What kitchen appliances are worth the money? What do you really need in a real food kitchen? These are my favorite, most useful kitchen appliances that I use every week!
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I have a confession to make.
When I first started writing this post, I planned on titling it “Must-Have Kitchen Appliances”, or something along those lines. Not that I think everyone neeeeeds every item in this list. But I’ll let you in on a little tidbit of info about blogging- post titles matter because we want people to be able to find what we’ve written!
So, if someone is searching for the so-called “must-have” appliances, I’d want to show up somewhere in the results. It’s part of the process, not one that I dislike, just part of the “business” side of this blogging gig.
However, after reading Kate from Naptime Kitchen’s Instagram post today, I knew I couldn’t refer to this list as MUST-HAVE items. Because, really, we could manage without them.
Instead, I’m calling this more of a comprehensive list of MOST USEFUL kitchen appliances. We may be able to live without them, but if you cook regularly, the appliances on this list can make the process both easier and more enjoyable.
In other words, these are my personal and best recommendations as a professional food blogger and regular ol’ mama cooking for her hungry family day after day.
Most Useful Kitchen Appliances
I have been using food processors in my kitchen for years, starting with the most basic, small choppers. I wouldn’t want to be without one, which is why we had no problem replacing my food processor when we found a good deal around the holidays. (My food processor was still functioning fine, but the canister was cracked and it was cost effective just to replace the entire appliance).
This Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor is hands-down my favorite and thousands of others agree with me too. I use mine all the time because it’s really useful. I currently store it in two cabinets (the canister in a top cabinet and the base in a bottom cabinet) in my kitchen. Easy to pull out and use whenever I need it.
I don’t have an alternate suggestion for this appliance because I am just so partial to this one and it regularly goes on sale!
WHAT IT’S USED FOR:
Y’all know how I feel about my Instant Pots! Electric pressure cookers are way beyond being a fad at this point. They have proven themselves to be incredibly useful and multi-purpose. You could easily use it for something different every day of the week.
My favorite Instant Pot model to recommend is the ULTRA. I use my ULTRA more than any other (read more about how the ULTRA compares to the DUO here).
If you are on the fence about the Instant Pot or a new user, you can check out the Instant Pot page here on the blog for tutorials, printable reference sheets, getting started guides, and recipes to put your Instant Pot to use any and all times of the day!
WHAT IT’S USED FOR:
- roasts, hams, other large cuts of meat
- cooking two dinner components at once (like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken and rice, etc)
- proofing bread
- easy desserts like brownies, creme brûlée, cobbler, cheesecake, etc
- quickly cooking side dishes and vegetables
- making staples like stock, marinara sauce, applesauce, etc
- SO MUCH MORE!
Don’t forget to check out my cookbook full of Instant Pot recipes!
I have had my Vitamix for longer than anything else on this list! It has lasted for years, despite being used regularly every week for about 6+ years! Because I’ve owned mine for so long without any issues, I definitely think that if you are able to invest in a Vitamix, they are well-worth the investment.
However, if a Vitamix is not in the budget, I know that people also really love their Ninjas as well.
WHAT IT’S USED FOR:
- fruit & veg smoothies
- nut butters (like this perfect creamy peanut butter)
- blending sauces & soups
- 5-minute pesto sauce
- 3-minute homemade mayo
- fresh whipped cream
- fruit sorbets
- hot chocolate mix
- grinding oats and small amounts of grains
- MUCH, MUCH MORE!
Ask around what the best, most useful kitchen appliances are and stand mixers are always mentioned again and again. You don’t have to be a professional baker to benefit from having a mixer.
I started with a basic Kitchen Aid mixer (received as a college graduation gift!), and then last year upgraded to the professional series. My mixer was not broken at all (I actually passed it down to my brother), but wasn’t quite as pretty as it used to be, and these things tend to matter more to a professional food blogger!
WHAT IT’S USED FOR:
- easily mixing cake batters (like my grandmother’s amazing pound cake, or this chocolate peanut butter layer cake, or this gluten-free white chocolate raspberry layer cake)
- batches of cookie dough (like these frosted tea cakes)
- mashing potatoes
- shredding chicken (THE BEST)
- mixing bread dough
- PLUS you can get attachments to do all sorts of things like grind grain, make pasta, slice vegetables, etc
Honestly, I am not 100% certain that an air fryer belongs in a list along with stand mixers, Vitamixes, food processors, etc. BUT I know that MANY people loooove their air fryers. I have a Mealthy CrispLid that I really enjoy having (it sits on top of my Instant Pot, transforming it into an air fryer), but I do not have a stand-alone air fryer.
I have not taken the plunge because of the size of my family means that I would not likely be able to cook enough food in a batch for everyone. This Phillips Air Fryer has great reviews and was recommended when I asked for suggestions on Instagram.
WHAT IT’S USED FOR:
- “fried” foods
- chicken tenders
- crisp veggies
- MUCH MORE
Bonus Appliances & Tools
The appliances in this section are not what I would consider “essential” or top-tier in a kitchen. Each of the appliances on this part of the list are more single-function items, unlike the appliances above that can be used for several different tasks.
However, if you are interested in making more foods from scratch and cooking more at home, they definitely help to make those tasks easier and help to make the end results tastier!
I love my waffle maker! It’s big enough to make cooking waffles for my family of 7 manageable, while still being compact enough to tuck away in my cabinet. I use it at least once a month for Saturday Morning Waffles.
If you or your family enjoy a good cup of coffee, then being able to grind your coffee beans fresh will make a big difference! This grinder is great because you can control how much you grind, and how finely you grind it.
We have used this Cuisinart Burr-Mill grinder for several years without complaint! It is one of the only two appliances that always stays on our countertop! (Can you guess the other?)
Ice Cream Maker
This ice cream maker is really easy to use, especially when paired with a super simple ice cream mix! My only concern is that as our family grows, we will need a larger ice cream maker. I would say this is perfect for families of 3-5.
Fresh pasta is not something that I make every week, but I do like to make it regularly and especially on special occasions. This pasta machine seriously simplifies and expedites the process of rolling out and cutting the pasta dough. (How to make fresh pasta).
This machine is excellently made in Italy. Highly recommend!
Grain Mill and/or Bread Machine
If you are interested in grinding fresh flour at home, and trying out a variety of grains and blends, then you may be interested in a grain mill. I have been using my Wondermill grain mill for four years. It stays tucked away in my cabinet and can be easily pulled out whenever I need it. Fresh flour in minutes! (Grinding Grain at Home 101)
Also check out the cookbook, Homemade Flour, for more tips and recipes.
This is the one item on this list that I do not yet own, but it’s going on my personal wishlist this year. We drink a LOT of sparkling water and I would love to be able to make my own bottles to drink during the day. We love Spindrift sparkling water because the only ingredients are water and fruit, but the cans (and cost) add up.
Do you have one? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Is there anything you would add to this list of most useful kitchen appliances? Share in the comments!
If you’re looking for more recommendations and holiday shopping inspiration, you can find them all on the Holiday Gift Guides page.
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