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32 Starter Products You Need If You’re Clueless About Cooking

So how does one boil an egg, exactly?

1. A stainless steel strainer so you can drain cans without making a total mess and without cutting yourself. The rust-resistant stainless steel won't trap odors and is easy to clean.

Amazon

Promising review: "This product is easy to use and easy to clean. I've used the plastic strainers before and they bend, crack and break. So when it came time to replace them, I spent a bit more and got a stainless steel strainer. This makes the chore of draining cans very easy and fast with no mess. Just put it in the dishwasher and it comes out clean and ready to use again. This strainer doesn't bend or crack, so I expect it to last a very long time, maybe a lifetime. I'm pleased with it and recommend it to everybody." —Wisconsin Amazon Shopper

Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

2. A pack of basic cooking utensils that are both durable and heat-resistant for your everyday needs. Flipping burgers? Check. Making pasta? Check. Plus, the handles are made from Acacia wood for a sleeker look.

Amazon

In total you'll receive a spatula, round spatula, soup ladle, slotted spoon, solid spoon, spaghetti server, slotted turner, and a wide slotted turner.

Promising review: "If you are looking for kitchenware that will not scratch your pots, this set is the right thing to buy. The wooden handles are study, but at the same time, the silicone part is soft. It seems to be durable, as well. Also, it can be cleaned in no time. Overall a great set!" —Sajan

Get the set from Amazon for $23.99+ (available in three colors).

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3. A silicone baking mold, because spending all that time making egg muffins or cupcakes only to have all the bottoms rip off is way too frustrating. The molds are freezer-, dishwasher-, and oven-safe, so they're super versatile.

amazon.com, Amazon

Since the molds bend easily, you can pop out your baked goods in about half the time. Also, they're incredibly easy to clean compared to traditional baking pans!

Promising review: "A must-have for any baker! Hands down, this is one of the best silicone additions to my kitchen cabinet and bakeware arsenal I have. Extremely easy to clean and always makes a burn-free, stick-free finished product. The silicone prevents burning or hotspots with even temperature distribution, making each muffin as good as the last! Your treat (muffin, biscuit or cupcake) will seamlessly pop out of the silicone mold once cool! Thus, preventing the dreaded fork and spoon removal method that results in crumbs and cracks. To clean, just wash and rinse with warm water and light soap and that's it! No scrubbing or scraping needed. Now everyone can be a five-star baker with this five-star muffin pan!" —Angel Lee Jones

Get it from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in three colors and two sizes).

And check out our spotlight on the silicone baking molds here.

4. A Dash mini griddle for pancakes that'll make breakfast a total breeze. It's the perfect size for a dorm room or small apartment, and with the blue indicator light, you'll know exactly when your food is ready.

amazon.com, Amazon

It heats up within minutes and both top and bottom are non-stick! I use it constantly in my apartment for protein pancakes and over-easy eggs.

Promising review: "Don’t waste time thinking about getting this, just get it! I’m in love with this little gadget! It’s so very easy to use and extremely convenient. All you need to do is plug it up and your home turns into an IHOP. I used this little beaut for the first time this morning and whipped out some perfectly cooked pancakes! It takes about four-five minutes to make each pancake. Expect flawless, golden brown, consistently crafted pancakes that are completely effortless. And this skillet can be used for more than just pancakes! I fully intend on cooking eggs, bacon, quesadillas, steaks, and whatever else my heart desires on here. I got my eye on that mini waffle maker next!" —LesLeaLuvShopping

Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in six colors). And check out the Dash waffle maker, too!

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5. And a Dash rapid egg cooker, because a nutritious, hearty omelette shouldn't take an eternity to make (or be super difficult). It'll serve up hard-boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs in just minutes.

Amazon

And don't worry if you're in the shower when your meal is done – the cooker has an auto-off to prevent overcooking and a buzzer to alert you. The removable trays are also dishwasher-safe.

Promising review: "I love hard-boiled eggs for protein, especially when I’m on the go as a student/worker, but it’s hard to wait for the water to boil then put In the eggs and get ready all at the same time. This cooker is amazing!! Saves me time, it’s quick and I don’t have to watch it while it cooks — I can go get ready and then I hear a loud buzzer notifying me when the eggs are done! (The buzzer is really loud; sounds like a basketball game buzzer.) I was surprised how fast the eggs cooked." —OnAJourney

Get it from Amazon for $18.96+ (available in five colors).

And check out our spotlight on the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker here.

6. Heavy-duty kitchen shears that'll come apart for a full cleaning once you'd used them on meat, veggies, as a bottle opener, peeler, can opener, and nut cracker. Well, not all at once, but you get the idea.

Amazon

With no-slip grips and stainless steel blades, these'll last you a lifetime.

Promising review: "I've gone through a dozen kitchen shears in my 70 years, and they all had some annoying aspect that bugged me...too large, too small, flimsy pivots, or just got dull too easily. So, I just got these shears, and wow! They feel great, cut with ease, and I can take them apart to clean. And that's not even counting all the little jobs it does as a multitool. First impression — fantastic pair of kitchen shears." —popsmaw

Get it from Amazon for $15.89.

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7. A 10-piece measuring cup and spoon set, because you legitimately cannot exist in a kitchen without them. They're a staple and will be used more times than I could ever count. Plus, they'll nestle together for better storage.

Walmart

The measuring cups include 1-cup, 1/2-cup, 1/3 -up, 1/4-cup and 1/8-cup, while the measuring spoons include 1-tbsp, 1/2-tbsp, 1-tsp, 1/2-tsp and 1/4-tsp.

Get them from BuzzFeed's Tasty line for Walmart for $5.97.

8. A digital food scale with a conversion chart etched onto the top so you'll never have to ask Siri how many tablespoons are in a cup again. No one ever remembers those measurements anyway, so having a cheat sheet handy is the way to go.

Macy's

This scale measures grams, ounces, pounds, milliliters and fluid ounces. It comes with batteries and has an easy-to-read screen.

Promising review: "I love it. What's also helpful are the measurements that's on top of it. It's very easy to use. It allows you to change measurement units as the item sits on the scale. I'm buying one for my mom when it's on sale again." —SheridaH

Get it from BuzzFeed's Goodful line, sold exclusively at Macy's for $19.99 (originally $35.99).

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9. A beginner's guide on how to cook literally anything for someone who truly is inexperienced in the kitchen. It reviews how to dice vegetables, prepare meat, cook grains, and how to build a well-rounded meal.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

There are tons of photos and demonstrations showing you the exact steps on how to prepare certain foods, so don't worry about getting lost.

Promising review: "This cookbook is so much more than a list of recipes to follow. Mark Bittman teaches you how to cook instinctively, which was exactly what I was looking for for my college age son who is ready for his first apartment. He LOVED this gift. It has basic recipes, with all the tips that he’d get if I were standing next to him in the kitchen. The photos show how things should look when they are done and what to look for when buying ingredients. There are tips for substitutions if you don’t have an ingredient and ways to change up the basic recipe with different flavor profiles. It’s the next best thing to having Mom or Dad teach you to cook." —"bonnie1022"

Get it from Amazon for $19.29+.

10. Beautiful food prints from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat's Samin Nosrat that'll act as another useful guide on cooking basics. The illustrations show the different stages of boiling an egg and what different herbs and knife cuts look like.

Amazon

The best part is that you can hang them around your kitchen as adorable art pieces, but they'll be jammed packed with info to reference as you whip up your meal.

Promising review: "These are beautiful! I plan to frame some of them for my kitchen. If you've got the cookbook these are based on you will be familiar with the art. High quality paper and good colors. Samin is my hero." —Kristin J

Get 20 prints from Amazon for $16.02.

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11. A three-in-one slicer so you can cut apples, dice potatoes, and core mangos without overloading your kitchen drawer with unnecessary gadgets.

Food52

Promising review: "It beats other slicers out there. It is heavy-duty and has different discs for different fruits which makes it so useful." —Makduda

Get it from Food52 for $30.

12. A Frywall to prevent the awful oil and grease splatter that plagues your stovetop every time you attempt to cook. The heat-resistant silicone won't melt in the pan and can be wiped down with soap and water after use.

Amazon

This Frywall will fit 12-inch pans, so make sure to check your pans before buying! I bought one for my mom who always creates a splatter mess when she cooks. It contains everything and makes cleanup afterwards so much easier.

Promising review: "I love my Frywall! There is zero spatter on my stove, counter tops, and backsplash! I used to dread the cleanup from stir frying and skillet cooking.now, I just put the pan and Frywall in the dishwasher and it’s clean! It rolls up and takes little to none storage space too! I bought a large and a medium. Told my family all about it too." —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $28.95.

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13. Kitchen timers so you don't accidentally burn the food you worked so hard to prepare. Experienced cooks just ~know~ when they're food is ready, but hey, you're learning as you go and might as well rely on an actual clock.

Amazon

They can count up or down and have a alarm that'll alert you when the timer is finished. They also have an alarm shutoff so you don't have to hear an annoying ringing if you're too busy getting your pans out of the oven.

Promising review: "I researched several, but this one looked like just what I was looking for and it was: a simple kitchen timer, easy to set, easy to read, two volume settings, and a magnetic back. It even has a leg in back if I need it to stand." —M Cummings

Get two from Amazon for $6.99.

14. Color-coded cutting boards, because mixing raw meats with veggies when prepping food is unsanitary! Each board provides a handy photo so you know which is which, plus they're lightweight, flexible, slip-resistant, and durable.

Amazon

Promising review: "Very durable so far! I bought them four months ago, used them almost daily and got usual marks from knives but never got close to cutting through. I've put them in the dishwasher and while they did bow slightly, I just bent them in the opposite direction before storing them and they're good as new. The little photos haven't washed off, either. They haven't slipped on me. Overall, great for the price." —T.

Get the set from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in a set of four or six).

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15. A digital thermometer to avoid undercooked meat because uh, that's a serious health hazard!! For an accurate reading, this thermometer takes four to six seconds to determine the temp and is great to use when cooking your first roast.

amazon.com, Amazon

Promising review: "It's a meat thermometer so you expect a certain design and usage. I've had a few and they all work basically the same. Why five stars? Because this one comes with a nice cover for it, it's sharp enough to go deep in thick cuts of meat and works fast. The readout is clear, easy to read and easy to use. I've used it a few times and it cleans up well." —K. Mills

Get it from Amazon for $9.29 (available in three colors).

16. A reusable silicone baking mat that'll save you a ton of money on parchment paper, tinfoil, and flour. It's great to use when working with dough since it's non-stick. With clear measurements, any novice baker will feel like a pro when they're finished prepping their pie.

Amazon

Promising review: "I’ve never used a silicone mat for baking before. I actually thought the mat would be a harder plastic. To my surprise the mat was soft and flexible, but it also felt strong. The mat has all the information I need to bake just about anything. I also like the fact that the silicon mat protects my granite countertop. When I was done with the prep for my pie I couldn’t believe how simple it was to clean the mat. A quick wipe with a damp paper towel was all it took (I could’ve also easily rinsed it under the sink faucet). I am looking forward to use the mat for rolling and cutting sugar cookies for Easter. I love this addition to my kitchen baking goodies!" —Mai

Get it from Amazon for $19.95.

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17. Collapsible strainers, because no one really has enough cabinet space to store these easily. You can rinse whatever ingredient you're using and even use the bowls to serve. Once finished, just collapse down!

Amazon

Promising review: "This was a gift for our daughter. She loves the different sizes so she doesn't have to always use a big one. And it's nice that they fold down and store easily. No trouble with the dishwasher or regular cleaning." —Mike Whitmer

Get a set of three from Amazon for $12.97.

18. A five-piece mini tool kit so you can finally reach allllll the way into those tiny containers when you're trying to get that last bit of peanut butter or Nutella. They're the perfect size for small prep jobs.

Macy's

Did I mention these are heat-safe? Well, they are. One set includes a rounded spatula, a pointed spatula, a spoon, an all-purpose spatula, and a basting brush.

Get the set from BuzzFeed's Goodful line, sold exclusively at Macy's for $11.99 (originally $21.99).

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19. A 12-pack of air-tight containers that'll store your precious leftovers with no spills. If you've spent so much time making the food, you want it to last! The set includes five different sizes and each top has four locks for a v strong seal.

Amazon

They're refrigerator-, freezer-, and microwave-safe.

Promising review: "Absolutely love these containers. Really well-made and excellent quality. They are thick and cannot easily be cracked when dropped. The lids fit really nicely and completely seal shut, so that there are no leaks. Definitely the best containers I’ve ever owned." —Fivexmoore

Get the set from Amazon for $29.99.

20. A six-quart Hamilton Beach slow cooker so you can make meals with zero effort. This one has a countdown clock so you can see exactly how much time is left for your meal and lid clips for zero spills.

Amazon

I've owned a slow cooker for quite a while now and absolutely love it. It's so easy to use and makes the most delicious meals. So far I've made chili, risotto, pulled pork, and chicken with vegetables.

Once you buy your ingredients, you really just dump everything in and set your timer. Some recipes call for slight prep work, but it's truly minimal. You can cook on high or low (your recipe will instruct you which), and once that cook time is over, the slow cooker will switch to "keep warm." The lid will clip close for sealed cooking, and to clean, just remove the stoneware from the base.

Promising review: "I am absolutely in love with this slow cooker. I will admit I am a slow cooker fanatic. With six kids slow cookers have been a staple of my life for some time. I cooked a beef roast in it today with canned peaches and the juice from those peaches to marinate it. I was able to cook it on low for the actual amount of time the recipe recommended and it came out so tender a knife wasn't even needed, you could just pull it apart with your fork. I loved the fact that it set to warm immediately after it was done cooking and that I didn't have to guess how much longer it would be until dinner was ready. I also LOVED the fact my kids could just look at the timer to see how long it would be until dinner was ready so they weren't asking me every 30 minutes. The eight-quart capacity is wonderful when cooking for a large family or a group. The features offer everything I could have asked for. If you're tired of wishing your slow cooker could offer you a bit more in terms of features and functions, this is definitely a great choice." —Phoenix

Get it from Amazon for $44.99+ (available in two sizes). And check out this slow cooker recipe book for ideas!

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21. A finger guard for protection while chopping veggies and other foods. The grip can be adjusted to fit different finger sizes and is made of rust-resistant stainless steel.

Amazon

If you're not super experienced with a knife (everyone minus Arya Stark), this is a must!

Promising review: "Safety should be our number one care. This metal protector does a great job protecting your fingers. We love to cook at home and had enough finger cuts, some of them being really bloody and painful. If you cook and love your fingers, this is the item to buy. I highly recommend this product." —David Sinclair

Get it from Amazon for $4.97.

22. And an ultra durable, carbon steel knife set with pakkawood handles and blade guards for supreme cutting and dicing. The set includes a 3.5-inch paring knife, 5-inch utility knife, and an 8-inch chef knife.

Macy's

But make sure to wear your finger guard when using!

Get the set from BuzzFeed's Goodful line, sold exclusively at Macy's for $23.93 (originally $57.99).

And check out our picks for the best chef's knives on BuzzFeed Reviews!

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23. An easy-to-use NutriBullet blender so you can make delicious protein shakes and smoothies quickly and efficiently. The stainless steel blades will cut through fruits and veggies with no problem.

Amazon

I have a NutriBullet at home and absolutely adore it. I use it mostly for protein shakes in the morning, but it seriously only takes a couple minutes to make. It crushes ice with ease. I've also had it for over a year now and have had zero issues with overheating. It's never died on me!

This set comes with one tall cup, two short cups, one flat blade, one emulsifying blade, two re-sealable lids, and a pocket nutritionist and manual with recipes. If you're on-the-go, you can use the lid provided and you're out the door in seconds!

Promising review: "I absolutely love this thing. I'm a big fan of juicing but the ordeal of cleaning the juicer that I bought was getting time-consuming. However with this, I can blend up just about anything. And from what I can see I get a lot more from it. I can also use this as a blender to make smoothies or grind coffee beans; I've been making my own homemade Nut Butter and nut milk. I've also made my own hummus! Forget all of your other products! This is the way to go. For a single person, this makes all the difference in the world. It's extremely easy to clean and I'm able to make two or three things at a time which allows me to have my juices for the whole day." —Olexia S.

Get it from Amazon for $49.88.

And check out our picks for the best blenders on BuzzFeed Reviews!

24. A steamer basket to make steaming veggies a breeze. It'll cradle broccoli and carrots so you don't have to burn your hands when removing the vegetables from boiling water.

Amazon

Promising review: "I received my steamer last week, have used it twice already, and am very happy with it. I've been getting fresh vegetables from a local farm delivery service and microwaving them to steam was just not the best. I had never owned a true stove-top steamer before this one and I'm so pleased with how easy it is to use and how much better my vegetables taste." —D. Mathewson

Get it from Amazon for $13.95+ (available in two sizes, in one or two tiers, and with an extendable arm).

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25. A non-stick wok so you can make delicious one-pot recipes (AKA, less pots = less cleaning). It's perfect for a stir fry and with the silicone handle, you'll never have to worry about scorching your hand.

Walmart

It also features a non-stick coating!

Get it from BuzzFeed's Tasty line for Walmart for $15.33.

26. A rice cooker that'll do the heavy-lifting for you come dinnertime. It'll master white or brown rice, plus oatmeal. And the steam vent cap means you won't get those annoyingly messy overflows.

Amazon, amazon.com

Promising review: "Best rice cooker ever made. Having the setting for steel-cut oats is why I purchased this item and it works perfect: one cup steel-cut oats (using the clear cup that comes with the cooker) and three cups water (using same clear cup). With this amount, it makes two to four servings depending on how big you want your serving to be. I refrigerate the extra servings and heat in microwave the next day or for a snack." —Bruce Bradshaw

Get it from Amazon for $149.

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27. Silicone oven mitts and pot holders so you can move pots and pans without feeling any heat. They're also great for opening tightly sealed jars!

Amazon

You NEED a set in your kitchen! Honestly you can't really use an oven or stovetop without them...

Promising review: "After years of using fabric/cotton oven mitts that ALWAYS looked dirty, dingy and stained, I saw these at a friend's house. I was skeptical and afraid that I would burn myself because they were so thin and flexible. Be Not Afraid! These are awesome! These look great, work great, clean up perfectly and will provide years of happy baking!" —AZ

Get the set from Amazon for $14.97 (available in three colors).

28. A stainless steel odor remover, because regular soap and water sometimes cannot rid of icky fish, garlic, and onion smells! You can use this bar like you would a bar of soap — with water! Once finished just leave it out to dry.

Amazon

Promising review: "I used this after cutting onions and the smell wasn't nearly as bad afterwards. I first ran warm water and smelled my hands after drying. The smell was still strong, but after rubbing with the steel under warm water, I could barely tell there was any onion odor. Completely satisfied." —Lawrence Bowers

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

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29. A press to crush garlic instead of having to delicately cut the small cloves. It makes the process so much faster and even comes with a quick-peeling silicone tube and mini brush to clean the cloves beforehand.

Amazon

Promising review: "This garlic press is of the highest quality. I was very impressed with its ease of use and cleaning. It actually has three moving pieces, which makes cleaning very easy. It will not break like some of the other presses you find online. Overall fast and easy!" —Jack G.

Get it from Amazon for $10.99.

30. An oven rack push/puller so you don't have to reach awkwardly into the oven to grab whatever goodies you just made. It's made of beech wood and has a high temperature resistance, so no, it will not burst into flames.

Amazon

Promising review: "Perfect for my wife with short arms to get things in and out of the oven without risk of burning herself." —Allan West

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

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31. A set of stainless steel mixing bowls, yet another kitchen staple for the inspiring chef. They're dent- and rust-resistant, vary in size, and can be used for many things like mixing cake batter or prepping a salad.

Amazon

Promising review: "A great product! Super lightweight bowls, which I really enjoy. It makes pouring whatever is inside into pans so much easier." —Kylie Patten

Get the set from Amazon for $24.99.

32. A cell phone and tablet stand, because when you start out in the kitchen, you're definitely gonna have to reference the recipe once, twice, or maybe one hundred times to get it right. And that's okay! Better safe than sorry.

Amazon

The stand is compatible with all phone and tablet types.

Promising review: "I love this stand. It is very sturdy, cute, and unique. Fits my phone if it's lying horizontally or vertically." —LaShae936

Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in three styles).

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We've all gotta start somewhere!

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Looking for more content? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.

For more, check out:

The Best Bedding You Can Get Online

The Best Travel Accessories For Long Flights

The Best Home Organization Products On Amazon

Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!

BuzzFeed

The reviews for this post have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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