It’s not too late to do some spring cleaning: the kitchen is a great place to start. Check out our list of useful kitchen gadgets and utensils you’ll wish you had sooner.
Listen, we’re not here to waste anyone’s time. We’re not going to pretend anyone needs a popcorn maker, an electric can opener, or a bagel slicer in their day-to-day life. While these items seem like fun, they take up way too much space and are total dust collectors. This is a list of kitchen gadgets that will actually make your life easier. Ready for a kitchen that would fill Martha Stewart with envy? Read on!
What Are Kitchen Gadgets?
Bringing it back to square one for a second, a “gadget” is commonly defined as a “small device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one.” Some of these kitchen gadgets border more on “mad scientist” than “world-class chef.”
We’re taking “kitchen gadgets” and interpreting as we see fit. Kitchen gadgets can be things that aren’t necessarily utensils or dinnerware, and they may not have a defined category to belong to, either. And that’s ok! We love them for what they are and how they make our life in the kitchen easier.
Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite useful kitchen gadgets that maybe you didn’t know you needed, but you’ll be more than happy to have.
Kitchen Gadgets You’ll Love
Here we go, useful things only.
Automatic Soap Dispenser:
An automatic soap dispenser helps not only your hands but all of your kitchen handles stay clean and germ-free. Soap dispensers prevent us from unintentionally moving any stickiness, ickiness, or other juices around our kitchen by providing touch-free soap in just a second. They’re not as expensive as one may think - starting around $25 - and are refillable, long-lasting, and hassle-free. A soap dispenser will also save you and the planet some extra soap by only dispensing the perfect required amount to get a thorough clean. (It’s just a bonus that soap dispensers are surprisingly fun to use and feel a little fancy, too.).
We’re putting a garlic press on this list because too many people think they can get away with a makeshift one, but they’re really just creating more work for themselves. Sure, we all know how to crush garlic using a knife, but an actual garlic press speeds up the process so much it just doesn’t make sense not to have one. It doesn’t need to be fancy - a $15 one will do just fine, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner. It gives you all the goodness of fresh garlic, without the hard work and sticky, garlic-smelling fingers.
Many people out there don’t know how an air fryer works - or how it works differently than an oven - so they don’t understand just how big of a game-changer it can be. Air fryers are essentially small ovens with the difference of having a highly concentrated heat source and fans that move the hot air around to circulate your food. The result is “crisp” and a nice “fried” finish without any actual frying. Imagine what an oven does to, let’s say, fries, but then with a quick broil on the entirety of the outer edges - pretty cool, right?
The market for air fryers has quite literally exploded (because they’re so great), and this means even more varieties for you to choose from; basket-style air fryers, air fryer ovens, air fryer toast ovens, and more.
A spoon rest is the easiest and most convenient way to keep countertops clean while cooking. How often do you dip a spoon or other utensil into the pot or pan before placing it back down on the counter, only to leave a little puddle or sticky spot behind? Probably pretty often. (It’s ok, us too.).
Whether you’re stirring coffee, mixing batter, or taste-testing soup, you’re going to need somewhere to place down that utensil afterward. Drips, drops, and stains will be a thing of the past with a simple yet oh-so-useful spoon rest. They may sound like a “grandma thing,” but there are literally hundreds on the market available in all the colors, designs, and patterns one’s heart could desire.
Mixing bowls make everything easier, and not just mixing. A set of bowls - usually conveniently coming in three varied sizes - will get used more often than you think for baking, cooking, meal-prepping, and storing. Popular materials for mixing bowls include stainless steel, glass, and silicone, and they have their respective pros and cons.
Stainless steel is common, but keep in mind that stainless steel is a great heat conductor, and the insides of the bowl may quickly become scratched when met with a whisk, spatula, or other utensils. Glass is a good choice because it allows you to see all of the ingredients and spot any patches that might not be getting thoroughly mixed or incorporated. Silicone is another great choice because it’s naturally non-stick, easy to clean, and microwave-friendly.
Silicone Cooking Utensils:
We love silicone kitchen utensils because they’re durable, tolerate high temperatures, are easy to clean, and are less prone to build-up bacteria. Silicone utensils won’t scratch your pots and pans the way stainless steel utensils might, and silicone also isn’t easily stained by food or odor. If you’re still not sold on silicon, it’s non-toxic, flexible, and dishwasher safe.
Oven Mitts are essential for every kitchen. No, folding your Tea Towels over a few times isn’t good enough. While makeshift Oven Mitts will work some of the time, it really isn’t worth the risk, especially when a big, delicious, fresh-out-of-the-oven lasagna is on the line (oh, and your fingers, too).
Investing in a quality pair of Oven Mitts is well worth your while. For everything you do in the kitchen, a little extra support never hurts anybody. Look for double-layer stain-resistant weave stitching in premium 100% cotton, so you know your new Oven Mitts are working as hard as you are.
This is more like an iPhone or iPad stand in today’s time, but you get the idea. Avoid sticky fingers on your cookbook, phone, or tablet by placing it upright on a stand, easy to see and at eye level. With all of the sizes, designs, and color variations available, it’s not a problem finding one that fits your kitchen style and your counter space.
We’re putting a peeler on the list for the same people that need a garlic press on this list. For everyone out there making-do with a knife as a peeler, please stop! You’re about an inch or centimeter away from a nasty cut and potential infection. Peelers make meal-prepping fast and easy and ensure your fingers stay safe and sound.
Spice wheels typically come in wheel or rack form and are an easy way to take your cooking and baking to the next - new and improved - level. Spice wheels will come with traditional spices such as basil, thyme, oregano, etc., and then some more niche spices like chili, coriander, and tarragon. As a bonus, most spice wheels come with some type of recipe book or tips and tricks for how to use them, which for cooking newbies among us, can be quite helpful.
Let’s Talk Cookware for a Second
A four-course meal is like an enchanting story. But what if that story was, in fact, a horror novel? Here’s the jump scare: the tools we use to prepare and cook may be leaching chemicals into our food.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE) is a synthetic chemical compound commonly used as a non-stick coating for cookware, like pots and pans. While it does a good job at preventing food from sticking to the pan and is easy to wash, growing research shows that after only two and a half minutes at high heat (500° Fahrenheit), cookware with this coating begins leaching its chemicals.
Unfortunately, chemicals like PTFE, PFOA, PFAs, and other heavy metals are found in upwards of 95% of non-stick pans. These chemicals belong to a family referred to as “forever chemicals,” which take decades to longer to leave the body, and they are never able to break down in the environment. Doesn’t sound like anything we want to be included in tonight’s mac and cheese, does it?
The good news is that there is a way to avoid these toxins, and it’s called ceramic non-stick. Ceramic is a non-toxic, mineral-based coating that won’t leach toxic materials into our clean and healthy ingredients. Its non-stick powers work just as well - we promise - and so much so that this cookware requires less oil or butter for cooking and less scrubbing when cleaning. Meet cookware as clean as your ingredients:
Our cookware is non-toxic and features a non-stick ceramic coating with an aluminum core and stainless steel handles. In addition, they come with organization units at no extra cost to keep your kitchen tidy and your pans sorted.
They’re also all stovetop agnostic and oven safe for temperatures up to 550° Fahrenheit. If this has helped you realize your old pots and pans need to be on their way out the door, the four pieces below are available as a Cookware Set or sold separately in five subtle yet playful colors; Cream, Navy, Sage, Gray, and Perracotta.
A Sauté Pan is kind of like a hybrid of a Fry Pan and a Sauce Pan, and yes, your kitchen needs one. It’s the most versatile cookware product on the market, perfect for every recipe, from searing meat to reducing a sauce with no risk of spillage. You won’t know how you used to function without one—seriously, they’re that good.
Your Sauté Pan will be your go-to choice for dinner parties, stir-fries, and more because its unique shape allows for liquid as well as solids with room to spare for tossing ingredients back and forth. Sauté Pans can help you cook large batches of food flawlessly for entertaining or keep your kitchen clean during a weekday chili lunch. Not only do Sauté Pans make cooking easier than ever, but they’re also an easy-to-clean, stylish addition to any home. If you have to choose one kitchen gadget to buy right now, a Sauté Pan is the way to go.
If we’re talking about all things “useful in the kitchen,” a Fry Pan is as useful as it gets. Fry Pans are flat-bottomed with bowl-shaped rims, perfect for eggs, flipping pancakes, and sautéing veggies.
Always choose a non-stick Fry Pan, because why work harder than you have to? Fry Pans are what every kitchen needs for us: late-night grilled cheeses’, mid-morning scrambled eggs, and everything in between.
Sauce Pans are circular with a smaller base, and higher sides than a Fry Pan and typically have a longer handle, too. Sauce Pans have many uses, such as boiling water, making sauces and soups, and braising foods.
You can do yourself a favor by choosing a Sauce Pan that is also oven-safe. Tired of doing a pan switch for the perfect mac and cheese for a broil? Us too. An oven-safe Sauce Pan solves that problem.
Dutch Ovens are practically another form of an instant pot, and we love them for it. A quality Dutch Oven pot makes meal-prepping and one-pot meals a breeze thanks to its size and design.
Dutch Ovens are heavy-bottomed and utilize a tightly fitting lid to trap moisture and heat and have higher sides than a Frying Pan or Sauce Pan, making it the go-to choice for anything that requires heavy searing followed by gentle, even cooking.
With your kitchen stocked full of gadgets like these, you’re ready to take on any recipe, task, and adventure.
Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) | FDA
A Recipe for Perfectly Fluffy Scrambled Eggs | The Spruce Eats
The Best Way to Clean Silicone Bakeware | Kitchn