Whether you’re an experienced home chef or a kitchen novice, learning how to take advantage of useful kitchen gadgets is key to a delightful meal. But with so many great (and not so great) products available online, outfitting your kitchen can turn into a headache, fast.
As an amateur home cook, I once came across a list that helped me understand the importance of tools in every step of creating a dish—and luckily, Reviewed is here to help me pass on the knowledge. Our team has spent days and nights finding the very best kitchen gadgets for cooks at all levels of experience—here's our favorites.
1. A top-performing knife that our kitchen expert keeps recommending
This Zwilling has a durable, versatile blade that can handle most of the prep work you will have in the kitchen. Not to mention its hefty weight, which makes it a sturdy workhorse for all kinds of kitchen tasks. This high-carbon German steel knife weighs in at 9.5 ounces, which gave it the strength to handle every heavy-duty task our tester threw at it, even cutting through a tough butternut squash with ease.
But the heaviness doesn’t come at the cost of other features. This chef’s knife performed even better at precise cuts—its super sharp edge sliced up a tomato without issue. The design of the wide, tapered bolster also makes this knife easy to grip and comfortable to use.
2. An immersion blender to up your chef game
I can still vividly recall the first time I tasted my friend’s creamy pumpkin soup on a chilly day in mid-October. She didn’t hesitate to share her secret with me: an immersion blender that can blend, purée and emulsify. Its ease of use makes churning out time-consuming soups like hers a breeze, even for kitchen newcomers.
Our kitchen editor tried out 12 of the best hand blenders and the Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender was the cream of the crop, acing every one of our tests. Immersion blenders like the Breville are for more than just soup, though. They help you expand the variety of dishes you can make from scratch, including gazpacho, baba ganoush, guacamole and hummus. Say goodbye to store-bought.
3. A dream kitchen staple — our favorite stand mixer
For baking enthusiasts, a KitchenAid stand mixer is probably one of the most obvious picks imaginable—and there’s a reason it reigns supreme. From kneading bread dough to foaming up meringue, the beautifully-designed KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer easily scored top marks in our stand mixer roundup, beating its eight competitors with excellent performance on every test. Thanks to its powerful and quiet motor, this user-friendly stand mixer has generated more than 8,500 great reviews on Amazon, and it’s currently on sale for less than $300.
4. Tired of cutting? Try our favorite mandoline slicer
Even for well-trained cooks, mandoline slicers can be a safety hazard when misused. But once you learn the proper technique, one of these slicers can become your new best friend in the kitchen. This KitchenAid Adjustable Hand-Held V-Blade Mandoline Slicer is our favorite in the slicers roundup, not only because of its smooth and trouble-free design but also for its safety features that protect you from unintentionally hurting yourself.
From delicate tomatoes and lumpy lemons to hard sweet potatoes, this mandoline has proven to produce uniform and clean cuts with consistent thickness.
5. From word of mouth to home must-have — this Instant Pot is worth it
Electric multi-cookers (aka Instant Pots) have amassed tremendous popularity in recent years. These seemingly simple devices combine a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, and for some brands, yogurt maker, all in one. Now with more brands manufacturing similar products, Reviewed got to the bottom of which pressure cookers are actually worth the investment. Our top pick, the Instant Pot Ultra, out-performed its rivals and did an excellent job creating our best-loved dishes. Unlike previous designs, a dial on the Ultra allows users to easily access and monitor cooking time and other functions. What’s more, a progress graph at the bottom of the display indicates how far into the cooking process it is.
6. A toaster oven that does a lot more than toast
If you’re looking to get more out of your toaster, you should probably consider trading up for a toaster oven. Our team compared the most popular toaster ovens by baking frozen pizzas, refrigerated biscuits, and chicken breasts to see if they came out cooked in the inside and nicely browned on the outside. In the end, we selected the Breville Smart Oven Pro as our winner—between its convenience, ease of use, and special features, the Breville was unbeatable.
7. A personal blender that motivates you to achieve your smoothie goals
With a small and portable personal blender, making a green smoothie on the go becomes easier than ever. After days of testing, the Ninja Fit Personal Blender won our hearts in the personal blender tests. It gives just the right amount of power and strength to turn frozen fruits into something delicious. Our kitchen editor prioritized portability throughout testing but also used criteria similar to the best affordable blenders and the best pro-style blenders. It blends up a beautiful cup of smoothie within minutes, as well as mixing salad dressings and dips. It also comes with an advantage that countertop blenders don’t have: It can easily be stored away, thanks to its compact design.
8. A microplane box grater for everyday cooking
Graters are such a basic tool that we often ignore their versatility and functionality when it comes to cooking. Having a great grater on hand can help you tackle even the most tedious tasks that you might encounter in a recipe. This Microplane grater received top marks in our testing. Unlike traditional stamped-style models, the blades for this grater are etched into the metal using a chemical process that creates super-sharp edges. That allowed this grater to perform above-average on all four sides. The fine holes resulted in beautifully zested lemons and a pile of airy, fluffy Parmesan. The fine blade panel is removable for ease of cleaning, and the wide design makes the rest of this dishwasher-safe grater simple to clean, too.
9. A citrus juicer for cocktails and more
When it comes to juice, nothing beats fresh-squeezed—and citrus juice is perfect for brightening up the taste of almost any dish. Unlike most of the juicers we tested, the Chef’n citrus juicer has star-shaped slits in the bottom of the hopper, letting the juice to pass through without any seeds. Having had problems with managing the splash with other juicers, I also found this one works better as it barely sprays any juice out on the kitchen counter when working.
10. No more messy deep-frying—air fryers have you covered
As you may have noticed, air fryers have attained internet celeb status since hitting the market a few years ago. But the real beauty of air fryers is not just that they can fry up your favorite chicken wings within minutes without the fat, but that they give you a new way to cook so many other foods. Now, there are even recipe books available for these gadgets.
For people who are concerned with the health impacts of deep-frying, the very small amount of oil required means our beloved air fryer can make healthier versions of foods that would otherwise require deep frying in large amounts of oil.
11. For city-dwellers with limited countertop space—a portable hand mixer
While a stand mixer might complete the “adult” look in your kitchen, a hand mixer can do excellent work if your top priority is saving space. Our reviewer evaluated nine of the best hand mixers and picked the Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer with Storage Case as our winner for its exceptional performance on different tasks, including kneading bread dough and whipping cream. The Cuisinart model didn’t have any weak spots in our tests, and it also comes with a helpful manual, which includes recipes that you might actually want to make. The attachments are dishwasher safe and the storage case makes sure that your hand mixer doesn’t hog any precious space in your home.
12. A loaf pan to help you get your banana bread fix
Once in a while, we all crave a loaf of banana bread that is thin and crispy on the top but tender on the inside. But many of us must have wondered at some point: why didn’t my banana bread come out as nicely as the stuff I had growing up? Well, to solve the mystery, we might need to take another look at your loaf pan. While ceramic and glass loaf pans are more attractive, dark-colored loaf pans can hold in more heat and give a darker and thicker crust. Our team made a ton of banana bread and chose the Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan simply for its functionality and amazing results. The silicone inserts on the handles make it easy to get a firm grip on the pan and the non-stick feature helps users clean it properly.
13. A food processor that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it
A good food processor is like a human assistant in the kitchen—it reduces tedious chopping and grinding work to mere seconds. It’s also versatile—with some models, you can even knead pizza and pie dough. But which one to pick? After trying out six of the best full-sized food processors, we crowned Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY our winner because of its fantastic performance chopping, churning, slicing and grinding. A bonus is how easy it is to clean: Cuisinart is the only manufacturer we tested that encourages you to wash their food processor in a dishwasher. It’s also not too heavy, which makes it convenient to move around in the kitchen if you don’t want another gadget taking up a permanent spot on your counter.
14. It’s more than just looks—our favorite Dutch oven is actually useful
Yes, Dutch ovens are pretty, status symbol-y pieces of cookware, but choosing the right one can transform your cooking. After days of braising meat, sautéing onions, and bringing the ovens up to 500 degrees, we carefully selected the Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte as the winner of our Dutch oven roundup. It won our hearts over the well-known Le Creuset model by a narrow margin thanks to its shape that’s more forgiving on stovetops and in the pantry. Overall, though, both dutch ovens created mesmerizing dishes that we fell head over heels for, making them both solid investment pieces for your kitchen.
15. A spiralizer that expands your cooking repertoire
If you're looking to opt out of store-bought veggie pasta, a spiralizer can help you turn your zucchinis into delicious noodle-like strands. But picking one that's right for you can be a challenge with so many options on the market. Our Reviewed team tested ten of the best spiralizers and chose the most sturdy and stable Veggetti as our hand-held winner. We also compared the countertop hand-crank version and Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer Pro if you are in the market for something that has a permanent spot in your kitchen.