In the kitchen, little details can make a huge difference. We sorted through the hundreds of kitchen gadgets, knick knacks, and quirky utensils available to find the absolute top ten most useful. We focused on items that have the broadest functionality for a wide range of home cooks, selecting the must-have items that make it easier and faster to cook healthy, fresh meals.
2-in-1 Julienner & Vegetable Peeler
Two-in-one julienne/peelers have two different stainless steel blades, one for peeling and slicing, and one that cuts vegetables into matchstick-thin strips. The nice thing about them is that they don’t take up any more space than a regular peeler, but rival the julienning capacity of a mandoline.
These multi-functional peelers are a super handy item to have in your kitchen, useful not just for peeling fruits and vegetables, but also for making thin slices for potato and apple chips, cutting zucchini, carrots, or cucumber into ‘zoodles,’ and making decorative garnishes. Check out this model from Deiss, or this model from Precision Kitchenware. This one from Vremi has a third serrated blade.
Microplane graters are the best for finely grating garlic, ginger, citrus zest, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, and more. You can even use them to garnish a dessert with chocolate dust! Microplane graters make it easier to use fresher ingredients in your cooking: instead of buying minced garlic in a jar, just run a few cloves over the grater and you have perfectly minced garlic in seconds. Instead of buying an expensive and unnecessarily large jar of ground nutmeg that will slowly go stale in your cupboard, buy one whole nutmeg and grate a little bit each time you need some with the microplane. In addition, they are smaller than box graters and much easier to clean! Di Oro Living, Deiss, Adept Chef, and Raniaco sell highly-rated models.
Easy to use, easy to clean, super effective for scraping the last bit of batter from bowls, and available in lots of fun colors, silicone spatulas are a kitchen essential. Silicone is heat-proof up to about 600F and dishwasher safe. Look for one piece construction, since food and bacteria can get trapped in the small gaps between the blade and the handle. You can find highly rated spatula sets from UpGood, di Oro Living, Star Pack Home, and others.
Refillable Oil Mister
Use it for spraining olive oil on salads or popcorn, spraying baking sheets, and more! It’s healthier and much more environmentally friendly than buying aerosol cans. Get the top rated model from The Fine Life here.
Hands-Free Ziplock Bag Holder
Ziplock fridge and freezer bags are a handy way to store leftover food, but if you’ve ever tried to pour tomato sauce or even cut up fruit into one, you’ll know how awkward it can be. Enter the hands-free ziplock bag holder. This simple mechanism holds the bag upright and open while you pour in liquids or drop in handfuls of chopped veggies. It’s an inexpensive device that will make food storage that much easier. Available here.
Silicone Baking Mat
Silicone baking mats make baking prep and clean-up simpler than ever before, as well as healthier and more economical. You can skip the butter, oil, parchment paper and tinfoil, just lay down the baking mat and fill your baking sheet with cookies, kale chips, meat, or anything else! They have multiple uses aside from baking, too. After making caramelized nuts or candied apples, let them cool on the silicone mat. If you’re freezing fruit for long-term storage, put it on a silicone mat on a baking sheet, so the fruit won’t stick to the pan. Multiple sizes are available for different baking sheets. Find good quality silicone baking mats from Artisan, SilChef, or SimpliFine.
The potential uses are endless – homemade nut butters, hummus, salsa, creamy vegetable and bean soups, making nut and oat flour, cutting butter into flour for pie dough, and making smoothies, malts, and milkshakes. If you get one with a slicing or grating blade, you can also use it to prep veggies in seconds.
Having a food processor makes it easier to make a wide range of healthy dishes at home, more cheaply, which encourages you to eat healthy! Look for one with a strong motor, multiple blades and attachments, good safety mechanisms, and a heavy base so it doesn’t move while running. Cuisinart makes several excellent higher-end models, and Hamilton Beach offers good quality at more affordable prices.
Epicurean Cutting Boards
These dishwasher safe wood composite cutting boards make for an all-around great chopping experience. They won’t dull your knife, they have a more satisfyingly solid feel than flimsy plastic, they’re lighter and easier to clean than regular wooden cutting boards, and they’re heat resistant up to 350F so they can be used as a trivet when you’re done cooking. They are available in a wide range of sizes and styles here.
Handheld Citrus Juice with Seed and Pulp Catcher
Many recipes call for a small amount of citrus juice, and it can be a hassle to get out the juicer or awkwardly squeeze them with your hands and pick out the seeds. Instead, try this brilliant idea from Joseph Joseph. The simple handheld tool lets you juice half a lemon, lime, or orange over a bowl while it catches the seeds and pulp. Then, rinse it clean and toss it in the dishwasher. It couldn’t be easier! Buy here.
Flexible Silicone Measuring and Pouring Bowls
These colorful, flexible bowls make measuring and pouring ingredients a bit cleaner. They are steady enough to not tip over, but soft enough that you can bend them, narrowing the lip for perfect pouring, like adding flour to a stand mixer, more broth to a stew, or batter into small muffin cups. And, they come in many sizes and bright colors, making your kitchen more lively. Silicone measuring bowls are heat resistant to about 500F and dishwasher safe. Check out this set from Norpro and this one from Good Cook.
We hope these gadget suggestions help make your kitchen more efficient and a little more colorful. Happy cooking!