Kitchen tools

The Best Multi-Purpose Cookware and Cooking Utensils

Giovanna Chung/KCM

Achieve the streamlined efficiency of Michelin star cuisine and save money in the process.

Even the luckiest of us can sometimes suffer from lack of counter space. We especially need it when making super complicated recipes that use multiple pots or pans. Or, when we’re planning to throw a party and want to whip up a ton of great food while making sure our kitchens look enviably minimalist. Not to mention that some of us may be downsizing as we look forward to retirement (speaking of which, if you’re thinking of retiring to a new city, we’ve got some advice on best places to retire and the healthiest communities so you can be ready for your next adventure).

If you’re currently hoping to refresh your kitchen utensil collection but are worried about accidentally storing too many single-use gadgets that will clutter up your space, we’ve got 10 multi-use contenders. Each item on this list serves at least two purposes – think of each as a kind of kitchen swiss army knife. We’ve got versatile pots and pans, organizational tools, and a surprisingly adaptable French press. And, if saving money is your goal, buying two (or more) gadgets in one is a really simple way to make your kitchen more profitable.

To make things even better, these picks are very aesthetically pleasing – if you choose to leave them on your counter, they’ll act as elegant and graceful talking points. Get ready to receive some serious compliments.

Once you’re well-equipped and organized, you can focus on the star of the show: the food. If you’re in love with the gorgeous Dutch oven, we’ve got a beef bourguignon recipe and classic spaghetti sauce (whatever you choose, your home will smell surprising). If you’re into cookware, try this delicious Jake Cohen Zucchini Bread Recipe. Oh, and if choosing multi-use kitchen utensils inspired an organizational boost, you can also take a look at our favorite eco-friendly food storage options.

The Always Pan

A bright blue nonstick skillet with a long handle pictured in front of a blue background.

You know, we had to start with the Always Pan. This famous skillet can replace your frying pan, sauté pan, steamer, frying pan, saucepan, saucepan, non-stick pan and spoon rest. Plus, we have to brag that KCM staffer Katie Pittman has discovered a ninth secret app: she uses her steamer basket as a strainer. And if you like to keep the kitchen colourful, the Always Pan is also incredibly pretty – it comes in spicy red, luscious berry pink and poppy periwinkle (among other colors).

Buy here: $145

Fellow Stagg Electric Kettle

A modern, totally white electric kettle pictured in a kitchen full of leafy plants.

This minimalist electric kettle is ideal for heating water for your morning pour or your evening cup of tea. But the kettle has an added benefit: it can hold water at a certain temperature if you need it for a complicated recipe (we’re looking at you, risotto). If you are an ill-prepared home gardener, you can also use it as an ad hoc (non-judgmental) watering can. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed, this kettle is understated but beautiful – one reviewer describes it as “European” and another says: “It’s beautiful – the matte finish and wooden accents are so lovely. “

Buy here: $165

Instant Pot

A metal Instant Pot with black accents shown in front of a white background.

If you haven’t invested in an Instant Pot yet, allow us to totally revitalize your life. This 7-in-1 pressure cooker acts as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, stir-fry, yogurt maker, warmer and sterilizer. You get the convenience of a slow cooker, but the food comes together much faster. The Instant Pot is great for soups, stews, beans, rice, and even hard-boiled eggs – the sky’s the limit. If you don’t know where to look for inspiration, this purchase also includes an app with over 1900 recipes, so you’ll find dozens of exciting new signature dishes.

Buy here: $67

Our Place Dinnerware Set

A set of 4 rectangular bakeware nests inside the larger bakeware.

This exquisite dinnerware set is the absolute pinnacle of storage maximization. The set “includes an ultra-versatile oven pan for baking and roasting that also functions as a griddle… a trio of stoneware baking dishes and a non-toxic, reusable oven mat.” All pieces fit together like a puzzle and together replace your baking sheet, cookie sheet, griddle, roasting pan, loaf pan, lasagna pan, baking dish, gratin dish and single-use parchment paper. KCM’s Maggie Parker had never used a reusable oven mat before (and it took her a little while to figure out what that cute rubber sheet was for), but now she doesn’t know how she ever lived without it. . Her husband is very grateful for the reduction in cleaning greased baking sheets that has resulted.

Buy here: $195

Five Two Silicone Baking Mat

A pair of hands pushes a wooden rolling pin through a ball of dough which rests on a dark blue silicone baking mat.

If you’re tired of running through aluminum foil and parchment paper, it might be time to get a silicone baking mat. This mat acts as a baking sheet liner so you can dispose of excess waste. Plus, it can be used to roll out dough, and the squares are great for measuring size. You can also roll or fold it to fit in a tight space. Critics love it; one exclaims that “so far I’ve used them for baking cookies, as a boundary for several toddler kitchen activities, and for rolling out dough.” They are easy to work with, adapt perfectly to my half plates and are very easy to clean. Highly recommend!”

Buy here: $15

Bread box with cutting board lid

A loaf of bread rests on the wooden cutting board that doubles as a lid for a white metal bread box that sits in the background.

If you’re a bread lover, this one’s for you: a bread box with a utility cutting board lid. The white metal box is a nice neutral while the wooden lid adds a slightly homey vibe. The bread box includes ventilation holes to keep your bread soft and fresh, and “the natural bamboo lid can also be used to serve appetizers, cheese, or charcuterie boards.” Reviewers say this bread box is small enough to store in a pantry but cute enough to leave out as a decorative accent.

Buy here: $33

Cutting board Meal prep station

A wooden prep station has a chopping board on top that's strewn with vegetables and four clear plastic compartments below that hold chopped vegetables alongside four grater attachments.

For those of us who really need organizational help in the kitchen, this prep station will come to the rescue. A wooden chopping board rests on four drawers that will easily hold your chopped ingredients. It also includes practical grater accessories and handles for easy transport. Plus, there are grooves to catch any excess juice if you’re cutting water-rich fruits or vegetables. Reviewers also say it’s a great choice for a housewarming gift.

Buy here: $46

8 cup measuring cup

An 8 cup clear glass liquid measuring cup with a handle and pour spout is shown in front of a white background.

If you’re currently getting by with just a few small measuring cups, we highly recommend an upgrade. This eight-cup measuring cup is great for big kitchen projects like making pancake batter for all your Sunday brunch needs. Plus, this measuring cup is large enough to use as a mixing bowl, so you’ll be sure to save counter space. One reviewer even uses this mug to steep tea, and we totally agree with that approach.

Buy here: $14

Caraway Dutch Stew

A sage green dutch oven with metal handles is shown in front of a white background.

If you’re not on the dutch oven bandwagon, now’s the time to jump on board. This pan can be used on the stovetop, but it can also be easily transferred to the oven. It has a ceramic coated interior that is non-toxic and very easy to clean. One reviewer exclaims that this is “the best dutch oven we’ve ever owned. So easy to clean and the color is everything! It’s so amazing to sit in our kitchen. I want all the sets in this style! Obsessed!”

Buy here: $135

French press

A clear glass French press with a clear handle and a metal lid and strainer is shown in front of a white background.

This French press features a modern, clean design that will look stylish in your kitchen, but it also stands out in the small details. For one thing, it’s made from “borosilicate glass, known as lab glass, to keep your coffee hot long after brewing.” It also has a clear handle which reviewers say is an added touch of elegance. If you’re not a coffee lover, this French press will brew all the loose leaf tea you need. We’re also happy to say that if you have a milk frother, you can use it as a container for all your froth.

Buy here: $15