10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

I’m sort of a homebody. Like Dorothy… “there’s no place like home…. there’s no place like home… there’s no place like home”! And here at StoneGable, I’m most comfortable in my kitchen. I love to cook and putter and find all kinds of new things to learn and do and do well. I read cookbooks like they are romance novels and menu planning is daydreaming to me! I’m also very fussy about what things will come and live in my kitchen! I’m quite basic really. I not a fan of things like electric can openers and electric knives.  But, I do have a small arsenal of well loved and worn gadgets that I cannot function without! These make my culinary life so much easier! Here’s a look at my “top 10”!

Today’s PRACTICALLY SPEAKING is all about kitchen gadgets that are truly workhorses in my kitchen. Actually, many are quite worn!   Excluding knives, pots and pans, wooden spoons, spatulas, potholders, and larger items, etc. here are my top 10…

LEMON REAMER

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

Sometimes simple is just better! I have seen and tried so many lemon juicer contraptions. I used an old kitchen fork for years until I was given a simple wooden lemon reamer. This does a much better job than another gadget and does not take up much space in a kitchen drawer.  I just ream the lemon juice into a bowl and pick out the seed. Done!

Get rid of those big yellow or green tongs-with-a cup they don’t get the job done nearly as well as a reamer. Go simple and basic!

GARLIC PRESS

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

I hate (and I don’t use that word often) chopping garlic! Garlic is a scrumptious bulb that I use almost every day. YUM! But garlic is a little devil to chop! It sticks to my knife and often hops all over my cutting board. Thank goodness for my garlic press.  I am a grumpy garlic chopper without it. When it comes to a garlic press… you get what you pay for. This press was not cheap but because I use it so often, it is worth every penny!  I am planning to use it for decades and then to pass it down to my family!

TONGS

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

At StoneGable tongs work as forks, spatulas, and even spoons. I have two pairs and I use them almost every day. Tongs keep my fingers from getting burnt to a crisp! These tongs have been in my kitchen, again for years and are in perfect working order!

CITRUS ZESTER OR MICROPLANE

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

My little micorplane is another kitchen gadget that is called into work very often! It allows the skin of a lemon or other citrus fruit to be removed and shredded from the bitter pith of the fruit. The skin hold the glorious oil that holds the fruit’s intense delicious flavor! I also use a

I also use a microplane to finely grate nutmeg (so much better than those little bottles of powdered nutmeg) and cheeses. 

Microplace is a name brand.  I’ve used other graters and they just did not work as well. Get the real deal… it’s as sharp as a rasor and works like a charm!

MEASURING SPOONS

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

I have a very fun, pretty, vintage-looking set of measuring spoons. They were a gift from my Bible Study and came from Anthropologie. They make me happy every time I use them.  I must admit if I’m not baking, I usually use the palm of my hand to measure out ingredients! 

Don’t you love the pretty patina these spoons have earned? You will see a similar set at the bottom of the page.

MEASURING SCOOPS OR CUPS 

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

 

I have one set of pretty measuring spoons and one set of  very utilitarian ones. Can you guess which ones I grab most often?  I want to say the pretty ones, but most often I go for utility. These pretty measuring scoops came from a kitchen shop in Savannah. 

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

Did you know that many tea cups actually measure 1 cup? I love to measure out a cup measure using the teacups cups I have in my flour and sugar jars.

BAR TOWELS

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

My sister was a caterer and a chef. She is the most amazing cook!!!!  I’m spellbound when I watch her in the kitchen. She has a second culinary sense that is totally lost to me! She introduced me to bar towels!  I have a small basket full of them and they are an integral part of my everyday cooking. 

They are fabulous for mopping up spills and as dishcloths and washrags, but they do so much more than that.  I lay out cleaned lettuce on one bar towel and cover it with another. Then I roll the lettuce up sandwiched in between the bar towels.  I get perfectly dry and ready to dress lettuce!  A bar towel also is amazing for squeezing out liquid from cooked spinach or salted zucchini. 

They get washed and thrown into the dryer, rolled us and are ready to be used again!

And here’s the best thing about bar towels. They are so so inexpensive!!!! You can find them at Walmart or most kitchen stores!

CUTTING BOARD

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

A cutting board is essential in my kitchen. NO plastic ones for me! I love the sound of the knife hitting the wood of a cutting board. 

In our home, we have a little gift giving rule… no appliances. It’s a long story, but Bobby’s dad once gave his mom an iron for Christmas. Needless to say, Bobby saw the fuss that was created when a hubby gives a wife an appliance for a gift… and has never repeated his dad’s unfortunate Christmas gift choice in our home!

But one birthday Bobby gave me a gift and fessed up that he was very worried about its content. It was a very heavy gift! When I opened the gift I was thrilled. I could see the relief on Bobby’s face! My gift was a Boos cutting board. Nothing I would have ever gotten myself.  This cutting board is a real investment! I love love love it and it is really worth every penny! Sweet, Bobby… I thank you every time I use this amazing cutting board!

 PASTRY SCRAPER

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

Denise from our fabulous StoneGable community whispered in my ear that what I am really telling you about is a BENCH SCRAPER! Thanks Denise, you ROCK!!!!

I don’t think I have ever used my pastry scraper to scrape up pastry! It may be because I don’t bake very much, but it is probably that I have found a better use for it! A pastry scraper is a wonder at scooping up cut onions or celery or carrots to go into a pan. So so easy-peasy! Almost anything you chop that needs to go in a bowl or pan or pot can be scooped up so easily with a pastry scraper!

I don’t think I have ever used my pastry scraper to scrape up pastry! It may be because I don’t bake very much, but it is probably that I have found a better use for it! A pastry scraper is a wonder at scooping up cut onions or celery or carrots to go into a pan. So so easy-peasy! Almost anything you chop that needs to go in a bowl or pan or pot can be scooped up so easily with a pastry scraper!

KNIFE SHARPENER OR BLADE STEEL

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

I believe that a “sharp blade is a safe blade”! And a dull blade makes any cutting job miserable! I often sharpen my knives with a wonderful little knife sharpener. I used a blade steel for years, but I found a sharpener I love! I am so surprised at many of us let our blades get dull and use these dull blades to cook every day! Dangerous… and cutting with a dull knife is hard work!

Get a good knife sharpener, please!

BONUS GADGET… MASON JAR AND A LID!

10 FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS- Here's my top 10 gadgets that make cooking easier!

Okay, I’ve saved the best for last. The humble mason jar! I use Mason jars to store dry food in and to refrigerate leftovers in (so much better than plastic). I also use it to make vinaigrettes, slurries, and anything I need to shake up. I keep at least a dozen Mason jars and lids in a kitchen cabinet ready to use!

There you have it! My 10 ten kitchen gadgets, plus 1.  

Now, it’s your turn. What are your must-have kitchen gadgets!!!

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77 Comments

  1. The culinary name for the pastry scraper is a bench scraper for anyone interested in the laguage of cooking!! Lol. I also use a sharp vegetable peeler that I purchased in France in addition to one that shreds in seconds. Your use of colorful flowers in this post makes for a pleasing read!!

  2. Excellent tips! I have to watch myself because when I am shopping and I see bar towels I want to buy them, but don’t need any! I always own a good stock of those. I like white, because you can bleach them. I also love kitchen tools and gadgets that make cooking fun and easy. I could go nuts in kitchen supply stores! Thank you for these excellent tips!

  3. What brand of garlic press do you have? I have a pampered chef press but the metal is thick so a fair amount of garlic is left in the press. Yours looks like a better design.

    1. Hi Janie, I think your garlic problem is a common one. Most garlic presses leave some garlic in the press, especially if you don’t peel the garlic first. If you look at the bottom of this post you will see…” products in this post” and click on the garlic press twice. You will see the one I use. Hope this helps.

  4. Did you know that you can buy the best plastic lids for Mason Jars at Wal-Mart. They come in small and wide mouth and I use nothing buy glass containers in our kitchen to store nearly everything. I have used these plastic lids for years. They are with the canning supplies and cannot be beat.

  5. Thanks for some great tips and I especially love the mason jar use. I have been slowly getting rid of my plastics changing to glass. I will now be storing some leftovers in mason jars, practical and cute at same time!
    Blessings
    Candy

  6. Hi Yvonne,

    Great list. It makes me want to take up cooking.

    Another great use for mason jars is to store a jar full of leftover paint. I decant from the gallon can, use a solid lid and mark the top with the room and a date. When you need a small touch up it is easy to grab and paint. The paint also seems to have a better shelf life than in the gallon can and takes up much less room in the workbench.

    Knowing you, I am now thinking that you probably have already posted about this sometime in the past and it is not about cooking, but thought I would share.

    As always, love your ideas. I need to shop for a new cutting board.

  7. Love your post, and I was pleased to find I own and use most of the gadgets you mention!

    I’ll add that I use my microplane to shred garlic instead of a press. I take the skin off first, but then just shred away! So easy and a double use for the microplane

  8. i have a vintage glass lemon reamer that was my mother’s, and except for the garlic press use all of these, too. I cheat and use the garlic in oil that comes in small jars. My kitchen scissors would have to be on my top ten list.

  9. What a great list. I have the same garlic press as Janie and have the same problem with it. I’ll definitely be replacing it with the one you suggested. In my kitchen good scrapers and wire whips in several sizes are must haves. I also have a wonderful wood spoon that I had special made from a wonderful gentleman who has an Etsy store. It is perfect for stirring thick batter when I make banana bread. It has a hole in the middle that makes incorporating all the ingredients much easier and quicker. Just love it!

    I don’t comment often, but I read your blog every day. It is one of my ‘must reads’. Thank you for every single one of your posts.

  10. Now I see good cooks are in your genes! I wish I loved cooking but usually it is a chore. That said, when I cook I want things to be right and efficient. So I keep multiples of measuring cups, glass and metal and also spoons. I hang them inside a cupboard door that I’ve labeled with their size because I hate putting on glasses every time I add an ingredient. I also love small glass bowls and tiny glass bowls. I enjoy pre measuring all the ingredients, especially if I’m making a new recipe. I have my mother in law’s pizza cutter which is heavy duty industrial and my mother’s potato peeler and paring knife because they don’t make things like they used too sometimes. My daughter always threaten to steal them. I’ve heard women tend to be either bakers or cooks depending on how anylitical or creative they are. I don’t bake, my daughter doesn’t cook so it’s true in our family.

  11. A pro chef once showed me the easiest way to do garlic. Peel, the give good sprinkle of salt to cutting board for traction. Lightly smash clove with side of chefs knife, then mince away. Salt keeps things pretty much in place, super quick and easy! Thanks for the great list of kitchen items. Especially love my microplane!

  12. Love all your ideas!!! I have everything except the pastry scrapper and knife sharpener. I use my lemon juicer and zester all the time. My drawer has at least 4 different measuring spoons and cups, some plastic, some ceramic, some metal. I do have a favorite rolling pin. Fun article, thanks for sharing with your beautiful photos.

  13. This is a great post, Yvonne. Thank you. The knife sharpener is exactly the kind I need to have —- you are right about a dull knife is hard work and dangerous. How do I know that? I,ll just say I found out for myself. The mason jar tip for food storage is a great one too. I have plenty of those.
    I follow your posts everyday and am always inspired, thank you for these excellent tips!

    1. One of my favorite foods to put in mason jars are the ends of Parmesan Cheese. I stick them in a mason jar and pop them into the freezer. When I make spaghetti sauces or soups I throw a Parmesan end in what I’m cooking! YUM!

  14. Such a great post, I did not know about a micorplane, such a neat gadget. In the post you said you use this to grate
    Cheese also ? Using mason jars for storage makes sense for me ? along with the bar towels. Thanks for all great info. Just an FYI you can bring your knifes to the grocery store meat dept. and ask them if would sharpen your kitchen knifes for you free of charge. I have always asked first before I brought them wrapped and in to the store. My Dad was a meat cutter and he told me to do that. Just go right to the meat counter. ? .

  15. We have almost all of these. But my husband would love aBoos board. They’re expensive but worth it.
    We have Epicurean which are nice but thinner than Boos. My favorite tool is my grandma’s wooden spoon.
    Bar towels are the best. Nothing dries a glass better. I use them all the ways you do too.
    I love your flower arrangement in this post. I’ve been taking cuttings from my garden and have one almost identical to yours! I love using fresh herbs in the arrangement

  16. Thanks for this post! I have and use almost all of your suggestions. Something I also have and use frequently is a whisk made by Rada. It’s a different shape than the regular whisks. Also, I have a different shaped potato peeler given to me by one of my husband’s clients who purchased it from a salesman on a street corner in NYC. This is the only potato peeler I’ve ever been able to handle.

    Last, but not least, reading about your teacup measuring brought back many memories of my mother. She used them for all measuring-even baking! Her German Chocolate, Angel Food and Coconut cakes were to die for!!

  17. How do you maintain your Boos board? I use a wooden but not that expensive one. Details!
    Details on laundry in bar towels??? Never use mine with food since I don’t know the details of food use and using them with soap for mopping up.
    Would bar towels work with fresh lemons AFTER pickin crabs for your hands?
    Thanks! You always inspire me.

  18. PS swiss moha , Universal grater -mandolin.
    Many uses to include slicing potatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, etc.
    Our favorite! Every kitchen needs one.

  19. It has been fun hearing about everyone’s favorite kitchen gadgets, with some wonderful tips. I’m always glad to find better ways to do things. These have been some of my favorite gadgets:
    1) This vegetable peeler is a cut above the old peeler I grew up with, and practically peels by itself. (OXO Good Grips Pro Y-Peeler – available on Amazon, $13)
    2) These cute, colorful mini spatulas are something I grab all of the time. Emphasis on cute and colorful! (Mini Kitchen Silicone Spatulas by Hampton Direct – available on Amazon, $7 for set of 6).
    3) A salad spinner is used almost daily at my house for lettuce, vegetables, herbs, cherries, grapes, etc. And I use it to make the delicious Caesar Salad on this blog site! I prefer the small/medium size, just because it is handier for me. (OXO SoftWorks Little Salad and Herb Spinner – available on Amazon, $25)
    A while back I read an interview of a chef who said that his favorite kitchen tool was a mandoline slicer. While I greatly depend on my food processors, I’d never tried a mandoline and decided to buy one. It does work well and save time, but I have not quite gotten comfortable with it yet. I thought it was interesting that it was the chef’s #1 favorite kitchen tool.
    I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your life, faith, and insight with us. 🙂

  20. I do a major cookie baking project (four 10-hour days of baking) each Christmas and hold “Cookie Day” where I work at The Home Depot. Prep is everything. I have two sets of measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients and two sets for wet ingredients. Saves a ton of time washing and drying cups between recipes. And I often pre-measure dry ingredients and store them in zippy lock bags labeled with the recipe written on the bag. Once the butter, eggs, etc are mixed, I just grab the right zippy bag and don’t have to stop to measure everything as I bake.

  21. I, too, find that most of my simpler gadgets not only work better but are easier to clean and store. I’ve been using a bench scraper, as you suggested, since my mother first taught me this great little trick when I was a young child. I have several of the named items you show, and love them! I can spend hours in a kitchen wares shop. There is just something so satisfying about growing food and preparing it for the ones we love…not to mention my enjoyment of eating it! I use my bar towels as you do. Bed, Bath, and Beyond has great white ones that can be bleached, and they are very reasonably priced.

  22. My favorite gadget is a butter slicer. Simply position over the butter (or Cracker Barrel cheese), push down and you have equally sliced pieces. This makes it easy to press mini cookie cutters into it to use for bread, or in the case of cheese, to place atop soup.

  23. I love this post! My favorite thing to have in the kitchen is plenty of flatware. I always keep one set on the counter in a caddy. It’s handy for us and then guests don’t have to open all the drawers looking for a fork. I keep another set in a drawer near the coffee pot.

    Love seeing all these fun gadgets and the suggestions in the comments. I think I’m going to order that awesome garlic press!

  24. I love kitchen gadgets too however, after moving and downsizing I found that I use only a few really good quality ones. I have most of the items in this article, my microplane being one of my favorites (thanks Ina Garten). Another favorite is my Black & Decker mini chopper (about one cup size) I use it to chop small amounts of nuts, garlic, onions and bread crumbs…I love multi-purpose gadgets! Will be purchasing a lemon reamer as I use lemon everyday, using the fork leaves a lot left behind as does hand squeezing, why I’ve never purchased one is beyond me!

  25. Yvonne,
    As always you inspire me. Such great tips that I will be using! When I saw your adorable measuring spoons a surge of inspiration came over me. Isn’t it something how pretty things can make a simple task much more enjoyable! And with that being said, one of my favorite kitchen tools isn’t romantic or pretty in the least, but it is very useful…a Rubber Tourniquet. BEST JAR & BOTTLE OPENER! It’s about 14 inches in length & I can wrap it around the body of the jar for grip & then around the lid for a secure turn. Years ago I worked in a healthcare environment & got this tip from one of the nurses. I’ve never been without one since.

  26. Enjoyed reading your list. Those measuring spoons are lovely – what a thoughtful gift! I didn’t realize most tea cups equal one cup…I’m going to see if I have any and put them to use in my flour bins. I use towels in my kitchen just like your sister taught you to do and find them so handy. I bake bread with my husband and so the pastry scraper is used when dividing the dough, but now I see I’m under using this kitchen gadget. I use small mason jars in my kitchen, too. My favorite kitchen gadget? Kitchen scissors. I bought mine long, long ago and they still work great. I use them for everything: dicing chicken, cutting pizza, cutting herbs, opening food bags – I can even cut through chicken bones with them!!

  27. The microplane has to be my favorite new item – changes the way I look at having to zest lemons and I no longer mince garlic, I use the microplane – Love It!

    We eat a lot of salads, especially in Spring & Summer. Several years ago, I was about to throw away some dish towels that were worn but decided to hold onto them and use them when I wash lettuce for a salad. After washing the lettuce, I lay the leaves on the top 2/3 of the towel laid out sideways, then fold the bottom 1/3 over the lettuce, roll the towel up from the end and stand it up in the fridge so the water drains into the towel while the lettuce crisps. Works like a charm.

  28. Hey Yvonne-how funny that I have to agree with you on your choice of the most convenient kitchen gadgets! My favorite of all is the knife sharpener because I cannot even begin to cook without a razor sharp knife in my hand. All you need are these basics and away you go ! Hugs, Dorinda

  29. FUN !!– and useful. I have all those tools !!– I also have a Pampered Chef ‘mix and chop’ kitchen tool I use all the time.
    I don’t like big pieces of hamburger in tacos or spaghetti sauces. Of course I could use the end of a slanted spatula!!!
    But I too like kitchen GADGETS… I mean ‘tools’!! GREAT presentation of your 10 FAV tools. Thank You…. Lindan

  30. Thanks for the info! I will incorporate these into grown up kids Christmas gifts for those kids who have everything!

  31. I hope everyone can help me. I am looking for a wooden cutting board. I would like to know if it is best to work on a footed one or a flat one. I want to put on my Christmas list. Any suggestions? It can’t be too large. Thanks! Judy

  32. We just be related. You are so correct on all of the above. Electric can openers are something I gave up on years ago. They blades are the most unsanitary items in the kitchen. Use only a hand one and it gets washed after each use.

  33. Since retiring, my husband has discovered cooking. So, the bar towels and the Boos board will be under the tree with his name on them. Thanks…men are so challenging to buy for. Diney

  34. I love, love, love pretty gadgets. I don’t love cooking… but it I must I want to use pretty gadgets that make me smile. I do have pretty measuring cups, my kids just bought me a french rolling pin. ( I do enjoy baking). What I didn’t realize are the multiple uses for bar towels. Yaay so happy you posted that. I will be using them more often.

  35. I am storing more stuff in canning jars. I found plastic tops for canning jars recently and they would make my list!

  36. Wonderful, informative post, Yvonne. I love to have a new pack of white towels on hand, as I use them for everything, then bleach to sanitize. My husband was a meat cutter and our knives are lethal weapons, sharpened by a steel. Have taken off a nail on many occasions. He still cringes if I am cutting in his presence and always offers to help. He would prefer to do all cutting, chopping, shredding, etc. by hand, instead of using other methods. So nice to have a helper when making soups, cole slaw, and other labor intensive recipes.

  37. i totally agree on the kitchen tools-and it is so worth it to invest in a quality product. You did good sweet Bobby!!

  38. It is funny how we sometimes mimic our mothers. Great subject for your podcast. My favorite kitchen tools seem to be handed down from mom. Handheld round chopper with sharp points, a nut grinder that has a metal top and glass bottom that does the best job of mincing nuts. She also said her kitchen shears were her best tool. Finding myself saying that too. Love your podcasts and blog. Keep them coming.

  39. I am going to look for some bar towels, neat idea. I use a lot of paper towels. I have a garlic press from Pampered Chef. It is excellent and use it all the time.

  40. Hi Yvonne! I’m probably having a senior moment, but I can’t figure out how to get more information on the garlic press. I tried pressing twice on the photo, but no luck. Maybe it’s my operating system? Anyway, can you please let us know the brand and/or where to find one? My press needs to be replaced, and yours looks like a winner!

    1. The garlic press that is pictured is made by a German manufacturer, Rosle. It is THE BEST. From the owner of a kitchen boutique

  41. I can’t believe you didn’t mention a vegetable peeler. But the ones you did mention were right on.

  42. There are so many things in my kitchen that I love. I have my grandmother’s old sifter which is a bit smaller and lighter than those made today. I also have a silver scoop I use for coffee. When I first got married(48 years ago) I used to take a lot of my mother’s things home be cause those were the things I was comfortable using. She never really minded and I ended up using them a great deal more than she ever did.

    I will say that I am still a fan of the electric can opener as the arthritis in my hand makes it nearly impossible to open large cans any other way. But like yourself and many of your readers, I love love all things kitchen! I’m going to check out the cutting board you recommend. I agree that having a wooden board is the best!

  43. I would have to add whisks. Have to have those, plus spatulas, and large spoons for cooking and straining, also sieves, and mashers and lots of paring knives, plus a larger grater. The other things I use a lot, though not gadgets, are bowls, bowls, and more bowls for food leftovers/storage and mixing up quick recipes. I make everything from scratch, so……

    Your list is great! Thank you.

  44. We eat a lot of avocado and my husband would cringe when he saw me cut/slice it. He bought me the Oxo 3-in-one avocado tool and I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes but it has become one of my favorite tools. I also love a wooden spatula! I just bought a pretty, new one but I still reach for my old faithful! 🙂 My other hands-down favorite is an enameled cast iron dutch oven. It’s the most loved pan in my kitchen!

  45. Love my microplane. Garlic, hard cheese, ginger, nutmeg, citrus zest….the list goes on! I love it!!

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