Everyone has a dream kitchen that exists in their mind. Maybe it’s an ultra-modern layout with sleek marble and floor-to-ceiling windows and concealed appliances, or homey, Sicilian style kitchen with loads of tile and a stove big enough to gather three people around. Whatever it is that speaks to you, I’m sure most of us can agree that our dream kitchens may sound nice but aren’t usually feasible.
Instead, creating the best kitchen we can with the room we have is what will often produce the best results. Once you have the counter space, like one from America’s Dream Homeworks, then creating a great kitchen is all about practicality. Our ability to fully use an area is often what makes it the best for us, and when it comes to kitchens, that has a lot to do with our appliances.
Apart from the major appliances that make up most kitchens (namely, a refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, and sometimes a dishwasher), kitchens are where we collect and use most of the small appliances in our homes. While not every small appliance works for everyone, there are a few that we have found time and again make the most sense for people to have in their homes.
Here are 10 of what we consider to be must-have small appliances in your kitchen:
It’s a sad fact that most of us can’t get going without our daily cup of coffee, which is why having a dependable, easy to use coffee maker is essential for almost any kitchen. Buy a coffee maker based on your home’s preferences and needs. If you like standard, medium roast coffee and drink quite a bit of it between the people in your home, look for a drip coffee maker. If you live alone and prefer one or two carefully made cups of specialty coffee a day, then a coffee system that uses specialty pods of an espresso machine might be best for you.
Toaster or toaster oven
A toaster or toaster oven is pretty standard fare in a kitchen, so much so that it’s an expected appliance when you stay someplace. Not only is toast a breakfast favorite, but toaster ovens can also do double duty by warming up foods and melting cheese.
Blenders have grown in popularity in recent years due to the rise in popularity in smoothies and in making your own soups, juices, and sauces. However, keep in mind that blenders’ blades are not as sharp as those of a food processor, nor is the motor as powerful. Because of that, a blender should strictly be used to “blend” items together, like ice and frozen fruits.
Hot on the blender’s heels is the food processor. This food prep powerhouse lets you pick and choose different blade types and can help you make anything from puddings to guacamole to chopping vegetables. They can grind sold food with serrated blades in a second, without adding any liquid, which makes them perfect for chopping garlic or herbs without watering them down. They’re also great for making your own dips, like hummus. They are a must-have in the kitchen of any amateur (or professional) chef, and their uses are limitless.
An electric grill
Whether it’s a panini press, an electric griddle, or a clamshell grill, an electric grill is a great appliance to have in your kitchen. These multi-use grills add a great bit of char to your food while keeping it healthy. They also make your average sandwich or wrap much tastier by heating the ingredients, melting the cheese, and crisping the bread or wrap a bit.
After a long day, the last thing most of us want to do is plan a meal and slave over a hot stove for an hour before we finally get to settle down and eat dinner. Slow cookers are a perfect way to reclaim some of your time and have a meal prepped and waiting by the time you get home or wake up. The low-and-slow cooking heat of slow cookers means that flavors have time to blend and mingle, making just about everything you put in these kitchen wonders tasty and melt-in-your-mouth.
While we’re all for the slow food movement, there are plenty of times where a home cook is going to need to nuke something in the microwave. Microwaves have come a long way and can do a surprising variety of things. While there used to be running jokes about microwaves scalding the outside of food while leaving the center dead cold, modern microwaves are much more delicate and intuitive with how they deal with food. You can boil water, cook potatoes, reheat frozen or chilled meals, or even gently melt butter in most good quality microwaves without worrying about it coming out cold, dried out, or overcooked.
Some people may think a rice cooker is a luxury appliance, but they’ll change their minds soon enough the first time they use one. Rice cookers take all the guesswork out of cooking rice and stop you from having to hover over a pot on the stove, carefully gauging whether or not the water is being adequately absorbed or if the rice is drying out and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Rice cookers let you make the perfect, fluffy rice every single time with just the push of a button. Set it and walk away and you’ll have rice ready to go in no time.
An electric kettle should be a given in any kitchen. Not only for tea, but electric kettles also allow you to boil water quickly for a variety of things. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the screaming whistle of a stove-top kettle, and they are easy and safe to use, meaning even the kids can set a pot to boil for you.
If you’re a baker at all, a mixer will save you so much time and effort that you will fall in love with it immediately. Mixers let you effortlessly combine wet and dry ingredients and most come with other attachments that let you do things like kneading dough. They also come in a variety of fun colors to complement your kitchen counters.