Official winter is just around the corner, and it’s time to get serious about soup-making. For the cooks in your life — and you! — I have the ultimate gift guide for soup lovers, assembled from my years and years of cooking soup and being super picky about the items that get a permanent spot in my kitchen. These are my very favorite tools, small appliances, and cookware!
This post contains affiliate links to tools, appliances, and cookware that I’ve purchased and used in my own kitchen. If you click through and make a purchase — thank you! — I earn a small commission that helps keep the lights on around this soupie joint.
Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set
I’m not sure if you can actually fall in love with a set of measuring spoons, but if not, this is pretty dang close. Glancing through the first couple of pages of spoons on Amazon, I think I’ve used most of them, lol. But this set from Cuisipro is an absolute keeper. Not only are they sleek, elegant, and display-worthy, but they have these features: all but the tablespoon fit in retail spice jars (and the tablespoon does fit my adorable spice jars). They sit flat on the counter, so you can pre-fill them with spices or liquids and set them down without spilling. They’re stainless steel so they clean up beautifully.
Cuisipro Odd Size Measuring Spoons
The companion set to the measuring spoons above, it features measurements like 2 teapsoons and a “pinch.” The set comes in extra handy for baking.
CIA Masters Collection Stainless Steel 4-Piece Measuring Cup Set
Like my measuring spoons, I’m completely smitten with this set of measuring cups, which I’ve had for 6 or 7 years. In addition to being beautiful, they are, above all else, accurate — accuracy is surprisingly absent from so many measuring cups. Another really important feature that you don’t notice until it’s too late: each cup and handle surface is perfectly flat, so when you go to level off that cup of flour, you can do it in one smooth swipe.
Pyrex 4-cup Measuring Cup
The XXL version of the classic 1-cup glass measuring cup comes in handy for whisking up salad dressings and marinades, and measuring out broths and stocks for your soup.
One of the few truly indispensable tools in the kitchen, the Microplane makes
fast work of zesting citrus, grating fresh nutmeg, ginger, and garlic, and creating fine shreds of Parm. Easy to use, easy to clean.
I use this tool all the time to transfer cooked pasta and noodles into my soups. It has more uses than that, of course, but its use for soup means that it’s one of the half dozen or so tools that sit next to my stove at all times.
Salter Aquatronic Glass Electronic Kitchen Scale
Although more commonly used for baking, a kitchen scale comes in handy on a number of fronts (including US/metric measurement conversions). In fact, if more folks had a scale in their kitchen, I would do all of my soup recipes in weights, rather than vague instructions like “1 small onion.”
Victorinox 4 Inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife, Spear Point
Five years ago, I would’ve unhesitatingly counseled every new cook to save up their pennies for a fancy, high-end knife, like my Shun chef’s knife. I love my Shun knives, and I certainly have gotten my money’s worth out of them … but … I no longer tell people go for high-end knives. Not as long as Victorinox keeps putting out these miracle blades. I’ve used my share of cheap, junk knives that were returned or donated within a month of purchasing. But these are not cheap, junk knives. Oh, they’re inexpensive, yes, but they’ve become my most used knives in the kitchen. They have fabulous thin blades that retain an insanely sharp edge, and are cheaply shaped up with a no-frills, hand-held knife sharpener. I cannot recommend the Victorinox line more highly. Seriously, these knives rock.
Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife
Ditto to everything I said above. The paring knife and this chef’s knife are the workhorses of my kitchen. My Shun knives, while heart-achingly beautiful in craftsmanship and design, remain sheathed more often than not.
KitchenAid 2-Speed Hand Blender
Probably my most used small appliance in the kitchen. Super effective for blending soup right in the pot, whipping up salad dressings and marinades in the 4-cup Pyrex cup mentioned above, and smoothing out sauces. Blenders are great, but so often I just don’t want to drag out that big ole thang (or clean it up later). This unit has the power to do the job, and clean-up is barely more than rinsing.
Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W
I remember oh-so-well the pressure cookers from my childhood. Big, stove-top things that spit water and hissed and chugged like a lawn sprinkler. My mom was far braver than I, I can tell you that! Nothing cleared the kitchen of children faster than that pressure cooker. But today’s pressure cookers, are much, much safer, and far less intimidating. I purchased this Instant Pot just this summer, and already I’m seeing the huge potential of pressure cooking, particularly for broth-making. Before winter’s end, I hope to be including pressure cooker soup recipes right here on SoupAddict.
Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor
I don’t think I have to do a hard-sell on a food processor. 😉 I go through stages when I think I can get rid of it, in favor of other appliances that might handle the work, but then, thankfully, a recipe will come along and remind me of the usefulness of the machine, and so it stays put. In addition to chopping, grating, and slicing, it makes great dough. In fact, I rarely use my KitchenAid mixer anymore (so much so that I do not have one on this list, either).
Magic Bullet NutriBullet 12-Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System
I never in a minute expected to become as fond of the NutriBullet as I am — “as seen on TV” products are not my thang. But, I use the NutriBullet all the time, and not just for smoothies. I use it for salad dressings, pureeing soups, smoothing out sauces — anything that’s appropriate for a regular blender. Best of all, it’s super easy to clean. This model also comes with a grain blade that turns nuts and grains into very fine flour. I really just love this thing.
KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder
The best way to buy, store, and use spices is to purchase them in their whole form, and then grind them fresh as you need them. Coriander, cumin, star anise, fennel seeds, allspice berries, mustard seeds — these and more are spices that store very well whole, but, once ground, lose their zing pretty quickly. I keep this grinder on my counter, I use it that much. It’s also perfect for grinding up dried chili peppers for homemade chili powder or curry spice blends. I have a beautiful mortar and pestle that also sits on my counter … unused. As a cook, I know I’m supposed to prefer the mortar and pestle, but I just can’t argue with the efficiency of the electric grinder. (Cleaning tip: you can’t immerse the unit in water, so, clean it by running a slice of bread through a grind cycle, and then wiping it out with a damp paper towel. For tough cleaning jobs, grind up a tablespoon of dried rice.)
Crock-Pot Cook’ N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker
This is another appliance I don’t have to convince you to use, but for soupie purposes, my very favorite homemade vegetable stock — bone broth, too — is made with a long, slow turn in the slow cooker. Plus, for dinner parties, free up a stove burner by heating and holding your soup in the slow cooker — it’s perfect for that purpose.
Staub 4 Quart Round Cocotte
In the ongoing wars between Le Creuset and Staub, I come down firmly on the side of Staub. I *love* their cookware. Their black interiors and ever-so-slightly rough surfaces are perfect for browning meat. And they don’t stain (or, if they do, you can’t see it hello, inky-black goodness). Go, Team Staub!
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inch
For sheer utility and economics, you cannot beat Lodge. If you’re new to cast iron cooking, go with the Lodge skillet. You’ll never have to — or want to — buy another skillet for the rest of your cooking life.
Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Sauteuse Pan, 7-quart
I try to avoid nonstick cookware as much as possible, but this pan is one exception. Huge and low-walled, I turn to this pan often for things like big, creamy pasta dishes, meatball making, and, during the winter when I’m not too eager to stand in front of the grill, hamburgers. I saute up a big bed of onions, position the patties on top, put on the cover, and let them cook. Turn once, top with cheese, and replace the lid to create melty, cheesy goodness burgers. Love this pan!
All-Clad Cassoulet Pan
As you can tell above, I have a lot of pans that I really love, this one included. Sadly, All-Clad discontinued the model I have, which is slightly lower-walled than this one. The cassoulet pan was the first high-end cookware I ever purchased, and it’s still a go-to pan today. It’s surface heats evenly all the way out to the edges, and is great for sauteing vegetables and searing meat. It’s oven-ready, induction compatible, and cleans easily. This is the pan you’ll see in most of my soup recipe videos. It’s a beautiful pan that will last my lifetime.
Stainless Steel Colander – Micro-Perforated Strainer
For the longest time, I had an old-fashioner colander: mostly solid with largish holes poked in a designy pattern. I tried lots of other strainers, including collapsible silicone, and all sorts of basically novelty items that didn’t make the cut after the first use. Each time, I went back to my old-fashion colander. Until this micro-perforated wunderkind. A sturdy mesh of fine holes ensures rapid and thorough draining, while restraining the contents within the basket. Good stuff.
Bar Keepers Friend
A cook’s kitchen isn’t complete without Bar Keepers Friend, because, let’s face it, burning happens. This very night, salmon marinade escaped its parchment paper and burned all over the baking sheet upon which it was roasting. Mess! A short soaking with Bar Keepers Friend, and the hard soot came right up. There’s not a pot cleaning challenge this product hasn’t lived up to, and it’s stainless steel’s BFF.
I hope you’ve found this list interesting and useful, and, please, if you have a cook’s tool that you love, do share below! I’m always on the lookout for something fabulous. 😉