The Nonstick Pan: An Essential Kitchen Tool

12.5" Non-stick Frying Pan

A great nonstick pan will spare you frustration in the kitchen. For certain foods that are prone to sticking, like fresh fish and fried eggs, a nonstick pan can be the difference between transferring your seared flounder filet to your plate in one piece, and ending up with a pile of flaked fish scraps. Although a good pour of olive oil a pre-heated pan will also help reduce sticking, but you can’t underestimate the power of a good nonstick for stick-less cooking.

11" Non-stick Frying Pan

How to choose a nonstick pan

There are a few factors to consider to ensure when selecting your ideal pan. First, consider the size that you’ll need. Think about what you’ll be cooking in it and how many people you’ll be serving. A larger pan can prevent overcrowding when cooking bigger meals. Next, choose the type of nonstick coating that you’d like. There are two main types: ceramic and PTFE. Ceramic coatings are generally more environmentally friendly, while PTFE coatings are more durable and heat-resistant. Finally, consider the handle. Make sure it’s comfortable to grip and securely attached to the pan.

How to care for a nonstick pan

To keep your pan in great condition and prolong its lifespan, it’s essential to know how to care for it properly. Avoid using metal utensils on the nonstick surface as they can scratch the coating and compromise its nonstick properties. Instead, opt for wooden or silicone utensils. Harsh detergents or scouring pads can also damage the nonstick coating. Instead of these, use a gentle soap and a soft sponge to clean the pan. During storage, avoid stacking heavy items on top of the pan. Proper care and maintenance of your pan will ensure that it lasts for years and continues to perform at its best. If the nonstick surface becomes cracked or chipped, it’s time to discard the pan. A scratched pan won’t work as well, and may contaminate your food.

We use our nonstick pans for cooking fish with crispy skincooking up glazed tofu for ramen, and frying okonomiyaki.

Find the perfect nonstick pan for your home at the Blue Apron market.

How to Make a DIY Mimosa Bar

diy mimosa bar for brunch

Mimosas are synonymous with brunch. Whether or not you feel like having an alcoholic beverage, a little sparkling juice is always a good idea. Creating a DIY mimosa bar is an easy and fun way to let your guests customize their drinks and get creative with their own combinations.

Tips for your DIY mimosa bar

Go beyond orange juice

Provide an assortment of juices in carafes so that guests can mix and match flavors. Orange juice is the classic choice. Grapefruit juice provides a tangier flavor profile. You can also try tropical pineapple juice, sweet peach juice, or pomegranate juice.

Add some bubbles

Provide sparkling wine, sparkling water, and some liqueurs or flavored syrups. Guests can choose if they’re craving a brunch cocktail or a refreshing mocktail. 

Add flair with fancy ice

Prepare fancy ice cubes before the big day. Freeze mint leaves and raspberries with water in an ice cube tray for a beautiful, memorable addition to your drink. You can also freeze whole cubes of juice. These will look festive and will create a flavor-changing drink that evolves as the ice melts. 

How to serve your DIY Mimosa bar

Set up a self-serve drinks station on the counter or on a side table. Guests will feel comfortable getting up to refill their glasses whenever they please. Once everything is in place, it’s time for your guests to get creative! Encourage them to mix and match different juices with sparkling wine, soda water, or liqueurs. Each guest will be able to find their perfect combination.

Wondering what to serve alongside your mimosa bar? The Blue Apron Brunch box is here to bring a restaurant-quality meal to your table this spring. Skip the reservation and enjoy easy recipes that satisfy every craving. This limited-time box is available now.

brunch menu
Blue Apron Brunch Box, $119.99

Plating Tips from the Blue Apron Test Kitchen

We eat with our eyes first, right? There’s no need to get out the edible flowers and tweezers for a weeknight family dinner, but if you want to make a meal feel extra special, or you’re planning to take a picture, you can use a few simple tips to create a beautiful plate. These are some of the plating tips our chefs use at home.

plating tips for grain bowls
A bright bowl adds a pop of color

Choose the right plate 

Before you start arranging food, you have to choose your dinnerware. Dinner plates can range in size from 8.75 to 12 inches in diameter. In some cases, your plate might be bigger than your stomach. Choosing a smaller option can keep your plate from feeling empty. If your dinner plates are too big, try plating on a salad plate. 

Use matte plates 

This plating tip is especially important if you’re planning on photographing your food. High-shine plates can reflect light and cause glare, or, even worse, capture your own reflection. 

plating tips for pizza
Cut slices so that your dish looks ready to eat

Think about volume too 

It’s not just about the surface area of the plate, consider the height of your food too. Add visual interest by piling lettuce high or stacking a few roasted vegetables on top of each other. 

Go for a garnish 

A sprinkle of fresh herbs can add a splash of color to stews, roasted meats, or pasta dishes. For soups or breads, a drizzle of olive oil can add a beautiful sheen. Garnishes can be creative! Nuts, thinly sliced vegetables, and seeds can all add to your plate. Just make sure that the garnishes you choose are edible. 

Use garnishes to add contrasting colors

Embrace imperfection

Don’t forget: dinner is there to be eaten. If you’re photographing a serving dish, try taking a scoop out or leaving some sauce splatters on the side of the dish. This will make your photos feel relatable and authentic.

Want to try these plating tips at home? Get started with your next Blue Apron delivery.

Portion Size Guide

plate with portion sizes

Have you ever looked at the nutrition facts on a bag of chips and laughed at the number of proposed servings? Knowing how much you’re “supposed” to eat can be confusing. Serving sizes can be a helpful guide, but they’re not a hard and fast rule. Understanding how to read a nutrition label can be a good place to start when picking your portion size. 

Serving size vs. portion size 

First things first, let’s talk about the difference between a serving and a portion. A serving size is a standardized amount of food. The “serving” on a nutrition label is based on the RACC (Reference Amount Customarily Consumed), as defined by the FDA. A portion, on the other hand, is the amount of food you choose to consume. This is not necessarily the same amount as the defined serving of a given food. 

salmon portion size

Picking your portion size 

Servings sizes are developed to reflect the amount people typically eat and drink in today’s world. Tools like MyPlate use serving sizes to recommend the amount of food you should consume. Looking at servings on a nutrition facts panel and using tools like MyPlate can be helpful in determining a portion to consume, but it’s more important to be mindful of your hunger and to understand your individual dietary needs. Serving sizes are often recommend using ounces, grams or cups. If you don’t feel like measuring out your food at home, try using a cheat sheet like this one published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These reference size can help you estimate the size or quantity of a food in a serving size.

There are many factors to consider when determining how much we should eat. Personal health goals, activity level, stage of life, and current health status are just some of the factors you may want to think about. The most important consideration when planning a portion size is to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. When it comes to portions, listen to your body, and consider MyPlate’s portions as a guideline.       

Calorie needs decrease with age, but nutrient needs actually increase. Seeking out nutrient-dense calories is one of the best ways to ensure you meet nutrition goals without exceeding caloric needs. 

Get pre-portioned dinners delivered to your door here. Blue Apron, a better way to cook.

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

Gifts for People Who Like to Cook

The holidays are about two things: celebrating the people you love, and eating. Our holiday gift guide helps you combine two. Our team of test kitchen chefs picked out the best kitchen gifts for people who love to cook, whether they’ve mastered risotto or are just trying out grilled cheese. 

Kitchen Gift Ideas

Microplane 

microplane gift

I’ve gifted this to my mom and my partner, and they’ve both told me how it has revolutionized their cooking. You can use it to zest citrus, make garlic paste, and create fluffy clouds of cheese—it’s a small grater with lots of possibilities. — Annabel Epstein

Citrus squeeze 

gift for people who love to cook citrus

Being quarantined has led to a lot of at-home cocktail making sessions, which have been made significantly more enjoyable (and efficient) thanks to my citrus squeeze. From margaritas and palomas to sidecars and sours, making a big batch of drinks in a short amount of time has never been easier. This is the perfect gift for people who love cocktails. I also use it all the time for curd. Lauren Katz

11-inch Nonstick Fry Pan by Scan Pan 

nonstick frying pan gift for people who love to cook

This is one of the best nonstick pans I’ve ever used. It can brown anything, and food won’t stick. It’s also a wonderful size; it’s big enough to cook a lot, but not so large that it feels unwieldy. This is one of the best gifts for people who like to cook, or for someone who is just getting started in the kitchen. — Lisa Appleton

Prep Bowls

These bowls are my go-to kitchen gift idea. I truly believe that a set of great prep bowls will set any home cook up for success in the kitchen. They’re perfect for organizing your mise en place, and they can also double as storage containers for leftovers in the fridge. Kristen Merris-Huffman

Olive Wood Wooden Spoon 

gift for people who love to cook olive wood spoon

A good wooden spoon is one of the most underrated and versatile tools in the kitchen. It won’t damage or scrape your pans, and it’s perfect for sauteing and stirring. Durable and attractive, a sturdy wooden spoon is an essential part of the home cook’s kitchen. John Adler 

Slotted Spatula

slotted fish spatula

Also known as a fish spatula, this tool can do so much more than its name suggests. I love it for flipping pancakes, pressing down latkes, or gently scraping under the crispy cheese that starts to puddle around a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s such a precise tool that allows you to get really close to your food. This is a great gift for a cook who already owns most of the basics. Claire King

Baking Dish Set 

This set has the only two sizes of baking dish you’ll ever need. The small one is perfect for a few chicken breasts while the larger is great for a lasagna. The white ceramic is super durable and transfers heat well, while also being simple and stylish. — Diane Casner

Find these gifts and more on the Blue Apron Market.

Our Favorite DIY Edible Gift

DIY edible gift

This year, try giving the gift of an easy breakfast. DIY edible gifts are a great way to spread holiday cheer to friends, family, and co-workers. Making a big batch of granola is less expensive than buying individual gifts for large groups, and it’s practically guaranteed to be something the recipient will use. Our granola recipes are easy to prepare and package for holiday gift exchanges. 

How to make a DIY edible gift 

To get started, choose your recipe. For inspiration, check out some of our favorite homemade granola recipes. 

Recipe: Cocoa & Maple Granola with Coconut Chips & Dried Cherries

Perfect for snacking or sprinkling onto yogurt, this crunchy granola features rolled oats tossed with coconut chips, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and warming spices like cinnamon and cardamom. We’re toasting it in the oven until delightfully crisp, then finishing it off with chewy bites of dried tart cherries

Recipe: Homemade Granola Bowls with Greek Yogurt & Blueberries

This crunchy granola features rolled oats tossed with coconut flakes, almonds, and warming spices like cinnamon.

Recipe: Homemade Granola with Cardamom & Chia Seeds

This granola recipe gets a nutritional boost from buckwheat groats and chia seeds. Cardamon, maple syrup, and coconut flakes create a slightly sweet & beautifully aromatic flavor profile. 

After your granola has been prepared and cooled, it’s time to pack it up. Divide the granola into portion. We recommend giving 2-4 serving to each person, depending on how many people are in their household. 

Package your granola in clear cellophane bags or mason jars and decorate to your liking. You can close bags with ribbon curls, cover mason jar tops with decorative fabric, or even attach homemade cards. For bonus points, add some serving suggestions to your card. We love sprinkling granola over greek yogurt, or just eating it straight as a snack. 

For more DIY edible gift ideas, check out this mason jar brownie kit

How to Reuse Blue Apron Knick Knack Bottles

A Blue Apron meal kit comes with all of the ingredients you need to make a homemade dinner. Each box will contain whole produce, proteins, and a knick knack bag filled with spices, sauces, and fun flavorful toppings. Some of these things, like soy sauce and vinegar, are individually packaged in custom Blue Apron knick knack bottles.

We’re a little biased, but we think these tiny plastic bottles are just adorable. Dispose of them if you must, but you can also give them a second life at home. Here’s how we love to upcycle our knick knack bottles.

At home uses for Blue Apron knick knack bottles

use blue apron knick knack bottle to pack salad dressing

Pack a salad dressing 

If you’re packing a salad for lunch, mix up a dressing, pour it into a knick knack bottle, and pack the whole bottle along with your salad. When it’s time to eat, just give the bottle a shake and dress your salad before digging in. Packing dressing separately will keep the salad crisp until lunchtime. 

propagate plant

Propagate a plant 

Propagating plants is a rewarding at home science experiment. Start by trimming a 4 inch piece of stem from a healthy plant like a pothos. Be sure that a few leaves are included. Then, just fill a knick knack bottle with water, place the stem in water, and set the whole thing in a sunny place. New roots should sprout in about a week. After roots have sprouted, the plant can be transferred to soil. 

use knick knack bottles for shampoo

Travel-size shampoo

Pack for short trips with Blue Apron knick knack bottles. Transfer your favorite shampoo, conditioner, or body wash into these small bottles and breeze through airport security without a care in the world. 

Get started with these upcycling ideas, and then use your imagination! Some of our home cooks have shared that they’ll use knick knack bottles to pack spices or condiments for picnics and travel. You could even create a to-go cocktail kit by filling bottles with liqueurs and citrus juice and bringing them to a gathering.  

How to Clean the Bottoms of Pans (& Pots Too)

how to clean a cast iron pan

The best part about cooking in your own kitchen? A delicious, homemade meal you can be proud of. The worst part? Now you’ve got to deal with a sink full of dirty dishes. And even if you swore you only took your eyes off that pan of searing steak for just one teeny tiny second, you could end up with scorched pans, caked-on foods, or a greasy mess at the end of your kitchen session. But that grease is no match for you, your soap, or your sponge. Here’s our tried-and-true guide to how to clean the bottoms of pots and pans, no matter how dirty.

How to clean a dirty pan: boiling water method

For scorched, blackened stainless steel pans and burnt on foods, turn up the heat. Add water to your pan and bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes (don’t worry about covering the dirty sides with water – the steam will take care of that). After the food loosens and easily comes off the pan, pour out the hot water and wipe any remaining food with the scrubby part of a sponge. For glass or metal baking dishes, add boiling water and let sit for several minutes before using the scrubby side of a sponge to easily wipe away any residue.

clean a pan with stuck on food

Hot water soak

A hot water soak can loosen baked, caked on food from dishes like cheesy lasagnas or rich chocolate brownies. Fill the dish with warm to hot water right away, covering the sides. Let soak for 15-20 minutes or until food loosens. Didn’t get around to soaking your dish the moment the food left the pan? That’s ok. Add hot water later and let soak overnight. Then, wash in the morning.

Baking soda, vinegar, & lemon juice

clean a pan with baking soda

Head to your pantry to get your pots and pans extra clean and shiny. Baking soda, distilled white vinegar and fresh lemon juice are a triple cleansing threat. Add a dash of baking soda or vinegar during the boil method to help clean scorched saucepans. Soak pots, baking dishes or cookie sheets in hot to boiling water with baking soda and fresh lemon juice for an accelerated clean. Rub half a lemon around the bottom and sides of stainless steel cookware for extra shine; rinse and let air dry. Finally, a squirt of vinegar followed by a rinse of water is great for removing any residual odors.

How to clean the bottom of a pan

Vinegar and baking soda are a great way to brighten up the darkened bottoms of a used pan

For the really tough stuff, try adding a dash of store bought cleansing powders like Bon Ami, Zud or Bar Keepers Friend. Don’t feel like heading to the store? Use Alka-Seltzer (really)! To help loosen stuck on foods and lift stains, add hot water and a tab or two of Alka-Seltzer or other effervescent to your dish.

how to clean a cast iron pan

Cleaning cast iron pans

Everyone wants to know: How do you actually clean cast iron? If there is one thing to remember, it’s to never use abrasive sponges! It will ruin the seasoning (the oil-treated surface that protects the pan and your food). Instead, rinse your cast iron with hot or boiling water. If there is still anything stuck to it, use kosher salt, warm water and a soft sponge to loosen residue and rinse again. After the dish is totally dry, run some vegetable oil in a thin layer onto the bottoms and sides to keep it lubricated and prevent rusting.

Wash wood by hand using regular dish detergent– don’t place in the dishwasher. If your wooden spoons have stains from a curry or tomato sauce, wash and let air dry in the sun to take out some of the smell and color.

Keep copper away from water and regular soap or else it will oxidize (turn your beautiful cookware green)! Instead, dip your copper in boiled water with a good amount of vinegar or use the vinegar-water solution to wipe the copper clean.

Prevention

To prevent hard-to-clean dishes in the first place, keep your eye on the stove! Line pans with aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper or use a nonstick cooking spray for certain recipes to avoid the sticking of any food that will later burn to the dish. Watch the food in your pots and pans – make sure the temperature isn’t too high and stir occasionally to avoid future cleaning problems. And dry your food thoroughly before searing. Wet or even slightly damp proteins (think chicken, beef, etc.) will stick to your pan!

But if your chow does start to burn or appear to cake on, you can still save yourself from cleaning a mess. First, lower the heat and throw a little water onto your pot, pan or dish if you can. Then, make sure to stir and scrape down the sides of your pan or pot with a wooden spoon (especially when filled with stews, soups or sauces) or wipe any splatters on baking sheets or dishes that are going into the oven. Liquids or splatters will cook off and leave markings. The longer the markings stay on the side under heat means they will caramelize, brown, blacken and burn.

Easy Beach Food Ideas For Everyone

beach food picnic
Make sure olives are pitted

Going to the beach is supposed to be relaxing, but sometimes planning for a day of doing nothing can be surprisingly stressful. Your whole beach crew needs sun protection, a prime spot on the sand, and of course, the perfect beach food. That last item can get a little tricky—some foods are better suited for the beach than others. To make relaxing a little easier, here’s a rundown of the best foods to bring to the beach. 

To be a good beach treat, a snack needs to check a few basic boxes. The key elements of an oceanside lunch are: 

A beach food needs to travel well

From cooler, to car, to shore, it might be hours from when you pack your lunch to the time you dig in. The best beach foods should be able to hold up to the heat, and maybe even improve as they sit. This means no temperature sensitive items. Sorry, but poke is off the menu. 

Find a snack that doesn’t produce trash

The goal here is to make things easier. You don’t want to spend your day at the beach keeping track of wrappers or other refuse, and you certainly don’t want to leave anything behind on the pristine sands. If you plan ahead, this should be easy to solve for. Just pit any cherries before you pack them, slice a watermelon and discard the rind, and avoid individually wrapped snacks. 

Focus on refreshing foods

Hours out in the heat can be depleting, even if you’re just lounging. Fresh foods with a high water content and salty foods to replace lost electrolytes will keep you frolicking in the waters all afternoon. Of course, we can’t deny the pleasure of a stealthy glass or rosé or a pre-made cocktail, even if it makes you a little sleepy. Just make sure to bring along plenty of water. 

Highly recommended: 

Pre-cut fruit 

Some fruits will travel better than others. Raspberries are lovely, but are a little delicate for the beach. Strawberries with the tops trimmed off will transport well and be easy to eat. Be sure to remove any pits or peels before packing your fruit, lest you be burdened with scraps to throw away. Sliced apples may oxidize slightly, but will still be fine to eat. If you don’t like the appearance of browning, toss them in lemon juice before packing. Grapes are also a great choice.

watermelon is a good beach food

Potato chips 

Any chip will work, but potato chips are the perfect salty treat to satisfy cravings and encourage you to drink water. They’re delicious on their own, which means you don’t have to fuss with any potentially messy dips or salsas. 

Cheese and crackers

If you’re aiming for a sophisticated vibe, throw some soft cheeses in a cooler. They’ll keep well, and are delicious at room temperature. Be sure to pack the requisite tools. Having a knife, plate, and napkins will make things infinitely easier. 

Pressed sandwiches

Eventually, you may crave a more substantial meal. That’s when it’s time to bust out the sandwiches. When packing the perfect beach sandwich, the secret is in the bread. A sliced sandwich-style bread can get soft and soggy over time. A hearty baguette or ciabatta will absorb flavors and only grow more delicious. A pressed sandwich like a cuban or a pan bagnat is the ultimate travel hero—even if it ends up squished under a book, it will just enhance the flavor.   

Looking for more travel treats? Try our favorite snack for road trips.

Decorate Your Table with Origami Lobster

The food is delicious, the wine is chilled, and the guests are on their way. It’s time to set the table! If you’re hosting a dinner party, why not give the place settings the same love that you gave to all the other details? Sometimes it’s the tiny extras that make a night memorable. 

origami lobster place setting
Origami lobster place setting

This summer, we’re obsessed with lobster rolls. Our lobster box makes preparing a feast easy. For extra fun, try decking out your table with these festive origami lobster. 

If you’ve ever made a paper crane, this design will be easy. Just fold neatly, have confidence, and follow the steps below. 

origami lobster step 1

1. Start with a square sheet of paper. If you’re using origami paper, the colored side should face down. 

origami lobster step 2

2. Fold the paper in half to form a triangle. Press down on the fold to form a crease. 

3. Fold the two corners together to form a smaller triangle. Press down on the fold to form a crease. 

4. With the folded edge facing to the right, lift the top half of the triangle, open it, and press it flat, as shown. 

5. Repeat on the other side. The paper should now look like a square.

6. Position your new square on the table so that the folded corner is facing up. Take the right hand corner and fold it so that the edge of the paper is aligned vertically with the center. Make a crease and unfold. Repeat with the left hand corner.

7.  Take the top corner and fold it down to the center point to form a crease. Unfold.

8. Flip the square over, and repeat step 6 on the other side. 

9. Lift up a flap from the bottom corner. Press the flap open and flatten it. It should fold along the creased lines that you formed in steps 7 and 8. 

10. Repeat step 9 on the other sign. The paper should now be shaped like a thin diamond. 

turn folds of origami lobster

11. Take the right hand corner and open it like you’re turning the page of a book. Repeat this process on the other side. The paper will now resemble a kite with two arms at the top. 

origami lobster arm

12. To form the claws of the lobster, grab one of the arms at the top. Fold the tip of the arm behind and out to the side, so that it forms a 90º angle with the centerline. Repeat with the other arm. 

origami lobster claw

13. To form the pinchers, take the tip of the arm again. Fold the tip directly up and press down to flatten, as shown above. 

folding origami lobster

14. Fold the long edges of the torso back, and tuck them inside of the body to form a thinner kite shape. 

15. To form the shell of the lobster, lift up the bottom flap of the body. Fold pleats into the body to resemble the ridges of a lobster shell. Press down to crease, and unfold. 

cut the origami lobster

16. Flip the lobster over, and use scissors to cut the back flap only. Cut up to the center of the torso. 

create origami lobster legs

17. Fold the two newly formed flaps outward to create the bottom legs of the lobster. They should be at a 90º angle with the body. 

origami lobster legs

18. Flip the lobster over again. Fold the tip of the bottom legs behind the paper so that they point directly up. 

completed origami lobster

20. Use a sharpie to add eyes to your completed origami lobster, if you wish. 

Create one origami lobster to set on each plate, or scatter them across the table for a festive touch.

3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cast Iron Skillet

Perhaps no piece of cookware is more iconic—or dependable—than the cast iron pan. This tried-and-true workhorse is beloved for its durability and versatility; you can fry, grill, sauté, braise or bake in it. Best of all, with proper care, cast iron actually improves with use. Below, we break down how to maintain it.

How to clean a cast iron skillet

After use, wipe your skillet clean, then rinse under hot running water. Scrub off stuck-on debris with salt and a damp towel. Contrary to popular belief, it’s fine to use a little soap on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. The seasoning on a cast iron pan is polymerized oil, which won’t be broken down by a few suds.

Should you dry a cast iron skillet?

Yes. Immediately and thoroughly dry your pan with a towel. Leaving the pan damp or leaving it in water in it can lead to rusting.

*If your pan rusts, not all is lost! To bring a rusted pan back to life, bake at 450ºF for about an hour, then remove from the oven and carefully rub with oil and a paper towel to loosen and wipe out the rust. Scrub out any remaining rust with salt, then rinse, dry and carefully rub with an oiled paper towel.

How to season a cast iron pan

Use a paper towel to evenly coat the inside of the pan with a small amount of vegetable or canola oil. Use enough oil to give the inside of the pan a nice sheen, but not so much that it feels sticky. Heat the pan gently in the oven or over the stove top, just until is starts to lightly smoke. Let it cool, and put it away until next time.

If you won’t be using your cast iron pan for a while, it’s important to heat the pan to help the oil form a protective seal with the iron. Place the pan on the stovetop and heat on high for a few minutes, until hot and the oil starts to smoke lightly. Remove from heat; when cool enough to handle, carefully wipe out the pan with a dry rag. Let cool completely before storing.

Pick up a cast iron pan of your very own at the Blue Apron Marketplace.

Essential Kitchen Tools

If you’re new to cooking, or moving into your own place for the first time, you’re probably wondering what you need in your kitchen. If the kitchen aisle of your local homegoods store feels overwhelming, we’re here to help. These are the basic tools that every cook should own. Once you have the essentials, you’re free to daydream about fancy blenders or specialty appliances.

A chef’s knife

A chef’s knife is a true workhorse, and no kitchen is complete without it. In our version, an 8.2” blade makes a knife that’s versatile enough every day use, but formidable enough to break down a chicken. The handle is made from composite wood. This knife will make slicing, chopping, and carving a cinch. After use, hand wash and wipe dry to prevent rusting.

A cutting board

To make the most of your knife, you’ll need a cutting board. We love this beautiful wooden cutting board for prepping vegetables. Cut meat on a non-porous material, like plastic or silicone.

Tongs

We use our tongs for tossing salad, flipping large pieces of protein, and serving just about anything. A good pair of tongs will feel like an extension of your own two hands. Our favorite set of tongs is this smooth silicone-tipped pair, available in both 9 inch and 12 inch (we have both).

Wooden spoon

No tool in the kitchen can replace the humble wooden spoon. A wooden spoon is strong enough to scrape up sticky caramelized fond, but soft enough that it won’t scrape a nonstick pan. Wood doesn’t conduct heat as quickly as a metal. That means that you can stir a pot of boiling soup without worrying about a scalding hot handle. If you’re in the comfort of your own home, you can use your wooden spoon to sneak a taste. You’ll be less likely to burn your mouth. 

Ladle

A ladle doesn’t have to be fancy. It’s just a simple way to transfer liquid from one vessel to another. No need to risk sloshing soup all over the counter while pouring out of a heavy pot.

Whisk

When it’s time to emulsify a dressing, beat an egg, or combine dry ingredients for baking, you’ll need a whisk. A solid whisk will make thorough mixing a joyful task. A bit of an upper body workout is just an added bonus.

Spatula

The word ‘spatula’ can be used to describe multiple tools. We love our favorite fish spatula for flipping everything from filets to pancakes, but you can’t beat a silicone spatula for scraping the sides of a bowl. 

Nonstick pan

A great nonstick pan will spare you frustration in the kitchen. For certain foods that are prone to sticking, like fresh fish and fried eggs, a nonstick pan will make all the difference between transferring your seared flounder filet to your plate in one piece and leaving too many scraps stuck to the pan.

Cast iron pan

Perhaps no piece of cookware is more iconic—or dependable—than the cast iron pan. This tried-and-true kitchen staple is beloved for its durability and versatility: you can fry, sauté, braise or bake in it. Best of all, with proper care, cast iron actually improves with use. Below, we break down how to maintain it.

A Microplane

What do shaved chocolate, garlic paste, and freshly-grated Parmesan have in common? Two things: they’re all ingredients that can finish a dish with a powerful punch of flavor, and they can all be easily created at home with a Microplane. 

A baking sheet

A baking sheet is an irreplaceable tool for tasks like baking cookies, roasting vegetables, or preparing sheet pan dinners. A simple aluminum half sheet (or quarter sheet, for those with small ovens), is an essential item that you’ll find yourself using almost every day. 

A Dutch oven

We’d love to recommend a whole set of pots: large ones for pasta, medium for sauce, small for grains, and a few others just for fun. If we must recommend just one, nothing compares to the versatility and durability of a heavy bottomed dutch oven. A good Dutch oven can bubble happily on the stovetop as a vessel for soups or stews. Wash it out, and use it in the oven for baking bread or long, slow braises.