How To Kitchen Tools

11 Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets

spiralized zucchini inspiralized

Photo: Inspiralized/The Inspiralizer

Quick! Grab one of these go-to kitchen gadgets and dig into our most popular recipes.

Our forefathers made do in the kitchen with a few pans and an open flame. They also didn’t have avocado toast, cronuts, or paleo pancakes made from nothing but eggs and bananas.

We live in the future now, which means we have a world of tools at our disposal. But how do you separate the clutter from the culinary clutch players? We did the research for you, that’s how. We culled through thousands of recipes on to find our users’ absolute favorite recipes for each gadget. (You’re welcome.)

So start clearing out the cabinets, and make room for these must-have kitchen gadgets.

1. Instant Pot

instant pot one good thing by jillee

Photo: Jill/One Good Thing

If you’ve never heard of the Instant Pot, I’ll buy you one as a housewarming gift for the rock you’ve been living under.

According to the Instant Pot website, it’s an all-in-one pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer, yogurt maker and stockpot warmer — basically, it can do everything but land the space shuttle.

Already have an Instant Pot?
Check out our blog post full of mouth-watering Instant Pot recipes.

2. Air Fryer

Apparently there’s a gadget out there that can make delicious fried foods using a fraction of the oil that a deep fryer would require (think mere tablespoons). Enter the air fryer. You can use it to fry anything from spicy chicken wings to crispy french fries.

While Philips claims to have invented “the original airfryer,” there are tons of different models available — many of which hover around the $100 price point.

Want a crunchy delicious meal in a snap?
Try our incredibly popular recipe for Air Fried Chicken Wings by Brody.

3. Cast-Iron Skillet

Many highly utilitarian home cooks swear this is the only pan they need. (I’m quickly becoming one of them.) Cast-iron skillets are versatile and, if cared for properly, last forever. Lodge, the standard in preseasoned, nonstick, oven-safe skillets, has been in business since 1896.

The 12-inch model from Lodge retails for $39.50 and may never leave your burner — especially after you try this crazy-easy community recipe for cast-iron steak.

Looking for amazing ways to use this tool? Check out our blog post full of cast-iron skillet recipes.

spiralized sweet potato downshiftology

Photo: Lisa/Downshiftology

4. Spiralizer

One word: zoodles.

My favorite model, by Paderno, comes with three blades for creating different shapes and thicknesses of veggie “pasta.” You can also use a spiralizer to make noodles from apples, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrot, beet, and more.

Try our most “inspiralized” recipe on the site:
Grain Free Basil and Mint Summer Squash “Noodles” by Amie_TheHealthyApple.

5. Immersion Blender

Soups, purees, and smoothies are easy when you use a little motorized stick blender that doesn’t require dirtying an extra dish.

This simple tool doesn’t take up much space in the cabinet but will have an important place in your heart.

Of course, if you don’t mind the extra cleaning, you can get a lot of mileage out of a good, old-fashioned standalone blender. Any standard model will send you straight to smoothie heaven, but with a heavy hitter like the Vitamix — which is also kind of heavy on your wallet — can also make seed and nut butters, DIY oat and almond flours, soups, and more.

Grab an immersion blender (and a beer) and get ready to get sauced
with this awesome Currywurst Recipe by Isaiah.

6. Food Processor

Food processors are a game changer. Mine tops the list as my most-used wedding gift: Nearly three years later, I use it at least weekly to make cauliflower “rice” and shred potatoes for hash browns — not to mention all the fun you can have making pesto, bread and pasta dough, banana and Nutella “soft serve,” and gazpacho.

In addition to the standard bowl and blade, my Cuisinart food processor model also came with a shredding blade, slicing blade, and a plastic blade for sticky items like dough.

Here’s that yummy Summer Garden Gazpacho recipe we’re talking about, written by Sandra Reul.

7. Salad Spinner

salad spinner mama told me

Photo: Jenna/Momma Told Me

Nobody Likes a soggy salad. (Am I right?) My leafy green–loving friends swear by their spinners, using them to dry out damp salad greens as well as heartier greens to get ready for a quick sauté. The OXO model I have ($29.95) is also Amazon’s best seller in the category.

There are a ton of alternative uses for salad spinners, too, including cleaning leeks and removing seeds from canned tomatoes (and drying swimsuits, obviously).

Alisa Richter’s beloved Feta & Leek Quiche calls for a few turns of the salad spinner and hasn’t yet disappointed.

8. Rice Cooker

If my food processor is at the top of the most-used wedding gift list, a rice cooker comes in close second. This Zojirushi model is everything, full stop.

I have a major starch addiction, so I use mine only for rice. But the Internet uses it for all kinds of nontraditional applications, from kimchi and frittatas to steel-cut oats and even cake. (Yep: CAKE.)

Here’s an awesome nontraditional rice cooker recipe our home chefs are loving:
Chawal Ki Kheer, or Creamy Milk with Rice, by Dsha.

9. Mandoline Slicer

If you’re working with a recipe that calls for thin slices of any fruit or vegetable, you can either frustrate the heck out of yourself by attempting to cut potatoes manually into ⅛-inch slices (they will be uneven…I speak from experience), or you can grab the handy mandoline slicer and be done with the task in under a minute.

This ultra-sharp tool is not for the faint of heart — choose a model that comes with a secure food holder to save your fingers.

Oh, but the results of your carefully sliced labor will be so delicious.
Try this ever-popular community recipe for potatoes au gratin.

10. Dehydrator

A dehydrator is a must-have in any health nut’s kitchen. (I have Nesco’s “Snackmaster Pro.”)

You can use it to preserve produce and herbs at peak freshness, and even dry flowers for potpourri or craft purposes. But the dehydrator’s biggest talent, in my humble opinion, is delicious snacks like beef jerky and fruit leather. Mmm, leather.

Our community’s favorite dehydrator recipe, on the other hand,
is Kindra’s Zesty Nacho Kale Chips. YUM.

sous vide immersion circulator simply recipes

Photo: Emma and Elise/Simply Recipes

11. Sous-Vide Cooker

Ever wonder how restaurants serve perfectly cooked meat even on the busiest Saturday nights? Sous-vide (which means “under pressure” in French) involves vacuum packing food, then cooking it in a water bath at precise temperatures.

It’s a chef’s secret weapon, and now home cooks can use the technique easily, too. Check out Anova’s Culinary Bluetooth Sous Vide Precision Cooker and ChefSteps’ Joule Sous Vide tools to get started.

We’re drooling over this tutorial on sous-vide cooking — and the accompanying French dip recipe — from Emma and Elise over at Simply Recipes. Give it a try.

Honorable Mention: Handhelds

I asked my friends to name some of their best kitchen gadgets, and lots of them were actually single-use handheld kitchen tools. Here’s a quick rundown of their favorites:

Thermometer Kitchen scissors
Apple slicer Garlic peeler
Garlic press Strawberry huller
Cherry pitter  Citrus juicer

Put Your Gadgets to Work with Cookbook Create

Cookbook Create is the best way to compile all your favorite recipes that use those must-have tools filling your cabinets.

Start with the recipe suggestions we’ve listed above, then collect and organize your own recipes — then create your own customized cookbook you can turn to every time you’re ready to put one of your many kitchen gadgets to work.

Give Cookbook Create a try today — start adding recipes now.

Paige Worthy is a Chicago-based digital marketing strategist, writer, yoga instructor, and avid home chef. Visit her at

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