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Some kitchen gadgets are an instant classic for a reason (hello, Instant Pot!). Others enter your life for a brief honeymoon phase, only to shimmy their way to the back of a cluttered cabinet. Yes, it would seem that many gadgets comprise part of a vast conspiracy to jam our drawers and colonize our countertops. But there are a few items out there that make things like slicing, dicing, and blending such a breeze, you won't know how you ever got along without them.
The way we see it, one nice knife is worth more than 100 specialized fruit and veggie-slicing gizmos. (That is, of course, with the exception of the pineapple corer, which may just change your life.) Identifying essential, high-quality tools can help you reclaim space and your bank account. Not to mention, time is money, and the best kitchen gadgets shave more than veggie skins: they can shave hours off your prep & cleaning time.
Read on for the best kitchen gadgets.
Best for Soups: KitchenAid Variable-Speed Immersion Blender
Many jobs that require a blender can be tackled with an immersion blender just as easily as a bulky countertop one. The former is sleek, compact, and easier to clean, while the latter must constantly jockey with the knife block for the last bit of counter space and the last ounce of your cleaning energy. Bonus? No more batch pouring!
Best Multicooker: Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1 Cooker
One rarely gets to be both jack and master of all trades, and yet. Enter: the Instant Pot. Pressure cooker, rice cooker, and slow cooker as well as a steamer, yogurt maker, and popcorn popper all in one, this baby will save you space and win you accolades for your next risotto or movie night.
Best Knife Set: Wüstof Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set
Let’s cut to the chase: almost every meal begins with slicing and dicing, making a quality knife set one countertop staple worth the splurge. Precision-forged from sturdy, high-carbon German steel that resists rust and corrosion, Wüstof knives live up to their reputation. Wüstof’s Precision Edge Technology delivers a 20% sharper blade and doubles the edge retention: put simply, your blades stay sharper, longer. This set contains the essentials as well as a handsome hardwood block (available in natural, acacia, walnut, and black tones) for storage.
Best Grater: Microplane Premium Series Zester/Grater
No more bloody knuckles or chipped nails. No more lemon pith. No more vampire-deterring chunks of garlic. Only happy hands, fine zests, and fancy garnishes for cocktails.
Best Trend: Black + Decker 2 Liter Purify Air Fryer
Health nuts have created a clamor over the air fryer in recent months, and for good reason: they achieve the results of a deep fryer, but with little (or no!) oil. That means a delectable crisp with little added fat. Health advocates swear by them for crisp veggies and fried apples. As for us, well, we won’t judge if you use it for corn dogs and taquitos. We like this one from Black & Decker, with a 2-liter capacity that allows you to pop in a snack for yourself or create a meal for the whole family.
Best Splurge: Breville Smoking Gun
If you’ve ever wanted to moonlight as a mad-scientist, a badass bartender, or a Michelin star chef, the Breville smoking gun is your ticket. Wielding this hand-held machine, you can effortlessly add smoky flavors to both food and drink. It has a wood chamber on top into which you drop wood chips. Then you simply turn on the fan, ignite the chips, and point the tube towards your test subject (Chicken? Pineapple? Cheddar? Tequila?). Cover it, and voila: smoky goodness.
Most Surprising: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Pineapple Corer & Slicer
Call it hyperbole, but using this pineapple corer is the closest you’ll come to know what Michelangelo felt when he freed sculpted man from marble. This gadget simplifies an otherwise arduous task by coring the pineapple and slicing it as you go. What’s more, it leaves the shell intact, which for festive occasions—or heck, any old occasion—doubles as a serving bowl for fruit salad. (Cocktail umbrellas not included.)
Best for Small Spaces: Joseph Joseph Nesting Utensils
These nesting utensils from Joseph Joseph serve as an excellent alternative to a cluttered drawer or crowded utensil holder. With magnetic handles, these colorful utensils bind together, saving you precious prime real estate in a small kitchen. This dishwasher-safe set includes a solid and slotted spoon, a slotted spatula, a ladle, and a spaghetti server.
Best Sanity-Saver: Silicone Garlic Peeler
When it comes to garlic, we tend to follow our hearts rather than the recipe. That means lots and lots of garlic…which, less happily, also means lots of peeling. A silicone garlic peeler (a small, ribbed tube with a tapered edge) allows you to disrobe several cloves at once.
Best for Salads: OXO Salad Spinner
A soggy salad is a sad salad, but drying your greens via paper towel or athletic arm slinging is simply impractical. The salad spinner couldn’t make the task any easier. We love this one from OXO. It’s elegant enough for serving, sturdy enough to survive the dishwasher, and slip-proof enough for the clumsiest chefs.
Best Pocket-Gadget: Prepworks by Progressive Dough Press
It’s a universal truth that the most delicious foods come in breaded pockets: empanadas, ravioli, calzones, dumplings…But the name “hand pie” is critically misleading. Assembling them by hand—at least for this home chef—is a recipe for disaster. We prefer the aid of a dough press. These little doodads help you get the proportions just right, and they let you trade uneven, oozy edges for cute crimped ones.
Best for Preservation: Kitchen Basics Stackable Ice Cube Trays
Never again let another bundle of fresh herbs or another batch of broth go to waste. Many foods that you can’t consume in one go can be frozen with little to no sacrifice of flavor, and ice cube trays allow you to save these perishables in small portions. Less mess and easy transport! Oh, and be sure to preserve your herbs in oil—doing so cuts down on freezer burn and prep time: just toss a few cubes into the pot for flavor-infused stews, roasts, and soups.
Best Multipurpose: BIA Cordon Bleu Round Texture Souffle Dishes
Ah, the ramekin. Commonly overlooked as a mere vessel for condiments or au jus. But ramekins boast many uses. For one, you can bake with them and surprise your guests with adorable, individually portioned servings of soufflés, soups, mac and cheese, or classic desserts. They also delight as tabletop vessels for salt and pepper—just pop some tiny spoons in there and elevate your meal to classy restaurant status. Not to mention, you can use these versatile babes on the front-end of cooking as prep bowls and eliminate some redundancies in your kitchen cabinets.
Best for Food Storage: Pyrex Ultimate Glass Storage Set
Picture this: you reach in the fridge to retrieve your leftovers, grabbing a container that’s not stained orange from last week’s chili or chicken tikka masala. That’s just one benefit of switching to glass storage pieces. What other benefits are there, you ask? You can transfer hot food directly into glass containers. You can feel confident no harmful chemicals like BPA and PVC (phthalates) will leak into your food. You can take your leftovers directly from the freezer to the microwave without replating. You can actually see what’s inside. Need we say more?
When it comes to kitchen gadgets, an Instant Pot Duo or the Black + Decker 2 Liter Purify Air Fryer (for the health-conscious) are must-have machines that you'll use all the time. OXO's Pineapple Corer will add a fun twist to your food prep routine, and Prepworks by Progressive's Dough Press will add endless hours of fun to baking projects. And for the at-home mixologist or foodie, Breville's Smoking Gun is a splurge you won't want to pass up.
What to look for
Overall, it's better to invest in high-quality tools that can be used for multiple projects versus a multitude of individual gadgets. Think about a good set of knives that will last for years, a multicooker that will save time and make many types of dishes, or stacking utensils that help keep you organized.
What kitchen gadgets do I need?
Consider the types of food you like to cook, how much space you have, and your lifestyle. Do you need time-saving devices for busy mornings? Or are you a foodie couple that likes to experiment? Gadgets can add a lot of fun to cooking—but if space is a concern, know that you can achieve a lot with just a few key tools.
Why you should trust us
Jessica Joblin writes about decor and lifestyle for Brides. It wasn't until her mid-twenties that she learned you could do more with vegetables than steam them in a plastic bag. She's since come to love cooking and with it, kitchen gadgets. Given the choice of one inanimate object to save if her house were on fire, it'd have to be her set of Wustof knives.