Kitchen gadgets often get a bad rap. But we’re not talking about things like cheap plastic banana slicers and novelty cookie cutters. Theses “gadgets” are really the game-changing tools of a modern kitchen. It’s difficult to overestimate the profound impact the stand mixer has had on home baking and, really, home cooking as a whole. Suddenly, the coveted recipes of the professionals are now practical in every kitchen.
Vacuum sealers preserve food longer and more safely than ever before possible. Immersion circulators allow for easy precision cooking that was unheard of in the home kitchen not a decade ago. High-end blenders, pressure cookers, multicookers and electric smokers have all dramatically reduced the amount of time and expertise necessary to achieve professional-level results. But not all improvements need to come with electrical plugs. Even something as basic as a high-quality knife or simple mortar and pestle can make a huge difference in your cooking and how much you want to cook.
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Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano
Consistently a top contender (or the top in comparison reviews), the Nano is the no-brainer choice for sous vide cooks. It’s compact, connected and affordable, and its popularity ensures compatibility with a ton of sous vide gear. You can even use it on Tuesdays.
ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide
The Joule is the best precision cooker widely available for the consumer market — if you’re willing to pay for a higher-end product and don’t mind it’s lack of physical controls (it only works through its phone app, which is great, but still…). It’s more compact than the Nano, it’s faster, can cook with less water and has a strong magnetic base instead of a mechanical clip.
Stainless steel adjustable sous vide rack
An ultra-durable stainless steel rack with an adjustable crossbar to prevent your sealed pouches from floating. The rack design allows you to sous vide large or small pouches while maintaining even water circulation. This 7.68 x 6.7 inches rack is deisgned for 12-quart sous vide containers.
Chefman sous vide water balls
Using water balls while sous vide cooking helps prevent heat loss and water evaporation, so there’s no need for clumsy flip covers or adding water as you cook. They fit any size container, dry quickly and store easily. In short, they’re the perfect solution for a formerly tricky problem.
Instant Pot programmable pressure cooker
The practical advantages to an Instant Pot are too numerous to list here but you’re really missing out if you don’t own one of these. It’s safe to say it might be considered more of a lifestyle than just a mere kitchen gadget. But don’t take my word for it, read through the nearly 40,000(!) overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon (4-1/2 stars).
Hiware 7-inch non-stick Springform pan
Of the many things the Instant Pot does really well, “baking” a perfect velvety cheesecake is perhaps the most unexpected. Hiware’s 7-inch nonstick, leakproof springform pan works in the 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot and is oven safe to 450 degrees F.
Komfyko steamer basket
A steamer basket helps unlock the full potential of your Instant Pot. Featuring a cool silicone handle for easy lifting and non-stick, non-slip feet that allows for more water, this quality stainless steel steamer basket is made to last.
Silicone egg bites mold and egg steamer rack
One of the greatest surprises my Instant Pot had in store for me was how ridiculously easy it made peeling hard-boiled eggs — eggs practically jump out of their shells with just a little cool running water. This stackable steamer rack (up to 14 eggs) comes with tongs and a versatile silicone Egg Bites mold (with lid) which can be used in the freezer or microwave as well.
KitchenAid Professional 600 Series (Bowl-lift)
As many, many review sites will tell you, KitchenAid makes the best stand mixers. Some competitors look better on paper or sleeker in person, but they all fall short in critical areas when it comes time for the actual mixing. Renown for its dependability, the bowl-lift Professional series is an all-metal powerhouse driven by a 575-watt motor meant for large tasks and is designed to be at the heart of a commercial kitchen.
KitchenAid Artisan Series (Tilt-head)
With less power and a smaller capacity than the Pro, the classic tilt-head Artisan series has a tendency to be overlooked in favor of it’s more powerful sibling. But wattage isn’t everything. In fact, for most home bakers, the Artisan is the best stand mixer you can buy based on performance and price. It inherits the Pro’s reliability and versatility but excels at a smaller tasks that the Pro can struggle with — all at a much more accessible price.
KitchenAid Fresh Prep slicer/shredder attachment
A KitchenAid stand mixer may be the mainstay of any bakery, but thanks to its remarkable power hub, it can easily complete almost any culinary task. The KSMVSA Fresh Prep slicer/shredder attachments (3mm/4mm/6mm) can slice and shred almost any cheese or vegetable.
KitchenAid metal food grinder attachment
We currently have the plastic food grinder but if that every breaks we’re definitely upgrading to this. It has a larger food tray, sausage stuffer tubes and since it’s all metal can be chilled to maintain a cold grinding temperature which is important for several reasons. Plus it has a storage container!
DI ORO 3-piece silicone spatula set
First off, many of you are going to think that these are expensive for a set of silicone spatulas. I certainly did. Turns out though, they’re pretty damn awesome. First time I used one, I felt like I’d never actually owned a real spatula before in my whole life. That’s weird to say, I know, but Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen agree.
Kuhn Rikon can opener
Honestly, I was sold on the Kuhn-Rikon can opener after I watched the video. It’s a Swiss design so of course it’s multifunctional. Folding knives or no, the 5-in-1 Auto Safety Master Opener is one hell of a tab-pulling, lid-loosening, bottlecap-popping, screwtop-offing, can-opening machine. Also available in red (again, Swiss).
Farberware professional silicone mini whisks
We used to have a set of these handy little metal mini-whisks that worked perfectly once or twice and then promptly fell apart, rusted and then fell apart some more. To replace them, we got these heat-resistant — and dishwasher safe — Farberware silicone mini whisks. They’re great for all kinds of jobs around the kitchen and most importantly, they don’t fall apart in your eggs.
OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer
I’m here today to talk to you about avocado hand. I know, I know. You’re always so careful. It can never happen to you. But friends, avocado hand can strike at any time — especially after a few mimosas. I know it’s fun to chop into that giant avocado seed but safety comes first. Don’t become a statistic, use this OXO slicer to split, pit and slice your avocado, not your hands.
Featured image: Nicola since 1972/Flickr