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The Frugal Girl’s Favorite Kitchen Equipment

I’ve shared a lot of my favorite kitchen tools over the years, but my recommendations are sprinkled all over my blog, which is not all that convenient for you.

So, I thought it would be handy to pull together all of my favorite kitchen gear into one spot.

(It’s a work in progress, so it’s not at all comprehensive at the moment!   Bear with me.)

My Favorite Kitchen Equipment

Small Tools

  • Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper This is a great helping hand for the early stages of kneading and is also super useful for scraping dough off the counter after kneading.

Baking Pans

grease pan and sprinkle with cornmeal

  • Vollrath Cookie Sheet This cookie sheet is CRAZY heavy duty, has no air insulation (yay!) and the light surface won’t burn your baked goods. Love.
  • CIA Cooling Rack   I own two of these, and I love ’em. They fit perfectly in my half sheet pans and the cross wires are so close together, nothing sags between the wires while cooling.

Stovetop Pots and Pans

I don’t really use nonstick pots and pans both because I feel a little bit nervous about the off-gassing they do and because the finish always wears off even on expensive nonstick pans.

Instead, I use stainless steel and cast iron pans, both of which should last me a lifetime.

Cast Iron

I own two cast iron pans, neither of which are expensive.

I’ve had my little $15 8 inch Lodge skillet for years.   It’s the perfect size for frying an egg or two, heating up a few pieces of sausage, or cooking a little bit of bacon.   I use it pretty much every day!

My large 12-inch cast iron frying pan came from Aldi.   They usually have cast iron pans once a year, so snap one up if you see them!

This Lodge L12SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet, 13.25-inch is similar, though.

Stainless Steel

For stainless steel, I like All-Clad.   They’re so expensive, but they’re such great quality, I feel they are worth the price.   Rather than buy a boxed set, I’ve built my collection piece by piece so that I only have the pots and pans I REALLY want.

All-Clad 8 quart Stockpot with Lid (4508)

I love this pot.   I own the 8 quart size, which is large enough for a gallon of yogurt or a family-size pot of soup.

how to make tasty chicken broth

The handles are perfect, and the rounded lip makes it very simple to pour liquids out of the pot.   It heats evenly and even when I make yogurt, I don’t have burnt milk on the bottom of the pan!

All-Clad 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid (41226)

I got this as a birthday present some years back, and I use it all the time. It doesn’t warp, it heats evenly, and has great browning power.

Definitely spring for the version with the lid, which has come in handy multiple times for me.

All-Clad 2-Quart Saucepan (4202)

This is my newest pot: an adorable 2 quart size which is super-duper handy for small jobs.   I love it to pieces!

all clad 2 quart saucepan


Amazon links are affiliate links.   I receive a small kickback for any item purchased through affiliate links, always at no cost to you.   I only recommend products I use and love in my own kitchen.

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Wednesday 20th of May 2015

Love this list! Another All-Clad pan I would totally recommend if people are on a budget and getting their very first All-Clad is the Weeknight Pan. It's the only one I have and it's kind of like a hybrid between a saute pan with a skillet, it comes with a lid, and is pretty well-priced as far as AC goes (at one point Amazon had it for $150, that's when I got it). It's awesome for "one-pot meals" where you want to fit a bunch of pasta or rice in the skillet along with the meat and veggies.

I haven't tried cast iron yet... I kind of have no more room in my kitchen for a pan that's too heavy to hang on the wall, and I'm also scared of it. So I still have a nonstick pan for things like eggs and browning potatoes (for some reason sometimes potatoes work fine in my stainless and sometimes not... probably when I'm rushing and not getting it hot enough). But I also hate how quickly they wear out!!


Saturday 20th of April 2019

I keep cast iron in my oven. I tale it out when cooking, but if you forget before preheating it doesn't get damaged like others. Just remember to use mitts/pads to remove.


Tuesday 19th of May 2015

I will add about All-Clad (or other stainless steel)... I have been slowing switching from non-stick to All-Clad for same reasons, want to cook without coating flaking off, etc. I have always heard that different cookware types require different cooking methods -- for food to tase good/cook well AND for cookware to stay in good shape. So, I have been doing a lot of research as I have been changing to All-Clad ...on internet and at stores where I have bought my pots and pans. I am still learning, but one thing that is different ---- with non-stick you put in butter/oil first, then heat. With stainless steel it is the opposite. I was terrified to cook eggs in my All-Clad skillet for weeks, did not want to damage the expensive, beautiful pot!! But, finally afr doing research, felt some courage and did it worked fine!!! No sticking. I have sauteed chicken also, just fine. A few tines I did have heat too high (do not need to cook as high with stainless), and chicken stuck a little. But, can pour some chicken stock over it, turn up heat to boiling and slowly scrape off with wooden spoon. If it still does not come off, use Bar Keeper's Friend and scub in circles. I am still learning, but that is what I know so far. (Watching cooking videos on internet really helped me to see all the subtle things you need to do when cooking with stainless.) I love my stainless, and even more so now that I am brave enough to actually cook with it ;)


Tuesday 19th of May 2015

I'm on board with cast iron. I've had the same two cast iron pans since I was in my early 20s. For those keeping count, that's (OMYGOSH) about 40 years. I have a lid that fits both. Properly seasoned and taken care of, they will never stick. I also have a cast iron dutch oven, which I adore. Kristen, I bought the loaf pans that you recommended, and they're SO worth the money.


Tuesday 19th of May 2015 probably answered this somewhere, but since I can't find it... my husband likes nonstick. A lot. I hate it, but haven't found anything that isn't nonstick that would satisfy him. I have some stainless steel pots, but stuff sticks really bad and it is really hard to get clean. How does the 12 in pan with lid compare to nonstick?


Tuesday 19th of May 2015

Yeah, I am really not a fan of nonstick. The only nonstick cookware I still have is my big electric griddle.

For most nonstick needs, I have two cast-iron skillets. I linked to what I've got here:

They're a little heavy (especially the 12-inch one), but once they're nicely seasoned, they work even for things like crepes and eggs. To me, avoiding nonstick is worth the extra work of lifting the pans (I just HATE the way nonstick pans flake and peel, no matter how expensive they are!)

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