Walk into any kitchen shop, Walmart, or Target and head to the kitchen section. You already know you’ll find walls and shelves filled with kitchen gadgets YOU NEED NOW. Ones that promise to make cooking, baking, cleaning, and serving a breeze. There they sit. Begging you to come spend your hard earned dollar bills. Tempting I know, but ultimately, and unfortunately, they’re usually gimmicky and a money pit. Quickly making their way to that “drawer” that only gets opened once a year.
Ok. I didn’t say all kitchen gadgets were bad! In fact, some of them are downright genius, practical, and legit time savers. While I can’t admit to trying every tool on the market, I do have years of experience working for a kitchen shop. That, mixed together with years of cooking in my own kitchen, and I’d say my opinions on this matter certainly carry weight.
Before going any further, I do support the phrase- different strokes for different folks. I might find a kale stripper useless, but that’s because I don’t have arthritis. You catch my drift? Some of the more gimmicky kitchen gadgets might actually come in handy for those who have experienced or are living with the affects of a stroke, arthritis, or brain injury. I’m well aware of this, and it was always my joy to help those family members pick out the perfect kitchen tools for their loved ones specific needs 🙂
Not the creepy crawly kind! But the creepy crawly kind’s web most certainly inspired the name of this handy tool. I’d venture to say that most home cooks don’t have one of these bad boys in their arsenal. And that’s a shame. Something I’m hoping to fix.
This kitchen utensil has a longer handle attached to a shallow, wire basket at one end. Think of a mini colander but stuck on stick! It can be used to help drain, strain, or lift food from boiling liquids and hot oils. If you make a lot of pasta dishes, fried foods, soups and stocks, blanch vegetables, or boil eggs, … THIS is the tool for you. The ONE you didn’t know you needed. You’d be hard pressed to find a professional kitchen that doesn’t have several of these in different sizes, hanging, and ready to go at a moments notice.
2. Silicone Tongs
All silicone is NOT created equal. While I will champion silicone tongs as a favorite kitchen gadget of mine, I’m only championing the kind that don’t disintegrate when you use them. Which means they need to be heat resistant up to 500f/260c. Check those labels before buying a product that ends up making your life WAY more difficult than need be! After all, quality kitchen gadgets stand the test of time and use, functioning as intended over and over again.
These tongs (especially the ones with a scalloped edge) make it easy to flip and toss foods confidently, and therefore more safely, at high temperatures without damaging cookware or bakeware. I can’t imagine making my Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches without my favorite pair of tongs! I also prefer the tong sets that have a lever, allowing me to close tightly for storage and pop open for use. Because having a drawer of tongs that are all tangled and jam up my kitchen drawers is not fun. Added bonus… if you purchase tongs with a metal body, you’ll be able to hang them on a magnetic knife strip!
3. Microplane Grater
Graters are a dime a dozen. Actually, no. No they are not. Microplane graters (or zesters) are in fact far superior and absolute perfection for those of us looking for fluffy, pillowy textures. I’ve had mine for 5 years and constantly use it to zest citrus, grate hard cheeses, pile on dustings of fresh cinnamon and nutmeg, finely grate garlic, and so much more. This sucker is SHARP so be sure to use with caution. Maybe, possibly not after 2 or 3 glasses of wine. AHEM. Speaking from experience.
You’ll find me using my yellow Microplane Grater in dishes like Classic Stovetop Oatmeal, Herb Roasted Potatoes, and Roasted Asparagus. Where the finishing touches of freshly grated cinnamon, Parmesan, and lemon immediately level up these dishes, transforming each bite.
4. Fish Spatula
My husband actually stuffed one of these kitchen gadgets into my Christmas stocking 3 years ago and statistics show that I’ve been more in love with him ever since! The angel of this spatula makes it a breeze to use in smaller pans, the beveled edge makes it possible to scooch under the most delicate of baked or pan fried goods, and the wider tip makes flipping quesadillas a no brainer. Oh and fish. It happens to also be perfect for flipping, especially the more delicate fillets of- fish.
This spatula has replaced a dozen of my other kitchen gadgets due to its versatility and durability. While you would want to use with caution on any special non-stick pans, I use daily on my stainless steel, cast iron, and sheet pans without an issue. Because the body of this spatial is metal, I’m also able to hang it on my magnetic knife bar for easy access, which I love.
I LOVE fresh fruits, especially in season strawberries. Tomatoes are at the tippy top of my list too. If you find yourself at a berry patch more than once a year, or regularly stocking up when berries or tomatoes go on sale, this one’s for you!
*Major bonus… these are kid friendly, so drag those boogers into the kitchen, hand them a pair, and let them explore right along with you! Play the video above to see just how kid friendly these are.
While you certainly can use a pairing knife to hull and clean berries, a good huller will allow you to whiz through big bowls in no time with minimal food waste. AND all your (and your kids) fingers still attached. Other best part, only the pith (sour or hard bits) gets removed… meaning all the delicious ripe fruit stays right where it should. Ready to be eaten, frozen, or used!
Keep in mind I said “underrated” kitchen gadgets and NOT the best kitchen gadgets of all time forever and amen. I’ve definitely saved that roundup for another post 🙂
Did One Of These Catch Your Eye? Shop Below!
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In fact I own both the 7" and 5" from this company. These kitchen tools get used several times a week, making pasta dishes an absolute breeze to toss together. Kitchen spiders do come in all steel, however, I much prefer the feel of wood in my hands. So if you're team wood, you'll love these! The hole at the top of the handle makes these perfect for hanging, and I've chosen to hang these with my pots and pans for easy access.
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These 9" tongs are the perfect length for me. I do have the 12" as well, because I thought they'd come in handy, but find myself always grabbing for the 9". The 12s are just too big for my hands! I've owned this pair for 5 years and they work just as well as the day I brought them home. And I use these babies daily. No joke.
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One of my Kitchen Basics. Used for grating Parm, zesting lemons, nutmeg dustings during the holidays and SO much more. Did I mention these babes are made in the USA. Arkansas and Texas to be exact?! I've got this exact one in yellow. 4 years of daily use and no signs of dulling down. WIN.
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I'm a big fan of OXO, so even though my fish spatula comes from the makers of Milk Street, I know this one would be the jam. I've yet to be disappointed in OXO products or customer service which is why I'm recommending this one to you!
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I'm so obsessed with this little dude that I made a whole reel on it. An awesome reel might I add. So while I don't reach for this huller if I'm eating one strawberry, I run to him when I need to quickly core a whole bunch. For pie. Jam. Eating. Whatever it is that you want to do with a whole bunch of strawberries! BONUS kid safe. So your littles can help "prep" and still have fingers at the end. WIN.
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Let Me Know
What do you think of my list? Is there anything you absolutely love and feel is underrated that didn’t make it into my top 5? I’d love to know! I’m always on the lookout for practical kitchen gadgets that actually make a difference in the kitchen.
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Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~