While the overlords want us all to eat out to help out, many of us will be far more comfortable cooking in our homes at the moment. ShortList is here to make sure you can still make the most of eating in with the best kitchen gadgets.
If Jamie Oliver’s mantra to ‘keep cooking and carry on’ with whatever you find in the cupboard fails to inspire you, then perhaps one of these clever kitchen gadgets just might. We’ve compiled a round up of the best kitchen gadgets to hone in your cooking and baking skills this week and reinvent dinnertime.
That’s because learning to cook is one of the most satisfying things do for yourself. There are thousands of new techniques, ingredients and recipes to try – so whether you’re a master chef or a humble beginner used to making oven pizzas than haute cuisine, there’s always something to learn.
And there are plenty of kitchen gadgets and gizmos to help you out, too. From the knife sharpeners that make slicing and dicing a doddle to an avocado pitter that makes brunch problem-free, we’ve rounded up the most useful kitchen tools and gadgets.
The list also includes the sous-vide slow cooker that will make even the most basic cuts of meat taste fancy, and a wine preservation system to keep that last bottle of Rioja fresher for longer.
We’ve also included the versatile Sage smoking gun that’s great for use on cocktails and cheese nibbles and best enjoyed over a Zoom quiz with friends.
And if our 15 best kitchen gadgets aren’t enough for you, then below the list you will find the best products we’ve tested for the kitchen in our many in-depth tests.
Best Kitchen gadgets
It may seem simple, but a good, sharp knife is essential for any aspiring chef. A blunt implement will just make chopping more difficult (and therefore a lot more tedious).This AnySharp knife sharpener does what it says on the tin. Sharpens any knife – even hardened and serrated knives. That dull old bread knife can get an upgrade too. It also has a suction grip, which attaches securely to the surface. A great, and cheap, way to up your cooking game.
If you’d prefer to measure ingredients the old skool way, a basic measuring tool such as the Tala Traditional Dry Cooks Measure is a great option. Easy to use, it lets you measure at a glance making baking a breeze. Inside it highlights ingredients that can be easily measured inside including sugar, rice, lentils, flour and yeast and more.
A sturdy chopping board is an essential foundation to any well-equipped kitchen – and you may as well get one that looks good. This simple chopping board is made from bamboo, and is a stylish addition to your repertoire. It measures 42.6 x 23 cm, so doesn’t demand a giant kitchen worktop.
Let’s be real – even if you LOVE cooking, slicing vegetables isn’t really that fun. But have no fear, this mandolin slicer will take the effort out of the whole procedure. With three thickness settings, you can use it as a hand-held device or over a bowl. Simple as anything.
Let’s be real – even if you LOVEcooking, slicing vegetables isn’t really that fun. But have no fear, this mandolin slicer will take the effort out of the whole procedure. With three thickness settings, you can use it as a hand-held device or over a bowl. Simple as anything.
The Sage Smoking Gun is the kind of gadget that once you own it, you won’t know how you ever lived without it. Using cold smoke, it lets you infuse a range of food and drinks with a natural smoky flavour. There’s a dual speed on the gun should you want to up to the intensity of the smoke and it’s currently being sold on its own, or as part of a gift set with a glass cloche that will keep the smoke contained. You can use the gentle smoke setting on a range of delicate foods such a meat, cheese, popcorn or ice cream and also use it to smoke cocktails and mocktails to dramatic effect. Anyone for a Smoky Martini? That’s Friday night sorted.
Who doesn’t love a pie? Whether it’s brimming with meat or filled with the finest organic vegetables you can find, we think there’s nothing more satisfying than a homemade pie. This Hairy Bikers Double Deep Fill Pie Maker takes out all the hard prep work too. Simply cut your pastry (shop bought or home made will do) using the template that comes included in the box, then fill it with whatever you find in the cupboard. Cooked mince, creamy chicken and leak and potato are all great fillings that will work well, but you can get as creative as you like. The decorative crimping edge will seal the pie for an authentic finish you can pass off as your own.
Like chopping veg, chopping herbs can be a tedious and sometimes fiddly task. But with these five blade herb scissors, the job’s a good’un. They cut quickly and efficiently, allowing you to get on with the good stuff. They’re dishwasher safe, too.
While bread is relatively simple and fun to make by hand – and you can find lots of recipes online with or without the need for yeast – a breadmaker will keep things neat, take out the kneading work and limit the mess. It will also fill your home with the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread. This Panasonic SD-ZX2522 Breadmaker is compact and features a simple stainless steel body and a flat glass touch controls. As well as being able to bake bread with it, you can use it for pasta and cake dough and even make jam should you feel particularly adventurous. It comes with 37 bake and dough programmes including a gluten free pasta and cake setting and an easy to access yeast and raisin/nut dispenser.
Want to make that treasured vintage bottle of wine last longer? If it’s topped with a cork, then the key is to use a preservation gadget to open it. The Coravin Wine System lets you drink wine without having to pull out the cork. There are a number of systems you can buy depending on your budget, but a great all rounder is the Coravin Model Two, which simply clamps onto the bottle and uses a special wine needle that gently pulls out the cork so you can pour your wine smoothly. It also comes with two Coravin gas capsules to protect the remaining wine from oxidation.
Clever and attractive, the KitchenAid Food Processor in Empire Red has got ‘both the looks’ and the books’. A flexible piece of kit, this food processor that comes with a stylish red aluminium body and is able to chop, shred, puree and slice foods. It comes with easy to install reversible medium shred/slice and thick slice blades as well as a dough blade should you want to knead bread or pasta dough too. The latched lid and feeding tube and paddle means its easy to top up with foods during use, while two high and low speeds, plus a pulse control keeps its simple yet effective to use. While we love this punchy Empire Red finish, you can also find it online in Matte Black, Grey and Almond Cream.
If you hark for the perfect blender for whizzing up soups and smoothies and the ideal juicer for fresh drinks, but simply don’t have much room on your kitchen worktop, the unique Sage 3X Bluicer Pro is a great option. A space-saving design, the Bluicer Pro is a juicer and blender in one and comes with an ergonomic body that lets you switch between both settings. It has a wide chute for inserting ingredients and a ‘Kinetix’ bowl and blade system that will crush and chop ice, as well as fold and aerate soups and smoothies. Built in ‘cold spin technology’ meanwhile, will juice fresh ingredients direct into a roomy 1.5L jug.
Baking is all about precision they say and once you’ve got the ideal quantities sorted, you’ll be closer to creating muffins that would give Mary Berry a run for her money. A set of decent kitchen scales such as the Heston Blumenthal Precision Scales by Salter are a great piece of kit to have close to hand. These scales have a dual platform – one for measuring up to 10kg in 1g increments and the other for measuring up to 200g in 0.1g increments. There’s an add and weigh feature and also an aquatronic feature for measuring liquids.
No kitchen is complete without a decent set of chef knives. While it doesn’t come cheap, the Santoku from Blenheim Forge is one of the finest designs you can buy and will last you years. Made with a Japanese Blue Paper steel core with folded iron cladding it comes with a walnut handle with a solid copper ferrule that strengthens the handle. It also comes with the option of a leather sheath so you can keep it neatly stored. You can use it to simply cut a bunch of carrot battons for lunch or sashimi a fillet of cod for an evening feast – it won’t disappoint.
As well as being able to slow cook cheaper cuts of meat effectively and use the temperature probe to check food is cooked exactly how you want it, this Russell Hobbs gadget also has a ‘sous vide’ setting. The worst kept secret of all Michelin-star chefs, sous vide works by cooking food inside a sealed pouch in a water bath at an accurately regulated temperature. Sous vide cooking not only makes meats and vegetables taste flavoursome and tender, but it retains maximum vitamins and nutrients and keeps prepping time low, which overall makes for a win-win situation.
Best kitchen gadgets: what you should be buying
We’ve spent a lot of time with cool kitchen gadgets and have put them through hours and hours of testing. If you are looking for a gadget in particular then you may want to check out the below products…
Our current top choice of Ice cream maker
We have spent a long time looking at the best ice cream makers and our current favourite is the Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker. This is a great ice cream maker as you can make batch after batch and not have to worry about freezing bowls or prep that comes with other ice cream makers. the Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker makes 1.5L of ice cream, but you can also create gelato, frozen yoghurt or sorbet with it as well, and it only takes around 40 minutes. It is one of the pricier ice cream makers on the market, at £222 but it’s fun to use and much-needed on a hot, sunny day.
Our current top choice of breadmaker
Our expert spent 40 hours of testing the laster breadmakers for our best breadmaker guide. Head there if you want the in-depth reviews. Our choice, though, for the best value breadmaker is the Cookworks’s Breadmaker. Out of the 14 products we tested, this one stood out because it is cheap for what it does. It isn’t perfect but for around £40 you won’t find a better breadmaker at this price.
Our current top choice of food processor
We had a lot of fun testing the best food processors. In the end, our expert looked at a total of 50 different products and put in 50 plus hours of testing. The best overall food processor ended up being the Magimix 18591 5200XL. Now, this is one of the more expensive on the market (around £300) but it offers three different sized bowls and a number of different blades. You get a box full of attachments to help you with all your food processing needs and it just works like a charm.
Our current top choice of slow cooker
After considering over 50 products, with more than 65 hours’ testing, our expert found that the best slow cooker you can buy is one that costs just £15 from Wilkos. It shows that you don’t have to spend much for a decent kitchen gadget. The 3.5L Slow Cooker from Wilko is simple but that’s what you want from a slow cooker. It offers three temperature settings – low, high and “Keep Warm” – and you get a ceramic pot, glass lid with heat proof knob, large handles and a rice paddle with it.
Our current top choice of juicer
With many of us trying to lead healthier lives, a juicer is essential. We found out that there are some big differences between the juicers available to buy. In our in-depth best juicer test we tried out 18 products, went through pretty much a whole orange tree and spent more than 25 hours juicing. It was the Philips HR1947/31 that came out on top. The juicer isn’t cheap – at around £300 – but it is petit so will set well on any kitchen worktop, underneath a wall cabinet, and comes with a juice jug and extra filter – both of which can be stored inside the waste pulp bin when you’re done juicing what you are juicing.
Our current top choice of blender
There’s quite a bit of difference between a blender, juicer and food processor as we found out in our best blender guide. After considering more than 30 blenders and putting in some 15 hours of testing, we concluded that the Ninja Blender Duo with AutoIQ blender was the best for our blending needs. At around £150, the blender beat all others in every category, offering a number of different blending patterns thanks to its AutoIQ technology.
Our current top choice of kitchen knives
The Wüsthof Classic Cook’s Knife is currently top of our best kitchen knives list. We are big fans of its high carbon surgical steel blade which makes it super sharp. The handle is triple riveted and perfectly weighed so chopping is a breeze – and you get all of this for around the £100 mark. This really is a premium-quality, great kitchen knife.
Our current top choice of spiralizer
A spiralizer is the kitchen gadget that you don’t think you need but as we found out when compiling our best spiralizer list – once you have one, you will not want to go back to just peeling your veg in the conventional way. Our current top spiralizer is the Nutribullet Veggie Bullet – at £120 it is one of the more expensive but takes all the hard work out of prepping your veg. It is great for those who need to do a lot of prep as well, thanks to its shredder and slicer attachments.