Every cook loves kitchen gadgets. Hey, that’s part of what makes cooking fun. These are the top kitchen gadgets I own – the essential tools and utensils I can’t live without.
From a microplane grater to a garlic peeler, to an Oxo can opener, these gadgets make cooking much easier and faster.
Most of these are under $20. And, since they’re pretty cheap, you don’t have to feel guilty about treating yourself. They’d also make great gifts for your favorite cook.
Plus, I’ve added some helpful tips to give you more inspiration on how to use them.
Zak Garlic Peeler
If you’ve ever struggled trying to laboriously peel the skin off a clove of garlic, you know what a pain it is. It’s thin, it’s crinkly, and removing it is really hard.
Well, those days are done. Put a clove of garlic inside the tube, roll it around on your counter, and voila! It’s so easy, you may find that you just can’t stop using it. Just be mindful of the neighbors and your friends after you eat all that garlic!
The microplane started its life in woodworking, as a rasp, and moved over to food. You can do lots of things with it. Use it to shave chocolate over a hot cup of cocoa or a freshly-baked cake. It’s also handy for grating hard cheese easily or zesting lemons. It also grates ginger (which is really hard to cut or chop with a knife).
The only tricky part for me is cleaning it (but that’s because I don’t have a dishwasher). It is dishwasher safe, so you can just toss it in and not worry about it.
One thing about this zester, is that it is very, very sharp! Be careful when you use it, and make sure to keep it in the holder so you don’t scrape your hands when you pull it out of a drawer or gadget holder.
These are great for tossing pasta, grilling fish, or transferring cutlets from egg to bread crumbs. The locking mechanism keeps them from getting stuck to other gadgets in your kitchen drawer. Like all Oxo products, they’re ergonomically designed so they’re easy to hold. I have the 12″ model, which is probably the best size for kitchen use. However, the longer ones (16″) would probably work well for a barbecue (when you need to be further away from the source of heat).
I love this potato peeler! My old peeler wasn’t very sharp and it hurt my hand. The good grips peeler really lives up to its name. It’s much easier to hold, my hand doesn’t hurt, and I could peel a whole peck of potatoes with this one and not mind.
And it doesn’t just stop with potatoes. It even peels butternut squash easily. I bought one and peeled it in seconds (without straining or hurting myself)! Wow!
There are several Oxo can openers, but this one is the best— and has high ratings on Amazon too. It cuts through cans like a knife through soft butter! You can hardly tell the can is there.
It’s also really easy on your hands (my old metal can opener used to dig into my palms). And, it looks sleek and shiny sitting on my counter in my gadget holder.
Lots of soup recipes call for you to make the soup, puree it in small batches, and then return it to the pot. You have to get the big blender out, pour small amounts of soup in, puree it, then get another pot to put it in, and keep repeating over and over. You end up with 2 dirty pots and a dirty blender to clean.
With the immersion blender, you just prepare your soup, turn off the heat, stick the hand blender into the pot and whir away. It’s the best immersion blender I’ve tried. And, it snaps apart when you push a button, so you can just wash the shaft with the blade, and put the motor half to the side (where it won’t get wet).
Soup Cooking Tip
With this blender, you don’t have to bother pureeing soup in batches in your regular blender.
Just take the pot off the heat, stick the blender right in the pot, and whirr away. It’s a lot faster and easier to clean.
Drinking wine with dinner is great, but when you’re one person, there’s always some left over. I used to stick it in the fridge, and then forget it was there. Two or three days later, I’d end up with a half bottle of really expensive vinegar. Not good.
My mom gave me a wine saver as a gift for the holidays one year and it’s great. All you have to do is pop on a stopper and vacuum the air out of the bottle with the little pump. The wine will stay fresh for nearly two weeks: no waste, and no vinegar.
This little gadget is great for mincing and chopping, without having to haul out (or clean) your big food processor. Use it to chop onions, bread crumbs, grind nuts, and mince fresh herbs. It’s easier to clean than a blender, and comes with a mini spatula to scrape down the sides.
Since it’s so small, you can keep it out on your kitchen counter, where it’s handy, rather than having to drag it down out of a cupboard.
Lots of recipes call for adding spices, such as bay leaves or cloves, in cheesecloth so they can be removed later.
I’ve never seen cheesecloth in a store, and since I have a small kitchen, I don’t want to keep it around if I do find it. So, I use the tea ball instead. Rather than fishing out the bay leaves, cloves, or the peppercorns one by one (my dad does this!), I put them in the tea ball.
This way the flavor spreads into the soup, without making a mess. Pull the tea ball out with a spoon when you’re done. Pretty simple.
I’ve got about 30 (maybe more) kitchen gadgets (trimming this page down to just a few top gadgets was hard!). My old gadget holder was looking pretty grim. So, I decided to treat myself to this sleek new one from Oxo.
It’s got three sections, so I can sort everything by type – spoons in one section, spatulas in the second, and everything else in the third. I wasn’t quite sure it would hold all my gadgets – but it does. It’s got an elliptical shape, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space (another plus, as space in my kitchen is at a premium).
What are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets? And do you have any unconventional ways to use them?