As I’m going through my kitchen and preparing a post for you on how best to organize your kitchen and the best kitchen organization accessories, I of course had to start pulling out all the accumulated kitchen gadgets to sort through. There were so many that seemed pretty cool at the time that I bought them, but I really haven’t used them more than a handful of times since I brought them home! And then there are those select items that I use frequently and so I figured I’d put together a list of my must-have kitchen gadgets.
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Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets
I usually assume everyone has heard of these by now…some know them as an Instant Pot…but I continue to get asked about it every time I mention mine! Pressure cookers have been around for ages but the old-school versions were used on a stove-top and could be quite dangerous. The new models are electric and have several safety features that make them safe for use. My 12 year old even uses ours!
There are several different brands. I started out with a 6 qt. Power Pressure Cooker XL and timidly tried a few recipes I found online….and WOW! Such a time saver. The beauty with the pressure cooker is that you can throw everything in the pot, fresh or frozen, seal it, start it and walk away. It will beep when it’s done and stop cooking and switch to just keeping the food warm.
So if you aren’t familiar with a pressure cooker, you may ask yourself how that’s any different than a slow cooker…well, you can do it and have your meal ready in anywhere from 10-45 minutes depending on what you are making! So it doesn’t have to cook for 4, 6, or 8 hours like in the slow cooker! Here’s a post from The Typical Mom with over 100 easy Instant Pot Recipes.
After awhile, I bought the 8 qt. Instant Pot Duo80. Instant Pot is the leading brand of pressure cookers and the one that you’ll find most people probably have. I kept the other one and we sometimes use them at the same time for certain meals we are making. My hubby even likes it and enjoys finding new recipes to try making in the IP. We use it at least 3-4 nights a week, so this is a definite must-have kitchen gadget for me!
Other than my youngest son having the occasional cup of coffee, I’m the only coffee drinker in the house and I only have one cup a day usually. So for several years, the single-serve Keurig K55 has been my go-to coffee maker. It’s simple and easy to just pop a K-cup in there and fill up my mug in under a minute and then head out the door in the morning.
Some of my friends were initially hesitant about getting a Keurig because they didn’t want to keep buying the K-cups which are more expensive than a can of coffee. That’s really a non-issue though because you can get a reusable K-cup that you can add your own coffee grounds too.
A single serve works great for me most of the time, but when I have company over and need more cups, it’s just more convenient to be able to brew a whole pot at a time. So I was looking on Amazon for the Keurig version that comes with a carafe, but couldn’t find any besides used ones. In my search, I came across this awesome Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker which lets you brew a single cup or a full pot and it’s compatible with K-cups or ground coffee! This one ticks all the boxes for my needs and puts it on my must-have kitchen gadgets list.
There are several different types/brands of woks. Many of them are great. I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of them, but the thing I’ve found that I like about a wok is the size and the way the sides are angled. I initially bought one for stir-fry type meals, but have found that I use my wok for large dishes that don’t tend to fit well in my other pans. One of my favorites is a kielbasa and potatoes mix that we make usually two or three times a month. That along with other recipes that are easier to do in a wok, make it one of my must-have kitchen gadgets!
I do feel it helps if your wok has a lid so you can help use the steam in your cooking process, but if you get one without a lid, you can use a lid you already have for one of your other large pans. My lid is smaller than the widest part of my wok, but I just nestle it down below the top rim of the wok and let it catch on the angled sides above my food to allow the steam to do some work. Here’s a post on Foodal about How to Use a Wok For Stir-Frying and Steaming.
Ok, this one is a little crazy. You can actually use the pressure cooker as a slow cooker by not pressurizing it, so if you have an Instant Pot or other brand of pressure cooker, then you don’t technically need a slow cooker. However, I still have mine! I don’t know why. I guess old habits die hard…haha. Maybe it also has something to do with my discovery of slow cooker liners which are insanely awesome and result it virtually no clean-up!
Slow cookers, generally called Crock Pots regardless of which brand lives in your kitchen, have improved in the cool factor over the years. You can get a Crock-pot with Auto Stir system so after the first two hours of cook time, it will automatically initiate the stirring feature every 30 minutes to make sure it’s cooked evenly!
My fave is the wi-fi capable Black + Decker slow cooker that connects to your home wi-fi and then you can use an app on your phone when you are away to start/stop cooking and to set the time and temperature! This is great for when you will be gone for longer than 8-10 hours. I can dump everything in the pot before I leave and wait a few hours if needed to actually start the cooking process! So the slower cooker gets to stay for my list of must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Lauren Greutman’s post for 40 awesome dump recipes for your slow cooker!
We’re from the south and we like our sweet tea! The guys in my household are all sweet tea drinkers and they go through a lot of it. Years ago, we just used a small pot on the stove-top. Then, I bought a cute blue decorative tea kettle that resided on the stove where we’d boil water to brew tea, but then I found the electric tea kettle and we switched to that and haven’t regretted it.
The electric tea kettle boils the water much faster than the stove and I don’t feel like I need to stand there and keep an eye on it as much as I did with the stove-top one. I can hear it boiling easily and it makes an audible click and shuts off when it’s reached a certain boiling point. That lets us know to drop a couple tea bags in to steep for a few minutes. I also like that the kids can use it more safely than the stove-top version. This is a must-have kitchen gadget for our family!
This is a relatively new addition to our kitchen gadgetry. We bought the Power Air Fryer XL. We are still figuring out what all we can make with this device but one thing is for sure…it’s easy, quick, and much healthier than using a typical fryer. The air fryers use little or no oil for the cooking process and instead use a cyclone of powerful air to rapidly cook, bake, ‘fry’ your meal without adding all the extra fat! So far, we’ve used ours for chicken tenders, french fries, and tator tots.
It’s advertised as being capable of doing things like steaks, donuts, fish tacos, roasts, and more…all of which I’m excited to try. One of the other cool things is the ease of clean-up; the inner basket separates and both components have a smooth, non-stick, easy to clean surface. This has already earned a spot on my must-have kitchen gadgets list! You can check out what’s possible with an air fryer with Betsy’s post of over 100 Air Fryer Recipes!
Obviously there are other smaller kitchen gadgets and appliances, but these are my ‘stand-out’ essential kitchen gadgets. Regardless of what I donate or sell during my kitchen organization process, these items will not be going anywhere!
What are some of your kitchen must-haves?
Until next time,