- Food and Cooking
10 Small Kitchen Appliances That Can Make Life Better
Which Small Electric Kitchen Appliances Are Really Helpful?
There are many small kitchen appliances that claim to make life easier. Some of them do; some of them don't. There are several kitchen appliances that most people find useful - even critical. Other kitchen gadgets fit more particular niches and are considered essential by some and totally useless by others.
Here's my "Top 10" list of small kitchen appliances, including descriptions of what makes them helpful and to whom.
The Top Three
Kitchen Appliances with the Widest Appeal
1 Food Processor
The food processor is primarily used for chopping and slicing fruits and vegetables and combining various ingredients in a recipe. The "S-blade" does most of the work: chopping, mincing, and thoroughly grinding up and mixing ingredients. Other attachments are used to slice and julienne. If there's too much liquid in a food processor, it may leak or erupt out. For liquidy combinations, the blender is a better bet.
2 Blender or Vitamix
Blenders are great for chopping up and combining liquid ingredients, though they can also be effective with more solid foods. Use a blender to make smoothies, smooth and creamy soups, sauces, drinks, and other liquidy concoctions. Blenders can also be used to crush ice. If you can afford it, the is a super-dooper powerhouse of a blender, capable of making green smoothies, completely liquefying the kale or spinach. Vitamix
3 Coffee Maker
Essential for coffee lovers, but also important for those who don't drink coffee, there are a variety of coffee makers to suit every need. I myself am not a coffee drinker, but I own a small coffee maker to accommodate guests who would like to enjoy a cup or two. In addition, I use my coffee maker to brew small amounts when I make chocolate mocha cake or coffee ice cream.
I use my blender somewhat less often than my food processor, perhaps once a week. When I'm mixing liquid ingredients, this is the tool I use, since my food processor tends to leak (or spray!) if it's a liquidy mixture.
I do not own a Vitamix, but it is on my wish list! (This is the only product on this page that I have not personally owned.) I have enjoyed smoothies made by friends with their Vitamix machines, so I know firsthand what a tremendous appliance this is. Green smoothies are a breeze to make, and it does all the things a regular blender does. The machine is designed to clean up easily and quickly. Yes, it is expensive, but that is because it is so well designed and has such a powerful motor. I openly admit to having Vitamix envy!
There are people who simply can't function without coffee. While I've always loved the smell of coffee, I am not particularly fond of the taste -- unless we're talking about coffee ice cream. I own a small automatic drip coffee maker that I bring out for guests, who are always very grateful for a cup!
There are a vast array of electric kitchen appliances out there!
Think about what you REALLY need and what your budget is.
Then find the product that's best for YOU!
The Next Tier
Very Helpful Small Kitchen Appliances
4 Electric Griddle
A nonstick electric griddle is the perfect way to prepare pancakes, quesadillas, bugers, hot dogs, and anything else that can be fried. Since it can be used dry or with just a bit of cooking spray, the food doesn't come out greasy. Griddles typically fit 6-8 pancakes at a time, making it easier to use than a frying pan when cooking for more than one or two people.
5 Slow Cooker
A slow cooker, also referred to by the brand name Crockpot, is a great tool to make delicious soups and stews. Place all the ingredients into the crockpot in the morning and plug it in. The contents are gently heated, usually for 6-8 hours. The slow cooker is designed to be left unattended, so you can come home from work to a hot meal!
6 Ice Cream Maker
This precious gem is my FAVORITE!!! Making your own ice cream is fun and easy. You can make whatever flavor you want and can adjust the ingredients to suit your dietary needs -- dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. Please click here for more information on making your own ice cream.
7 Electric Sandwich Maker
While I wouldn't put the electric sandwich maker into the "critically essential" category, this little gadget can make rather ordinary ingredients into an exciting meal. The sandwich maker (also called a sandwich toaster) toasts the outsides of two slices of bread and heats the contents to a gooey consistency. It also cuts the bread into two sealed triangles, making the sandwiches more visually appealing. Try making things like pizza pockets, blueberry "pies," hot deli sandwiches, and even hot and gooey peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with this small appliance. Please click here for more information about this appliance.
Electric Griddle, Slow Cooker, Ice Cream Maker, and Electric Sandwich Maker - Research the best options for your needs!
My electric griddle is one of my favorite small kitchen appliances! I use it on a regular basis for pancakes, veggie burgers, and quesadillas. The nonstick surface makes it very easy to clean. It's a lot more convenient than trying to make a large number of pancakes in a frying pan!
Mmmmmm....Delicious soups and stews. This is a great convenience once you figure out the rhythm. Put ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and just let it sit and stew, so to speak. The house smells wonderful as the ingredients simmer for hours. Come home to a hot meal!
It is no exaggeration to say that this kitchen appliance has changed my life! As a vegan, it was difficult to find good, affordable ice cream. Now I just make my own -- any flavor, whenever I want! It is SPECTACULAR!!!
Please see below for a link to my article about using the ice cream maker.
This is a fantastic little gizmo! Quick and easy grilled cheese and other sandwiches, nicely toasted and divided into sealed triangles. It's inexpensive and fun. Teenagers love these because they can make a delicious meal or snack without any hassle. The nonstick surface makes cleaning a breeze.
Please see below for a link to my article about using the sandwich toaster.
When figuring out what kinds of small kitchen appliances to get, think about:
What do you want to cook?
What will you REALLY cook?
How much counter space and storage space do you have?
Will you and your family REALLY eat whatever this gizmo makes?
Is the product difficult to clean?
Will it save you time and energy?
Does this product have multiple uses?
A Few More Small Appliances
You May Find These Useful
8 Bread Machine
Ahhhh, there's nothing like waking up in the morning to the smell of fresh-baked bread! Many bread machines offer a timer feature to allow you to do just that. The bread machine provides the benefits of homemade bread without all of the work. The machine kneads the dough, then gives the dough time to rise before kneading it again and then baking it. No artificial ingredients in your bread - just delicious bread!
9 Immersion Blender
For people who love to make creamy soups but don't like transferring the soup from the pot to the blender and back again, this gadget does the trick! Simply hold the blender in the soup pot itself and blend the soup to a creamy consistency. The immersion blender also works well for things like dips and dressings.
10 Food Dehydrator
Want to make your own dried fruit or backpacking meals? A food dehydrator is an efficient way to preserve food by drying it. Many raw foods recipes utilize a food dehydrator, since it doesn't heat the food enough to destroy the raw nutritional value. Again, by preparing your own food, you know it won't have weird preservatives or other ingredients you may not want.
Bread Machine, Immersion Blender, and Food Dehydrator
I picked up a simple breadmaker some years ago and was thrilled to be able to make my own bread! When you use your own ingredients, it's simply healthier. And you can make a variety of different breads. If you get a programmable breadmaker, you can set the timer so that you wake up to fresh-baked bread in the morning!
This is a great gizmo that has saved me time and energy when making creamy soups. Instead of taking soup out of the cook pot or crockpot to liquefy in the blender, I can stick this into the soup pot and blend away! Much less to clean up.
I used my food dehydrator nonstop while preparing meals for my extended backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. It's a great tool for dehydrating full backpacking meals or for everyday use in making healthy snacks, such as dried apple rings and other fruits.