My kitchen, like most people’s kitchen, is the heart of my home. Being the heart of my home means that I am in it doing a lot everyday. I create food, blog, homeschool, eat, talk with friends, pay bills, etc. all while in my kitchen. Like I said, it truly is the heart of my home. Kitchen gadgets are extremely important to my success in the kitchen. They make my time spent in the kitchen easier, allowing me to be more productive in other areas in my life.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “What are my MUST have kitchen gadgets. You know the ones I can NOT go without?” I decided to do what I LOVE to do and blog it.
When trying out new gadgets, I always start with an inexpensive version to see how often I will use it and if it is actually needed. When we remodeled our kitchen, I had to REALLY pair down on my gadgets. If I find that I do LOVE it and use it regularly, I will then begin to research and upgrade that gadget to the one that I feel can truly handle my demands with no issues. Sometimes, I find that a basic no frills or antique gadget is my go to rather than a new and updated model. It just depends.
My MUST Have Kitchen Gadgets
I own 3 actually. Each serve a different purpose / function in my kitchen.
- Hand held mixer
- Immersion stick mixer
- Stand mixer.
My hand held mixer is primarily used for mashed potatoes. It leaves them lumpy which is a MUST in my home. Smooth mashed potatoes will get you exiled from my home. My family will NEVER let you live it down. Ask my Mom In Law about smooth mashed potatoes……she learned the lesson well a long time ago. LOL.
My immersion mixer we use primarily for scrambling eggs. What can I say, it is awesome for QUICK and simple jobs.
After going through about 5-6 stand mixers in about 3 years, I came to conclusion that I needed to find a quality mixer that could handle 11-16 cups of flour at once and not laugh at me or die while in the process of trying to fulfill my creativity. And yes, I have recipes that call for that much flour! Other models with smaller motors have a tendency to rock back and forth or to walk off of counters when trying to mix that much flour. Also their motors can not handle constant use and are known to burn out or to break as the new motors have plastic pieces instead of the metal pieces that are in your grandma’s stand mixer you have on your countertop right now. The KitchenAid Pro series won my heart and I have yet to find anything it can not handle.
I have burnt out 5 of these babies within the last 4 years. They can not keep up with me. I dehydrate everything from fresh herbs, veggies, fruits, and homemade crackers just to name a few. My Excalibur is my newest upgrade. It is doing an awesome job keeping up with me so far.
Like the mixers and food dehydrators, I have gone through countless versions of these too. I have burned out the motors chopping, shredding and whipping veggies, cheeses, butter, frozen ice creams, whipped toppings, dips, bread crumbs and more. Again, KitchenAid won my heart on this one. Although it is a few years old, mine can handle all that I throw at it and yet continues to asks me for more. I am hoping to replace the bowl, blades, etc this year as mine are showing the wear pretty hard right now.
With my family, you never know what I will be asked to make food wise. I wanted / needed something that could handle fresh or frozen fruit, veggies, etc and blend them to a smooth consistency in an instant. I went through several models before settling on my Blendtec. It has been by my side for several years pureeing and blending all that I ask of it.
Stainless Steel Prep Bowls
I discovered stainless steel prep bowls a couple of years ago at a flea market. I fell in LOVE after the first use. They do not scratch, bend, melt, or hold odors (try storing onions or garlic in a plastic prep bowl and see how amazing it smells afterward). They are so much easier to clean. No greasy plastic when I used oil in them. I can also cook directly with mine on my induction top or bake with them in the oven. I can also use them to cool something at a quicker rate in the fridge. Talk about added bonuses!!!
I have several of these inexpensive magical spatulas / scrapers. They scrape everything out of my bowls and skillets, hold up to the heat, and stir thick gooey things with ease. I LOVE these things!
I use my whisks almost daily. I have both silicone and stainless steel whisks. They help me create everything from syrups and bath / body scrubs and everything in between.
I use scissors all the time in the kitchen to cut open packages, cut labels for jars, homeschooling stuff, etc. In my house, I got tired of never being able to find them, so they get their own little bucket on the wall when I redid my kitchen. It is great to see people’s faces when they notice all the scissors in the bucket.
Hand Held Grater
When you stop buying shredded cheese you need something to grate the smaller amounts of cheese with. I am not about to pull out my food processor for a small amount of cheese. Hand held graters make quick work of it with only one thing to wash.
Coffee Grinder / Mortar and Pestle
One of my favorite things to use in my cooking is freshly ground herbs. If I am using something dried like peppercorns, salt, or dried garlic, I will often use my coffee grinder to grind them into the perfect sized granules to compliment my dish. If it is fresh and not dried, my mortar and pestle get to come out to play.
Glass Measuring Cups (2, 4, 6, 8 Cup)
OK, for years I owned the cheap plastic kinds of measuring cups. They were often misshapen from having HOT things poured into them or placed too close to something on the stove top. They were pitted from whisks, forks, and from being scraped with knives and spatulas. They were scorched and pitted from having gone through my dishwasher in the hot cycle. Hand washing them often left them with a greasy film. The often printed lettering that is so common on them would be worn off from all the abuse they took. I finally decided to upgrade to Pyrex glass measuring cups when a cooking store in my area was going out of business and had them on clearance. Yea, I will NEVER go back to plastic. I can use these in my pots and pans as a double boiler, place them in the microwave, pour hot liquids in them and use a spatula and NOT worry about them pitting, distorting, or melting. I have NO idea what took me so long to make the switch but I am so glad I did!
Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons (1 Cup and Smaller)
Just like the measuring bowls , my measuring cups and spoons often met the same fate as them. Handles on the 1 cup measuring cups broke after only a couple of uses as a result of scooping of flour, Epsom salt, sugars, etc. Making the switch to stainless steel has been awesome. Dishwasher safe, never misshapen, never melted, and NO handles have yet to broken on them.
Freezer Safe Mason Jars
We buy Ball freezer safe mason jars. They are used for leftovers, food storage, lunches, freezing foods, and for drinking. They replaced our Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and other plastic type containers. It has saved me a lot of space and frustration as the jars are multipurpose and all fit in one location on my shelves instead of several locations spread out like in most kitchens. They all use the same size lids, can go from fridge to freezer and back to the fridge with no issues.
Glass Storage Containers
These are one of my newest finds. I know that they have been around forever and are extremely popular in MANY households, I just did not use them in my kitchen until this past December. I used to use Snapware all the time. It was great until I was left with a bunch of the containers and no lids because they broke. This year on Black Friday, Hubby and I were at a big boxed store and came across a Pyrex set with simple lids on sale. I bought 2 sets. I could seriously kick myself in the ass for not buying a 3rd or even a 4th set. I LOVE these things!
I was given an antique wooden rolling pin not long ago for Christmas. Honestly, until I got this particular rolling pin, I never really used one. I even owned 2 of them believe it or not. My kids used the rolling pins for their homemade play dough. I personally used one maybe once a year if I was lucky. All of a sudden, with my new antique rolling pin, I find myself using it at least once a week. It is like it has awakened something in me. Maybe my Hubby’s MeMe is channeling me through it. All I know is that I am using it for pizza crusts, granola bars, cookies, wraps, and so much more! How did I NEVER use one of these before now???
I have a LOT of knives in my kitchen. On any given day, I will have a minimum of 5-6 waiting to be hand washed. None of my knives are exactly what most would consider high quality knives. I did this on purpose as I am still learning how to properly care for them. I find that I dull them very quickly. I know that I really put them through a lot of cutting, mincing, and slicing on a daily basis. As I learn more about them, I will upgrade them with more expensive knives.
This is something we use almost daily here. We originally had a VERY cheap model. It has only ever received a 1 star on ANY review I have ever seen on it. Needless to say, we got rid of ours pretty quickly. My Mom bought me an antique one that you do manually. It has worked for us for several years. However, it is finally on it’s last leg after juicing COUNTLESS oranges, lemons, limes, etc. After a lot of research, we are purchasing a Breville Juice Fountain Duo.
I have learned that many kitchen gadgets are worth what you pay for them. Does that mean that buying cheap is a bad thing? Not at all! Especially if you are not going to use it often or are trying it out to see how often you will use it. I also think it is a great way to see what you like and what you do not like about certain gadgets. Maybe you want more shredding options on your next food processor. You may want a dehydrator that takes less time than that one that you are using and has more trays. Buying cheap helps to learn all this. As you upgrade you can get more of what you want as $$ allows. Just know that many appliances are now made with plastic parts. Why does this matter? It may not matter at all to some. But to others like me, it explained why many of the cheaper gadgets did not stand up to moderate daily use for very long. Companies are using plastic parts for several reasons. One is cost. Plastic is cheaper than metal. The other reason is that a shorter shelf life means a higher profit for the company. What do you when something dies? You usually replace it. Replacing means more repeat business. Especially if you like the company.
There you have it…. My must have kitchen gadgets.
What is on your must have kitchen gadget list?
I am not affiliated with nor did I receive any form of compensation from any of the companies I have listed in this post. I just happen to think their products are amazing enough to share with you all.