Kitchen Tips

9 Kitchen Essentials Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten Relies On

Yes, fresh flowers are a kitchen essential, too.

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten’s Hamptons (and Manhattan) home gives us some serious kitchen envy. But even though we can’t all live like Ina, it’s easy (and surprisingly affordable) to outfit your space with Ina-approved tools, gadgets and place settings. In all her cookbooks, and in the super-handy “Ask Ina” section of her website, she shares the equipment she relies on to make her delicious and approachable recipes—and simple-but-elegant tablescapes. Here’s how you can start cooking, baking and decorating like Ina in no time.


Ina told Bon Appetit that the microplane, or rasp grater, is the one kitchen tool she can’t live without. This $20 gadget is easy to find in stores and online and it’s handy for zesting citrus fruits, finely grating Parmesan cheese — and even mincing garlic.

A half-sheet pan

With a 12-by-18-inch sheet pan with a one-inch lip, you can make a variety of dishes (Ina suggests chicken breasts, veggies and even brownies!). She keeps hers looking clean by wiping them with a Brillo pad and throwing them in the dishwasher.

White dishes

Keep it simple with plain white dishes and serving platters, which Ina says makes food look best. The Barefoot Contessa suggests Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel as good sources for this all-purpose staple.

Good knives

Any chef or kitchen guru will tell you that a good knife set (start with a chef’s knife, paring knife and bread knife) is essential. Ina favours knives from the German brand Wusthof.

Enamelled cast iron Dutch oven

An enamelled cast-iron Dutch oven is a kitchen classic, and of course Ina (who has a well-documented love affair with Paris) trusts French heritage brand Le Creuset. She prefers the brand’s round, 5.5 quart Dutch oven because it’s great for soups, stews and braising. She famously covets the classic sandy Dune colour.

Kosher salt

Okay, technically this is an ingredient, but really, salt is a flavour-building tool. Instead of plain table salt, Ina relies on kosher salt (specifically the Diamond brand) to bring her recipes to life.

A good pepper mill

Since Ina’s a proponent of high-quality ingredients, a plain old pepper shaker just won’t do. Instead, Ina favours a Peppermate pepper mill.

Fresh flowers

If you follow Ina on Instagram (@inagarten), you’ll notice she frequently posts photos of her latest floral arrangements. She usually keeps them simple and for creating centrepieces, she recommends using one type of flower and placing them in plain water glasses, instead of getting all fancy with a bunch of different vases.

Good pots and pans

High-quality pots and pans make all the difference when you’re cooking. Ina’s partial to All-Clad, which she admits gets expensive. But she says if you take care of them, they’ll last a lifetime.

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