I love to cook. Next to dog-training and blogging, it’s probably my number one hobby, which is a pretty convenient hobby to have, because it’s also essential to survive, haha. Although our kitchen is pathetically small (welcome to city-life), we’ve added a bunch of extra shelving, an island, and even a pot rack to make sure we can eek out every bit of space we can. I even did a post about getting maximum space out of small kitchens.
As a result of my passion and our space, I’ve curated quite the collection of kitchen tools and gadgets that make cooking not only easier but also more fun. After all, aren’t they kind of the same thing?
Here are the kitchen gadgets that I rely on every week to make delicious things. Not only are they worth it in terms of cost, but also in terms of space!
1. Stand-up Mixer
I know that this is a big investment, but if you at all like to bake, it’s so, so worth it. We no longer purchase pizza dough because it’s so easy to throw together in this thing (here’s my favorite thin crust recipe). It makes cookies in a snap and will forever make you rethink purchasing bread because it’s just so easy to make. This is a real game-changer… because, let’s be real, hand kneading dough is tough.
2. Immersion Blender
My parents gave me one of these for Christmas a few years ago, and I’m embarrassed to admit it took me 6 months before I really began putting it to use. Not only is it great for making creamy soups right in the pot (you’ll no longer purchase canned tomato soup again), what it really excels at is smoothies – yes, you can actually use frozen fruit!! No more messy cleanup where you need to wash the whole blender. Bonus, it makes beating fresh whip cream a breeze.
3. Food Processor
Chopping, pureeing, shredding – this thing is a multi-tasking beast that can simplify an amazing amount of tasks. I don’t know how I survived without one for so long, because now it seems like everything I make calls for it. Not only is it essential for Ru’s raw dog food, it makes baking pies, pureeing pesto, and a dozen other delicious recipes 10x easier. Best of all, you can get a great one for less than $50!
4. Thermal Coffee Maker
Reg and I drink coffee every morning, often two cups each. For years we would make a giant pot, pour ourselves each a cup, and by the time I was ready for round two an hour later, the coffee would be cold. Let me tell you, microwaved coffee tastes terrible. For Christmas last year, I picked out a thermal coffee maker as a gift from my mom, and now our coffee stays warm for hours and hours after we make it. We save so much money in beans alone, this is definitely a smart investment.
5. Rice Cooker
I don’t know why I fail so much at making rice in a pot, but inevitably it’s under-cooked or burnt. Since rice cookers are only about $20 and we make rice at least once or twice a week, this is a no-brainer purchase. Word on the street is that they can be used for a lot more than rice, but I haven’t put that to the test.
6. Dutch Oven
So, I don’t actually have a dutch oven yet, but I have a Le Creuset one coming in the mail right now (it’s a funny story I’ll have to share on the blog some time). Amazing for browning meat, caramelizing onions, and slow simmering stews, the enamel on the bottom of a good dutch oven will help perfectly dispense the heat and keep food from sticking. It’s not a cheap investment, but if you treat it well, it will last you for years.
7. Slow Cooker
If you’ve spent about 5 minutes looking through recipes on my blog, you’ll know that I rely on my slow cooker for everything. Like food processors and rice cookers, a good one will cost you less than $50, and you’ll definitely save money by purchasing cheap, tough cuts of meat and turning them into the most succulent thing you’ve ever eaten. It’s great for curries, soups, and even bacon jam. This is definitely my “desert island” kitchen tool.
What’s your favorite gadget in the kitchen?