BEST KITCHEN TOOLS & ACCESSORIES
Our Favorite Kitchen Accessories
Thermapen MK4 by ThermoWorks
Thermoworks, the manufacturer of Thermapen, has worked hard to become the gold standard in accurately measuring temperatures for multiple industries. Bringing that reputation to the instant thermometer market has been a game changer.
We first sighted one on a health inspector and knew it was the product we needed to know more about. Their accuracy is above average for this kind of device, rated at +/-.7 degrees, we found the variation to be slightly less than that. The speed rating of 2-3 seconds is true, crucial when you are temping an expensive steak and seconds can change done to overdone.
If you are one who likes their coffee brewing water at just the right temperature, or any other aspect of your cooking requires precision temps, an instant read digital thermometer is the device for you. For health, food safety and accurate cooking from steak to candy to bread, everything about the Thermapen Mk4 works to your advantage.
Best Smart Coffee Mug
Keeping your coffee at the perfect temperature is kind of hard since ceramic mugs vent their heat away. The folks at Ember have updated their previous model that keeps your coffee at the right temp all day long. It also allows you to set the temperature to your liking, so any coffee beverage is ideal for you.
Cooking in the kitchen can be busy enough so you likely have less time to sit down and enjoy a cup. By the time you get back to a fresh cup, it might have gotten cold because you busy prepping your dish. Well, this is where the Ember smart mug comes in handy. It uses a nifty app that you can set-up and controls the ideal temperature of your coffee. While your mug can be carried anywhere in the kitchen or around the house, it does come with a charger coaster.
The best part is that you get immediate notifications when your coffee has reached the right temperature. This is one of those kitchen accessories you can take nearly anywhere!
Best Coffee Grinder
If you've ever owned an electric coffee grinder chances are these machines tend to be haphazard. You might over-grind your coffee beans and get something that looks like powdered sugar instead. Well, this hand crank coffee grinder is fool-proof and has all the portability that you'll need for kitchen grinding or outdoor grilling.
That's right since this can be used to grind all sorts of things aside from coffee beans too. It can be ideal for peppercorns, spices, and especially coffee beans. It cleans up very easily with hand washing and has 8 different grind settings. You can get just the right grind suitable for all sorts of coffee grounds from coarse to extra fine. Because it's a hand crank there never any need to plug it in or change the batteries. You can also feel the grind better while you grind away for making fresh coffee anytime.
Best Portable Coffee Maker
How do you make a great cup of coffee in less than 5 minutes? It might sound unlikely but for the Aeropress coffee maker, the solution to have a great cup of coffee right into your mug. The quality even rivals the French Press method and with less clean-up to boot. It's a perfect item to add to your kitchen accessories list.
You can't beat the Aeropress simplicity in terms of easy to use rapid brewing. When time is part of your kitchen duties, this gadget makes the art of making coffee super simple. It's not as time-consuming as a pour-over, and the power of this design will win you over. It's also ideal for camping trips, backyard cookouts, and fast and easy coffee making. This kit comes with everything you need to make the perfect cup.
It doesn't include coffee or hot water so thankfully some of these gadgets mentioned might help you further.
Mixing Bowl Set
You’ve probably all seen the life hack of wrapping a towel in a circle to hold a slick stainless bowl in place while you stir. For the home kitchen these bowls solve that problem without the towel. The silicone base holds the bowl in place very well so you can use your hands for stirring, adding ingredients and such.
While we don’t think these would survive the rigors and abuse of an industrial kitchen, they are more than functional for active home cooking. The stainless is heavy grade so they won’t easily dent, they’ll hold shape and they nest well. The lids, while not a priority for us, are a nice add on, especially when using these for prep storage and chilling.
These will be a worthwhile investment for your kitchen, and you will probably be surprised at how often you will find yourself enjoying using these bowls.
Best Smart Kettle
When was the last time you needed to have a pot of water boiling in minutes and your stove was using all the burners? This is kind of likely if you're busy around the holidays? Unless you have a plug-in water kettle you can always use that. Here's a portable smart kettle that can be controlled through an app. If you have a smart home controller, you can ask Alexa to start your kettle for you.
If you have your hands full and need some hot water fast, the Smarter iKettle is here to help. The temperature can all be set through the app or asking Alexa to do it for you. It's great for those moments when you need instant hot water without even being in the kitchen. For those outdoor grill parties, you can also start the boiling from the interactive app program. This kettle is well-built and works Alexa and IFTTT through Nest cam.
You can even set it as your water boil for preset times when you wake up. Smarter kitchen accessories like this Smart iKettle are absolutely worth it.
Our Favorite Kitchen Gadgets
Best Portable Smoker
We all know how having smoked meats can enhance BBQ and select meats, but a portable smoker for ice cream? This gadget borders on what can't you smoke than anything else. But when in Rome, just do it like Romans usually did it best. Here's one way to smoke all your favorite foods.
The odd part about Polyscience's new smoking gun food smoker is that it has a faithful following. If you're into Sous Vide cooking, this is the smoker that can add that unmistakable flavor to water cooked meats. It also can be used to smoke-out nearly anything you put it to the test. How smoky do you like your roasted almonds or is there anything wrong with smoking-up your favorite whiskey? It comes with a battery-powered motor and had adjustable fan speed.
It also comes with a smoking tube that can be inserted into a cup, jar, or bowl. Once it gets smoked, you quickly cover it for 2-3 minutes and it's ready to be enjoyed.
InkBird Sous Vide Cooker
The sous vide process (immersion cooking with temperature control) is becoming a mainstay in top end kitchens, and you will ultimately want to take the plunge. This Inkbird model represents an excellent way to get started without spending your entire gadget budget.
At well under $100, you get a very quiet device that packs 1000 watts of heating power to get the bath up to the target temperature and hold it there. These guys have been putting out quality tech products at reasonable prices for over a decade. The app for this device is approachable and straight forward, but the unit itself has an easy to navigate screen for manual input.
We’re not taking away from the big names in the industry, just showing you a great way to get started. If your time to dive into sous vide cooking has arrived, this is an excellent way for you to test the waters.
Best Automatic Pan Stirrerr
Here's one of those gadgets that looks like it came straight out of one of Ron Popeil's infomercials in the 80s. It has wacky colors and a design that looks as flimsy as the Pocket Fisherman did. But this machine has a couple of good things that are actually helpful. It can be cordless and runs on a chargeable battery.
It also clamps onto any pot of saucepan and will stir the contents for up to 12 hours on a single charge. The motor on this can stir heavy or thick soups and even works on mixing batter based foods like cake mix or pudding. And while this does look a bit too gimmicky, it does have a loyal fan base. There are also additional add-ons that are good for coffee roasting when higher temperatures are used. It can have a digital thermometer add-on to monitor your soup temperature while it stirs.
Best Automatic Jar Opener
How many times has this happened that you couldn't open that darn jar of pasta sauce? Well if you only had the power of those Keanu Reeves pickle jar hands, this would never have happened. Now luckily you can have that power with this automatic jar opener from Hamilton Beach. Who knew they such a respected kitchen appliance maker would offer such gimmicky gadgets? Now, what makes this item so special is that it works on small to large lids just as easily. It's basically self-adjusting to each jar it holds onto and opens. It also works from two AA batteries that come with each opener. Aside from the laziness of this simple item, it should belong in any kitchen because it works!
While it is a little on the pricy side, there is always the need for a strong jar opener device in your kitchen.
Best Crispy Bacon Grill
Who has time to fire-up the frying pan when you can pull out one of these gadgets and grill-up crispy bacon? It might sound odd but this is one machine that does the hard work for you. It takes up to 6 slices at a time and cooks over two heated elements. It also has 12 different automatic cooking settings.
The beauty of this machine is that you lay strips of bacon over a non-stick metal shelf. Bacon is then ready to cook in a matter of minutes. The grease flows to the bottom of a tray that can be emptied afterward. You can have easily cooked strips with many options for crispy bacon settings. It might also be good for thinly sliced meats and ham slices for sandwich fillings. All of the inner parts can be removed easily for hand washing or cleaning.
Despite the gimmicky look to this, it does a very nice job at cooking bacon without all the mess. If you're a fan of the BLT, you have to order this machine.
Our Favorite Kitchen Knifes
Best Butcher Knife
Kitchen duties that tend to get messy will often have plenty of slippery meats or foodstuffs. This is where Victorinox comes to the rescue with a butcher knife that offers a safe grip. Like any good go-to knives for trimming meat, this rounded leading edge is outstanding for slicing-off those fatty edges.
This blade is ideal for working around all types of thick meat cuts and nearly has 8 inches (20cm) of blade length. Victorinox is Swiss-made so you know that their quality in knives is professional and precise. The handle has a black textured grip that features an elongated nose that prevents slippage while working on your meat. It features a carbon stainless steel that's been ice-tempered to increase its working strength and hold this blade's sharpness longer. And guess what, it's also dishwasher safe, so it can go in with all the rest of your kitchen dishes.
Best Paring Knife
If you are going to have an all-purpose kitchen knife, why not have a paring knife that fits the part. Here is a fine rendition of the ultimate paring knife from the Dalstrong Gladiator Series that is worth every penny. Finally do your slicing, dicing, and general duty chopping with an easy to hold comfort grip. It's great for those little jobs that don't have to be too involved or messy.
Starting off with a generous 3.75-inch blade, the secret to getting closer to your food is all in the handle design. The near oval handle allows for a steady grip in your hand, making paring an easy task. It's very handy for all sorts of food preparation and gives you excellent knuckle clearance. It's been sharpened to have a 14-16 degree sharpened edge (like all the Dalstrong knives), to allow effortless cutting and slicing. You won't have much worry about getting those perfectly thin slices off a tomato or a potato. It works to your advantage with a long slightly bowed blade. When used for dicing, you get just enough rocking motion without tiring your wrist at all.
Best Boning Knife
Without a doubt, sometimes it's better to get more for your money than you would have expected. Direct from the Dalstrong Gladiator Series that's under $50. It is remarkable how you are getting a superb fillet and boning knife that normally cost you a lot more. If your job details slicing through thick meat, boning, butterflying, and skinning, this is your knife.
This boning knife comes with a 5.5-inch blade and is made from forged carbon steel supported by 55 Rockwell. This blade allows for effortless gliding through meat and under the skin especially for outdoor enthusiasts who like hunting. The blade itself has a curved swooping shape up to the tip and is excellent for working on all types of meat. De-boning and working around cartilage will be two excellent reasons to own this knife. Looking to do some high endurance cutting with precision, with Dalstrong knives; you can't go wrong.
Best Knife Organizer
I suppose you're going to need a decent knife holder that has characteristic value and is under the 50 dollar range too. I recommend the Navaris magnetic knife holder since it's perfect for displaying your knives. Unlike other magnetic bamboo holders for knives, this has some holding power. You might say that it sticks to its promises as many knife racks don't hold a candle to this board.
This rack measures nearly 10 x 10 inches and is slightly angled backward. The base measures another 4" with non-slip rubber grips on the stainless steel base. You can put as many as 5 or 6 knives on this board, but it comfortably fits 4-5 all-purpose knives also. Ceramic coated knives won't be so ideal since they don't stick so well. Bare metal knives are best for this magnetic knife board.
Our Favorite Cookbooks
The Best Slow Cooker Book
Who has time to cook anymore, right? Well if you know how uncommon using the slow cooker is you've forgotten a real gem. The crockpot isn't your mother's old torture device, just the recipes were simply awful and bland.
These days it not hard to associate slow-cooked meals with absolute perfection! And, there are more slow-cooked meals that are worth eating, and take little effort to make. Since the secret relies on time and low-energy savings to cook your meals. All your ingredients go into the pot and you walk away to find incredible meals cooked for hours. These are great even if you work at the office or at home.
Find out how to get the most out of slow cooking meats, vegetables, and savory saucy dishes. If you can't find a dish that doesn't appeal to you, you just have tried these recipes yet. One of the best cookbooks that allow the modern on-the-go family to be well fed.
The Best Old-School Cookbook
Do you know how important this book happens to be? This is the actual book that's gotten 9 revisions in its history, perfecting the method and recipes inside. Julia Childs has even praised this book for being the backbone of the American recipe.
The Joy of Cooking is not an under-rated book since it's now celebrating its' 75th year. It also included over 600 new recipes in addition to the older classic ones. If you have one cookbook bible in your kitchen, you'll need to include this as well. You don't need to be an expert cook to understand this book since it lends so well to American recipes. But what you'll learn from it is absolutely the joy of cooking at home.
It has also undergone updates through an exciting app that makes cooking simple. It can be downloaded for the iPhone or iPad. Most likely you'll find it also applies for all Android devices.
The Best Healthy Family Cookbook
How much do you like cooking for your family? Imagine there is a book that covers every meal of the day that includes 100 family-approved meals? It's filled with appealing pictures and easy to follow recipes.
Once upon a chef: The Cookbook details everything you need to know about healthy family meals. It's hard to think that healthy food is all about flavor and nutritional value, but there is. For one culinary chef who dares to dream, Jenn Segal found that having two kids was no excuse for creativity in the kitchen. In her book, she details how to perfect seasoning and how to maximize left-overs. If you're working on a budget, this is a must-have for cookbooks that make the most of family-friendly meals from morning to dessert.
The Best Seafood Cookbook
Not everyone is so excited about eating fish and seafood. There are too many things that can ruin fish and not every fillet should be deep-fried. Why not learn to enjoy the comforts under the sea, but not limited to freshwater fish either.
Some people forget that seafood isn't limited to soups and salads, since it's a meal that can be prepared in so many ways. Come and find out what you've been missing all these years and learn how to cook it properly. You can also learn how to season your salmon or shuck an oyster. There's more to seafood than you've been aware of including poaching, brazing, frying, and grilling. It's always worth having cookbooks like this to add more variety to your diet.
If you think something is fishy about this book, you're absolutely right. The Foolproof Fish cookbook is your guide to better seafood dining at home. It has all the recipes that are modern favorites with 384 recipes you can try all throughout the year.