Finding baking and cooking supplies, and kitchen equipment should be no mystery. Furthermore, no one should pay the hugely marked-up prices of fancy stores if they are ordering on line. With that in mind, I will be adding my favorite sources to this list. My criteria are simple: top quality, guaranteed satisfaction, knowledgeable staff, and reasonable to zero shipping charges.
The first two are immutable; the last two, well, there’s a continuum. If I don’t mention a helpful staff, it means that either they are not helpful or that I have no experience asking for help. As for shipping charges, well that’s my big e-tail bugaboo. I have no problem paying taxes; however, shipping charges are a business-related expense that any company is entitled to deduct, and I resent companies that charge for shipping, unless the customer selects overnight or another special request. Standard shipping should not be paid by the customer, and, as a rule, I will not purchase from companies that charge for shipping. However, in the cases below, I make an exception for other reasons, namely the quality of the goods provided. Finally, I have noted if they accept PayPal, because I love the security of using it when shopping on-line.
Keep checking back, because I will be adding to this section pretty regularly.
King Arthur Flour (Norwich, VT)
Founded in 1790, the same year Alexander Hamilton created the Coast Guard, King Arthur is a remarkable company. With few exceptions, this is the flour I always use and for everything I bake; the quality and the variety are exceptional. King Arthur also offers hundreds of specialty items, bread salt being one of my favorites. They stand behind everything they sell. The King Arthur website is incredible for the vast amounts of information it contains, thousands of recipes, a blog, and an interactive community of bakers. There is a Baking Sheet publication available by paid subscription — mail or digital. I recommend, at the very least, to sign up for their almost daily e-mails of recipes and other baking information. To top it all off, they have a Baker’s Hotline. You can call or e-mail, depending on how urgent your question. The King Arthur staff is knowledgeable and pleasant. Shipping charges apply; however they often have promotions on shipping. Furthermore, you can join the King Arthur Baker’s Rewards Plus program and get free shipping on orders over $25. If you are in Vermont, they have a large retail store; I recommend their baking classes, and their cookbooks.
Kalustyan’s (NY, NY)
Kalystyan’s opened its doors in 1944, and is probably the best source for Indian and MIddle Eastern herbs and spices. It carries over 4,000 spices, herbs, and other foods from around the world. I have no experience with mail order from Kalustyan’s, but, based on my brick and mortar experience, I would not expect gracious service!
My Spice Sage
I love this place! They seem to have everything you’ve ever heard of and more. Fast, free delivery. A wonderful find.
The Spice House (Chicago, IL)
This is a great source for herbs and spices and everything spice-related. Their website is particularly easy to navigate, and they offer recipes as well. You will find top quality and a very friendly and knowledgeable staff.
For over 30 years, CHEFS Catalog has offered top-quality, and high performance kitchen equipment by mail order. Their prices are competitive; they have frequent sales promotions, and, shipping costs are reasonable. They have an excellent return policy, and guarantee satisfaction with any product. In my experience, the staff is very nice but not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to product details. I am linking to them through their Affiliates program, so look for the pop-ups when you hover over the highlighted names of my favorite products.
Cutlery and More
Sign up for their e-mails! In addition to discounted prices all the time, every week they run a special on at least one product. These are incredible bargains.
The Webstaurant Store
Commercial Restaurant Supplies & Equipment. Because they supply professional kitchens, they have terrific bargains and next day delivery. There’s no personal service to speak of; they expect you to know what you are doing, I guess! The shipping costs are steep, so it makes sense to buy a lot at one time. PayPal.
What can I say about Amazon.com except that I am just waiting for those drones! Like Alice’s Restaurant, you can pretty much get anything you want. Generally speaking, you will get a good deal. Prices are usually discounted, but you should always check. If you buy from Amazon.com regularly, I recommend getting their Amazon Prime so that you don’t have to pay for shipping. It’s expensive, but still way less than the horrendous shipping costs without it. Most of the time, delivery is reliable, but, too, often it is not. Make no mistake; this is not a Mom & Pop store, and they really don’t care if they lose you as a customer.