The 7 Truly Useful Kitchen Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed


Hey friends — it’s Em here, one of the resident foodies at TME back to talk about the best kitchen gadgets. The tried-and-true essentials I’ve had in my kitchen for years — the ones worth every penny and every inch of your countertop or drawer space. 

I’m somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to my kitchen (very few uni-taskers make the cut), so trust me when I say you’ll find yourself reaching for these tools again and again. I wouldn’t dare steer you wrong in this arena.

The Best Kitchen Gadgets To Make Cooking So Much Simpler (They’d Make Great Gifts, Too)

From the cast iron pan that never leaves our stovetop (holy cow, it’s $15 right now!) to the rice cooker that sees daily action (including some hugs in this video), plus the garlic mincer I’ve had for 20+ years and the kid-friendly can opener that’s a total game-changer, these kitchen staples would make a great addition to any kitchen — and would even make thoughtful gifts or stocking stuffers for your fellow foodie friends and family.

1) Egg Perfect Egg Timer

This little Egg Perfect Egg Timer is SO freaking handy. You drop it in your pot along with your eggs, and it changes color to indicated the eggs’ doneness (soft/medium/hard). Extremely convenient if you, like me, forget to set a timer when the water comes to a boil, or if you’re heading to high altitude where water boils at a different rate (yes, I have traveled with this little device). Also perfect for families, like ours, where some people like their eggs softer than others. Just pull out eggs as they reach their desired doneness. Ingenious in its simplicity.

2) Garlic Twist

Friends, don’t eff with garlic presses that are any more complicated than this. Simplicity wins here, which is why the Garlic Twist can’t be beat. Smash a few cloves using the Garlic Twist, peel them and put them inside (it can handle 4-6 at a time, depending on their size), twist it (duh) to mince, then knock it all out with a fork, give it a rinse (or pop it in the dishwasher) — you’re good to go. No teensy little holes to clean out. And the quality is great. As I mentioned above, I’ve had mine for more than 20 years and it’s still going strong. If you enjoy cooking with fresh garlic at all, give yourself the gift of this extremely useful device.

We use a smaller cookie scoop (this one, to be exact) for making basic cookies every Monday, but this jumbo cookie scoop is absolutely perfect for making giant, bakery-style cookies that feel especially luxe (and gift-worthy!) during the holidays. It’s also the ideal size for portioning batter into muffin tins, perfectly filling them without overfilling them. And it’s lovely for giant meatballs or matzoh balls. Oh, and ice cream (of course). 

4) Kuhn Rikon Can Opener

I’ve shared my love of this Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety LidLifter/Can Opener before, and I’m clearly not alone in my obsession. People lovvvvve this little thing for all the same reasons I do: it’s robust as heck, cuts the lids cleanly off without sharp edges on either the can or the lid, is easy for kiddos to get the hang of — and just does what it’s supposed to do really, really well. I’ve yet to encounter a can this can’t open, including ones with dented edges, or pull-top cans where the pull-top fails. (SPAM, I’m looking at you.) The Cadillac of all can openers.

5) Lodge 8″ Cast Iron Pan

We have a lot of extremely fancy, extremely pricey cast iron in our kitchen, and yet this little Lodge Cast Iron Pan is the only one that has a reserved spot on top of our stovetop. We use it multiple times a day for eggs, making the girls quesadillas or grilled cheese, warming corn tortillas, reheating a portion of leftovers, making crepes (you do NOT need a crepe pan, just a small pan that you can quickly swirl to cover with batter) — you name it. There are, of course, larger sizes available, but we use the 8-inch one so much more than I ever would have expected, and the small size makes it really easy to keep well-seasoned for a nonstick finish.

6) Salt & Pepper Bottle Grinders

These Salt & Pepper Bottle Grinders were on my list for two years before I bought them for myself, and I’m so glad I did. They look like stoneware, grind both salt and pepper flawlessly (with an adjustable ceramic grinding mechanism), are pretty enough to keep on the table — and best of all, because of the design, you invert them to grind the spices, so when they sit on the table, the mechanism is on the top (read: not spewing salt and pepper silt all over your table or counter). Just perfection. And available in so many pretty colors to complement any home.

7) Zojirushi Rice Cooker

If you only trust me on one of these, let it be this one. If you like rice, or would desire to make better rice at home, this Zojirushi Rice Cooker cannot be beat. It is aces when it comes to perfectly cooking every and all grain of rice (or quinoa, or farro, or oatmeal) and even has a setting for making rice porridge (jook/congee), which Lana loves for breakfast. But its most stunning feature: it keeps rice warm for days, meaning if we have rice for dinner, my kids can also help themselves to it for breakfast, or an after-school snack the next day (or even the next day). Top it with a soft scrambled egg, sliced avocado and a little chili crisp, and I’ve got a Not-Sad Eaten-Over-The-Kitchen-Sink Lunch, too.

Would love to hear about the best kitchen gadgets in your drawers, too. If you’re feeling inspired, check out some of my TME recipes right here. Happy eating, friends!


Friends! Follow me on Instagram for accessible, easily adaptable recipes; sneak peeks of The Mom Edit content (and sales!); and more snippets of our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!

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