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The 6 Kitchen Gadgets Every Home Chef Should Have

A citrus squeezer, a nutmeg grinder, and a meat tenderizer

If you recently started cooking or baking, you’ve probably discovered that quite a few kitchen tasks would be a lot easier with the right tools and accessories. These are the six gadgets we recommend every home chef have in their kitchen.

Most of these tools are quite affordable, but they make a huge difference in the ease and consistency of your cooking process.

A Mandoline

A white mandoline with V-shaped steel blade visible

A versatile mandoline can make chopping quick, easy, safe, and uniform. Chopping fruits and vegetables at any thickness gets easier and faster with a good mandoline, but it’s important to get a model that has quality blades and a reliable handguard to avoid any accidents.

This mandoline from Bormer has a V-blade for more efficient cutting and an easy-to-grip handguard. It also has multiple inserts for different thicknesses and styles of cutting, so you can slice, julienne, and shred any ingredients with ease.

A Garlic Press

A hand holding a silver garlic press that has crushed garlic coming out of it

If you’ve ever become frustrated trying to mince garlic finely enough to avoid having big chunks in your food, along with the smell that you can’t ever seem to get off your hands, a garlic press will be a welcome relief!

It not only crushes garlic finely with less effort, but you also won’t have to hold the smelly stuff while doing so. The Orblue garlic press is ergonomically designed so that you won’t hurt your hand. It’s also heavy-duty enough to crush garlic for any recipe.

A Nutmeg Grater

A silver nutmeg grater sitting next to whole and grated nutmeg

Trying your hand at fresh nutmeg instead of the powdered stuff requires a particular kind of microplane to get it just right.

While fresh nutmeg can make a nice difference in some recipes (and will definitely make you feel like a pro chef), it also requires a good plane with the right-sized grate. This is how you get just the right amount of spice.

For a grater that’s easy to hold and has a small grating size, try this Norpro nutmeg grater. It even has a little compartment at the top for storing the nutmeg between uses!

A Meat Tenderizer

Silver hammer-shaped meat tenderizer sitting on a wood cutting board next to meat

Sure, you can use a rolling pin or other “regular” device to work with meat, but to really get things right, a meat tenderizer is a huge help. A tenderizer can have several purposes, from literally tenderizing meat by puncturing tiny holes in it to simply thinning out a piece of meat.

Ideally, most home cooks will want a tenderizer like this KitchenAid model, with a smooth side for just pounding out a cut of meat to be thinner and a pointed side for actually tenderizing certain cuts of meat.

An All-Purpose Microplane

A silver microplane sitting on top of a bowl of lemons and limes

For zesting fruits, grating hard cheeses, and shaving chocolate, a sturdy, wide microplane is the best bet. It’s easier to grip for larger foods and has slightly larger holes than a spice grater. It’s also much easier—and safer—than trying to shave these foods with a knife.

This OXO microplane has a wide, stainless-steel grating plane with a midsized grate that’s perfect for anything from citrus zest to grating cheese. Plus, it has a nonslip foot and handgrip to keep it steady during use.

A Citrus Squeezer

A steel citrus squeezer squeezing a piece of fruit

You can juice a lemon, lime, or orange by hand, but you probably won’t get all the juice out. Plus, it’s just a mess! A citrus squeezer keeps your hands from getting so messy.

A large one also works with more fruits and makes it easy to get every last bit of juice out. The attached strainer keeps the pulp and seeds from getting into your juice.

Grab a JOYIT citrus squeezer in a larger size for a versatile tool. The stainless steel will stand up to even the toughest fruits, while the bigger size means that you won’t need a separate tool for anything bigger than a half-lemon. Fruits that are orange-sized or smaller should fit this press.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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