Favorite Kitchen Tools & Gadgets

edited February 2015 in Food, Decor & Crafts
This might be fun! What are your favorite kitchen helpers (non-legged variety!)?
I've only listed non-electrics. A couple use batteries.
In no particular order, here are some of mine:

  • stainless steel bench/dough scraper
  • Microplane® Grater-Zester
  • Chef'n FreshForce Self Sharpening Pizza Wheel/ removable cover also sharpens; nice heavy handle
  • metal hinged tongs of different lengths
  • wooden citrus reamer
  • wood/bristle mushroom cleaning brush/ looks like shroom
  • silicon tube roller for quick skin removal of garlic cloves
  • JosephJoseph Rocker™ Garlic Crusher/ creates nice little chunky garlic crushes; poke with nutcracker pick to get all pieces
  • 2 oz metal coffee measure with handle (like miniature measuring cup); equiv to 30 ml/ 2 Tablespoons/ ¹⁄₈ cup
  • Vacu Vin Wine Saver Vacuum Pump with rubber stoppers
  • OXO Good Grips Triple Timer/Clock (digital) (batteries)/ got this for Xmas and use it all the time now; the "ding" is not very loud for the hearing-impaired though
  • 5" Serrated Tomato Knife from Warthurcutlery.com/ my favorite knife of all time; American company in Ohio; highest quality, life-time guarantee; although they recommend sharpening every year, mine is 8 years old and never been sharpened; never in dishwasher; hand wash and dry; only used for tomatoes in my house! but will cut bread and similar soft veg; beautiful wood handle
  • Wüsthof® Classic Santoku Chef Knives, 5" and 7"
  • kitchen scale that toggles between ounces/pounds and grams (batteries)/ a must have when Americans use Euro/Aussie recipes by weight, which is the most accurate way to measure anyway
  • hardware store retractable single-edge razor blade scraper
  • blue painters tape & Sharpie/ will normally stick well even in freezer labeling & taping odd items closed



  • edited February 2015

    If you're a chef you'll laugh at me but my favorite new gadget is a dicer-chopper. When I make a salad it is so easy to make  diced carrots, diced celery, diced peppers, diced cheese. I just add lettuce and I'm done.



    If you saw a demo on youtube you'd see how quickly all this comes together.



  • Great topic!  I have a Soviet vegetable peeler that I cherish because it works well, and lets me peel toward myself without threatening to slice off my flesh, like the classic American vegetable peeler.  That little thing is my "desert island classic."
  • I couldn't live without my knives.  Good knives are an absolute staple.

    I also love my silicone egg cups for poaching.  It keeps me from getting soggy toast when I scoop out the eggs onto it.
  • I got a couple of microplane graters last year - at the time my husband couldn't understand why I was making a fuss that it had to be microplane, but he has seen how brilliantly they work, so I totally agree with that one, @qitqat . Also, good knives (we have Global knives that I just love), digital scales in 1g increments and my dishwasher are my most favourite kitchen tools.
  • edited February 2015
    • My #1 gadget is my immersion blender. It's not fancy but it's amazing for smoothies and soups; I've even used it in a pinch to make salsa and pesto!
    • I also love my microplane grater; I only have one, do multiples really do different things?
    • I also have a KitchenAid mixer that I don't use very much now, but I spent several years baking a LOT and loved having it handy. Now I work from home so I dare not make big batches of delicious baked goods, but hopefully I'll wind up in an office setting again someday, and can bring out my tart pans and cookie sheets.
    My BIG kitchen regret is that I bought a big (9-cup) food processor that I don't really like. It came with ALL the gadgets - extra blades, extra chopping bowls, etc. - but it's a pain to clean and is too big to leave out on the counter, so I've used it something like twice in two years. I'd sell it but it's not the awesome kind and I doubt I'd get much for it - but I may sell it anyway!

    What's really sad is when I got it, I gave away the mini-chopper I'd had for ages; bought a replacement that is crappy.
  • @heybethpdx, my immersion blender is my #1 gadget too, for those same reasons! 

    My digital kitchen scale also gets used a lot because I have no concept of portion control, otherwise. 
  • Oh yeah, I should have listed my scale - it makes my life SO easy. I started using it when I was doing so much baking, but I use it daily now for portion control purposes.
  • I love kitchen tools that have only one use.  Like a shrimp deveiner, my avocado tool, garlic press, etc...  My husband is amazed that with all the multitasking that I do, I still love something that has one function only.   What I can't really live without is my Shun chef and utility knives, my Le Creuset Dutch Oven and my one hand salt and pepper grinders.   My favorite plug-in device is my Kitchen Aid Mixer.   

  • @demeter my mom has that thing and I will attest that it is completely awesome.

    I have a lever screwpull for cork removal.  It really is the best.  I also have an electric wine opener, but it's...different and I don't love it. 

  • edited February 2015
    Oooh, so many great things listed here already. Good knives are a must, and I just got given a new Joseph Joseph set for Christmas that I really like, in addition to my old faithfuls. A sharpening steel too, to go with the knives is a must. 

    I have a decent veg peeler (Culinaire) and garlic press (Ikea) which make prep easier. 

    I'm also a fan of plug in gadgets. I've a Moulinex stick blender and a Philips jug blender, both of which are fantastic. Also have a Kenwood food processor which has been around for years, and I just bought a stand mixer after Christmas that I'm enjoying getting used to. 

    Aside from those, I'm agreeing with @foodycatAlicia -  it'd have to be my dishwasher as I loathe washing up by hand. 
  • OXO tongs

    long enough to get in and turn things in the overn or broiler

    they pick things out of any pot and sometimes simply use like a spoon to stir whatever is boiling on the stove.

    Next to my spatuls, the most used item in my tool jar

    OXO , overall , makes the best gadgets.  Consistently rated well by Americas Test Kitchen.  When in doubt, I grab the OXO 
  • lundibleu said:

    Aside from those, I'm agreeing with @foodycatAlicia -  it'd have to be my dishwasher as I loathe washing up by hand. 
    Don't say it too loud @lundibleu - I tempted fate by saying I loved it and my dishwasher broke yesterday. I am just having a second cup of coffee to gird my loins before washing up last night's dinner by hand...
  • I'd say my favorite is my KitchenAid. I splurged last year and bought the professional one and I love it. Like, to the point that I will caress it whenever I'm passing by. I bake a lot, so it gets plenty of use. 

    I also love my knives, especially my santoku knife. And my electronic scale gets a heavy workout, too, due to all the baking. 
  • We just got a counter-top food processor. I am in love.

    Also, we have one of those palm veggie pealers and love it.

    The le cruset casserole dish we got a couple of years ago is easier to clean than our off brand one.

    The sure le table pots and pans we got as a wedding gift 8 years ago are still fantastic.

  • Don't say it too loud @lundibleu - I tempted fate by saying I loved it and my dishwasher broke yesterday. I am just having a second cup of coffee to gird my loins before washing up last night's dinner by hand...
    Hah! Sorry to laugh, but mine is having odd fits of misbehaving too. It's still mostly working though ... touch wood!
  • Have to give a huge shout to my Thermopen thermometer.  They cost a bit but they are so fast and so accurate that if it helps make food better by accurate and quick temp readings , I am for it.  

    Overcooked chicken is a thing of the past.
  • My beloved nutra bullet which gets a workout nearly daily.  I'm not a morning person so it's easier to get breakfast in if I just blend it. 
  • hoopoe said:
    Have to give a huge shout to my Thermopen thermometer.  They cost a bit but they are so fast and so accurate that if it helps make food better by accurate and quick temp readings , I am for it.  

    Overcooked chicken is a thing of the past.
    @hoopoe those are great - I don't have one but I've used them at cooking classes and I have one on my wishlist!
  • Cast iron pan. 
  • When I got divorced the KitchenAid Mixer was on the top of the "Things I Get" list.

    My newest favorite toy is probably my scale. When I get a recipe that measures flour and sugar in volumetric cups, I take the time to find a conversion calculator online and hand-write in the weights so I can just weigh the ingredients in the future. So much easier, faster, and more consistent!
  • Chucko78 said:
    Cast iron pan. 
    I don't make steak without it!
  • My absolute favorite kitchen gadget is my Vitamix. It's the best blender in the world (so powerful that it literally blends the seeds in raspberries), and it makes it so easy to make soups. I also got a cast iron pan a couple of years ago, and I rarely cook in anything else. I'm breaking in a cast iron dutch oven so I can get rid of my stainless steel saucepans. 
  • Silpats. Spring loaded tongs. Heavy aluminum half sheets from the restaurant supply. I only buy $1.99 paring knives from the restaurant supply, but I go through 2 or 3 a year, so im never without a razor sharp paring knife. I have a 2 cup mini processor that I got from Walgreens for $7 that I love because I'm not afraid to put it in the dishwasher, unlike my $75 full size machine.

    I'm a professional cook, and I have definitely fallen victim to the weird "biggest dick in the kitchen" thing. I own a 12" Global. I spent $200 on a knife that feels horrible in my stubby hands. I have a 6 quart Kitchen Aid Pro that is far more mixer than I will ever need.
  • @kittyhateface yeah... the Globals don't look comfortable to me so I'm not surprised to hear this. I have a 10" Henkel chef's knife and it works great for my hand. What I can't get my stubby paw around is my Starbucks Barista coffee grinder. It's wider at the bottom than the top and I feel like I'm going to drop it every time I grab it one-handed. 

    Love my OXO stuff. Tongs, peeler, bar tools. Still love my traditional waiter's corkscrew with the 2 step prong. Love my KitchenAid. Love my Le Creuset. And, love my All Clad, even though the 10 inch skillet has been in and out of my oven a few too many times and has warped (which I didn't expect it to do). And yes @hoopoe! The Thermapen is soooo worth the $$. 
  • @maschultz OXO products are one of the few brand names I'll look for. Most of my small wares come from the restaurant supply, just because the stuff is so cheap. OXO stuff really does have the best handles, though.

    I bought my niece a knife from World Market when she was 9 and had expressed an interest in learning how to cook. It had a tiny handle that was perfect for kid hands. Now, she's 12 and threatening to break six feet by the time she turns 13. The child doesn't have hands, she has HANDS. Every time she comes to my house, she angles for my Global. I SHOULD sell the Global and the Victorinox and buy the silicone embedded Shum my heart desires, but I could also be the best aunt ever and watch my sister stroke out when I give her tween a world-class blade.
  • edited February 2015
    You will laugh, but before I clicked your link I thought you might be talking about those multi-bladed salad scissor choppers, which I've wondered if anyone has used or likes. This product sounds a bit like a mini-mandoline? I have a full sized one, but only use it for serious amounts of product needed, as the assemblage cleaning etc is unwieldy. Works like a dream though.

    I love my immersion blender too, even if it did attack me a couple of years ago. [lesson learned: never touch blade while still plugged in.]

    My dutch oven is not Le Creuset, but it's a solid enough knockoff and I have begun to use it for so many more things than I ever thought I would. I love how it can cook so well at low temp and not burn food at high temp.

    Good to know the Thermopen lives up to its reputation. That will go on my wish list.

    I recently acquired a Nutri Ninja myself. It's also a great little machine. I also have a Hurom Slow Juicer, which is an excellent extractor and works on darn near everything, especially when I want a carrot/apple/ginger drink made better than can be found at the mall juice bar.

    Cast iron skillets forever! The only thing for baking the best crusty cornbread. I'll have to try it for steak, never thought of that. I have two, the oldest one was inherited from my mom who used it for more than 50 years :)

    Is that the same as 'resting kitty bitchface'? ;-)
    Love your story about your niece. 

    OXO, Silpat, All Clad, KitchenAid, Vitamix—sometimes the big brand names succeed for a reason, they are simply the BEST of their kind. Tongs, scales, zesters getting a lot of love. Interesting that the different knife brands all have their lovers and haters. One of the most personal items that has to feel just right I suppose.
  • -the Dutch oven handed down to me this Xmas by my brother and SIL (I'd been coveting it for years)
    -the garlic press handed down to me by my mother
    -wooden chopsticks
    -my (truly) nonstick baking trays

    I desperately want to get a microplane grater and a good mixer.
  • -wooden chopsticks
    -my (truly) nonstick baking trays

    Yes, to the chopsticks, handy-dandy little things for the most unexpected uses, as well as normal.

    Please tell, what is the Brand name for your truly non-stick baking trays? I could build a child's fort with all the crappy trays I've warped and rusted and mutilated throughout the years.
  • Qitkat said:
    Please tell, what is the Brand name for your truly non-stick baking trays? I could build a child's fort with all the crappy trays I've warped and rusted and mutilated throughout the years.
    If you're baking, combine this sheet pan with a Silpat, which is the best thing EVAR. Then, add this cooling rack, which doubles as a cooling rack (duh) or fits inside of the sheet pan if you want to roast something and not have the bottom get soggy. Also, aluminum foil is an amazing, wondrous product. Use that to line your sheet pan (unless you're baking and using the silpat) and save yourself hours of washing and scrubbing. On the rare times I want to put the food directly on the sheet pan, I first spray it liberally with Pam.

    (The suggested items above are all Americas Test Kitchen winners, plus I own and heartily endorse them.)
  • Also, @Qitkat I've learned to be ok with discolored trays, as long as they're clean and not affecting the food. However, I did finally break down and want to get my AllClad nice and shiny again, and Barkeeper's Friend is the best thing ever if you want to get your pans looking like new.
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