Often times, home cooks ignore gimmicky kitchen products like individual grape peelers and bespoke toothpicks, instead opting for things they’ll actually use, like a knife set or durable pots and pans. That said, there’s a wide range of less commonly owned kitchen appliances that do have practical, everyday uses.
Whether you’re a master chef or an amateur cook, the coolest kitchen appliances help you spice things up and get things done. Here are ten kitchen appliances that probably aren't in your kitchen (but should be).
1. Stand mixer
If you love baking, a stand mixer can be a game changer. These standalone mixing machines quickly combine all the ingredients you need, with no manual mixing or whisking required. Plus, many stand mixers come with optional attachments like pasta makers and food grinders. They can be a little pricey and they do take up some counter space, but they save a lot of time.
2. Toaster oven
Sure, toaster ovens can make toast, but they also do a lot more. They’re smaller than a conventional oven, but they can be used to toast sandwiches, make paninis and cook a virtually endless variety of entrees and desserts. Plus, they’re much more energy efficient and easier to clean than traditional ovens.
3. Electric can opener
An electric can opener may sound like an extravagance compared to manual can openers, which are cheap and easy to use. But if you’re regularly replacing busted can openers, an electric one will quickly pay for itself. And if you have arthritis or joint pain in your hands, electric can openers can save you a lot of discomfort.
4. Electric knife sharpener
A sharp knife is one of the most important kitchen tools a chef can have. Sharp knives require less force to cleanly cut food and are less likely to slip or make uneven cuts. If you don't want to sharpen your knives by hand, which can be dangerous, electric knife sharpeners make it easy. You simply turn them on and run your blade through the appropriate slots and voila — it's like you have a new knife.
5. Kitchen scale
If you’re constantly running out of measuring cups in your quest for precise food measurements, consider a digital kitchen scale. They can accurately weigh your ingredients as you follow recipes, they’re extremely accurate and can easily convert between the metric and imperial system.
6. Pressure cooker
Pressure cookers have been around for years, but have recently shot up in popularity thanks to the Instant Pot. Using an airtight seal and steam pressure, these cookers produce fantastic meals in a fraction of the time it would take to cook using a crockpot, oven or other conventional method. If you have a friend with a pressure cooker, ask them for a demo - it might just sell you.
Once you have one, be sure to check out this 45-cent meal that is both delicious and nutritious.
7. Waffle maker
If you love waffles and pancakes but find it easier to just make the ones frozen ones from a box, a waffle maker could be a game changer. You simply mix the batter then pour it into the heated grates, making perfectly shaped, golden waffles or pancakes every time. Cleanup is easy, as the grates can be popped out and thrown in the dishwasher.
8. Food processor
Food processors are versatile. They can be used to blend, mix and chop all kinds of food, but the real appeal is the labor saved. Chopping vegetables, for example, can be a thing of the past with a food processor.
9. Baby food maker
For all those parents out there who make their baby's food by hand, this is a game changer. After all, you’re probably sick of steaming, chopping, blending and mashing in between all the other things you have going on. Baby food makers automate all that work, leaving you with pureed baby food. Many of them come with their own sealable containers, and can even dispense perfect portions automatically. Just pop the containers in the fridge when you’re done. Not only will this one make your life easier, but it's a smart way to save when you have a newborn.
10. Mini wine fridge
Mini wine fridges are a perfect kitchen addition for wine aficionados. Without taking up too much space, they can fit anywhere from six to a few dozen bottles. You can customize the temperature of the fridge, and you’ll no longer have to leave bottles at room temperature or keep them at the same temperature as the food in your fridge. Plus, selecting a bottle for your guests will make you look like a true connoisseur.
Now that you have all the tools to make dream-worthy meals, make sure your food quality is on point to match. Use this guide on how to save money on healthy groceries without couponing or store hopping.