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10 Small Kitchen Appliances That Can Make Life Better

Updated on September 17, 2014
Some of my frequently-used kitchen appliances
Some of my frequently-used kitchen appliances | Source

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 Vitamix is a super-dooper powerhouse of a blender, capable of making green smoothies, completely liquefying the kale or spinach.

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.

Black & Decker BL10450HB Crush Master 10-Speed Blender with 42-Ounce Glass Jar, Black
Black & Decker BL10450HB Crush Master 10-Speed Blender with 42-Ounce Glass Jar, Black

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.

 
Vitamix TurboBlend Two Speed Blender, Black
Vitamix TurboBlend Two Speed Blender, Black

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!

 
Mr. Coffee BVMC-SJX33GT-AM 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker, Chrome
Mr. Coffee BVMC-SJX33GT-AM 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker, Chrome

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!

Presto 07030 Cool Touch Electric Griddle
Presto 07030 Cool Touch Electric Griddle

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!

 
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-S
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-S

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!

 
Cuisinart ICE-21 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream Maker (White)
Cuisinart ICE-21 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream Maker (White)

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.

 
Cuisinart Dual-Sandwich Nonstick Electric Grill
Cuisinart Dual-Sandwich Nonstick Electric Grill

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.

 

Consider This

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

Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker, White
Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker, White

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!

 
Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome
Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome

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.

 
Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator
Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator

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.

 

Oh, look! A Poll!

Do you like to cook?

See results

Which small kitchen appliances do you use? - Your comments are always welcome

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    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I enjoyed looking around your lens and I'll call again sometime :-)

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      Great list, these appliances can really help us a lot. I especially like the idea of using a food dehydrator which can be used to make healthy snacks for kids.

    • Fufurinha47 profile image

      Beatriz 4 years ago from Portugal

      Loved your lens! :D

      Congrats.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      After we had been married for 20 years, my wife told me that it was my turn to cook. Then after 40 years I asked her if she wanted to renegotiate, and she said, "Keep going." So I'm the cook. I can ask her again when we reach 60 years but I expect that I'm stuck with this role.

    • profile image

      A-Marie 4 years ago

      I recently bought a water heater so I can heat watt for tea and hot chocolate. I'm really getting away from appliances. I can't name the last time I used one.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      The hand blender and nut grinder almost daily.

    • rockingretro2 profile image

      rockingretro2 4 years ago

      I love my immersion blender. Makes it easy to make soups that look and taste like you have been standing over a hot stove all day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I only have a few small kitchen appliances and the one I use the most is the coffeemaker. Happy Holidays!

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 4 years ago

      Probably the electric griddle!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @choosehappy: Thanks! Enjoy the coffee!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      I use so many, but I guess the coffee maker gets the most action. ;)

      Happy Thanksgiving... Blessed!

    • RosaMorelli profile image

      RosaMorelli 4 years ago

      I can't live without my blender - I love making my own fruit smoothies! :)

    • SecondSally profile image

      SecondSally 4 years ago

      I use the coffee maker, the slow cooker, and the popcorn popper a lot.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Aquamarine18: SO EXCITING!!!!

    • Aquamarine18 profile image

      Aquamarine18 4 years ago

      I am addicted to small kitchen appliances. I've got all of those you mentioned, plus my latest acquisitions: A hot air popcorn maker and a....cotton candy maker! Oh! and my favorite one- an electric crepe maker! I love these so much, I have made a lens for each!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @siobhanryan: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Blessed-good article

    • redstanford lm profile image

      redstanford lm 4 years ago

      I like this page a lot. Very informative for sure

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Hannah Writes: Sweet!

    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 4 years ago

      I love my bread machine! We make challah in it every Friday! Tastes delish!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I had to vote for the juicer! I've never owned a bread machine, but I love homemade bread. A blender (a good quality one) is essential these days. Believe it or not, I remember when they were first manufactured, when I was a child. Great list of small kitchen appliances... thanks.

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 4 years ago

      Coffee bean grinder. I use it EVERY morning, and without it, life wouldn't be worth living.

    • BeginnersFriend65 profile image

      BeginnersFriend65 5 years ago

      I'm not sure if you would class it as a small kitchen appliance, but I do think an induction cooktop is a great addition to the kitchen. Whether it is a portable model or a more permanent fixture it can be far more efficient than a more traditional gas or electric type.

      regards

      Andy

      Best Induction Cooktops

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love my blender.

    • Tennyhawk profile image

      Tennyhawk 5 years ago

      The toaster oven is the most popular around my place.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      The blender and can opener!

    • profile image

      andrew69 5 years ago

      Never used an electric can opener before

    • profile image

      tastebud 5 years ago

      I don't use a lot of small kitchen appliances. I use my toaster every morning, and I use my crock pot at least once a month. The crock pot is the single guys best friend. If you need some more kitchen ideas check out KitchenDesignSite.org

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      I use a high speed blender daily. Other appliances are used less often. Blessings!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      We use the toaster oven and blender at least a few times a week. I really want a good juicer for healthy juice. Pinned to my board "Products I love."

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I love my crock pot but could use a bread maker! :>)

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 5 years ago

      Nice Lens, i need my electric sandwich maker when i need a hot bite to eat at night.

    • profile image

      alanwearing 5 years ago

      Great selection of appliances, very informative

      http://www.squidoo.com/workshop/kitchen-appliance-...

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I have an electric water boiler (we have to boil our water in China), a toaster, a small electric oven, and a bunch of other things. But the one I am currently in love with is my immersion blender. I love it so much I could kiss its feet if it had any!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      My teapot and my toaster oven are my favorite things to use in the kitchen! Would love to have a dehydrator. Well done article!

    • SoniaCarew profile image

      SoniaCarew 5 years ago

      It is so funny, I actually have eight of those appliances,... and I don't like to cook! My most precious appliance is my coffee machine,...

      Fab lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Never heard of a food dehydrator but it sounds interesting

    • Wayne Rasku profile image

      Wayne Rasku 5 years ago

      Personal favorite - my single cup coffee maker. Then there is the hand or stand mixer.. can't believe it's not on the list. I must be getting old ;-)

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      I agree, the sandwich maker sounds handy. I have a food dehydrator and find that very useful.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      I would like to try the sandwitch maker. Well done lens.

    • profile image

      Gala98 5 years ago

      I had to give my breadmaker to my Mum - we were eating so much fresh bread that we were putting weight on like crazy! Luckily she's not far away so we still get fresh bread occasionally :)