Nothing is worse than trying to cook a meal for a house full of guests with scratched pots and skillets, dingy baking pans, and mismatched, dull knives and cooking tools. To help you avoid kitchen malaise, we picked our favorite new and clever products from both tried and true brands and newcomers that may not be on your radar yet. These products look good, make cooking fun (even for a table of 12), and are made to last. So swap out your tired cookery and kitchen tools with your future favorites before it’s time to set the table. P.S., these also make great hosting gifts or holiday presents for the cooks on your list.
Smithey Cast Iron Skillet
Smithey Ironware—which finishes all of its cast iron cookware in Charleston, South Carolina—has only been around since 2015, but the brand models its manufacturing process after techniques used in the 1890s. The result is a cast iron skillet that is reliable enough to last generations but looks like it belongs in this century. Each pan goes through a special polishing process that allows seasoning to stick and everything else to, well, not stick at all. The skillet works on all cooktops—gas, electric, induction—and is oven safe. $200
Le Creuset Truffle Round Dutch Oven
The new color releases from cookware legend Le Creuset (which only happen twice a year) are the kitchen equivalent of the Pantone Color of the Year. The latest color drop is a winter-ready warm brown called “Truffle.” It’s never a bad time to invest in the brand’s round Dutch oven (which can braise, roast, slow cook, and bake anything to perfection for years to come), and this deep neutral will look great in any kitchen—no matter how you decide to redecorate after this farmhouse trend is over. On sale now for $308
L’Econome x Starck French Kitchen Peelers
L’Econome has been making peelers since 1923, when cutlery maker Victor Pouzet invented it and quit wasting time and potatoes. Now, the original brand is back with a fresh new redesign from French designer Philippe Starck. The set comes with the essentials for all your fruit and veggie cutting and peeling needs: a curved paring knife, a straight paring knife, a swiveling peeler, and a classic vegetable peeler. Starting at $50
The Three Tool Set by Material
Always wishing you could cut down on the junk that’s in your cooking tools drawer? Here’s your chance. Material (a brand that actually wants to sell you less stuff) makes beautifully designed essentials that can handle the dirty work of the kitchen on a big day of cooking. You get to pick which ones you want in your personalized set—so whether you’re looking for a whisk to whip up homemade whipped cream, one spatula that gives you the confidence to throw out all the others, or a wooden spoon that won’t scratch your new saucepan, you’ll be getting exactly the high-quality tools you need (and nothing else). $60, set of 3
Messermeister Oliva Elité Olive Wood Handled Knives
This heritage brand has been making traditional German-style knives in Ojai, California (an interesting combo, we know), for more than 30 years. The result: a collection of olive wood-handled knives with hand-sharpened stainless steel blades that are hammered to perfection. They can stand the test of time (you’ll probably be handing these down to someone in your will) and turn the worst parts of cooking prep into a beautiful show. Starting at $90
Need a knife block for your set? Messermeister also makes this gorgeous magnetic block made from environmentally-friendly acacia wood.
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Baking Sheets
Sick of warped, rusted-out cookie pans and baking sheets? Hate burnt cookie bottoms and unevenly roasted veggies? Well, fortunately Nordic Ware has a reputation among hard-core cooks as the baking sheet that just won’t let you down. These sheets hold and distribute heat evenly and look great even after a holiday season’s worth of baking. All Nordic Ware products are made in the U.S.A. with natural aluminum—which means that just like with all aluminum products, you have to hand-wash. Starting at $28
Fast Company may receive revenue for some links to products on our site.