Spending time in the kitchen can either feel like a joy, or a boring chore. I used to fall somewhere in the middle, until a made a goal to spend less time eating out, and more time cooking. I dragged my feet at first, but once I invested in a few must have kitchen items – life got so much easier!
Whether you are just starting out learning to cook, or have known your way around the kitchen for a while, a few useful gadgets can make things easier.
Here are my top 9 must have kitchen items that I can’t live without, and some tips for picking out the best brands that will make things faster in the kitchen.
With so many of us spending more time at home, you’ll see how much more you look forward to being in the kitchen, with these useful items.
1. Stainless Steel Nesting Bowls
One of my first “why didn’t I get this sooner” purchases for my kitchen this summer was a set of stainless steel nesting bowls. I used to hate searching for the right size bowl for food prep, but these light weight bowls make it a breeze.
They are easy to hold, and save so much space with the perfect nesting sizes. I also love that they work well for hot and cold items, and they aren’t bad to look at either!
2. Instant Read Digital Food Thermometer
Cooking meat is not my forte, and if you don’t have experience eyeballing for cooked chicken, this thing is perfect! I purchased one when cooking a turkey for the first time, and wondered how I’d ever lived without it!
An instant read thermometer is perfect for making sure meat and poultry have reached a safe temperature. It’s especially useful cooking things from frozen, and has definitely saved me from overcooking on more than one occasion. 😉
3. Oil Spritzer For Cooking
I used to buy non stick cooking spray, until I realized I was wasting money and could easily be making my own! My spritzer is now full of my favorite olive oil, and gives things an even coating every time.
I love that these handy oily sprayers are refillable, perfect for spraying veggies before baking, greasing a pan, or making a salad. You can also fill your mister with vegetable oil, or your favorite vinegar!
4. Cake Stand With Cover
If you are like me and enjoy baked goods, you probably get annoyed at trying to find the right way to keep them covered! A covered cake holder is perfect for all tricky to cover items – not just sweets!
I love to use mine when I make fresh cookies, or when even when I get store bought muffins. I use a glass one for everyday, but I also have a bigger one with an insert to hold dips, cupcakes, and more while keeping them fresh.
5. Automatic Coffee Maker That Fills Your Cup
My husband and I both love coffee, but getting it all set up the night before doesn’t always happen. Behold – automatic coffee makers that brew at the touch of a button, right into your cup.
We drink espresso and when our manual machine bit the dust, we made an investment in an automatic machine that makes mornings so much smoother! For something you use every single day, invest in this must have kitchen item and it will last you for years.
6. Citrus Zester and Grater
I love using lemon zest in cookies, cakes, and my favorite breakfast dish: Italian Crostata. But did you know there are a ton of alternative uses for a zester?
I’ve used my stainless steel zester in place of a garlic mincer, and to grate cheese, nutmeg, and ginger. I’ve even used it in place of a sieve for adding powdered sugar, and making chocolate shavings! It’s been a shockingly versatile tool, and a must have kitchen item for any cook.
7. Programmable Rice Cooker
Tending to the stove can really slow you down, and a rice cooker is one of my favorite ways to cook on autopilot. You can have your automatic rice cooker start when you want with a timer, and keep it on warm after it cooks!
I love the set and forget buttons, and I use ours all the time to make white rice, couscous, quinoa, and even steam veggies. They’re inexpensive, and you can even make soups, oatmeal, or a cheesecake inside a rice cooker!
8. Trivet Mat For Hot Food
Always looking out for a safe space to set something after taking things out of the oven? If so, a trivet is a total lifesaver for your sanity and countertops.
For too long I was sticking a pot holder under my dishes to protect my table, and they didn’t do a great job. These metal trivets let your pots cool down properly, and give you a sturdy space to serve from. You can find cute designs that match your decor, and leave one near the stove and table to make serving food easier.
9. A Stand Mixer
I’ve always loved the retro design of stand mixers, and I was thrilled to get a beautiful aqua blue kitchenaid as a wedding gift!
As great as this pretty appliance looks, it’s never left my countertop because I use it all the time. It’s handy for the classics like cookie dough and cake, but it can do so much more. I’ve used it to shred meat, mash potatoes, mix meatballs, whip eggs, and that’s just with the included attachments.
A stand mixer is a multi use device, so if you like to make homemade pasta, or process meat – you can add an external attachment for that! I have a Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer in Aqua Sky blue, but you can find more compact models and brands at great prices as well.
This must have kitchen appliances have really made my life easier since I began cooking at home more, and I hope this post inspired you to improve your kitchen skills and spend more time making delicious things at home!
And if you are looking for more helpful ideas that will make you want to spend more time in the kitchen, check out these pantry organization tips from professionals, and luxury kitchen design ideas to borrow from high end homes.