15 Insta-Worthy Kitchen Items That Professional Food Bloggers and Stylists Swear By

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

Hands up if you’ve ever made a point to snap a picture of a particularly beautiful plate of food before you dig in. Yes? Me too. Actually, I’d say I take pictures of my food almost every day—sometimes that means catching a simple oatmeal breakfast in good morning light; other times it means forcing a friend to help stage a pizza cheese pull in public.

The thing is, even after years of amateur food photography, I can’t seem to even come close to recreating the perfect, scroll-stopping professional food photos that I see on my feed, in magazines, and on my favorite food blogs and websites. Specific lighting, strategically prepared food, and expensive camera equipment (all pretty inaccessible for most of us) are greatly responsible for this, but another key factor? Props. And, good news: replacing run-of-the-mill plates, bowls, glasses, and napkins with prettier ones is a realistic way to bring your food pics to the next level.

I asked 11 food bloggers and professional food stylists to share their absolute favorite props for food styling. Below are 16 gorgeous kitchen products, at a variety of price points, that these experts love to use in their food photos. And hey, even if you have no interest in photographing your meals, they all look even better IRL.


Natural 100% Linen Napkins

Neutral napkins are something I use all the time. Since I cook very colorful food (lots of veggies!), I keep my props and styling simple and fresh to really let the food pop. I like to keep my linens basic – neutrals, simple, and naturally textured. I love these linens from World Market, they’re my go-to. Here they are next to my Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup.

Ali Maffucci, blogger at Inspiralized

Buy them here: $18 for 4, worldmarket.com

Ali Maffucci

Rebekah Peppler


Opinel Paring Knife

I love my small yellow Opinel paring knife. Even when I’m not using it as a prop, I bring it to set and use it as a tool. In photos, it adds a clean, beautiful pop of color without taking over. Plus, it looks even better with a little wear (which mine definitely has).

Rebekah Peppler, food stylist

Buy it here: $39 for 4, jet.com


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17 Creamy Desserts That Are Actually Dairy-Free


Even though I generally prefer savory to sweet, I have a real soft spot for creamy desserts. A pint of ice cream has no chance of survival around me and a strawberry milkshake is my ultimate weakness. When I say it’s my weakness, I’m not kidding. Since I’m lactose intolerant, those dairy-filled treats I so crave are basically my kryptonite. But even though I know they’ll destroy me, I can’t seem to stop seeking them out.

I used to think the only way to satisfy my creamy cravings was with actual dairy, but after dabbling in vegan desserts I’ve come to find that isn’t true at all. Thanks to a growing vegan population, it’s easier than ever to find creamy substitutes that taste nearly identical to the real stuff. Things like coconut cream and nut milks help the classic desserts you know and love taste just as good if not better than their dairy-filled counterparts.

If you’re not sure how to use these ingredients on your own to make the desserts you desire, let these 17 recipes show you the way. They include all the creamy treats you could want, from cheesecake to banana cream pie to rice pudding, and they’re all completely dairy-free. Even if you’re not interested in cutting out dairy, they’re still worth making.



Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream from A Couple Cooks

This ice cream is made with actual ground coffee beans, so it’s a treat that’ll also give you some energy. For the brave, consider doubling down on the caffeine by pouring a shot of espresso over a scoop for an affogato. Get the recipe here.


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How to Make (Vegan) Mexican Rice Better Than Your Favorite Restaurant


How To Make Mexican Rice

Learning how to make Mexican rice will benefit countless dinners to come. This vegan and gluten-free recipe uses wholesome ingredients to make this classic dish guilt-free.

Rice recipes can be tricky for a couple of reasons. The first and most challenging problem most home chefs run into is the liquid ratio. Too much liquid and you will end up with soggy rice. Too little liquid and your rice will be dry and burnt.

The second tricky part of making homemade rice is perfecting the texture. You can ensure perfectly fork tender and fluffy rice though by keeping an eye on it while it cooks. There have been many times where I walked away, assuming the rice would be fine but came back to find it burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Check your rice about five minutes before it’s supposed to be done. Use a fork to see if a grain of rice can be broken in half when pressing it against the side of the pot. If not, then keep cooking until the timer goes off.

While this Mexican rice recipe is more wholesome than the traditional variety, it’s just as delicious and tastes like it’s straight from your favorite restaurant. Add in frozen peas and carrots if you prefer your rice with a boost of veggies.

Don’t forget to serve this Mexican rice alongside homemade refried beans to complete your meal!

How To Make Mexican Rice

Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe

Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 28 ounces jarred whole peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add onion and sauté for about four to five minutes, until softened and translucent. Add tomatoes and sauté for three minutes.
  2. Scoop out the whole tomatoes and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth with a bit of texture remaining. Add puréed tomatoes back into the pot.
  3. Add rice, vegetable broth, and sea salt to the pot. Cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove lid and turn off heat.
  4. Let rice sit for about five minutes. Fluff with a fork and then serve immediately. Enjoy!



Related on Organic Authority
Vegan Enchiladas: So Good You’ll Come Back For Seconds (and Thirds)!
4 Vegetarian Mexican Recipes to Make Meatless Monday a Fiesta!
17 Rice Cooker Recipes (That Don’t Include Rice!)

Images via Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.


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