrero and Chetiyawardana didn’t provide many alcohol-free substitutes. Still, if you want to up your cocktail skills, this class is for you.

‘Texas-Style BBQ’ with Aaron Franklin

Aaron Franklin MasterClass

This is another course that will only appeal to a limited audience: those who have smokers and want to up their game.

From picking the right wood and maintaining the fire to choosing the right smoker design, Franklin dives into the details of what you need for a good smoke. He also shows you how to trim and season your meat.

masterclass cooking classes aaron franklin smoked pork

I don’t have a smoker, but I tried the pork butt recipe in my oven following all of the same steps and the results were outstanding nonetheless. This class would be ideal for anyone who is just getting into smoking meat.

‘Cooking’ with Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck MasterClass

In his cooking class, the celebrity chef walks you through his philosophy on cooking and business, how to train your palate, kitchen essentials, and even cocktails in addition to several inspired recipes. I liked that the skills you learn in the course can be used in a variety of contexts.

However, I relied heavily on the closed captioning due to Puck’s heavy Austrian accent. Also, I made his Béchamel sauce, an easy enough recipe, but found it lacked much depth of flavor.

‘The Art of Home Cooking’ with Alice Waters

Alice Waters Cooking Class

“The Art of Home Cooking” with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California offers outstanding tips for making restaurant-quality dishes using ingredients and equipment most home cooks should already have.

Rather than go through countless recipes, Waters provides 17 lessons and nearly four hours of instruction on how to stock your pantry, outfit your kitchen, and get creative with the ingredients you have.

She also explores a few of her favorite home recipes, including tips on how to sub ingredients in and out. You can easily revisit the highlights in the 77-page full-color PDF workbook you receive with the class.

masterclass cooking classes alice waters oat pancaktes

I made her oat pancakes, which were easy and healthy. As recommended by Waters, I topped the creation with a strawberry and pear compote. If I say so myself, the results were worthy of a restaurant in California. I enjoyed the depth of flavor (though it did not play too well with my kindergartener).

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What to know before taking a cooking course on MasterClass

In my hours of watching and testing the cooking courses, I picked up a few tips that might enhance your experience.

1. Watch the whole lesson before attempting to make a dish.

You don’t necessarily have to watch the previous lessons (though it often helps). However, you do need a good idea of the whole process before getting started on a recipe. I found it helped to bring my laptop to the kitchen with me, and I’d reference the workbook and the video – making frequent use of the pause button – while preparing meals.

2. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.

All of the chefs are encouraging, but several stress the importance of practice. If anyone could quickly and easily produce restaurant-quality meals, these chefs would be out of a job. They break down the steps so you can easily learn them, but it may take a few tries before you can master Beef Wellington or perfect a fruit tart.

3. Feel free to use substitutions.

Fresh ingredients are also a must. Yet, the instructors understand that substitutions often need to be made based on where you live and make recommendations accordingly.

Some chefs suggest you turn to local sources for your ingredients when possible, such as a nearby farmers’ market. Or, you might consider signing up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, which is a subscription-based service that provides you with weekly boxes of fresh local farm products. In addition to the environmental and economic benefits, CSAs can help you minimize your time in grocery stores.

How we evaluated the culinary arts courses

woman cooking at home

The $180 price is very expensive for online courses, even if they are taught by award-winning chefs around the world. That’s why we tested and reviewed MasterClass with a more critical eye.

I spent hours and hours in front of the screen watching and following all of the culinary arts courses offered on MasterClass. I spent even more time in the kitchen trying my hand at following the tips and skills taught in the classes.

Here are the main attributes we look for and how we evaluate them:

Generalizability: Will what you learn in the course be helpful when you make other cuisines? Will it help you create your own dishes? For instance, learning precise knife skills is helpful when prepping any meal. However, learning to debone one specific species of fish that isn’t even available in your area might not be that useful.

Accessibility: Due to the current pandemic, I had a hard time procuring various ingredients – the stores in my area can be hit or miss. A good MasterClass course or chef will teach you how to cook with easy-to-find ingredients or offer suitable substitutes. Also, you shouldn’t need specialized equipment. If a class required devices that have limited applications, such as a grain mill or a tortilla press, it lost points in our evaluation.

Meal Quality: If you’re taking the time to learn how to cook from the best chefs in the world, you’d expect the resulting meals to be restaurant-quality. Based on the assessments from my wife, two sons, and myself, I used four criteria to assess dish quality: taste, appearance, likelihood to make again, and if the dish was good enough to serve in a nice restaurant.

Enjoyability: Does the instructor make it fun to make the dishes? Does it take a long time to prep and cook the meals? I looked at both of these questions when assessing how enjoyable a course was.

Quantity: How many lessons are there? How many minutes of video are there? How much info is in the PDF workbook that comes with the course? Are the discussion forums active? These factors all played a role in determining whether a course provided enough bang for your buck.

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KitchenAid’s online personalization tool lets you customize your stand mixer with engravings, unique bowl designs, and more

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

KitchenAid Custom Stand Mixer

Custom Stand Mixer (medium)

If you’re in search of a personalized kitchen gift for the budding baker in your life, or simply looking to upgrade your own stand mixer, the KitchenAid stand mixer customization tool is a great place to start.

The tool allows for the purchase and customization of the Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer – an Insider Reviews favorite that we’ve dubbed the best overall stand mixer.

KitchenAid’s stand mixer customization tool includes the following options:

  • 30 stand colors, included in base price ($399.99)
  • Personalized engraving on the trim band, up to 24 characters, included in base price
  • Various bowl designs, including quilted stainless steel and patterned ceramic bowls (extra ranging between $59.99 to $99.99)
  • Attachment tools that can be used to spiralize vegetables, roll and cut pasta, make juices, and more (extra ranging between $19.99 to $199.99)

Once you create your custom design on KitchenAid’s website, you can print a downloadable PDF of your design to give your recipient a sneak peek. KitchenAid is currently offering free shipping and free 30-day returns on countertop appliances, including the Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. Custom mixers should ship in five days, plus an extra day if you choose to engrave your mixer.

Custom Stand Mixer (small)

Shop all of KitchenAid’s appliances, bakeware, cookware, cutlery, and more

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23 last-minute gifts you can still get in time for Mother’s Day, including gift cards and subscriptions

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Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Products in the Drunk Elephant The Littles™ 4.0 lying flat on a pink background

  • If you’re purchasing a Mother’s Day gift last minute, there’s still time to order something special.
  • We rounded up 23 options – from luxurious hair products to cookbooks – that will arrive by May 9.
  • If you’re not in a hurry, check out these 54 Mother’s Day gifts under $50.

Mother’s Day is around the corner and there are just a few days to get a gift for the moms in your life. For those living on the edge and have yet to pick up something, we have you covered with last-minute gift ideas that can be ordered, delivered, and presented, right in time for Mother’s Day. If you’re cutting it close, we also have recommendations for subscriptions and gift cards that can be purchased and gifted on the day of.

Here are 23 of the best last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that will arrive by May 9

The most stunning bouquet we ordered and reviewed

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - UrbanStems The Hema Bouquet on a living room table

Gift an UrbanStems bouquet, starting at $50

Let’s start with the Mother’s Day basic — a beautiful bouquet. UrbanStems offers a range of fresh, modern bouquets and other arrangements that are a step above the average flower mix. They were the best flower delivery service we tested, and the best part: they offer next-day delivery for 48 states and same-day delivery in New York City and Washington, DC.

A clothing subscription to switch up mom’s wardrobe

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A Stitch Fix subscription box, including tops, bottoms, outerwear and a pair of shoes

Gift a Stitch Fix subscription, $20

Amp up the traditional blouse you get mom with a Stitch Fix subscription, which will deliver a customized wardrobe based on a style quiz and the plan you choose. There’s a $20 styling fee, and then you can personalize your picks after.

A sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner set for salon-looking hair

Last minute Mothers' Day gifts - Kristin Ess The One Signature Shampoo and Conditioner lying next to each other on a table

Gift Kristin Ess’ The One Signature Shampoo and Conditioner, $20 each

If healthy and shiny hair is important to mom, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, like Kristin Ess’ The One Signature line, won’t dry out hair, so it’s perfect to gift — especially with summer coming up. When ordering online from Target it will arrive by the weekend, or you can pick it up at a local store.

A clothing subscription to switch up mom’s wardrobe

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Everlane Gift Card in an envelope

Gift an Everlane gift card, from $25

For cozy, luxe basics, Everlane is one of our favorite retailers. Simply enter the gift card amount of your choice, print out a few options to stick in a Mother’s Day card, and you’ll be all set.

A pair of designer shades to sport this summer

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Ray Ban Clubmaster Square Sunglasses

Gift the Ray-Ban Clubmaster Square Sunglasses, $161

For a timely, practical gift for the warmer months, you can’t go wrong with a classic pair of Ray-Bans. They’re one of our favorite retailers for womens’ shades and are Amazon Prime-eligible too.

An oversized beach tote for all the necessities

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - CGear Sand Free Gray Stripe Tote

Gift the CGear Sand-Free Gray Stripe Tote, $49.99

For moms who can’t get enough purses, crossbody bags, and clutches, gift her another carrier — a spacious beach bag. The CGear Sand-Free tote has a gray- and turquoise-striped design and is Amazon Prime-eligible. You can even fill it with a reusable water bottle, high-end sunscreen, and wireless headphones for the beach.

A smart tea kettle for making tea or preparing baby formula

Last minute Mother's day gifts - Smarter Electric iKettle standing upright on a kitchen countertop

Gift the Smarter Electric iKettle, $99

For frequent tea drinkers, the Amazon Prime-eligible Smarter Electric iKettle boasts Wi-Fi and voice activation with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — you can control the temperature from the Smarter app on your phone. The iKettle is wonderful for new moms for hassle-free nighttime feeding.

A Walmart+ subscription for the savvy shopper

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A Walmart tote bag with what you can get with a Walmart+ Subscription inside, including groceries, Play-Doh, and a Nintendo Switch

Gift a Walmart+ subscription, $12.95 per month

Walmart is known to sell almost everything under the sun, and gifting mom a Walmart+ subscription adds the convenience of items shipped directly to your door. We tried it out and, whether shopping for groceries or video games, Walmart+ is a practical idea.

If mom is a big Amazon shopper and isn’t already an Amazon Prime member, here’s how to sign her up — a monthly subscription costs $12.99.

The comfiest pair of sneakers you’ll find

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman walking on pavement wearing the gray Allbirds Wool Loungers

Gift the Allbirds Women’s Wool Loungers, $95

From grocery store runs to walks in the park, moms are frequently on the go. The Allbirds Women’s Wool Loungers are some of the comfiest shoes we’ve reviewed, and the brand appeared not once, but three times in our best white sneakers for women guide. The shoes will arrive in two business days or can be expedited in one business day.

A nostalgic and sentimental coupon book

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A mother writing on one of the Knock Knock Vouchers for Mom

Gift the Knock Knock Vouchers for Mom, $12

If you have an all-I-want-is-a-card type of mom, the Knock Knock Vouchers for Mom is a fantastic, sentimental idea. It’s Amazon Prime-eligible and contains 20 “coupons” that you fulfill, ranging from breakfast in bed to a day without complaints (two things that mom will adore).

A wine subscription for the so-called sommelier

Last minute Mother's Day gifts  - A Winc subscription box and four bottles of wine on a doormat

Gift a Winc subscription, $39 per month

If mom is a wine fanatic, Winc is a fitting gift. The most affordable subscription starts at $39, which includes three $13 bottles of wine. You can also purchase a gift card for choosing bottles. You can read about our experience in using the Winc wine subscription service

A deluxe skincare sampler to boost hydration and self-care

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Products in the Drunk Elephant The Littles™ 4.0 lying flat on a pink background

Gift the Drunk Elephant The Littles 4.0 Set, $90

Skincare can be an expensive gift for Mother’s Day. Drunk Elephant, one of our favorite brands, offers the 4.0 Kit, a sampler of not one but eight great skincare products that include the Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer, the Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, and the C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream. And, these cruelty-free products are packed in a reusable case.

When ordering at Sephora, you can opt for one-day expedited shipping, or order and pick up at a local store.

A cookbook with 100 cookie recipes for the baker

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - The "100 Cookies" cookbook on a pink table surrounded by baking tools

Gift the “100 Cookies” cookbook, $23.55

If the kitchen is your mom’s most-visited spot, gifting a cookbook is thoughtful and will offer inspiration for whipping up more sweet treats. The Amazon Prime-eligible “100 Cookies” cookbook highlights — you guessed it — 100 cookies, brownies, bars, and other yummy recipes to bake over the weekend. 

If you want to splurge, you can pair it with one of our favorite KitchenAid stand mixers.

An Audible subscription for the reader

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman listening to an Audible audiobook while at the gym

Gift an Audible subscription, starting at $7.95 a month

For a really last-minute gift idea, Audible is an instantaneous subscription after ordering. The platform serves as a digital audio library of popular books — play them as you would your favorite podcasts. You can pair the subscription with some bestselling audiobooks.

A beauty and grooming subscription box to switch things up

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A Birchbox subscription box with assorted makeup and skincare items to its right

Gift a Birchbox subscription, $15 per month

Birchbox packages makeup, hair, and skincare products, which is perfect for providing mom with new products to try. It’s a perfect IOU to include in a card, so you’ll have something ordered in time for May 9.

A gel manicure kit if you can’t get to a nail salon

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit

Gift the Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit, $79.99

Give mom a salon-like manicure without the need for an in-person appointment. Red Carpet is the best at-home gel nail kit we tested, and it will arrive from Ulta in two to three business days with premium shipping, or available for in-store pickup after ordering.

The Dyson Airwrap mom will never purchase for herself

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman curling her hair with the Dyson Airwrap Styler Volume and Shape

Gift the Dyson Airwrap styler, $778.99

If you’re chipping in with your siblings or simply want to splurge on mom this year, the Dyson Airwrap styler is your best bet. We tested it alongside a celebrity hairstylist and found it to be a quality, versatile tool that produces gorgeous salon looks with its air-and-no-heat technology.

A sleek essential oil diffuser for a fresh-scented room

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - The URPower Essential Oil Diffuser in use on a carpeted bedroom floor

Gift the URPower Essential Oil Diffuser, $19.99

While we love our candles, a diffuser is a no-flame option that will make a room smell like eucalyptus, peppermint, or fresh linen — the latter perfect is for bathrooms. URPower is our favorite essential oil diffuser on a budget and when paired with an essential oil kit, it’s an all-in-one thoughtful gift for Mother’s Day — Amazon Prime-eligible.

An exercise bike and work desk duo that’s super practical

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman on a call while on the Bike Desk 3.0

Gift the FitDesk Bike Desk 3.0, $299.99

Does mom want to stay active while working from home? The FitDesk Bike Desk 3.0 is a laptop desk and exercise bike hybrid that will get her feet moving while in meetings. Even better: it’s Amazon Prime-eligible and something that will boost productivity.

For an add-on, pair the bike desk with a pair of our favorite spin shoes we tested.

A Nespresso machine for cafe-style brews at home

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle

Gift the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle, $160

If your gift recipient is always running to Dunkin’ or Starbucks, the Nespresso VertuoPlus will be much appreciated. It’s Amazon Prime-eligible, and it comes with a milk frother and a coffee pod sampler to get started. 

A waffle robe for getting ready after the shower

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman wearing the Bohang Summer Waffle Bathrobe in Light Purple

Gift the Bohang Summer Waffle Bathrobe, $25.99

Fluffy robes are great for winter, but a waffle robe is perfect year-round — especially to throw on after a relaxing bath or shower. It’s Amazon Prime-eligible, comes in three colors, and feels like one you’d find at a hotel.

A meal delivery service to take some stress off cooking

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - The ingredients that come in a HelloFresh meal kit box alongside the final meal

Gift a HelloFresh meal kit subscription, from $33.97

Meal delivery is all the rage these days — you get pre-selected meal options shipped to your door, with pre-portioned ingredients included. We tested HelloFresh and deemed it as one of our favorite meal delivery kit services.

For shipping, HelloFresh offers expedited delivery, depending on the plan selected.

A gold bangle that is dainty and will match any outfit

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Kate Spade New York Idiom Bangle

Gift the Kate Spade New York Idiom Bangle, $26.60 

Designer for less than $30? The Kate Spade New York Idiom Bangle is a classic, gold-plated bracelet proven to match any outfit. It’s also Amazon Prime-eligible and makes for a simple and dainty jewelry piece.

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The 7 best rolling pins of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The best rolling pins are comfortable in your hands, easy to use, and are made of durable materials.
  • Joseph Joseph is our favorite, thanks to its convenient ring system that makes it simple to roll dough to a precise thickness.

Whether you’re making cookies, pie crust, pizza, or pasta, a quality rolling pin will make it easier for you to spread the dough to the shape and thickness you want.

There are many styles offered, from American-style with two handles to straight dowels and French-style rolling pins with tapered ends. Many experts and professional bakers choose handle-less French pins and straight dowels because they like the amount of control it gives them. They’re easier to clean as well.

Rolling pins are made from a variety of materials, including metal, marble, glass, and wood. Five out of the seven rolling pins featured in our guide are made of hardwood, simply because it provides the best value and durability, and has a comfortable heft to it. The other materials commonly used have conductive properties that require you to chill them beforehand to keep the dough from sticking to the pin.

Below, we rounded up rolling pins based on durability, design, and ease of use so your baking experience is the best it can be.

Here are the best rolling pins of 2021

The best rolling pin overall

joseph

When a recipe calls for your dough to be a specific thickness, you don’t have to rely on a ruler or estimation when you have the Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin, which features removable rings. 

Pros: Makes rolling flat dough simple, easily measure and adjust the thickness of dough with removable disks

Cons: The rolling surface is narrow

Size: 16.5-inch

What sets the Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin apart from all other rolling pins is its removable disks held in place by a plastic screw at each end of the pin. The removable disks lift the solid beech wood pin 3/8, ¼, 1/6, or 1/16-inch off the surface you are rolling on.

Etched into the pin is a measurement guide that helps you determine the width of the dough. 

You can also remove all the rings if you want to use the rolling pin as a straight dowel. Though ideal for sugar cookies and tea cakes, you may have trouble rolling out crusts for larger pies since the actual wooden rolling part of the device is only 13.5-inches long.

When finished, Joseph Joseph recommends handwashing the wood and not submerging it in water. 

The best French rolling pin

rolling pin

The Fletchers’ Mill French Rolling Pin is elegantly made, lightweight and perfect for delicate pastries.

Pros: Lightweight (but heavy enough to get the job done), great for delicate pastries

Cons: If you’re looking to work with cookie dough or other more substantive desserts, you may want something heavier still

Size: 20-inch

If you’re working with delicate pastries and thin crusts, then the right tool is the Fletchers’ Mill French Rolling Pin.

It’s made of a beautiful maple, and is tapered on both ends, so while there aren’t any handles, it’s still easy to work with. It has a clean aesthetic with sleek lines and is particularly well-suited for manipulating small quantities of dough.

Meant for rolling out thin layers, this pin is extremely durable, and glides easily over whatever you’re working with, all without causing dough to stick. Plus, if you’re working with a round pie crust, the narrowed sides allow for quick pivoting.

The Fletchers’ Mill rolling pin comes with a limited lifetime warranty. But based on my experience thus far, you won’t need to worry.

The best dowel-shaped rolling pin

J.K. Adams

The JK Adams Maple Wood Rolling Dowel is ideal for people who are looking for a flat, dowel-shaped pin to use when rolling dough into rectangular shapes.

Pros: Lifetime warranty, excellent for rectangular and oblong shapes, hardwood and self-lubricating nylon make it easy to roll

Cons: Not as agile as the French rolling pins

Size: 19-inch

The JK Adams Maple Wood Rolling Dowel is particularly unique because it has a thin cylindrical shape that looks like a child’s block. This makes it great for rolling dough into rectangular shapes, though it isn’t as easy to make turns and create circular shapes for pizzas and pie crusts.

The barrels are made from waxed hardwood barrels and there’s a full-length steel axle that rolls through self-lubricating nylon, making it smoother to roll. The pin can also be fitted with spacers to achieve precise thicknesses. However, it needs to be dusted with flour often and isn’t as agile as many French rolling pins.

This pin is highly durable and also comes with a lifetime warranty, too.

The best high-end rolling pin

rolling pin

The Tomnuk French Rolling Pin is one of the most aesthetically pleasing kitchen tools out there and is simple to use when baking.

 

Pros: Beautiful construction, doesn’t stick to dough, weighty without being unwieldy

Cons: None

Size: 21.5-inch

 The beautifully designed Tomnuk French Rolling Pin gets its shine from bee’s wax polish and mineral oil finish, which makes it incredibly smooth to use.

There are a number of details that set the Tomnuk apart from other pins on the market — for example, a small brass accent on the end of the pin isn’t just for show — it allows you to hang it on a standard kitchen hook and keep it around for easy access.

While most rolling pins require quite a bit of flour dusting to keep them from sticking to whatever pastry you may be working with, this isn’t required with the Tomnuk. That bee’s wax and mineral oil finish not only makes for a great-looking pin, but also serves as a nonstick coating.

More importantly, the wood of this pin boasts a slightly more porous surface than most, which is great for retaining flour longer, so your dusting doesn’t just get worked into your dough. Instead, it stays on the pin, and helps you glide with each roll.

Even without handles, it moves effortlessly and has enough heft to make it useful for a wide range of different doughs. While you’ll certainly be able to work with finesse, you also won’t have to expend excess muscle energy in order to work with, say, cookie dough. 

The best stainless steel rolling pin

steel rolling pin

The Ultra Cuisine Tapered French Rolling Pin is made of stainless steel, which makes it dishwasher safe and resistant to absorbing flavors, odors, and colors of the dough.

Pros: Easy to clean, lightweight, doesn’t absorb flavors

Cons: Warms up easily which can affect the dough

Size: 15 ¾ -inch

The Tapered French Rolling Pin from Ultra Cuisine is different from the other pins in our guide because it is made of 100% stainless steel. Stainless steel should be chilled before using it to roll buttery dough. Otherwise, it will cause the dough to heat up.

The 100% food-grade 201 stainless steel has a brushed finish. Unlike wood, you do not need to treat this model with mineral oil. You just throw it in the dishwasher, and you don’t have to worry about it cracking, splintering, or drying out.

Many people find this style of pin much easier to use than French rolling pins and rollers with handles. We also like that this rolling pin is lightweight, easy to clean, comfortable in the hands, and that the dough ingredients do not stick to the pin.

The best marble rolling pin

marble slide

Marble rolling pins retain cold so you can roll buttery dough more easily, and the French Kitchen Marble Rolling Pin with Stand is an aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic option.

Pros: Smooth, can handle tough dough, stays cold longer, ergonomic handles

Cons: May be heavier than other picks, prone to staining

Size: 18-inch

Marble rolling pins are commonly used in pastry kitchens due to their ability to stay cold. When rolling out buttery dough, you want to do anything possible to keep that butter from melting. Plus the French Kitchen Marble Rolling Pin with Stand proves that a fully functional baking essential can also be beautifully crafted and displayed on your countertop.

The white marble pin has the smoothness and heft to handle brittle or tough dough. Its durable construction allows you to really press and stretch it out, too. If your hands become tired, or your delicious pastries and cakes are in the oven, the pin can rest on the included rubberwood stand that also matches its handles.

Like all stone, there will be some veining and coloring variations, so the pin may not look exactly like the above photo. When finished, this pin is safe to hand wash with dish soap and warm water. Marble is prone to staining, so it’s best to wash it right away.

The best wooden rolling pin with handles

magnolia slide

For a minimally designed baking tool that’s easy to use, you can’t go wrong with the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Rolling Pin with Black Handles.

Pros: Easily rolls different types of dough, sturdy construction, ergonomic handles, natural wood finish

Cons: Handle seems can be difficult to clean

Size: 17-inch

The Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Rolling Pin with Black Handles features an easy-to-use design with raised handles to flatten all kinds of dough. Its handles are conveniently curved, too, so they’re easier to grip when rolling out your ingredients.

The pin is quite large, so the natural wood design is able to work on wider countertops and can accomplish more precise flattening tasks while baking. With its smooth finish and durable construction, this pin is sure to last you for years of making sweet treats in the kitchen.

Check out our other baking guides

baking guides
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The 22 best ‘Shark Tank’ products for the home and kitchen that we actually use

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

shark tank useful home products 2

  • “Shark Tank” often impresses us with its wide variety of creative solutions to everyday problems.
  • Products from the show are helping us clean and cook more efficiently, waste less, and sleep better.
  • From kitchen gadgets to pet products, these “Shark Tank” alums have earned their spots in your home.

Twelve seasons in and hundreds of products later, the show “Shark Tank” (where entrepreneurs pitch their inventions to a team of celebrity investors) continues to entertain us. However, that doesn’t always mean the products are actually good. Some end up being a little too creative or out-there and border on plain gimmicky or “Who would even use that?”

We looked through all the “Shark Tank” products available for purchase and came away with a selection of star items for the home and kitchen. Many solve for the wasteful designs of common products you already use, while others address the annoying inconveniences that everyone experiences.

Check out the “Shark Tank” home products that are worth buying below.

A tray that fits neatly on your wheelbarrow and holds your gardening tools

burro buddy

The Burro Buddy, $39.95, available at Amazon

It’s no fun lugging around all your gardening essentials as you do yard work. The Burro Buddy attaches to most wheelbarrow sizes (4, 5, 6, and 7 cubic-foot wheelbarrows) and has a neat organization system for short-handle and long-handle tools, personal items like your phone or wallet, and even a drink for when you want to reward yourself. 

A safe and organic alternative to pesticide

shark tank useful home products

First Saturday Lime Pest Barrier (20-pound), $29.99, available at Amazon

While chemicals in traditional pesticides can be toxic to people and animals, First Saturday is derived entirely from natural ingredients and still effectively dries out insects, eggs, and larvae. 

A small tool that protects your fingers when you hammer nails

shark tank useful home products 2

Safety Nailer Framer, $8.99, available at Amazon

We’ve all been there: you’re quickly hammering away and with one careless swoop, you hit your fingers instead of the nail. This cool magnetic tool holds the nail securely in place while protecting your fingers. 

A tool that turns you into a gift-wrapping pro

shark tank useful home products 4

Little Elf Gift Wrap Cutter (2-Pack), $11.95, available at Amazon

Using scissors to cut wrapping paper always seems to result in uneven or jagged cuts. The Little Elf cutter, which slides on over your tube of paper, makes smooth and perfectly straight cuts every time. 

A bottle tool that reduces product waste

shark tank useful home products 6

Flip-It Bottle Emptying Kit (2-Pack), $13.99, available at Amazon

It’s always a shame when you can’t make the most of your condiments or bath products. This kit comes with a few adapters for different size bottles and has a clever design that gets all the product out of the bottle. 

A DIY kit for kombucha enthusiasts

shark tank useful home products 7

The Kombucha Shop Kombucha Starter Kit (1-gallon), $44.99, available at Amazon

Sure, you can buy bottles of kombucha at the store, but if you have extra time on your hands and want to appreciate the full process, you can use this kit to make your own. It includes starter culture, pH strips, organic sugar, and more. Reviewers love how easy to follow the instructions are. 

Eco-friendly cleaning supplies

blueland cleaning review 4

The Clean Essentials, $35, available at Blueland

Blueland’s products are free of triclosan, parabens, phosphates, ammonia, or VOCs, plus they save space and plastic — the bottles are made of glass and the actual cleaner comes in tablet form so you only need to add water to make your cleaning solution. Read our review here.

A spring-loaded laundry hamper

Household Essentials hamper

Household Essentials Lifter Hamper, $44.20, available at Amazon

This hamper drops down as you add clothes and rises as you remove them, meaning doing laundry will no longer be that uncomfortable chore you never look forward to. It eases the strain on your lower back, so it’s especially great for expecting mothers, people with bad backs, and the elderly. 

A rapid ramen cooker

rapid ramen cooker $7.99

Rapid Ramen Cooker, $10.98, available at Amazon

Granted ramen is already a pretty convenient meal to make, this tool makes the process even easier. The water line stops you from overfilling the bowl, the bowl doesn’t get overly hot, and you don’t need to use a pot and stove. It’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t have access to a kitchen, including students living in dorms and office workers. 

A tiny spatula to get every last drop of sauce or makeup

small spatula tool $11.99

The Spatty and Spatty Daddy Spatula Tool Set, $11.99, available at Amazon

Think about all the ketchup, nail polish, and foundation that goes wasted because you can’t get to the last remnants in the bottle. This small tool helps you get in all the nooks and crannies of bottles — so you’re really getting your money’s worth. 

A splatter screen that still lets you access your pan to cook

splatter guard

Frywall Medium Splatter Guard, $18.95, available at Amazon

While traditional splatter screens cover the pan, making it difficult to check on your food and resulting in condensation, the funnel-like Frywall surrounds the perimeter of the pan. The BPA-free silicone accessory still protects from oil splatters, while allowing you to continue cooking. Read our review here.

Reusable bamboo paper towels

reusable bamboo paper towel $11.59

Bambooee Bamboo Paper Towel Roll, $8.99, available at Amazon

These durable, absorbent towels are an eco-friendly paper towel alternative made of organic bamboo. Each sheet looks and feels like a regular paper towel, but can be washed up to 100 times. Each roll of 30 Bambooee sheets is equivalent to 429 paper towel rolls. Read our review here.

A suction silicone placemat

suction silicone placemat $24.99

ezpz Happy Mat, $24.99, available at ezpz

The fact that you just spent an hour lovingly cooking a homemade meal and even organized it into easy-to-eat compartments often means nothing to a baby or toddler, who can hurl dinner to the floor in one easy swoop. This placemat will stay right in place on any flat surface, making it that much easier to get food from the plate into your child’s mouth. Read our review here.

A home gym rack

home gym rack $549 $799

PRx Performance Profile Rack, $799, available at PRx Performance

This profile rack transforms any small space into your own gym. It comes with 11-gauge steel uprights and a 42″ kipping pull-up bar and can be folded away when not in use. 

A more effective way to sweep your floor

wisp broom

WISPsystem One-Handed Broom, $29.95, available at Amazon

Sweeping is a pain, especially when you realize traditional broom and dustpans don’t even catch all the dirt and debris on the floor. This special broom has electrostatic bristles to collect all types of debris, and uses a push-and-pull motion to scrape it into a foot-operated dustpan. You only need to use one hand to operate it, plus you never have to bend or stoop over. 

A smart baby changing pad and scale

smart baby changing pad $166.44

Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad and Scale, $149.99, available at Amazon

It’s easier than ever to track your baby’s development with this modern nursery innovation. The soft foam pad tracks changes in weight to the .25 of an ounce and automatically syncs with the Hatch Baby app so you can view progress and learn new insights about your baby. The product grew out of the co-founder’s own experience as a mother when she couldn’t tell whether she was breastfeeding enough. 

Reusable silicone food bags

stasher

Stasher Reusable Silicone Food Bag, from $9.99, available at Amazon

This eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags has multiple uses: for storage and transportation, marinating, or sous vide. Its air-tight, pinch-lock seal keeps your food fresh, and it doesn’t require any additional lids or seals. The BPA-free silicone is also dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe. 

A natural flea and tick spray for your pets

natural flea tick spray $24.99

Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray For Cats and Dogs, $24.99, available at Amazon

Wondercide, a safe and natural alternative to monthly chemical treatments, was conceived after the founder’s dog got pesticide poisoning from a vet-subscribed flea and tick treatment. It has no toxic effects, won’t stain fur or flooring, and comes in fresh lemongrass, cedar, and rosemary scents. 

Damage-free poster and picture hangers

damage free picture hanger $14.99

GoodHangups Damage-Free Magnetic Poster and Picture Hangers (8-Pack), $14.97, available at Amazon

Hang up all your movie posters, concert posters, and photos without ruining them or the wall with these magnetic stickers. Just place the sticker on the wall, then place the magnet and poster over the sticker. It works on all different types of wall textures. 

A WiFi-enabled sous vide

wifi sous vide $199

Nomiku WiFi Sous Vide 1100-Watt Immersion Circulator, $199.98, available at Williams Sonoma

This sous vide connects to your phone to make sous vide cooking more streamlined than ever. You can create and send recipes to the machine and precisely control the temperature from your phone with the app, letting you keep tabs on your meal even when you’re not in the kitchen. 

Pre-cut parchment sheets

precut parchment sheets $8.49

The Smart Baker 9-Inch Round Perfect Parchment Paper (24-Pack), $9.99, available at Amazon

You’ve baked a beautiful cake, but now you’re faced with the trouble of getting it out without ruining it. This parchment paper is cut in a unique shape that lets you lift your baked goods out of the pan in a breeze. You won’t have to worry about greasing the bottom enough or cutting the parchment paper yourself. If you bake a lot, you’ll love this product.

A self-cleaning dog potty

self cleaning automatic dog potty $159.99

BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning & Automatic Indoor Dog Potty, $149.99, available for preorder at Brilliant Pad

If you’ve already tried many indoor potty training systems, your search ends here with the world’s first self-cleaning dog potty. You can adjust the timer to automatically change a dirty pad one, two, or three times a day, or manually change it with a push of a button. The machine will wrap and seal the waste, keeping your home clean and odor-free. It’s best for dogs under 25 pounds.

Read more about the ‘Shark Tank’ products we love here:

shark tank rejects main 2
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