Kitchen Appliance Roundup
As so many of you know, when it comes to kitchen appliances, I have an actual hoarding problem. Seriously. I collect them. But to be fair, I regularly use (or at least have used) every single one of them. So, while I’m not an “expert” on the topic per se, I certainly have loads of personal experience to draw from. For that reason, I’ve decided to round up a list of my top 7 “must-have” appliances/gadgets that every home chef, from novice to professional, should have in their kitchen.
Of course, not every appliance is made equally, and the quality and price can range dramatically between brands and models, so if you’d like my specific recommendations, feel free to send us a DM! We will respond as quickly as possible. Enjoy, and happy cooking!
- Instant Pot: If you’re like so many of the Instant Pot owners out there who jumped right on the bandwagon to purchase one but are too intimidated to actually take it out of the box -DO IT. NOW. The Instant Pot was ranked the #1 Smart Kitchen Appliance to buy online, and for good reason! Sure, it functions as a pressure cooker, but that’s just one of multiple cooking features this amazing appliance can perform. It’s also a slow cooker, saute pan, rice cooker, yogurt maker and steamer – therefore allowing you to make about 90% of recipes out there in just one pot! In addition to making mealtime dramatically less stressful, it also allows for less dirty dishes, lower electric bills (it uses significantly less energy than your oven or stove) and tons of freed-up counter space (who needs all those other gadgets??).Additionally, the Instant Pot not only speeds up cooking time drastically (up to 70%!), it does so without compromising nutrient loss. It cooks food quickly, deeply and evenly with only enough water needed to create pressure steam, so food retains up to 90% of its nutritional value. Lastly, for those of you who are still too nervous about how to safely put it to use– this is not your mother’s pressure cooker. The Instant Pot has high-tech onboard safety features in place such as pre-programmed settings and multiple sensors so it is nearly fail-proof to operate.
- Crock Pot/Slow Cooker: If the Instant Pot still feels a bit too overwhelming, do not despair. The CrockPot (or slow cooker) may be the next best thing. Because of it’s large size and number of portions that a single recipe yields, you can easily get a week’s worth of meals out of one cooking session. Most Crock Pot recipes freeze well too, so there’s no need to finish it all at once. With slow cookers, you can easily prep in the morning, set it to cook on low all day, and dinner is ready to serve by the time you get home. In addition, because food is cooked on lower temps over longer time, food flavors are enhanced and better distributed, nutrients are preserved, and meat is more tenderized. Finally, like the Instant Pot, the slow cooker uses less energy than an electric oven or stove, frees up valuable counter space, and travels well (making it quite convenient for gatherings and events).
- Ninja Blender: Switching gears completely from One-Pot to Blender- this is another one of my can’t-live-without small kitchen appliances. I have owned a Ninja for years, and believe it is every bit as awesome as the Vitamix for a fraction of the price. It is high powered with sharp and well-designed blades, so smoothies and soups are blended evenly and efficiently in mere minutes. Additionally, it is easily disassembled for easy cleaning, all parts are dishwasher-safe (and BPA free), and it comes with a 72-oz mixing pitcher so you can whip up several servings in one shot. Sure, it doesn’t pulverize nuts into nut butter or heat soups just by blending the way the Vitamix does, but if its simply an incredible blender you’re looking for, Ninja is the best bet for your money hands-down.
- Air Fryer: Ahhh, the GoWise Air Fryer—one of my favorite discoveries of 2017. This awesome appliance functions by circulating hot air around the food to give the exterior that crispy crunch that we all love. Air-fried food tastes and feels quite similar to its deep-fried counterparts, but with a fraction of the fat and calories (up to 75% less in fact!). Instead of completely submerging the food in three cups of oil, air-frying requires just a minimal spritz. Also, by switching from traditional frying methods to air-frying, you can significantly reduce your risk of toxic acrylamide formation. Acrylamides are dangerous chemicals that can form in your food from certain cooking methods, and air-frying lowers the risk of this occurrence. Aside from the health benefits of air-frying versus deep-frying, this appliance is also incredibly simple to use (no complicated buttons to press or safety features to enact), allows for quick and convenient cooking, and is completely hands-free so dinnertime is considerably less stressful!
- Food Processor: The food processor is one of the most frequently-used and versatile kitchen appliances one will ever own, and is a must-have for any home chef—regardless of skill level. It perfectly chops, slices, dices, grinds and purees your veggies in a matter of minutes (no matter how large the quantity!), putting an end to hours tedious frustrating of meal prep. And, because all of the pieces are chopped into equal size and thickness, food cooks more evenly and recipes turn out the way they were intended. My food processor also offers me an element of comfort when preparing meals, as I own my weaknesses, and knife-skills are certainly one of them. Chopping by hand is not second-nature for me (or most of us), and the food processor provides protection against sliced fingers and hands. Lastly, the food processor does so much more than just dicing veggies – it is the perfect appliance for whipping up chunky soups and stews, delicious sauces and dips, and even many types of nut and seed butters. Depending on the model and blade options, some can even mince meat, knead bread, and beat cake and cookie batter. So, if you’re looking to save time and energy in the kitchen and make healthy, professional-looking meals (safely!) for your family, the Food Processor is a must-have!
- Spiralizer: The original spiralizer has been one of my kitchen staples since before my daughters could walk (or eat solid food for that matter!). While it isn’t technically an appliance, it’s certainly an essential gadget for anyone looking to prepare easy, healthy, creative, kid-and-family-friendly meals. Sure, plenty of markets now offer pre-spiralized veggies such as zucchini, sweet potato or butternut squash, but they are often triple the price per ounce, and spoil and have a very quick expiry date. Plus, it takes all the fun and creativity out of the process My daughters love to get in on the action too! I mean, how fun is it to make your favorite fruit or veggie turn instantly in to curly, colorful noodles? And when you get your children involved in the kitchen, they’ll learn that eating healthy can be delicious AND fun. Lastly, spiralizing your produce allows you to still enjoy all of your favorite pasta dishes while maintaining your vegetarian, vegan, paleo or gluten-free lifestyle.
- Espresso Maker: Ok, this one may seem pretty obvious (I mean who doesn’t love to wake up to the smell – and taste – of a freshly brewed cup of espresso in the morning) but you’d be shocked how many people don’t actually brew their own joe. You can save hundreds of dollars a year, not to mention wasted hours waiting in lines, by adding a home espresso maker to your arsenal. You’ll be able to choose the quality (organic, sustainable etc), seasonality, roast profile and geography of your beans rather than being at the mercy of the limited, and often highly-sprayed, unfair-trade selections offered at most diners, coffee carts and fast-food chains. Additionally, you’ll have complete control over the creative process: from PID temperature, to amount and type of milk to stiffness/aeration of foam. Finally, investing in a quality espresso machine will give your kitchen a boost of elegance and upscale ambiance, and is one of the best (and easiest) ways to totally up your hostessing game!
With the holiday season fast approaching, and dining-out options increasingly limited, I know we will all be spending even more time in the kitchen than usual over the next few months. I hope this roundup makes your meal time prep not only easier and quicker, but perhaps even enjoyable and the slightest bit relaxing.