11 Must-Have Kitchen Gadget Gifts for the Holiday Season

By: Michele Wolfson

Manhattanites generally have tiny apartments with very limited space. This often prevents us from buying kitchen gadgets that our country friends own with their big kitchens and their automobiles that allow them to bring back a plethora of electrical items back to their homes. While we city folk usually order the heavy appliances over the Internet, we don't really have a place to put them.

Sometimes I wish I could say that I fall into that category of a minimalist that only own one pot, a few saucepans and a cherished cast-iron skillet. But the truth is that I love kitchen gadgets even more than I do shoes and bags combined. These devices make food and my life in the kitchen 1,000 times more enjoyable.

Pressure Cooker- Pressure cookers have a bad reputation for dinners exploding and then ending up on the ceiling. Therefore, I never seriously considered buying one. Then, I went to culinary school and used one almost every day and didn't even realize that they weren't scary and I had to have one. They save time and cook items like beans to perfection. Electric pressure cookers are becoming popular and are easy to use.

A Wusthof Chef knife- This knife can cost as much as a night on the town but it will be the last knife you ever buy. Culinary school taught me that Wusthof knives are the best and everyone in the kitchen should own one.

Apple Slicer, Corer and Divider by OXO- People scoff when they hear that I have an apple slicer. After all, I graduated from culinary school and have an amazing Wusthof chef knife, so why would I need an apple slicer? I need it because it saves tons of time and slices my apples to perfection. I grew up with one of these bad boys, so when I found out that most people I know didn't even realized that it existed, I was shocked and appalled. The apple slicer makes it easy to snack on an apple with peanut butter or honey, which is both nutritious and easy to prepare. That is just a win/win situation. Not all apple slicers are created equally. OXO makes one of the best slicers.

Champion Juicer- This is the number one item that I want Santa to put under the tree for me this year. Did you get the memo, Santa? If you are reading this, I WANT THE CHAMPION JUICER! Not just any old juicer- the Champion Juicer. It is the best one as far as I'm concerned and while it is expensive, they last for a very long time so they are worth the bang for the buck. This heavy-duty juicer will allow you to make your own veggie and fruit juices with organic produce. Buying high quality juices outside of your home is extremely costly, so while this device might be expensive, you will actually be saving money in the long run.

Kitchen Aid Mixer- For years I wanted this gadget and for a special occasion, I finally got it. Now that I have my black Kitchen Aid Mixer, I don't know how I lived my life without one. I make all of my baked goods in the Kitchen Aid. It has a powerful blade that can really mix the ingredients well and it makes baking significantly easier. I don't have to stand there holding the mixer the whole time. It is great for breads in that it really kneads the dough well. It comes with different attachments for whisking a dough blade for breads, and an all-purpose blade for other baked goods. The cleanup is a snap. My mixer saves me a lot of time in the kitchen. Tip: Ruelala.com has sold Kitchen Aid Mixers for 50% off at least twice so far, so keep a look out for that awesome deal! That's how I got mine!

Vitamix 5200 - This machine will be used in your kitchen at least two to three times a day. It can be used to make baby food, fruit smoothies for breakfast, protein shakes for the gym, soups for dinner, and even homemade desserts. You can find these blenders online for around $450. Once you own one, you will never go back to your old blender!

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker - I purchased this item for an ice cream connoisseur that I know and love. Needless to say, it was the best gift I ever bought. Making ice cream is not only fun, it can also be the best ice cream you've ever tasted. Many people have dietary restrictions these days (gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, corn-syrup), so with this machine, one can create ice cream that caters to their needs. The best ice cream I ever had was vegan vanilla cinnamon ice cream with coconut milk. It takes about five minutes to add the ingredients, and then you are free for 30 minutes while the machine does all the work. My only suggestion is to make sure that the freezer bin stays in the freezer a few days prior to use, or the ice cream will not get hard enough.

Cuisinart Food Processor- Clearly, Cuisinart makes amazing products. I love my food processer and it's chopping abilities. Just in the past day I have used it to make pesto, granola bars and to chop vegetables for purees. Cuisinart Food Processors can be purchased at any major department store for only $120. Miniature ones can go for under $30!

Braun Coffee Grinder - It is a misconception that a coffee grinder is a "pain-in-the-butt" way to make coffee. Grinding coffee beans yourself makes your morning cup of Joe much more satisfying. This device is surprisingly versatile. Not only will it grind coffee, it can grind gluten free flours that may need to be fluffed up to make the batter lighter. It is also great to grind up tortilla chips or dried bread to use in recipes that might call for breadcrumbs. These can be used in meatballs, meatloaf, or as a coating for crispy chicken. It can also be used to make gluten-free oat flour for baked goods.

Griddle by Oster - This is one of my mother's favorite gadgets and really comes in handy when my brother and his closest friends are home from college over break and my mom has promised to make all of these burly men some homemade breakfast. With this griddle, she can whip up a double batch of pancakes and make 8-10 at a time. This is much faster than in a frying pan on the stove. Those guys are picky when it comes to how they like their eggs cooked, but in general it is nice to have the whole griddle to customize each order... eggs with cheese; without cheese, but with veggies; with bacon cheese and veggies, etc. You can even throw some hash browns on there as well.

Garlic Press- Three reasons to love a garlic press:

    1. Your fingers don't end up sticky and stinky.
    2. It works really fast.
    3. It's an inexpensive kitchen utensil.

If you hate mincing garlic, you will love this gadget.

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?


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