I Tested Breville’s New Soda Maker By Carbonating Lemonade and Cocktails (Yup, It’s Great)

We tested Breville’s new InFizz Fusion soda maker, which promises to carbonate any liquid, including juices and cocktails.

A person carbonating water with the Breville soda maker.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperelin-Schirm

When I started dating my now-husband, he hated seltzer. I could buy a case of it and it’d last me nearly two weeks. However, sometime between 2016 and now that changed dramatically. He’s become what I would call a bubbly water fiend, capable of easily consuming four to six cans a day. 

I said “capable” because I’ve banned store-bought seltzer for the sake of his tooth enamel (possibly) and our recycling bin (definitely). Instead, we’re now a soda maker household. Having to carbonate the water himself limits my husband’s seltzer consumption to a reasonable amount. 

This is all to say when I learned Breville released a new seltzer maker, I was excited. (Approximately 75% of my appliances are from Breville, so while this is not sponsored, come at me!) And when I found out said soda maker can carbonate anything—including lemonade or cocktails—my excitement bubbled up as if it were infused with CO2.

After testing the Breville, I’ve given it a permanent place on my countertop. While I do have a few qualms, it’s the most versatile soda maker I’ve tried yet.

The Tests

A Breville soda maker carbonating water.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
  • Carbon Dioxide Levels Test: I carbonated 800 grams of chilled water using 10 quarter-second bursts. I weighed the bottle before and after carbonating, removed the bottle’s FusionCap (more on this below), put the regular cap on, and popped it in the fridge for 24 hours. I then weighed it again, to see how much carbonation was lost. I repeated the test but placed the bottle in the fridge right after carbonating with the FusionCap still on. 
  • Taste Test: I again carbonated 800 grams of (fresh) chilled water and then tasted it. I took notes on its overall fizziness and bubble size.
  • Non-Water Tests: I carbonated sun tea, lemonade, strawberry lemonade, and batch palomas (made with fresh grapefruit and lime juice, tequila, and sugar) to see how the InFizz Fusion did with a variety of non-water liquids. 
  • Usability and Cleanup Tests: Throughout testing, I noted how easy the soda maker was to use—including attaching and detaching the bottle and inserting the CO2 canister. I cleaned the bottle and cap by hand after each test.

What We Learned

If You’re Gonna Carbonate Ahead of Time, Keep the FusionCap On

A person placing the Breville soda maker's bottle onto the soda maker.
The InFizz Fusion has helpful arrows showing you were to align the cap and the neck of the soda maker.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Breville InFizz Fusion comes with two caps: a standard one and a FusionCap. When carbonating, you must use the FusionCap, which is what twists onto the body of the soda maker and includes a nozzle for injecting the CO2. For my carbon dioxide levels test, I first swapped the FusionCap for the regular one before stashing the bottle in the fridge. After 24 hours, it lost seven grams of CO2. I repeated this test but kept the FusionCap on, transferring the bottle directly to the fridge after carbonating. After 24 hours, it lost zero grams of CO2. 

The takeaway: If carbonating ahead of time, keep the FusionCap on for maximum bubbliness. 

How Is the InFizz Fusion Able to Carbonate All Liquids?

The Breville soda maker carbonating strawberry lemonade.
Fizzy strawberry lemonade was delightful.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Most soda makers (including SodaStreams) are only designed to carbonate water. If you try putting juice in one it could explode. 

Why, then, is the InFizz Fusion able to carbonate other liquids? It comes down to the FusionCap. “The FusionCap itself is designed to withstand the additional pressure that builds up while carbonating non-water liquids (like juice),” a Breville representative told me. The cap has three valves within it, so there are multiple fail-safes ensuring the seal stays intact no matter what’s carbonated.

You see, CO2 readily dissolves in water, but not in non-water beverages, which makes the numerous valves necessary as pressure builds. The cap also features a red switch on its side, which allows you to release pressure—again, this is especially key for carbonating non-water liquids. When I made palomas, the pressure released for a good 20 seconds before the cap allowed me to loosen and remove it. (Think of a pressure cooker: After cooking and releasing pressure, if the lid still resists when you go to open it, don’t force it—continue to vent). 

The lemonade and palomas I made with the InFizz Fusion were delightfully bubbly and stayed that way after an overnight stint in the fridge. The regular water had small, sweet bubbles that fizzed gently on the tip of my tongue. (I did not enjoy the sparkling sun tea, though that was purely due to its flavor and not because of the carbonator itself.) 

There Were Some (Small) Usability Quibbles 

The Breville soda maker on a pink marble countertop.
The one-liter bottle the soda maker came with was quite large for non-water drinks.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

I’ll start with what I didn’t like. For starters, the FusionCap makes the bottle tall (about as big as a bottle of wine), which meant it could only fit under the highest shelf in my fridge. Also, the InFizz Fusion comes with one large, one-liter bottle. If you’re planning on carbonating anything but water, I’d recommend purchasing smaller bottles. To reach even the minimum fill line of the large bottle is a substantial amount of liquid—far more lemonade and batch cocktail than I (or two people) could drink in a single sitting. Additionally, I found placing the bottle onto the soda maker’s body to be somewhat finicky. Twice, the FusionCap unscrewed slightly when I twisted it on, causing the soda maker to sputter water up and out. 

I do, however, love that the InFizz Fusion comes with a flexible bottle brush that has a small scrubber housed in its handle for cleaning the FusionCap. I also liked that the brushed stainless steel finish easily disguised smudges and fingerprints. Overall, it’s one sleek-looking soda maker.

The Verdict

The InFizz Fusion did an outstanding job carbonating water, lemonade, and cocktails—and it lost no carbonation overnight when stored with its FusionCap on. It’s exceptionally well-made, available in a variety of colors, and thoughtfully designed with features like an O-ring that allows you to slant the soda maker’s neck to easily attach and detach the bottle. It performed well and has been added as a winner in our soda maker review. (My husband declared the bubbles better than store-bought, too.)

The Pros

For a soda maker that can carbonate whatever you want (soda that’s gone flat, any kind of juice, a vat of Paper Planes), this is an option that, indeed, also creates pleasantly sparkly bubbly water. 

The Cons

The large bottle is quite big for carbonating liquids other than water, so buy some additional small bottles if you plan on doing this. (For the high price, I wish the soda maker came with one large and one small bottle.) If you only ever want to carbonate water, I’d save $50 and buy the standard InFizz instead, which cannot handle other liquids. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Brushed stainless steel with a die-cast lever; metal cap/base; BPA-free plastic bottle
  • Stated capacity: 1-liter
  • Dimensions: 16.9 x 5.9 x 10.2 inches
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash bottle and cap; drip tray and cleaning brush are dishwasher-safe; store bottle with the cap off
  • Warranty: 2 years
The Breville soda maker carbonating strawberry lemonade.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

FAQs

How do you insert a CO2 canister into the InFizz?

The CO2 canister for the InFizz (and the InFizz Fusion) can be inserted into the underside of the machine, where the neck of the soda maker is. Be sure to twist it so it’s securely affixed. 

How do you use the InFizz? 

After inserting the CO2 canister, fill the bottle to at least the minimum fill line (which is clearly marked), twist the FusionCap onto the bottle, and affix the bottle onto the neck of the soda maker. Press down on the lever on top of the soda maker to inject CO2.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor at Serious Eats. She’s been with the site since 2021 and previously worked at America’s Test Kitchen, EatingWell, and Food52. She’s been testing gear professionally for about six years.
  • For this review, Riddley used the Breville InFizz Fusion to carbonate water, cocktails, lemonade, and more. She evaluated how easy the soda maker was to use and clean and how well it retained its carbonation.

25 of Our Favorite Mother’s Day Gifts (Including a Candle That Smells Like Cereal)

We went through our kitchen equipment reviews and consulted our editors to find the best Mother’s Day gifts.

Mother's Day Gift Guide
Serious Eats / Kevin Liang

My mom is hard to buy for. She always says she doesn’t want anything. But, of course, that’s not true. (Mom: I’m not falling for it!) And with a lack of guidance, I go rogue. Often, I land on a great gift (she uses her Alexa in the kitchen all the time to set timers and listen to podcasts while she cooks). Occasionally, though, I’ll get a dud. For example, she never charges her temperature-controlled Ember smart mug, which entirely defeats its purpose. 

If you, like me, are looking for inspiration for Mother’s Day gifts, welcome. Below, you’ll find 25 kitchen-related Mother’s Day ideas that will put you squarely in the “great gift” category with the mom or parental figure in your life.

I’ve owned three of our favorite coffee grinders (job perks, I know) and the Breville has been my favorite. It accurately calculates grind size and time and dispenses coffee grounds with very little chaff winding up on the counter. It comes in some fun colors, too, like Red Velvet and Olive Tapenade

A hand adjusting the grind dial of the Breville coffee grinder
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

This candle smells delightfully and subtly like Fruity Pebbles. The vanilla and cinnamon Milk + Sugar candle is stronger, if the cereal candle is out of stock. 

“My mother appreciates the art of practical gift giving (I received deodorant and shaving razors last Christmas), so I always err on the side of unfussy, useful presents for her,” commerce editor Rochelle Bilow says. “A drawer organizer would be a perfect choice for her this year—she just renovated her kitchen!” 

Our favorite charcuterie board is handmade and oh-so-elegant, with contrasting stripes of wood. Snag some nice cheese, salami, and nice crackers to go with it.

ergerer
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

I recently signed up for this coffee subscription and have massively enjoyed getting a new, freshly roasted bag of coffee delivered to my doorstep every few weeks. I’ll be getting it for my mom this year (don’t worry, she thinks this site is called Serious Recipes). 

Whether your mom or parental figure likes to grill, roast, bake, or deep-fry, an instant-read thermometer will be their friend, ensuring accuracy for all. The ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE has a lightning-fast response time, automatic backlight, and a rotating screen. 

My dad brings my mom a cappuccino in bed every morning, which is just incredibly lovely. Whether they’re making it for themselves or having someone do it for them, an espresso machine is the kind of top-notch, big-spender gift they’ll use daily. One of our favorite espresso machines is the Breville Bambino Plus. It’s easier to make good espresso with it than it is bad.

Espresso coffee brewing into glass mug from Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine on white marble countertop
Serious Eats / Nick Simpson

I love Levain Bakery’s packaging: the blue ribbons cinch it for me. Their new lemon cookies taste like spring, have delightfully squidgy centers, and are tart, not too sweet, and loaded with white chocolate.

If they’re a baker (or even not—these both make great display pieces!), a new, eye-catching cake stand may be the ticket. You could even make a cake and give it to them on the cake stand! They’ll be like “Oh, you made me a cake—thank you!” Then you can say, “I did, but the cake stand’s yours, too.” Lovely!

A plushy standing mat is half decor, half highly functional investment. This one from House of Noa “reminded us of a memory foam mattress” and comes in a range of patterns and lengths. (You might want to measure their space beforehand!)

A person walking across a stripped anti-fatigue mat on a kitchen floor
Serious Eats / Fred Hardy

Dairy fans will rejoice getting a gift of specially selected cheeses. A 3-month subscription is pricey, but you can also buy one-off curated boxes.

Great olive oil doesn’t have to cost a lot–and this Portuguese brand is proof. It’s grassy, floral, and fruity. Tie a ribbon around the neck of this bottle and your gift is done.

These petite, orb-like wine glasses are ideal for small pours, as well as cocktails. I have a set that I reach for over my full-size glasses. I love their colorful handles.

I gave my mom an insulated tumbler to long-term test and she has been drinking more water because of it. A huge step up from her previous zero glasses a day! This model from Owala is one of the few I tried that didn’t leak and it has excellent cold retention.

A pink Owala insulated tumbler on a pink surface.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

During the pandemic, my mom got very into making cocktails. I think any at-home bartender would appreciate this sleek bar cart with its wood construction and bronze details. I’ve owned this model for several years, and it’s a stunner that holds a stupendous amount of bottles (and bar tools).

My colleague Grace Kelly and I ate ourselves sick testing boxed chocolates so you can have the very best (and so can Mom). L.A. Burdick’s chocolates were some of our favorites, with crisp chocolate outer shells and beautiful fillings. Also, look at these chocolate mice! Irresistible. “Take a gander at their chocolate chip cookies, too,” Grace says. “Baked on the day they ship, they have an ooey gooey ganache center that makes them a real treat.” Grace has been sending these as her go-to gift lately, and the giftees have been delighted.

Our favorite electric wine opener opens bottles in a flash (you just have to press down on the cork to engage it). It’s also pricey, which makes it a great gift.

the peugeot elis corkscrew in its sand with the foil cutter
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

This Berry Ghia is tart, juicy, and not at all bitter. I love mixing it with seltzer and loads of ice. Its pink and purple packaging is adorable, too.

If Mom uses cookbooks regularly, a stand that keeps a book upright and on their selected recipe is a thoughtful present. No more having to prop open the page with random kitchen objects!

You could call this mortar and pestle beautiful…and you’d be right. Its smooth, marble interior and wooden pestle excels at making super-smooth sauces, like pesto.

close up of finished pesto in a mortar and pestle
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Honestly, I’d be thrilled to receive this seltzer as a gift. The flavors are spectacular, and this bundle includes two of my favorites (for those wondering, my other top picks are Pineapple Holy Basil and Grapefruit Elderflower). For the adventurous, the Flavor of the Month subscription is also wicked fun.

Our favorite steak knives slice like butter…and look good doing it. The ones from Material have pastel-hued handles and come with a wooden block for storage. 

My dad’s the paella maker in our family, but if yours is different than mine, then this sturdy paella pan works great indoors and on the grill. Pair it with a bag of bomba rice.

chicken, pork, and shrimp paella in the Garcima paella pan
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

Burlap and Barrel sell some of our favorite spices. “My favorite cinnamon of all time (and yes, I do keep a running list) is the cinnamon verum from Burlap & Barrel," Rochelle says. This set doesn’t include that particular spice, but it does have their Royal Cinnamon, which is also excellent. 

Our favorite tortilla press comes in eye-catching colors like pastel green Espuma and bright yellow Elote. Plus, it makes the best, thin tortillas. No form over function here!

FAQs

When is Mother’s Day this year?

Mother’s Day 2024 is on Sunday, May 12th. 

What day is Mother’s Day? 

Mother’s Day is always on a Sunday. Specifically, this year, it’s on May 12, 2024.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor for Serious Eats. She’s been with the site since 2021.
  • Riddley previously worked for America’s Test Kitchen, Food52, and EatingWell.
  • She’s written our reviews of dinnerware sets, air fryers, and more.

Some Very Excellent Pantry Storage Ideas, From Some of Your Favorite Serious Eats Staffers

We asked Serious Eats staffers for their favorite pantry storage solutions—ones that keep their spaces organized.

Plastic box filled with containers of non-perishable Japanese pantry ingredients
Serious Eats / Sasha Marx

Pantry storage! It’s a pain! Who wants to fiddle with where to fit a bag of flour when there are chicken cutlets to shallow-fry, cookies to bake, or a sauce to make? However, a well-organized pantry will make you feel better (dare we say fresher) and certainly like a more efficient cook or baker. Imagine being able to find what you need in a snap or say hello to containers and goodbye to bags of sugar and flour that never actually reseal. Miracles! They happen. 

Here are a handful of pantry storage ideas from Serious Eats staffers. The below products might not be flashy, but they are highly functional. 

I've been getting a lot of mileage out of Container Store plastic boxes in a variety of sizes, which are perfect for organizing related pantry items into groups (some of mine: Chinese ingredients; grains and legumes; dried chile peppers; Japanese ingredients; baking pantry). I've also found reusable silicone bags to be helpful in capturing odds and ends that are no longer in their original packaging, like a half-finished bag of nuts, some loose crackers, or a stash of tea bags. Daniel Gritzer, senior culinary director

Plastic box filled with bags of dried beans and legumes
Serious Eats / Sasha Marx

I'm a big fan of OXO's Pop containers (ya know, the ones with the buttons on the lids), but they're expensive and thus I've slowly accumulated them. My favorite ones (and our top picks), though, are the giant containers meant to house vats of sugar, flour, rolled oats, and the like. They even have scoops that affix underneath their lids. I also have some of these smaller containers that I use to store various sugars and pantry goods. For brown sugar, I highly recommend this little orb that you soak in water and affix to the underside of the OXO’s lid. It works exceptionally well at keeping brown sugar soft and stays out of the way for scooping. Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, senior commerce editor

three oxo food containers on a gray backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Every spice deserves a little love, but if I can't see it in my pantry, then it will probably be forgotten and go unused. I (attempt) to avoid this by adding big labels to all my spices and making sure they are clearly visible when I tuck them away into my spice drawer. I'll also join in the symphony of praises for clear, large stackable containers for bulk items like assorted flours, sugars, and grains. I also rely on clear quart and pint-sized deli containers for dry good storage (rice, beans, bulk spices, salt). — Leah Colins, senior culinary editor

My pantry organizational skills are nearly nonexistent; I am the person who opens a cupboard and is greeted by a torrential downpour of mismatched food storage containers, lids scattering across the floor like grains of rice. Organization? What does that mean? That said, the one area I seem capable of containing my entropy is with dry goods like flour, sugar, and salt. Each gets their own container, with the sugar finding a home in a Le Creuset Storage Canister, salt in a flip-top cellar, and flour in the massive décor Tellfresh Superstorer. Rice is another lucky ingredient and lives in these glass Guzzini Grigio containers on my countertop.Grace Kelly, associate commerce editor

two dry food storage containers with rice inside them
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

I label everything with green tape and a Sharpie so things don't get lost in the ether, and stick to square and rectangular containers as much as possible. It's hard to squeeze in round containers! I use an assortment of Cambros, Mepal modula containers, and Rubbermaid Brilliance containers (our favorite food storage containers). They all have one thing in common: they're clear, stackable, and easy to wash and clean. Genevieve Yam, culinary editor

Four small plastic deli containers with blue tape labels on them.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

My pantry is small (literally a closet we put shelves in). I have to maximize the space I have. I recently purchased a utility cart, where I've taken to storing overflow or particularly bulky goods that eat up a lot of shelf space, like extra bags of flour. I like that I can roll the cart into and out of my pantry (ahem, closet) if I need to search for things on the bottom shelves. — Riddley

I will admit that I bought this baking storage set after seeing a TikTok video about it, but they have lived up to the hype. The containers are perfectly sized to fit their intended contents (meaning I can just dump a bag of flour or sugar inside with no leftovers), and the measurement markings allow me to easily see how much I have left. There are also handy magnetized or tucked-away accessories like an ingredient leveler for the flour, a shaker for the powdered sugar, and a terracotta disk for the brown sugar.

My spices are so much easier to store and find now that I invested in a tiered rack for my cupboard. I picked this one because the steps are large enough to hold smaller bottles of oil and vinegar, and the lips prevent the bottles and jars from falling down and shattering on the kitchen floor. — Taysha Murtaugh, commerce director

It's just so satisfying to have everything labeled—OXO containers, shelves, spices, organizing bins. Not only does it look nice and allow me to mindlessly know where things go, but in a house with two teens and a husband, it means everyone knows what goes where. — Michelle Edelbaum, SVP/GM

FAQs

How do I add space to my pantry? 

Adding stackable bins makes use of the (often unused) vertical space in your pantry. We’ve long recommended inexpensive ones like these

What are some cheap pantry storage ideas?

There are plenty of inexpensive containers out there that will make your pantry feel more organized and easier to navigate. Take, for example, this nine-piece set or these $4 stackable bins.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor at Serious Eats. 
  • Riddley's been working for the site since 2021 and has reviewed equipment professionally for about six years.
  • She wrote our reviews of air fryers and dinnerware sets, among others. 

I Tested 10 Insulated Tumblers (Including Stanley) to Find Hydration Heroes

We tested 10 insulated tumblers (including Stanley) to find the seven best ones for smooth sipping. We also evaluated if they leaked and their cold retention.

A group on insulated tumblers on a pink surface.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

I can’t say that I’m often ahead of trends, but I bought a Stanley tumbler years ago. And, reader, I hated it, as did my husband and even my dog. The tumbler caused us all to jump whenever it fell over with a thwack, water pouring out around its straw. With its tapered base and top-heavy design, topple over it did…all of the time.

Thus, I was happy to find out that the Stanley’s lid was redesigned, with a silicone seal that holds the straw in place and (allegedly) prevents the sort of splashes that have caused me to utter many an expletive. That, coupled with the virality of the aforementioned ginormous cup (if you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’d be unsurprised to find out Stanley’s sales jumped from $194 million in 2021 to about $750 million in 2023, according to CNBC), made me want to formally test insulated tumblers—those from Stanley, Yeti, Owala, Hydro Flask, and more. 

To evaluate these tumblers, I drank from them (duh), tested their cold retention, looked at how much they leaked when tipped over, and more.

The Winners, at a Glance

This insulated tumbler had the best cold retention of the bunch and didn’t leak even when fully tilted on its side—no small feat, as you’ll read below. It was great to drink from, comfortable to hold (thanks to its large handle), came in a range of hues, and was about $30.

The Owala was one of three models that passed the leak test. Its cold retention was great, too, and its handle had an indent that ran its length, which made it nicely grippy.

This Stanley tumbler’s lid is much improved upon compared to the previous iteration. Its silicone seal stopped water from flooding out (though it’s not leakproof). It had solid cold retention and felt well-balanced. The silicone portions on its handle were exceptionally nice to hold, too. 

The Yeti was the only model without a silicone seal around its straw that did well (but not perfectly) in the leak test. Its lid presses in and pulls out without much fuss, too. Its rectangular handle has rounded edges and is nice to hold onto and its wide straw provides smooth sips. It’s available in two smaller sizes, which are the same shape.

The third and final tumbler that soared through the leaking test (along with the Simple Modern and Owala), this 32-ounce cup is smaller, lightweight, and comes with a lifetime warranty. 

With a wide, stiffer silicone straw, the Hydro Flask was pleasant to drink from (a boon for those who’d rather not sip from hard plastic). Its lid pressed in easily and it had solid cold retention. 

With good cold retention and a silicone-lined handle, the Corkcicle is a perfectly fine insulated tumbler. And while not all of its colors are retro-looking, the Sunglass Tan, Purple Dolphin, and 80s Windbreaker certainly have Saved by the Bell vibes.

The Tests

A group of tumblers lined up side-by-side.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
  • General Use Test: I evaluated how easy it was to remove and put each tumbler’s lid back on and what it was like to hold and drink from. 
  • Leakage Test: I filled each tumbler with water, and then tilted it over the sink to see if it leaked.
  • Cold Retention Test: After filling each insulated tumbler with 100 grams of ice and cold (45°F) water, I placed the lids on and took the temperature every two hours for 16 hours using an instant-read thermometer.
  • Cleanup Test: I washed the tumblers by hand, then placed the dishwasher-safe models (which were all of them) in the top rack of the dishwasher to see how they fared. 
  • Long-Term Testing: All of my favorite tumblers have entered long-term testing (she writes, currently drinking from the Simple Modern). I will update this review with any notable findings. 

What We Learned

Twist-On vs. Press-In Lids

A group of empty insulated empty tumblers with their lids on.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The insulated tumblers either had twist-on or press-in lids. Neither was better or more secure (both styles had winners that leaked and others that didn’t), so it’s a matter of preference. For those with dexterity or hand strength concerns, the press-in lids were easier to add and remove. The Yeti and MiiR in particular had sizeable plastic tabs on their lids, which you can press your thumb upwards on and use to pop the lid off (though the Yeti requires more force).

As far as the twist-on lids, I struggled at one point to thread them all but managed after a try or two. Ultimately, other factors (like the straw) superseded any lid qualms. 

Straw Placement and Size

Owala, Yeti, and Stanley insulated tumblers side-by-side.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A few of the tumblers (the Owala, Hydro Flask, and MiiR) had straws located in the center of the lids. For most (i.e. those who aren’t testing 10 insulated tumblers side-by-side) this placement will be unnoticeable. However, I did find straws that were located closer to the edge and set at a slight angle were more intuitive to drink from. This way, you don’t have to crane your neck over the top of the tumbler or tilt it when sipping. That said, this is somewhat splitting hairs and my winners include both straw placements.

The best insulated tumblers were also a joy to drink from, providing an ample amount of water effortlessly with each sip. A couple of the tumblers (the Swig Life and TeamVV) had narrower straws than the top performers, providing noticeably less water and more resistance when I drank from them. 

Leakage: Expect It

A person holding an insulated tumbler over the sink was water pours our of its lid.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Unlike water bottles, you shouldn’t expect most insulated tumblers to be leakproof. With their tapered, narrower bases and uncapped straws, they’re bound to be tip- and leak-prone. However, this doesn’t mean water should flood from them when tilted. 

Most of the insulated tumblers dribbled during the leak test, specifically around their straws. The ones that didn’t (the Simple Modern and Owala, most notably) had tighter silicone seals holding their straws put. It was to the point where I had to forcefully pull the straw out of the Simple Modern to get it to budge. If a leakproof tumbler is your priority, you now know which one to get. 

All of the Insulated Tumblers Kept Water Cold

All of the insulted tumblers had double-walled insulation (the Owala and Corckcicle were even triple-layered) and kept the water cold for a substantial amount of time. After six hours, most warmed just a few degrees—though the Simple Modern was the only one with ice still in it. Even once 16 hours passed, the warmest tumbler was at 53°F. That’s still chilly!

The Criteria: What to Look for in an Insulated Tumbler

A person holding onto a Stanley tumbler via its handle.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The best insulated tumblers have large, comfortable handles, excellent cold retention, wide straws that provide a smooth sipping experience, and a reasonable amount of (or no!) leaking when tipped over. 

The Best Insulated Tumblers

What we liked: With the best cold retention of all the models, the Simple Modern impressed me—especially at such a reasonable price. Its handle was ergonomic and comfortable and its straw was wide and at a slight angle. It’s also leakproof: Nary a drop of water came out, even when I rested the tumbler on its side. It comes in a ton of colors, too.

What we didn’t like: The screw-on lid has a low profile, giving your fingers just a quarter of an inch to hold onto and twist to remove. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Stated capacity: 40 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Other sizes available: 30 ounces
An orange insulated tumbler on a countertop.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Another leakproof option, Owala’s handle was one of my favorites thanks to an indent that ran down its length, providing a comfortable place for my thumb to rest. It did the second best in the cold retention test and its screw-on lid was large and grabbable. 

What we didn’t like: The Owala’s straw is located in the center of the lid, though it can be tilted slightly. I found this to be less of a convenient placement. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 40 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Other sizes available: N/A
A pink Owala insulated tumbler on a pink surface.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Ah yes, the social media hydration superstar! However, this tumbler is actually great: Nicely balanced, its other highlights were a large handle with grippy silicone portions, a twist-on lid, an angled straw, and super-smooth sipping. 

What we didn’t like: It did leak a bit, but not the worst out of the bunch, and certainly not enough to not recommend it. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel; powder coat finish
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 40 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Other sizes available: 14, 20, 30, 64 ounces
A green Stanley insulated tumbler with a handle.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: With a sturdy, press-in lid and angled straw, the Yeti is a joy to drink from. I like that its straw has a bumper on the bottom, so it can’t be accidentally pulled up and out of the lid. It didn’t have a silicone stopper but did shockingly well in the leak test. Unlike other brands, Yeti’s smaller sizes have the same shape and handle, so I can confidently recommend those, too.

What we didn’t like: It did well in the leak test, but it wasn’t impervious to drippage. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 42 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Sizes available: 25 and 35 ounces
A pink Yeti insulated tumbler.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: This smaller insulated tumbler has a press-in lid that pops in and out with surprisingly little resistance. That said, it was one of the three models that didn’t leak (thanks to its press-in silicone straw that formed a tight seal on the lid). 

What we didn’t like: Its straw is located in the center of the lid, and it’s not available in a larger size. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel; powder coat finish
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 32 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, though hand-washing is recommended
  • Other sizes available: N/A
A dark blue MiiR insulated tumbler on a pink surface.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Those with an aversion to sipping on a hard, plastic straw will like the Hydro Flask’s flexible, silicone mouthpiece. It did well in the cold retention test and was nice to drink from.

What we didn’t like: Water dripped from around the straw, which is located in the center of the lid. I wish the press-in lid’s tab was larger, as this would make the lid easier to remove.  

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 40 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Other sizes available: 32 ounces
A light purple Hydro Flask insulated tumbler
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: The handle on this insulated tumbler was great and grippy, thanks to a silicone piece that ran down the inside of it. It did very well in the cold retention test and if you get one of the brand’s multi-hued colors (bright blue and pink; pink and green!), the Corkcicle gives off a fun ‘80s vibe.

What we didn’t like: This model leaked around the straw and the lid’s slider.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1.34 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 40 ounces
  • Fits in a car cup holder: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Other sizes available: N/A
A blue and purple Corckicle insulated tumbler.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Competition 

  • Stanley IceFlow Stainless Steel Tumbler with Straw: Though this insulated tumbler had excellent cold retention, its straw (which locks into its lid) was hard to push up and press back down. 
  • Swig Life 40oz Mega Mug: The floppy silicone upper and overall smaller straw size meant this tumbler required more effort to drink from. It also leaked more than other models.
  • TeamVV 40 oz Tumbler: I liked the silicone bumper on this tumbler, but the thin straw was less pleasant to drink from and the dual-sided lid leaked substantially.

FAQs

Who makes the best insulated tumbler? 

After testing 10 insulated tumblers, I named models from Simple Modern, Owala, Stanley, and more as top picks. However, all of the tumblers had excellent cold retention and were fairly comfortable to drink from.

How do you clean an insulated tumbler? 

All of the tumblers I tested were dishwasher-safe (some specified they had to be placed on the top rack). However, insulated tumblers can also be cleaned by hand with a sponge and hot, soapy water. I recommend buying specific brushes to deep-clean their straws, though.

Which tumbler keeps water cold the longest? 

In my test, the Simple Modern tumbler kept water the coldest, with it being the only insulated tumbler that still had ice in it after six hours.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor at Serious Eats and has been with the site since 2021.
  • She previously worked at America’s Test Kitchen, Food52, and EatingWell. 
  • She’s been reviewing equipment professionally for about six years and has written many reviews for this site, including dinnerware sets and air fryers.
  • For this review, Riddley tested 10 insulated tumblers. She evaluated their cold retention, usability, leakage, and more.

17 Incredibly Great Kitchen Items I’ve Bought After Working at Serious Eats for Two-Plus Years

Our senior commerce editor recounts the gadgets and gear she’s purchased after working for the site for a couple of years.

The Breville Barista Express Impress on a white marble countertop
Serious Eats / Nick Simpson

When I started working at Serious Eats more than two years ago (time flies, etc, etc), I thought I had a well-stocked kitchen. But, then I started reading our reviews. And testing more gear for the site. And realizing just how thorough, thoughtful, and meticulously curated the products we recommend (and have recommended) are.

So, I spent: Outfitting my kitchen with our longstanding favorites and new top picks, replacing so-so products with standout ones. Here are 17 kitchen items I’ve bought since joining the team.

Our longtime favorite bread knife is truly unmatched: sharp enough to evenly slice whatever loaves you throw at it and flexible enough to peel butternut squash (truly!). We don’t recommend spending a lot on a bread knife since it’s a pain to sharpen. Instead, just buy a cheap one (like, ahem, the Tojiro) and replace it every handful of years.

TOJIRO Japan Hand Made Bread Knife Slicer Cutter, 14.75
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

We’ve featured this in its own review and as an air fryer toaster oven winner. And when my toaster oven was on its way out, the Joule Oven was the one I had to have. Its accurate temperatures, fast pre-heating, and sleek digital interface make it a standout. I also love its app integration: My phone alerts me when it’s preheated and even when it’s time to rotate the food.

Breville the Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

After working on our wok issue and wok review, I immediately purchased our favorite wok from Yosukata. We explained it best in our review: “The Yosukata Black Carbon Steel Wok is a pre-seasoned, stamped wok with a smooth, beautiful blue-black surface. It's a fast, heat-responsive pan that performed well in nearly every test.”

a carbon steel wok on a marble kitchen surface
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

Truly the best bench scraper around, the OXO has a non-slip handle and wide blade that effortlessly scrapes, scoops, and transfers. Its sharp edge is also great for portioning dough (gnocchi, biscuit, etc). I use mine every day, particularly during dinner prep.

using the oxo bench scraper to cut up pizza dough
Serious Eats / Eric King

Serious Eats has recommended this blender since 2014 and it’s truly the best one around. It effortlessly pulls ingredients down into its blades, creating a vortex that churns out super-smooth sauces, soup, smoothies, purees, and more. It’s also easy to use, with just a couple of switches and a dial.

a smoothie being blended in the Vitamix 5200 blender
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples

I immediately purchased our favorite drinking glasses after our review came out, donating the mismatched mason jars I’d relied on for years. My favorite part about them? I can nest multiple glasses together for easy storage.

bormioli rock bar glass on a blue backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

I consider our coffee gear reviews some of the best in the business, so when we say an espresso machine is easy to use, we mean it. I’m a coffee fan, not an expert, which is why the Impress Express is perfect for me. Its tamping arm and built-in grinder eliminate two of the trickiest parts of making espresso.

an espresso shot with thick streams is dropping into a cup
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

This coffee grinder was actually a present from my parents last year, but I requested it and thus feel entitled to include it here. Baratza’s grinders are unmatched in their longevity, quality, and consistency. I use mine every morning to grind coffee for my auto drip machine.

Baratza Encore coffee grinder
Vicky Wasik

This cutting board is next-level—and truly worth every cent (and a lot of cents it is…). It's thick, has non-slip feet, and is gentle on knives. There’s a reason it’s been our favorite wooden cutting board for many years.

The fine finish on the BoardSmith's end-grain maple cutting board, showing light reflecting off the smoothly finished surface
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

I felt a twinge of regret when I ordered a $50 potato masher within minutes of publishing our corresponding review. But any maligned feelings went away as soon as the masher was in my possession. Simply put: It pounds spuds with prowess and its all stainless steel construction is built for the long haul.

A saucepan with mashed potatoes and a potato masher in it.
Serious Eats / Taylor Murray

I absolutely adore our favorite chef’s knife. It’s solid, sturdy, and sharp. I have it in the delightful Purple Yam (lilac) color.

Using a chef's knife to dice an onion on a wooden cutting board
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Our favorite boning knife was under $30 when I purchased it, which made it an easy buy. I’m a general fan of Victorinox’s Fibrox line, which features a textured, grippy handle.

holding the victorinox boning knife
Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger

There’s something truly unpleasant about having to knock an espresso machine’s portafilter into a trash can. A knock box is the obvious solution and this pretty one from Crema Coffee actually looks swell sitting on the countertop.

an espresso grinder, espresso machine, knock box and tamper on a counter
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

It’s a delight to watch this can opener spin around and open a can on its own. This is a new purchase (our electric can opener review is very recent!), but I already influenced my mom to buy one after she used mine over Thanksgiving.

The Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener on a small can on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Eric King

Banged-up, dented strainers be gone! This fine-mesh strainer is unparalleled: Capable of straining super-smooth sauces and purees and with a large bowl hook. Its handle is rounded, too, and very comfortable to grasp.

A fine mesh strainer straining strawberry sauce
Serious Eats / Eric King

This pie pan is CHEAP and also AMAZING (capitals—emphasis!). I now own two.

Norpro on blue countertop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

These stackable glasses are perfect for small pours of wine, batch cocktails, and plain ol’ water. You can also serve desserts in them (think: panna cotta or chocolate mousse). Whenever I have guests over for dinner, I set a stack of them on the table and let guests pour themselves beverages with abandon.

bodega glasses stacked up on a black countertop
The bodega glasses were easy to stack and store.Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

FAQs

What are kitchen gadgets called?

Kitchen gadgets can be called kitchen tools or utensils. 

Who makes the best kitchen utensils? 

It’s safe to say that no one brand makes the best of everything (hence: why we review products!). You can find our guide to common kitchen utensils here.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor at Serious Eats. 
  • She’s worked for the site for more than two years and was previously employed at America’s Test Kitchen, Food52, and EatingWell.

Small Business Saturday Is Here—Our Favorite Sales Include Tinned Fish and Olive Oil

Small Business Saturday takes place the day after Black Friday. We went through our equipment and ingredient reviews to find the best sales to shop.

Small Business Saturday Collage
Serious Eats / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

I love a big-box deal on a wicked expensive blender or grill as much as the next person, but that’s not what we’re here for today. Because it’s Small Business Saturday!

Founded in 2010, Small Business Saturday aims at lifting up independent retailers during the shoppiest, spendiest time of the year. In this spirit, we rounded up our favorite kitchen-related deals from small businesses like Fishwife and Brightland, including picks from our reviews and editors. 

Now, I’d be remiss not to say that while these deals are phenomenal and absolutely worthwhile, so is heading out to your favorite local small businesses today and throwing some cash their way. Or maybe do both? I know I will.

Fishwife The Classic Smoky Trio

Fishwife Tinned Seafood Co. The Classic Smoky Trio
Fishwife Tinned Seafood Co.

“I used to be *strongly averse* to canned tuna. The smell gave me the ick, so it’s saying something that, today, I eat tinned fish with glee and relish (and sometimes with relish). Part of this is discovering recipes that go beyond mayo-loaded tuna salad, part of it is trying olive oil-packed tuna (a revelation), and the other big part of it is the re-brand that tinned fish has gotten in the past few years. And one brand that has made tinned fish trendy is Fishwife,” associate commerce editor Grace Kelly says. “When I tested tinned fish, their smoked salmon was one of my favorites—it makes a killer dip that goes great on a rice bowl, and sometimes I just eat it out of the tin with potato chips and sour cream. Old me would be horrified, but new me knows that this is the good stuff.” 

fishwife tinned fish open can of smoked salmon with lemon wedge and bread
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Vân Vân Bundle of Flavors

Van Van Bundle of Flavors
Van Van

Vân Vân’s single-origin spices are sourced directly from Vietnamese farmers. Their spices may be a bit different than what you’d expect: They’re meant to be rehydrated and used in place of fresh herbs or aromatics. This includes their purple shallots and Northern Mountain garlic, both of which are excellent in a stir-fry.

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

The Boardsmith Maple End Grain Cutting Board

The Boardsmith MAPLE END GRAIN CUTTING BOARD
The Boardsmith

This is our longtime favorite wooden cutting board and for good reason: The amount of care The Boardsmith puts into their high-quality boards is next-level and evident from the minute you unbox one. We've used these boards for years at home and in the Serious Eats test kitchen and can tell you they're worth every penny. Right now, The Boardsmith's running a freebie promotion, depending on how much you spend:

  • $250+: Large Care Kit ($35 value)
  • $350-$650: Exotic Cheese Board ($90 value)
  • $650+: Sidekick of Choice ($180 value)
The fine finish on the BoardSmith's end-grain maple cutting board, showing light reflecting off the smoothly finished surface
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Coyuchi Organic Waffle Kitchen Towels 

Coyuchi Organic Waffle Kitchen Towels
Coyuchi

This California-based small business makes some of our favorite kitchen towels. They’re a splurge, to be sure, but are incredibly absorbent and good-looking. They also have a central towel hook, which is rarer in a kitchen towel than you might think. 

A biege dish towel on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Great Jones Breadwinner 

Great Jones Breadwinner
Great Jones Goods

This loaf pan comes in three bold colors for those who’d like to add a little pizazz to their quickbread (who wouldn’t?). In our tests, it baked up tall, evenly browned loaves and was nicely nonstick. It’s $10 off for Small Business Saturday. 

a hand taking a loaf of bread out of the oven in a pink loaf pan
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Two Yuzuco Duos!

YUZUCO DUO
Yuzuco

“Fresh Yuzu is a revelation; it has an almost piney tinge to it like lime juice got a kick of juniper berries. It adds a zip and freshness to some of my favorite marinades, sauces (ponzu!), and dishes, like this steak salad with Yuzu mustard dressing,” Grace says. “And I’ve been obsessed with the Yuzu juice sold by Yuzuco—it's super fresh and comes in cute little plastic bottles with screw caps, making it easy to pour and store for later use.” Yuzuco’s sale gives you $18 off when you order two of their Duos.

Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 

The Smart Garden 3
Click and Grow

Our indoor herb garden testing favored the Click and Grow for its slim profile and foolproof operation. You quite literally only have to add pods and water and the machine does the rest (including cycling on and off). Right now, Click and Grow is offering 30% off all of its smart gardens.

the click and grow herb garden with herbs in it
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Big Island Coffee Roasters Kona Coffee Collection

Big Island Coffee Roasters Kona Coffee Collection
Big Island Coffee Roasters

Big Island Coffee Roasters is offering 15% off sitewide at the moment. I’ve massively enjoyed every bean I’ve tried from them, including the (actually quite) boozy barrel-aged coffee.

Made In Stainless Clad Saute Pan 

Stainless Clad Saute Pan 3.5 QT
Made In

Made In’s sale includes oodles of favorites from our equipment reviews, including our top-rated saute pan (an essential piece of cookware, if you ask us). There’s also major discounts on their truly-hard-to chip dinnerware, elegant silverware, and the best saucier around. 

the Made In saute pan on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Bean Box Coffee Sampler

bean-box-coffee-sampler-subscription
Bean Box

“Bean Box has a variety of different subscription options, but I especially like their Coffee Sampler Box,” says commerce writer Jesse Raub. “It includes four sample-sized bags of coffee sent every month from a large selection of curated roasters—it makes a great gift, but it’s also a fantastic way to try new flavor profiles to find out what your coffee preferences truly are.”

Brightland The Essential Capsule

The Essential Capsule
Brightland

If you spend $100 at Brightland, you get 20% off. This set will get you there and comes with two olive oils (Awake and Alive) and two vinegars (balsamic and champagne). As we said in our review of olive oils: “We actually found Awake a bit bolder than Alive, with a potent peppery burn and strong bitter edge; a little will go a long way. Alive was a bit more mellow, fruity, and round, though it still had that back of the throat burn.”

two brightland bottles on pink marble surface with olives and bowl of oil
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp

Sichuan Chili Crisp
Fly By Jing

I’ve sung the praises of this chili crisp before. It’s incredible on eggs, excellent on roasted vegetables and proteins, and a wonderful topping for a fried chicken sandwich.  Right now, it’s 20% off.

I’ve Been Testing Kitchen Gear and Waiting for Black Friday All Year—Here Are 12 Things I Want to Buy

Our gear expert’s Black Friday sale picks, based on years of knowledge (and our equipment reviews).

Roundup: Editors' Early Deals Picks Tout
Serious Eats / Daisy Rodriguez

All year, I unbox oodles of products, test loads of gear, and edit and read hundreds (literally) of equipment reviews on everything from the best deba knives to electric smokers

Naturally, I have a running list of kitchen gear I want (need?) to buy. And because I know exactly how rigorously these items were tested to claim the top spots in our reviews, I know my money’s going towards something that will perform exceptionally well, be easy to use, and last. 

All of the products below are worth their full price, which means you should certainly snatch them up on sale. Lucky for you, Black Friday is nearly here (have you heard?), which means early deals are in full swing. Here are 12 items I want to buy, including dish towels and beer glasses, all of which are currently on sale. 

Made In Stainless Clad Saucier 

Made In Stainless Clad Saucier 3 QT
Made In

Serious Eats is firmly Team Saucier (over Team Saucepan). Thanks to its rounded corners and slightly flared walls that make stirring smooth and easy, a saucier can do everything a saucepan can and then some. In our tests, the Made In saucier excelled because of its ergonomic design and balanced weight (important for pouring without spilling). 

Making pastry cream in a saucier with a hand mid-whisk.
Serious Eats / Tim Chin

OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder 

OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
Amazon

Okay, okay: I already own this coffee grinder. However, I will be buying it again (it’s a rare $20 off) to give as a gift to my sister. She’s still using a blade grinder and, uh, suffice it to say it’s time for her to upgrade. This burr grinder is consistent and has easily adjustable grind settings (just twist the top).

A hand turning the time dial of the OXO burr grinder
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE 

ThermoWorks Thermapen® ONE
ThermoWorks

Do I ever tire of singing the praises of an instant–read thermometer? No, but you should hardly need convincing to buy one. After all, it only takes one time of eating undercooked poultry to scar you for life. The Thermapen ONE is the very best money can buy, with a lightning-fast response time and loads of features, including an automatic backlight and rotating screen. It’s one of my favorite things to gift any cook or baker.

A Thermapen one taking the temperature of a sous vide water bath set to 134 degrees
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Made In Serving Platter 

Made In TABLETOP Serving Platter Black Rim
Made In

This is part of our winning dinnerware set and was one of our favorite serving platters overall. It won’t chip, it looks elegant, and it’s oven-safe to 580°F. Right now, it’s also 34% off.

made in platter on marble backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Spiegelau Beer Tulip Glass Set

Amazon Spiegelau Beer Classics Tulip Glasses
Amazon

Associate commerce editor Grace Kelly got me two of these beer glasses last year as a holiday present and I will be buying four more because they’re just so dang delightful to sip beer from. Their bell shape beautifully channels aromas to your mouth and nose and makes any ol’ beer feel (and taste) fancier. 

tulip glass with beer
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

All-Clad D3 12-Inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan

All Clad D3 Stainless 3-ply Bonded Cookware, Fry Pan with lid, 12 inch
All Clad

Don’t tell anyone else who works at Serious Eats, but I don’t own a stainless steel skillet. Which is a shame, since it’s one of the most versatile pieces of cookware out there. I will be buying this deeply discounted pan from All-Clad, which wasn’t quite our top pick in our review (solely due to its price) but was pretty dang close.

Food tossed in skillet
Vicky Wasik

Zeppoli Classic Dish Towels 

Amazon Zeppoli Classic Dish Towels
Amazon

I already own a set of our favorite kitchen towels but will be buying another. They boast a 141% (!!!!!!!!) absorbency rate and are ideal for using as side towels or just mopping up spills. They come in a pack of 15 and make me feel like the kitchen towel fairy, whipping out towels left and right. 

A blue and white dish towel on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Boardsmith Maple End Grain Cutting Board

The Boardsmith MAPLE END GRAIN CUTTING BOARD
The Boardsmith

Owning our longtime favorite wooden cutting board is quite actually a dream of mine. The amount of care The Boardsmith puts into their products is next-level: Everything is neat, pristine, and sturdy and can be customized (different sizing, feet, handles, and juice grooves are all available). For Black Friday, The Boardsmith is offering the following promotions (compiled into a bulleted list for your convenience), based on what you spend: 

  • $250+: Large Care Kit ($35 value)
  • $350-$650: Exotic Cheese Board ($90 value)
  • $650+: Sidekick of Choice ($180 value)
The fine finish on the BoardSmith's end-grain maple cutting board, showing light reflecting off the smoothly finished surface

Breville the Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro

Amazon Breville the Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro, BOV950BST, Black Stainless Steel
Amazon

I’ve had my eye on this oven since we reviewed it last year (it’s also one of our favorite air fryer toaster ovens overall). Breville makes elite toaster ovens, but this one’s app-compatible and has a mesh basket for air-frying. I’m also a sucker for the orange accents (any fellow Syracuse University alumni reading this?). 

closeup photo of the screen with the cooking functions
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Instant Pot Air Fryer Oven, 6 Quart

Black Friday Amazon Instant Pot Air Fryer Oven
Amazon

When I tested air fryers last year, I was astounded by how much I liked the appliance. Surely, I thought, I’m too serious a cook to like an air fryer. But, nope, they’re great and I use my Instant air fryer (our winner) multiple times a week. I will be buying one to give to my mom, who’s gone through THREE sub-par air fryers in the past two years. Right now, the Instant’s $30 off.

cooked fries in an air fryer basket with a hand pulling the basket out midway
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperelin-Schirm

Rubbermaid Brilliance Glass Food Storage Containers

Rubbermaid 8-Piece Brilliance Glass Food Storage Container Set
Amazon

Food storage containers are like the socks of the kitchen. Where do all of the matching lids go??? Anyway, I will be buying yet ANOTHER set of containers—this time investing in our favorite glass models from Rubbermaid which are leakproof and have super-secure rubber latches. Wish me better luck this time, friends. 

a glass food storage container sitting on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Eric King

Hario V60 Mugen Coffee Dripper 

Amazon Hario V60 Mugen Coffee Dripper
Amazon

I forever want to be the person that methodically makes myself pourover coffee every morning. Alas, I am instead the one who’s woken to an alarm blaring at the last second and a dog licking my nose and then I have to scramble to set up an automatic drip coffee maker before the work day starts. But, we can aspire—yeah? The Hario is one of our favorite pourover coffee makers and is a cool $10 off at the moment. It pairs beautifully with this (also discounted!) carafe

an up close shot of coffee brewing in the Hario Mugen
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

The Breville Joule Turbo Is the Most Powerful Sous Vide We’ve Ever Tried

Breville’s newest sous vide machine is the most powerful one yet—and its app is impressive.

A sous vide machine on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Long gone are the days of sous vide being relegated to fine-dining restaurants. The dead-accurate, low-temperature cooking is now an easy (and arguably more convenient) way to cook your finest steak or make vanilla extract or creme brulee.

Now, I’ve owned a Breville Joule sous vide machine since 2015 when it first came out. But, I’ll admit: I’m guilty of considering sous vide a weekend (or even special occasion) method. I don’t want to wait 30 minutes-plus for a water bath to preheat on a Tuesday night, you know? So when Breville released the Joule Turbo Sous Vide earlier this year, my gadget-loving ears pricked up. It’s the first time Breville’s made a hardware change to the Joule since the immersion circulator’s inception. The Turbo promises not only to be faster but that it will “make your favorite sous vide dishes in as little as half the time of conventional sous vide,” the company says

I put the Breville Joule Turbo to the test, evaluating its accuracy, speed, and compatible app.

The Tests

A Breville Joule sous vide affixed to a plastic Cambro filled with water
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
  • Water Bath Test: I timed how long it took the Joule Turbo to heat a gallon of cold water (63°F) to 190°F. When the water bath was at temperature, I used an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature throughout the bath, evaluating its accuracy. I then checked the bath’s temperature every 10 minutes for an hour, to see if the temperature was stable.
  • Chicken Breast Test: I timed how long it took the Joule Turbo to heat a gallon of room temperature water (72°F) to 150°F. Then, I lowered two chicken breasts in a vacuum-sealed bag into the water bath and cooked them for one hour, setting a timer on the Joule’s app. 
  • Turbo Filet Mignon Test: To see how the sous vide works with its app and its app-guided recipes, I made Breville’s recipe for a filet mignon that utilizes the sous vide’s Turbo feature.
  • Vessel Versatility Test: I tried affixing the Joule Turbo to various sous vide containers, including a 6-quart Cambro, Dutch oven, and stockpot.
  • User Experience Tests: Throughout testing, I evaluated how easy the Joule Turbo was to set up, how well it worked with its app, and how useful the app was.

What We Learned

The Breville Joule Turbo Was Accurate and Wicked Fast

A closeup of the Breville Joule Turbo's app showing the temperature of preheating water
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Like the Joule, the Joule Turbo is spot-on accurate. It had no problems reaching and maintaining its set temperatures. 

As far as speed, the Joule Turbo heated up a gallon of cold water in about 22 minutes and room temperature water in just under 13 minutes. While the room temperature water is on par with our other favorite immersion circulators, its cold water speed was exceptional. Compared to the Joule and Anova, the Joule Turbo was 13 and 38 minutes faster, respectively. 

To delve deeper into its speed, I reached out to Breville to see if the company could share any insights into the Joule Turbo’s construction. While the Joule Turbo and Joule have the same wattage (1100), the Turbo “has a software update and the algorithm is better able to sense what is happening and relay data for faster results,” a company representative told me. 

A look at a sous vide machine heating water in a cambro container.
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

"When heating the water, the new Joule Turbo Sous Vide has an updated PID controller that allows it to heat the water a bit faster than the previous Joule," says Douglas Baldwin, senior mathematician and food expert at Breville. "This updated controller also helps the Turbo algorithm cook tender cuts in about half the time of the previous Joule." PID stands for Proportional Integral Derivative, which is an algorithm-driven temperature control module. (Our favorite Breville espresso machines also have this.)

The Breville+ App Was a Massive Improvement

Screenshots of the Breville+ app against a blue background
The Breville+ app even offers cleaning instructions and videos.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Compared to the original Joule app, the Breville+ app has a whole lot more connectivity and functionality. The app is chock full of videos and tips, like a step-by-step guide for cleaning your immersion circulator. The recipes include videos of each step, too. All in all, the app is now a well-rounded sous vide resource instead of just a place where you go for recipes and to set your sous vide’s time and temperature. 

The Turbo Feature Worked

two closeup looks at the Breville's app
The Turbo feature had you first measure and weigh your steak.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Another notable app feature is the Turbo in Joule Turbo. Not every Breville+ sous vide recipe is Turbo, but the ones that are denoted by a little airplane in the bottom right corner and a lightning bolt in the top right corner of the recipe. 

To see how the Turbo feature worked, I tried the app’s Turbo Filet Mignon with Peppercorn Sauce and Air-Fried Garlic Mushrooms but just made the steak portion of the recipe. The app selects the time and temperature based on your preferred steak’s doneness. To further hone in on accuracy, the app also walks you through measuring (the Turbo even includes a small ruler for this very task) and weighing the steak, then spits out the temperature and time range based on these numbers. With Turbo, you add your food while the water is cold (yes, cold!) and immediately start the timer and water bath. My filet mignon was ready in 41 minutes flat. In comparison, a standard sous vide steak takes at least an hour after the water bath is heated.

The Verdict

Pros

The Joule Turbo is ultra-powerful, incredibly accurate, and heats a cold water bath lickety-split. Its app integration is incredibly helpful and the app itself is packed with helpful videos, guided recipes, and tips. 

Cons

Like the Joule, the Joule Turbo doesn’t have an adjustable clamp, which means its vessel versatility is limited unless you invest in a Big Clamp. However, the Turbo still has a magnetic base, which means it’ll stand upright in, say, a Dutch oven. It lacks an on-board display, which may be unappealing to the app-averse.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Polycarbonate; stainless steel
  • Wattage: 1100
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Warranty: 1-year limited 
  • Price at time of publish: $250
A Breville joule turbo sous video machine standing upright in a Dutch oven
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

FAQs

What does a Breville Joule sous vide machine do? 

A Breville Joule sous vide machine heats a water bath up to a set temperature and holds that temperature for a specified amount of time. To cook food in a sous vide bath, you’ll want to either vacuum seal it in a bag or press as much air out of a zipper-lock bag as possible before slowly lowering it into the water bath. The water bath cooks the food gently and slowly and the bag retains moisture, so it’s nearly impossible to overcook something. 

What can you cook with a Joule sous vide?

We have plenty of sous vide recipes on this very site (like sous vide duck confit, steak, and carrots). The Breville+ app also has plenty of guided recipes. 

Can I use Ziploc bags with my sous vide?

Yes, you can use a Ziploc bag to sous vide food. You’ll want to make sure you squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • To test the Joule Turbo, we tested its temperature accuracy, speed, app connectivity, and more. 
  • We’ve reviewed 18 other sous vide machines, so we know a thing or two about the appliance. 
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor for Serious Eats. She’s reviewed kitchen gear professionally for more than five years and has written reviews of air fryers, dinnerware sets, and more.

Editor’s note: We received a press sample of the Breville Joule Turbo, but all of our opinions are our own.

You Don’t Need a Butter Warmer, but Then Again You Kind of Do?

This 1-quart pot is absolutely adorable—and useful for more than just melting butter.

a butter warmer on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

When you review cookware, it’s about keeping every variable the same so you can properly test the heat conduction, performance, and all of the other metrics that make one pot or pan edge out another. However, as someone who’s reviewed equipment professionally for the past five years, I can tell you there’s also a case for liking something simply because it brings you joy. (Ah, yes! That existential goal.)

For me, that exact product exists in the form of this Dansk Butter Warmer. I’m not going to say it’s the *most* practical or *utmost* essential piece of cookware out there (it is, after all, just 1- quart). But I can solemnly swear I use mine all of the time. And not just for melting butter, as much fun as that would be.

Made from enameled carbon steel and with a rounded wooden handle, the butter warmer’s white interior does indeed allow you to easily melt and monitor butter as it gently melts or deeply browns (like if you’re making Serious Eats’ chocolate chip cookies). I’ve melted as little as one tablespoon of butter and as much as a stick-and-half in mine. A tablespoon, you say? I am famously (just to me) microwave-averse (I store mine in my basement), so breaking out the butter warmer is indeed more convenient. 

melted butter in a small saucepan
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Outside of its namesake, the butter warmer is ideal for warming up hot drinks (cocoa or a real-deal, actually-has-squash-in-it pumpkin spice latte, perhaps?)—though I would recommend using a silicone-coated whisk, or you risk scratching the pot’s creamy interior. It even has a pour spout! It’s also nice for heating up sauces or re-warming a single serving of soup. Its small base and thin construction ensure the flame fully covers the bottom and that things heat up quickly. 

a butter warmer pouring butter into a small bowl
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

I invested in the butter warmer with a lid, which also doubles as a trivet, though the lidless version is certainly cheaper. At the risk of sounding trite, the adage does hold true here: good things do come in small packages. For me, this tiny pot is worth its weight in gold (or browned butter).

FAQS

What size is the Dansk butter warmer? 

The Dansk butter warmer comes in 1- and 2-quart sizes.

How do you clean the Dansk butter warmer? 

Because of its wooden handle, the butter warmer must be hand-washed.

Is the Dansk butter warmer compatible with an induction stovetop? 


Yes, the butter warmer is compatible with all stove tops—including induction.

Why We're the Experts

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor for Serious Eats. She's worked at the company for nearly two years and has reviewed kitchen equipment professionally for the past five years.
  • She's written many reviews for the site, including on Ooni pizza ovens and air fryers.

We Spent Months Testing Food Subscription Boxes to Find the Ones Worth Buying Over and Over Again

We spent months testing subscription boxes—evaluating their delivery, ordering structure, and products—to find the best ones.

several images of food (cheese, fish, olive oil) with postage stamp frames around them
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

During the pandemic and peak everything-must-be-ordered-online, I realized I love getting mail. But not just any mail. Letters, psh. Those are for bills, adverts, and newspapers I never once subscribed to but still receive. What I’m talking about are packages.

There’s a specific joy in receiving a brown box with your name on it that’s delivered right to your door. For me, from me? Excellent! Arguably, what’s even better are recurring subscription boxes, which promise new delights on a regular basis—be it biweekly, monthly, tri-monthly, or quarterly. However, the amount of subscriptions available out there is arguably nauseating. 

If only there was someone (multiple someones?) who loved receiving packages enough that they were willing to test subscription boxes, to tell you which ones were actually worthwhile. You know where this is heading, so I’ll hop to it: My team and I spent the last two months reviewing more than 35 food subscription boxes. We took notes on what the ordering, site, and delivery experience was like and the quality of the products we received. 

It’s worth noting that we tested these in peak summer and fall. Some perishables arrived with their ice packs totally melted—their goodness gone and funkiness wafting through the cardboard. We’re aware that our experience with these products might’ve been totally different in another season—however, it also speaks volumes for companies that put a lot of care (and dry ice!) into shipping.

Our Favorite Subscription Boxes, at a Glance

What We Learned

When It Came to Ice, More Was More

Several frozen pieces of meat and two bottles of barbecue sauce on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

If something was meant to come frozen or even just thoroughly chilled, it was truly mind-boggling when it arrived with one packet of dry ice. And in the summer heat? That dry ice was long melted and the product was sometimes…spoiled. For example, for weeks in a row, my Daily Harvest subscription arrived with a sole, flabby plastic baggy of no-longer-there dry ice, and our smoothies and flatbreads were entirely thawed. Granted, their customer service was responsive over text and issued me refunds and site credit, but that didn’t stop my frustration when I repeatedly threw out entire boxes of food (yes, this is what Daily Harvest’s customer service instructed me to do).  

Conversely, the Vermont Wagyu came loaded with so much dry ice I filled half of my sink with it. The meat was frozen solid even after being shipped in 90-degree heat and the two bottles of NY Shuk sauces it came with were separately wrapped and placed on top of the dry ice, so they were frosty, but not frozen.

Consider the Frequency 

Some subscriptions (especially if they were pricier) had a set frequency (i.e. quarterly). Others allow you to toggle between every month, three months, or six months. And even more—particularly if they were ingredient-focused, like coffee—had selections for weekly and biweekly shipments. How often you want a subscription is up to you. But no matter what, we looked for subscriptions that allowed you to easily choose and select your delivery schedule, with an intuitive website design.

Printouts, QR Codes, and More

a box of cocktail supplies with several printouts on top of the supplies
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Some subscriptions need no further explanation (like a box of dates), but others didn’t include any printouts. Some, however, had entire booklets, detailing each item in the box. Others came with QR codes, which you scanned to take you to a website with information on the items.

What we didn’t like? When there were no instructions or printouts included so you had to navigate to the brand’s website and try to piece together how to use everything yourself. Subscription boxes are often pricey, so we were looking to have fun, and not be befuddled. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Subscription Box

A block of unwrapped cheese sitting on red and white cheese paper
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The best subscription boxes should be packaged with care: They shouldn’t arrive broken or otherwise damaged because of a lack of padding. If the item is chilled or frozen, it should come to your doorstep that way, too. The subscription site’s website should be easy to navigate and allow you to intuitively toggle between delivery frequencies, if applicable. We also enjoyed reading and interacting with some sort of printout or interface that told us more about the box and items.

The Best Cheese Subscription Boxes

What we liked: Murray’s offers a variety of subscription options (including a mac and cheese of the month club). We got the Cheesemonger’s Picks option, which came with three to four cheeses and is available via 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscriptions. The cheese arrived in pristine condition (that’s saying a lot given the heat), with each one wrapped in Murray’s emblazoned paper. “When I say the 2 Sisters Isabella Gouda was one of the best cheeses I’ve ever had, that’s saying a lot (I eat a lot of cheese, okay?),” associate commerce editor Grace Kelly says. “It was nutty and caramelized, with little crystalline bits and a surprisingly creamy texture.”

What we didn’t like: We wish there was the option for a single month’s subscription. The price breaks down to $17 to $22.77 per cheese, which is moderate for Murray’s prices, but still pricey for the general cheese fan.

Price at time of publish: $68.33/month.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 3 to 4 cheese
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: There are five cheese clubs to choose from, ranging from $56.67 to $98.33 a month 
four blocks of cheese on a blue surface (three of them are unwrapped)
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: Instead of buying the ingredients for a date night cheeseboard, you could subscribe to Curdbox. “This subscription service provides a cheeseboard setup that includes three kinds of cheese, three food pairings, and fun extras, like a Spotify playlist to listen to as you munch (cute!),” Grace says. “Our box featured a variety of cheddars: one from Canada, one from Australia, and one from Ireland, along with some crackers, dried fruit, and marinated green beans. All in all, a tasty setup that my husband and I ate in one go.”

What we didn’t like: Shipping isn’t included and while we like the curated selection, $50 can get you a nice dinner out, too.

Price at time of publish: $50.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 3 artisan cheeses (~.75lbs) and 3 specialty food pairings
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: You pay monthly or in 3-month subscription installments; you can also buy a 3-month gift subscription for $143
Three small blocks of cheese, a box of crackers, and bags of dried fruit and French beans on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Best Subscription Box for Groceries

What we liked: Thrive Market costs $60 a year and, with it, you get access to a pleasantly dizzying array of groceries. Depending on where you live (like me in Western Massachusetts), Thrive might well be the easiest way to buy your favorite, more niche goods—like Tache pistachio milk and Canyon Coffee. The website carries everything from snacks to soaps to sunscreen—and even sells frozen items, though their shipping availability depends on the season and your location. It’s the kind of thing that’s like, “Hey, we can’t guarantee this won’t melt in inferno temperatures, so we’re not going to bother trying and potentially waste food.” Which, to be clear, I appreciated! You can buy groceries as one-offs or set up recurring subscriptions of your favorites to auto-deliver every four, eight, or twelve weeks. Shipping was also wicked fast (the goods I ordered arrived in about two days) and free over $50. 

What we didn’t like: I could see, especially for families, wanting recurring subscriptions for snacks, household staples, and the like to auto-deliver more regularly. It would be nice if there was a two-week option.

Price at time of publish: $60 (for a one-year membership).

Key Specs

  • Box includes: It depends!
  • Frequency: Whenever you want, or every 4, 8, or 12 weeks for recurring subscriptions
  • Good to know: You can edit your recurring subscriptions at any time
a box of groceries containing coffee, pistachio milk, potato chips, and more
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Best Meat, Fish & Seafood Subscription Boxes

What we liked: With ButcherBox, you can choose between a beef and chicken box, beef and pork, mixed box, or custom box—containing nine to 14 pounds of meat, depending on which you select. You can also choose the delivery frequency, which is great because it really is a ton of meat. “Everything arrived frozen (the box was ultra-insulated), with a smattering of meaty delights: Italian sausages, various cuts of Australian beef, burgers, pork chops, chicken thighs, and a big bag of chicken tenders that I’ve been enjoying all too frequently,” Grace says. “And one box will last you a while—I've been going through mine for over a month and still have more steaks, burgers, and sausages in my freezer.”

What we didn’t like: Not much! Besides the fact, you may need a chest freezer to store everything. 

Price at time of publish: $146 to $169/month.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 9 to 14 pounds of meat
  • Frequency: Every month (or less, depending on what you select)
  • Good to know: Shipping is free and you can cancel at any time
Packages of frozen steaks, ground beef, sausages, and chicken nuggets
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Man, does this subscription have their delivery figured out. The meat arrived frozen solid, while the two glass bottles of sauces were separately wrapped and placed towards the top of the box, so they were frosty, but not in danger of shattering. The package I got included a ribeye, two, 1-pound blocks of ground meat, flank steak, beef teres major, and a package of chorizo, plus two bottles of NY Shuk sauces. The box came with printouts explaining where all of the cuts of meat came from and cooking suggestions/temperatures.

What we didn’t like: The subscription arrives quarterly (good given its price!), though it would be nice if there were an option for a less expensive box that is delivered more regularly. 

Price at time of publish: $225/shipment.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 3 to 4 cuts of meat, ground meat and/or sausage, and guest products like sauces, coffee, or maple syrup
  • Frequency: Quarterly
  • Good to know: New subscribers must subscribe one week in advance of the next shipment date to receive it
Blocks of frozen meat, a package of ground beef, a package of chorizo links, and two bottles of barbecue sauce on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Our subscription included Atlantic salmon, wild Atlantic halibut, wild Ahi tuna steaks, and a pound of scallops. You can choose between getting your seafood delivered fresh or frozen, and you can buy a one-off box or an auto-delivery of one, two, four, or eight weeks (options–we like 'em!). “Everything is shipped frozen (and very well insulated), ensuring no fishy smells when you do decide to sear up some salmon for dinner,” Grace says. “You can customize your box, or choose from their other two offerings (which can include live specimens—think soft shell crabs or oysters).”

What we didn’t like: While seafood is expensive, this box is undeniably pricey. 

Price at time of publish: $152.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 2x 5-7-ounce salmon fillets; 2x 5-7-ounce halibut portions; 2x 7-9-ounce Wild Ahi tuna sSteaks; 1 pound scallops
  • Frequency: Every 1, 2, 4, or 8 weeks
  • Good to know: You can build your own subscription box or shop from their curated bundles
A few packages of fish fillets and a container of scallops on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: A family-owned business located in Duxbury, Massachusetts, Real Oyster Cult has and sources some of the freshest bivalves around. The price ranges from $49 to $128 and scales up depending on the amount of oysters you want (20 to 70). There’s a three-month subscription minimum, but you get freebies in your first, 2nd, and 3rd boxes (like a branded shucking glove, oyster knife, and discounts on their caviar). The oysters arrived ice cold and in separate mesh bags. I also found their Mignon-Nips to be wonderful accompaniments. Plus, if you live in New England, shipping is free.

What we didn’t like: Nothin’—these are some great oysters.

Price at time of publish: $49 to $128 (20 to 70 oysters).

Key Specs

three bags of oysters on a colorful cutting board
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: A Boston-based company, Wulf's sells some of the best seafood I've tried. The Fishmonger's Favorites Box gives you a whole lot for its price: sustainably farmed Norwegian salmon, Arctic char, cod, haddock, grey sole, and two pounds of peeled, deveined Mexican Blue Shrimp. The fish fillets all come vacuum-sealed and everything arrived frozen solid. The company also offers a pricier, large box (called their Greatest Hits).

What we didn't like: Nothing—this is a great subscription.

Price at time of publish: $150.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 16 ounces salmon, 16 ounces Artic char, 16 ounces cod, 16 ounces haddock, 16 ounces grey sole, 32 ounces shrimp
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: You can buy the box once to try it or set up a recurring subscription
Various packages of frozen seafood laying a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: These small soup dumplings are so delicious and take just 10 minutes to steam. I loved that each bag included perforated paper liners for a bamboo steamer. For me, the black vinegar was the perfect way to enjoy the pork soup dumplings. You can choose to have two-plus bags of dumplings (plus one to three of the company's sauces) delivered monthly or every two months.

What we didn't like: It would be nice if there was an option to get just one bag of soup dumplings delivered every month, for solo diners.

Price at time of publish: $84.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 2+ bags of soup dumplings, 1+ jar of sauce
  • Frequency: Once a month (or every other month)
  • Good to know: You can buy the soup dumplings without setting up a recurring subscription
Two bags of soup dumplings on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Best Drinks Subscription Boxes

What we liked: Wine Access has nine clubs, but I tried the Discovery Club. It came with six bottles, YouTube videos detailing tasting notes and stories on the winemakers and vineyards, and sheets for each bottle for you to write down tasting and olfactory notes. If you’re just getting into wine (or looking to give a subscription to someone who is), this is a truly excellent place to start. 

What we didn’t like: I would’ve appreciated pairing suggestions for each bottle.

Price at time of publish: $150 (for the Discovery Club).

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 6 bottles
  • Frequency: Quarterly 
  • Good to know: Shipping is free over $150
a number of bottles on marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: For natural wine lovers, Mysa will be a haven. Its wine club has several options (including mixed and orange wines) and they feature wine from small producers, so you’re sure to try something new each time. The website has a classic-to-funky meter for each bottle and the subscription includes a small card with a QR code that you can use to bring up the wines’ information. For those with sustainability in mind, the lack of printouts will be appreciated. (Fun fact: My friends own Mysa wine, and they really are the most delightful people!)

What we didn’t like: Nothing much: if you like natural wines, you’ll enjoy Mysa. 

Price at time of publish: $84 to $274.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 3, 6, or 12 bottles
  • Frequency: Monthly, every other month, or quarterly 
  • Good to know: Mysa also sells bottles a la carte
a number of wine bottles and a couple of cans of wine on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: A non-alcoholic box with a theme? Sign us up (literally). The box we tried was “Siren’s Song.” “I love a good cocktail, but I also have a sensitive stomach and alcohol can make things worse. Enter Raising the Bar, a zero-proof subscription box that provides all the ingredients (and a recipe) for tasty tipples—minus the ABV. Every month you’ll get a new cocktail to make, which serves up to 10 people (!!),” Grace says. “I really loved the Bittersweet Symphony cocktail, a non-alcoholic, tropical riff on the gin and Aperol aperitivo classic. This version uses rooibos tea, Wilderton’s herbal bitter non-alcoholic botanical spirit, and a spiced mango and passionfruit elixir, with the final mocktail garnished with a sliver of candied ginger.”

What we didn’t like: The subscription ships around the 15th of every month, so you’ll have to plan accordingly if you have, uh, plans for the box.

Price at time of publish: $58.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: Ingredients to make 10 drinks
  • Frequency: You can choose a 1-, 3-, 6-, or 12-month plan
  • Good to know: The box may include tools you’ll need for the drinks
A few cans of drinks, a bottle of shrub, and a few packets of various ingredients (tea, tajin) on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: Every month, City Brews will send you beers from a different city (highlighting four breweries). “We got the Portland, Oregon box, which featured eight beers from four different breweries, along with a leaflet that notes the flavor profiles and a bit about the breweries,” Grace says. “And the variety! This was no mere box of IPAs—there was a grisette, an oatmeal pilsner, a stout, and a few lagers (along with some IPAs because, well, West Coast IPAs are the OG). This would be a fantastic gift for a beer nerd, like my husband (I'm seriously thinking of gifting it to him for Christmas!).”

What we didn’t like: Well, the price per box ($80) can buy you a lot of beer at a liquor store, but that’s far less fun, isn’t it? The price per beer is equivalent to getting a pour at a brewery, but far more than buying a 6-pack at a store.

Price at time of publish: $80.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 8 beers
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: You can select between buying just one box or setting up a subscription for 3 or 6 months
Various cans of beer on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: This is the coffee subscription of choice for Serious Eats commerce writer Jesse Raub, aka our in-house coffee expert (he spent 15 years in the specialty coffee industry). Trade’s subscription can be set up to auto-deliver at various intervals and you can even swap out coffees depending on your preferences. When you first sign up from Trade, it uses an algorithm quiz to choose coffee for you based on your answers. The quiz includes your preferred brewing method (i.e. pourover, automatic drip, espresso machine), coffee knowledge level, roast preferences, and more.

What we didn’t like: “I received a bag of Brazil from Anodyne,” Jesse says. “[It’s] not my favorite coffee, but I could see why it would have been popular based on the decisions I made with the algorithm quiz. I think it probably works much better for someone who isn't a coffee pro and needs help picking out what they want.”

Price at time of publish: $15.75/bag.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 1 bag of coffee
  • Frequency: Once a month or more frequently (depending on what you want)
  • Good to know: Shipping is free
a lineup of decaf coffee bags from a variety of roasters
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

What we liked: If you told me I’d be recommending a sparkling water subscription, I’d tell you I own a soda maker. However, this sparkling water is truly phenomenal and offers some of the most unsuspecting yet wonderful flavors. Peach honeysuckle? Mango chili? Blueberry wildflower? Each subscription includes 24 cans of what-will-they-come-up-with-next. It’s just…delightful! My husband now gets visibly excited when a case of Aura Bora arrives at our doorstep. 

What we didn’t like: Upfront, $60 for sparkling water may seem steep. It breaks down to $2.50 a can (the price of many a beverage at the grocery store). 

Price at time of publish: $60.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 24 cans of sparkling water
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: The subscription ships on the second Tuesday of every month
Seven cans of seltzer on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Best Pantry Subscription Boxes

What we liked: Hot, hot, hot! This subscription is straight-forward: For $130 you get 12 bottles of hot sauce over 12 months, with three bottles delivered quarterly. “My box featured a roasted jalapeno hot sauce (which was fairly mild but nicely green and smoky), ‘Death by Garlic’ hot sauce (combining two of my favorite things—garlic and hot sauce), and a ‘super hot’ Taco Cat Sauce (spicy! but not TOO spicy),” Grace says. “The box also comes with a very cute ‘hot sauce log’ to write down your thoughts on each one.”

What we didn’t like: Shipping isn’t included.

Price at time of publish: $130.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 3, 5-ounce of small-batch hot sauce
  • Frequency: Quarterly (for a year)
  • Good to know: You can’t set your spice preferences or anything, so you get what you get
Three bottles of hot sauce in a red box with its lid open
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: It’s easy to go through olive oil like water, which makes an olive oil subscription convenient. And Brightland and Graza make two of our favorites. Brightland is pricier, but comes with two distinct olive oils: Awake is super peppery, while Alive is mellow and fruity. Graza has some of our favorite packaging, with the squeeze bottle making it super easy to dispense oil into a measuring cup or directly into a pan. The subscription duo comes with Drizzle (for finishing) and Sizzle (for cooking). 

What we didn’t like: Brightland is pricey ($65), but you choose whether you want your subscription to auto-deliver every month, two months, or three months. Graza has the same auto-delivery selection, though Drizzle is a bit one-note flavor-wise.

Price at time of publish: $65 (Brightland) and $33.30 (Graza).

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 2 bottles of olive oil
  • Frequency: Once a month, every 2 months, or every 3 months
  • Good to know: Before subscribing, you can buy single bottles from either company, to make sure you like it
two brightland bottles on pink marble surface with olives and bowl of oil
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: A supremely nice gift to give someone (or yourself) is to always have olive oil on hand. Club Corto will give you exactly that. Each shipment comes with two 500-milliliter bottles and one supremely large 3-liter box. The box has a spout, though—perfect for decanting the olive oil into a dispenser. Corto's olive oil is fresh and incredibly delicious, be it soaked up with bread or drizzled on top of pasta. If the Club's pricing doesn't appeal to you, Corto offers subscriptions on just their bottles or boxes (you can choose between recurring delivery every one, two, three, or six months).

What we didn't like: We fully acknowledge that $220 upfront may seem like a lot for olive oil,

Price at time of publish: $220.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 2 bottles of olive oil; 1 3-liter box
  • Frequency: Twice a year
  • Good to know: Before subscribing, you can buy single bottles from the company, to make sure you like it
Two bottles of olive oil and one box of olive oil on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: This spice subscription has long been a favorite of Serious Eats staffers. The quarterly subscription includes four jars of spices (including ones that haven’t been released yet) and a collaboration food product, like a box of Sfoglini x Burlap and Barrel pasta. You can sign up for a subscription for yourself ($45, charged quarterly) or buy a whole year’s subscription as a gift ($180). Don’t underestimate how wonderful it is to have incredibly fresh spices delivered right to your door. 

What we didn’t like: Nothing: This is a great subscription box. 

Price at time of publish: $45 (quarterly). 

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 4 full-size jars of spices and one food product
  • Frequency: Quarterly
  • Good to know: The boxes ship in February, May, August, and November
four jars of spices and a small bottle of vinegar on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Best Sweet Subscription Boxes

What we liked: Three months of...croissants? Yep! The croissants ship frozen from Les Marais bakery in San Francisco, with each month being a new croissant. (The first month is almond, the second is au beurre, and the third is chocolate croissants.) I tried the au beurre croissant box, which arrived with 12 perfectly frozen croissants. The box included clear, illustrated instructions for storing, thawing, proofing, and baking the croissants and the resulting pastries were incredible: uber-buttery (they use two types of butter: French Isigny and Vermont Plugrá) and flakey. 

What we didn’t like: At $215, it’s definitely pricey. However, between the three months, you get 34 pastries, which breaks down to about $6 a pastry. Still expensive? Surely, but there’s the convenience of not having to leave your house for baked goods (and not having to make them from scratch).

Price at time of publish: $215.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: Each box includes 10 to 12 croissants
  • Frequency: Once a month for 3 months
  • Good to know: The croissants will keep in the freezer for 90 days
a box of frozen croissants on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: If you haven’t tried cookies from this iconic New York City bakery, you’re in for a treat: They are super thick, giant, and loaded with mix-ins. (Check out Stella’s Levain Bakery-style cookie recipe.) The company recently launched a Levain Cookie Club, which includes eight cookies a month. You can choose a mystery cookie flavor (sometimes it’ll be ones that haven’t been released yet) or your favorite flavor to auto-deliver. I’m partial to their Chocolate Chip Walnut.

What we didn’t like: It would be nice if you could customize your delivery schedule, like selecting bimonthly instead of monthly. 

Price at time of publish: $44.10.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 8 cookies
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: Shipping is free
a box container eight cookies wrapped in plastic
Serious Eats / RIddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Frog Hollow is a certified organic farm located in California—and they ship out some of the most perfect fruit. My box (which I received in July) had organic yellow peaches and apricots (both from Contra Costa County). The fruits were all ripe and so beautifully packaged: each individual fruit was wrapped in red and gold Frog Hollow tissue paper. The fruit was incredible, too—both eaten by themselves and cubed with a bit of granola, heavy cream, and maple syrup on top. The delivery was communicative as well and I received several emails about the package’s shipping and arrival. 

What we didn’t like: Some customers reported that the fruit arrived bruised, but my box was in pristine condition. The delivery schedule is unclear from the product page.

Price at time of publish: $35 (for 3 pounds).

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 3 to 10 pounds of fruit
  • Frequency: Weekly shipment, but you can skip, pause or cancel at any point, the company says
  • Good to know: “We sometimes include fruits from organic partner farms in California to give you the best year-round variety,” the company notes 

What we liked: This subscription is a 2-pound box of the best dates you’ve ever tried. They’re so soft and sweet. You might be thinking, “Do I need that many dates?” Maybe not, but with fruit this good, I’ve been finding reasons to use them with abandon: In smoothies, on yogurt, as a snack, or as a dessert stuffed with peanut butter and squares of chocolate. 

What we didn’t like: For those who won’t go through dates as fast, a biweekly monthly option could be appealing. 

Price at time of publish: $23.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 2 pounds of organic, jumbo Medjool dates
  • Frequency: Once a month (or every two weeks)
  • Good to know: The company also offers subscriptions for 2 pounds of mixed size Medjool dates (cheaper) and 5 pounds of “grinder” (drier dates that are better for baking and blending)
a box of dates with its lid open on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: Without delivery, I wouldn't be able to get Portland-based Salt & Straw where I live in Western Massachusetts. Which is a shame...because it's some of the best ice cream I've tried. Their Pints Club ships monthly and you can choose between getting a mix of seasonal flavors, their best-sellers, or dairy-free pints. I did the first one and got a range of fall-flavored ice creams, including one with actual chunks of pumpkin bread in it and another with caramel, peanut butter, and feuilletine. The ice cream arrived rock solid—with nary a pint even sweating.

What we didn't like: The price is prohibitive and three months of ice cream delivery translates to about $15/a pint (but does include shipping).

Price at time of publish: $229 (for three months).

Key Specs

  • Box includes: 5 pints of ice cream
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: You can always try a delivery of their bestsellers first before committing to a subscription
five pints of ice cream on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Best Snack Subscription Boxes

What we liked: Both of these snack boxes are delightful and come with printout booklets detailing each item in the box. The Bokksu box had some wonderful delicate-tasting treats, including Earl Grey bread, a matcha-chocolate stick, pear and fromage biscuits, and mochi. Tokyo Treat was more snack- and candy-oriented and included chestnut KitKats, a can of super-sweet orange juice, and what can be best described as Japanese Pop Rocks. With each box, I loved going through it, picking out something random, and looking up what it was in the booklet as I munched. 

What we didn’t like: Both of the leaflets were a little hard to navigate. It took a lot of page flipping to find a certain treat.

Price at time of publish: $50/month (Bokksu) and $37.50/month (Tokyo Treat).

Key Specs

  • Box includes: An assortment of snacks and treats
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: Bokksu offers free shipping
a box of different Japanese snacks on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

What we liked: “This was such a fun box! Each month Mouth sends a new package replete with goodies from a different corner of the country,” Grace says. “The July box, which I received, highlighted snacks and items from the Southeast: Spicy cheddar shortbread coins from Tennessee, tangy barbecue sauce from Kentucky, granola from Virginia, an Alfajor from Mississippi, and sweet pickles from Atlanta. It’s a really fun way to try small brands and regional specialties, and let’s just say I inhaled Willa’s Nashville Hot Cheddar Shortbread Coins and will likely order another box and tuck it away for a rainy day.”

What we didn’t like: We wish there was a bimonthly subscription option, too.

Price at time of publish: $65/month.

Key Specs

  • Box includes: A variety of regional snacks
  • Frequency: Once a month
  • Good to know: Shipping is included; Mouth also offers pickles and cheese subscriptions
A box of shortbread, a bottle of barbecue sauce, a jar of pickles, a cookie, and a bag of granola on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Competition

  • Daily Harvest: This box repeatedly arrived with its dry ice entirely melted and its content thawed. 
  • Jasper Hill Cheese Club: We are the biggest fans of Jasper Hill cheese. (Bayley Hazen blue on a burger? Incredible.) The subscription just arrived at room temperature, its ice pack long melted and cheese aroma wafting from the box. That being said, we’ve had the pleasure of getting this box during the colder months and it was a totally different experience (the cheese was well-chilled). So we do recommend it—just maybe not during a heatwave.
  • Sfoglini Pasta of the Month Club: While this pasta was fantastic, the company overhauled their subscription after we tried it, so we will have to re-evaluate it.
  • Andres Confiserie Suisse Subscription: We loved this subscription, but it appears to no longer be available.
  • Shaker & Spoon: This was a fun subscription (it even included housemade bitters!), but it’s pricey considering it doesn’t include alcohol. We also wish that the box had printouts with cocktail instructions, rather than having you navigate to their website.
  • Olympia Provisions: Olympia Provisions makes incredible salami. But some of our salami arrived un-chilled, which was confusing since the packaging says it should be refrigerated. 
  • Beanz Coffee Subscription: This is a great coffee subscription! It’s just pricier than Trade and delivers with a minimum of two bags. (Perhaps this makes this the better choice for you though!)
  • Blue Bottle Subscription: If you’re a Blue Bottle loyalist, we highly recommend this subscription. If not, you might prefer a subscription that allows you to try coffee from different roasters (like Trade or Beanz).
  • iGourmet International Cheese Subscription Box: There’s nothing wrong with this subscription. It’s the same price as Murray’s, which we slightly favored, but it’s still a great option. 

FAQs

What is a subscription box?

A subscription box is a box (usually devoted to a single subject, be it snacks, cheese, or wine) that delivers on a recurring basis. Usually, subscription boxes deliver once a month, but there are also bimonthly and quarterly options (and some that are even weekly and biweekly). 

Are subscription boxes worth it? 

The answer is: It depends! Our favorite subscription boxes are definitely great, but almost all of them are pricey. You often pay a premium for a curated selection of products that are delivered right to your door. For some, this may be worth it—for others, not so much.

Why We’re the Experts

  • For this review, we spent months evaluating more than 35 subscription boxes. We looked at the ease of ordering and evaluated the delivery and products themselves to land on our favorites. 
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor at Serious Eats. She’s been reviewing kitchen equipment professionally for the past five years and has previously worked at America’s Test Kitchen, Food52, and more. 
  • Grace Kelly is the associate commerce editor at Serious Eats. She previously worked at America’s Test Kitchen and as a line cook, bartender, and reporter. For this review, she helped to test subscription boxes. 
  • Jesse Raub is the commerce writer at Serious Eats. He worked in the specialty coffee industry for 15 years and helped to try subscription boxes for this review.