EXPANDING THE KITCHEN ARSENAL
While there are plenty of essential kitchen supplies that you may already have in your cupboards and drawers, there is also a wide range of other kitchen accessories that you may not realize you need. From low-tech necessities like food mills and spiralizers to high-tech gadgets like Instant Pots or sous vide circulators, these devices will not only make cooking and baking easier and better, but also a lot more fun. (Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.)
Price: $49.95 | Buy it on Amazon
A food mill is a remarkably useful, low-tech tool that easily purees vegetables and fruits while also straining out seeds and skin -- an added advantage over blenders and food processors. The mill features a bottomless bowl with a perforated disc at the bottom and a crank to push the food through. It's great for pureeing tomatoes for sauces and soups, berries for jams, apples for sauce, various ingredients for baby food, and it makes super-fluffy mashed potatoes. The OXO mill is one of the best for its durability, ergonomic handle, and interchangeable discs.
Price: $27.95 | Buy it on Amazon
Ask any dedicated baker or cook and they'll tell you that using a scale is one of the best and most accurate ways to consistently measure ingredients. Your best bet is to get one that's designed specifically for the kitchen, has a high weight capacity, is easy to clean, and is simple to use. In addition to being used for recipes, the scale can also be helpful for diets and portion control.
Price: $25 | Buy it on Amazon
A spiralizer, which slices vegetables and fruits into spirals, may seem like a trendy gadget that you see sold on TV late at night, but it's a really easy (and fun!) way to eat healthier. Quickly and easily spiralize a wide range of veggies, including zucchini (aka zoodles), carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, cucumbers, and more. The spirals can be used in place of noodles (a great gluten-free option) or in salads, stir-fries, and other recipes.
INSTANT READ DIGITAL THERMOMETER
Price: $17.95 | Buy it on Amazon
A digital thermometer is not only an essential kitchen accessory to help you cook your food perfectly, but it's also a great way to avoid foodborne illness from undercooked meats. The collapsable probe and digital readout gives quick and precise temperatures whether you're baking, cooking on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill. It can also be used for making candy, brewing beer, and more.
Price: $157.73 | Buy it on Amazon
Fried food lovers rejoice: This buzzy new addition to the kitchen arsenal lets you fry your favorite foods with 75 percent less fat and far fewer calories than a traditional deep fryer. The new Philips TurboStar Airfryer uses about a tablespoon of oil and hot air that circulates around the food. It's not only a healthier option for making french fries and chicken wings, but it's also a useful tool for cooking vegetables, nuts, seafood, and even baked goods.
PORTABLE COUNTERTOP ICE MAKER
Price: $160 | Buy it on Amazon
These stylish and compact ice makers are sure to make you the life of the party. The countertop units make ice in about 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the model) and don't require a water line. You simply plug it in, pour in water, and it takes care of the rest. It's important to note that you'll need to use the ice soon or transfer to a freezer, otherwise it will melt and be recycled through the machine. But it's a great way to continually produce ice for parties, tailgating, camping, or if you just like having plenty of ice on hand.
Price: $99.95 | Buy it on Amazon
The best kitchen accessories are ones that can be used for multiple tasks, and the Instant Pot is a king when it comes to multi-tasking. The hugely popular, programmable multi-cooker can be used as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, warmer, sauté pan, and even yogurt maker. It's a great way to save shelf and counter space by reducing the number of appliances you need. Easy to program -- just "set it and forget it" -- you can quickly and conveniently make countless recipes, everything from steel cut oats and grains to soups and stews.
PASTA POT WITH STRAINER LID
Price: $30 | Buy it on Amazon
This sleek and stylish pot makes draining cooking water from pasta, potatoes, and other vegetables incredibly easy and safe, thanks to a locking strainer lid. Not only does it save you the hassle of grabbing a colander and transferring the food back and forth, but it makes for one less thing to wash. The oval shape also allows you to cook long noodles easily without breaking them.
CAST IRON GRILL PRESS
Price: $13.48 | Buy it on Amazon
We're going to assume you already have a cast-iron skillet, and if you don't, go get one. Once you have one, a cast-iron grill press is an essential companion tool that many home cooks don't realize they need. The press can be heated up and used to sear meat, press sandwiches, flatten bacon, and more, all with its own weight. You can also use it on an outdoor grill.
Price: $49 | Buy it on Amazon
As much as we love smokey and tender barbecue, we don't always have the time or space for the traditional slow-and-low cooking method. The good news is that this stovetop smoker makes smoking meat, fish, and vegetables at home a quick and easy process. You simply add wood chips beneath the drip tray and rack, add your food, cover it and heat it on any type of stove or even a campfire. Get creative by smoking cheese, nuts, salt and more, and use the pan as a poacher, steamer or roasting pan.
Price: $112 | Buy it on Amazon
While a bit of a splurge, an immersion circulator is a really useful kitchen tool for precision, restaurant-level cooking. Also known as sous vide cooking, you simply place ingredients -- anything from marinated meats to vegetables to desserts -- in a ziplock bag, place it in a pot of water, and the device heats and circulates the water to cook the food for the perfect time and temperature. You can even monitor the cooking from your smartphone.
Price: $39.95 | Buy it on Amazon
Don't let the name fool you, this is one animal you want on your countertop. Also known as salt cellars or boxes, a salt pig is a wide-mouthed, hooded vessel -- usually ceramic or wood -- for storing salt. The wide, open mouth allows you to quickly and easily grab a pinch of salt to season your food while you're cooking or prepping. The hood helps keep dust and moisture out. Once you start using one, you'll wonder how you survived without it. You can also find ones with lids, but they're not as convenient.
RAPID EGG COOKER
Price: $19.96 | Buy it on Amazon
This handy and adorable device makes cooking eggs in a variety of ways super simple and quick. The compact unit uses steam inside a plastic dome to make up to six hard-, medium-, or soft-boiled eggs, individual omelets, scrambles, and even poached eggs with the push of one button. It's a speedy way to make breakfast, especially on a weekday, and cleanup is a cinch.
Price: $24.95 | Buy it on Amazon
Using fresh herbs when you cook adds tremendous flavor, but they sadly don't last very long in your fridge -- unless you have one of these handy herb keepers. The container keeps the herbs fresh with water at the bottom and allows air to circulate around the produce, helping preserve it for up to four times longer. Larger herb keepers can also be used for moisture-loving vegetables like asparagus and celery, as well.
Price: $14.95 | Buy it on Amazon
Whether you're making salad dressings, sauces, fresh juice or cocktails, a well-designed citrus juicer is invaluable in the kitchen. While there are plenty of options out there, the OXO juicer is one of the best with two interchangeable reamers great for juicing both large and small fruit. It filters seeds and pulp well, and the juice collects in a measuring cup so you know exactly how much you have.
Price: $32 | Buy it on Amazon
This two-in-one mount and stand allows you to easily follow online recipes or videos in the kitchen. Easy to set-up and adjust, the mount cuts down on countertop clutter, and you won't have to worry about your iPad or tablet getting wet or sauced on the counter.
Price: $29.95 | Buy it on Amazon
Brewing espresso at home can get surprisingly expensive once you start considering the high-end machines loved by aficionados. But the Aeropress remains an incredible, low-tech brewer for espresso and other coffee drinks, while costing significantly less. There's even an annual World Aeropress Competition where hardcore baristas show off creative methods for brewing with the device.
Price: $27.50 | Buy it on Amazon
This super useful chef's torch is not only useful, but definitely adds plenty of flair to your kitchen arsenal. The handheld butane torch can be used for a variety of purposes, including camelizing crème brûlée, browning meringues, melting cheese, searing meat, and more.
THREE-TIER OVEN RACK
Price: $11.36 | Buy it on Amazon
If there's one thing home cooks could use more of, it's shelf space in the oven -- especially around the holidays when multiple dishes compete for cooking time. This handy oven rack multiplies your shelf space to enable you to cook three dishes in the place of one. And when you aren't using it, the rack easily collapses for storage.
PASTRY SCRAPER / CHOPPER
Price: $9.97 | Buy it on Amazon
Deceptively simple, a pastry scraper is an incredibly useful kitchen accessory not only for bakers, but also for cooks. With an easy-to-hold handle and sturdy, stainless steel rectangular blade, the scraper is perfect for chopping, dividing and measuring pastry, pasta, and pizza dough, as well as soft vegetables and fruits, nuts, cooked chicken and eggs, and more. It can also be used to conveniently transfer the ingredients into a bowl or pan.
AVOCADO SLICER AND PITTER
Price: $14.79 | Buy it on Amazon
While you can certainly slice and pit an avocado with a chef's knife, having a dedicated tool designed to safely do the task is a great way to avoid winding up in the E.R. with a bad case of "avocado hand." Unlike some clunkier versions, this steamlined slicer/pitter is simple to use and clean, and can also be used for other fruits like mangos and papayas.
Price: $30 | Buy it on Hyperchiller's website
For those who enjoy iced coffee at home, but don't want to wait 12 hours for cold brew or water down hot coffee, the HyperChiller is a great solution. The handy device features stainless steel chambers inside a plastic container. After freezing water in the inner and outer chambers you can pour hot coffee inside and it chills it in a minute or two. It also works well for chilling wine, cocktails, and more.
Price: $4.90 | Buy it on Amazon
While admittedly a bit of a one-trick-pony that performs only one kitchen task, this pineapple slicer is a really cool pony that you'll be happy to have around. The sturdy, stainless steel device allows you to safely and easily core and slice a pineapple into one continuous piece, which makes for perfect pineapple rings for fruit salads and desserts. The shell also remains intact, so you can use it for a serving vessel or a fun cocktail cup.