Gadgets don’t necessarily make a good cook, but I think we can all agree that kitchen tools can make a huge difference in the efficiency and enjoyability of food preparation. The problem is that there are so many kitchen gadgets (soooo many gadgets) to choose from that it can get complicated to narrow the list down to JUST the things you will really use and NOT the things that will be used once or twice and otherwise be a colossal waste of cabinet/counter/closet space. Even once you have determined what kind of countertop appliances you think you need, there are so many brands and options to choose from that the decision can overwhelming.
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What I hope to do is relieve you of some of that decision fatigue by giving you a short list of my top five favorite countertop appliances. I realize that everyone’s needs are different, so you might not need or want everything that I love. But hopefully reading my thoughts on these products will help give you an idea of brands and features to look for as you shop.
And just to clarify, this is not a sponsored post. I’m sharing these products because I use them and genuinely love them! Also, they are listed in no particular order. I didn’t play favorites with my favorites.
- Lets just go ahead and get this one out of the way. I’m pretty sure everybody knows about crockpots and how awesome they are, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include it since I use them so frequently. I have two: a 6 qt. standard crockpot that was given to me as a wedding gift 8 years ago and a Casserole Crock that I just started using recently. The big crockpot is fantastic for making soups and yogurt, or for keeping cider/hot chocolate warm. The casserole sized one is fantastic for making meals that require less space or for keeping a casserole that was baked in the oven warm. It’s perfect for potlucks for that reason. The only con for me is that crockpot liner bags don’t fit in the casserole dish shaped crockpot. (Note: The 6 qt. crockpot I linked to is similar to mine but not the same. They don’t make mine anymore.)
- When I got my mixer my primary intention for it was cake making. I was getting so tired of using my little hand mixer to beat buttercream and I was even more tired of having my kitchen coated in powdered sugar. The stand mixer eliminated my tired arms and the shield that goes with it protects my kitchen from splashes and sugar fog. Since then I’ve used it to mix, beat, cream, whip, and shred many ingredients in many recipes and I’m grateful for it’s time and energy saving superpowers every time I use it. This was surprise-for-no-reason-besides-that-I-love-you gift from my husband and it’s possibly the best thing he’s ever given me.
- This one is something I use every. single. day. The blades are so sharp that I ruined a couple of dish clothes washing them and cut myself at least once. That makes for super smooth milkshakes, smoothies, frosted coffees, blended soups, and black bean brownies. We chose one that had tons of options including the smoothie cups and a food processor with different blades to choose from. Verdict on that: I love (love, love, love,) the smoothie cups, but I’ve only used the food processor a handful of times. It works fine, I just don’t need it that often so I would probably spare the added expense if I got it again. If you are a frequent food processor though, you will probably want to keep that option because it does work well. To summarize: buy a Ninja blender with smoothie cups, possibly pass on the food processor.
My favorite smoothie to make in my Ninja? The Cherry Chocolate Spinach Smoothie, of course.
- I know this one probably makes you cringe at the memory of old infomercials, but hang with me here. My husband really loves it for grilled cheese sandwiches. I like it for sandwiches but also because ours doubles as a waffle maker. You can also cook burger patties and quesadillas on it, making it a great multi-functional kitchen tool.
- This is probably the gadget I use the second most behind the blender. I use it for breakfast foods the most, usually pancakes, eggs, and bacon. I sometimes also use it for grilled cheese when I need to make a lot at once because it can hold about six sandwiches at a time. Maybe eight, depending on your bread. I’ve used it for about 3 years and the nonstick coating doesn’t seem to have any noticeable wear or tear. I never use any nonstick spray and food always lifts off cleanly without sticking. I also really like the removable handles for easier clean up and storage.