When it comes to kitchen gadgets, I’ve had my share of FOMO moments. Remember when Vitamix came on the scene? Who knew a blender would turn so many of us into overachievers who make our own nut butters and condiments? Of course I had to have one and years later, its still in heavy rotation (#winning).
Just when I think I have every small kitchen appliance I could ever want, I find another to add to my wish list, like a printer that turns pancakes into custom works of art. My son loves blueberry pancakes and my daughter is all about YouTube mermaid drawing tutorials. Clearly, this will be a Sunday morning game changer.
What I love most about a smart kitchen gadget or small appliance is that it gets you cooking. Really cooking. Most every. Single. Day. Here, we’ve rounded up 14 gems that make it easier to eat and drink well. Oh, and they’re huge time savers, too. Because who wants to slave in front of a stove for hours?
PancakeBot Pancake Printer
File this under the artsiest addition to your kitchen. This pancake robot turns your breakfast into the prettiest meal of the day, even if you have zero artistic ability. Using software that comes with the printer, you can trace an image (your daughter’s latest Shopkins drawing, the New York Giants logo or anything you want) right on your computer.
You can also draw your own sketch if you’re artistically inclined. The software creates the file (which you can save for future use) and the robot prints your art right onto its griddle. You’ll never want for a circular pancake again.
Panasonic Bread Maker
It’s easy to make okay bread. But it’s hard to make really good bread. Even food icon Michael Pollan agrees. I love the idea of baking my own, mostly because I want to be able to give my kids bread made with clean ingredients I can pronounce. But since I don’t have the time (or skill TBH) to bake the perfect loaf, I’m all about simplifying.
This machine has an automatic yeast dispenser that’ll make it hard to mess up. A range of settings lets you choose the type of bread you want to bake. And a 13-hour delay start timer and rapid baking setting makes it easy to plan ahead or bake in a hurry.
Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven
My kids love pizza: On a Friday, in the middle of the week when I can’t get my s**t together to make dinner or when we hit up a local spot for a perfect thin crust. They also love helping out in the kitchen. Enter this stovetop pizza oven. The idea of making pizza at home is not only fun for the kiddos, it’s also a great way to up the healthy factor since you get to control the ingredients (Read: Load it up with veggies).
This sweet little oven uses the gas burner on your stove to get to 600 degrees (a built-in thermometer lets you know when it’s ready). Once it’s nice and hot (in about 15 minutes), you and your crew can cook a personal-sized, brick oven style pizza in about six minutes. All together, that’s still faster than waiting for the delivery guy.
Perfect Bake Pro Wireless Kitchen Scale
If you’re a messy baker, this scale will change that in a hurry. That’s because you’ll never need a measuring cup or spoon again. Instead, you’ll be able to pour any ingredient straight into the bowl on your scale, which pairs with a recipe app on your phone. Just enter what you’re baking and the app tells you when to stop pouring each ingredient.
A particularly game-changing feature is that it scales any recipe for you. So you’ll be able to make enough cupcakes for all the girls at your daughter’s sleepover without doing a stitch of math. Running low on chocolate chips? The app tells you what you can bake using whatever you happen to have in your pantry. It comes pre-loaded with 300 recipes but you can add your own, too, like your famous holiday sugar cookies.
Dash Go Rapid Egg Cooker
Boiling an egg isn’t exactly hard so why would you need an egg cooker? I wasn’t sold either, but this little machine is so speedy—it makes eggs in less time than it takes to boil water. Adjust settings for hard, medium or soft-boiled eggs and it turns off automatically. And it does more than just boil eggs. You can pouch and make individual omelets, too. Back to boiled eggs: Make them in this cooker and the shells will be super soft and peel to perfection.
iGrill2 Bluetooth Thermometer
We consider grilling a year-round sport in our house. Because our grill never goes into hibernation, my husband has perfected the art of BBQing in the rain and snow. The obvious downside? Waiting for a thick piece of chicken breast to reach 160 degrees can feel like a freezing cold eternity. Besides, repeatedly opening the grill and poking said piece of chicken isn’t the best way to boost its flavor.
If you’re a hard-core griller, you need this Bluetooth thermometer in your life. You’ll get to stay in your warm, toasty house while its four separate probes track the temp of your food. It has a 150-foot Bluetooth range and a mobile app, which lets you monitor all four probes at the same time on your phone. It’s especially awesome for cooking one big cut, like a beef tenderloin, since you can stick the probes into each end to make sure no part of it’s overcooked.
Anova Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker
You know what’s the worst? Picking up a pricey cut of rib eye and overcooking it on the grill. That is why we sous vide. The once arcane technique reserved for the pros has rapidly grown in home kitchens over the past few years. Despite its fancy French name, the concept is simple—vacuum-seal your prime cut in a plastic pouch before giving it a nice, long hot water bath. Once the beef (or seafood or whatever you’re cooking) hits the right temperature, take it out, give it a quick sear on the grill and you’re done.
There are tons of sous vide cookers out there, but we like this one for its clean, modern and simple interface that makes it easy to set the time and temperature. It gets more points for being Bluetooth friendly, which means an app on your mobile device will let you know when the water’s reached the perfect temperature to take out your food.
Dash Go Salad Chef
I love a pretty, colorful salad and this tiny slicer/shredder will get you chopping one up a whole lot faster than you would with a knife and cutting board. It works magic on everything from cucumbers and carrots to tougher veggies like zucchini, squash and beets. It also comes with a bunch of attachments that make it easy to perfect a thick or thin slice or shred your veggie of choice. If you love freshly grated cheese and carrots on your salad, this machine will be your new go-to. The best part? Its compact size won’t take up too much of your coveted counter space.
Fagor Induction Pro Range Cooktop
There are so many great reasons to own an induction burner. If you like to host dinner parties (or even Thanksgiving), an extra burner in your kitchen can be a lifesaver. If you’ve got a hot buffet spread, this little cooktop will play a starring role on your table. And if you live in a tiny city apartment or dorm room that lacks a proper kitchen, this will get you cooking. The cooktop gets super-hot, super-fast, making it a fave for tailgates and camping, too.
Breville Smart Oven Pro Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ
Since we’re talking small and compact, here’s another kitchen savior. When your big oven’s occupied, this little one comes to the rescue. What makes it smart are the menu functions that recommend ideal temperatures and times of what you’re cooking—and they remember the settings next time you make the same thing. There’s a slow cooker setting too and it works for up to 10 hours before automatically switching to warming mode so your brisket is ready when you walk in the door. Pro tip: If you’re one to stick to a recipe, make sure to turn down the temp or shorten the cook time for just about anything you make.
Excalibur 9-Tray Economy Dehydrator
The Internet obsession over Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s raw food diet went into high gear after the legendary QB’s record fifth Super Bowl win. Of course you don’t need a deydrator to follow a raw food diet. But the beauty of having one is that you can dry raw fruits and veggies when they’re in peak season, making it easy to extend their shelf life for a long time.
If you’re big on growing your own veggies, a dehydrator will work overtime in your kitchen when you’re having an amazing tomato season. We love this model because it has nine trays so you can dry more fruits and veggies all at once. Removable tray inserts make it easy to clean, too.
Cuisinart Electric Fondue Set
What could be better than a cozy fondue night with friends and good wine (besides flying to the Swiss Alps with said friends)? You’ll never use a Sterno again once you go electric with this sleek and modern set. Its 3-quart pot heats up quickly and has an adjustable thermostat so you can make sure the gooey stuff simmers at exactly the right temperature. The nonstick pot is easy to clean and dishwasher safe, too. Pro tip: You might want to keep an extension cord handy since the cord that comes with the set is on the shorter side.
Panintelligent Smart Pan
I’m a chronic offender of keeping the heat too high when I’m in a rush to get dinner on the table. After a long day at the office, I’ve been known to dry up a perfect piece of herb-roasted salmon. A clever pan like this would have nipped that crime right in the bud. It controls the cooking temp and time of whatever’s in the works using a sensor that syncs with a mobile app so you know when to stir, flip, turn down the heat or turn it off (before it’s burned into sad, dry piece of seafood).
Alchema Cider Maker
We love fruit in our house. We eat it with breakfast, pack it in lunch boxes and snack on it after dinner. Yet we somehow still end up with rotting fruit in the fridge come Sunday when we do our big supermarket shopping trip of the week. The guilt of having to toss beautiful organic strawberries = not good.
This brand spanking new small appliance and smart phone app give new life to the fruit that’s languishing on your counter or in your fridge by turning it into cider or wine. The downside? It’s not cheap. But avoiding waste and getting to call yourself a home brewer (sort of) makes it worth the splurge.
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