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Ina Garten's 7 Favorite Kitchen Items That Are Surprisingly Affordable

Follow the Barefoot Contessa's lead and add these must-haves to your cart.

The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

When it comes to investing in cookware, knives, and other essential kitchen tools—who better to get recommendations from than a pro chef like Ina Garten, host of the beloved Food Network show Barefoot Contessa and best-selling cookbook author? Fortunately for all of us home cooks, she's shared some of her favorite kitchen tools over the years. And you may be surprised by the price tag on some of them. Here are seven of her go-to items that are surprisingly affordable.

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Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Lodge cast iron skillet on white background

Everyone needs a cast iron skillet in their arsenal—these versatile pans can be used on the stovetop to make scrambled eggs, in the oven to roast a chicken, or even on the grill to get lightly charred veggies. Because cast iron absorbs and distributes heat evenly, and retains heat incredibly well, it ensures consistent, beautifully browned results.

And you don't have to shell out a lot for a good cast iron skillet, either. In fact, Garten's favorite pick—which she lists on her website—is the budget-friendly Lodge Skillet, which ranges from $9.95 to $59.95 depending on the size. This durable skillet is easy to care for, preseasoned, and only gets better with time.

In case you need one more reason to add it to your cart, you can use this skillet to make Garten's drool-worthy Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions.

Apilco Porcelain Crème Brûlée Ramekins

Apilco Porcelain Crème Brûlée Ramekin on white background
Williams Sonoma

You can't create a killer crème brûlée without the right ramekins. And when Garten is making her famous Chocolate Crème Brûlée, she reaches for the ultra-durable, commercial-grade Apilco Porcelain Crème Brûlée Ramekins. We know this because she listed it as one of her favorite products right on her website.

Crafted in France, they feature traditional fluted edges, wide and shallow proportions to ensure the custard cooks evenly without ever overbaking, and a large surface area for perfectly caramelized crust. Did we mention they're microwaveable, as well as oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe? And to boot, they only cost $19.95 each.

These aren't just for crème brûlée, either—you can also use them to make individual fruit crisps.

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner

OXO salad spinner on white background

The OXO Salad Spinner has garnered thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon, so it's no wonder that Garten included it on her list of favorite equipment.

Between the convenient one-handed, slip-free operation, and patented break that stops in an instant, this handy gadget makes washing your greens a breeze. You can even separate the components to use the basket as a colander, or the modern translucent bowl for serving salads. It's easy to stack this bowl when it's not in use thanks to the flat lid, and it couldn't be easier to disassemble for cleaning.

Also worth noting? The spinner is BPA-free and (top rack) dishwasher safe—and costs just $30.

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PepperMate Traditional Pepper Mill

Red PepperMate pepper mill on white background

When Garten shared an Instagram video detailing how she makes homemade croutons, a follower asked what pepper mill she used—and thankfully, Garten happily offered up her top pick.

"My pepper mill is called PepperMate and it's the best," she wrote. How's that for an endorsement?

The PepperMate Traditional Pepper Mill is just $33 on Amazon. It's super simple to load thanks to the large opening, and it holds a lot more peppercorns than many other mills (which means you have to refill it less often). Reviewers also note that it's a cinch to adjust the coarseness of the pepper—even while you're in the middle of cooking.

Kuhn Rikon Straight Peeler

A white peeler on a wood background next to a carrot
Williams Sonoma

You might be surprised to find out that Garten swears by a product that costs only $5: The Kuhn Rikok Straight Peeler. This peeler is a best-seller for a reason: It can be used right or left-handed, features a carbon-steel blade that stays sharp, and even includes a potato-eye remover on the side.

By the way—according to Garten, you should be replacing your vegetable peeler every 12 months. That's all the more reason not to spend a lot on it!

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Stretch-tite Wrap'N Snap 7500 Dispenser

Stretch-tite Wrap'N Snap Dispenser

During a video interview for The New York Times—in which she offered a peek inside her kitchen and pantry—Garten admitted that she can't live without her Stretch-tite Wrap'N Snap Dispenser.

This contraption slices through plastic wrap cleanly and safely, so there's no more need for "fighting with the box," as Garten puts it. You can keep it in a drawer, or right on your countertop—it's a lot more sleek looking than most plastic wrap boxes.

"I use it all the time," she said of the item that sells for $43 on Amazon.

Olio Santo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Three bottles of Olio Santo extra virgin olive oil
Cassandra's Kitchen

A high-quality olive oil is essential in any home kitchen. Whether you're sautéing, roasting, or grilling, it imparts a distinctly rich and fruity flavor into everything you cook. Good olive oil can get pricey, but Ina Garten's favorite is the Olio Santo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is reasonably priced at $26.95 per bottle.

This olive oil is harvested from Napa Valley and cold-pressed in small batches to ensure optimal flavor—and dated so you know it's as fresh as possible.

In addition to cooking with it, you can also incorporate it into salad dressings and marinades. You'll definitely need it when you whip up Garten's Tomato and Eggplant Soup, or Chicken Marbella.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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