These Old-Fashioned Kitchen Tools Are Still Made Today, and They're Worth Having in Your Kitchen
In our tech-driven world, it's easy to forget about the treasures that can be found in the vintage kitchen. From sensible essentials like a well-made Dutch oven to more whimsical options like a snow cone maker, time in the kitchen can be fun—especially when you are using the right tools for the job. When it comes to actual vintage kitchenware, searching for diamonds in the rough at your local flea market is a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it's not the only way to bring some of the past into your kitchen. With farmhouse and retro styles making a comeback, there are plenty of new tools and appliances out there that give off that old-fashioned feel that won't require you to scrub any rust off of them before using.
Best Old-Fashioned Kitchen Tools to Buy Now
- Best Snack Maker: Whirley Pop 3-Minute Popcorn Maker with Metal Gears
- Best Investment: Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Best Thing Since Sliced Bread: Williams Sonoma Ceramic & Wood Bread Box
- Best for DIYers: Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock
- Best for Canning and Preserving: Küchenprofi Professional Stainless Steel Food Mill
Here, we're sharing our favorite kitchen tools that take some of the best innovations of the past and retrofit them for the contemporary kitchen. From fermentation crocks that haven't had their design fiddled with for centuries to a cute and clever $3 solution to keep brown sugar from hardening, we think you will find a little nostalgia and a whole lot of good use in the products ahead.
Best for the DIYer: Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock
This American-made crock from Ohio Stoneware is a great open vessel for turning fresh cucumbers into crunchy pickles. It is available in a variety of sizes, but one gallon is a good place to start for beginners and small households that aren't looking to make a lifetime supply of kimchi. For recipes that need to be covered during the fermentation process, like sauerkraut, we recommend adding their weights and lid to your cart to make it a set.
Shop Now: Ohio Stoneware Crock, $37.57, amazon.com.
Best for Canning and Preserving: Küchenprofi Professional Stainless Steel Food Mill
Grandma's famous applesauce didn't get that blue ribbon on a good bushel of fruit alone—she likely had her trusty food mill to remove the peels, seeds, and cores in one fell swoop. The original food processor, food mills purée and strain at the same time by way of a hand crank that presses the food through perforated discs. Our favorite pick comes with four interchangeable discs of varying sizes so you will have the best tool for the job, whether it's removing the tiny seeds from raspberries for jam or making the smoothest ever mashed potatoes.
Shop Now: Küchenprofi Professional Stainless Steel Food Mill, $52.14, amazon.com.
Best Investment: Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
When it comes to braising, baking, and casserole-making, our grandparents knew that nothing beats a good Dutch oven. This hefty pot comes in a variety of colorways and has roomy handles for safe gripping, so you can take it from oven to table with ease. The roomy six-quart size and widest shape means there will be ample room for browning the beef for stew or making this delicious and simple Chicken in a Pot.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron Round Six-Quart Dutch Oven, $199.99, macys.com.
Better Than Sliced Bread: Williams Sonoma Ceramic & Wood Bread Box
Whether it's a homemade sandwich loaf or a gourmet boule from your favorite bakery, a good bread box will keep it tasting as fresh as the day it's baked. What's the secret? A bread box strikes the perfect balance of environment: There's just enough humidity to keep the bread moist, but it's breathable enough to keep mold at bay and the crust just as crisp as when it came out of the oven. Our favorite bread box is made of ceramic material which is excellent at retaining the bread's moisture levels, and we really like the feature of the removable maple door being able to act as a cutting board.
Shop Now: Williams Sonoma Ceramic & Wood Bread Box, $119.95, williams-sonoma.com.
Most Retro Appeal: Whirley Pop 3-Minute Popcorn Maker with Metal Gears
Popcorn made on the stovetop is miles ahead of the microwave kind in taste, but the nuclear option sometimes just feels easier and more goof-proof. Turns out, a solution was created a long time ago for perfect popcorn every time. The Whirley Pop looks as if it could have been found at a vintage fair. You can pop up to six quarts of popcorn in three minutes, and the crank handle ensures that no kernel will be left behind. We especially liked the versatility of the Whirley Pop over its rivals—the option to purchase one with die-cast metal gears means that you can take temperatures higher for recipes like caramel and kettle corn.
Shop Now: Whirley Pop Three-Minute Popcorn Maker with Metal Gears, $35.15, amazon.com.
Best Baking Tool: R & M International Angel Food Cake Breaker
These hair comb lookalikes were once so popular that it was commonplace to find ones that would match your specific silverware set. The "cake breaker," as it's called, never went away per se, but it's past due to make its triumphant return to utensil drawers everywhere. Also called an angel food cake knife, this tool was specially designed to cut through these cloud-like cakes without crushing or compressing the delicate texture.
Shop Now: R&M International Angel Food Cake Breaker, $12.86, amazon.com.
Best Beverage Accessory: Time for Treats Snow Cone Maker
Before the advent of the automatic ice machines that come standard on freezers today, folks would need to pull out their manual ice crushers to cool down their beverage of choice. Today, we don't necessarily need the heavy and bulky contraptions of yore, but a refreshing granita or snow cone does sound like a great treat every once and a while. This portable ice shaver is an affordable alternative to fancier electric versions. For us, the advantage of being able to take this anywhere far outweighs the arm workout!
Shop Now: Time for Treats Snow Cone Maker, $15.99, amazon.com.
Best Pantry Purchase: Brown Sugar Bear
It seems like no one thinks about the brown sugar at the back of the pantry until it's needed for a recipe. Then, it's found to be a big calcified chunk that's unusable. You can work around that issue by using our tips for softening a batch on the fly, but for future recipes, ensure it stays soft and scoopable by employing Brown Sugar Bear to keep watch. The bear is made from porous terra-cotta; simply soak it in water for 20 minutes and pop into the bag or canister before sealing it tightly. The bear will help maintain a moist environment for your brown sugar from three to six months depending on how dry or moist the air is in your home.
Shop Now: Brown Sugar Bear, $3.99, bedbathandbeyond.com.