All About: Sourcing Secondhand + Vintage Cookware

I'm a big believer in slowly building out your kitchen. There are so many products that just clutter your space and end up in the trash or giveaway pile when you realize you never use them. I always recommend assessing what's holding you back or creating a bottleneck while cooking before making big purchases so you can make a really intentional and informed decision. You can get by with very few kitchen products, and you should be selective about what you invest in because your kitchen is prime real estate! Yay for mindful shopping.

Whether you’re trying to be mindful of how much you spend or you’re shopping secondhand for the sustainability aspect, I wanted to share my tips on sourcing thrifted cookware. Particularly the more expensive investment pieces. If you're buying a product that's made with incredible craftsmanship it will last a lifetime. Plus, if you know what to look for, you’ll likely find some incredible pieces at a fraction of the cost. Bonus points if you can score a truly vintage or antique piece with lots of character. Save this guide and refer back to it as you slowly add to your kitchen.

Create A List Of What You Want + Need

Make a list of products you are looking for and save them as a note in your phone. That way when you feel like making an impulsive shopping decision you can consult your list. Not on the list = future kitchen clutter. If you need help creating a list, use the below as a starting off point for some of the bigger ticket items:

  • Chef's knife (8")
  • Large cutting board, preferably butcher block
  • Enameled cast iron dutch oven or heavy bottomed stainless steel stock pot
  • Cast iron skillet
  • 10" stainless steel skillet
  • 3-3.5 qt stainless steel saute pan
  • High powered blender

Be Mindful Of Quality Craftsmanship + Save These Keywords

The below brands and materials are built to last. Copy and paste these keywords when sourcing to narrow down your search and find some gems:

Knives:

  • 8" chef's knife
  • Carbon steel chef's knife
  • Wustof chef's knife
  • Global chef's knife
  • Zwilling chef's knife

Enameled Dutch Oven + Cast Iron:

  • Enameled cast iron dutch oven
  • Staub enameled cast iron dutch oven
  • Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Staub cast iron skillet
  • Le Creuset cast iron skillet
  • Wegner cast iron skillet
  • Griswold cast iron skillet

Cutting Board:

  • Butcher block cutting board
  • John Boos butcher block cutting board

Stainless Steel Skillets + Saute Pans:

  • Stainless steel skillet
  • All Clad stainless steel skillet
  • Stainless steel saute pan
  • All Clad stainless steel saute pan
  • All Clad stainless steel set of pans, skillets, and stockpots

High-Powered Blender:

  • Vitamix blender (I think these are more rare to find but including because they are a kitchen workhorse, and I've heard of people snagging them on FB Marketplace. If all else fails, get a refurbished Vitamix from their website)

Scour The Secondhand Sites + Stores

You're ready to score that perfect vintage piece! Search these keywords if browsing online, or chat with someone in store if you head to a brick and mortar location. Here are my go-to places for thrifted kitchen items:

  • Facebook marketplace (select the "local pickup" filter to exclude products that would ship from far away)
  • Etsy
  • Craigslist - both the for sale and antique sections
  • Garage sales
  • Estate sales
  • Local thrift, antique, + consignment shops (If you're in the Bay Area I highly recommend The Local Flea)
  • Ebay
  • Offer up
  • I also recommend doing research to see if there are local shops in your area that specialize in kitchen products. So, searching things like "speciality or vintage kitchen store" in your area. In the SF Bay Area, I send people to Bernal Cutlery for one-of-a-kind vintage knives and other beautiful investments. The entire staff is incredibly knowledgable about truly ALL things knives and you can't help but geek out when you see a restored 1960's chef's knife.

I hope this inspires you to start your secondhand shopping journey! I apply my list and keyword practices for thrifted clothing (take my money, The Real Real), and for investment furniture pieces in our home, and it's been a game changer for finding quality items that will last a lifetime. You can always find my vetted, new and ready-to-ship products on the Shop page of my website, too. Any categories I missed? Or did you use this guide and score something special? Let me know in the comments!

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Gini
March 20, 2024
Loved the soup. Croutons too much trouble. Fast in a cup!
Ray Beall
March 16, 2024
Richard
February 22, 2024
send me fruits to add with another fruit to cure disease
Deneen Medland
April 17, 2023
Kelle Trouton
April 17, 2023
Caroline
January 23, 2023
I made this same amazing salad with the following additions: I used a bed of chopped romaine hearts, and squeezed the juice of all the trimmed cara cara oranges, plus 1/2 lemon, added a drizzled of Tupelo honey on top. The herbs: chopped fennel fronds and mint. Everyone went crazy for it!
Marcus
YUM! Definitely going to pair this with a nice and funky natty white next time!
Caroline
January 23, 2023
I made this same amazing salad with the following additions: I used a bed of chopped romaine hearts, and squeezed the juice of all the trimmed cara cara oranges, plus 1/2 lemon, added a drizzled of Tupelo honey on top. The herbs: chopped fennel fronds and mint. Everyone went crazy for it!