I’m a little bit of a kitchen gadget junkie, but I only have kitchen gadgets I actually use. Here’s my 25 kitchen gadgets that I use and am certain will change your life!
- Egg Timer. You never have to pay attention when you make hard boiled eggs again. Toss the eggs and egg timer in the pan, add some cold water and heat on the stove. Next time you check, the egg timer tells you if they are done or not. Then gently drain the water, add ice cubes and cold water and let cool.
- Apple Slicer: This is the best apple slicer on the planet! Whenever I need to slice apples, to eat for a snack, for my apple pie, I always use this slicer. Plus, I toss it into the top rack of my dish washer!
- Portion Scoops: These handy dandy utensils will take your baking to a whole new level. Use the small (1 tablespoon) scoop for scooping cookie dough, the medium (2 tablespoon scoop) for mini muffins and small whoopie pies and the large (3 tablespoon) scoop for cupcake batter. You’ll take the guess work out of everything AND the batter and dough falls out of the scoop so easily! And yes, you need ALL THREE of these! You can thank me later!
- A Good Set of Pots & Pans: Revere is my preferred brand of pots and pans to use for my everyday cooking. They are the pans my mom used and the pans her mom used. They have a copper bottom and are stainless steel. I do put them into the dish washer and I don’t bother to clean the copper because I’m lazy, but my mom always did, in fact, I’d help her! Get a decent set of pans and take care of them and you’ll be happy you did! Nothing about my pans is fancy, I have three saucepans,and one has a steamer basket insert, a small stockpot and I have two fry pans, a large and small. That’s it. That’s all I need.
- Parchment Paper: If you would have told me 5 years ago to use parchment paper, I would have disagreed. I never liked buying paper you use once and toss! I always felt like parchment paper was too expensive and there wasn’t enough on the roll, I felt like I was buying more every-other-week! The trick is to buy a bigger roll and you’d be surprised how long it lasts when you only need 2, 10″ pieces for baking cookies. Plus, it makes clean up so much easier!
- Food Processor. An inexpensive food processor is a must for any busy kitchen. I asked for one for Christmas when I was pregnant with my first child so I could make baby food – and I did just that with it. And only that for a long time. And then I realized I can do a gazillion more things with this appliance — crush oreos, make pie crusts in 60 seconds and
- Nut Grinder. This is one of those gadgets you think you won’t use, and then when you have it, you’ll love it. My favorite part of this nut grinder is that my kids love to use it and it show the measurement in cups as to how much you are grinding. It saves you from dumping the nuts into a separate bowl to measure. I buy a lot of whole pecans and walnuts to put on my salads and use this nut grinder to grind them.
- Pan Scraper. I use this more for cutting brownies than scraping pans. It’s true. This is THE BEST brownie slicer in the world! You just press into the pan. Pull it out, and press it again. I know, I know, it seems like it will take a very long time to cut a pan of brownies, but believe me, it’s super fast and easy. The best part is that nothing sticks to the pan scraper. So you don’t have that crazy build up of brownie crumbs at the top of your pieces. They stay nice and beautiful. Oh and you can certainly use it to scrape pans, it works great for that, too!
- Egg Separator. You know there’s a way to separate the yolk and the white of a raw egg by cracking the shell and then gently and carefully pouring the egg into one side of the shell and then the other until all that remains is the yolk? Yeah, me, too, but it’s super hard to not break the yolk! So this egg separator will be your life saver. I love that it’s extra big and can hook onto the side of your bowl.
- Piping Bags. Just like parchment paper, I didn’t think I actually needed to wast money on pastry or piping bags because I could do the exact same with a zip lock sandwich bag. Well, I learned the very hard way that’s not the case. The sandwich bags are made of a much thinner plastic and usually burst at the seams. That’s when I began to buy piping bags from the store. I think they came in a package of 6. After blowing through those very quickly I went to a cake decorating store where the ladies told me I needed the 18″ pastry bag and not the 12″ that I was buying at the store. Those bags were 80 cents each so I grabbed 10 and then I found I could get 100, 18″ piping bags for $14 on amazon! That’s the route I went. And I’ve had that roll of 100 for at least two years, and there’s still plenty left.Plus, once you start using piping bags to frost cupcakes, you’ll never turn back to the frosting spreader method again!
- Cupcake Liners. A gazillion years ago, I also picked up some cupcake liners from a cake decorating store. And I absolutely fell in love with them! I went back and bought a package of 50 dark brown liners. Yes, they have lasted for a long time and I’ve since gone thru them, but they held up so well and kept their color after baking and I love them! They almost have a wax-like coating on them so they are shiny and perfect for making cupcakes.
- A Good Sharp Knife. If you’ve ever used a dull knife, you know they are horrible and actually more dangerous than a very sharp one. You’re more likely to cut yourself with a sharp knife. My favorite everyday knife is this one and I use it the most.
- A Good Knife Set. You don’t need a gigantic set of sharp knives because in the end, you’ll use the same three knives for everything. While I use the paring knife above for the majority of my cooking, I use the other one when one is dirty. I also use the medium size knife in this set to cut dessert bars and the giant knife I most frequently use to cut watermelon in the summer.
- Knife Steel. Keep your knives sharp. If you do not feel comfortable using a steel to keep an edge on your knives, you need to find a local place to sharpen them and make sure you do it regularly. This steel will not sharpen your knives, but help to keep them sharp. You’ll still need to have your knives sharpened. A sharp knife works so much better than a dull one. How can you tell if your knife is sharp? Cut a tomato, if you cannot easily slide your knife into the skin, it’s dull. If you’re pressing down when cutting rather than gliding your knife across produce, it’s dull.
- Knife Storage. To protect your knife investment, because that IS what they are, an investment, make sure you store them in a knife block. I love this knife block because it holds any knife, any shape or size and the inserts are removable so they can be washed. I am not a big fan of cluttering my counter top with anything, but having my knives easily accessible is a must when I’m in the kitchen. Grab and go!
- Stoneware: I’m a teeny-tiny bit obsessed with Pampered Chef Stoneware. I have a loaf pan, 9×13 baking pan, oval casserole dish, square baking pan, round casserole dish and pizza stone. I use the 9×13 pan the most, usually for brownies, but it works great for a make ahead french toast bake or . I use my pizza stone religiously to heat up leftover pizza, to make pizza or keep rolls hot. It’s best to buy these from a Pampered Chef consultant so you get a warranty (and yes, I’ve had stones break) and make sure you follow the directions to “season” your pans, because if you don’t you’ll hate them.
- A Variety of Glass Bowls: I love glass. I love storing all of my food in glass containers. I love that if necessary I can toss them into the microwave and don’t have to worry about my husband burning the plastic storage containers. If I could, I’d put all of my kids food in glass containers and send them to school on their way. Pyrex is my go-to brand for glass bowls. I like to have a storage set and a mixing set and recommend one of each. Plus, these bowls have lids! So you can take that big batch of salad to your next pot luck!
- Removable Bottom Cake Pans. A gazillion years ago I inherited these cake pans and I never liked them. They have a removable bottom, aka are in two parts, and I felt like they were a pain to use. After going through a few nonstick baking pans, which I loathe, I started using these and fell in love with them. They make baking SO MUCH EASIER! Removing a cake from a pan means you just drop the sides and slide a knife between the cake and the pan. Plus, if you are making a layer cake, you can keep the pan on the bottom, so if you can easily cut the cake without destroying the platter or container you’re carrying it in.
- Good Baking Sheets: I’m not a huge fan of dark baking pans, but I do own them. I also own two sizes of baking pans. One is my “jelly roll” pan or the standard cookie sheet and the other 2 are my commercial size baking pans. I use those the most and they fit the width of my parchment paper very well. Use what you want, but if you are having issues with items burning, remember to turn your oven down about 25 degrees if you are using dark pans.
- Corn Butterer. If you love corn on the cob like I do and eat it at least once a week in the summer, you need this corn butterer.It holds half a stick of butter and will evenly coat your cob to perfection. Store in the fridge, and when corn on the cob eating season is over, toss the butter and wash the gadget.
- Slicer. I’m pretty sure my mom got this from a box of kitchen utensils on the side of the road when I was in college. And it sat in my college apartment kitchen and moved with me into my house where it sat for a few more years until one day I decided to use it. And it’s forever changed my life. I use this mainly to slice eggs for egg salad sandwiches (slice the egg, turn it 90 degrees and slice again) but also use it to slice eggs for salads, mushrooms for pizza and strawberries for waffles. It creates a nice even cut and works very well on soft produce.
- Cutting Board. You need to decide if you want to use plastic or wood as your cutting tool. I actually use both. I find myself using the plastic more for meats because I can toss the entire board into the dish washer. My wood boards are for fruits and vegetables and cutting baked goods. The size I prefer is around the same size as a sheet of paper, 9×12 or 8×10. It’s not too big, but not too small.
- Cheese Grater. Now if you buy a lot of chunk cheese and grate it yourself, this is my favorite cheese grater. The container hooks onto the bottom of the grater and the cheese falls into the container AND it has marks so you know how many cups you’ve grated.
- Wood Spoons. If you’re like me and have a gas range, it can get hot, so since I’m not a huge fan of plastic (the husband always melts it) I go with wood spoons. These spoons are great because they double as measuring spoons!
- A Peeler. You need a peeler. It’s an essential for making mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and Christmas and perfect for peeling carrots for your favorite chicken and dumpling recipe!
- Crock Pot. Not all slow cookers are created equal. I have three of them. And before that I had four. Yes, four. But my favorite is this simple slow cooker. I love that it has a timer, but it’s not super complex. It keeps my foods warm for hours after it cooks — my previous slow cooker had one knob and was VERY hot, my foods cooked very fast. It’s a larger 6 quart for those big batches of soups.
There are a handful of gadgets you think you need in your life, but you probably do not as long as you have a few of these items. There are always ways around using things like a mango cutter, pineapple corer, lemon zester, garlic peeler, garlic mincer, and if you aren’t sure, just search youtube or google for lots of ways to do this! So avoid these items because all they do is take up space in your life. My rule of thumb is this: If I don’t use it at least twice a year, I should get rid of it because I don’t need it. And yes, when I re-organize my chaotic kitchen drawers, I go through all of my gadgets and assess their necessity! I’m weird like that.
I know exactly what is going to happen if you get a new kitchen gadget. You’ll use it once and then it will sit in a drawer and you won’t use it again. Then one day, you’ll dig it out and try it for something and eventually it will click that you have these amazing gadgets to make your life so much easier! And before you know it, you’ll be like me, freaking out when you cannot find one of them because your husband or kids unloaded the dish washer and put it in the wrong drawer!
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