The Best Aprons According to the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen | Bon Appétit

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The Best Aprons According to the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen | Bon Appétit

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Cooking is messy. Sauces splash, soups simmer, and—without a little protection—stains set in. That’s why, in my kitchen, aprons are nonnegotiable. But choosing the best apron for your needs can be tricky. That flowy linen smock might be light and comfortable, but is it tough enough to protect you from a ragù splatter? Maybe that leather butcher’s apron makes you feel like a kitchen blacksmith, but do you really need all that weight? And most importantly, do any of these options even look cute?

The good news is that there are kitchen aprons for every kind of chef, body type, and culinary activity. From piping pastries to breaking down big hunks of meat, there’s an apron style for whatever it is you’re up to. And when it comes to the best aprons, our homes and test kitchen are practically overflowing with options. Find a few of our favorites below—all of them high-quality, machine-washable, built to last, and comfortable enough to wear all day long.

In the words of food director Chris Morocco, “This one’s the jam.” Indeed, if you’ve seen any of his test kitchen videos, you’ve almost certainly seen this hemp and cotton canvas apron from White Bark Workwear. Morocco says it comfortably molds to his body like his favorite pair of jeans. The cross-back straps, paired with wraparound waist ties, help distribute weight more evenly across the body rather than dangling at the neck.

Associate food editor Kendra Vaculin also loves her White Bark chef apron so much it convinced her to go back to a strappy apron after years of the pinafore smock lifestyle. “I like how the bib portion comes high up the sternum because that’s where I usually get stains” she told me, “and I appreciate the sturdy ties around the waist where I can tuck my kitchen towel.” 

Spot Kendra, Chris, DeVonn, and Jessie all repping White Bark (and Tiana in Hedley & Bennett).

For Japanese-style pinafore apron fans, this entry-level cotton and linen apron will tick most of the boxes without breaking the bank. Its construction is light and airy enough to wear over your clothes even in the warmest months while still providing enough coverage and thickness to keep clothes safe from splashes and spills. I love its deep front pockets, multiple color options, and comfortable feel so much that I’ll usually forget to take it off until long after I’ve finished eating.

If you’re married to Japanese-style aprons but want a bit more protection, this smock from Minna is the best one we tested in our cross-back apron roundup. Handmade by artisans in Guatemala, this cotton apron has a thick, sturdy feel that I’d trust to protect the silk shirt I “borrowed” from my roommate without telling her. I also love the striped pattern, which gives it a vintage diner vibe, and the cross-back style means there’s still plenty of airflow to keep things breezy under the slightly thicker fabric.

Crossback Utility Apron from Minna

If you want a heavy duty work apron, this cotton-canvas option from Carhartt would be equally as at home in an auto shop as it would be in your home kitchen. The brand is known for making tough workwear, and this bib apron is no exception—BA’s test kitchen coordinator Inés Anguiano has been using hers so long, she’s started calling it Ole Reliable. “It’s durable and meant to withstand years of wear,” Anguiano explains, “all while maintaining the same great quality.” Its layered pockets also provide tons of storage for days spent grilling which, along with its tough construction, make this a smart option for anyone who does any cooking outdoors.

We here at BA love Hedley & Bennett aprons a whole awful lot. So much, in fact, that we partnered with them to make a Bon Appétit apron. Available both in smocky cross-back and tie-at-the-waist styles, H&B offers a variety of cooking aprons with tough construction across the board. They also frequently run cool and unexpected collaborations and crossovers with everyone from The Grateful Dead to the National Parks service, offering home cooks plenty of room to show off their personal style while keeping everything underneath absolutely pristine. Says contributor Bettina Makalintal of her Hedley & Bennett apron, “It just feels high quality, like a really nice piece of clothing.”

Grateful Dead Tie Dye Bears Apron From Hedley & Bennett

For the home cook with chef dreams, the Twill Supply Apron from Tilit is the highly functional, minimal frills choice you need. This is an apron meant to withstand the heat of a professional kitchen. The brand was founded by two New Orleans industry vets and outfits the staff at restaurants like Chez Panisse and Contra. It ties comfortably over the hips, and the adjustable neck strap unbuckles, allowing you to switch between a waiter’s half apron and full-chest coverage, no need to undo any knots. As for storage, there’s a chest pocket for pens and meat thermometers, plus another interior pocket to carry kitchen tools without weighing you down. In short, it does everything an apron should do well with as few points of failure as possible—so you can focus less on the straps and more on the food. Complete the fit with a pair of chef pants to look restaurant ready whenever you want.

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The Best Aprons According to the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen | Bon Appétit

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