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What Kitchen Appliances, Gadgets, And Tools Do You Actually Use And Need??

There is a special vulnerability/susceptibility in our brains for kitchen gadgets that I’d like to explore together. The other day Brian announced that he ordered an air fryer at a friend’s suggestion. He did it before I could stop him and I would have stopped him because I can’t handle another unused appliance. Not to throw Brian under the bus here because we all do this – we think that we need the newest way to cook to make our lives easier. Around the same time, I was on Shavonda’s instastory and she was talking about the Instant Pot versus the Crockpot/slow cooker (and how the instant pot might be BS) and it got me thinking of how I wish someone would tell me exactly what small kitchen appliances are necessary and which ones are marketing gimmicks to help “make our life easier” which end up in a landfill. Because it’s my thesis that almost everything can be done in the kitchen with far less.

This revelation came after I bought the much hyped about Instant Pot which proceeded to make every soup mushy and saved me only a full 10 minutes of cook time. I didn’t know at the time that it’s best for things that normally take 8 hours, to instead take 4, but is that really worth the savings? Two years in we realized that we only use the Instant Pot for boiled eggs. That’s it. A whole appliance for the once-a-month boiled snack that we could easily do in a normal pot!!! But, Brian promised that the air fryer would be different and it was already ordered. So we tried it, making my potato mojos that I usually bake in the oven and they turned out 10 minutes faster and 5% better with slightly less olive oil. They also had a weird chemical smell/taste. To me, that is not good enough to have to drag it out of the closet, clean it, and put it away each time. Now maybe if you are on a strict diet and want to reduce as much oil as possible in your life it would be good, but we barely ever fry anything and usually bake with not too much olive oil. The point is, I don’t understand the full need for it if you can do everything in an oven with just a bit more time and a bit more oil. Don’t get me started on the fancy juicer I bought 2 years ago when I was doing that celery thing which had 14 parts that needed to be cleaned every time we used it… or the chopping “system” that I was gifted that had more plastic parts than I could possibly ever store (I think 18 different chopping options in total).

photo by veronica crawford | from: the five cooking mistakes i’ve been making (as told to me by a chef)

While I’m on the subject, for chopping vegetables unless you are running a commercial kitchen, isn’t just a good knife and a cutting board enough? Do companies need to keep making the newest version of the slap chop or am I the only person who enjoys chopping and washing/storing less stuff? Listen, I also know that I’m in a privileged position where I work 7-4 pm so around 4 pm I start prepping out dinner and legitimately enjoy that hour of prepping/chopping/stirring while I listen to a podcast or music. I know that so many parents out there don’t have the luxury of that time. The nighttime scramble (especially when you add that commute back in) is real and if an Instapot makes your life easier then please use it.

So I was thinking about the extra things that I do have that I use daily that are worth the extra cleaning. They are not the same as “kitchen essentials” but rather extra tools and gadgets that I use often and love:

1. Cuisinart Salad Spinner | 2. Dual Citrus Squeezer | 3. Ninja Blender | 4. Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle | 5. 5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer

1. Cuisinart Salad Spinner: I know that I can just use paper towels to wipe off my lettuce, but I HATE wet lettuce and wasting paper towels. This big gadget is annoying to store, but I use it very often and there really isn’t a good substitute.

2. Dual Citrus Squeezer: While you can absolutely just squeeze a lemon, this gets far more juice out of it. Again, almost daily I reach for this.

3. Ninja Blender: Ok I’m sure there are blenders that make more sense, but this is so easy to clean and small to store! Sometimes I have to liquify things in batches which is annoying, but a big blender sounds even more annoying. I suppose at the farm we’ll have a bigger pantry so storing a normal-sized blender will be fine, but we’ve also got along for 3 years with just this, so why would I add to it?

4. Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle: My friends make fun of me for still steaming vegetables, but I like it! I don’t really know how I would do it without this. It’s not genius or anything, but it works and is easy to store.

5. 5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer: To be fair I’ve never used this but Brian does. He loves making cookies with the kids so at the beginning of quarantine we bought this and he has used it a lot. I also wonder if we need it just for cookies – we don’t really make cakes, but I suppose having one stand mixer is requisite for having a home.

What I really want to know from you all is do you really use your panini presses, air fryers, pancake makers, slap chops, juicers, waffle makers, egg poachers, etc? Or are there actually any genius tools out there that I’m missing? Appliances and gadgets that truly do make your life easier and not just give you more to clean and store? I personally can’t wait for the Crockpot vs. Instant pot showdown in the comments 🙂 LET’S GO!

Opener Image Credit: Design by Jamie Haller and Craig Ekedahl | Styled by A 1000 X Better | Photos by Lauren Moore

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Elizabeth Jared Catlin
1 month ago

rice cooker! immersion blender! and I really like my stand mixer…

Vicki
1 month ago

I have never understood why I need a rice cooker when everyone loves my rice that I just cook on the stovetop in a pot! I swear this just confuses me and I feel like I’m missing something.

1 month ago
Reply to  Vicki

I’ve never made good rice in a pot, so I agree about the rice cooker.

MLP
1 month ago
Reply to  Darcy Clark

SAME HERE. Also lentils. Beans. Frozen chicken you forgot to take out of the freezer. Yogurt.

Lane
1 month ago
Reply to  Vicki

Vicky you can’t make umami rice on the stove top without putting some effort. Rice cooker keeps rice warm too, and you just press start and no need to watch, see water escape the pot or try to move it. I make good rice too, but I prefer umami rice. You can also make rice porrage and flavored rice. Anyway, it’s easier when one has to watch over small kids and when you need to keep rice warm.
I agree sbout the immersion blender too. I use it quite often.

Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Vicki

We have an old rice cooker from college days and keep managing to hold onto it for some reason. I never use it to cook rice anymore, but when my oven caught on fire, and I still needed to make dinner for my kids, I was able to pull it out and make pasta in it.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

Ah, you just took me back! About a decade ago now, we served as a host family for an international student at our alma mater. He was a sweet boy but incredibly lazy and would throw away so many good & usable things while packing up to move out of the dorm at the end of each school year. Every year I’d go pick him up and see other students dumpster diving behind the dorm. His last year, I arrived before he was finished packing so I waited in the car. I saw him throw away everything he used to cook/eat in his dorm room: utensils, bowl & plates, cooking utensils, pot holders, the egg gadget for a microwave, the actual microwave, and of course, his rice cooker. About 10 minutes later one of the dumpster diving kids noticed the new pile next to the dumpster and investigated. They were so excited to find that rice cooker that they walked the couple of spaces to my car to show it to me! I don’t know if they realized at the moment how lucky they were – it was a really nice Zojirushi model that retailed for $180, I knew because… Read more »

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Vicki

You don’t need a rice cooker, you are doing amazing! I, however, am a complete idiot and can never get rice cooked correctly: crunchy or mush are my family’s two options. So now I have a rice cooker. It’s not you, it’s me (but, for real). Making perfect rice is the only thing it can do that other stuff can’t do: “came with a steamer basket”: so do lots of cheap pasta pots, and even if it doesn’t the pasta insert can be used as a steamer basket the lower hang doesn’t matter as long as the water level is adjusted, use tongs to grab things. “I can chop veggies and chicken and cook the whole meal in the rice cooker”: this can be done in a regular pot on the stove too, as long as you use the traditional ratios of water to rice. “I can cook lentils in the rice cooker when we have Indian”: this can be done in a regular pot on the stove. “It will keep the rice warm”: yes, it will, and then the bottom layer of rice is ruined and I’m picky about food waste so that’s not a plus for me; also… Read more »

Amy
1 month ago
Reply to  Vicki

Vicki, rice cookers are super great for people who start to cook rice in a pot and then forget that they’re cooking rice in a pot and consequently let it burn. LOL. Also great for using the timer, so you can make rice to go along with something in your slow cooker and have it ready when you get home!

KT
1 month ago

i totally agree about the immersion blender!! i use it at least once a week. best $70 i’ve ever spent on any appliance! soups! smoothies! salsas! hot chocolate! the list goes on and on. the food processor, on the other hand, is another story…

Elizabeth Jared Catlin
1 month ago
Reply to  KT

since I got the immersion blender, I never use my food processor anymore. SO HEAVY.

Kim
1 month ago

Rice cooker! In the winter I think I used mine every day!

EmilyR
1 month ago

An immersion blender is probably the only thing I’d add to that list as a MUST have. I do have a spice grinder that I use – but a regular mortar and pestle also works well. I do have a very good set of knives, but on occasion, I whip out my fancy mandolin to get some really thin slices or some beautiful julienne.

Sarah
1 month ago
Reply to  EmilyR

I love, love, love my immersion blender. I use it for everything that other people use a big blender for (like smoothies) using the measuring cup that came with it. PLUS it is great for blending a whole big pot of soup, or applesauce, or whatever. So little to store and ONE part to clean (tbh you do have to put it to soak right away, it is hard to clean if the food is dried on).

Cassie
1 month ago
Reply to  EmilyR

Along the vein of spice grinder for me is the microplane zester/grater- I use it for parmesean, nutmeg, citrus zest and ginger the most.

Jasmine Lim
1 month ago

rice cooker! and kitchen scissors, the kind that comes completely apart and are good for poultry or herbs. I used to have a nordicware stove top waffle iron that i LOVED, but it doesn’t work on my new induction stove. boo

CB
1 month ago
Reply to  Jasmine Lim

Same about the stove top waffle iron! It’s the singular thing I miss since going induction!

Jasmine Lim
1 month ago
Reply to  CB

yes! I have spent far too much time googling “Cast iron stovetop waffle maker”.

Caity
1 month ago
Reply to  Jasmine Lim

You might be able to find one in an antique store. I’m pretty sure I came across one…

Lori
1 month ago
Reply to  Jasmine Lim

I NEVER knew this was a thing! Not sure how I missed it, but ordering now. Thank you for my future waffles!

Jen
1 month ago

We considered an air fryer until I learned that a convection microwave exists. We had to replace our microwave anyway. Beyond microwaving, we use it when we don’t want to heat up our big oven. It preheat so much faster and is excellent for reheating pizza, making apps or any time we are baking something on the smaller side. It’s great at holidays when we have dishes that cook at different temps and I feel like I got the function of a 2nd oven and air fryer in the existing footprint of my microwave.

And we use our waffle iron a lot because my kid loves waffles. We do double batches and freeze them. He will even take a waffle sandwich for lunch. Ours has dishwasher safe plates which makes it easier to clean.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

Whoa. What is this magic? The door button is acting up on our microwave. I will have to see if I can handle the price jump because convection microwave oven sounds like the only way to ensure I don’t get surprised by another toaster oven one day.
My kids bring their lunch to school and in the top 3 of “Lunches My Mom Made Me Eat in Front of My Friends” is leftover waffles and scrambled eggs from breakfast-for-dinner night. Thing2 did once use waffles as sandwich bread because there weren’t any leftover eggs and she still wanted waffles for lunch.

Jen
1 month ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

It is so worth the extra money if you use your oven a lot. Ours is a Bosch.

Lisa
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

Yes! Convection microwave for the win! I mainly use the convection function when entertaining, holidays, etc as a second oven but super helpful when I need it. I have GE Profile. I’ve resisted buying an Instapot and Airfryer etc ever since someone convinced me to buy a Foreman grill and we only used it a couple of times. I cook a lot from scratch and the best money I’ve spent is on a few good knives. Also it really depends on what and how you cook. We used an xl electric griddle for big batches of pancakes, grilled cheese etc every weekend. It’s great if making a lot and you don’t want to do many many batches in a skillet. But we rarely use it now with less kids at home.

Lane
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

Yes, we use a 4 piece waffle maker all the time. Love it. But we do desert or breakfast waffles that are on the sweet side. Never had savory waffles. We’ll try it one day

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

My microwave has a connection setting that I’ve never used. I wanted to try it, but there is a rack that’s necessary, and it is missing, and I never could order a replacement part. Now we’re getting ready for a kitchen remodel, and I need to decide on a microwave. Maybe I should get one with this option again. Seems popular with quite a few people.

Maxine Becker
1 month ago
Reply to  Suzanne

I rarely use microwave settings but use convection all the time. Hate heating up oven for small amounts or quick turnaround – mine doesn’t require rack – you’ll be surprised at how nice the new models are

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Maxine Becker

Thank you, Maxine. I need to check out the new ones. Mine was put in by the previous owner 20 years ago, so I imagine they’ve improved. I love my convection toaster oven, so a microwave combo sounds great. I’m all for fewer appliances that meet my needs.

Tessa
1 month ago

We use our waffle maker a lot…like twice a month and tend to batch them and freeze them. So it’s single use but well enough used that it feels worth keeping. Agreed on the blender being worth it, but we also have a 3-in-1 food chopper/immersion blender/whipper (for whipped cream or doing 1-2 egg whites) that’s useful. Love our stand mixer. Could probably stand to get rid of our big food processor and ice cream maker, but when we need them (5X/year or so each), they are really useful.

Karen
1 month ago
Reply to  Tessa

Always use the waffle maker! Freeze them for toaster waffles.

Lauren
1 month ago
Reply to  Tessa

I rarely use my waffle maker, but I still consider it worthwhile because there’s no alternative. We don’t have any restaurants nearby that sell liege waffles, so if the craving strikes, I have to make them myself!

S
1 month ago

Apparently air fryers use more energy than ovens too! Slow cooker in winter and a blender like the ninja is all we use.

connie
1 month ago

I got one of those mini waffle makers on amazon and use it all the time. the kids get a kick out of little waffles. but i use my big one a lot too! rice cooker gets used a couple times a week. coffee grinder daily. regularly use my vitamix, kitchenaid, immersion blender, food processor. i hardly ever use my slow cooker to cook anything, but i like to use it to keep food warm at parties. my instapot was such a waste. we use the microwave maybe once a month but found we couldn’t live without one (we tried. ended up buying a cheap one and storing it in the basement. sometimes you just need microwave popcorn you know?). i have a sous vide machine that i hardly ever use. i rarely use our juicer but i do like having one for when the urge strikes! i’m drawing the line at the air fryer. i know people love them but I just dont see the point!

RP
1 month ago
Reply to  connie

I use my Instant pot to make rice using the pot-in-pot method. The keep warm function keeps it warm. I don’t like the non-stick coating most rice cookers have.

1 month ago
Reply to  connie

Yes! We just purchased a little waffle maker (it’s by Dash). I really love it. It’s so much easier to use, clean, and store!!

Kristi
1 month ago

I use my medallion daily to slice sweet potatoes into French fries and shave down Brussels sprouts. Rice Cooker (quinoa!) and Juicer used almost daily. Blender and Stand Mixer on occasion. The rest have been sent off to goodwill.

huette
1 month ago

Rice cooker – We use it routinely for rice, rice pudding, quinoa. But the best use is to make steel cut oats in the winter. We set it up the night before and set the timer to come on at the appropriate time so it’s done right as we’re waking up. I don’t have the patience or time to cook them manually early in the morning.
We use the instant pot a lot, but then we like corned beef which takes so much less time. Or ribs and then brown them off in oven. Also use it to cook dry beans without soaking them first. It generally makes “weekend meals” more attainable to cook after work with hungry little kids around.

RP
1 month ago
Reply to  huette

I use my Instant Pot to make steel cut oats and rice. The delay function can be set up the night before just like a rice cooker. I avoid rice cookers because of the non stick coating and feel safer using the stainless steel Instant Pot.

Zoe
1 month ago
Reply to  RP

Yes, we also use the Instant Pot to make steel cut outs and rice. I’ll admit we mostly use it for those two things, plus hard boiled eggs. But it allowed us to get rid of our rice cooker and across those three items we use it once every day or two. I also like the ability to cook dried beans without having to soak (it still takes time, but I can decide day of vs day before) and we’ll sometimes do a really nice pulled pork or chicken in it. So for us it’s great for staples, but we use it less as our primary cooking device. Also, we are in Denver and with the elevation we find that rice cooked with pressure in the Instant Pot is substantially better than stovetop. So overall very worth it for us! I think it’s just important to level set expectations – it’s not really an “instant” device.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  RP

There are good rice cookers that are stainless steel. We feel the same way about non-stick. If you are using the IP, you don’t need to get a rice cooker too. Just putting it out there for people who don’t have this stuff yet.

Amanda
1 month ago
Reply to  huette

I also use the instant pot a lot – usually for batch cooking ingredients like black beans, chicken thighs, rice, hard boiled eggs.

But I’ve also learned how to prep the ingredients for instant pot meals and put them in a big round container in the freezer. Then when I want to have a fresh meal without hands-on cooking, I put it in the instant pot to cook and I’ll have dinner I’m 30-45 mins. The part that saves me time is the fact that it’s hands off, so I can be playing with my baby, cleaning the house, or just relaxing while dinner cooks.

Sonya
1 month ago

An immersion blender and a waffle iron are the two small appliances or tools that we use weekly. My husband has made waffles every Saturday for years and years.

We do have a instant pot I use at least once or twice a week, a coffee grinder, coffee maker, electric kettle, a blender and a regular hand mixer. I feel like we’re down to the things we actually use – the stand mixer didn’t make the move with us and the spiralizer, rice cooker, and all the extra pots and pans got put away last year and never came back out. I gave away my crock pot years ago.

Caitlin
1 month ago

I don’t cook meals in the instant pot very often anymore, and sometimes just use it’s slow cook function, but I DO use it a lot to cook meat that I can use in various recipes. I ultimately bought the IP because it can safely cook meat while still frozen, and I am not always good at remembering to take meat out of the freezer. Does great cooking up chicken, ground beef, whatever, and keeping it moist, so it’s worth the storage space for that to me.

Ashley
1 month ago
Reply to  Caitlin

Same here! I never use the IP to make actual meals, but to prep individual parts of a meal so I can do it off the stove top and faster. It’s my go-to for chicken in particular (from frozen!). I also use it to cook dried beans and lentils, and to make mashed potatoes and hard boiled eggs. I’d agree with Emily that it doesn’t produce the quality of meal I’m used to if cooking everything in the IP.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Caitlin

But, you can cook meat in the oven or on the stove top from frozen. ?? You just adjust the heat down. I alwasy cook chicken still frozen since it won’t splatter or drip salmonella as I mess with it.

1 month ago

Hard core air fryer fan here! My husband would never eat green vegetables until we bought our Ninja Foodi. We use it almost every day, sometimes twice a day on the weekends. We bought the Foodi after our rice cooker died and have been pleasantly surprised by how much we love it.
I don’t consider a KitchenAid Mixer or a Cuisinart Food Processor to be gadgets bc they have been part of my cooking life for all 41 years I’ve been alive, but I do consider them to be required kitchen equipment.
My brother in law got us a sous vide thing a few years ago that we have never taken out of the box. I think everyone has their must haves and we only buy things after doing a lot of research and soul searching to determine if we really need it. I would never buy one for someone unless they said they really wanted it.

TRH
1 month ago
Reply to  Tara

You should try the sous vide! I thought it was totally unnecessary but then we got one and it became something that we use every week. We love it but we also eat a fair bit of meat. I have no interest in paying for a Prime ribeye and then overcooking it; the sous vide cooks it to perfection every time. Honestly, I have no desire to eat steak in a restaurant anymore.

Emma
1 month ago

We don’t do much cooking (trying to change that), but we use our panini press almost every day to make some version of grilled cheese for lunch. No butter or oil is needed! I use different breads and different fillings and can make a huge variety of sandwiches. It’s super east to maintain because the cooking plates pop off and go in the dishwasher. It also has grill and griddle functions, but it is not worth using for that.

Sara
1 month ago

I use a panini press several times a week. Is it different than a pan on the stove? No. But it cooks both sides at once and I never burn anything on it. Counter space earned.

rr
1 month ago

This was a very thoughtful post and I appreciate you for bringing it up. There are many categories – virtually all in fact where something that no one actually needs is marketed as necessary for easier or better living. Our entire economy operates on manufactured need and endless consumption. I’m not above it and not lecturing, plus I’m real fun at parties if memory serves…..Any way, cooking, like building, sewing and other skills which have fallen victim to the incessant need to “save time” for more worthy pursuits like sitting in an office earning pay for every tick of the clock. People should reclaim these acts of living and the full time it takes to accomplish them not as a waste of time but for the innate pleasure creation from mastery gives. Not every one likes to cook until they find something they can make well, find that thing and expand on it. Learn to use the tools in the most basic kitchen, knives, fire, water, salt. Eschew as many of the sexy , novel plastic ones as you can if they don’t actually do that much that cant be achieved through simpler means.

DeniseGK
1 month ago

Just want to say that I feel you, Emily, on finding out the apple of your eye has bought yet another kitchen appliance. My sympathies to Brian too, it’s apparently very hard for my husband to resist, or to remember to run it by me first (I do most of the cooking because I kick more ass in the kitchen than he does). Perhaps Brian feels the same difficulty. I’m glad y’all are good at reminding yourselves how much you love each other.

Meredith
1 month ago

Thermomix anyone? I am so interested in getting this countop cooking-blender thing, instead of all the appliances it is said to replace (Vitamix, Cuisinart, standing mixer, scale, instapot, etc.), and wondering if it lives up to the hype?

Maria
1 month ago
Reply to  Meredith

Hi! Thermomix is very very popular in my country (it’s called Bimby here). I have it and absolutely love it: I use it every day to cook dinner, instead of cooking on the stove. It’s so much faster, you can leave the kitchen while it cooks and not worry about the “cooking timing” of each thing (as in when each component is ready – sorry, English is not my first language and cooking terms are hard!). Because I don’t love cooking and find it time-consuming and stressful, the Thermomix really is a life-changing gadget.

But a lot of people simply use it as an extra appliance, like to mix dough or make cakes or cook rice perfectly or make yoghurts. Those people still generally think it’s worth it, but it’s a different kind of investment IMO and it’s usually people who already like cooking, and specifically like cooking things from scratch.

For me, it really is worth it. It’s so much easier to plan meals (it has a great app with tons of recipes!) and anyone can cook with it. Hope this helps, if you have any more questions, ask away!

Mariangela
1 month ago

Having worked on cooking shows and and being an avid cook (from a very early age) I have/had many many kitchen gadgets but never things like air fryers, rice cookers (I’m Italian I make risotto!), or immersion blenders. I was surprised there was no food processor in your list. To me it’s indispensable for whizzing up herbs to make pestos, chimichurris, all kinds of quick raw sauces, or processing whole canned tomatoes in seconds. Plus we make our pasta dough in the food processor. I do swear by my Vitamix. You can use your stand mixer for whipped cream (though you can do it by hand with a whisk), cookies and cakes and doughs forever. Plus if you got all the pasta attachments that awaits you! You only need a few key knives – a great 8″ or 9″ chef’s knife, bread knife, paring knife, ideally a serrated knife for tomatoes (don’t use the bread knife on them!), and some separable Wusthof shears that you can use for herbs, cutting up chicken etc. And a great cutting board (wood – not bamboo which is glued together) or two. Tongs, a spider (for scooping out veggies, pasta, boiling eggs, and stainless… Read more »

Kara
1 month ago
Reply to  Mariangela

Buy a shark glove! Totally changed my relationship to things like a mandoline and grater!

Lori
1 month ago
Reply to  Kara

Me too! Two bad cuts and I won’t go near a mandoline now without wearing a Kevlar glove!

anon
1 month ago
Reply to  Lori

Where do you find these types of gloves and how do you know they’re up to the standards? I tried researching this before and gave up. It was so confusing.

Maxine Becker
1 month ago
Reply to  Kara

Agree after glove arrived the mandolin became my new best friend

Sarah
1 month ago
Reply to  Mariangela

Our food processor is one of our most used appliances! I do love our vitamix, but we really survived fine for years without one because we were able to use our regular blender OR our food processor, depending.
I think some people just aren’t “sauce people,” whereas as a health-conscious foodie I find them indispensable for adding interest and nutrients to our everyday eating.
I also LOVE the shred function on our food processor. I make a lot of things that require shredded carrots (my favorite baked oatmeal is “carrot cake” style) and it’s SO much easier than using the grater.

Laurie Howell
1 month ago

I use my Vitamix all the time! I am going to get rid of my juicer. I think a dog ate a part. I bought a bread maker and we use it to handle making the dough and bake it in the oven. It is a time saver. We have an instapot we really do not use. My husband bought an air fryer and he uses it for wings. So the instapot and the juicer go.

Kate
1 month ago

We’ve only had it since January, but we really use our Ninja Foodi (air fryer, pressure cooker, etc all in one) 3-4 times a week. For the first 2 months we had it, I was on the fence about it and it seemed pretty gimmicky and like we wouldn’t use it longterm (we never use a crockpot, rice cooker, pressure cooker, or air fryer). But then I discovered Mason Fit Pressure Cooker Barbacoa Beef and the Pork Carnitas recipe and the Ninja makes them so well that the entire thing is worth it. I still need to figure out how to cook rice with it – I’m the worlds worst rice cooker. We also use our blender daily. We had a ninja blender that did both the little cups and big pitcher, and then I broke the big pitcher so just had the little cups forever. But I got really sick of doing batches of things, so when we needed to replace we got the same version but will not be breaking the big pitcher this time. 🙂 I use my Ninja coffeemaker daily (inadvertently we have become a Ninja name brand kitchen). Also have a Nespresso frother that I… Read more »

SUSAN SANDERS
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

If you go to the Ninja website you may be able to buy a replacement pitcher for your blender.

Ashley
1 month ago

I love using my instant pot to make all grains – rice, quinoa, farro for grain bowls, or even risotto! The risotto is so fast and is such a nice compliment to any meal. I also use the IP for cooking pork shoulder for carnitas and soy marinades for asian inspired meals. I live alone so I’ll cook up a big batch of meat and freeze it in portions to pull out the night before for a quick dinner.

I also use my food processor A LOT – making pesto, marinades for meat, chopping nuts, hummus (which you can use the IP to cook. the chickpeas), dough for pasta and chimichurri. It’s also dishwasher safe so I don’t have to deal with cleaning all of the individual parts.

Sarah
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashley

Yes! I would have to add that I used my food processor a lot when we had one. Once it bit the dust, I just didn’t buy a new one. Haven’t needed it, but these posts are reminding me of what I used to be able to do. I would say food processor over that standing mixer 100%.

Rhonda
1 month ago

I use my crock pot a lot in the winter for soups and lots of other dishes. I fought the air fryer but lost, but it does make great wings, French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, any thing breaded. I wouldn’t say I use it a lot but it does have its place and it was difficult finding a place to store it. I love my immersion blender, Cuisineart, Ninja blender, and coffee grinder which gets used everyday. I don’t know how people live without a microwave we use ours everyday for something. I do have a vegetable spiralizer that gets used in the summer a lot and recently bought an electric juice extractor for the husband-lots of margaritas in the summer. I cook almost everyday so I think that’s what makes a difference in what you value for appliances.

MKP
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhonda

I absolutely love my air fryer but I’m also a person who doesn’t like to cook at all. I use the air fryer to make what are essentially roasted veggies. Could I make them in the oven? Yes. But the oven has to preheat and then have the pan removed immediately so as to not burn. With the air fryer you throw it in and set the timer and it turns itself off when it’s done. Nothing I make has ever been breaded so it doesn’t seem like fried food, but it makes great roasted food. My husband LOVES to cook and is very good at it. He thought the air fryer was absurd when I bought it, but he loves it now too.

Diana
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhonda

We bought an air fryer just for chicken wings. They are amazing. So much crispier than you can get in an oven and you don’t add any oil so it’s much cheaper than deep frying.

But then I found out that it makes small-batch bacon super fast, reheats stuff like a dream, can make toasted sandwiches easily, reheats Asian food really well, warms leftover tortilla chips, and basically lets me be more hands off for stuff that used to require babysitting.

I’m sure it’s not for everyone but right now it is making my life easier!

Kaitlyn Mitchell
1 month ago

If you’re souping, you definitely need an immersion blender! Super small, doesn’t take up as much space as a ninja and you don’t have to batch it out, though I still use my blender for smoothies. Also love my instant pot for making bone broth and my stand mixer.

Courtney
1 month ago

Agree with others on a rice cooker–I’m really bad at making rice. Our crock pot just died, and I looked into the instant pot but ended up just getting another crock pot–I don’t have the mental capacity to learn how to use another appliance; they seem kind of finicky and I don’t really want an instant pot cheesecake? Otherwise, in addition to what you mentioned–good knives, a blender and an immersion blender, a food processor, a microplaner, a mandolin. (We probably could get away with just the food processor and immersion blender but the regular blender is handy.) We have a waffle maker that barely gets used, but my son makes a breakfast sandwich in this contraption every day and loves it. Does a good cast iron pan count? Because we love ours and it gets a lot of use–that thing is a workhorse.

ELLEN KING
1 month ago

Rice cooker number 1! crockpot immersion blender

Alice
1 month ago

Cuisinart immersion blender. KitchenAid 3.5 cup chopper for making banana “ice cream” in the summer.

Claudia Meyer
1 month ago

I quit our salad spinner when I learned you can plop your washed greens in a towel (I use a large flour sack towels, since that’s what I keep in the kitchen), bundle the ends up, step outside and swing it around like a helicopter. It sounds nuts, but it totally works, and kids get a kick out of it. Then I just toss the towel in the laundry.

Vicki
1 month ago
Reply to  Claudia Meyer

Love this! Neighbors already think I’m nuts, so no problem there.

Louize
1 month ago
Reply to  Claudia Meyer

I once lived in an apartment in france where the contract specifically stated that it was prohibited to shake your salad out the window! I have a salad spinner 🙂

Deb
1 month ago
Reply to  Louize

It is comments like this one that make me read all the comments because they often make me chuckle and I learn something just about every time. Who knew salad shaking could be prohibited?😁

Cathy
1 month ago
Reply to  Claudia Meyer

The water left in the salad spinner is great for watering plants. My orchid LOVES it!

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Claudia Meyer

The towel bag method is the original salad spinner! Used it thirty years ago, but we do have an actual salad spinner now.

Corinne
1 month ago
Reply to  Claudia Meyer

I can handle wet lettuce/greens. Call me crazy!!!

Joanna
1 month ago

Food processor, stick blender, hand mixer and slow cooker. that’s it.

Patti
1 month ago

I love immersion blenders but hate the cords. I just bought a new Cuisinart cordless one and it’s fab. Heavy duty, holds a charge forever and no need for the pot to be near an outlet or trying to keep the cord out of the way when I purée soups! I also love my Cuisinart Mini Food Processor. Just this week I made breadcrumbs for a casserole, pesto and chimichurri. Oh and I couldn’t live without my bench scraper! Just bought a Vitamix but we just moved and my husband threw out the box with the instructions! 😡

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Patti

I forgot to mention my Cuisinart mini food processor. I love it for hummus and nut butters.

Cris S.
1 month ago
Reply to  Patti

They usually have the instructions online. You can print them from there is you need to.

Susi
1 month ago

Ice cream maker! Never buy ice cream but make my own using maple syrup as the sweetener. Also use
IP for frozen whole chicken, plus use as a slow cooker. Immersion blender and food processor and that’s about it.

Lisa
1 month ago

I have a true dislike for small appliances because the dragging out, cleaning parts, and stashing away efforts don’t feel to me like they save time at all. My husband feels entirely differently, he is very attracted to small appliances! I don’t have a slow cooker or an instant pot. I do have a rice cooker that we used to use regularly but when Trader Joe’s came out with good precooked frozen rice we quit making our own. It works out because we rarely eat rice anymore. So next time we move I’ll likely ditch the rice cooker. I do use my stand mixer about twice a year, but we don’t bake much anymore, except for no knead bread for which there is NO NEED of the stand mixer. If I still had kids at home I’d use the mixer a lot more for cookies etc. I definitely use a salad spinner. We have many cutting boards and really good knives which hubby keeps sharp with a small electric sharpener. I do use an immersion blender for soups and sauces. I vehemently objected (and have since apologized) to hubby buying an electric kettle. We are in the south and drink… Read more »

Sandi Rosner
1 month ago

Another vote here for the immersion blender. Never liquify stuff in batches again – just stick the blender in the pot and push the button. They are inexpensive, easy to clean, small and easy to store.

Char
1 month ago

Tagging on (maybe I can influence you for a change, ha-ha) to say immersion blender and waffle iron are needed and used. Other than a toaster and daily used blender, that’s about it. I hate to cook, but I do love to eat!

Chris
1 month ago

OK, first, air fryers you pretty much need to cook a throwaway for the first 3 batches or so; a lot of them get coated with something that has to cook off. Electric tea kettle for boiling water! Best appliance ever! I have a Cuisinart Griddler that does panini press, flat griddle, and waffles. I love it and use it to make hot sandwiches and waffles. When I lived by myself I think I used it almost every day. I also consider the stand mixer, the food processor, the crock pot, and the immersion blender/whisk to be must haves that I cannot live without. (I like to bake and cook, your mileage will vary.) For me, the electric citrus reamer is a must have, because I have arthritis and neuropathy in my hands, I would not say the same to healthier people. I miss my toaster oven, when the current microwave dies I think I am going to get a fancy one that will toaster oven too. My sister can’t live without her air fryer and rice cooker, I want both but I have to figure out where to store them. On my “has survived every purge” list is a… Read more »

Alec
1 month ago

I treated myself to a waffle maker about halfway through Covid (and conveniently “forgot” to tell my fiancé because he would have physically stopped me. The look on his face when it arrived on the doorstep was well worth it). I have busted it out probably every other weekend, I have brought it to my sister’s house for Mother’s Day brunch, I have just schlepped it to Wyoming to use for post-wedding breakfast. Best purchase I’ve made all quarantine!

Annie
1 month ago

I LOVE to cook and I’m also pretty minimalist, so here’s my must have list: vitamix for soups and smoothies (replaces immersion blender), mini food processor for veggie burgers, hummus, pesto; I prefer a colander and a kitchen towel for drying lettuce, cutting board, knife, Dutch oven, cast iron pan. We do have a slow cooker and a stand mixer that we use only at holidays, but that’s ok. No microwave.

We do have an instant pot, a mandoline, and a salad spinner, but I am actively advocating for giving them away. They are set aside for CSA season and if I don’t bring them out, they go.

And if you want to cook with less oil, try a silpat when roasting veg.

Emily
1 month ago

Agree with all the immersion blender comments. This one is my favorite: https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/immersion-blenders/bsb510.html
Silicone bottom so I don’t need to worry about scratching my pot. Use it all the time for soups. I also like the attachments and often use it to make dressings and the like. Other than that, I am very much not a gadget person. Mixer, food processor, and immersion blender and I am good to go. I am also anti single-use tools for the most part but I do really love my avocado slicer (https://www.oxo.com/3-in-1-avocado-slicer-901.html). Could I cut, pit, and slice my avocado with a knife? Sure, but this is so much easier! Strongly recommend 🙂

Michelle
1 month ago

I cook for 5 in a tiny dated kitchen so I only buy gadgets that will get heavily used. I could not live without my Presto XL griddle. It makes the perfect pancakes, quesadillas, grilled cheese, fish, etc… Other heavily used items are my ninja blender, double belgian waffler, Oxo stainless salad spinner (bowl becomes salad serving bowl) and crockpot (great for keeping mashed potatoes warm at holidays and keeping food warm so the family can eat asap when coming home from sport, band or club meetings). I just placed an order for an Oxo Corn Peeler because I’d prefer to get the kernels off the corn and not have to do the boiling water/buttering corn cob teeth mess.

Michelle
1 month ago
Reply to  Michelle

Oh, forgot I also could not live without electric water kettle. Kids can make their own tea, hot chocolate, ramen…

Kari
1 month ago

Ones I use a lot: Kitchen Aid stand mixer, Instant Pot, Crock pot (yep, both! for very different purposes), food processor, toaster oven
Ones I use occasionally: immersion blender, mandoline, waffle iron, spiralizer, electric griddle
Ones I rarely use, but have anyway: electric knife, blender, ice cream maker
Ones I got rid of or don’t even want: rice steamer, air fryer, bread machine, electric wok, juicer, cookie press
I cook every single day and my spouse has celiac disease so our cooking habits reflect that. The stuff I use regularly is easy to clean. I put all kinds of things in the dishwasher, and I’m not precious about it. My kitchen stuff is supposed to serve me, not the other way around.

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Kari

Kari, love the comment about how the kitchen needs to serve you. We also put things in the dishwasher all the time.

Kara
1 month ago

Best way to juice citrus: roll the fruit on your cutting board while pressing it, cut in half, and use a fork to help you get allll the juice out as you squeeze! (I.e. run the fork tines all through the puppy insides.) Do it over a fine mesh strainer if you’re worried about pulp or seeds. I have a very similar citrus squeezer to yours and this works better for me so that one now just sits in the drawer.

TLS
1 month ago
Reply to  Kara

i’d MUCH rather wash a citrus juicer than a mesh strainer!

EP
1 month ago

The appliance I use the most and don’t want to live without is my Nespresso. It’s so easy and it makes great coffee and espresso. I don’t even own a toaster but the Nespresso really got me with how fast it is, no need to grind beans, and the quality of the coffee. Plus they recycle the used coffee pods.

1 month ago

90% of the use of our air fryer is for leftover fries—or, during covid when we’ve only eaten takeout, fries that got soft on the way home—but tbh I love it for that and seems worth it to me (maybe I eat fries too much).

Megan
1 month ago

An air fryer is just a small convection oven. If your kitchen already has a convection oven, you don’t need an air fryer.

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Megan

I thought so! They used to call them toaster ovens. Granted many toaster ovens didn’t have the convection option, but I bought one that did about 7 years ago. I do use it a lot, for smaller things, but I also have a 35 year old oven that doesn’t have a convection option.

Carly Waters
1 month ago

We use our Vitamix every day. I also love my breville frother and Fellow electric tea kettle. We were using our instant pot A TON (great for rice, beans, pulled pork, etc.) but have not been using recently. Also the immersion blender is pretty handy for soups. Funny – I never reach my lemon squeezer ! Always just squeeze by hand 🤪

Leigh
1 month ago

Most of ours live in the bottom corner cabinet lazy susan which is a nice limit. 7 people in my house. Electric Kettle – non negotiable and lives on the counter Stand Mixer – Wedding present and its used multiple times a week for baking. Food processor – the tiny one I got for my wedding is dying so the big one is a Costco purchases that’s earning its keep in a kitchen with lots of storage space Immersion Blender/mini chopper- wedding gift that I’m amazed still works for all the use we have gotten from it. Probably won’t be replaced because of the blender and food processor Instant Pot – used weekly and it works for us for a brown rice cooker but I’d let it go if our kitchen was small Air Popper – multiple times a week and so much joy Waffle Iron – New and the kids are thrilled about using it. And they can do it with minor supervision. Blender – smoothies, sauces – lives in the pantry counter where its plugged in Toaster – also plugged in in the pantry Something like an Air Fryer or Rice cooker its very hard to find one… Read more »

KC
1 month ago

I received a hand-me-down vitamix that was never used and I love it. I leave it on the counter and use it all the time. In the past two weeks I’ve made pesto, cilantro aioli for tacos, whipped feta for crostinis, tomato sauce when I only had diced tomatoes and countless smoothies.

I’ve had the ninja and an Oster blender and both were good but I love the vitamix.

I also have a crockpot (instant pots just seem weird to me) and a hand mixer which works great and takes up less space in my small kitchen.

Less is definitely more.

Laurielulu
1 month ago

Oh, I have opinions❣️ 1. LOVE my Instant Pot for braising meat, soups etc. f’d up baked apples and rice 2. My 2 Staub pans- xlg everything pan and a Colette (makes the best rice) 3. Hand and stand mixers 4. I sm and a lg food processor 4. Pro blender (super want an immersion blender for soup and sauces) Now for the controversial…5. I just got a new toaster oven. We really enjoy toast, heating some leftovers or hot sammies etc. It also has air fryer capabilities and I am learning to really love it! Everything So crunchy with a spray of oil. I love my whipped cream thingy too. I can make such yummy creams and control ingredients
Things I have and use rarely, donut maker, waffle maker. Never used ice cream maker and crock pot. ( I need to brown and cook in ONE pot on the stove-gah)

Julie
1 month ago

In order of importance to me: (1) microwave- several times a day, (2) coffee maker-several times a day (2) toaster-once a day, (3) ninja blender- several times a week

Lane
1 month ago

Aside from your 5, I have a zojirushi rice cooker that I actually use at least a couple for umami rice, basmati, coconut, rice pilaf, etc. We like rice and it takes little time and attention to cook perfect rice every time. I do agree with the sentiment that most appliances are not needed unless you are making something very specific quite often

Kirby
1 month ago

I ditched my microwave for an air fryer and I will never look back. It heats things up waaaay better and the only thing it can’t do that a microwave can is soften butter. I use my instant pot ALLL the time to make beans and also to make broth with veggies and bones from meat I’ve roasted.

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