The 10 Best Kitchen Tools that Actually Save You Time (and Money!)
Everyone loves a good cooking gadget, but the number of options in the average kitchen section of a store can be a little ridiculous. You may find yourself asking, “Do I need a taco holder? An egg slicer? A corn kernel stripper?” While these tools may seem like a great idea in the store, they may turn out to take more time to clean than they save you in prep.
Whether you're making a holiday wishlist, a wedding registry, or just planning your next IKEA trip, here are our ten best kitchen tools that will actually save you time, and money, too.
You’ll be amazed how much time you can save once you know how to take full advantage of a food processor. It can chop vegetables, knead bread dough, dice nuts, shred cheese, whip cream, emulsify dressings, and more. You can even use it to make your own spreads like hummus, pesto, and peanut butter.
Some food processors come with a spiralizing feature, but if they don’t, a spiralizer on its own is worth the investment. They’re a popular choice for people who want to sub out veggies for pasta, a la “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). A spiralizer is the most efficient way to prep veggies for these dishes and also gives you a texture that you can’t quite get when slicing or grating by hand.
While the name may sound antithetical to saving time, slow cookers allow for hands-off cooking. You can put all the ingredients in the cooker in the morning, go to work, and come home to a finished meal (and a house that smells amazing). Put your slow cooker to work for soups, veggies, fish, meat, and more.
A pressure cooker (most commonly the Instant Pot) is the faster alternative to a slow cooker, but you’ll need to be home when you’re using it. The pressurized chamber increases the boiling point of liquid, which makes the food inside cook 2-3 times faster than by conventional methods. It can be used for all the same things as a slow cooker, as well as dried beans, rice, and even hard-boiled eggs.
A rice cooker will cook perfect rice every time, no effort needed on your part. Simply add the rice and water, turn it on on, and leave it to automatically shut off when it’s finished. No more accidentally burning your rice while you’re in the middle of cooking something else. And, despite its name, a rice cooker can be used for other foods as well, with similar functions to a slow cooker.
Blenders are great for smoothies, but if you’re making soup or mashed potatoes, an immersion blender saves you the step of transporting your ingredients from a pot to the blender. This tool can be used directly in the pot, which will also save you on clean-up time! You can also use it for making quick salad dressings, and small batches of sauces and spreads like pesto or hummus.
While mixing or whisking by hand is a good arm workout, a good mixer will speed up your cooking or baking process by a lot. They’re one of the pricier kitchen items, but investing in a stand mixer is almost like investing in a second set of arms--when the ingredient says “whisk for 5 minutes on high,” you can step away and work on something else.
If you use a lot of fresh lime and lemon juice when cooking (and we do--it’s a fast, healthy way to add flavor!), it’s worth investing in a citrus squeezer. Juicing citrus fruits by hand takes longer and also generally results in more of the juice being wasted as it spurts all over your hands and kitchen.
Airtight storage containers
Invest in a set of airtight storage containers for dry ingredients like flour, sugar, rice, pasta, beans, etc. Clear plastic containers help you keep your cupboard organized so you’re not digging around in the back looking for what’s left of the bag of brown sugar. They’re also easier to close, open, and scoop out of than the paper or plastic bags these ingredients come in. Lastly, clear containers make it easier to see when you’re out of something, so you won’t have to make a last-minute run to the store for a missing ingredient.
Get a second set to use as meal prep containers for the fridge!
We can’t all be master chefs, chopping and trimming things left and right with masterful precision. That’s why a pair of kitchen scissors can come in handy. Use them to trim the fat off of meat, chop chives, and even cut pizza into slices. While it may seem odd to use scissors directly on food, once you start treating them like any other kitchen utensil, you’ll never go back.
- Emily Polson