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Part of the fun of cooking is using cool kitchen gadgets. From small kitchen tools to countertop appliances, there is a large array of products to choose from when you're looking to upgrade your own kitchen or searching for the perfect gift for your favorite cook. It doesn’t matter if your kitchen is large or small or whether you cook for one or many. There are plenty of tools that will help you work smarter and faster—and make cooking tasks easier.
Here are the best kitchen gadgets.
Best Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Remembers previous settings
Three temperature levels
Precise temperature control
Comes with minimal accessories
There’s no doubt about it, the Instant Pot has become the “it” appliance in American homes. Electric pressure cookers existed before the Instant Pot entered the market, but the brand popularized the appliance and made it nearly as ubiquitous as slow cookers were for previous generations.
The 6-quart DUO60 is one of the most popular models with seven cooking modes (pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute/browning, yogurt maker, steamer, and warmer) and 14 preset cooking programs that make it simple to cook dinner from scratch on a busy night. Our tester highlighted the yogurt and slow cooker functions: when making yogurt, she never had to click "sauté" to get the milk to reach optimal temperature; and slow-cooking "always produced tender beans and meat in four hours on high."
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 6 quarts | Dimensions: 13.38 x 12.2 x 12.48 inches
"The device has its temperature and pressure sensors dialed in, resulting in precise results when cooking." — Danielle Centoni, Product Tester
Best Avocado Slicer: Oxo Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer
Easy to use
Creates even avocado slices
Cutting edge is sharp but safe
Cutting edge could be a bit longer
Avocados can be tricky to open, especially if you aren't confident with a knife. If you find yourself constantly reaching for this nutritious vegetable you might want to invest in an avocado slicer. It will make the job safer and easier, as the cutting edge is plastic.
Besides opening the avocado, you can use it to remove the pit and slice the avocado while removing it from its shell. Reviewers give this tool high marks for how easy it is to use and how sharp but safe the cutting edge is—even kids will be able to help make guacamole when you have this in the kitchen.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 0.75 x 2.25 x 7.75 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Top rack only
"I can't even begin to tell you how many times my knife has slipped while trying to remove an avocado pit. This gadget gives you a better handle on the situation, and the small blades grip the pit from three angles, so it's practically slip-proof." — Taylor Rock, Associate Editor
Best Silicone Strainer: Dreamfarm Vebo
Inside bottom surface may be tricky to clean
Sooner or later everyone needs a strainer, whether it’s for draining pasta or straining bones out of soup stock. This squishy silicone strainer does all that and so much more. The shape fits inside an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, so you can use it as a steamer basket in the cooker. You can also put it in a pot on the stove to boil pasta (simply lift it to drain), or use it as a steamer basket for vegetables, fish, or eggs in your favorite saucepan.
Handles make it easy to move the basket, but they fold down when you're trying to fit the strainer in a pot. Because it’s made from silicone, it withstands heat up to 260 degrees Celsius or 500 degrees Fahrenheit and can be washed in the dishwasher. Several reviewers do note, however, that the bottom silicone mesh surface of the strainer may need a thorough cleaning.
Material: Silicone | Capacity: 2.6 liters | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Mandoline: Progressive International Prepworks Adjust-A-Slice and Julienne Hand-Held Mandoline
Sharp blade slices effortlessly
Straight slice and julienne settings
Light and compact for easy cleaning, storing
Food holder is basically useless
Limited thickness settings
A mandoline is a handy slicing device typically used to make even cuts for potato gratin, homemade potato chips, or French fries, but it can be used for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. This inexpensive handheld version features three options for thickness and two slicing options: straight or julienne. It also has a non-skid base to keep it stable on the counter or you can position it over a bowl.
Our tester loved how sharp and effective it was and also liked that it was lightweight and extremely easy to clean. However, she noted the food holder left something to be desired.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 13 x 5.25 x 2.25 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand washing is recommended
"The blade seemed just as sharp and effective as the pricier options we tested, and we were able to slice through denser produce without any struggle." — Rachel Ellison, Product Tester
Best Coffee Grinder: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
Consistent grind size
Coffee grounds cup doubles as storage
Hefty price tag
This high-tech coffee grinder from Breville is for the serious coffee drinker. It features stainless steel conical burrs designed to reduce heat and protect the essential oils in the bean, an electronic timer that allows you to adjust grind time in .2 second increments, and 60 grinding settings—from super fine to super coarse and everything in between.
The grinder comes with two sizes of portafilter cradles that you can grind directly into, a ground-coffee container with a lid, and a cleaning brush. According to our tester, this machine is extremely consistent in its results no matter what kind of grind you prefer, and despite all its functionality and precise settings, it's fairly user-friendly.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 18 ounces | Power: 165 watts
"The finest grounds were consistently powdery, while the coarsest grinds were also an even size—no large chunks and minimal dust." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Citrus Juicer: Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer
Doesn't take up much space
Simple to use
Juicing large quantities can get tiring
Squeezing lemons is easy with this manual citrus juicer! It's similar to other Mexican-style citrus squeezers, but with a gear system that multiplies the force so you don’t have to work as hard to release all the juice. There are different sized juicers that can accommodate small limes and large oranges, but this medium-sized machine can handle a wide variety of citrus sizes. Made from nylon and stainless steel, it's top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Some reviewers do note that it can get tiring if you're juicing a large quantity of fruit.
Material: Nylon and stainless steel | Dimensions: 10.25 x 3.25 x 2.75 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Top rack only
Best Swivel Peeler: OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel Peeler
Includes potato eye remover
Peels easily and smoothly
A swivel peeler is a basic kitchen gadget, so make sure you buy one that will last for years to come. This peeler is similar in shape to the standard Good Grips model, but with a little more metal and a slightly better blade. It has the same comfortable grip and a potato-eye-remover at the top, so it will feel the same way when using it. Yes, this peeler is more expensive than other options on the market, but considering how often you’ll use a peeler in your kitchen and how long this will last, it's well worth the extra money. This peeler garnered points for how easily and smoothly it peels, and kids love using it.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 10.4 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Spatula Set: Oxo Good Grips 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set
Heads have great flexibility
Not molded in one piece
No color choices
“When mixing, I reach for my silicone spatula," says Marisel Salazar, trained cook and recipe developer. "It is safe for use on most cookware and won't scratch cast iron or nonstick surfaces. Despite its rubber-looking appearance, it actually has a high heat-resistance and won't melt when used for stirring or flipping hot foods, like eggs from a pan, or stirring sauces in a pot.”
One spatula really isn't enough for a fully functioning kitchen so this set from Oxo Good Grips really comes in handy with its small, medium, and "spoon" spatula. The spoon spatula is shaped like a shovel and in our tests worked great for stirring pasta and getting into the corner of pans. The small spatula can be used for reaching into jars and works great for mixing up salad dressings in smaller containers. The large spatula will be your go-to for scraping out batter from your mixing bowls.
All three are heat safe to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, safe to use with nonstick cookware and bakeware, and are dishwasher safe. Our tester found the heads of the spatulas to be "the perfect density"—tough enough for scraping spaghetti squash but gentle enough not to break the skin.
Heat Resistance: Up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit | Dimensions: 7.25 x 13.38 x 0.63 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"The silicone in the head is the perfect density, with just enough bend for the edges to conform to the jar, bowl, or pot we were working in, but sturdy enough to handle dense foods, like a particularly sticky marshmallow-like frosting." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Zester: Microplane Black Classic Stainless Steel Zester and Cheese Grater
Very sharp cutters
Effortless to use
Easy to clean and store
Not great for grating cheese
Having a microplane grater, also called a zester, can be a huge asset in the kitchen, as it can handle zesting citrus, hard cheese, ginger, nutmeg, and even chocolate. Use it with the grating side up to grate directly onto the food, or use it with the grating side down to see how much you’ve grated before you add it to the food. For easy storage, this grater has a hole in the handle so you can hang it on a hook or knife rack. It's also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning after each use. Customers love how easily and quickly it zests fruits and how fine the shavings are, but some report less favorable results when grating cheese.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Blade Length: 8 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
“A microplane is so much more versatile than just zesting citrus peels. I use mine for grating nuts for topping salads or adding nuttiness to baked goods, as well as hard cheeses, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, and even chocolate for shavings. It is also the tool to grate hard-boiled eggs for salad and whole spices, like nutmeg, garlic, and ginger, as well as other root vegetables you would normally dice.” — Marisel Salazar, Trained Cook and Recipe Developer
Best Ice Pop Molds: Tovolo Tiki Pop Molds, Set of 4
Easy to use and clean
A little tricky to slide popsicles out
Ice pops aren’t just for kids. These tiki-style molds will make the kids happy, of course, but they can also be used to make icy adult pops (think margarita pops or piña colada pops). Each pop has a different design, which adds to the fun, and the handles fit the tiki theme as well. The molds are made from silicone, so it’s easy to push the pops out and they can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher. Several other designs are available, including robots, monsters, and dinosaurs, which will absolutely delight your little ones.
When you’re not making ice pops, you can use the molds for freezing herb oils, molding flavored butters, or making plain ice cubes for drinks. These molds garnered top marks for how easy they are to use and clean; some reviewers say they have an easier time peeling the molds off the popsicles instead of sliding the latter out.
Material: Silicone, plastic | Number of Pieces: 4 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Whisk Set: Ouddy 5-Pack Stainless Steel Whisk Set
Easy to clean
May not withstand heavy usage
Every kitchen needs a whisk. Or two. This set gives you three whisks in different sizes, so you will always have the right whisk for the job. It includes an 8-inch whisk, a 10-inch whisk, and a 12-inch whisk. Use the largest one for whipping cream, use the medium for whisking salad dressings, and use the smallest one for whisking hot chocolate. As a bonus, this set comes with stainless steel measuring cups and a silicone cooking brush.
The whisks are nonstick and easy to clean. Customers love that they are comfortable to hold and easy to use. While they may not stand up to the toughest jobs, most think they work well for everyday kitchen use—especially for the price.
What's Included: 8-, 10-, and 12-inch stainless steel whisks (one each)
Best Immersion Blender: Cuisinart CSB-179 Smart Stick Hand Blender
Variable speed control
Convenient attachments included
Easy to clean
Awkwardly placed safety button
An immersion blender can do just about everything a countertop blender can do, but it has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. While it can’t crush ice like a countertop blender, it can blend drinks, emulsify dressings, make mayonnaise, and puree soft vegetables. Where it really shines is blending soups and sauces right in the cooking pot. It’s also great for pureeing beans for refried beans right in your cast iron frying pan.
The Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender is powerful and also has variable speed control so you don't have to rely on presets. The stainless steel immersion blender comes with a blender cup with side measurements, but you can also use your own container. It also comes with a chopper/grinder and a whisk so you can be sure you have all the tools necessary for whatever you want to mix up.
Material: Stainless steel | Power: 300 watts | Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 13 inches
Best Can Opener: Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener
Locks onto cans for cutting
Magnet can grab can lids
Slight learning curve
Lid can fall into can
Magnet doesn’t always reach cut lid
Every kitchen needs a can opener, and this one is a sturdy, mid-priced option that gets the job done. It's compact for easy storage, has a soft, comfortable grip, and features a locking mechanism that locks onto the can—which is particularly helpful for people with poor grip strength. A magnet helps with grabbing the can lid, which can then be released using a convenient lever so you never have to touch it.
Our tester found the plastic to be durable and didn't expect the stainless steel cutting blade to rust or corrode so it should last you a long time. This can opener is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Size: 7 inches | Dishwasher Safe: No
"The elements that set this can opener apart are a lock that keeps the opener attached to the can and a magnet for lid removal." – Donna Currie, Product Tester
What to Look for in Kitchen Gadgets
Kitchen gadgets can be alluring, but how much you'll really use one is the question to ask before you add it to your collection—if it'll help you with a task you perform on a regular basis, it may be worth it. On the other hand, if it's a gadget you don't expect to use often, you may want to think about a more practical purchase.
One can only have so many kitchen gadgets, and the bigger they are, the more space they occupy. If you have lots of storage space, size might not be the most important factor, but if yours is limited, you want to choose your gadgets with care. In many cases, gadgets come in a variety of sizes, and you can get similar functionality on a smaller scale.
Make sure to look at quality when selecting a kitchen gadget. Higher-quality products will hold up better over time—and they can also make any task easier and safer to perform.
How do you use an Instant Pot?
This wildly popular pressure cooker makes meals easy. Find all the details about how to use one, and what you can and can't cook in the Instant Pot here. Basically, follow these steps, and then select your cooking method on the control panel:
- Plug it in.
- Locate the max fill line, and be sure to not go above this for pressurized cooking.
- Put your ingredients in the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on the top of the pot, and follow the arrows to close it properly.
- Choose your cook setting and let it do its magic.
How do you use an avocado slicer?
Using the blade, slice the avocado lengthwise and circle around the pit. Once fully sliced, use your hands and twist the two sides until they come apart. Using the blade part of the tool, remove the pit by twisting. Use the slicing/scooping part of the tool to remove the avocado flesh on both sides.
What is the difference between a burr and blade coffee grinder?
As explained in this Spruce Eats article, Burr grinders use a revolving wheel to grind coffee while blade grinders use a metal blade to chop the beans. Because of the burr's consistent, uniform grind, coffee enthusiasts tend to prefer this model. Blade grinders tend to be less expensive, but not as consistent in the finished product.
How do you sharpen a swivel peeler?
Like knives, peelers can be sharpened at home with a whetstone and some elbow grease. Hold the blade perpendicular to the sharpening stone, and then move the peeler back and forth. Be careful not to put too much pressure, as the blade of a peeler is much thinner than a chef's knife. After about 10 strokes, wash the blade to remove any debris, and dry immediately. Peelers should be treated much like your prized cutlery—the blades need periodic sharpening to maintain serviceability.
What is a whisk used for?
Whisks come in a couple different configurations, mainly flat or balloon, and are used to either aerate a mixture or blend ingredients together by hand.
What is an immersion blender used for?
As explained in this Spruce Eats article, an immersion blender functions like a regular blender, but on a stick to make it easier to blend soups, sauces, and other liquids without the mess of moving it between pot and blender. Many are powerful enough to blend vegetables, potatoes, and any food item you need to puree.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a food writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. A self-professed "kitchen geek," she's written many roundups on a range of essential kitchen items, from the best Thanksgiving gadgets to the top seafood kitchen tools of the year. One of her faves? The Oxo Good Grips Silicone Spatula Set. "They're a must-want for home kitchens," she says.
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who owns an embarrassingly obscene number of kitchen utensils, including four from this list that all live in her gadget drawer. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has peeled thousands of carrots and zested hundreds of lemons, so she knows the importance of having the right tool for the job. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.