We’ve Recommended OXO’s Plastic Cutting Boards for 5 Years—and They’re Still Indispensable in Our Kitchens

We’ve tested OXO’s plastic cutting boards over and over again—and they continue to impress us with their performance, durability, and budget-friendly price.

a roast chicken on an oxo cutting board
Serious Eats/Taylor Murray

While most cooks swoon over a gorgeous end-grain wooden cutting board (at least, I certainly do), a good one can cost a pretty penny. But if you're not up to spending a lot of cash, what's a cook to do? Enter plastic cutting boards, an everyday option that won't break the bank. But not all boards are created equal; some scratch easily, while others will dull your knives. Luckily, we've found options that pass muster: the plastic cutting boards from OXO. We at Serious Eats have been using them for years (I've also used them extensively throughout my career as a test cook), and still highly recommend them. Let us tell thee all the ways we love them, shall we?

They're Extremely Durable—and Won’t Damage Knives

I first encountered OXO cutting boards when I was working in a busy professional test kitchen that had dozens of them in various sizes. I witnessed these boards getting put through their paces by a fleet of chefs every day for years; they were used to butcher whole birds, chop huge volumes of vegetables, and slice baked goods, all without wearing down or dulling knives.

Which plastic cutting board material is most durable? This composite shot shows the knife damage to three examples.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Not all plastic boards can boast this feat—if they’re too soft, they can get deep cuts and scratches—and bits of plastic can even flake off and make it into your food. Ideally, you want a durable board that isn’t prone to massive gouges, but that's also not so indestructible that cutting on it grinds down the blades of your knives. The OXO boards are balanced; they're hard enough to resist deep cuts in the surface (even after years of use) but are still gentle on blades.

They're Easy to Clean

a large oxo cutting board on marble surface
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

Wooden cutting boards are beautiful, but they require a bit more maintenance than I want to get into on a multiple-uses-per-day basis. When I'm testing a bunch of recipes or just want to cook dinner and clean up quickly on a Tuesday night, it's nice to be able to throw my board in the dishwasher without worrying that it will get damaged or warp. The OXO performed very well in our testing when put through repeated dishwasher cycles, so that's a big win.

They're Well-Designed

closeup of the rubber edge and foot on the OXO cutting board
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While a cutting board may seem like a simple object with little room for bells and whistles, some design elements can make or break it (maybe not literally though!). One such qualm is that some boards are too smooth and slide back and forth as you chop. This is both annoying and potentially dangerous. But the OXO boards have rubberized strips and feet on both ends that keep them still no matter how aggressively you chop or slice, no jerry-rigged solution necessary (e.g. a damp, folded kitchen towel placed underneath the board). Additionally, the OXO boards have a groove on one side of the board for catching liquids from meats, while the other side is fully flat, maximizing surface area.

...And Affordable

Cutting boards run the gamut in terms of price; you could just as easily spend less than $10 as well as hundreds of dollars. While you might want to splurge on a good wooden cutting board, having a set of more affordable everyday workhorse cutting boards is a good idea. OXO sells their smaller plastic cutting boards as a set of two for less than $30, and the larger carving board is just over that amount.

FAQs

Are plastic cutting boards dishwasher-safe?

Not always. While some plastic cutting boards are specifically designed to withstand the high temperatures of a typical dishwasher cycle, others can sustain damage and become warped. We recommend checking the manufacturer’s care instructions to see if your board can handle a trip through the dishwasher.

What are plastic cutting boards made of?

Plastic is plastic is plastic, right? Nope! Plastics cover a range of materials, be it soft, hard, flexible, or rigid. Thermoplastics such as polyethylene are also used to make plastic cutting boards, toys, squeeze bottles, and even garbage bags. The rigidity or hardness of thermoplastics changes with the application of heat, hence the name. There is also bioplastic, like polylactic acid or PLA. Bioplastics generate fewer greenhouse gases in their manufacturing process than traditional thermoplastics.

What's the best size plastic cutting board?

It's a good idea to have a larger board, which is super versatile and can be used for tasks big and small. The larger OXO plastic cutting board is 10.5 by 14.5 inches, providing enough space for cutting up melons or breaking down a chicken. OXO also sells two smaller boards, which are good for prepping small produce.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer; she's currently an associate food editor at Apartment Therapy Media.
  • She was formerly an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen.
  • She has developed recipes for multiple New York Times bestselling cookbooks, including an IACP award winner.
  • When she worked at America's Test Kitchen, she used OXO cutting boards daily. We at Serious Eats have also been recommending them for the past five years.

I Made 18 Pounds of Mashed Potatoes to Find the Best Potato Ricers

After testing nine potato ricers and making 18 pounds of mashed potatoes, we landed on two top picks. Our favorites offered superior performance and were easy to use.

Two potato ricers beside a bowl of potatoes and another bowl of riced potatoes.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

Listen, I love simplifying a job as much as the next person. When I’m staring down the barrel of a five-pound bag of potatoes that need to be mashed, I would love to look to my food processor or stand mixer for an assist. However, neither of these appliances will make suitable spuds. For the silkiest, fluffiest mashed potatoes the key is to minimize the mashing, as they contain a lot of starch and will become gummy if overworked. Enter the potato ricer. 

Think of a ricer like a large garlic press. Cooked potatoes go in a perforated hopper basket, then a lever gets pressed down to push the potatoes through small holes (generally the size of a grain of rice, hence ‘potato ricer’). As I mentioned above, the less you work potatoes, the less starch is released, resulting in a fluffier mash. There are other options for gentle mashing, like food mills or potato mashers, but if you’re looking for an easy way to mash potatoes that almost guarantees you won’t overwork them, a potato ricer is your best bet.

To find the best ones, I tested nine potato ricers. After 18 pounds of mashed potatoes, I landed on my two top picks.

The Winners, at a Glance

Joseph Joseph figured out a better way to rice potatoes with its unique ricer that uses a twisting motion rather than a lever. In my tests, it worked faster and was easier on the wrists. The simple design makes for easy cleanup with no extra parts or crevices for potato to hide in.

If you prefer the more typical press-style ricer, the Chef’n was a dream to use. The dual-gear hinge presses potatoes smoothly with less effort than other models. The handles are comfortable to use and the hopper basket detaches from the body for easy cleaning. 

This heavy-duty ricer easily fit a whole potato, pressing the spuds out swiftly thanks to its all-over perforations.

The Tests

Several potato ricers and whole potatoes on a wooden countertop.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey
  • Potato Test: I tested each ricer by, well, ricing potatoes. I used each ricer to make a batch of Kenji’s Ultra Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, noting how easy each ricer was to load with cooked potatoes, the time it took to rice them, and the final consistency of the mashed potatoes. 
  • Cleanup Test: I then washed each potato ricer by hand to evaluate the cleaning process.

What We Learned

All Potato Ricers Will Rice Potatoes

A person using a potato ricer to rice potatoes into a blue bowl.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

None of the ricers failed to produce silky, fluffy potatoes. I struggled to detect differences between almost all of the mashed potato samples processed with the various ricers. So, while there were almost no true ricing failures (at least among the pool of ricers I tested), some ricers were far more pleasant to use.

Simple and Sturdy Was Best

A potato ricer ricing potatoes into a blue bowl.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What separates a so-so ricer from a good ricer is a simple design and sturdy construction. The ricers I liked best lacked numerous crevices for mashed potato to make its way into. Sturdy construction was also key, as pressing potatoes through a ricer requires you to use pressure—and a flimsy handle is bound to bend or break over time.

A potato ricer ricing potatoes.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

Comfortable, well-sized handles were important as well. Hollow handles with metal edges (like those on the Bellemain and Priority Chef) pressed into my hands and fingers unpleasantly, while solid handles (like the handles on the Norpro and Chef’n) were more comfortable to use. 

One Press Plate Was Enough

A potato ricer with a half of a peeled potato in its hopper.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

A few models we tested came outfitted with multiple plates with holes in various sizes. While this might be useful if you have plans to rice a variety of vegetables, if you’re mainly going to be using your ricer for potatoes, the extra parts seem unnecessary. As long as the holes were relatively small—between 1/16- and 1/8-inch—the resulting potatoes will come out silky smooth. 

The hopper baskets on some models (like the RSVP and OXO) had holes only on the bottom (like a garlic press) while others had holes on the sides as well (like the Norpro and Williams Sonoma). While models with more holes had a minuscule speed advantage when ricing, that saved time slipped away when I had to scrape lingering potato tendrils from two to four surfaces instead of one. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Potato Ricer

A cooked potato is inserted into a potato ricer.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

A good potato ricer should have an uncomplicated design with sturdy construction. I liked a ricer without a bunch of nooks and crannies for errant potatoes to smush into. Solid handles without sharp edges that were at least six inches long were the most comfortable and easy to use. A hopper basket with a wide opening to easily load potatoes in and small perforations make for a fine, fluffy mash. If you’re planning on making a variety of mashed vegetables having press plates with different-sized holes might be advantageous, but if you’re just going to be mashing potatoes, I don’t think they’re necessary. 

Look for a model that can go in the dishwasher. (Every ricer I tested was dishwasher-safe.) I don’t see any reason to complicate your life by adding a tool to your kitchen that requires hand-washing when there are so many options that don’t.

Our Favorite Potato Ricers

What we liked: This model felt like someone thought about how to make a potato ricer better. It employs a different technique than every other model I tested. Instead of pressing two handles together vertically to force the potato through the hopper, you push two levers together—not unlike a pair of hedge clippers. The ricer is comprised of two separate pieces. The bottom half houses the hopper basket while the top is a cylinder-shape with a spiraled canal around the sides that screws snugly into the basket. Each side has one handle attached. After loading the basket with potatoes, you line up the two halves of the press using the red dots on either side for guidance and then press the two handles together. This twists the cylinder on the top and screws it down into the steel basket, pushing the riced potato out of the bottom.

This unorthodox design had no downsides. It’s easy to load potato into the hopper without the top half of the ricer in the way, there are fewer surfaces to scrape potato from, the handles are comfortable, and the twisting motion requires less effort than traditional ricers. On top of all of that, the detachable halves and crevice-free design made it one of the easiest models to clean.

A half of a peeled potato in the hopper of the Joseph Joseph potato ricer.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What we didn’t like: I couldn’t find anything to complain about with this one, though I wish it came in different colors.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Nylon and stainless steel
  • Number of perforations: 106
  • Distance between perforations: 1/8-inch
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Handle length: 6 3/4 inches
  • Opening size: 3 1/8 inches
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
A person using the Joseph Joseph potato ricer to rice potatoes.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What we liked: If you’d prefer a more traditional potato ricer this model from Chef’n is a great option. The “dual gear” hinge makes pressing potatoes through the hopper a noticeably easier and smoother experience.

While many models included both plungers and hopper baskets made of stainless steel, resulting in an unpleasant metal-on-metal scraping when pressing the ricer shut, the plunger on this model is made of the same plastic as the body. This makes for a smooth, scrape-free ricing experience. The long plastic handles are well-made and comfortable to hold. The stainless steel hopper is wide for easy loading and detachable for painless cleaning. 

Peeled whole potatoes in the hopper of a potato ricer.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What we didn’t like: This model is heavier. It’s also the most expensive ricer I tested.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Plastic and stainless steel
  • Number of perforations: 271
  • Distance between perforations: 1/16-inch
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Handle length: 6 1/2 inches
  • Opening size: 3 1/4 inches
  • Care instructions: Top-rack dishwasher-safe
A person using the Chef'n potato ricer to rice a peeled, cooked potato.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What we liked: If you’re after a model that can accommodate a whole potato in its hopper, this is a good option. It has comfortable handles and perforations on all sides of the hopper, allowing potatoes to move through easily.

A whole, peeled potato in the hopper of a potato ricer.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What we didn't like: It's quite large, heavy, and messy to use (thanks to the aforementioned perforations). Because of its size, it's tougher to store, too.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Cast aluminum and rubber handle, stainless steel
  • Number of perforations: 1,260
  • Distance between perforations: 1/16-inch
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Handle length: 6 3/4 inches
  • Opening size: 4 inches
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe; hand-washing is recommended
A person using a potato ricer to rice whole, peeled potatoes.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

The Competition

  • OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer: The short handles on this model were uncomfortable to use and the narrow opening on the hopper basket made it difficult to load.
  • Williams Sonoma Potato Ricer: This ricer is made by Chef’n and is almost identical to our winner. The only difference is the sides of the hopper basket are perforated as well as the bottom. I found that extra holes offer little more than another surface to scrape potato from, but if you’d like more holes this model is slightly cheaper than the Chef’n.
  • RSVP International Spud Potato Ricer: This is a solid ricer, though it did feel a tad flimsier than other models. It’s easy enough to clean, however, you have to make sure each piece is fully dry before reassembling. Otherwise, the pieces tend to get stuck together.
  • MyLifeUNIT Heavy Duty Commercial Potato Ricer: The handles of this stainless steel ricer were uncomfortable to use and the construction was chock-a-block with nooks and crannies for mashed potatoes to make their way into.
  • Bellemain Potato Ricer: This model felt unstable during use in addition to having uncomfortable handles and a hopper basket that slipped away from the body when opening the ricer.
  • Priority Chef Large Potato Ricer: This ricer’s construction was flimsy. The plunger is held loosely to the body, allowing it to wiggle from left to right as you’re using it. I didn’t like the scraping of metal on metal when opening and closing the ricer, and the handles were uncomfortable.

FAQs

A potato ricer ricing a cooked, peeled potato.
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

How do you use a potato ricer?

Most (but not all) potato ricers are designed like large garlic presses. You place cooked potatoes (or other vegetables) into a perforated hopper, then apply pressure with a lever that pushes the food through small holes.

What is a potato ricer for? 

Well, mainly potatoes. Though you can press other soft food items through it, like avocados to make simple purées, most other vegetables need something a little more forceful to break down their tough fibers and cell walls.

What’s the point of ricing potatoes? 

Ricing is a great way to mash potatoes while ensuring that they do not become gummy. The ricer breaks down the potato while only rupturing the cells once as they pass through the hopper. It's an especially useful tool if you’re making something like gnocchi that requires a particularly fluffy mash, or if you just want to guarantee you won’t overwork your potatoes. 

How do you clean a potato ricer?

Every model I tested was dishwasher-safe, though we do recommend putting it on the top rack where it’s furthest from the heating element. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for their recommendations. If you don’t have a dishwasher or prefer to wash by hand, a bottle brush did a great job of getting potato out of the ricer’s many small holes.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer and was formerly an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen.
  • She has developed recipes for multiple New York Times bestselling cookbooks, including an IACP award winner.
  • For this review, Andrea tested nine potato ricers by using them to rice potatoes. She also examined how easy they were to operate and clean.

This Stovetop Grill Grate Lets You Grill Right on Your Gas Burner

If you don’t have the outdoor space to light up a grill, this gadget lets you do it inside with a gas stove.

a stovetop grill grate on a gas burner with padron peppers on top
Serious Eats / Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn

As an apartment-dweller for most of my life, grilling has mostly been out of my grasp. I grew up in a city with no outdoor space and, as a young adult, I mostly lived in shared apartments with a small porch where grilling would be a fire hazard at best. I have used all of my kitchens to their fullest potential, experimenting with new techniques to my heart’s content, but outdoor cooking was elusive; I could never answer the call of charred onions, grilled flatbreads, or corn blackened over an open flame. That is until my husband gifted me the Stove Top Grill from Santa Fe School of Cooking. This simple piece of equipment opened up a door to a whole new world of cooking to me. 

What Is a Stove Top Grill Grate?

A stovetop grill grate consists of a sometimes circular, cast iron body with a stainless steel grill grate that is designed to fit over a burner on a gas stove, creating a small, open-flame grilling setup. (Note: There are also more simple offerings that are just cross-hatched metal and are often used for camping; these also work just fine). The one I use has wooden handles that make it easy to maneuver without needing a dish towel or oven mitt. While you can purchase flat-top griddles that sit on top of stove burners or grill pans with elevated ridges to create grill marks on your food, those options don’t expose your food to actual flames. And while grilling food over your gas flame won’t give you the same smoky flavor as grilling over charcoal or cooking over a campfire, it is a small step in that direction. For urban dwellers, renters, or anyone whose living situation does not include the option for a proper outdoor grill, a stovetop grill grate is a low-lift way to dip your toes into the world of flame-fired food.

It Provides (Mostly) Smoke-Free Grilling

There are a slew of good reasons you shouldn’t grill inside your home, and high on that list is smoke. Grilling is generally a pretty smoky affair, and no one wants their kitchen full of smoke, especially if they don’t have a proper hood vent (see: most renters.) My stovetop grill rarely creates smoke, making it a great tool for grilling vegetables and flatbreads, but I would not recommend attempting to grill a steak or a burger on it, since the grease can drip onto your gas burner and cause flareups and smoke (in this case, spring for an indoor grill). If you want to keep your kitchen smoke-free, you’ll need to choose foods that aren’t too moist or aren’t coated in oil. A bit of moisture from a cut onion or a burst corn kernel will occasionally make its way into the flame and create a small puff of smoke, so it's not a smoke-proof system, but if you’re thoughtful about what you grill, it won't be more than a sporadic annoyance. All of that said, I have been known to cook a shrimp and vegetable skewer on my little stovetop grill and while there is a small amount of dripping, it’s minimal compared to something like beef or chicken.

It Creates Char

an overhead shot of blistered shishito peppers on a grill grate
Serious Eats / Andrea Rivera Wawryzn

A stovetop grill is an excellent way to char peppers for chili, onions, and ginger for pho, and scallions for just about anything (because charred scallions are terrific). I also frequently use mine to grill flatbreads and tortillas, which I couldn’t achieve cooking them in a pan. Admittedly, there are other ways to get char indoors: You can certainly put larger vegetables directly on the grates of your gas stove, but that doesn’t work if you’re charring anything smaller than a bell pepper (or if you have an electric stovetop). You can also char vegetables by putting them on a sheet tray underneath a broiler, but that requires turning on your oven, which may or may not be something you want do to (what if it’s July?). And yes, you could invest in an indoor grill, but they can be expensive and rather large.

It's Easy to Set Up

Another advantage to indoor stovetop grilling is that it’s easy. Grilling outdoors requires planning. Do you have enough charcoal (or propane)? How long will the grill take to heat up? Is it supposed to rain? Unless you’re lucky enough to have a permanent outdoor kitchen, you’ll have to move your cooking tools and equipment (grill tongs, scraper, oil, dish towels, etc) outside. Once you’re done grilling, you have to do all of that in reverse. All you need to do to use a stovetop grill grate is to position it on top of your stove— no running around necessary.

How to Use a Stovetop Grill Grate

a stovetop grill grate over a gas stove with peppers on top
Serious Eats / Andrea Rivera Wawryzn

First, set the grill over one burner on your stove. I generally opt for one of the front burners so that I can easily monitor whatever I’m grilling. Make sure it’s stable before turning on the burner. Depending on the shape and size of the grates on your stove, you may have to move it around a little to make sure it’s resting level. I recommend preheating the grate before cooking to prevent food from sticking. Don’t be tempted to add oil to the food you’re grilling as it could cause dangerous flare-ups from the flame. Once the grate is hot, you can grill away. I use metal tongs to place, turn, and retrieve food from the grill and keep my hands safe from the heat. This cooking method works best on small to medium-sized cuts of vegetables, ensuring they cook all the way through. If you’re just looking to get a char, you can pop whole veggies directly on the grates (think a halved onion, whole peppers, cobs of corn, asparagus, and scallions). Monitor your grill closely and be aware of your flame level, since the food is very close to the flame and you might need to turn it down more than you think to avoid burning.

Even With a Backyard, I Still Love My Indoor Grill Grate

In the years since receiving my beloved indoor grill, I have moved to a house in the suburbs with a backyard. While we have a charcoal grill now, and my little stovetop grate gets less use than before, I like to break it out during the cold fall and winter months when I’m not inclined to bundle up and light a grill on the patio. 

FAQs

What can you cook on a stovetop grill grate?

Lots of stuff! It’s great for grilling vegetables like corn, peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini. You can also char aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger, and scallions, and you can even grill flatbread dough or tortillas right on the grate. While I avoid cooking greasy or juicy meats over the grill grate, you can cook shrimp or scallops on skewers, just pat them dry with paper towels first and avoid any wet marinades since liquids dripping into the flame will create smoke. 

How do you clean a stovetop grill grate?

I recommend hand washing and drying your grill grate pretty soon after it’s cooled down to prevent any food from becoming stuck. The rim of the grill I have is cast iron, so I avoid using abrasive scrubbers around the edge and make sure to try it after washing. The grate itself is stainless steel, however, and can be scrubbed.

Can you use a stovetop grill grate on an electric or induction stove?

Unfortunately, no. Stovetop grill grates are designed to cook food over an open flame, and are meant to sit on top of the stove grates on a gas stove. Plus, if you have a glass-top stove, the grill could scratch the surface.

Why We’re the Experts 

Where to Buy (Whole, Ground, Blended) Spices Online

All the best places to buy single-origin spices, dried herbs, blends, and everything in between.

Best Places to Buy Spices Online
Serious Eats / Kristin Kempa

Using high-quality ingredients can take your cooking to a new level, and this principle applies to the spices and dried herbs we use, too. But all too often, the supermarket spice aisle contains jars that have taken months (or even years) to get there and may contain additives and fillers (or maybe they've just sat there for a while). While, at one time, that grocery store spice aisle was your best bet, today, consumers have an overwhelming amount of options for sourcing spices. There are single-origin shops, shops that sell spices in bulk, stores with fun blends...you get the gist. Over the past few years more and more independent spice shops have appeared online that offer thoughtfully sourced, fresh, direct-to-consumer spices from all over the world.

Below, we’ve highlighted 13 of the best places to buy spices online—stores where you can find everything from staples to harder-to-find specialty spices, blends, and pantry items.

The Best Places to Buy Spices Online, at a Glance

Whole Vs. Ground Spices

Closeup of corainder seeds against a yellow background.
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Many spices that you can purchase ground are also available whole. Whole spices stay fresher far longer than ground ones. Grinding releases flavor compounds that give spices their flavor and aroma. The longer a ground spice is stored, the more of those vital compounds are lost. We think it’s worth the extra effort to grind whole spices if you can, unless you use a particular spice very frequently, so it won’t be sitting around for long.

How to Grind and Toast Spices

using a mortar and pestle to grind whole spices
Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

As mentioned above, the less time between grinding whole spices and using them, the more flavor you get, so buying whole spices and grinding them as needed is key. An easy way to do this is with an electric spice grinder. A mortar and pestle will also work, it will just require a bit more time and elbow grease, and the resulting grounds will be coarser.

Toasting whole spices heats up their oils and gives them a more robust, round flavor. To do so, place them in a dry skillet and cook them over medium to low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Spices can go from pleasantly toasted and browned to scorched and bitter very quickly, so keep a close eye on them.

For ground spices, you can achieve a similar enhanced, round flavor via blooming. To bloom ground spices, cook them over medium to low heat in a skillet with a little bit of oil or butter, stirring frequently, until fragrant. In both cases, using a light-colored skillet (like stainless steel) will help you monitor the browning on the spices, but watch the spices closely no matter what to avoid burning.

How to Keep Spices Fresher Longer

various spices in a drawer
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Heat and light are the enemies of spices. They both speed up their degradation and dull their flavor. A good practice for keeping spices fresh and potent for as long as possible is to store them in a cool, dark, dry place. Inside a cabinet, drawer, or pantry are all great options. Keeping spices near a window or the stove is a no-go if you want them to remain fresh for as long as possible.

The Criteria: What to Look for When Buying Spices Online

When you're buying spices online, what to look for really depends on your needs. Are you a new home cook looking to build out your spice cabinet from scratch? A seasoned baker seeking specialty items? A small business owner looking for ingredients in bulk? Below, we've covered the best places to buy spices online, all of which have a variety of options for everyone.  

Our Favorite Online Spice Shops

A Sustainable and Ethically Sourced Spice Option

While most spices you find in the supermarket are sourced from a huge amount of different farms, Burlap and Barrel spices are all single origin. They partner with small farmers and farm collectives as part of their mission to “end inequality and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value markets.” All of their spices can be traced back to a single place, often from one farm or farm cooperative. Their partnerships extend to the culinary world as well with spice blends and collections curated by Sohla and Ham El-Waylly, Floyd Cardoz, and Illyana Maisonet, among others. The online shop includes a wide variety of whole and ground spices, blends, and extracts, as well as pantry items like vinegar, honey, and chili crisp.

four jars of spices and a small bottle of vinegar on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Chef-Driven Spice Brand

This boutique spice shop was founded by James Beard Award-winning chef Meherwan Irani and specializes in signature blends, as well as whole and ground spices. The spices come packaged in cute light-proof tins that will help keep spices fresher for longer (and look good doing it). Their collections are a great gift option, creating an instantly Instagram-worthy spice rack for a loved one. They also have well-known blends like everything bagel seasoning, Chinese five spice, and garam masala, as well as more unexpected ones like N’Asheville Hot Chicken Seasoning and a wing spice collaboration with T-Pain.

three tins of spicewalla spices on a blue green backdrop
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Specialty Shop for Vietnamese Spices

Founded by two Vietnamese immigrants in 2021, Van Van focuses on the home cooking and culture of their native Vietnam. Its catalog of single-origin herbs and spices are all sourced directly from Vietnamese farmers. While their offerings might not be as vast as other online shops, (you won’t find dried oregano or nutmeg here), if you’re looking for quality herbs and spices found in Vietnamese cuisine, they're a great resource. They offer a variety of dried aromatics and chiles like purple shallots, Northern Mountain garlic, and heady, aromatic sparrow ginger, as well as guides for how to use them and recipes (like in nuoc cham).

van van spices on a marble backdrop
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Source for Sichuan Cooking Spices

This mother-daughter-owned business specializes in the cuisine of the Sichuan region of China.  They carry several varieties of the spicy, numbing Sichuan peppercorns as well as a variety of other peppers and whole spices imported from China. They also offer a wealth of Chinese pantry items like dried noodles, bottled sauces, pickles, and oils.

sichuan peppercorns on a wooden surface
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A Resource for Building an Indian Pantry

This small company focuses on single-origin spices sourced directly from farms in India and Sri Lanka. Their website even has a neat sourcing map where you can learn where each spice is grown, as well as about the farms and farmers they’re sourced from. Their catalog includes whole and ground spices as well as a line of masalas and even a pumpkin spice blend. Spices are packaged in colorful opaque tins that will keep spices protected from light. They also have an assortment of gift sets and tools for the home cook.

A One-Stop Spice Shop

Based in California, this expansive shop grinds spices in-house and mixes its own blends, ensuring freshness in every jar. With an extensive catalog of offerings including spice basics like dried oregano and smoked paprika, as well as more esoteric items like beet powder and granulated yuzu zest, this is a good place to shop if you’re looking to build a spice collection from the ground up or restock after a cleanout.

If You’re Looking to Buy Spices in Bulk

This well-stocked shop offers a huge variety of whole and ground spices, dried herbs, chiles, and blends in amounts as small as one ounce and all the way up to 25 pounds. They also sell loose-leaf teas, extracts, sweeteners,  dried mushrooms, and a whole bunch of glass bottles, jars, and spice storage racks.

The Big-Name Spice Shop

The Penzey family opened their first spice shop (called the Spice House, which is another of their current brands) in 1957 and they have been a staple in the spice industry ever since. Their extremely extensive catalog includes whole and ground spices, blends, baking spices, and more. The online shop includes less common categories like ‘salt-free’, ‘sugar-free’, and ‘garlic and onion free’ if you’re buying for a household with specific restrictions. Their gift section is quite robust, too, with a huge amount of pre-made boxes and customizable options.

A Women-Owned Online Spice Shop

This Massachusetts-based certified B-Corp was founded in 2015 with a mission to “improve the life of spice farmers by directly sourcing from small sustainable farms.” They carry single-origin whole and ground spices, dried herbs and flowers, chiles, and salts, as well as a broad range of highly giftable blends. With unique offerings like the Edo Spice Blend (Japanese citrus and chile) and the Kampot & Salt Blend (Cambodian pepper and Maine sea salt), they’ve got staples and specialties covered.

A Spice Shop for Latin Pantry Staples

This New York-based company specializes in Latin pantry staples. They carry organic spices, blends, and pantry sauces like adobo, sofrito, and sazon that typically include fillers and artificial ingredients when found on a supermarket shelf. They also have some ground spice staples like cinnamon, ground black pepper, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Their thoughtfully curated sets include a full kit of 10 spices to reboot your whole spice cabinet as well as tools for making Latin staples like tostones.

An Online Spice Shop With Something for Everyone

Founded by Bill and Ruth Penzey in 1957 (of Penzey Spice fame), the Spice House is one of their spice shops featuring an astounding range of spices. Their huge catalog is organized thoughtfully with sections for blends and bestsellers and options to explore by use, food pairings, or cuisine (they also have fun collaborations, like this one with Rodney Scott). Many of their spices are packaged in easy-to-store resealable bags. They even sell a smart wooden holder for storing multiple spice packets.

three packages of spice house spices on a blue green backdrop
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Spice Subscription Service

If you’re looking for a way to explore new spices and blends, this monthly service ships four spice blends per month to your door along with recipes to go along with each one. They also have an archive with recipes that highlight their spices and blends. In addition to subscriptions, they offer spices and blends for one-time purchase in 1-ounce packages.

Closeup view of aleppo pepper showcasing the texture
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

An IRL Spice Shop

This incredibly well-stocked spice and specialty food shop was a favorite of mine when I lived in Somerville, Massachusetts. I was arguably sadder to leave the reach of their prolific shelves than I was any business in the neighborhood. Lucky for me (and you!) they have an online shop where you can buy whole and ground spices from all over the world. They also sell blends, loose teas, sweeteners, and chiles, as well as pantry items like specialty flours and grains, dried mushrooms, and hot sauces.

FAQs

What’s the best way to store spices?

The flavor compounds in spices are degraded by heat and light, so it’s best to store spices in a cool, dark, dry place. If your spice rack is exposed to daylight you may want to opt for opaque containers for your spices, rather than transparent glass or plastic ones.

What’s the best spice grinder?

There are a few different options for grinding whole spices at home: you can invest in an electric grinder, use a mortar and pestle, or even a hand grinder for smaller amounts. While an electric grinder is the easiest option and will give you the most uniformly ground results, grinding by hand also works very well if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Should you buy whole spices?

Whole spices contain flavor compounds that are released when ground. The sooner you use spices after grinding, the more potent and flavorful they will be. We recommend both sourcing the freshest spices you can find and buying them whole if you can. Whole spices will keep for longer in your spice cabinet than their ground counterparts and will retain their complex flavors and aromas until you’re ready to use them.

What are single-origin spices?

Single-origin spices are grown at one farm or farm collective in a particular region. Spices sourced this way are higher quality and fresher than other options because they are packaged and shipped to consumers much quicker than spices processed through a large supply chain.

Plus, in the case of many big-name brands, it's impossible for consumers to know where spices were grown, who grew them, or what farming practices were used. One jar could include spices from potentially hundreds of different farms in far-flung locations. The bloat of large, opaque supply chains often leads to small spice farmers getting paid much less for their products. Many of the online shops we’ve highlighted are sourcing spices directly from farmers, cutting out middlemen like auction houses, importers, and exporters to get spices into the hands of consumers while ensuring that farmers are paid an equitable wage. 

Why We’re the Experts

This Yeti Tumbler Keeps My Water Ice Cold

This insulated tumbler from Yeti keeps water ice cold and is highly portable.

three yeti rambler tumblers on a blue green background with a
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Of all the innocuous objects in my house (spatulas, soap dispensers, pans, etc.) one reigns supreme: my Yeti Rambler tumbler. It is alarmingly basic for the amount of joy it brings me.

Let me back up. A few years ago, I was working the kind of corporate job that comes with a branded Christmas gift every year and one year, that gift was an insulated Yeti tumbler. I was excited because, in addition to it not being useless, it was something I had actually been thinking about buying for quite some time.

You see, I drink an unreasonable amount of water, and I like that water to be cold—like, cold cold. At the time, I achieved my desired chilliness by refrigerating a water pitcher and adding a lot of ice. However, no amount of ice will hold up indefinitely, never mind in warm weather. So, I had been considering investing in an insulated cup, but it was one of those things that you keep a tab open for but never actually commit to buying. It felt like a little bit of a silly purchase (and potentially expensive by cup standards). So, when I received my (totally free!) work gift, and it turned out it was a Yeti, I was jazzed. In my lazy research (typing "best insulated cups" into my search bar) I had gleaned that Yeti was a highly-rated brand, but had been intimidated by the price point. Who spends $35 for one cup?! Little did I know this tumbler would change the way I drank water forever, and I would never be without one again.

It Keeps Water Positively Frigid

an overhead shot of a yeti rambler filled with ice water
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Nothing keeps my water colder for longer than my Yeti tumbler—nothing. In the time that has passed since that first corporate-gifted tumbler, I have used many other versions of insulated cups, but my Yeti blows them away every time. I own the 20-ounce Rambler Tumbler and use it exclusively for cold water, but it keeps hot drinks toasty just as well. (I also have a 10-ounce Lowball that I use for hot coffee). The tumbler is made of double-walled stainless steel, is vacuum insulated, and is extremely durable. I get a little thrill when I wake up (yes, I keep the Rambler on my nightstand) and my water is just as cold as when I poured it. I have exclaimed to my husband, “There is still ice in here from TWO DAYS AGO!” so many times that he just rolls his eyes at me at this point.

It Stands up to Drops and Dings

Yeti is an outdoorsy adventure brand, and many of its products are designed to take a beating. I’ve had this particular tumbler (I lost the first one and immediately ordered a new one) for over three years and, aside from the worn-out sticker I put on it, you’d never know it. You could hit this thing with a car and it would be just fine (I don’t recommend testing that theory, but it does come with a five-year warranty, just in case). The Rambler is also dishwasher-safe, fits in a standard-sized cup holder, and comes in a slew of colors. There is also a smaller 10-ounce version and a larger 30-ounce version to suit the needs of every drinker. 

It’s Great When You’re on the Move

a closeup of the Yeti magslider lid
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Rambler comes with a Yeti Magslider lid, which prevents beverages from sloshing out while on the go. I have an older version of the lid without the magnet cover, but it has the same (easily removable) rubber gasket and a hole/spout for drinking (though there’s no cap over the sipping port). I use this tumbler exclusively at home, but if you’re looking for something to take on the go, the newer lid is a good solution (and you can even get it in different colors).

FAQs

Can you use a Yeti tumbler for hot drinks?

Yes! You can use it for hot or cold drinks, though switching from hot to cold (and vice versa) immediately will compromise its temperature-holding ability.

Can you clean a Yeti tumbler in the dishwasher? 

Yup! The tumbler and the lid are both dishwasher-safe, though the lid fares better on the top rack.

Why We're the Experts

  • Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer.
  • She formerly worked as an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen.
  • She has developed recipes for multiple New York Times bestselling cookbooks, including an IACP award winner.
  • She's written multiple articles for Serious Eats, including a review of grill presses and pasta bowls

How to Calibrate an Instant-Read Thermometer

Our favorite instant-read thermometers, from ThermoWorks, can be recallibrated at home—ensuring their accuracy for years to come.

One white, one red, and one pick thermometer on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

An instant-read thermometer is a key piece of equipment for a well-stocked home kitchen. Accurate temperature readings can mean more than whether a steak is perfectly medium-rare or dry and tough; they can spell the difference between food being safe to eat or not. That’s why having a fast and truly accurate thermometer is essential. 

If your instant-read thermometer has been kicking around in your kitchen for months or years, it might be time for a recalibration. It’s actually normal for accuracy to wane, so here’s how to check if your thermometer’s in need of calibration.

What Does Calibration Do?

Calibration is the process of setting a thermometer to the correct temperature. Over time or if it’s dropped or handled roughly, a thermometer’s readings can begin to drift away from accuracy by one or more degrees. By calibrating your thermometer, you’re setting it back to its most accurate state.

How Do You Know When Your Thermometer Needs Calibration?

a person taking the temperatre of ice water with an instant-read thermometer
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Knowing when it's time for a recalibration can be tricky. If your thermometer has drifted by just a degree or two, it can be almost impossible to tell. Our favorite meat thermometer, the Thermapen ONE comes with an accredited calibration certificate, guaranteeing its accuracy upon purchase. Not all brands have such a promise and since drops and jostling (from being shipped to your doorstep for instance) can affect a thermometer’s accuracy, you may want to test it before you start using it in the kitchen. 

A good rule of thumb, if you’re worried about the accuracy of your thermometer, is to check it every six months. Some other situations that might warrant more frequent checks are, again, if the thermometer’s severely jostled or dropped or if you use it to check extreme temperature ranges back to back (hot food to cold food or vice versa).

How Do You Calibrate an Instant-Read Thermometer?

While not all instant-read thermometers can be calibrated at home (three of our other recommended models, the Lavatools Javelin Pro DuoThermoworks Thermopop 2, and the OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer can be reset to factory settings, not recalibrated), the Thermapen ONE can be adjusted relatively simply. First, you’ll need to remove the label on the back to gain access to the two calibration adjustment screws. The screw closest to the hinge is the “zero” adjustment screw. The one closer to the battery compartment is the “span” screw. For more details, see the calibration manual from Thermoworks here. Have a small, slotted screwdriver on hand to perform any necessary adjustments.

There are two common tests that you can perform at home to test the accuracy of your thermometer. The first is an ice bath to see if your thermometer will accurately measure the target temperature of 32°F. Fill an insulated container with “crushed or pebble ice, the smallest ice you can find will give you the best results.” says Kyle Halvorson, Consumer Marketing Manager at Thermoworks. Then add just enough water to cover the ice. “The biggest factor is to make sure the ice is not floating,” Halvorson says. “Fill that cup up with ice, add some water and if your ice comes off the bottom of the glass, dump some water out. You’re only getting that 32 degrees [Fahrenheit] in the transition between ice and water. If you’ve got a bunch of water at the bottom and no ice that’s actually going to be warmer…you don’t want your probe to rest on ice and you don’t want it to be in a pocket of water.” Once you’ve got a proper ice bath, gently stir with the probe, which will help create a uniform atmosphere and give you the most accurate reading. Once the display has stabilized you can adjust the temperature reading on the thermometer by rotating the “zero” screw until the display reads 32°F.

a Thermapen ONE's display reading 32 degrees
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

If you want to double-check your thermometer’s accuracy, you can also test your thermometer in boiling water. This test requires some extra research to do correctly. The temperature at which water boils differs depending on a few factors. In order to precisely calibrate your thermometer you’ll need to know your altitude and the barometric pressure of your location, as they both affect the boiling point of water. “We do have a boiling point calculator on our website where you can put in your elevation and your barometric pressure, which changes from day to day (you can look it up online), and [the Thermoworks boiling point calculator] will tell you to the decimal to a tenth of a degree what your boiling point is so that you can accurately check [your thermometer’s accuracy],” says Halvorson.

How Often Should You Calibrate an Instant-Read Thermometer?

While in a restaurant kitchen, it may be necessary to calibrate thermometers as often as every day, at home thermometers are seeing much less wear and tear. That said, how often you calibrate your thermometer depends on what kind of thermometer you have and how you care for it. In the case of our winner, ThermoWorks doesn’t recommend any specific timeline. “That really depends on what environment are you using it in. Is it a harsh environment in a toolbox getting thrown around or is it in a lab where it’s getting put on a shelf with styrofoam padding? Really it’s going to be up to the end user. If they want to do it every week they’re more than welcome to do that but my philosophy is to trust the Thermapen," Halvorson says. 

FAQs

Can every thermometer be calibrated? 

Unfortunately, no. While many instant-read thermometers have either a screw to allow manual recalibration or a reset button to return it to factory settings, some models cannot be recalibrated at all. In these instances, we recommend contacting the manufacturer for guidance. In some cases, you can send your thermometer back for recalibration or replacement. 

What’s the best instant-read thermometer? 

Our favorite instant-read thermometer is the ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE for its quick readings and its large screen with a rotating illuminated display. If you’re on a budget we recommend the ThermoWorks ThermoPop 2 and Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo Digital Instant-Read Thermometer. For more, check out our full review here.

Why We're the Experts

  • Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer and was formerly an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen.
  • She has developed recipes for multiple New York Times bestselling cookbooks, including an IACP award winner.
  • We've independently tested instant-read thermometers, meat thermometers, wireless grill thermometers, and more.
  • For this article, we reached out to Kyle Halvorson, the Consumer Marketing Manager at Thermoworks, for tips on calibration.

We Tested 11 Grill Presses—Five Smashed the Competition

We smashed a whole lotta foods—burgers, bacon, and sandwiches—to find the best grill presses.

an array of grill presses on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A good grill press can make achieving even browning an easy task. Also referred to as steak weights, bacon presses, or meat presses, grill presses are metal weights that are used to press food against a cooking surface, maximizing the surface area in direct contact with the heat and hence boosting browning. And, when pre-heated, they can speed up the cooking process. Grill presses can be used on an outdoor grill or indoors on a griddle or skillet, smashing or pressing burgers, steaks, fish, hot sandwiches, and even vegetables.

To find the cream of the crop, we tested 11 grill presses priced from $19 to $69, to see which ones delivered even browning, weighed down food without crushing or sticking to it, and were easy to clean. 

The Winners, at a Glance

This rectangular, medium-weight press had enough surface area to press every food we tested well. Its contoured silicone handle sleeve is heat resistant and makes holding the hot press feel secure and safe. The flat, stainless steel press surface heated up quickly and had no ridges for food to adhere to. It was also easy to clean and can go right into the dishwasher.

This stainless steel press from Made In is almost but not quite a square, making it ideal for pressing sandwiches and burger patties. It preheated quickly and had a flat surface that delivered even browning without sticking. The leather handle cover is heat-resistant, stylish, and can be removed, making this press dishwasher-safe.

Though slightly heavier than our main pick, this rectangular press performed well in testing, cooking bacon evenly and pressing sandwiches without flattening them completely. Its widely spaced ridges were easier to clean than the narrow ones we tested, and its wooden handle was tall enough to keep our fingers from the hot cooking surface.

If you’re looking for a round model, this cast iron press from Bellemain is wide enough to cover multiple slices of bacon and heavy enough (at three pounds) to weigh down a steak. Its ridged surface makes it slightly harder to clean but it can press “grill” marks into your food, if that’s your thing.

If you’re cooking for a crowd or need to weigh down a particularly large cut of meat, this cast iron press from Blackstone has got you (and that extra food) covered. Its tall, slightly textured heat-resistant handle felt secure to hold, making using this larger press just as easy to use as a smaller model.

The Tests

a hand pressing down on a grilled cheese with a grill press
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez
  • Bacon Test: We tested each press by cooking four slices of bacon to see if they could deliver crisp, evenly cooked rashers and keep the ends from curling up.
  • Smash Burger Test: We used the grill presses to smash burgers, pressing down on 2-ounce patties on a hot cast iron skillet to see if they helped get a nice crust.
  • Grilled Cheese Test (Winners-Only): We chose five winners from the first two tests and used them to make grilled cheese sandwiches to see if they resulted in a quicker cooking time and/or an even golden brown crust.

What We Learned

Material and Texture Made a Difference

our five winning grill presses on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The presses we tested were made of either cast iron or stainless steel, and each material had its advantages. Stainless steel presses conducted heat very well and heated up quickly, but they didn’t retain that heat for quite as long as cast iron. Cast iron was a good material for grill presses for two main reasons: weight and heat retention. While cast iron models took longer to heat up than stainless steel models, they also held that heat for longer, helping to achieve browning. The texture of the press surface is also worth considering. In general, we found a press surface with a smoother texture, like the stainless steel Winco, to be easier to cook with. Stainless steel’s smooth surface didn’t stick to food during testing or afterward during cleanup. While we did test some cast iron models with smooth press surfaces (like this model from Lodge) they are not dishwasher safe, and the models we tested had screw holes for their handles on the surface of the press, which caught grease and bits of food. Models with rougher surfaces or dimpling (like the Pit Boss and Victoria) tended to adhere to food, leading to the need to scrape food off of the press while cooking and a harder time cleaning up.

Ridges Had Pros and Cons

About half the presses we tested had ridges. When sufficiently pre-heated, ridges yielded the much sought-after “grill” marks. The flip side is that they also provided a place for food to get stuck to the press. This was especially apparent during the smash burger tests; every press with ridges we tested had at least some of the patty stuck between them after smashing. That said, if smash burgers aren’t your thing, and you’re okay with a little extra cleaning, ridges don’t have to be a deal breaker. Look for a model with more space between the raised ridges (like the Cuisinart CGPR-221 Cast Iron Grill Press), which makes cleanup a little easier.

Bigger Wasn’t Always Better

Presses with more surface area (like Blackstone and Pit Boss) can cover more food (large steaks, multiple burgers, etc.), but can also trap the moisture being pressed out of the food as it cooks. This creates steam, which inhibits browning. Weight is another important factor when choosing the right press for your needs. If a press is too light, it won’t increase the food’s contact with the cooktop, which is the whole point of using a grill press in the first place. If it’s too heavy, however, it can be difficult to maneuver and can crush more delicate foods, like salmon. Cast iron is heavier than stainless steel, which can be a help or a hindrance depending on what you’re cooking. We found that heavier cast iron models flattened grilled cheese sandwiches too much, while the lightest stainless steel model we tested (the J.B. Prince 8 oz Chef’s Press) wasn’t hefty enough. We also discovered two to three-pound presses, like the stainless steel Winco and the cast iron Cuisinart, hit the sweet spot for achieving the desired flattening and browning while still feeling easy and safe to use.

Handles Made a Big Difference

hand using grill press to flatten bacon in a skillet
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A good handle made the difference between a good press and a bad press. A handle that is molded with your hand and fingers may sound like a small thing, but when you’re holding a ripping hot piece of metal (and then pushing down on it) feeling secure in your hand is important. The last thing you want is a hot or slippery handle making your cooking more difficult or leading to burns. We preferred handles (like those on the Made In and Blackstone) that were tall enough (at least two inches high) to keep our hands sufficiently far from the cooking surface; shorter handles (like the J.B. Prince) were difficult to grip, and our hands heated up more. We also preferred handles made of wood, silicone, or heat-resistant materials to metal ones that heated up along with the press, like on the Lodge. A few models we tested (like the Norpro) had lacquered wooden handles that looked nice but were slippery to hold.   

Size Was More Important Than Shape

Made In and Cuisinart Grill presses on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Most grill presses come in two shapes: rectangular or round, though we did test one press (Made In) that was almost square. Ultimately, we found the overall surface area to be more important than the shape. The J.B. Prince was too small to cover anything we tried to cook with it, while the Pit Boss was so large that we needed two hands to use it. Our overall winner from Winco was rectangular and measured seven-and-a-half inches by four inches, which was a good surface area (30 square inches) to cover most, if not the entire surface, of the foods we tested. As mentioned above, too much surface area can lead to moisture becoming trapped under the press and creating steam, which isn’t great for browning. All but two of the models (from Pit Boss and Blackstone) we tested fit into a 12-inch skillet, making them versatile enough for most home kitchens. We have picks that are both round and rectangular, so choose the model that works best for the food you’re planning to press. Rectangular presses with smooth surfaces (like the Winco and Made In) are versatile enough to cover bacon and press smash burgers without sticking, while a round press like the one from Bellemain has enough surface area to cover a sandwich or a steak.

The Criteria: What to Look For in a Grill Press

the winco press on a marble surface with the words: a seriously good grill press; tall handle, presses food evenly, large surface area
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez / Grace Kelly

A great grill press should press food evenly and deliver uniform browning. It should weigh enough to press food flat against the cooking surface, but not so much that it crushes whatever you’re cooking or is unwieldy to use. It should have a tall handle that keeps your fingers away from the hot cooking surface—ideally, one made of a heat-resistant material designed to stay as cool as possible. A good press should have enough surface area to cover most of what you’re cooking, but not so much that it traps moisture and inhibits the ability to monitor food as it cooks. Finally, the best press should be easy to use and clean, without lots of food sticking to it during the cooking process or requiring heavy scrubbing or scraping afterward.

The Best Grill Presses

What we liked: This press was among the best performing in all three of our tests. At two pounds, it was heavy enough to flatten bacon, smash burger patties, and encourage browning, but still light enough so as not to crush food. It’s made of stainless steel with a handle encased in a molded silicone sleeve that protected our hands from heat. It was also pleasant to grip, making handling the hot press feel secure. It was the easiest model to clean since it had a smooth surface without ridges. It can even go in the dishwasher.

What we didn’t like: At four inches wide, this press is a little narrow; four slices of bacon didn’t quite fit underneath it, and the edges of burger patties and grilled cheese sandwiches peeked out from the sides.

Price at time of publish: $30.

Key Specs 

  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Materials: Stainless steel, silicone 
  • Cleaning Instructions: Dishwasher-safe
winco grill press on marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

What we liked: This stainless steel press performed very well in testing. Its wide surface area and almost square shape covered burger patties and grilled cheese sandwiches completely. It was also wide enough to cook four slices of bacon (though did require moving the press up and down the length of the strips during cooking to keep them weighed down). 

What we didn’t like: Though Made In recommends removing the leather handle cover during cooking, we found it quite useful in keeping our hands safe when handling the hot press. They do note that the heat can damage the leather, but we think this press is best used with the leather cover—if not, it’s just a hot metal handle. The cover stayed relatively cool during testing, even after preheating the press, but cannot itself be washed, which could be an issue over time, especially if you press anything that spatters. While the press itself is easy to clean, it did have some discoloration after the smash burger test. And nearly two pounds is just on the edge of being too light. Plus, at $69, it’s the most expensive press in our lineup.

Price at time of publish: $69.

Key Specs 

  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Materials: Stainless steel, leather
  • Cleaning Instructions: Dishwasher-safe
the made in grill press on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

What we liked: This model from Cuisinart had enough surface area to cover almost the entire length of the bacon slices, and it covered burger patties and a grilled cheese sandwich completely. It weighs 2.8 pounds, which is heavier than our stainless steel picks but still felt good to use and flattened food without crushing it. The press’s surface has the widest separation between ridges of any of the samples we tested, making it easier to clean than other ridged models.

What we didn’t like: Smash burger patties clung to the space between the ridges, and we had to use a spatula to scrape the patty from the press. The handle is not contoured, which made it feel less secure than the handle of our overall winner.

Price at time of publish: $20.

Key Specs 

  • Dimensions: 8.75 x 4.33 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Materials: Cast iron, wood
  • Cleaning Instructions: Hand-wash and dry
cuisinart grill press on marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

What we liked: The wide, round shape and large surface area (about 60 square inches) of this press offered great coverage in all three of our tests. Bacon cooked up evenly, no burger edges poked out from underneath, and the grilled cheese came out evenly browned. The press had a good heft, and the tall handle kept fingers sufficiently far from the hot cooktop. 

What we didn’t like: The narrow space between ridges allowed food to cling to the press and, in the case of smash burgers, get stuck. The top of the press has some small details in its design that trap grease and gunk, adding to difficulty when cleaning.

Price at time of publish: $22.

Key Specs 

  • Dimensions: 8.5-inch diameter
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Materials: Cast iron, wood
  • Cleaning Instructions: Hand-wash and dry
round grill press with wooden handle on marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

What we liked: This long, wide press offered great coverage for everything we tested. Four slices of bacon fit comfortably underneath it, resulting in evenly crisped, flat bacon, and it easily covered two burger patties and grilled cheese sandwiches at once. The heat-resistant, textured handle stayed cool and didn’t get slippery even when grease splattered up onto it. 

What we didn’t like: This press is too large to fit into a 12-inch skillet, meaning you can only use it on a flat-top griddle or a grill. Its heavier weight smashed grilled cheeses almost too much and would likely crush more delicate proteins like fish. The ridged press surface allowed burger patties to stick to the press and made it harder to clean.

Price at time of publish: $32. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 10 x 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Materials: Cast iron, heat-resistant plastic
  • Cleaning Instructions: Hand-wash and dry
blackstone grill press on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Competition

  • Lodge LGP3 Rectangular Cast Iron Grill Press, Pre-Seasoned, 6.75-inch x 4.5-inch: While this press performed well in testing, its slightly smaller surface area put it behind other presses. The handle also heated up faster than others, and the screw holes on the press surface caught food and grease, making it harder to clean.
  • Pit Boss Cast-Iron Grill and Griddle Press with Soft-Touch Handle: This was the largest press we tested and, at 5.25 pounds, the heaviest by a wide margin. It was too big to fit in a 12-inch skillet, and we needed two hands to use it during testing. It was so large that it was difficult to monitor the cooking of food underneath it. Unless you want a press only for an outdoor grill or stovetop griddle and plan on using it to press mainly large, thick cuts of meat, this model is too big to be versatile.
  • Norpro 8.75-Inch Cast Iron Bacon Press with Wood Handle: This press is very similar to our winner for best round press, but with ever so slightly deeper ridges, which led to burger patties sticking to it, making it tougher to clean. The smooth handle also got noticeably slippery when grease splattered onto it.
  • Lodge LGPR3 Cast Iron Round Grill Press, Pre-Seasoned, 7.5-inch: While we liked the size and weight of this press, the metal handle got hotter faster than other models, and the screw holes on the press surface acted as nooks that caught food and grease and were hard to clean out well.
  • J.B. Prince 8 oz Chef’s Press: This model is designed to be modular, nesting together to create more weight. While we do like it, compared to the other presses, though, it was lighter and the wide surface gaps made it more difficult to smash burgers.
  • Victoria Rectangular Cast-Iron Meat Press with a Wooden Handle: While this press boasted one of our favorite handles, its dimpled pressing surface clung to food and was difficult to clean.

FAQs

Can you use a grill press on a grill?

You sure can! You can press steaks, chicken pieces, and even thick burgers on a grill. Thinner burgers can be more delicate and might benefit from a stable, smooth surface like a griddle being placed between the burger and the grill grates, ensuring no meat makes its way through once weighed down by a press. Pressing meat while it cooks squeezes out liquified fats and juices. If you’re cooking over an open flame, be mindful of flare-ups from dripping grease. Be sure to use a folded kitchen towel, pot holder, or heat-resistant glove when handling the hot press, since the intense heat from a grill can heat up press handles even faster than a stovetop.

What can you use a grill press for?

Grill presses are useful any time you’re looking for uniform browning on something like steak, chicken pieces, fish, or vegetables. They’re also useful to press foods flat like bacon, hot sandwiches, or smashed burgers.

How do you clean a grill press?

It depends on what it’s made of. Firstly, always check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended cleaning directions. If your grill press is made of stainless steel, you can either wash it by hand or pop it in the dishwasher. If it’s made of cast iron, you’ll need to wash and dry it by hand, and likely re-season it from time to time. Always allow your press to cool completely before washing it, but it's probably best to clean it before any leftover food has a chance to dry and get really stuck.

Can you use cooking spray on a grill press?

Aerosol cooking sprays are more than just oil in a spray can, they contain emulsifiers that help improve their performance. One very common emulsifying ingredient is lecithin, which helps the spray stick to cookware. The downside of lecithin is that it can build up over time, leaving a sticky film on cookware after repeated uses. While this is not a big problem for presses made of stainless steel, which can be scrubbed and/or go into the dishwasher, cast iron has more gentle cleaning needs, making the residue left by cooking spray harder to remove. If you’re looking to enhance the nonstick properties of your press, you might opt for a manual refillable mister, which you can fill with the oil of your choice that won’t leave a buildup of residue behind.

Why We're the Experts

  • Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer and was formerly an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen.
  • She has developed recipes for multiple New York Times bestselling cookbooks, including an IACP award winner.
  • For this review, we tested 11 grill presses by using them to press bacon, smash burgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. We also examined how easy they were to maneuver and clean, and if their handles kept our hands from getting hot.

Cooking on a Glass Stovetop? We Rounded Up the Best Cookware for the Task

We rounded up the best cookware for cooking on a glass-top stove, according to our equipment reviews.

Cookware on a glass stovetop, including a stainless steel skillet, nonstick skillet, saute pan, rondeau, and stockpot.
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

As more people make the switch from gas to glass (for a myriad of reasons, including health and environmental concerns) you might find yourself wondering which cookware to choose for your glass-top range (be it electric or induction). While it might be tempting to just sling whatever pots and pans you own onto your burner, taking note of a few considerations can help preserve that shiny glass top for years to come.  

Firstly, What’s the Difference Between Electric and Induction Glass Stovetops?

a photo of the duxtop induction burner on marble
An induction burner allows you to cook without literal heat.Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger

Glass-top electric cooktops transfer heat via a hot coil under a smooth glass cooktop—pretty straightforward. Induction cooktops, on the other hand, employ an electromagnetic coil below the glass surface, which generates a magnetic field that reacts with magnetic cookware, heating it up (you can read more about how induction burners work here). It’s important to take this into consideration when purchasing cookware since not all cookware is induction-friendly (if it’s not, your pan won’t heat up). 

What to Look for In Glass Stovetop-Friendly Cookware

cookware on a glass top stove
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Most cookware is compatible with glass-top stoves, though induction can make things a little dicier (it's best to check by using a magnet or reading manufacturer notes). But, overall, look for cookware that has a flat bottom and matches up with the size of your burners to ensure good contact with the stovetop and even heating with no cold spots. Glass and stoneware cookware can scratch glass cooktops and are not compatible with induction burners, so we don’t recommend cookware made of these materials. There is also a middle-ground of cookware, like cast iron skillets, that you can use with glass-top stoves, but may scratch the surface due to their heavy, rougher bases. In this case, it's up to you to decide if a few scratches are worth it.

Cleaning and Caring for a Glass Stovetop

hand cleaning glass top stove with sponge
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Glass stovetops are some of the easiest to clean. While traditional coil electric and gas stoves have curved drip pans where the burners are positioned, glass-top stoves are flat and can be wiped down with spray and a towel or sponge. Before cleaning, ensure the cooktop is completely cool. Spray with an all-purpose cleaner that contains a degreaser, wait a minute or two for the degreaser to do its thing, then wipe with a non-abrasive sponge. Finally, rinse the sponge well, wipe away any residue, and dry the cooktop with a microfiber towel. Done!

Inevitably, food will spill and get burned or caramelized into a sticky mess on your glass stovetop. Don’t be tempted to use abrasive scouring pads or scrub brushes in these instances, as they can scratch the glass surface of your stove. First, check your manufacturer’s instructions before embarking on a deep clean, and don’t use any tools or products on your stovetop that they advise against. Try treating tougher stains with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Spray the stain with vinegar, followed up with a hefty sprinkle of baking soda (it will foam). Then, let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a non-abrasive cloth and repeating as needed. Finally, wipe your stovetop with a cloth or non-abrasive sponge and clean water. For the most stubborn of stains, there are many commercial cleaners specifically designed for use on glass-top stoves. You can also carefully scrape burnt-on food off with a razor blade, but this method is risky as you can scrape your stove top (or cut yourself), so check your manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this, and consider a safety handle to hold the blade if going this route.

The Best Cookware for Glass Stovetops

No cookware collection is complete without at least one good stainless steel skillet; they can go from stovetop to oven without missing a beat. You can even roast a whole chicken in a 12-inch version, ensuring crisp skin, an evenly cooked bird, and an easy vessel to create a dynamite sauce while your bird rests. During our testing of stainless skillets, Made In’s 10 and 12-inch skillets came out on top, with a reasonable price point that gave them the edge over more expensive models from All-Clad and Le Creuset. Stainless steel is compatible with both electric and induction ranges, so you can sear, toss, and saute your heart out without worrying about scathing your cooktop.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Temperature range: Up to 800°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $119
three stacks of stainless steel skillets
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A nonstick skillet is great for cooking anything that’s likely to adhere to a conventional skillet, including things like eggs and delicate fish. Our winner from T-Fal is compatible with both electric and induction glass-top stoves, has a comfortable handle, and isn’t too expensive (we don’t think you should spend a ton of money on a nonstick skillet since the coating wears out over time). 

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel base; titanium nonstick
  • Temperature range: Up to 400°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though we recommend hand-washing
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $40
an overhead look at the T-fal nontick skillet sitting on a white surface
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

Woks are versatile pans that can be used for a variety of dishes, including fried rice, deep fried foods, and even for smoking proteins indoors. Woks come in many materials, but we like carbon steel because it heats quickly and efficiently, and is durable and affordable. Flat-bottomed models, like our winner from Yosukata, also sit nicely on glass-top stoves, so make sure you look for that quality.

Key Specs

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Temperature range: Up to 600°F
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash only, dry immediately 
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $61
Yosukata wok.
Serious Eats / Tim Chin

Sauté pans have a wide, flat bottom like a skillet, but with high, straight sides. This makes them a great choice for shallow-frying, wilting a big ol’ bag of greens, or saucing pasta. Our pick from All-Clad has tall sides, a tight-fitting lid, and is suited for glass stovetops. For a more budget-minded pick, we recommend this model from Tramontina. Both will sit nice and flat on a glass-top stove, so the choice is yours.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Temperature range: Up to 600°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, but hand-washing is recommended
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $180
nine different saute pans on a marble counter in two stacks
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Stock pots are handy for larger-scale projects that require more volume, like chili for a crowd, boiling lobsters or, you know, making stock. Our pick for the best 12-quart stockpot from Cuisinart has wide, comfortable handles, and performed well in testing, ensuring perfectly browned mirepoix and boiling water quickly. It also sports a tight-fitting lid—no gaps to be seen. If you’re looking for an even larger stockpot, this 16-quart model from Tramontina is also great for electric and induction stoves alike. Both the Cuisinart and the Tramontina also sit nice and flat on glass-top burners, ensuring even and quick heating.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Temperature range: Up to 550°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $140
Stainless steel stockpot with lid
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

While we normally recommend building your own array of skillets, pots and pans, during our test of sets we really liked this comprehensive one from All-Clad. Every piece was heat responsive and easy to maneuver and clean. Plus, all of the pots and pans included are induction and glass stovetop-friendly, so you don't have to stress about any pans scratching things.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Temperature range: Up to 600°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though we recommend hand-washing
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $700
Tested 18 Cookware Sets
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

Carbon steel is made from a mixture of carbon and iron and shares a lot of the same features as cast iron: they’re induction and electric-compatible and have excellent heat retention, which makes them a great choice for tasks like searing steaks. Our winner from Mauviel is lightweight and has sloped sides, so it excels at sautéing, too. Carbon steel is very durable and can withstand high temperatures for hours, going easily from stovetop to oven. Carbon steel skillets are also lighter and thinner than cast iron, and a well-seasoned one can be more nonstick.

Key Specs

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Temperature range: N/A (manufacturer doesn’t specify)
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash only, dry immediately
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $95
lineup of carbon steel skillets on a white surface
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

A straight-sided saucepan is great for more than making sauces. It’s perfect for boiling water for pasta, cooking grains, blanching vegetables, and more. Our pick from Zwilling has a handle that stays cool to the touch while boiling water, allowing us to hold the pan and pour with ease. Its glass lid lets you monitor food during cooking, and the measurement markings on the interior were also helpful. It also sits nice and flat on glass-top stoves, ensuring even heating. 

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel; aluminum; tempered glass
  • Temperature range: Up to 400°F (with lid)
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $110
Made In 2 Quart Stainless Clad Saucepan
Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger

Cookware That's Fine to Use, But May Scratch the Glass

Cast iron is a staple in many kitchens. It’s extremely versatile, works with induction and electric stoves, and can go from stovetop to oven without a hitch. This makes it great for searing steaks or even baking cornbread or pan pizza. And while non-enameled cast iron is heavy and can scratch a glass cooktop, we still think it’s a wonderful addition to your cookware collection—plus cast iron is induction-compatible. We tested 22 cast iron skillets and this one from Lodge came out on top. It performed well in tests, has a great price point, and comes pre-seasoned.

Key Specs

  • Material: Cast iron
  • Temperature range: N/A
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash only (head here for a cast iron cleaning and care how-to)
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $25
a cast iron skillet on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Joy Kim

Want pretty char lines but don't have a grill? Enter the grill pan, friend of apartment-dwellers everywhere. While the flavor won't mimic that of a charcoal grill, this cast iron pan can get quite hot, searing in char lines on your choice of meat, vegetable, or panini. Like a traditional cast iron skillet, a cast iron grill pan is prone to scratching glass-top stoves, so be careful when placing it on the burner or moving it around. They're also often heavy, though our winner from Lodge was on the lighter side at a little over seven pounds.

Key Specs

  • Material: Cast iron
  • Temperature range: N/A
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash only (head here for a cast iron cleaning and care how-to)
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $74
the lodge grill pan on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger

A good enameled cast iron Dutch oven is a workhorse suitable for any range. Braises, soups, stews, deep-frying, and even bread baking—a good Dutch oven can do it all, and more. After extensive testing, we named this model from Le Creuset as our winner. We also liked this one from Staub, and this model from Cuisinart, if you’re on a budget. Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes from 1/4-quart all the way up to 13.5 quarts. A 5- to 6-quart pot is the most practical for most homes and can make enough food for four to six people, plus they usually fit nicely on your burner. That said, choose the size that works best for you and your stovetop. The enamel coating on cast iron Dutch ovens makes them much less likely to scratch your glass-top stove, but if the bottom is rough or unfinished, there is a slight risk of scratching. Not to mention they can be heavy (our winner from Le Creuset is a little over 11 pounds), so if you clunk a Dutch oven on your stovetop, it could crack the glass.

Key Specs

  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Temperature range: Up to 500°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, but hand-washing is recommended
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $400
two hands with oven mitts on removing a Dutch oven from an oven
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

Enameled cast iron offers a few advantages over uncoated cast iron: the enamel coating protects the pan from rust, and it helps shield your glass stove top from potential scratches, though it does still have the potential to scratch. Enameled cast iron can withstand the same high temperatures as its uncoated counterparts and doesn’t need to be seasoned, making it a good choice for those unwilling to care for uncoated cast iron. Our winner from Staub was relatively lightweight and heated quickly and evenly in our testing.

Key Specs

  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Temperature range: Up to 900°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though hand-washing is recommended
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $200
staub skillet on marble countertop
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

Similar to a Dutch oven, braisers are squatter and are often used to, er, braise! Their wider, shallower surface area also means they're great for shallow frying, searing, and even baking (think casseroles and the like). And, like Dutch ovens, they are coated in enamel, which can help protect a glass stovetop. However, they are a bit heavy, so care is needed when maneuvering to ensure you don't drop the braiser on the stovetop and damage the surface.

Key Specs

  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Temperature range: Up to 500°F
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though hand-washing is recommended
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Price at time of publish: $368
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, 3.5-quart
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

FAQs

How do you know if cookware is induction compatible?

The most reliable way to know if your cookware is induction compatible is to check its product listing: the manufacturer should tell you. Another option is to grab a magnet. If it sticks to the bottom of the pan, it’s magnetic and induction-friendly.

Can you use glass stovetop-compatible cookware with gas stoves?

You sure can! All of our above recommendations can be used with electric and induction glass-top stoves as well as gas ranges.

Can you use cast iron on glass stovetops?

Cast iron is compatible with induction stoves, which feature glass-tops, and you can use this style of pan on glass-top electric stoves as well. However, uncoated cast iron skillets have a rough surface and are more prone to scratching glass than, say, a smooth-bottomed stainless steel skillet.