I Tested 11 Bread Boxes to Find the Best Ones for Storing Loaves of All Sorts and Shapes

After testing 11 bread boxes and evaluating their performance and ease of use, we have three top picks for every budget.

A bread box with a loaf of bread in it and its lid closed.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Give me a baguette, focaccia, boule, or brioche. I’m not picky about the size and shape—nothing beats a fresh loaf of bread. 

The operative word here is fresh. If it’s not stored properly, it only takes a day or two for a beautiful bakery ciabatta to enter crouton territory. Keeping bread in good condition is all about controlling airflow. Out in the open, bread goes stale quickly. On the other hand, it’s vulnerable to growing anaerobic mold if it’s completely sealed off from oxygen.

Bread boxes are an aesthetically pleasing storage option designed to extend the life of loaves. They allow a small amount of airflow—just enough to lock in moisture while discouraging mold growth. I put 11 bread boxes, ranging from $15 to $200 to the test to see just how well they accomplish this task.

The Winners, at a Glance

This bread box is constructed from high-quality materials. Olivewood is both beautiful and practical—it’s naturally hard and ding-resistant. This model would look stunning on any countertop. Plus, you’ll never forget if you have bread thanks to the transparent cover.

This is a simple, no-frills bread box. The frosted plexiglass lid resits smudge marks and still allows you to see what’s inside. 

If sandwiches are the bread and butter of your household, this ultra-simple box is all you need. I loved its space-saving design. Once it’s sealed, it’s easy to pick up this lightweight box and tuck it away for easy storage. 

The Tests

Various bread boxes on a wooden countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi
  • Capacity Test: I placed three types of loaves (a boule, sliced sandwich bread, and a round sourdough) in each bread box one at a time. I noted how easy it was to place and access the bread and how well the boxes could accommodate different shapes. 
  • Storage Test: I placed a loaf of bagged sandwich bread in each box and left it for two weeks, periodically checking for mold. For a point of comparison, I also left one loaf on the counter. 
  • Durability Test: To evaluate durability I gave each bread box a solid smack with a metal spoon, taking note of any dents or scratches. 
  • Cleanup Test: After testing, I cleaned each bread box according to the manufacturer's instructions. I took note of any difficult or smudge-prone materials. 

What We Learned

Transparent Was Best

Sliced sandwich bread in a bread box.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

As the saying goes; out of sight, out of mind. But I like to keep my eyes on my bread. My favorite bread boxes had transparent or semi-transparent covers. A window makes it easy to tell if you’re running out of bread or if your current loaf is past its prime. The Williams Sonoma Olivewood Bread Box has a completely clear acrylic cover—you’ll always know exactly what's inside. The Buddeez Bread Buddy Bread Box, Oggi Stainless Steel Roll Top Bread Box, and ETMI Bamboo Bread Box feature semi-transparent surfaces. Although you can’t see their contents in crystal clear focus, it is still easy to tell if they are full or empty. Other models were made of opaque materials like stainless steel, aluminum, or bamboo. The Culinary Couture Extra Large Bread Box was a literal black box. Solid walls increase the chance you’ll forget what’s on hand and let a stray slice of bread grow old for weeks.  

Bigger Wasn’t Always Better 

Numerous bread boxes on a wooden countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Of the 11 bread boxes I tested, 10 were quite large and designed to sit on the countertop. The exception was the Buddeez Bread Buddy Bread Box, which could be stored on the counter, on top of the fridge, or tucked into a cabinet thanks to its lightweight design and tight closure. Counterspace is a precious resource in my kitchen, and several models took up more than their fair share of room. At 18.3 inches, the Brabantia Roll-Top Bread Box was the longest. The Yamazaki was the largest overall, measuring 17 inches long and 14 inches deep. I found that this extra space simply wasn’t necessary. Even much smaller models, like the 15- x 9-inch Williams Sonoma, could hold full-sized loaves of all shapes (the only exception is for the Buddeez, which is specifically designed for sandwich bread). A boule looked positively lonely inside of the massive Yamazaki. Unless you’re storing multiple loaves at a time, extra-large bread boxes just take up space. 

A Bread Box Should Open at the Front

A loaf of bread in a wooden bread box.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

There’s more than one way to open a bread box. The Brabantia, Oggi, home-it, RoyalHouse, and Williams Sonoma models feature roll-top closures that open at the front like a garage. The Yamazaki and ETMI models use pull-down doors like a mailbox does. Other models—like the Joseph Joseph, Guzzini, and Culinary Couture—boxes have lids. The smooth, handle-free Guzzini lid was difficult to set in place, while the Culinary Couture model was hinged (like a treasure chest), which made it hard to open when flat against a wall. 

I found models that opened from the front were more convenient. With a roll-top or mailbox-style door, you could store a few items on top of the box and access bread without removing them. 

Materials Made a Difference 

In terms of preventing mold, all of these boxes were effective. Although wood, plastic, and aluminum all did a good job preserving bread, aluminum or steel boxes were significantly harder to clean and less durable. The shiny steel Home-it collected smudges and fingerprints each time I used it. Thin metal boxes also proved vulnerable to denting. After a solid smack with a spoon the Culinary Couture, Brabantia, and Home-it all sustained dents. The Oggi fared better than its fellow metal models—this product is constructed from a stainless steel base and a frosted plastic cover. The cover is the most frequently touched portion, and the Oggi’s material was both smudge- and dent-resistant. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Bread Box 

A wooden bread box with a sliced loaf of sandwich bread in it.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Look for a transparent, durable bread box that opens from the front. Evaluate how much bread you eat and choose a model that’s just large enough to accommodate your needs. 

Our Favorite Bread Boxes

What we liked: The Williams Sonoma bread box is absolutely beautiful—a huge bonus for any countertop item. In addition to its striking grain pattern, olivewood is naturally durable. This box will only improve with age. I loved the clear door, which opened smoothly and proudly displayed the bread inside. 

What we didn’t like: This was by far the most expensive bread box on the list—at $200, it’s a significant investment. Natural wood also requires slightly more maintenance than plastic or steel. The manufacturer suggests periodically conditioning the wood with food-safe mineral oil

Key Specs

  • Materials: Olivewood, acrylic 
  • Dimensions: 15 x 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches 
  • Care instructions: Wipe clean, condition wood with mineral oil
The Williams Sonoma bread box on a kitchen countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This model features an easy-to-use roll-top lid with a semi-transparent covering. The frosted plexiglass covering is translucent enough to see the bread inside. This medium-sized model is spacious and can hold a variety of bread without hogging too much counter space. 

What we didn’t like: Compared to the Williams Sonoma model, this box felt slightly thinner and flimsier. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel, plexiglass  
  • Dimensions: 14.88 x 10.25 x 7.38 inches
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash 
A stainless steel bread box on a kitchen countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This box offers an extremely practical solution for storing sliced sandwich bread. The container is small, light, and seals tightly. Once it’s closed it’s easy to pick up the entire container. If you don’t have counter space, this could be stored on a shelf or on top of the fridge.  

What we didn’t like: The Buddeez bread box is specifically designed for sliced sandwich bread. It’s not large enough to store artisanal loaves. It's also not the prettiest sight to see.

Key Specs

  • Materials: BPA-free plastic 
  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 13.5 inches
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash only 
A loaf of bread in the Budeez bread box.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Competition

  • Brabantia Roll-Top Bread Box: This is a simple breadbox with a smooth roll-top door. Unfortunately, its steel construction hides bread from view, making it easy to forget what’s in stock. 
  • Yamazaki Home Bread Box: I liked this model’s smudge-resistant white stainless steel construction. This was the largest box that I tested. Unless you’re eating several loaves of bread each week, there’s no need to dedicate this much space to storage. 
  • Joseph Joseph Bread Box with Removable Bamboo Cutting Board: Cheap plastic construction and opaque walls knocked this bread box out of the running. 
  • Culinary Couture Extra Large Bread Box: The Culinary Couture bread box felt needlessly large. This model opens from the top—if you place any items on top of the box, you’ll need to remove them each time you open it.
  • RoyalHouse Premium Bamboo Bread Box: Assembling this model was so irritating that I eventually got out a power drill.
  • ETMI Bamboo Bread Box: I liked this model’s semi-transparent door, but it lost points because the design felt sloppy. After assembly, the side walls weren’t completely flush with the top of the box, leaving a useless raised border.   
  • Home-it Stainless Steel Bread Box: This shiny steel bread box dented and smudged easily. 
  • Guzzini Recycled Tierra Bread Box: It was difficult to lift and replace this box’s smooth, handle-free lid. 


Does a bread box keep bread fresh?

Bread boxes control airflow to keep bread fresh. Bread can become stale or grow mold as it ages. If a loaf is left on the countertop it will be exposed to too much air and dry out quickly. If, however, it’s completely sealed off in a plastic bag anaerobic mold can thrive. Bread boxes create a mostly sealed environment that prolongs shelf life. 

Is a wooden or metal bread box better?

Wooden bread boxes may be able to regulate humidity more effectively than their metal counterparts. However, I did not observe significant storage performance differences between wood and metal boxes during testing. In general, I preferred wood over metal bread boxes because many thin steel models dented easily. 

Are bread boxes worth it?

Whether or not you need a bread box depends on how much bread you consume and how to prepare it. Bread boxes help prolong shelf life, but they also take up a considerable amount of counter space. They are a good solution for households that enjoy fresh bread several times a week. If you go through loaves slowly or generally prefer toast, the freezer may be a better choice. 

What type of bread box works best?

The most important feature of a bread box is transparency. Wood, metal, and plastic boxes can all store bread well, but if you can’t see what you have in stock, you’re more likely to forget about it. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • Madeline Muzzi is a food writer and avid cook with over five years of product testing experience.
  • Madeline is a carb snob, with high standards for bread texture and quality and has eaten upwards of 2,000 sandwiches in her lifetime. 
  • She’s written extensively about food science, which informed her evaluation of these products. 
  • For this review, Madeline tested 11 bread boxes, evaluating their capacity, ease of use, and more.

The Best Way to Clean a Toaster Oven, According to an Expert from Breville

We reached out to an expert and asked how they recommend cleaning a toaster oven, with all of its nooks, crannies, and exposed heating elements.

breville compact toaster oven on a white marble counter with white tile backdrop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Toaster ovens do more than toast. These versatile appliances can cook pizza, roast small sheet-pan dinners, and bake beautifully browned chocolate chip cookies. But like many a kitchen workhorse, after use comes grime—crumbs, grease, burnt-on bits.

I’m no stranger to toaster ovens. I spent weeks testing 12 of them by cooking loads of frozen foods, toast, and broiled goods (and cleaning up the mess afterward). As a result, I found creative ways to scour glass windows, drip trays, and even the exterior of the ovens, which are prone to smudges. But what’s the best way to get your toaster oven looking like new without getting tennis, er, toaster elbow? To find out, I got tips from Karen Diep, a member of the product team at Breville (who makes some of our favorite toaster ovens and air fryer toaster ovens). I then tested several popular cleaning methods to find the most effective way to care for the appliance.

Unplug Before You Scrub

a toaster oven with a variety of cleaning products in front of it
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Always ensure your toaster oven is unplugged and completely cool before cleaning it, even the exterior. A clean toaster oven is great, but it's not as important as protecting your fingers from burns or electrical shocks.  

Tips for Cleaning the Exterior

A person using a piece of Magic Eraser to wipe down the exterior of a toaster oven.
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Sure, the outside of your oven won’t see as much action as the racks or sheet tray, but it still needs to be wiped down. My toaster oven sits on a rack in the corner of my kitchen and accumulates dust and debris over time. It’s usually easy to wipe away dust, but, in the case of toaster ovens, things can get sticky. This is because the exteriors heat up while in use, and this heat can transform any oil and dust into a film. Regularly wiping down the exterior of your oven with a soapy sponge or towel and cleaning spray can help prevent this, but if you forget (we all do!), a grease-cutting cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend or Krud Kutter will make short work of any sticky residue. 

Diep recommends avoiding caustic cleaners and abrasive scrubbing tools for toaster ovens as they can “scratch off paint (on colorful ovens) and the non-stick surface.” Lightly abrasive materials, though, may help with stuck-on stains. Diep notes that she considers Mr. Clean Magic Erasers a “godsend” for toaster oven cleanup.

How to Clean the Interior

using a magic eraser to clean the window on a toaster oven
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Toaster oven sizes vary widely but, generally speaking, they’re small-ish. This can make it difficult to reach under or clean around the heating element (this is why our favorite toaster ovens have removable crumb trays). The interior is also where some of the most stubborn stains pop up, including the bottom of the oven and the glass viewing window, which can get gunked up if your toaster oven has air fryer capabilities or a convection fan or you're cooking something particularly splattery, like a roast chicken.

To clean the interior, start by removing components like the drip tray or racks. You can soak these in the sink or apply a little elbow grease (if needed) with the coarse side of a sponge. I also like to sprinkle a little Bar Keeper’s Friend onto a particularly dirty drip tray, add some water, scrub a little, then let it sit for a bit before rinsing—this usually gets out any stubborn grease stains.

closeup of sponge and drip tray
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

To clean the interior oven walls, choose a gentle material—heavy-duty cleaning tools like steel wool can scratch the surface. I found that lightly abrasive materials, like baking soda or specialty sponges, did a decent job. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work well for removing light browning on the door, glass, or side walls, but tough bits of stuck-on food can tear them to shreds. For particularly tricky smudges, I make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to stuck-on stains, and let it sit for 30 minutes. After it soaks, you should be able to wipe it away with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. 

As for the cleaning element itself, Diep recommends leaving it alone, since "these elements can break very easily if pressure is applied.” Any drips that fall directly onto the heating element will burn off on their own over time (just open your windows!). 

Cleaning the Crumb Tray and Sheet Pan

cleaning supplies behind a small toaster oven sheet tray
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

For tough stains on crumb trays or sheet pans, Diep recommends working your way up by starting with the least abrasive cleaning agents, such as a soapy sponge, to the hardcore cleaning supplies, like Magic Erasers or grease cutters if stains don’t wipe off easily. 

I also often turn to baking soda—it’s cheap, versatile, and non-toxic. Start by making a paste out of baking soda and water—smear this all over the surface of your pan and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then, rub the mixture in with a paper towel or a Brillo pad; you’ll see the mixture pick up color as it loosens stains.

If you need to dial it up a notch, hydrogen peroxide can increase cleaning power, since it’s acidic and will react with the baking soda. This generates a bubbly foam—and it also creates a mild bleaching effect when its oxygen molecules are released. After everything is clean, just rinse and dry thoroughly.


How often should you clean a toaster oven?

Regular cleaning will prevent stains and drips from getting out of hand and ultimately make this task easier. Depending on how often you use your toaster oven, we recommend cleaning about once a week. 

How do you get baked on grease out of a toaster oven? 

We’ve found that lightly abrasive cleaning tools like Magic Erasers and baking soda can lift stains without scratching surfaces. 

Can I use vinegar to clean my toaster oven? 

Vinegar can be a helpful cleaning tool—particularly when it’s used in conjunction with baking soda. On its own, vinegar lacks the abrasive power or the alkaline composition to remove tough stains. When it’s combined with baking soda it catalyzes a chemical reaction that adds tons of stain-lifting power. Be sure to rinse dishes after cleaning to avoid introducing off-flavors to your food.

Why We’re the Experts 

I Tested 11 Spice Racks to Find the Best Ones for Spaces Big and Small (Be It a Pantry or Cabinet)

We assembled and filled 11 spice racks, testing their durability and ease of use, to find the best ones for drawers, countertops, and cabinets.

spices in a metal spice rack on a counter
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Spices are akin to food storage containers; they tend towards entropy. It’s easy to toss a bunch of jars and tins and packets into a cabinet, but you’ll rue the day when your stew is boiling and you needed to add that pinch of dried thyme five minutes ago (cue the frantic scrabbling amongst a jumble of spice bottles). A messy spice cabinet also makes it easier to keep spices that are past their prime. Luckily, there's a gadget that'll help you get your spices in order: the mighty spice rack. 

Spice racks are designed to optimize space and efficiency, and make it easy to identify and grab a jar without creating a cascade of tumbling bottles. I put 11 spice racks—ranging from $13 to $35—through a series of tests to help promote stress-free, organized cooking (and to make it easy to get rid of those old jars camping out in the back of your pantry). I evaluated countertop offerings as well as shelf and drawer inserts to find options for kitchens of every shape and size.

The Winners, at a Glance

If you have the space, drawer spice racks offer great visibility and easy bottle access. The Lynk organizer also holds an impressive number of spices, and the expandable design fits snugly into a variety of drawers. 

This spice rack takes advantage of vertical space to display bottles, and if you stick to a labeling system, you’ll never have to shift through a jumble of spices again. I loved its clean, minimal design and the option to mount it to a wall or the back of a door. 

The mDesign rack’s tiered shelves helped keep things organized and ensured the back row was visible. Each shelf is constructed of solid plastic that prevents bottles from wobbling or falling over.

The Tests

a variety of spice racks on a wooden surface
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi
  • Installation Test: I assembled and installed each spice rack, evaluating the material, instructions, and how easy it was to set up. 
  • Spice Filling Test: Once assembled, I filled each spice rack with bottled spices to verify the capacity.
  • Use and Durability Test: To check functionality, I opened and closed drawers or cabinets, placed and removed spices, and tested out any special features, checking to ensure that spices were easy to access and identify. This also tested the racks' durability.

What We Learned

Visibility Was Key

a spice rack with a variety of spices and aromatics lined up on it
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Imagine lining your spices up like bowling pins. In this arrangement, it would be easy to identify the front jar, but the pins in the front row would block the spices in the back. The best spice racks arrange spices so that all of the labels are visible. 

There are several different ways to achieve this. If you have the space, I found that in-drawer storage options offered the best visibility. Spice racks like the Lynk Professional Expandable Organizer and Marie Kondo Narrow In-Drawer Spice Organizer store jars on their side in a single row, making it easy to see each label.

I also liked the mDesign Plastic Shelf Expandable Spice Rack, which used tiered shelving—the same basic principle behind stadium seating. Spices on the back shelf are elevated, and the labels show over the front bottles.

Other models, like the Copco Non-Skid Turntable and YouCopia SpiceStack Adjustable Spice Rack Organizer, were less successful. The Copco uses a lazy Susan design to increase visibility, but this only allows access to jars on the outer edge—spices in the center were hidden from view. The YouCopia kept jars out of sight entirely on three drawer-like plastic shelves, making it difficult to pinpoint that jar of cumin you’re looking for.

Look for a Solid Base

a spice rack that sits sturdily and steadily in a cabinet
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Standard spice jars aren’t wide enough to remain stable on slatted shelves like those found on the Honey-Can-Do Cabinet Door Spice Rack, Home Complete Over the Door Organizer, The Container Store Pull-Down Spice Rack, and Simple Houseware 2-Tier Spice Rack Kitchen Organizer. During testing, bottles jostled around and tipped over when placed inside or removed from them. I found that spice racks with solid bases and shelves, like our winners, offered better stability, keeping spices upright. 

Simple Spice Racks Stored Better

a spice rack in a drawer with spices on it
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

When trying to maximize space, it’s tempting to get creative, but not all innovations are successful. For example, the Honey-Can-Do is designed to hang over a cabinet door and create additional shelves. When installed on an upper cabinet, this placed spices just out of reach for our 5’6” tester. But when installed in lower cabinets, it felt awkwardly low and bumped into the existing shelves. The Container Store Pull-Down Spice Rack also tried to spice things up (heh); it promised to swing forward and down, lowering spices from cabinet height to eye level, but the resulting motion, combined with wire construction, sent bottles tumbling. The Spicy Shelf Deluxe, another in-cabinet solution, attempted to create an additional shelf around the perimeter, but assembling and fitting the rack into a space was overly complicated, and one of the brittle plastic legs snapped during installation. Our winning models were easy to install and use and favored simple, solid construction. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Spice Rack

a clear plastic spice rack in a cabinet with spices on it
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi / Grace Kelly

First, consider your available space: do you have more room in drawers, on counters, or in cabinets? This can help narrow down your choice. Also before purchasing, evaluate your spice collection and your personal commitment to organization. Racks that rely on manually marking spices are best suited for those with a preexisting affinity for label makers (or painter's tape and a Sharpie). I also liked racks that weren’t overly complicated to install or use; simple is better. Finally, prioritize finding a spice rack with a solid base—a firm platform reduces the risk that bottles will tip over. 

Our Top Spice Racks

What we liked: The Lynk spice storage system is constructed from durable, high-quality alloy steel and can store upwards of 60 spices when fully expanded. Storing spices horizontally in a drawer made it easy to quickly read labels and identify bottles. The expandable construction is seamless and should fit nicely in any drawer between 13.25 and 26.5 inches wide. 

What we didn't like: Drawer storage offers the easiest access to spices, but it’s not practical in kitchens with limited drawer space. Depending on the depth of your drawers, it may be tough to accommodate wider bottles or large tins (although narrow tins should be fine). 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 13.25 x 1.5 inches
  • Style: Drawer 
  • Capacity: Up to 64 bottles when fully expanded
  • Material: Alloy steel
the lynx spice rack on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This model features a sleek, minimalist design and versatile storage options—it can be stored on the countertop or affixed to a wall or door. The rack comes with a set of labels for commonly used spices as well as blank labels. If you purchase bulk spices, the included bottles are perfect for storage. 

What we didn't like: This system requires decanting all of your spices into the included bottles—standard bottles are too large to fit in the slots. This is ideal for bulk spices but may be tedious for smaller amounts. The included bottles come with sprinkle caps that are on the small side—it would be difficult to shake red pepper flakes or dried rosemary out of the small holes. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 11.125 x 10.5 inches
  • Style: Countertop or wall-mounted
  • Capacity: 20 large bottles (included)
  • Material: Acrylic stand, glass bottles
an acrylic spice rack with empty spice botles
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: The tiered construction of this spice rack made it easy to access and identify spice bottles—you can clearly see the spices in each row. Expandable construction makes it compatible with multiple cabinets, too. The mDesign rack was solid and can be installed in under a minute.

What we didn't like: Although it feels durable, this clear plastic will show any smudges, scratches, or spice spills that accumulate over time. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 4.1 x 9.5 x 16.75 inches
  • Rack style: Cabinet
  • Capacity: 30+ depending on expansion
  • Material: Plastic 
a clear acrylic spice rack on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Competition

  • Honey-Can-Do Honey Can Do Cabinet Door Spice Rack: This compact spice rack had wide slats at the base—spices wobbled and tipped over whenever the cabinet door was opened or closed. Depending on the heights of your cabinets, an over-the-door model may not be practical.
  • Home Complete Over-the-Door Organizer: This rack provides an abundance of storage. In addition to spices, it can hold larger bottles, like vinegar. Unfortunately, the wide slats failed to keep spices in place while opening and closing the door.
  • YouCopia SpiceStack Adjustable Spice Rack Organizer: This plastic spice rack felt cheap and brittle. The drawer system protects spices from light, but unless you have a rigorous labeling practice, you’ll end up hunting for cinnamon. 
  • Simple Houseware 2-Tier Spice Rack Kitchen Organizer: This is a simple, no-fuss storage rack that holds approximately 25 standard spice bottles. I liked the minimalist design, but it lost points because it only included one shelf liner—the slats on the other shelf left room for wobbling. 
  • Marie Kondo Narrow In-Drawer Spice Organizer: The Mari Kondo in-drawer spice organizer provides easy access and optimal visibility. This model lost points because of its limited capacity (it holds up to 15 standard bottles) and material—any spice spillage could stain the light wood (be careful with your turmeric). 
  • The Container Store Pull-Down Spice Rack: The combination of movement and slat construction in this rack was a recipe for disaster; spices slid and tumbled when this spice rack was set in motion. 
  • Copco Non-Skid Turntable, 2-Tier, 12-Inch, White/Gray: The solid base of this model provides a stable resting place for spices, but it was difficult to access and identify bottles stored on the lower tier. 
  • Spicy Shelf Deluxe: This model lost points because of its brittle plastic construction and complicated assembly. During testing, I snapped one of the legs by accident.


Are spice racks worth it?

A good spice rack is a worthwhile purchase, preventing you from losing spices to the back-of-the-pantry void. Spice racks don’t have to be expensive—our favorites range from $26 to $37—and they can help you get the most out of your kitchen space (not to mention they make a frantic, mid-cook search for oregano easier).

What kind of spice rack is best? 

The best type of spice rack depends on your storage space—countertop racks, drawer inserts, and cabinet shelves can all help keep things organized. Look for a solution with solid shelves or racks (instead of slatted). This will help keep your bottles upright. 

How should you organize a spice rack?

Organize your spice rack so that the labels on each bottle are visible. Depending on the type of storage you choose, it may be helpful to label the tops of the bottles as well as the sides. Other organizational systems, such as alphabetizing or arranging according to use, are purely optional. 

How long do spices stay fresh?

Spices lose their potency over time. Ground spices will remain fresh for 6 to 10 months. Whole spices have a longer shelf—these may remain useable for up to two years.

What’s the best spice rack for small kitchens? 

This depends on the type of small kitchen you have. Spices can be stored in drawers, in cabinets, on the countertop, or even mounted to the wall. If kitchen space is at a premium, a wall-mounted shelf may be a great way to create more room. 

What’s the best container for whole spices? 

For whole spices, choose a glass jar with a wide opening. Large ingredients like whole nutmeg or star anise could bottleneck at a small opening. Glass is non-porous—this material will keep oxygen out and prolong shelf life. 

What’s the best way to store spices? 

Spice storage should be concerned with both longevity and access. To prolong shelf life, keep spices in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dark space. For easy access, label containers clearly and store them in single rows.

Why We're the Experts

I Tested 13 Kitchen Drawer Organizers to Find the Best Ones for Storing Flatware, Utensils, and Knives

We tested 13 kitchen drawer organizers to find the four best ones for storing knives, flatware, and cooking utensils.

Kitchen utensils and flatware in a wooden drawer organizer.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Organization is good for the mind, soul, and kitchen. And using a drawer organizer is pretty much a no-brainer. It's inexpensive, easy to install, and makes utensil organization effortless. 

Kitchen drawer organizers might not be as high-tech as some of the other items we’ve reviewed (no timers or thermometers were involved in this testing). However, unlike a specialized appliance, you’ll most likely interact with your kitchen drawers every day—be it to grab a spoon or chef's knife.

I tested 13 organizers ranging from $9 to $90 to find the best solutions for large and small drawers, and everything in between.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Pipishell was handsome and waterproof. Even without expanding the sides, it includes two sections long enough to store serving utensils or wooden spoons. Once an expandable drawer is pulled out, you’ll have an extra-long spot for bulky tools like spatulas and whisks.

Of all the models I tested, the Umlife offered the deepest compartments (2.5 inches, to be exact), making the most out of a drawer's vertical space.

This low-maintenance model is stain-resistant and easy to clean. It can hold a large amount of cutlery and includes an extra-long compartment.

When it comes to organizing sharp kitchen knives, the Knifedock storage block has been our favorite in-drawer solution for years. This model uses thin cork dividers to protect your blades (and fingers!).

The Tests

Numerous kitchen drawer organizers on a wooden countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi
  • Capacity Test: To evaluate storage capacity, I filled each drawer organizer with flatware, tools, and utensils. For consistency, I placed items in each organizer in the same order.
  • Fit and Usability Test: I placed each organizer in a large drawer and filled it with utensils, checking for drawer clearance, shifting, and any helpful features (like expanding sides). 
  • Cleaning Test: I cleaned each drawer organizer according to manufacturer instructions, noting how easy this was to do.

What We Learned 

Compartments Were Key 

A kitchen drawer organizer filled with silverware and kitchen utensils in a drawer by the stove.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

All of the models that I tested were essentially rectangles divided into smaller sections. The Honey-Can-Do drawer organizer took the most basic approach—it was divided into three large, evenly sized portions. On the other end of the spectrum, the Joseph Joseph Blox offers up to 10 compartments of various sizes. Neither of these approaches felt practical—the Honey Can Do couldn’t accommodate anything beyond basic cutlery, and some of the Joseph Joseph compartments were too small even for an espresso spoon.

Four plastic kitchen drawer organizer sections on a wooden countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Our favorite models fell somewhere in the middle, with small, separated compartments for daily cutlery as well as a few larger compartments for storing larger utensils like whisks and spatulas. 

Customizable Models Had Their Limits  

Two adjustable wooden kitchen drawer organizers.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Expandable and customizable organizers promise to fit perfectly into a wide variety of drawers, but they’re not foolproof. Seven of the 12 models I tested were expandable and described their measurements as a range. For example, the OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Organizer states it's 9.8 to 18.05 inches wide. This, however, is slightly misleading. In reality, this model features notches, and can only expand to specific points within that range. I tested this organizer in a 16.5-inch drawer and though this fell within the stated range, the OXO couldn't expand to that exact width. Our winner, the Pipishell, has an extra 1.6 inches of expandable space. It's enough to be handy but doesn't overpromise and underdeliver.

Materials Mattered

A mesh kitchen storage drawer with kitchen utensils and flatware in it.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Drawer organizers don’t generally require much maintenance. That being said, some materials are easier to clean than others. The majority of the dividers I tested were bamboo or plastic—the metal Honey-Can-Do and hardwood Williams Sonoma offerings being the only exceptions. Generally speaking, plastic models were easier to clean. Beads of water rolled right off of them. Bamboo, on the other hand, requires more careful maintenance. As a porous material, bamboo has a longer drying time compared to plastic. Too much water could cause the wood to warp, so it should be wiped clean with a damp rag and left to dry completely.

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Kitchen Drawer Organizer 

A wooden kitchen drawer organizer on a marble surface.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Look for a kitchen drawer organizer with a variety of compartment sizes and at least one long section. Measure your drawers before ordering and choose a model that fits your space, as overly expandable models aren't as customizable as they may seem.  

The Best Kitchen Drawer Organizers

What we liked: This well-designed storage system helps get the most out of your space, with multiple longer compartments and smaller ones that perfectly fit flatware. The expandable leaves created a satisfying end-to-end fit in a 21-inch kitchen drawer and the Pipishell sports a waterproof coating that simplifies cleanup and reduces future maintenance needs. 

What we didn’t like: This organizer is designed with a central, elevated tray and two drawers that expand out from underneath. If I must say something negative, it's that this construction creates slightly shallower, primary storage compartments. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions:‎ 16.73 x 12.99 x 1.89 inches
  • Material: Bamboo
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash
A wooden kitchen drawer organizer on a wooden countertop.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This is a sturdy, no-frills drawer organizer with impressive storage capacity. The deep compartments can hold large amounts of cutlery, and the tall walls keep everything from whisks to can openers securely in place. 

What we didn’t like: The Umilife is designed with five vertical and two horizontal compartments, all roughly the same size. Although it can hold an impressive amount, the vertical cabinets are much longer than standard flatware leaving extra space so silverware can shift.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions:‎ 17 x 13 x 2.5 inches
  • Material: Bamboo 
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash
A bamboo kitchen drawer organizer on a wooden surface.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This is a simple, practical drawer organizer with plenty of space for the essentials. The Madesmart's plastic construction makes occasional cleaning a breeze. The tray's non-slip pads ensure it stays put in a drawer and the "soft grip" lining provides a soft landing spot for utensils. 

What we didn’t like: The longer compartment is narrower, so it can't accommodate, say, a bulky balloon whisk.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: ‎1.8 x 12.9 x 16 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash
A plastic kitchen drawer organizer on a marble surface.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This is a low-profile storage solution that will keep your knives sharp and fingers intact. It securely holds numerous blades and the bamboo composite material protects the sharp edges of knives and keeps the handles lined up for easy access. The slim, rectangular shape easily fits in most drawers. 

What we didn’t like: Depending on the width of your knives (and their handles), you likely won’t be able to make use of each slot in this dock. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: ‎15 x 6 x 2.7 inches
  • Materials: Bamboo; cork composite 
  • Care instructions: Wipe clean 
a hand pulling a knife out of a cork-lined drawer insert
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Competition

  • Joseph Joseph Compact Cutlery Drawer Organizer: This is the only option suitable for truly tiny drawers. To maximize space, cutlery is stored in angled pockets. While this could work in a pinch, the pockets make it difficult to tell which utensil you’re grabbing (the compartments are labeled to help with this, though) and also complicates cleaning. 
  • OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Organizer: This organizer includes subdividers that slide around and reduce the overall available space. It also doesn’t lie perfectly flat when the expandable drawer is extended.  
  • Simple Houseware Expandable Kitchen Drawer Organizer: This model’s generous capacity is undermined by its cheap plastic construction. 
  • Utopia Kitchen Caddy Expandable Drawer Organizer: The Utopia Kitchen Caddy is well-made and thoughtfully designed. It’s practically identical to the Pipishell (our winner), and may even be a tiny bit sturdier. In a head-to-head competition, the Pipishell won based on versatility—while our winner can expand to 19.6 inches wide, the Utopia tops out at 18 inches. 
  • Luxury Bamboo Kitchen Drawer Organizer: I liked the bamboo construction of this model, but the compartment design fell short when compared to the Pipishell and Utopia organizers. 
  • Lifewit Silverware Drawer Organizer: Lifewit offers a decent plastic drawer organizer. The material felt sturdy, but this model didn’t include any full-length compartments at its minimum size. You’ll need room to expand the sides if you plan to store longer utensils. The expandable drawers were slightly sticky. 
  • Williams Sonoma Hold Everything Expandable In-Drawer Flatware Organizer: Is this product nice? Yes. Is it $90? Also yes. The Williams Sonoma model is made from high-quality wood, but it's hard to recommend spending that much when other great models cost a lot less.
  • Honey-Can-Do Steel Mesh 3-Compartment Cutlery Utensil Organizer: This model only includes three compartments—by far the fewest of the products I tested. After separating our knives, forks, and spoons, I was left with lots of extra room and no way to fill it without mixing utensils. Unless you’re storing place settings for 40 people, this is a woefully inefficient use of space. 
  • Joseph Joseph Blox 10 Piece Plastic Storage Trays: This model’s customizable construction initially seemed promising, but it fell short during testing. The modular components were difficult to snap together, and several of them were too small to be practical. 


Are drawer dividers worth it? 

Drawer dividers are inexpensive—our favorite models are priced between $20 and $28—and make organizing cutlery significantly easier. Using a divider prevents small utensils like forks and spoons from sliding around your drawers and ending up in a jumbled mess. 

What’s the best material for kitchen drawer organizers? 

Bamboo, plastic, and metal are all common materials for drawer organizers. Bamboo is durable and may match the inside of your drawers, while plastic is stain-resistant and easy to clean. 

Are bamboo drawer dividers good? 

Bamboo is a durable, sustainable material for drawer dividers. That being said, this material may require a little extra maintenance. Bamboo is porous—if submerged for an extended period, it could absorb water and warp. Occasionally applying mineral oil or a wax wood conditioner will help keep bamboo hydrated and in good condition. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • Madeline Muzzi is a food writer and avid cook with over five years of product testing experience. 
  • Madeline has moved seven times and organized a wide variety of kitchens. 
  • Madeline previously tested flatware and spatulas for Serious Eats, which informed the utensils she used to test drawer dividers.
  • For this review, Madeline tested 13 kitchen drawer organizers, evaluating their capacity, ease of use, and more.

I Tested 19 Toaster Ovens for All Your Toasting, Roasting, and Air-Frying Needs

We tested 19 toaster ovens to find the best ones for toasting, baking, and more. The four best models performed exceptionally well and were easy to use.

Toaster ovens stacked on top of each other in front of a brick background
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

My dream kitchen has a minimum of two ovens. With a kitchen renovation not being in my near future, I turn to a more, shall we say, affordable alternative: the toaster oven. Not only can I approximate my double oven dreams with a toaster oven, but a good one is a true multitasker—capable of toasting, roasting, baking, broiling, and sometimes even air-frying.

Serious Eats last reviewed toaster ovens in 2017, so it was high time for a re-test. I put 19 toaster ovens through the ringer (and blew more than one power fuse in the process) to see if our previous top picks were still the best-of-the-best—and how they compared to newer models. These top toaster ovens are reliable, versatile, and, of course, deliver beautifully browned toast. 

The Winners, at a Glance

The Breville Smart Oven Pro won our previous toaster oven review. After re-evaluating, I still think it’s the top choice for power and versatility since it heats up quickly and browns food evenly. In addition to delivering lovely toast, its large capacity makes it useful for everything from making frozen pizza to baking a small sheet of cookies.

The winner of our air fryer toaster ovens review, this model excelled in this testing as well. Its exterior is handsome and it performed exceptionally. Its air fryer basket slides into grooves on the toaster oven's walls, which allows for all-over browning (some models have baskets that are placed on trays instead).

The Breville Smart Oven Compact Convection offers plenty of baking power with a significantly smaller footprint. It’s still large enough to bake a 10-inch frozen pizza and can brown up to four slices of bread at a time.

The Balmuda Steam Oven Toaster is undeniably charming. It’s sleek, sturdy, and compact. This model is more specialized than its counterparts—it’s designed to make toast (and bread), and it does this very well. Although it’s too small to prepare whole frozen pizzas, the Balmuda browns bread perfectly, and its steam function is capable of reviving even the driest croissant.

The Tests

the balmuda toaster oven with a stack of toast on a plate next to it
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi
  • Toast Test: I prepared a single slice of toast in each toaster oven to see how quickly and evenly it browned the bread. Using the medium-dark setting, I timed the process and checked the toast for burnt spots or underdone areas. 
  • Toast Heatmap Test: To check for hot spots, I filled each oven with as many slices of bread as their rack fit. I toasted the bread to medium-dark and observed how evenly each piece turned out. 
  • Pot Pie Test: I baked a single-serving pot pie in each oven, evaluating the finished product for burnt edges or cold spots. 
  • Frozen Pizza Test: I baked a frozen pizza in each oven, checking for even browning and crust texture. 
  • Broiler Test: To test the broiler function, I used each oven to melt a slice of cheese onto a piece of bread. I timed how long it took to get bubbly, golden-brown results, and evaluated the finished product for burnt spots or unmelted areas.
  • User Experience Tests: Throughout testing, I evaluated how easy each toaster oven was to use, including how intuitive their controls were.

What We Learned

Digital Timers Eased Anxiety 

a closeup of the digital timer on a toaster oven
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The toaster ovens I tested featured a variety of controls and displays. Some were clear and easy to use, while others were imprecise and frustrating. Our favorite models, like the ones from Breville and Calphalon, had digital displays that clearly showed the cooking time and automatically switched off after cooking. The digital displays are easy to set—users can manually toggle the time by turning a dial or pushing a button, or select a preset and observe how many minutes are programmed (adjusting as desired). Models without a display screen, like the Our Place Wonder Oven and Galanz Large 6-Slice True Convection Toaster Oven, used dial timers with a few numbers for benchmarks and notches in between. It was much more difficult to select an exact time with these controls. Furthermore, these models didn’t automatically switch off after the time was up—if you don’t keep a close eye on them, it’s easy to scorch your breakfast. 

Framed Doors Were Safer

Heat thermometer testing temperature of a Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

Keeping an appliance that rapidly heats up to 450ºF out in the open can be a little risky. Toaster oven exteriors—including the top and the door—become extremely hot during use, and bumping into them can cause one big ouch. The doors should always be opened via the handle, but it’s easy to touch the edge of the door by mistake when closing it. Imaging using your microwave—do you close it with the handle every time you use it, or do you slap at the door to shut it quickly? Making this mistake with a toaster oven is a way to singe your fingers, but a well-designed door makes this easier to avoid. The higher-end products, like Breville, Cuisinart, and Balmuda ovens, have aluminum or stainless steel-framed doors, which provide insulation.

We Liked Toast Toasty

two slices of toast in the balmuda toaster oven
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

It’s right there in the name—a toaster oven should be able to make good toast. Many of the models I tested were able to brown bread, but some ovens took significantly longer to achieve medium-dark results. The average time for all of the ovens was around four minutes, but a couple of minutes can make a big difference when it comes to rushed morning breakfasts. The Panasonic churned out the fastest piece of toast—our bread was pleasantly brown and crispy after just over two-and-a-half minutes. Other models, including the Hamilton Beach, took more than six minutes to brown a single slice.  

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Toaster Oven

the breville smart oven pro with the door open and a pizza inside. the following text overlays the image: a seriously good pizza oven; toasts and cooks evenly; well-designed door; intuitive controls; automatic timer
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

First off, consider your space and your cooking needs, and choose a model that will fit comfortably on your countertop. If you mostly plan on making toast, don’t hesitate to choose a pared-down appliance with simple functions. That said, baking, roasting, and air fryer options are also useful and add to an appliance's versatility. At its most basic, though, a toaster oven should toast (and bake) evenly. It should also have intuitive controls and an automatic timer, so you're not playing a guessing game of how long to toast a slice of bread.

The Best Toaster Ovens

What we liked: This toaster oven can bake, broil, and toast with the best of them. It performed well in all of my tests—it delivered a golden slice of toast in four minutes, produced a nicely cooked pot pie, and demonstrated even heat distribution. Its generous capacity makes it well-suited to serve as a backup oven for daily cooking tasks. 

What we didn’t like: At almost 20 inches wide and 16 inches deep, this is a big ol’ appliance that will hog counter space.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 18.9 x 15.9 x 10.9 inches
  • Interface: Digital display
  • Functions: Toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm, slow cook
  • What’s included: One oven rack, 12 x 12-inch enamel baking pan, 12 x 12-inch enamel broiling rack, 13-inch non-stick pizza pan, removable crumb tray
breville smart oven pro with door open and pizza inside
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: With a sleek, dark gray exterior, this is one attractive toaster oven. We've named it our favorite air fryer toaster oven, but it's also great at toasting and baking. Its timer is precise, too—it includes seconds—and its interior light is bright and helpful, especially for monitoring doneness. Its air fry basket is standalone, meaning you don’t have to rest it on another rack or tray.

What we didn’t like: The temperature can only be adjusted in 25-degree increments (like 350˚F and 375˚F), so it’s not a great choice for precision baking. Its cooking function doesn't automatically kick on after pre-heating is finished.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 18.7 x 15.8 inches 
  • Interface: Digital display
  • Functions: Air fry, bagel, bake, broil, defrost, dehydrate, keep warm, pizza, roast, toast
  • What’s included: Air fry basket, durable nonstick baking pan, wire rack, and removable crumb tray
A Calphalon air fryer toaster on on a kitchen countertop
Serious Eats / Will Dickey

What we liked: This smaller model offers many of the features of the Smart Oven Pro without claiming as much countertop space. It’s large enough to toast four pieces of bread at once, and its digital display is user-friendly and accurate. It provides even heat, too—the pot pie came out golden brown and piping hot, and the heat map test didn’t reveal any hot spots.  

What we didn’t like: While the full-sized Breville includes a stainless-steel frame, the compact version features a solid glass door with exposed, hot edges.  

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 15.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Interface: Digital display
  • Functions: Toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat
  • What’s included: 10 x 10-inch enamel baking pan, 10 x 10-inch enamel broiling rack
breville compact toaster oven on a white marble counter with white tile backdrop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: The Balmuda toaster oven is beautiful and compact. Its streamlined functionality made it easy to use, and it excelled at evenly browning pieces of toast and broiling perfectly melted cheese. It is a steam oven, so you can use the included measuring cup to add a small amount of water through an opening in the top, allowing the oven to inject steam. This function can effectively revive stale bread or pastries, creating toast with a crispy exterior and a moist, bread pudding-like interior.  

What we didn’t like: The small footprint is great for saving counter space, but it also gives it a more limited capacity; it can only toast two slices of bread at a time. During testing, I had to cut a 10-inch pizza in half to fit it on the rack. While it’s easy to use, the Balmuda uses analog controls that are less precise than a digital menu. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 14.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Interface: Analog display with dials for time and temperature settings
  • Functions: ​​Artisan bread mode, sandwich bread mode, pizza mode, pastry mode, oven mode
  • What’s included: Rack, baking pan, external crumb tray, measuring cup
balmuda toaster oven on a white marble countertop with white tile backdrop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Competition


Is it worth buying a toaster oven or a toaster?

This comes down to your budget, needs, and space. A toaster oven is certainly the more versatile appliance, but if you’re working with limited room—or if you only need to toast bread—there’s nothing wrong with a pop-up toaster. Our top pick, however, can bake cookies, roast potatoes, make frozen pizzas, and more—it's like having a second oven.

What's the difference between a toaster oven and an air fryer toaster oven?

Toaster ovens and air fryer toaster ovens are the same size and perform virtually the same functions, with the chief difference being air fryer toaster ovens have an air fryer function and a perforated basket that aids in all-over air circulation (read: better browning).

How do toaster ovens work?

Not every toaster oven is made the same. Our top pick, the Breville Smart Oven, functions like a miniature convection oven complete with multiple heating settings and modes. It has heating elements at the top and bottom of the oven and a fan located at the back of the oven that blasts hot air all around.

How much does a toaster oven cost?

After testing, it became clear: Pricier toaster ovens (specifically those from Breville and Calphalon) performed better and were generally easier to use. Our favorite toaster oven, from Breville, costs about $270 at the time of writing.

Why We’re the Experts 

  • Madeline Muzzi is a freelance writer, editor, and video producer.
  • She has written many reviews for Serious Eats, including wine decanters and countertop ice makers
  • For this review, we drew on previous findings and all in all tested 19 toaster ovens, using them to make toast, broil, and bake chicken pot pie and frozen pizza.
  • We've recommended the Breville toaster oven for about seven years and stand by its longevity and quality.

The Best Wine-Related Gear to Give a Budding Sommelier

We rounded up gifts for a budding oenophile, including our favorite wine glasses, corkscrews, and decanters from our equipment reviews.

A Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glasses with wine inside next to another glass
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

My first job out of college was on the marketing team at a wine store in New York City. At 22, I didn’t have much experience with wine that didn’t come in a gallon-sized jug. There were many opportunities to taste and learn during my time there, but one bottle stands out in my memory. When the label was damaged on a 1989 Beaulieu Vineyard "Georges de Latour" Cabernet Sauvignon, the buyers decided to use it as a teachable moment. The wine itself was perfectly fine, but the flawed label diminished the retail value—opening the bottle presented a chance for the staff to observe how the flavors of wine develop with age. 

The wine itself was lovely—velvety and layered with just a hint of warm baking spice—but what really blew my mind was the fact that the bottle was older than I was. Somehow, drinking it felt like cheating death. This type of experience is actually quite common. For many, there’s an identifiable moment where their idea of wine shifts from being something simply served with dinner to something worthy of time and consideration. Among wine professionals, this is known as a ‘drops of God’ moment; it may be the moment that inspires you to begin loving wine, or it could be the thing that motivates you to keep tasting.

Maybe you had your drops of God moment over a bottle of Chablis, or maybe it’s your partner, friend, or family member who has been inspired to delve into the wider world of wine. Either way, there are a few items (some essential and some just downright fun) that can help deepen and guide a person’s fascination (and enjoyment!) of wine. We scanned our reviews and got advice from author and wine educator Charles Springfield to come up with this list of great wine gifts for the wine lover in your life.

The Essentials

Many wine professionals, Springfield included, recommended a waiter's corkscrew. These are inexpensive, versatile tools that usually include a coiled piece of metal (the corkscrew or “worm”), a small, dull plate, and a lever tool. All of these elements fold in and out like a pocket knife. Springfield explains their appeal, saying “I like it because you can use it to open beer, and wine bottles closed with beer caps [as well as] traditional wine bottles.” This all-in-one tool does everything you need—cutting foil, popping the cork out, or bottle top off—and nothing you don’t. They’re also inexpensive and small, so there’s no need to fret about storage. In fact, you can easily fit one in your pocket and take it to the park for a picnic. One of our favorite models from Pulltaps boasts heavy-duty stainless steel construction, a sharp foil knife, and a hinged lever that makes it easy to remove even the trickiest corks.

pulltaps corkscrew on a red background
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The only downside to a waiter’s corkscrew is that it requires a firm grip and twisting motion. Wine lovers with limited hand mobility may prefer something more ergonomic. In these cases, Springfield recommends a simple electric corkscrew. Our favorite model from Peugeot removes corks with just the slightest bit of pressure on the top of the corkscrew. We also liked this more budget-friendly model from Cuisinart.

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

When it comes to glassware, the selection can be overwhelming. In addition to red wine glasses, white wine glasses, Champagne flutes, and stemless glasses, you may encounter specialty glasses designed specifically to flatter each grape varietal. There’s no need to get overwhelmed—Springfield encourages thinking of glassware as an opportunity, not a mandate. Universal wine glasses are ideal for those just getting into wine. These Reides Vinum glasses are a perfect place to start—they’re thin enough to feel elegant but sturdy enough to last through reasonable use. Plus, they’re sized well for both red and white wines.

Three Riedel VINUM glasses lined up
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

Learning more about wine can enhance your appreciation, but we admit that diving into a book for wine nerds can be intimidating. The Wine Bible covers everything that influences wine—from geography to politics to production—and is somehow still enjoyable to read and unpretentious. This is a book you’ll find on every wine lover’s shelves, including Springfield’s, who is an author himself.


Letting wine breathe can bring out its best flavors and aromas, but you don’t technically need a decanter to accomplish this. If you don’t have a decanter, you can aerate wine by removing the cork well before you plan to drink it, or even by letting it sit in your glass for several minutes. That said, a crystal decanter can accelerate aeration, help separate sediment, and, well, it just looks really sophisticated. Our favorite decanter from Made In is sleek and simple. The neck is spacious enough to allow for easy decanting—pouring from the bottle into the decanter—and the angled spout makes it easy to pour glasses without any errant drips. It would make a fantastic (and stunning) gift.

A wine decanter on a wooden surface
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Many wines improve with age— they become smoother and more balanced. Corks, on the other hand, don’t age well. The corks in older bottles of wine can become fragile and crumbly and a traditional corkscrew can be too aggressive. Inserting a worm-style corkscrew into a vintage bottle can cause the cork to break apart and crumble into your wine—not ideal. A Durand bottle opener is an alternative style of wine opener designed to ease fragile corks out of older bottles without breaking them apart. These two-pronged tools are inserted between the cork and the neck of the wine bottle. The cork is then removed in one piece by gently pulling while the opener applies pressure to the sides. This model from DeVine also doubles as a crown cap opener.

If you have the space (like in a basement or garage) or really want to splurge on a gift, a wine refrigerator is a foolproof way to store wine. Heat and light are enemies of wine—excessive temperature fluctuation or UV exposure can spoil unopened bottles. A wine refrigerator maintains a consistent temperature and keeps wine away from harmful beams of sunlight. They also keep bottles on their sides, which helps prevent natural corks from drying out. For those with space to spare (and money to burn), we recommend the BODEGA  24-inch Wine Refrigerator. This beauty holds up to 174 standard-size bottles of wine. It includes a tinted door for enhanced UV protection and dual zone cooling that allows wine lovers to store reds and whites at two separate temperatures. If you’re seeking a less bulky and pricey storage solution, a wine rack can help protect bottles from breakage and keep corks intact.

No one wants to drink out of a wine glass covered in smudgy fingerprints (or serve such a glass to guests—embarrassing!). Glasses, especially stemmed glasses, can be hard to clean. Purchasing a few microfiber clothes makes the task of polishing stemware much easier. These easy-to-use clothes reduce the risk that you’ll break a glass by applying too much pressure during cleaning.

While most wine professionals prefer a stemmed glass (it keeps the heat from your hand away from the bowl so it doesn't warm it up), a stemless glass has merit in its own right: It's less likely to break and, as June Rodil, master sommelier, said in our review, "They allow you to be casual with wine and not take it too seriously. There are so many delicious wines that are just great straight out of the gate, and I think if that's your purpose of drinking wine, you're in a great place.” We really liked this set of glasses from Schott Zwiesel, which were delicate without being flimsy and were easy to hold in one hand. Not to mention they look elegant, and would make a great housewarming gift, too.

Schott zwiesel stemless wine glass on black countertop with white backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

A wine subscription service may not be an absolute necessity, but neither are most of the other enjoyable things in life. Gifting a subscription to Wine Access isn’t just about skipping a trip to the store—these services can help someone discover small-batch wines that may not be available at their local bottle shop. Wine Access clubs include extra information and accompanying YouTube videos to help your giftee learn as they enjoy their wines.

a number of bottles on marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm


What’s the best way to store wine?

Unopened bottles should be stored on their side in a cool, dark place. This method protects the wine from heat and sunlight, which can cause flaws. Storing bottles on their side also prevents the cork from drying out and cracking. Opened bottles of wine should be stored in the refrigerator, regardless of whether they’re red or white. 

What do I need to serve wine?

All you really need to serve wine is a bottle of wine, a way to open it, and a glass to drink from. If your wine happens to be a screw top, the list is even shorter. 

Which wine glasses are the best? 

The best wine glasses are the ones that suit your taste and fit your budget. The shape and texture of glassware can subtly affect the flavors and aromas of wine, but unless you’re an extremely experienced collector, you probably don’t need to worry about that. Wine can be enjoyed out of almost any drinking vessel—pick something durable that feels good in your hand.

Why We're the Experts

The Very Best Vitamix Products, According to Our Many (Many!) Years of Testing

After many, many years of testing Vitamix blenders and gadgets, we have narrowed down the best-of-the-best of the brand.

The vitamix Professional Series 750 processing peanuts
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples

Professional kitchens trust Vitamix for a reason: Their blenders are durable, powerful, and versatile. However, they aren’t the only tools that Vitamix offers. The brand has a whole suite of gear (food processors, countertop composters, and immersion blenders—oh my!). 

As such, we’ve tested almost every product Vitamix offers. Below, we’ve compiled the best-of-the-best Vitamix gear across all of the equipment reviews. And no, this isn’t sponsored content: We’ve done this sort of roundup for other brands, too, including Breville and Made In.

Vitamix offers a range of blenders priced between $250 and $650 dollars. We’ve tested almost all of them, and honestly, they’re all pretty good. Buying a Vitamix guarantees a powerful machine that can accomplish tasks like pulverizing tough, fibrous kale for smoothies and crushing ice for cocktails. As always, the best choice for your kitchen depends on your personal preferences and how you intend to use it. However, the 5200 Professional Grade Blender is our ride-or-die because of its power, simplicity, and relative value. At around $450 dollars, this is an expensive machine, but it’s far from the priciest option Vitamix offers.  While the top-tier models include features like presets and touch screens, we’ve found that the simple variable speed controls of the 5200 provide all of the power you need along with a simple user experience. Its 7-year warranty covers repair or replacement if a component of the machine fails as a result of normal use. 

I’ve owned a Vitamix 5200 for eight years, and I put it through daily use. After countless smoothies, the container has started to get a little hazy, but it’s still as powerful as the day that I got it. 

Good to Know

  • Dimensions: 7.25 x 8.75 x 20.5 inches
  • Weight: 10.56 Pounds
  • Warranty: 7 years
  • Price at time of publish: $479.95
a smoothie being blended in the Vitamix 5200 blender
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples

Ascent series blenders combine a powerful Vitamix motor with a few additional bells and whistles. The A3500 features an LED touchscreen, a built-in timer, and several automated presets. It’s available in six different finishes, so users can customize the appliance to suit their taste. If you want something super fancy, this is what we'd recommend.

Good to Know

  • Dimensions: 8 x 11 x 17 inches
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Weight: 14.92 pounds
  • Price at time of publish: $650
a look at the control panel of the Ascent 3500
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples

A Vitamix blender can do almost everything, but there are a few kitchen tasks better suited for food processors. Food processors can chop and shred vegetables, mix pie or pizza dough, and whip up creamy emulsions. During testing, the Vitamix food processor attachment excelled at all of these tasks. Best of all, it eliminates the need to purchase and store an additional bulky kitchen machine. Note: This attachment is compatible with Vitamix blender bases from the Ascent series.

Good to Know

  • Dimensions: 11.75 x 8.5 x 12.75 inches
  • Weight: 6.17 pounds
  • Capacity: 12 cups
  • Warranty: 3-years 
  • Price at time of publish: $173
vitamix food processor and blender base with the lid on the marble counter
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Immersion blenders are the best tool for pureed soups and chunky sauces. Yes, you can blend soups by transferring to a standard blender, but an immersion blender offers a few advantages over this technique. For starters, transferring can be messy. There’s always a risk of splattering and splashing, and if the liquid is hot, then burns are possible. In the worst-case scenario, blending a super-hot soup in a closed blender can cause a minor explosion—steam from hot liquids generates pressure, and can result in a little pop when you take the lid off. With an immersion blender, you can blend right in the pot, pan, or container.

The Vitamix immersion blender is truly exemplary. We’ve used this small, mighty tool to blend chickpeas, emulsify salad dressing, and even crush ice. It’s easy to clean and has a comfortable grip and variable speeds. This tool is so powerful that you may even reach for it in place of a full-sized blender—saving muscle power and clean-up time. 

Good to Know

  • Dimensions: 18 x 3 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 2.86 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price at time of publish: $124
an immersion blending is immersed in a plastic container of ice and is blending it into slush
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

According to the FDA, food waste makes up the majority of trash headed to landfills. Composting is a promising solution, but city composting programs are still few and far between. However, countertop composters provide a way for anyone to compost, even without outdoor space.

The Vitamix countertop composter can turn kitchen scraps into usable compost in under eight hours—we found that it took between six to eight hours to process waste into usable mulch. Check the list of compatible foods to see if it supports your needs. Surprisingly, it can even handle chicken bones. 

Good to Know

  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 11 x 14.2 inches
  • Weight: 21.5 Pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price at time of publish: $279
The Vitamix FoodCycler on a countertop
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm


Which Vitamix should I buy? 

The 5200 Professional grade Vitamix is our top choice for a traditional blender. It’s powerful, durable, and easy to use. It’s a considerable investment—the machine retails for around $450 dollars—but it offers plenty of bang for your buck. 

Is Vitamix dishwasher-safe?

Some Vitamix pitchers including the S-series 20 once and 40-ounce containers, are top-rack dishwasher safe. Check your owner’s manual for care instructions before placing your pitcher in the dishwasher.  

Is Vitamix worth it?

There’s no denying that Vitamix products are expensive. In our opinion, these high-quality products are a worthwhile investment for home cooks. Vitamix products are powerful, durable machines that last for years, even with heavy use. Most products also include a warranty that covers repairs or replacements.

Why We're the Experts

The Best Mail-Order Turkeys for a Thanksgiving Feast

We tested 10 turkeys to find the best, juiciest birds for your holiday table. We evaluated their delivery, packaging, taste, and more.

A cooked Grassland Beef Pasture Raised Turkey cools on a baking pan.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Thanksgiving is a holiday stuffed with traditions. Across the U.S., families gather to cook, enjoy a football game, and indulge in a little Champagne while watching the National Dog Show (that’s not just us, right?). Whatever your family’s tradition may be, the most iconic symbol of Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the turkey. It’s the centerpiece of the table, the source of endless leftovers, and the sun around which your favorite side dishes orbit. 

Nostalgia aside, cooking a turkey can be a little tricky. These are big birds, and achieving the ideal combination of juicy white meat, tender dark meat, and crispy skin takes some planning. Starting with a high-quality bird can make this ceremonial task significantly easier. Standard supermarkets tend to stock turkeys from industrial farms and large producers, but ordering a turkey online allows you to have more control over the type of bird you’re working with. 

To that end, we tested 10 mail-order turkeys, ranging from $66 to $310, to find the best birds for your holiday tables. (Yes, this means we spent weeks defrosting and cooking birds to land on our three favorites.)

The Winners, at a Glance

Grassland Beef’s pasture-raised turkey makes a worthy centerpiece for any autumnal feast. Once roasted, the skin turned golden and crispy while the meat remained tender and juicy. This bird also scored bonus points for arriving fully frozen in recyclable packaging. It's available in a larger size, too, which is currently sold out.

This bird was tasty, easy to carve, and well-proportioned. Roast chicken fans will appreciate the mild flavor of this bird. 

A flavor-packed heritage turkey from a legacy brand. Turkey people will appreciate the slightly more gamey profile of this hand-processed bird. 

The Tests

Cut and prepared Organic Prairie Whole Turkey on a plate.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi
  • Packaging Test: Upon delivery, we inspected each bird to make sure that it arrived fully intact and at a food-safe temperature. We disposed of the packaging according to its instructions, evaluating the associated waste. 
  • Preparation Test: We thawed and roasted each turkey using the same method. We dry-brined each bird by rubbing it with salt, allowed it to sit uncovered overnight in a refrigerator, and then had it come up to temperature for one hour before roasting. Each bird got an olive oil rubdown and then went into a 425°F oven for one hour. Then, we reduced the temperature to 375ºF and continued roasting until the deepest part of the thigh reached 165ºF using an instant-read thermometer
  • Taste Test: After roasting we carved and sampled each turkey, evaluating the taste and texture. 

What We Learned

There’s More Than One Way to Ship a Turkey

Three mail-order frozen turkeys in their packaging.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Shipping raw poultry is a delicate affair. The packaging needs to prevent its cargo from getting bumped or bruised while also keeping it sufficiently cool. The majority of the turkeys we tested arrived in good condition and at a food-safe temperature. The primary difference was the packing material itself—the products all took different approaches to packing and cooling. Our overall favorite, the Grassland Beef pasture-raised turkey, produced the least packaging waste. It arrived with recyclable paper and cardboard lining for insulation and dry ice for cooling—it was easy to dispose of all of the materials in an environmentally friendly way.

A frozen turkey in insulated packaging
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Fossil Farms turkey came in second. It included ClimaCell lining, which is fully recyclable alongside paper and cardboard, along with EnvrioIce ice packs, which can be emptied down the drain before you dispose of the plastic casing. Other turkeys, including the D’Artagnan Green Circle Turkey and the D’Artagnan Heritage Turkey, shipped in styrofoam containers. Although these containers offer solid protection, they can only be disposed of in the trash. 

Plan Ahead for Thawing Time 

a whole turkey uncovered on a baking sheet in the fridge
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Farm Foods Market Jaindl Grand Champion and the Organic Prairie Whole Turkey both arrived fully frozen—we mean rock solid. Thawing a fully frozen bird takes multiple days—the USDA recommends allowing a full day for each four to five pounds of meat. The Organic Prairie Turkey was just under 15 pounds and after three days in the refrigerator, there was still some ice in the cavity. During testing, we found that it was harder to get the fully frozen birds to dry out. Even after thawing, salting, and leaving uncovered overnight in the refrigerator, the meat was still leaking a lot of juice and the skin was still moist. As a result, the skin didn’t get quite as crispy, even in a high-heat oven.

The Fossil Farms turkey arrived partially frozen and thawed fully within two days and roasted up into a crispy-skinned beauty. Fully frozen turkeys can be stored indefinitely in the freezer, while partially frozen birds should be prepared within a week, so be sure to adjust your delivery and preparation plans accordingly. 

Understand Farming Practices 

a roasted turkey on a baking sheet
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Food labeling is notoriously confusing—terms like "USDA organic," "free-range," and "natural" all have specific legal definitions that aren’t immediately clear. With turkeys, you may also encounter additional classifications like heritage or vegetarian-fed. Our favorite birds took slightly different approaches to farming, but all of our winners are considered free-range birds.

To use this label, animals must be given access to outdoor space. The Grassland Beef Pasture Raised Turkey takes things a step further, as pasture-raised birds are given more space and must be allowed to graze. Heritage birds, like the D’Artagnan Heritage Turkey, are a special breed of turkey more closely related to wild turkeys. These often have a slightly gamier, more complex flavor. Our winners are also all raised on antibiotic-free diets.

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Mail-Order Turkey  

a turkey on a roasting pan in the oven
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Choose a turkey that aligns with your desired eating practices, whether that means organic, free-range, or conventional. If your schedule allows, a partially frozen turkey will be easier to thaw and prepare. 

The Best Mail-Order Turkeys

What we liked: This bird was delicious and easy to handle. It arrived pre-trussed with the giblets packed up in a neat little bag. It thawed quickly and dried easily in the refrigerator. Once prepared, the skin was crispy while both the white and dark meat remained juicy. The meat was fork-tender, but firm enough that it was easy to carve without shredding. 

What we didn’t: At around $13/pound, this was one of the more expensive birds that we tested. It arrives partially frozen, so you'll need to coordinate delivery to make sure it arrives within a week of cooking.

Price at time of publish: $187.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 14-16 lbs
  • Feeds: 8-10 people  
  • Style: Pasture-raised
  • Price per pound: Approximately $13.36/lb
A Grassland Beef Pasture Raised Turkey cooks inside of an oven.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: This is a juicy turkey with a good balance of light and dark meat. It was easy to carve with a pleasantly mild, chicken-like flavor. D’Artagnan offers three sizes—you can choose turkeys ranging from 12 to 22 pounds. This is ideal for those hosting smaller gatherings, or for anyone who plans to live on leftovers all week. Green Circle turkeys get special treatment: These free-range birds are raised on a diet of grain and vegetable scraps provided by nearby farms. (The practice is certified by Humane Farm Animal Care.)

What we didn’t: This turkey shipped in a styrofoam container. Although it provided adequate protection and inclusion, the non-recyclable material must be disposed of in the trash. 

Price at time of publish: $75 to $160.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 8-22 lbs
  • Feeds: 6-18 people  
  • Style: Pasture-raised
  • Price per pound: Approximately $7.27/lb 
carved turkey on a white dinner plate
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: As a heritage bird, this turkey was raised free-range on a small farm. It was more flavorful than its industrially-farmed counterparts, but not so gamey as to alienate your more choosey relatives.  

What we didn’t like: This was the most expensive turkey that we tested—it’s priced at an average of $19/pound. This turkey shipped in a styrofoam container that arrived slightly damaged. 

Price at time of publish: $176 to $310.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 8-16 lbs
  • Feeds: 5-13 people  
  • Style: Pasture-raised
  • Price per pound: Approximately $19/lb
two roasted whole turkeys on a wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Competition

  • Fossil Farms Turkey: This bird arrives partially frozen and roasts up nicely. It’s packaged well but produced just a bit more waste than our top choice. If our top choice isn't available though, this is a great option.
  • Organic Prairie Whole Turkey: This was a great fully-frozen bird. It remained fairly juicy after roasting, but we didn’t like that the tail was trimmed off or that the included trussing device was plastic.
  • Farm Foods Market Jaindl Grand Champion: After four days of thawing and drying, this still seemed a little soggy. The included band didn’t keep the thighs trussed in the oven, and the resulting meat was quite dry. 
  • D’Artagnan Organic Turkey: This turkey was less flavorful than the other D’Artagnan birds we tested. It also arrived slightly beat up in a cracked styrofoam case. 
  • Allen Brothers Heritage Black Turkey: This bird was big and flavorful but arrived in damaged packaging. 
  • Crowd Cow Ferndale Market Whole Turkey: An underwhelming flavor and hard-to-find giblets bag kept this turkey out of the top spots. 
  • Porter Road Whole Turkey: This turkey arrived slightly too thawed for our liking. Although it roasted up well, it failed to justify the price. 


How far in advance should you buy a turkey for Thanksgiving?

The ideal timing depends on the type of bird that you order. A fully frozen turkey can be stored in the freezer for months, partially frozen turkeys should be cooked within a week. Depending on the service, it may be possible to order your turkey in advance and request delivery for the week of your meal. 

Can I keep a fresh turkey in the fridge for a week?

Plan to prepare your bird within a few days of thawing. Fresh turkeys can be safely kept in the refrigerator for up to two days before roasting. 

Is it OK to leave a frozen turkey on the counter overnight?

The FDA recommends thawing frozen turkeys in the refrigerator. If a turkey is left to thaw at room temperature, the surface of the bird will reach an unsafe temperature before the interior thaws completely. This can create serious food safety risks.

Why We're the Experts

We Tested 7 Nut Milk Makers and Found Two for All of Your Non-Dairy Needs

We tested seven nut milk makers by making almond milk, cashew milk, and oat milk to find the model that made the smoothest, creamiest non-dairy milk.

a variety of nut milk makers lined up on a wooden countertop
Serious Eats/Madeline Muzzi

We’re living in the golden age of alternative milk. Boutique coffee shops offer a dizzying array of milk options and grocery store aisles are lined with milk derived from every type of nut imaginable (and beyond—hello potato milk). Options have never been more plentiful for the dairy-averse (or those just looking to try something different). 

If you want to get into semantics, nut milk isn’t *technically* milk—it’s a creamy emulsion of nuts and water. It’s made by soaking nuts (or oats) until soft, blending, and then straining out the solids. Some store-bought milk alternatives also include additional ingredients like preservatives and stabilizers.

For the truly committed, making nut milk at home with a nut milk maker (or a good blender and some cheesecloth) is a great way to control the ingredients so you know exactly what you’re drinking, as well as tailor the recipe. Nut milk can be light and sweet or rich and creamy—the ratio of nuts to water, the type of nut, and the nut quality can all affect the end results.

To find the best nut milk makers, we tested seven of them—going through pounds and pounds of nuts and oats.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Nutr Machine is sleek and compact. During testing it produced almond, oat, and cashew milk with perfectly smooth, silky textures. The Nutr Machine also includes helpful presets and a self-cleaning function.

This sleek simple nut milk maker took just seconds to set up. The fine mesh strainer screws neatly into a funnel, and the entire straining device rests on a simple borosilicate glass carafe. You’ll still need to get out the blender, but if you have a blender you love, this is a less expensive way to get started making nut milk. Compared to the cheesecloth method, this is a far neater and less fussy way to strain.

The Tests

milk straining through the chef'n nut milk maker
Serious Eats/Madeline Muzzi
  • Almond Milk Test: We used each nut milk maker to make almond milk, noting the consistency of the milk and how easy the machine was to use. We tasted the milk, evaluating its flavor and texture.
  • Cashew Milk Test: We used each nut milk maker to then make cashew milk.
  • Oat Milk Test: After the nut milk, we used each model to make oat milk, noting the consistency and taste of the milk and how easy the makers were to set up and disassemble.
  • Cleanup Tests: After each test, we cleaned the nut milk makers according to manufacturer instructions, using the self-clean feature when available. 

What We Learned

How the Nut Milk Makers Worked 

taking apart one of the nut milk makers
Serious Eats/Madeline Muzzi

To make nut milk, you start by combining nuts (or oats, etc.) and water. Nut milk makers are designed to grind these ingredients together and then separate the creamy liquid from the pulp. The models we tested varied significantly in design and function—the electric models all included blades that ground the whole nuts, while the Chef’n Nut Milk Maker required a separate blender. Some of the electric models strained the solids out inside the machine, while others required you to do so afterward. 

Most of the electric machines had a single compartment for ingredients. The only exception was the ChefWave Milkmade Alternative Milk Maker, which is constructed like an espresso machine with a separate water reservoir in the back. A few models, like the Nutr Machine, Chefwave, Tribest Soyabella, and Idavee Brand PrestoPure, can produce hot or steamed milk, which is useful if you want to use your fresh milk in a latte or cafe au lait right away.  

A Good Filter Ensured Smoother, Creamier Milk

pouring milk through the filter to see if any bits remain
We poured nut milk through a filter to see if any chunks or bits remained.Serious Eats/Madeline Muzzi

If you’re adding your alternative milk to coffee or matcha, a creamy texture is best. And effective filtering is the most important step for achieving smooth consistency. If the nut solids aren’t completely removed after the mixture has been blended, you’ll end up with grainy milk (no one wants to chew their milk).

Therefore, a built-in filter sounds like an easy way to reduce the steps of making homemade nut milk. Unfortunately, not all of the built-in filters delivered high-quality results. The Almond Cow Plant-Based Milk Maker includes a built-in filter basket, but after pouring we found that a significant amount of pulp escaped the carafe. The milk needed to be filtered again before drinking. Other models, including the NutraMilk Nut Processor, offered more effective built-in filtration systems like a dedicated spigot with an attached screen. The Chef’n’s included filter is made of super-fine mesh—it yields an exceptionally smooth product, but straining takes a bit longer. Our winner, the Nutr Machine, came with a detached filter that can be used to strain milk after blending. This provides the option to keep the pulp and retain nutrients for applications like smoothies, or ice cream, or to filter it out when you’re looking for a smoother product. 

Less Can Be More 

The seven nut milk makers that we tested ranged from bare bones to fully loaded. Extra functionality can sound appealing, but ChefWave Milkmade Alternative Milk Maker and NutraMilk Nut Processor were so stacked with bonus features (the Chefwave can also make nut butter, smoothies, and caramel) that they felt overly complicated. Remember: the task at hand is relatively simple. When scrolling through ChefWave’s extensive digital menu or waiting for NutraMilk’s dispense cycle to complete, we started to wonder why we weren’t just using a blender. The bare-bones models, on the other hand, are basically just blenders. The Tribest Soyabella and the Idavee PrestoPure didn’t feel useful enough to justify their required storage space (which was considerable, since the Idavee is over a foot tall). The Nutr Machine fell right in the middle. It includes presets for specific nut milks that simplify timing, and the settings menu was comparatively concise and easy to navigate. The Nutr Machine also doubles as a kettle—it includes a heat setting that can be used to make hot milk or boil water. The simplest option, the Chef’n Nut Milk Maker, also stood out. Even though it requires a separate blender, making nut milk wasn’t more time-consuming than using a model without a built-in blending function, and it delivered better results. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Nut Milk Maker  

a seriously good nut milk maker is easy to use, filters well, and has easy cleanup
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi / Grace Kelly

Look for a nut milk maker that provides a clear advantage over the blender and cheesecloth method—nut milk makers should be easy to use and clean, and shouldn’t require many additional tools to produce a batch of milk. Choose a product with a solid filtration system and a few extra features that make it worth your while, like being able to heat up milk for hot drinks.

The Best Nut Milk Makers

What we liked: The Nutr Machine is stylish, compact, and easy to use. For those new to the world of alternative dairy, the Nutr Machine’s presets make it easy to hit the ground milking. This model comes with a tablespoon measure and a strainer—you won’t need any additional tools to get started. The Nutr Machine is easy to clean and can produce a batch of milk in six minutes. It also doubles as a hot water (or warmed milk) kettle.

What we didn’t like:  Although this machine is quick and easy to use, it’s on the small side. This is great for storage, but it might be annoying if you’re looking to make a large amount of milk. Each use yields about 1 to 1.5 cups of alternative milk. If you regularly consume more than that, you might need a machine with a larger capacity. 

Price at time of publish: $190.

Key Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 4.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Capacity: 350ml (~1.4 cups)
nutr nut milk maker on a tabletop
Serious Eats/Madeline Muzzi

What we liked: The Chef’n Nut Milk Maker might not do everything, but it does make the most painful part of making nut milk much easier. Transferring pureed nuts and water from a blender to a cheesecloth-lined colander can be messy, irritating, and take up too much fridge space. This simple sieve takes away the effort of rigging up a DIY filtration system, and the fine mesh strainer yields smooth, creamy milk. After testing with nut milk, we also used this simple filtering device to make homemade horchata and creamy, strained ricotta, with great success. At just over $30, this is the most affordable product that we tested. 

What we didn’t like: With simplicity comes some limitations. The Chef’n Nut Milk maker requires the user to own a separate, high-quality blender. It also doesn’t offer a heating function—if you’re looking for warm milk, you’ll have to microwave or steam it separately. 

Price at time of publish: $30.

Key Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches (filter), 3.5 x 3.5 x 11 inches (carafe)
  • Weight: 14.5 ounces
  • Capacity: 1000ml (~4.2 cups)
chef'n nut milk maker on a wooden table
Serious Eats/Madeline Muzzi

The Competition

  • The NutraMilk Nut Processor: This is a big heavy machine with a big heavy price tag. The NutraMilk retails for around $500 dollars, and it weighs a whopping 26 pounds. Despite the cost, the plastic felt cheap and brittle. The machine is strong enough to pulverize everything from nuts to oats, but the built-in filter left a considerable amount of sediment in the finished milk. 
  • The Idavee Brand PrestoPure: This machine is essentially just an oversized blender. It offers heating functions but requires a separate (not included) filter. During testing, it was difficult to get this machine to operate, and while attempting to get the lid to close properly, it generated an electric shock that zapped our tester. 
  • ChefWave Milkmade Alternative Milk Maker: The ChefWave Alternative Milk Maker is a great option for experienced nut milk makers, but its complicated digital menu might not be the best for beginners. 
  • Almond Cow Plant-Based Milk Maker: This machine’s filter basket leaves behind a significant amount of pulp, resulting in grainy nut milk. 
  • Tribest Soyabella Automatic Nut & Seed Milk Maker (SB-130): This machine was slow, difficult to clean, and produced inconsistent results. 


What is the best machine to make nut milk?

You can use a blender, a food processor, or a dedicated nut milk maker to process whole nuts or oats into milk. The best machine for you depends on your budget and how frequently you make your own milk. If alternative milk is a major part of your everyday life, our favorite nut milk maker is the Nutr Machine. We also liked the ChefWave Alternative Milk Maker as a budget option.

Is making your own nut milk better?

Making nut milk at home gives you complete control over the final product. You can use high-quality nuts, avoid additives, and control your nut-to-water ratio. Not only can you make a fresher product, but you can also tailor it to your exact tastes. 

How do you clean a nut milk maker? 

Some nut milk makers resemble blenders, while others are more similar to espresso machines or food processors. The best cleaning technique depends on the model that you own. Check the manufacturer's instructions for an exact method.

Why We're the Experts

  • Madeline Muzzi is a freelance writer, editor, and video producer.
  • She has written many reviews for Serious Eats, including wine decanters, mini mortar and pestles, and flatware sets.
  • To review nut milk makers, we used insights from our lab testing and performed additional tests, which included making almond milk and oat milk with each machine. We also noted how difficult or easy the machines were to operate and clean.

Bring Out the Best in a Bottle with Proper Wine Storage

We spoke to experts to find the best methods for longterm and shortterm wine storage, as well as what to avoid.

a hand removing a bottle of wine from a wine fridge
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

One of the most alluring qualities of wine is its ability to age. Even when it’s in a sealed bottle, wine develops flavor and becomes more complex over time—that is, if it’s stored correctly. Proper storage can help prevent the tragedy of saving a bottle for a special occasion only to find that it has turned to vinegar when you finally open it.   

The standard advice for storing wine is simple: keep bottles on their side in a cool, dark place. Each element of this practice is designed to protect bottles from common flaws. To understand why this method works, it’s helpful to understand the damage heat, light, and oxygen can do. To learn about the risks and rewards of wine storage, we spoke to Daniel de la Nuez of Forthave Spirits and Cesar Vega of Les Vins de Barbichette. 

Whether or not you plan on investing in special storage equipment, following these tips will help you keep your wine safe until you plan to enjoy it.

Temperature Matters (or, What is Cellaring Anyways?)

Prayitno Photography on Flickr

When it comes to storing wine, heat is the enemy. Think about the transformative powers of heat during cooking—a ripe strawberry has much lighter and brighter flavors than cooked strawberry jam, which is rich and fudgy. Heat can create a similar change in wine. During storage, excessive temperatures can cook wine, transforming its fresh fruit profile into a murky, raisiny mess. While this process, known as maderisation, is intentional when making Madeira (a fortified wine known for its nutty and caramelized flavors), when this happens accidentally, it’s considered a flaw. 

The ideal temperature for storing wine is between 55°F to 57ºF. This range is known as cellar temperature—it’s much warmer than the average household refrigerator but cool enough to prevent maderization. Prior to modern heating and cooling technology, wine (and other perishables, including root vegetables) were stored in cellars. Because they’re underground, cellars aren’t as susceptible to temperature changes as other rooms in the house. 

Store Bottles Stopped with Natural Cork on Their Sides 

While wine and heat are enemies, oxygen and wine are more like frenemies. When it’s time to serve, oxygen helps the wine open and and express its best flavors—this is why many people choose to decant the bottle before serving or swirl wine around in the glass before tasting. During storage, slow exposure to oxygen over time is what allows bottles to develop as they age. However, if too much oxygen is introduced at once, the wine can turn to vinegar. Natural cork closures are the key to keeping this relationship civil. Cork is porous, which allows for a slow exchange of oxygen over time—it prevents the bottle from spoiling and integrates enough air for the wine to mature. For this to work properly, you need to protect the cork. Natural cork can dry out and crack over time. If this happens, air will flow into the bottle as though it had been opened. Storing bottles on their side keeps the wine in contact with the cork and prevents it from drying out. 

If your bottle isn’t closed with natural cork, this step is less important. Crown caps, screw caps, and synthetic corks aren’t susceptible to drying out. These bottles can be stored vertically. 

Keep It Dark

Just as we protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays, so too must we protect our wine. While we shield ourselves with sunscreen, the best way to keep wine safe is by storing it in the dark. UV rays can catalyze a chemical reaction in wine, creating a flaw known as light strike, which creates off-putting sulfuric flavors. White and light wines are especially vulnerable—this is why they’re often packaged in dark green bottles. If not stored in the dark, the fresh fruity notes in your favorite chardonnay could transform into wooly and cabbagey aromas (yuck).

Consider a Wine Refrigerator for Long-Term Storage

At home, Daniel de la Nuez uses a Eurocave wine refrigerator for long-term storage. The best wine refrigerators have tinted doors and shelves for horizontal storage (protecting the wine from light strike and the cork from drying out). But while wine refrigerators are helpful, they are also quite expensive. But, the good news is, there are other options. Caesar Vega of Les Vins de Barbichette uses his home basement, which he has outfitted with wine racks for horizontal storage. Even if it isn’t temperature controlled, a basement typically has a cooler ambient temperature that fluctuates less than a kitchen or pantry.

That Said, Some Wines Aren’t Meant to Be Stored for the Long Term

wine in a metal wine rack with a decanter in front
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

For short-term storage, the best solution depends on the type of wine. Red wines can be stored at room temperature for several days, and white wines can be kept in the refrigerator (although you should let them warm up slightly before drinking). Short-term storage isn’t just for novices—not all bottles are intended to age. “Some wines are for drinking now, others are for aging,” says de la Nuez “Primary fruit tends to fall away as the wine ages.” Whites, rosés, and some natural wines are created to showcase delicate fruit and light floral flavors. These bottles are best consumed fresh and young. It’s perfectly fine to store them for a few weeks or even months, but if they’re stored for too long, the subtle notes will dull over time. If a wine has a synthetic cork or a crown cap, that’s a good sign that it was intended for immediate consumption. 

Storing Open Bottles

three wine glasses filled with different types of wine
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

All opened wines, red or white, should be kept in the refrigerator. To store an open bottle of wine, de la Nuez recommends simply replacing the cork and placing the bottle upright in the fridge. That said, resist the urge to turn the cork upside down! Although it may be easier to fit the cork in the bottle this way, the unused side of the cork might introduce bacteria into the wine. If fitting the cork back into the bottle is too challenging, a tapered stopper is a simple way to seal a bottle.

Look to Stoppers to Keep Bubbles in Bubbly 

The best way to enjoy the bubbles in sparkling wine is to drink the bottle on the same day that it’s opened. After the cork has been removed, CO2 will begin to escape, and the wine will go flat within a few days. But if you have part of a bottle left over after your Champagne toast, Vega recommends sealing it with a locking bottle stopper to help preserve the carbonation.  

There’s a persistent myth that placing the handle of a metal spoon in a bottle of sparkling wine will help retain the bubbles. Although he’s charmed by the lore, Vega doesn’t put much stock in this method.


What is the proper way to store wine?

Protect wine from heat, sun, and oxygen by storing bottles on their side in a cool, dark, place. Frequent wine drinkers might consider investing in a wine storage rack or wine refrigerator. In addition to providing horizontal storage, a dedicated rack can help minimize the risk of bottle breakage.

What is the ideal long-term storage for wine?

The absolute best long-term storage for wine is a wine cellar—a cool, underground storage space with an earthen floor. Unfortunately, this isn’t a realistic solution for anyone who doesn’t own a chateau. Basements and wine refrigerators offer similar temperature-controlled environments that will keep bottles safe. 

Do you have to store different wines differently? 

For long-term storage, the rules remain pretty much the same whether you’re working with white, red, or sparkling wine. When it comes to short-term storage, there’s more flexibility. Red wine can be safely stored at room temperature for several days and white wines will be comfortable in a standard refrigerator. Wine closed with non-traditional methods, like screw caps or crown caps, can be stored vertically without fear of the cork drying out.