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26 Cheap Things That'll Make You Seem Like A Better Cook

Because we love to eat, but we don't love spending money.

1. A garlic prepping set with a silicone tube (that'll peel the garlic) and a press (that'll mince it) so you can flavor your food without getting stinky fingers.

amazon.com

Just pop the individual clove in the tube, and roll it against the counter a few times for a quick peel. Than simply push the press down, and your perfeclty minced pieces are ready to use!

Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

Promising review: "LOVE this product! I like the size of the garlic chunks that you get with this masher, and I LOVE how easy it is to clean compared to other garlic mashers. I love that you don't need to use your fingers to peel the garlic. My mom has been cooking with garlic with every meal for 50+ years and wants one now too!!" —Mama Miller

2. A cast iron pan that'll be one of the most versatile tools in your kitchen. Use them on the stove, pop 'em in the oven. They're basically indestructible — we're talking magic pans, folks.

Macy's

Chop up ingredients and make a delicious hash, try a no-brainer frittata, get the perfect sear on a steak, make a one-pan chicken thigh dinner, the possibilities are surprisingly easy and basically endless — and endlessly delicious.

Get it from BuzzFeed's Goodful line, exclusively at Macy's for $29.99 (originally $42.99).

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3. A set of silicone baking liners to make stuck-on foods (looking at you, fish!) a thing of the past. Just pop it on your sheet pan and bake away.

amazon.com

These are also game-changing if you like to bake cookies tbh.

Get a set of three (two half sheets and one quarter sheet) from Amazon for $13.95.

Promising review: "These mats are my go-to baking tool. This is my second set, the first are my own and are still going strong after several years, this set is for a gift. They are sturdy, wash up well, and make clean up a breeze. I try and cook healthy with little or no oil and these sheets allow me to bake anything from portobello mushrooms, to oil-free cookies without sticking to the pan. They survive high temperature cooking with oven fries at 475 as well as moderate temperature baking. I even use them to roll fresh spring rolls and sweet rolls when I need a non-stick surface. You will enjoy these." —C.J.

4. A set of silicone egg poachers with perforated cups to mimic the traditional poaching method (aka swirling water around and around) without having to do any work — and so your egg stays perfectly round and never wisps away.

Sur La Table

Get a set of two from Sur La Table for $9.95.

Promising review: "Basically my favorite thing ever. Tried these for the first time after failed attempts with other poachers and being too lazy to do a normal poach. These were SO easy. Bring water to a boil, slide egg from a ramekin into the pods, and within about 3.5 minutes, the eggs are done." —Alexandra K.

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5. A 48-blade meat tenderizer to create "heat channels" that'll reduce cooking time by up to 40% — meaning less time for your meat to get dried out in the oven.

Amazon

Bonus: do it before you marinate for an extra boost of flavor and moisture!

Get it from Amazon for $21.48.

Promising review: "This tool is a must for any cook who is sick of preparing meals for their family, only to have the main meat dish turn out dry and tough. This tenderizer is SO easy to use, and with only a few criss-cross applications, I achieved the world's best, most tender, juicy pork chops ever! With only a little salt and pepper and a sprinkle of olive oil and roasted garlic cloves, my family would NOT stop raving about a dish they normally would eat in stony silence. I have since used it on EVERY cut of meat I prepare for my family and have yet to be disappointed! Just rinse it with hot water and toss it in the top rack of the dishwasher, and it is ready to go to work for you again!" —IfAmazonDoesntSellItIDontBuyIt

6. A clip-on strainer made of sturdy BPA silicone so you can drain your pasta one-handed! No more overcooked pasta while you try to unearth that giant colander.

Amazon

Also makes it easy for adding a bit of pasta water to your sauce before draining!

Get it from Amazon for $13.99 (available in three colors).

Promising review: "Everyone should have one! I actually bought mine AND really love this thing. Works on every pot/pan I have, from my smallest saucepan, to a large brazier. It has sturdy clips that stay in place, even on heavy duty commercial kitchen pans with a pretty good lip on them. At times I dread getting down the colander for just a small amount of something since my colander is stacked in a cupboard usually buried under bowls. (yup, probably have too much kitchen stuff lol). This is easy to store this in a drawer and just get it out in a jiffy when needed. If I had a kitchen with limited space I'd sure have one of these instead of a colander. I like the snap n strain so much, I'll be buying some for gifts, which IS the best rating I could give something. The awesome color is just an added bonus. I'll be checking out more of Kitchen Gizmo's products and if they are anything like the snap n strain I'll be buying more from them" —Farm Girl

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7. A fish spatula great for (surprise) SO MUCH more than fish! It has a beveled edge, meaning it slides right under anything (even delicate foods like eggs) for easy flipping or removing items from the pan — without scratching it.

amazon.com

Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

Promising review: "I admit it — I purchased a fish spatula based off of a recommendation from Buzzfeed Tasty. It was listed on the 16 Truly Useful Tools For Beginner Cooks AND the 10 Most Useful Items to Have In the Kitchen Under $25, and of the many tools listed, I noticed this was one tool I didn't actually own. They said, 'A fish spatula for crispy fish AND transferring warm cookies without casualties.' Besides, in all those silly Tasty videos, the user is using a fish spatula to sauté items...for the price, I might as well give it a go. After using the spatula, I'm kinda surprised I didn't buy one earlier! The OXO Good Grips fish spatula works great for flipping over fillets of fish, burgers, pancakes, eggs...the tip of the spatula is thin enough to get under those items easily and wide enough to hold the item effectively. The blade doesn't scratch my pans, doesn't get scratched by my cast iron pans, and is long enough so that I don't need to worry about getting burned when flipping items. Overall, this is one of those kitchen items that I didn't know I needed until I actually started using it. I ended up tossing my older silicone OXO spatula which was starting to peel at the blade end, and haven't looked back." —KttyKat16

8. A two-stage knife sharpener with one channel for coarse sharpening (like on those extremely dull 20-year-old knives in your drawer) and one channel for polishing and regular touch-ups, because chopping with dull knives isn't only tedious, it's also very dangerous.

Amazon

Get it from Amazon for $5.99.

Promising review: "Wow was I surprised. I have a professional knife set that is probably 20 years old and has never been sharpened. Recently I started trying to eat a little bit healthier, so I've been doing a lot of stir-frying. Trying to cut chicken into small stir fry–size bits was a struggle. I was going to take my knives in for professional sharpening and then decided to try this $6 kitchen sharpener first. After running my knives through the course sharpener approximately 10 times and then through the fine setting approximately 10 times I cut some chicken today for the first time and it was like cutting through butter. It took no time at all to make my stir fry chicken." —Alan Marvin

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

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9. BuzzFeed's Tasty One Top, an all-in-one cooktop that'll pair with your phone (and the Tasty app) so you can take each recipe step by step — it even adjusts the temperature according to each step of the recipe. NO MORE BURNT FOOD!

tastyshop.com

Get it from Tasty One Top for $149 (currently on sale from $175; available in blue and black).

10. A pair of herb scissors, because chopping scallions, basil, and other flavorful ingredients is tedious, but you deserve better than bland food.

Amazon

Get them from Amazon for $13.97.

Promising review: "I'm an avid grower of herbs and vegetables, but when it comes to using the resulting harvests in the kitchen, I'm admittedly lazy and my knife skills are weak at best. The tedium of prep-work/chopping sometimes sends me to the spice cabinet to find something dried and ready to use. With the addition of these scissors to my kitchen gadget arsenal, I believe these lazy habits will change. The scissors appear to be of great quality and solid construction and made VERY quick work of my first test herbs: oregano, chives and rosemary. Best of all, clean-up was super quick and easy. I'm already pondering all of the other great uses for these scissors...AND...will likely be buying more of these as they are a perfect inexpensive gift idea for gardeners and cooks." —Redwood

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11. A two-in-one juicer and citrus grater to kick your ~zest for life~ (and your for cooking delicious recipes) up a notch.

Macy's

Pastas, homemade salad dressings, desserts — everything tastes better with a little citrus brightness! The container has markings on the side too, so you can get the exact amount you need without dirtying a whole nother measuring cup.

Get it from BuzzFeed's Goodful line, exclusively at Macy's for $12.99 (originally $18.99).

12. A sushi-making kit that'll start you on a ~roll~ when it comes to trying new recipes — and will save you money over time compared to going to that local schmancy sushi bar.

Amazon

The whopping 11-piece set includes: non-stick rice spreader, sushi knife, several slotted molds (including a heart-shaped one!) and a spatula so you can whip up the best salmon roll in your sweats.

Get it from Amazon for $25.95.

Promising review: "Been trying to make sushi at home for a while and this kit really does the job. After reading some of the reviews, it seemed like it came with good instructional videos...and it does! Definitely helps a lot, because this kit is fun but it's NOT a toy. It's amazing once you get the hang of it though. Really enjoy making sushi with my kids (watch for the knife though...it's a professional sushi knife and it's very sharp!!). If you are trying to save a little money, like DIY stuff and love sushi, this is for you!" —Amazon Customer

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13. A microplane to finely grate aged-to-perfection parmesan cheese, zest citrus fruits, or shave chunks of frozen herbs right into your dish and add a boost of flavor at the last minute.

Amazon

Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in 13 different handle colors).

Promising review: "EXCELLENT upgrade from my first microplane purchased 15 years ago! I'd been storing my old one in my gadget drawer with the original paper sleeve to protect my fingers from cuts. I've used this guy for grating parmesan, chocolate, ginger, garlic, onions, nutmeg, cinnamon and of course for zesting lemons and limes. It's easy to use, durable and easy to clean — I wash it by hand and allow it to dry fully before storing. Never a spot of rust. I just LOVE the bright pink handle, it's so cheerful in my colorful kitchen. And the included plastic cover is a GRATE improvement ;)" —T Dub

14. A set of mixing bowls with handles and silicone non-stick bottoms, because whether you're creaming together frosting, tossing together the ingredients for a pasta salad, or whisking eggs to make a scramble, you do NOT want your hard work to end up on the floor.

Macy's

It has a lid so you can pop it in the fridge for later (great when you're making cookie dough and need the dough slightly chilled before scooping to make it less sticky), and a pour spout so you can neatly fill sheet pans and muffin tins with ease.

Get it from BuzzFeed's Goodful line, exclusively at Macy's for $49.99 (originally $71.99)

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15. A five-ingredient cookbook, because you don't have to combine 3,000 different ingredients and sweat for five hours to make a delicious dish.

amazon.com

Get it from Amazon for $14.39 (also available on Kindle Unlimited), Barnes & Noble for $14.39, a local bookseller through IndieBound, or find a copy at your local library.

Promising review: "Love this cookbook and the simple and healthy recipes. I hate cooking because my kids always whine/bother me while I’m trying to cook. I’m usually afraid to try new recipes because they distract me and it never turns out right, but this cookbook has lots of simple and delicious recipes to choose from. I love all the veggie sides like roasted asparagus, lemony green beans and the spicy broccoli." —Brittney

16. An emulsifying bottle with a build-in blender ball for flavorful homemade salad dressings, marinades, and sauces you'll drizzle on everything.

Amazon

Just add your ingredients (there are measurements helpfully printed on the side) and give 'er a shake to easily combine. The easy-open, auto-close spout means you can open + pour with one hand, too (without spilling everywhere)!

Get it from Amazon for $9.76.

Promising review: "This shaker is fantastic. I bought it because the one I purchased at Target turned out to be worthless (the top didn't stay closed and the dressing got everywhere when I shook it). The Whiskware shaker worked perfectly. It stayed sealed, it kept the dressing fresh, and the whisk ball did a great job of mixing up the dressing — even the honey. I am going to buy one for my daughter because there really is nothing like homemade salad dressing. Worth the price for sure!" —Blanche Devereaux

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17. A set of porcelain ramekins, because when you're hosting a dinner party, serving a couple low-key desserts in these bad boys will feel way fancier than that cake that was going to be a flop anyway.

amazon.com

Three-ingredient chocolate mousse, anyone?

Get a set of six three-ounce ramekins from Amazon for $10.99 (also available in one-, two-, four-, six-, eight-, 10-, and 14- ounce sizes).

Promising review: "I needed more ramekins because word spread that I served the 'best dessert EVER' and our growing family kept requesting it. These ramekins were sturdy, pretty, and a great value. The secret of the desert is that it is the simplest desert ever. Here's the recipe: Put a ball of chocolate chip cookie dough (I usually just keep the refrigerated dough from Costco on hand) in the bottom of each ramekin (you don't even need to grease them); when guests sit down to dinner, stick the ramekins in the preheated oven (temp and time is based on the dough you use); when done, take out, wait a minute and then top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve. It's so easy and always a hit." —Kawigirl

18. A 10-in-1 chopper and storage set that'll make all your friends say "wow, how did you learn how to dice so perfectly?"

amazon.com

And when you're done, just store the attachments inside the container. Easy peasy. Sorry, but you're about to lose the "I was chopping onions" excuse for why you're crying.

Promising review: "I can't chop, slice, or dice to save my life, so this has been a blessing. I now no longer panic when a recipe calls for it. It slices, dices and chops everything from tomatoes to potatoes. The best part? It's easy to use and compact. It all stores within itself so I don't have to hunt around for a million pieces when I need it. Just put the appropriate plate on, press the handle down and bam. You are good to go." —C&M

Get it from Amazon for $27.99.

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19. A dumpling maker for satisfying those Crazy Rich Asians cravings with far less effort. Although if Nick Young wants to come over and teach me how to do it by hand, that's fine too.

Amazon

Cut out the dumpling wrapper with the mold, load the top with your wrapper, plop in your filling, close the mold, and the edges will create the perfect crimped seal.

Get it from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in two sizes).

Promising review: "I'm a gadget nut & will try anything new........that said, this is one great little tool. Easy peasy. Makes quick work of making Chinese dumplings or Mexican empanadas." —PJMiller

20. A three-in-one avocado prepping tool perfect for fanning out 'Grammable slices on your avo toast. Sorry buying a house, but I just really love this food.

amazon.com

The three-in-one functions, you ask? Cut it open with the knife, pop out the pit with the circle in the middle, and slice and scoop with the other end.

Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

Promising review: "Avocado? Yes, Please! This tool is awesome. Easy to cut open the fruit. Pit remover works well, just push onto the pit and give it a twist, and the pit pops right out. The best part is the slicer. Makes beautiful slices for a great presentation. The tool can then be used to scrape any remaining fruit out of the skin. Really happy I bought this tool!" —NPR Man

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21. A ravioli-making mold that will help you fill (without overfilling) your favorite pillows of goodness and make them in huge batches.

Amazon

Get it from Amazon for $17.12.

Promising review: "This might not be strictly necessary to make homemade ravioli, but it simplified and sped up the process for sure. I was on the fence about whether to buy it or just try forming them all by hand. So glad we bought this and a pasta cutter as well. Our ravioli turned out great, and we made a ton. If we hadn't had this, we'd have been at it all evening." —Rebecca W. Walton

22. An easy-to-read digital meat thermometer to help you walk the fine and tender line between "this meat is a dried out husk" and "welp, just gave everyone food poisoning!"

amazon.com

It'll give you a reading in three to four seconds, and is waterproof, so you can even use it in liquids.

Get it from Amazon for $15.99 (also available in grey).

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23. A set of silicone tongs to take your stir-fry and meat-flipping skills to the next level. You know how you always see chefs in cooking shows do, like, everything with tongs? That's because it makes everything easier.

Macy's

Get the set of two (one 9-inch and one 12-inch) from BuzzFeed's Goodful collection, exclusively at Macy's for $14.99 (originally $21.99).

24. An ingeniously designed olive oil bottle that'll infuse the flavor of whatever herb you want (looking at you, rosemary) and then measure the ideal amount for whatever recipe you're using. Use this to top salads, simple pasta dishes, or just for dunking hunks of bread for a majorly upgraded dinner game.

Amazon

Add herbs to the base, then pour in your favorite oil. The spout measures perfect amounts of oil so you can add just the right drizzle to recipes, salads, and roasting veggies. Press the button on the side and the vacuum design will fill the top with oil. When you have the right amount, just pour!

Get it from Amazon for $12.68.

Promising review: "I have no idea how I never owned one of these before! I do not remember the last time I used unflavored oil ever since this came into my life. So far I have infused it with garlic, basil, and rosemary. The garlic is by far my favorite. It provides a clean operation and the narrow pourer makes it possibly to transfer the oil to the bottles without spillage. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who appreciates olive oil!" —Betsy814

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25. A handy-dandy aluminum baking tray (or two), so you can try all 18,000 of those sheet pan dinner recipes you've seen with minimal effort. All you need is a protein + veggies + salt + oil + any seasonings you want. That is IT.

Amazon

BuzzFeed has tons and tons and tons and tons of sheet pan meal ideas to get you started, but just get experimenting with your favorite flavors! We're talking sheet pan fajitas, clam bakes, quiches, jambalaya, nachos and S O much more.

Get it from Amazon for $27.89 (for a set of two half sheets).

Promising review: "Heavy for its side, it did not warp in a hot oven. I love sheet pan dinners. One pan, held four chicken breasts, potatoes, onions, assorted bell peppers — all roasted to perfection in one pan. Use a good quality oil and just brush it on the inside surface of the pan. The stainless steel pan cleans easily! Also, makes great cookie bars." —Mamalus

26. And Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, a book that'll teach you the building blocks of *how* to cook and build up flavors, not just recipes to follow. This is how you can start experimenting with recipes and flavors of your own!

Amazon

Get it from Amazon for $21, Barnes & Noble for $22.47, a local bookseller through IndieBound, or find a copy at your local library.

Promising review: "This book is worth its weight in gold. The author shares an extraordinary skill set organized in easily understood teaching modules. Mediocre fresh green beans turned into flavorful wonders, buttermilk plus chicken roasted to flavor and tenderness heaven, flavor testing and adjustment by author's encouragement. My guests were in awe and freely praised my cooking. Easily improve your cooking through easy lessons. Destined to be a classic. The author empowers the home cook - the real deal." —Reudi

I'm not saying Gordon Ramsey will be disappointed if you don't try these, but I'n not *not* saying that.

Fox

Need inspiration for your gift shopping? Look no further! BuzzFeed has teamed up with Microsoft and their social AI Zo to help you shop for all those hard-to-shop-for people on your list. Message Zo on Facebook with #hacktheholidays to get started!

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