How We Test Products

Simply Recipes How We test


At Simply Recipes, it is our mission to help you make the best purchase decisions for your kitchen and your family. We research, interview food industry experts, and test products ourselves in our Lab, as well as in our home kitchens, to give you curated lists of quality items that last and make life easier.

Though we may receive an affiliate commission if you decide to click through to the retailer site and make a purchase, our recommendations are based on our personal experiences with the products. To make sure we are judging fairly and accurately, we put each product through the same tests, using the same recipes and rating them on the same qualities.

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How We Test Hundreds of Products Every Single Month

What We Do

As experienced editors, we take a journalistic approach to researching and writing about products. From tried-and-true classics to new releases, we examine the retail landscape (both online and off), considering manufacturer data and user reviews to find the best options for cooking at home and for the family.

We're also home cooks ourselves, so we understand that the only way to know if an item is worth your money (and the space in your kitchen) is to test it in an actual kitchen with real-life recipes. That's why we purchase those products and send them straight to the homes of our testers and editors, and to the test kitchen at The Lab.

Dutch Oven Bread dough with slits on the top and a piece of parchment underneath.

Using thorough, standardized methodologies, reviewers follow specific steps and recipes to put each item through its paces, rating key features identified for each category on a scale of 1 to 5. For instance, we rate cast iron pans on their nonstick ability and heating performance (conduction, retention, and distribution) but evaluate vacuum sealers based on their pulse control and suction power, among other factors.

When we're done collecting our notes, we come up with an overall star rating, a list of what we love and what we don't love, and anything else that's important to consider. To help you see what the product will look like in your home or in your hands, our photographers capture images of the items in use, plus all the important angles and details to give you the most information before you buy.

Where We Test


The Lab

Our testing space in Birmingham, Alabama is more than 10,000 square feet including four test kitchens, where we evaluate everything from espresso machines to Dutch ovens. Our Review Editor develops comprehensive methodologies for each product category and then, with the help of our Test Kitchen Assistant and other staff members, organizes and conducts the tests in a controlled environment using real recipes and tools.

best-cast-iron-skillets-steak-test

For example, to rate cast iron pans on heating ability, we used an infrared thermometer to measure how long each skillet took to heat up and to identify potential hot spots. We also fried an egg, seared a steak, and baked cornbread in each one and noted inconsistencies in doneness, whether or not the ingredients stuck, and how much smoke appeared. This quantitative and qualitative data is entered into detailed results spreadsheets.

We often test around a dozen products in the same category so that we can make comparisons and offer real insights into how different brands and models measure up against each other. While we test, we capture photos, videos, and personal insights to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how the products perform.

Home Kitchens

It's just as important to see how products perform at home, in real-life settings, so we also send products directly to our editors and writers. Testing in home kitchens allows us to vet delivery to different locations, setup and installation issues, and product lifespan.

Home testers don’t just focus on how the products feel out of the box, but also how they perform days, weeks, and months later, how well they hold up to multiple cleanings, and how easy they are to store in the cupboard or on the counter.

Skillet Chicken Dinner Recipes - woman chopping a red bell pepper with a knife

Just like in The Lab, our home testers follow specific steps, evaluating each item on the same attributes, like ease of cleaning and design, offering personal insights via comprehensive questionnaires, and capturing photos of the products in use.

Why Trust Us?

Our Expertise

Besides being experienced editors, having worked for brands like Wine Enthusiast, Food52, Martha Stewart, and Food & Wine, we’re home cooks and consumers. We have a passion for products and services that make life in the kitchen easier, and we make our recommendations based on real tests and personal experiences. Not only do our editors and writers test products themselves at home and in The Lab, but they also interview food industry pros for expert advice.

Our Ethics

We’re not loyal to any one specific retailer or brand, making it a point to source recommendations from reliable companies that deliver exemplary customer service, so you can have a seamless shopping experience. Occasionally, brands and PR agencies will send us products for editorial consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are our own, and we are transparent about the rare samples received. Our team never promises coverage nor lets retailers, public relations firms, or salespeople dictate our content.

We are committed to making a lasting difference through the brands we feature and the people we work with. This means showcasing brands and services owned by people who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and other minority groups whenever possible. Click here to read our full commitment to anti-racism.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet - woman scrubbing a cast iron skillet

Our Accuracy

Our fact-checkers and medical review board help us verify that the information presented is both accurate and up-to-date. Look for these badges next to the author's byline. We also have an Anti-Bias Review Board, which advises us on language, images, themes, and tone.

Please note that all products, including those we review and recommend, may from time to time be subject to recalls or revised use recommendations. We, therefore, urge you to monitor any official announcements here that may be related to the products you purchase.

Our Updating Process

After we publish an article, we don’t just forget about it. Our team is relentless when it comes to updating and keeping our existing recommendations fresh, accurate, and helpful.

We also know how frustrating it can be to do your research on a product only to add it to your cart and see that it’s out of stock, so we try to mitigate this by having dedicated editors check availability as often as we can to provide you with the best user experience possible.

Meet Our Team

Mary Kate Hoban - Simply Recipes

Mary Kate is an Associate Editorial Director for The Spruce Eats. She joined the company in December 2018.

She has contributed to a variety of publications including Life & Style, In Touch Weekly, Closer, First for Women, Atlanta Parent, and Elite Daily.

She received her B.A. in Journalism from The University of Georgia.

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Mary Kate Hoban
Senior Commerce Editor
Siobhan Wallace

Siobhan Wallace is the Commerce Editor for Simply Recipes. She joined the team in February 2021. Previously, she was the senior digital editor at Wine Enthusiast. Her work has appeared on Vinepair, Serious Eats, Men’s Journal, and Food & Wine. She has also written two cookbooks.

Siobhan has a B.A. in History from Hunter College and an M.A. in Food Studies from New York University.

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Siobhan Wallace
Commerce Editor
Fran Sales Simply Recipes

Fran is an Associate Editor on the commerce team who researches, creates, and edits copy for Simply Recipes. She has been contributing to the brand since March 2021.

Previously, she managed our product testing operations and has also worked as a copy editor.

She has a B.A. in English from Northeastern University and an MFA in Drama from East 15 Acting School.

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Fran Sales
Associate Commerce Editor
Rachel Lee

Rachel Lee has been the Editorial Commerce Producer for Simply Recipes since March 2021.

Previously, she has worked in both editorial and PR and has experience writing about food and drinks and more.

In her free time, she loves exploring cool rooftop bars and speakeasies in every city she goes to, especially NYC.

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Rachel Lee
Editorial Commerce Producer
collier sutter

Collier Sutter is the Food & Drink Review Editor on the commerce team. She develops methodologies and conducts tests on everything from cast iron pans to popcorn makers in our dedicated product testing lab.

Her writing and editing has appeared in many publications including Architectural Digest, People Magazine, House Beautiful, Delish, Eat This, Not That!, Greatist, and more.

Collier has a Bachelor's degree in English & Journalism from Lehigh University.

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Collier Sutter
Food and Drink Review Editor

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or opinions you’d like to share with our team of editors, please feel free to email us at [email protected]