I Learned to Cook From My Mom, And These Are the Kitchen Tools She Swears By

With a family of six, you need reliable kitchen equipment.

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Mom's Kitchen Picks Tout
Photo: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Like many, I am blessed to have a mom who is not only a really good home cook, but she also simply loves to make meals and treats for family and loved ones, too. That combination made our family dinners special, whether she made our comfort rice-meat casserole or experimented with a new recipe from Ina Garten or Ree Drummond. However, cooking for a family of six every night comes with its challenges.

While visiting my mom at home recently, I asked how she was able to keep up with feeding four kids on a busy schedule—especially with two boys who had an aversion to most produce. With a chuckled, "I honestly don't know," we reminisced on favorite recipes while I took note of her tips, techniques, and the kitchen tools that got her through each meal.

Even as a shopping editor who screens several products a day, I still have a bias towards whatever tried-and-true products my mom loves—especially when it comes to kitchen utensils. Ahead, shop the must-have kitchen appliances, cookware, and tools my mother swears by. After all, mom knows best, right?

Le Creuset Signature Braiser

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Braiser
Courtesy of Amazon

Without hesitation, my mom said the Le Creuset Signature Braiser is her absolute favorite item in her kitchen. The enameled cast iron braiser functions like a shallow Dutch oven, so you can sauté vegetables, whip up sauces, brown meats, and more without using a large, deep-set pot. My mom uses it for stir fries, spaghetti sauce, chicken Florentine, since she can transfer it from stovetop to oven to table.

Oxo Good Grips Wooden Turner

OXO Good Grips Wooden Turner
Courtesy of Amazon

In lieu of using stainless steel utensils that scratch most pans, my mom swears by this wooden turner because it's tough enough to break up ground meat, but still gentle enough for nonstick and enameled cast iron. "It's the only one that works," my mom said, later adding that silicone spatulas aren't sturdy enough for ground meat. She also uses it to stir sauces and flip omelets.

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

If you're cooking for a family, one-pot meals are not only a huge time saver, they're also some of the most comforting dishes—think, chilis, stews, and pulled pork. My mom uses the Crock-Pot slow cooker when she wants to come home to a ready-made meal. She simply throws in the ingredients, sets the temperature, and serves dinner a few hours later.

Microplane Rasp Grater

Microplane® Rasp Grater
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

My mom's favorite ingredient is lemon. Along with the juice, she insists on zesting lemons, even if the recipe doesn't call for it. This grater gets used every day in her kitchen, because it transforms each dish from yummy to totally mouth-watering, whether she zests lemons, limes, oranges, or even parmesan wedges.

Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle

Presto 07047 Cool Touch Electric Griddle
Courtesy of Amazon

As you can imagine, making a full breakfast for six can require using several skillets, casserole dishes, and sheet pans. But when my mom invested in an electric griddle, Sunday breakfasts were suddenly made on one surface. From pancakes to eggs to bacon to hashbrowns, this electric griddle makes it all and is easy to clean thanks to its nonstick surface.

Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma Fish Spatula

Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma Fish Spatula
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Contradictory to her previous hesitation over stainless steel utensils, this fish spatula happens to be her one exception. Its thin stainless steel structure is sturdy, making it easy to grab delicate fish without breaking the filets. She only uses it on stainless steel or non-enameled cast iron skillets.

Oxo Good Grips Nonstick Pro Half Sheet Pan

OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet
Courtesy of Amazon

Sheet pans are essential in any kitchen for baking, roasting vegetables, and making one-pan dinners. She's replaced her sheet pans a few times over the years, but she loves this brand because it's slick, easy to clean, and has high rims that are effortless to grab from the oven.

Le Creuset Mini Cocotte

Le Creuset Stoneware Mini Round Cocotte
Courtesy of Amazon

Instead of reaching for a box of seasoning every time she cooks, my mom uses the Le Creuset mini cocottes as salt and pepper bowls right next to her stove. She said that the cocottes save her "so much time" and makes seasoning dinners a pinch.

Evelots Mini Silicone Spatulas Set of Six

Evelots Mini Spatulas
Courtesy of Amazon

Whether my mom is mixing together a salad dressing, scrambling eggs, or whipping up a glaze, she grabs a mini silicone spatula to do the task. It's more versatile than larger spatulas because it's easier to control, and you can use it in smaller dishes for things like dipping sauces.

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