Our community of home cooks share the kitchen gadgets that make cooking all the more enjoyable.

By Karla Walsh
February 10, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The average kitchen remodel costs $25,054, according to Home Advisor. Luckily, you need not renovate your entire room to make cooking way more enjoyable — and way more delicious. Cut the stress and score restaurant-quality results at home by investing in these 10 Allstar-approved kitchen tools. From baking to blending to braising, cooking a homemade meal will these tools will be a breeze.

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KitchenAid Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer

Hand mixers aren't just for bakers. "A KitchenAid stand mixer is great to blend batters and doughs for baking, of course, but I also use it to shred meat with the paddle attachment," SunnyDaysNora says. "I'm looking forward to trying my new meat grinder and sausage-making attachments. I get a lot of use out of the ice cream maker attachment over the summer."

The totally-worth-the-splurge tool "can whip up mashed potatoes or brownie batter in minutes," Sandra92083 says.

If you're not quite ready to invest the dough (and the space) in a full-stand mixer, Kim says a KitchenAid hand mixer can do many similar tasks.

"I have a stand mixer too, but honestly, the little handheld one is my go-to for just about everything. It can handle anything from whipping cream, to mashing potatoes, to mixing thick gingerbread cookie dough without issue. Plus the beaters actually get all the stuff off the bottom and sides of the bowls, unlike the stand mixer. I have had mine for years and years, and it's still going strong," she says.

  • Buy it: KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Bundle Stand Mixer ($267; Amazon)

  • Buy it: KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer ($39; Amazon)

Credit: Vasylyna Maksymovych / EyeEm / Getty Images

Ice Cube Tray

Sure, it can create cubes to chill your glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade. But an ice cube tray can also help you make major strides to cut down on food waste, reports Tammy Lynn.

"I bought two different sizes of ice cube trays about five years ago, and they have changed my cooking habits forever. I always thought they were just for water, but that's not the case. In the small two-ounce ones, I freeze leftover coffee, juice, or coconut milk for frozen drinks. I preserve fresh herbs in water for future use," she says. You could also try this with stock or melted butter.

In larger, quarter-cup wells, Tammy Lynn freezes homemade broth cubes and frozen vegetable purees to add to soup or sauces. Once she gets 'em icy, she pops the cubes out of the tray and stores them in labeled plastic bags so that it's never a guessing game. This also leaves the trays free for another round.

  • Buy it: Silicone Ice Cube Trays with Lids ($14 for two; Amazon)

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Air Fryer

All the crunch for far fewer calories. Yoly has ditched deep-frying for the air fryer ⁠— essentially a small convection oven in a small countertop appliance.

"Everything can be done in a few minutes, including frying pork chops, chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches, corn tortillas, and even donuts. I use it to reheat leftovers as well. Minimal cleaning is also a big plus," Yoly says.

If that wasn't enough to sway you, take it from MrsWoflie: "OMG, my air fryer! Where in the world has this been my whole life?!"

  • Buy it: Ultrean 5.8-Quart Air Fryer ($86; Amazon)

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Wüsthof Classic Knives

A sharp kitchen knife is essential for dicing, slicing, and scoring. Thousands of people visit the emergency room each year after injuries related to kitchen knives, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center — and many are a result of blunt tools not cut out for the job.

"Every kitchen needs a quality knife set," TheDailyGourmet says. And a 10-inch chef's knife, included in most knife sets, is the ultimate multitasker, Bd.weld says.

  • Buy it: Wüsthof Classic 7-Piece Knife Block Set ($400; Amazon)

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Vitamix Blender

Go ahead, give it a whirl, TheDailyGourmet says. "One of my shining stars in my kitchen is my Vitamix. It's a true workhorse! I can DIY different types of flour, blend nut and seed butters, knead dough, blend smoothies, mix and warm piping-hot soup, create ice cream custard, and more," she explains.

Yoly uses hers on an almost daily basis, and she's especially fond of the new Vitamix Aer container that "whips cream beautifully, incorporates air into baking batters, and can muddle different foods without blending them."

While many copycat blenders are on the market, nothing competes with the original Vitamix blender, TheDailyGourmet adds. "It's like comparing a moped to a Harley," she says.

  • Buy it: Vitamix Explorian Professional-Grade 48-Ounce Blender ($284; Amazon)

  • Buy it: Vitamix Aer Disc 48-Ounce Container ($133; Amazon)

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Instant Pot

This trendy kitchen tool steams rice, stews chili, and sears meats. Tammy Lynn vows it's worthy of all the buzz. "I use my Instant Pot at least twice a week," she says. "It has essentially replaced my slow cooker. I can put all of the ingredients in an hour before dinner, and the resulting entree is so flavorful and tender. Steel-cut oats have now become a staple in my diet because they are so much easier to cook in the Instant Pot than on the stove."

  • Buy it: Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 6-Quart Multicooker ($132; Amazon)

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Don't sweat food safety. A trusty kitchen thermometer can help you keep your cool — and cook food to its proper doneness. "The Thermapen is nice for baking bread and ensuring that chicken is cooked through," Coops says. "Being colorblind, chicken never looks pink to me!"

  • Buy it: ThermaPro Waterproof Digital Thermometer ($26; Amazon)

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All-Clad Stainless Steel Skillets

More delicious dinners with fewer dishes? Sold. "I love my All-Clad 12-inch skillets," Bibi says. "I have three, and they are always in use. The size allows four servings of a main dish, and the meal can either finish on stovetop or in the oven since they are plastic-free. The pans are also large enough for a family-sized stir-fry recipe. I can do without a lot of things, but not my skillets!" Use yours to whip up these 15 easy and comforting skillet suppers.

  • Buy it: All-Clad 12-Inch Silver Skillet ($265; Amazon)

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This small kitchen tool is great at grating. "I love my microplane. It's perfect for shaving exactly the right amount needed of hard cheeses, garlic, ginger, nuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, and citrus zest," Diana71 says. "The texture is perfect without picking up a knife!" JrBaker also keeps it on hand to grate chocolate onto food for a showy garnish come dessert time.

  • Buy it: Microplane Premium Classic Series Grater ($11; Amazon)

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Adjustable Measuring Cup

Basic liquid measuring cups do the job, but once you upgrade to an adjustable model, you'll never go back. Especially when you're trying to portion out items that are sticky or tricky to measure, such as peanut butter or honey.

"When you're measuring say sour cream, the closed end of the inner tube is up," JoeyJoan says. "You simply select the amount you want, put the sour cream in, and push the inner tube up. The sour cream comes up and out with no real scrapping, and you don't leave any in the tube."

  • Buy it: OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Adjustable Measuring Cup ($12; Amazon)