The 16 Best Kitchen Tools for Healthy Cooking and Eating in 2021

A well-stocked kitchen makes it easy to stick to your goals

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Our Top Picks
"Not only does it grill, but it also roasts, bakes, broils, dehydrates, and air fries to perfection with minimal effort."
"It also has the ability to chop, knead, puree, and make nut butters."
"The air fryer functions as a multi-purpose kitchen appliance with the ability to air broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate."
"The Paderno Spiralizer can tackle all types of veggies, including zucchini, carrots, beets, and potatoes."
"In addition to the basic slow cook function, this multi-use kitchen tool can also sear, bake, steam, sous vide, and roast."
"This machine makes it so easy that you’ll never want to go back to store-bought yogurt again."
"If you're new to calorie or macro-counting or need something to make your life a little easier, this scale can do the job."
"The containers are microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher safe, making the whole process super convenient."
"A kitchen staple that takes the hassle out of chopping, shredding, and meal prepping."
"One of the brand's most popular models has 10 cooking functions, including pressure cook, steam, slow cook, saute, and meat."

It’s been a long year and after dealing with many things that have been out of your control, you may be looking to take back the reins a little bit in the new year by focusing on your health. As such, you may also be looking for the best kitchen tools for healthy cooking and eating to make your life easier (and also, just because getting new kitchen stuff is fun). 

There are a lot of options out there, but a well-stocked kitchen isn’t complete without a great knife set, a sturdy cutting board, high-quality meal prep containers, and small kitchen appliances, like an air fryer and food processor.

Here is our list of the best kitchen tools to help you reach your healthy eating goals.

Best Overall: Ninja Foodi XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill

The Ninja Foodi XL is the kitchen gadget that puts other kitchen gadgets to shame. Not only does it grill, but it also roasts, bakes, broils, dehydrates, and air fries to perfection with surprisingly minimal effort. 

One of the biggest upgrades from the earlier model is the inclusion of a temperature probe that automatically senses the internal temperature of meat and alerts you when it reaches your pre-chosen doneness level. If you’re a chronic meat over-cooker or you just want easy healthy meals fast, this is the kitchen tool you need.

Best Blender: Vitamix A2300 Ascent Series Professional-Grade Smart Blender

A really great blender is a splurge, but when you opt for the Vitamix A2300 Ascent Series Blender, it’s money well spent. Like many other blenders, it makes easy work of blending smoothies and crushing ice, but it also has the ability to chop, knead, puree, and make nut butters

It comes with a tamper so you never have to interrupt blending to scrape down the sides and has a built-in digital timer that lets you keep track of blending time so you can make sure everything is as smooth (or as chunky) as you want it. And with four color options and an updated modern design, this Vitamix blender looks good on the counter too.

Best Air Fryer: Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer

Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer

With its two individual baskets and Dual Zone technology—an advanced feature that allows you to cook food in each basket at different temperatures at the same time—the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer is the answer to all of our air fryer prayers. In addition to conveniently separating food so you can cook a main dish and your sides at the same time, it also has an extra-large 8-quart capacity—each basket is 4 quarts—that makes it really easy to meal prep or prepare large, healthy meals for your entire family.

And in true Ninja fashion, the air fryer functions as a multi-purpose kitchen appliance with the ability to air broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate, as well.

Best Spiralizer: Paderno World Cuisine 6-Blade Spiralizer

Spiralized veggies are a fun way to add nutrients to your meals or turn your favorite dishes into low-carb or gluten-free versions that are equally delicious and filling. With six stainless steel blades that do everything from spiralizing to ribbon cut to julienne, the Paderno Spiralizer can tackle all types of veggies, including zucchini, carrots, beets, and potatoes.

It also has a storage space for the extra blades and comes with a cleaning brush so you can easily wipe away anything that’s left behind and store it for the next time you need it.

Best Slow Cooker: Instant Pot Aura Pro 11-in-1 Multicooker Slow Cooker

Instant Pot is most well known for its pressure cookers, but the Aura Pro is proof that the brand's nailed slow cookers, too. In addition to the basic slow cook function, this multi-use kitchen tool can also sear, bake, steam, sous vide, and roast, which means you no longer have to brown meat on the stove and then transfer it to your slow cooker, dirtying two dishes in the process. It even has dedicated settings for yogurt and rice.

There’s also a delay start function that allows you to prep your meal in advance and push the start time back to a max of 24 hours, so if you have to be out of the house early, you can still come back to a perfectly cooked (but not overcooked) meal.

Best Yogurt Maker: Hamilton Beach Proctor Silex 86300 Yogurt Machine

Proctor Silex Yogurt Machine

Yogurt is often hailed as a health food, but many of the pre-packaged options you find in the store are full of junk. The simple solution is to make your own. While that may seem complicated, the Proctor Silex 86300 Yogurt Machine makes it so easy—and delicious—that you’ll never want to go back to store-bought yogurt again.

After filling the 32-ounce container with milk and probiotic starter, you put it into the machine and then use the digital controls to start the automatic 8- to 12-hour cycle. When the yogurt is done, you can take the container out of the machine, cover it with the included lid and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat it. Easy and convenient.

Best Kitchen Scale: Greater Goods Nourish Digital Kitchen Food Scale

The Greater Goods Nourish Digital Food Scale is not your average kitchen scale. In addition to showing food weight and quantities in grams or ounces, it also displays nutritional facts, including calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fiber, sugars, and protein, for over 2,000 foods. 

If there’s a food you like to eat that isn’t in the database, you have the option to create up to 99 custom entries to make the scale work best for you. Whether you’re new to calorie or macro-counting or just need something to make your life a little easier, this scale can do the job.

Best Meal Prep Containers: Prep Naturals Glass 2-Compartment Meal Prep Containers, 5 Pack

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If you’re adding meal prepping to your healthy new routine, a high-quality set of glass meal prep containers, like these from Prep Naturals, is non-negotiable. Each container—they come in a set of five—has two separate compartments so you can easily split up your meals or portion out ingredients without them mixing together. The containers hold 29 ounces total, but one side is larger than the other, presumably so you can fit your main dish and your side.

The containers are microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher safe, making the whole process from storage to reheating to cleaning, super convenient.

Best Food Processor: Ninja BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor

Ninja makes the list again with its BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor, a kitchen staple that takes the hassle out of chopping, shredding, and meal prepping. It has a 9-cup capacity, four pre-programmed settings—chop, puree, dough, and disc—and two different blade attachments that allow you to do everything from dicing onions to making almond butter.

You can also operate the food processor manually, using the low, high, and pulse options, to get the ideal consistency for whatever you’re making.

Best Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Ultra 10-In-1 Pressure Cooker

 Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker

It’s probably not shocking to see that Instant Pot has earned the spot of best pressure cooker, but there’s a reason the brand is the most popular choice. The Ultra 10-in-1, one of Instant Pot’s most advanced models, has 10 cooking functions, including pressure cook, steam, slow cook, saute, meat, beans, and yogurt that you can toggle through with the turn of a central knob. It also has 11 integrated safety features and a new steam release valve to keep your hands safe and mind at ease.

If you’re new to pressure cooking and still feeling a little intimidated by the thought, the Instant Pot Duo Nova is an excellent entry-level option that gets the job done, but doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some of the other models.

Best Food Dehydrator: Hamilton Beach 5 Tray Digital Food Dehydrator

hamilton-beach-dehydrator

Dehydrated foods such as jerky and dried fruits are a great way to incorporate healthy snacks into your diet while being economical. This Hamilton Beach model makes it easy with its rectangular shape and five stacking trays, which can accommodate long strips of meat and veggies, a substantial amount of fruit slices, and even long sprigs of herbs.

What makes this dehydrator especially convenient to use is its digital timer, which can be set up to 48 hours as an automatic shut-off, and its temperature gauge.

It also includes specialized drying sheets: a mesh one to ensure small veggies and herbs won't fall through the screens, and a solid sheet to turn fruit purees into fruit rolls.

Best Juicer: Kuvings B6000W Whole Slow Juicer

Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer, B6000 Series

The Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer is the ultimate juicing machine. This top-of-the-line masticating juicer slowly grinds and mashes fruits and vegetables, similar to the way your teeth chew, to retain more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than other types of juicers. However, unlike other masticating juicers on the market, this model has a wide-mouth chute that’s large enough for whole apples, so there’s significantly less prep work needed.

It also has a separate strainer attachment that can be used to make fresh sorbet with frozen fruit, so you can stay on track even when your sweet tooth hits.

Best Knife Set: Cuisinart C77WTR Triple Rivet Knife Set, 15 Piece

When it comes to healthy cooking, there’s a lot of focus on small kitchen appliances, but a really great knife set is the foundation of any well-stocked kitchen. The Cuisinart C77WTR-15P 15-Piece Set has everything you need for every kitchen task. Each knife blade is made from high-carbon forged stainless steel for effortless, precision cutting, while the ergonomic handles fit nicely in your hand and stand up to wear and tear from regular use.

The set includes a chef's knife, slicing knife, santoku knife, utility knife, two paring knives, six steak knives, kitchen shears, and a sharpening steel all organized in a beautiful wooden block.

Best Cookware Set: Great Jones Family Style Set

Great Jones Family Style Set

Cookware is another foundational must-have for healthy cooking and eating. While it may be tempting to snag a cookware set with as many pieces as possible, more isn’t necessarily better. The Great Jones Family Style Set is a curated collection that has everything you need for daily cooking, without the extra pieces that contribute to clutter (and never get used anyway).

It includes two fully clad stainless pots, one stainless steel deep-walled skillet, one ceramic nonstick skillet, and an enameled cast iron dutch oven that comes in seven accent colors, like blue, mustard yellow, and deep green, and really steals the show.

Best Cutting Board: Cup Board Pro Cutting Tray

cup-board-pro-tray

The Cup Board Pro made its debut on Shark Tank and has quickly become a sought-after kitchen staple for vegetarians or, really, anyone who likes to cook without a mess. Made of eco-friendly wood fiber and recycled paper composite, the reversible cutting board connects to a tray that consolidates scraps and collects juices for clean and convenient fruit and vegetable chopping.

One side of the reversible cutting board is completely flat for chopping and slicing, while the other has grooves around the perimeter and in the middle of the board, designed to guide juices from meat or fruits, directly into the catch tray.

Best Mandoline Slicer: OXO Good Grips Adjustable Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer

OXO Good Grips Adjustable HandHeld Mandoline Slicer

Mandoline slicers are beyond useful for slicing and dicing veggies and fruits, making thin zucchini “noodles” for lasagna, and even making tasty fruit tarts. But you may balk at spending money on yet another kitchen gadget, especially if you’re new to healthy cooking, are on a budget, and are not sure if you're going to even be using all the fancy capabilities that a higher-end mandoline may provide. That’s where the OXO Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer comes in.

It offers everything you would likely need in a starter mandoline—at a reasonable price. Our tester not only found the blade sharp enough for her needs (she was able to slice a full-sized cucumber in 30 seconds), but she also found it easy to adjust the slicer to any of the three thicknesses provided. This mandoline also has a comfortable non-slip handle, and its non-slip “foot” is sturdy and keeps it from moving around on the work surface. The mandoline is also partly clear, so you can see how much you’ve cut. This slicer is also dishwasher-safe and comes with a handguard.

Best Cookbook: Quick Prep Paleo by Mary Smith

quick-prep-paleo-cookbook
Courtesy of Amazon.

Whether you’re new to healthy cooking, or just trying to get back on track after a rough year, you probably have the same goal: get a healthy meal on the table fast. Quick Prep Paleo by Mary Smith can help you do that. Each recipe in the book calls for ingredients you likely already have in your house—or can easily find at any grocery store—and requires only 5 to 15 minutes of hands-on time. There are plenty of sheet pan dinners, slow cooker meals, and casseroles to make things simple and help with meal prep.

And don’t let the word “paleo'' scare you. That just means that every recipe in the book is made with fresh, whole foods without additives, fillers, or any other less-than-desirable ingredients. You don’t have to be following a specific dietary plan to love this cookbook.

Final Verdict

The Ninja Foodi XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill is the ultimate kitchen appliance that can cover most of your cooking needs, but a great knife set like the Cuisinart C77WTR-15P 15-Piece Set and a sturdy cutting board, like the Cup Board Pro, are also foundations to a well-stocked healthy kitchen.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage-testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.

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