We know that cooking and eating at home is a great way to be healthy and spend quality time with those that we love. And most of us know that we need the kitchen basics to get this done: knives, a cutting board, a pot to boil water in, etc. But what else? Are there other things that can make our lives easier in the kitchen? And help us get better results? Most definitely!
However, It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you walk into a kitchen store. They have thousands of gadgets, and if you ask the person who works there, they’ll explain how you need every single one. Musical cake slicer? Yep, you definitely need that. A mustache-shaped cookie cutter? So hip right now. After years of trial and error (lots and lots of error), I’ve narrowed it down to the 10 kitchen gadgets I can’t live without.
1. Instant Pot.
I’ve already done an entire post dedicated to my love affair with the Instant Pot, so I won’t talk your ear off about it here, other than to say that this is what your kitchen has been missing. Get one. Trust me.
2. Citrus Squeezer.
I admit, I was late to the citrus squeezer party (that sounds like an awesome party, by the way, I assume there would be lots of margaritas). I always saw these in kitchen stores and thought it was so silly that people would pay money for something that was so easy to do yourself. *Cut lemon. Squeeze.* Well, turns out my condescension cost me years without this gem, so the joke’s on me. Ever since I got one, I seriously get at least twice as much juice out of every lemon or lime I squeeze. Plus, you don’t realize how annoying it is to pick lemon seeds out of everything until you don’t have to do it anymore.
The microplane is of course perfect for zesting any kind of citrus, but it has some lesser known uses too. I always use it to finely grate ginger and garlic, it’s super easy and you end up with a way finer result than you’d get with a knife. You can also use it for shaving chocolate on top of a dessert, or nutmeg on top of a drink, which makes it look super fancy (though the chocolate usually just goes straight into my mouth if I'm being honest).
4. Kitchen Scale.
This one is easy. Turns out weighing ingredients is a million times more accurate than measuring them. If you’re whipping up some kind of stir fry, it’s no big deal to just eyeball ingredients. But if you’re doing any kind of baking or cooking where precise measurements are important, a kitchen scale is a must. Plus they take up almost no space. This one is a must-have for me.
Want to talk about a game changer? Zucchini noodles are a game changer. Are you ever going to bite into them and mistake them for regular noodles? Definitely not. Do they scratch the pasta itch? Yep. I love spiralizing any vegetable I can get my hands on - zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, daikon, the list goes on. And honestly, they almost always turn out to be delicious. This is such a cool way to eat a bunch of vegetables in a new and interesting way.
6. Cast Iron Pan.
Everyone should have at least one cast iron pan. They come in a bunch of shapes and sizes, and range from “really affordable” to “I can never send my kids to college after buying this”. They are perfect for cooking restaurant-quality dishes because they get super hot and stay hot so you can get an amazing sear on a steak or the crispiest hash browns you’ve ever tasted. They’re also really durable and can be used anywhere from an oven to over a campfire.
7. The Ringer.
Definitely don’t get a cast iron pan without also getting a chainmail cleaner for it. All you do is put a little warm water in your pan, swirl the chainmail around, and it’ll pick up all the weird crusty bits without damaging the finish. Gone are the days of crying into a sink of dishes. Note: Don’t use this on stainless steel or enameled pans or it can damage them (learned this one the hard way, ugh).
8. Scrub Daddy.
Speaking of life-changing, I seriously don’t know how I did dishes before getting the Scrub Daddy. It somehow gets everything off of every dish every time, but it also changes texture depending on the water temp (it will get soft under hot water or hard under cool water for things that are harder to clean). This isn't a sleek, sexy gadget, but it makes me dread doing the dishes less, and that's definitely worth the money for me.
This thing has saved me enough foil and parchment paper to wrap around the Earth 13 times. It’s a heat-resistant, silicone mat that you place on a baking sheet instead of foil or parchment and it turns basically anything you put it on into a non-stick surface. You can use it hundreds of times, put it in the dishwasher, the oven, or the freezer, and nothing will stick. It’s magic and I don’t even want to know how it works.
This one may come as a bit of a surprise. Nutribullet, really? But what about the Vitamix? I know, I know, but hear me out. I have a Vitamix and I love it (probably in an unhealthy way). I also have a food processor and I love that too. But they both take up a lot of room and they’re pretty specialized. The Nutribullet, however, is the utility player of blenders. It’s incredibly powerful, so you could basically chop gravel if you needed to, but it’s also really small and barely takes up any counter space. I’ve found it to be the most versatile - I can whip up a smoothie in no time flat, but it's also easy to get creative with things like pesto or nut butter. If I had to just choose one blender/chopper device, this would be it.